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Off-duty Portland cop allegedly assaulted while biking to work

Posted by on March 23rd, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Larry Fornshell’s booking photo.

A Portland Police Bureau Sergeant who was riding his bike into work yesterday morning was involved in an altercation with a man driving a car that has resulted in the driver being arrested for hit and run and attempted assault.

Here’s how it played out according to a PPB press release (emphasis mine):

“Early Tuesday morning March 22, 2011, a Portland Police Sergeant was riding his bike to work eastbound on Northwest Cornell Road when a motorist drove along side of his bike within inches of hitting him while riding. The driver, later identified as 68-year-old Larry Fornshell, passed Sergeant Santos and continued on. When both came into town to a traffic control device, Sergeant Santos rode to the right of Mr. Fornshell’s car. Fornshell turned right, into Santos.

Just prior to the intersection of Northwest 25th Avenue and Northwest Lovejoy Street, Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly. Santos said he had to ride to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid hitting Fornshell’s car and slapped Fornshell’s vehicle with his hand. When Santos and Fornshell came to the intersection, Fornshell put his vehicle in reverse and attempted to hit Santos on his bike. Santos jumped off of his bike and ran with his bike to the sidewalk. Fornshell then hit Santos’ bike as he was holding onto it. Santos jumped out of the way to avoid being struck and Fornshell left the scene of the crash. Santos remembered the license plate number from the vehicle and called 911.”

By yesterday evening, the police had found and arrested Fornshell for Hit and Run and Attempted Assault. Investigators are looking for witnesses who might have seen the incident at NW 25th and Lovejoy. If you saw anything, please contact Det. Kevin Warren at (503) 823-3761.

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241 Comments
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    dan March 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Too bad it takes a cop getting run down for charges to be pressed, but I’m still glad to see one of these vehicular assault cases being taken seriously by law enforcement. Good that Sergeant Santos wasn’t hurt.

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      For the record here, the cop was NOT run down in this incident!!! I am an avid cyclist myself, and do NOT condone such behavior from any drivers out there….. however, the whole story is not being told right now, and a lot of very important information is being left out.

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        arborio March 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

        gordon- what important information are you referring to? i’ve heard from 2 witnesses and the victim, seems pretty clear thus far

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          Tony Columbo March 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

          This cop has a long history of fabricating stories. But what cop with his tenure does’nt?

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            wsbob March 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm

            “This cop has a long history of fabricating stories. …” Tony Columbo

            He does? Really? And you can cite some news stories or other commonly accessible info that would verify what your claim? To this story, you’re the first person in more than 190 comments to have implied any such thing about this cop. So either you have some very exclusive information, or you’re just taking a cheap, unwarranted shot.

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      matt picio March 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

      The takeaway on this story is regardless of what it took, one demonstrably hostile driver is currently off the road and not menacing cyclists (or anyone else) with his motor vehicle. Anytime that happens, it’s a win. Sure, we need to get it to the point where this happens when it’s a bike messenger getting menaced rather than an off-duty officer – but I’m still thankful this guy is not on the road.

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    Jeff March 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    If that’s Joe Santos, I’m going to buy that guy a beer next time I see him.
    Crazy guy actually looks familiar to me…glad he’s behind bars, at least for the afternoon.

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    Nick V March 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Poetic justice that the guy he tried to run down happened to be an officer. Throw the book at ‘im and I’m glad the cop is okay.

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Interesting that you would want to throw the book at someone without actually knowing the whole truth and the whole story first. I do believe the truth will prevail, and that justice will be served.

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    Michaelk42 March 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    A cop gets assaulted this way and suddenly there’s something the police can do? Shocking.

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    Michael Wolfe March 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Agree with all the sentiments above, but if it had been a civilian, the cops would have ignored the whole thing, especially if the cyclist had the temerity to “slap the vehicle with his hand” in response to nearly being run down.

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      cold worker March 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      a very similar thing happened to me. i got a little roughed up by a dude who jumped out of his car and knocked me down in the street after i slapped his passenger side window as he passed me and squeezed me into parked cars. the cop who showed up said i was lucky i wasn’t hit by him while in his car (!) and that i was lucky the guy didn’t pound me for slapping his car (!!!). i had the license plate, the driver took off when people started pulling out cell phones, and the driver had a suspended license. the cop still didn’t really care. at all.

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      John Lascurettes March 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      I was thinking exactly that. I read a blog post recently where there was a guy who was fined for disorderly conduct after slapping a car mirror and no charges were filed for the driver that tried to run him down.

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      Peebody March 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      The truth is because it was a cop, he fell into training mode and got the license plate first – the most important piece of evidence, and it’s extremely likely he had his police radio on him…no cops i know want to let anyone get away with such a thing…

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    ilikeyournewhaircut March 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I didn’t know cyclists are allowed to spank naughty cars! Learn something new everyday.

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      Avid Rider March 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      I didn’t know that either, and here I have been trowing water bottles into their back windows as the speed of after trying to run me into the ditch…

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    craig March 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Works when you’re a cop, maybe. Not when you’re not. Only material differences between this case and the Glen Glans case are (1) that the cop slapped the car instead of spitting on it, and (2) the driver only assaulted him with his car instead of ADDITIONALLY getting out of the car to attack him by hand. Oh yeah, and there was only one assailant instead of two.

    Well, one more thing, I guess. You know how we’ve been learning that it pays to hit-and run if you hit a cyclist (unless maybe hif e’s a cop)? Glen’s case teaches us it’s even better to hit the cyclist, then stop your car and try to kick the rider’s ass, then be the first to call 911.

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      kww March 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Always be the 1st to call 911 first!

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        Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

        Funny you should mention this…. that is exaclty what the driver of the vehicle did after he got to work and told someone about what had happened!!! He filed a police report.

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          Mike Fish March 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm

          Sounds like you have some personal interest/connection in this case. Care to share?

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            Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

            I would if I could… but can’t as of right now due to the case still being active. Lawyers are involved, and so I have to wait for things to play out in court before I speak anymore on the issue. I wish I could just openly tell all I know about it right now, sorry that I can’t just yet.

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            matt picio March 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

            That’s good to know – the police report is a matter of public record, so interested parties can always request a copy.

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        CaptainKarma March 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm

        Sounds like a divorce strategy.

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      T. Drake April 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      THANK YOU! Sure doesn’t seem just to me that Glen had to go through immature name calling & threats on blogs, months waiting for a P.D. to get any seemingly decent legal assistance, fines and spend hundreds more on anger management after having spit on a car that ran him off the road then verbally threatening to use his bike lock (it never left his hand) in self defense when the driver & passenger got out of the car and came after him, clearly prepared to assault him.
      The one good thing that came out of that matter was that the Judge ordered Glen to pay the poor “elderly” man (btw: I know some 60 year olds that could whoop anyone’s butt) $20.00 for his trip to the E.R.! That pretty much says it all !
      Why is this such an issue in Portland? Aren’t adults who are old enough to have drivers licenses supposed to have learned to share by now? What is up with this “us vs. them” mentality and what happen to common courtesy? What a sad, sad example to be setting for the next generation that will be both riding and driving!

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    craig March 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I especially like how the PPB issues a bulletin treating the cop’s testimony as unquestioned fact.

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      Jeff March 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Santos’s on your side “craig”…

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        craig March 24, 2011 at 7:29 am

        Wasn’t a comment on Santos, but on the PPB’s astonishingly favorable treatment of his case because he’s one of them.

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    Khal Spencer March 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Revoke Fornshell’s driver’s license and make him ride a bike for a year.

    Recently, a truck driver passed two bicyclists down here in a manner that resulted in an incident. In the resulting incident, the truck driver stopped, got out of the truck with a large tire iron, and approached the cyclists in a menacing manner. What the truck driver didn’t know what that the guy in the car pulling up behind the scene of the altercation was our Chief of Police. The truck driver was arrested for felony assault.

    Sometimes these do work out right. Not often enough.

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    craig March 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Sorry to come across unsympathetic to Sgt. Santos. I’m deeply sympathetic, and hope he’s unhurt and that justice is served in this case. I’m just a bit flustered by the difference in how these cases are treated by the PPB.

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      You have NO idea!!! If only I could tell you about how the cops arrested him, and how they treated him….. YIKES!!! Pretty crazy…. makes me glad I live nowhere near there!!! 🙁

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        MarkB March 24, 2011 at 5:07 am

        Gordon — when someone USES THEIR CAR AS A WEAPON, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy about how they are ‘treated’. There ARE bike riders out there who would have done more than call 911 — some would, right now, be plotting some diabolical act for the time the driver walks the street again. So YOU need to be thankful, as well as the legion of riders who are following this story, that it was a cop he tried to assault (actually, DID assault, just came up short of battery).

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          Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 5:41 am

          Point is….there was never an assault! I am also an avid cyclist, and am in complete agreement with you…. I have had way to many close calls over the years, and it makes me sick when drivers are so irresposnsible around us….. what I am saying is that in this case, that just isn’t what happened. The actual events are quite different from what is being told here… that’s all.

          The story will eventually all unravel…. for now, there is nothing more I can say, other than I am sorry for both parties involved… not a good deal for either one of them.

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            beth h March 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

            Gordon — if you “can’t say anything”, then why are you commenting at all right now? Seems the wise thing to do is to keep silent until you really CAN speak, no?

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            Charley March 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm

            Driving your car at someone is an assault. Your friend is lucky Santos was able to get out of the way, or it could have been murder.

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            T. Drake April 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

            Doesn’t surprise me in the least that only a very small and likely biased portion of the story is being told in print! Same thing happened in the Glen Glans case! In fact, I’d be willing to bet it happens more often than not!

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      k. March 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

      I agree. I have sympathy for any vulnerable user of the road, but the disparity between how a cop’s case gets handled and anyone else is apparent. With any luck this will help all cops realize what ordinary civilians have to cope with.

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    Jim March 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Wish I were a cop when I was a victim of vehicular assault a few months ago.

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      mac March 24, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Yeah, I’ve learned not to waste my time calling the cops when I get right-hooked, knocked down, and the driver takes off without stopping. Even when I’m a little banged up and there are witnesses. The police won’t do anything. I’m glad this guy is getting in trouble, but it sucks that it takes a cop being a victim for there to be any justice.

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    Opus the Poet March 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    That sounded like a normal ride to church for me, except that I normally don’t have a sidewalk to flee to after they run me off the road, and most times they don’t come back for seconds.

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    Brad March 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Since one of their own was assaulted while riding a bike, perhaps this will change the way the PPB looks at these incidents going forward?

    In any event, after going back for seconds, Mr. Fornshell is toast!

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      Mr. Fornshell never went back for seconds…. he never even had firsts….. this story is as all media… completely altered to make it sound way better than it actually is or was!!! And for the record, the cop involved was NEVER assaulted…… even the charges against Mr. Fornshell are for attempted assault

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        Brad March 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

        You wouldn’t have a personal bias now, would you?

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          Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 6:14 am

          No… because as a cyclist, it wouldn’t matter to me if the driver were my family member or a close friend or other relative…. if they were to intentionally or accidently cause harm to a cyclist, myself or any other… I would be furious with them, and would expect them to pay for what they did. I am an avid cyclist, and I belive firmly that the roads are NOT nearly as safe as they should be for us. The states and counties do NOT do nearly enough to help us stay safe out there!

          I am the first to get very upset when drivers do not give me proper space, or cut me off, or treat me like I don’t belong on the road. And when I see drivers with on their cell phones or texting and driving, I look for opportunities to turn them in, or to exchange some words of wisdom to them.

          My only personal bias in this story is that I know way more details about what actually happened than anyone else here making comments does…. and since the story isn’t being told correctly or completely, I just wanted to bring that up.

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            David March 24, 2011 at 7:20 am

            That being the case, why not tell the story rather than mearly imply the charges are false?

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            Mike Fish March 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

            You’re being sketchy. The obvious question now is “how do you know so much more than everyone else?”

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        Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

        There’s a broken bike in evidence.

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          Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 6:17 am

          Yes, there is a bike in evidence. there is also a Honda CRV vehicle in evidence as well. Means nothing to you or I, as we weren’t there to witness what happened, andwe aren’t the ones doing the forensic evidence to prove what happened.

          there are also two human beings involved, both of whom have NO physical injuries, no bodily harm.

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            Andrew Lynch March 24, 2011 at 6:42 am

            Since you or I were not there to witness this….how do you claim to know the truth?

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            matt picio March 24, 2011 at 9:12 am

            No bodily harm doesn’t mean a crime didn’t occur. Asssault does not require injury. As you say, it’ll be interesting to hear all the facts come out in this case and hear the whole story.

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      Donna March 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      I’m not going to hold my breath.

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    9watts March 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    It would be good to keep track of the details here, of how the case unfolds, what the fines or other outcomes are, and then compare these to similar cases where the cyclist isn’t a cop, with all the power that comes with that office. If there end up being any glaring discrepancies, I’d hope this could be brought to the attention of the PPB and that they would offer an explanation, or better yet a plan for how to take what they’ve learned from this case and apply it more broadly to less well-positioned cyclists who also find themselves in the unfortunate position described here.

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    Steve March 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Something tells me there is more to the story…

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      Um… YES… there is much more to this story than has been told here… much more… and actually, with a fair amount different. Remember…. this is being reported by the media, not anyone who actually was involved, or who actually knows anything at all about what really happened. And, as always… there are at least TWO sides to the story!!!

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        Mark March 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm

        Gordon you keep alluding to that there is MORE to this story. Care to add what you do know for certain and how do you know that?

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        Daniel March 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

        Are you basically saying the cop provoked the car driver? Saying ‘there’s more to the story’ doesn’t help much. Just curious.

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          Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 5:44 am

          Daniel… I wish I could say more, seriously…but due to the case being active, and lawers now involved… I simply have to keep quiet until something has happened in court. I wish I could set the record straight….but am willing to say that you are spot on with your response to me.

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            Ely March 24, 2011 at 8:01 am

            Gordon, I call BS. If you can’t talk about it, DON’T TALK ABOUT IT. As it is you’re just stirring the pot. I don’t believe you have any inside info at all.

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            El Biciclero March 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

            “I simply have to keep quiet…”

            Then do it.

            I think we all know there are n+1 sides to every story: one for every witness/concerned party, and then the truth. Quit trying to be important by citing your “security clearance” and inability to tell all you know. I know it’s exciting to be an insider, but chances are you’re just going to make people mad, or else slip up and say more than you’re supposed to.

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            Charley March 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm

            Then shut up.

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    kww March 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    In some cities bike cops are chosen at random and it is a duty they must pull, instead of volunteering for as in Portland.

    I am a proponent of being ‘drafted’ for duty as it helps foster understanding of the issues.

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      T. Drake April 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      What a concept! Great idea, really; but then, I’m sue drivers are going to be much more careful around cyclists w/badges & guns than they are the average guy ridin’ his bike to work one weekday morning!

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    Zaphod March 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Negativity against the PPD is unproductive and creates defensiveness. If all this community does is complain without a little respect, then it’s hard to find sympathy for little respect to flow towards us.

    I’d like to see this incident trigger more understanding for what we cyclists experience when things go wrong. When “one of their own” experiences what we do, perhaps we all can see eye-to-eye on the fact that we’re all trying to get somewhere safely and without hassle.

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      Michaelk42 March 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      As Tiffany said, you know what? NO. This IS a huge double standard here. Pointing out the obvious discrepancy in treatment isn’t “negativity.”

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      tonyt March 24, 2011 at 8:25 am

      Zaphod,

      I accord basic respect tentatively, and after that it is earned. I know that I am not alone in my experiences with the PPB where they have earned my lack of respect, actively, as if they had more than they needed and were only too happy to alienate members of the general population and the cycling community specifically.

      If they want my respect back, they will have to run a considerable streak of earning it.

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      spare_wheel March 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      And to think I actually *believed* I had good reasons for my dislike of the police. Its such a huge relief to not have think about excessive force, racial profiling, quasi-militarism, and political patronage any longer.

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    Caroline March 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I absolutely love this story! I feel like if someone did this to me, they’d also be messing with the wrong person, but I think I’ll just live vicariously through Santos for now. I hope he’s feeling better than OK. 😀

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    Joe March 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    TOTAL madness ! I have had something like this happen to me before scary.

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    dwainedibbly March 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I’m glad the officer is ok.

    On a positive note, perhaps this will open some eyes in the PPD.

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    Tiffany March 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Ugh. I feel awful for the police officer, it’s terrifying when someone tries to run you down. I know because it happened to me. Sadly, the police had a very different response, “we can’t just believe everyone about road rage incidents you know. You could be making it up.” I guess being hysterical and in tears was just an act!

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      Funny… even police officers can make stuff up aopparently!!! 🙁

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        Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm

        I know Joe personally and he’s not only a police officer but a great guy. I would vouch for him anytime- and he’s been nothing but an asset to the cycling community. He’s gone out of his way to help cyclists before. He’s a dang good racer too. Racer, commuter, police officer- now there’s a role model. Frankly- some of you should be ashamed and realize that Joe does read this stuff too.

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          Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 5:48 am

          I am NOT taking sides, because like every one of you.. I WASN’T there, or involved in the situation. I am simply pointing out that no one here actually knows what went down, or who is at fault for what here, yet everyone seems to be ready to just throw the book at Mr. Fornshell, who’s side of the story is a bit different than what has been reported, and lines up with what the officer reported…. also not the same as what is being reported.

          Sure sounds like a he said/he said case

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            Rob Anderson March 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

            Not taking sides? BS. You’ve got a clear conflict of interest in the situation, given that you’re married to a family member of the accused. You can’t claim to be a neutral voice of reason, sorry. Yet you seem to have no problem calling out others as biased.

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            q`Tzal March 24, 2011 at 11:58 am

            Site 3rd party verifiable FACT or STFU.

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            Bjorn March 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm

            You specifically accuse the officer of lying, that sure seems like taking sides. Given how high the bar is for anyone to get arrested in a situation like this cop or no cop I can’t imagine the driver wasn’t doing something pretty out there. Also since you are related to the accused you obviously have a pretty large conflict of interest here.

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          jennlevo March 24, 2011 at 8:53 am

          What Kenji said… Joe is a great guy and well, he just happens to be a cop too. And, I can guess that he acted in the best and most responsible way possible for the situation. He’s always been a great source of aid and resource whenever anyone on his team or friends had a similar incident or run in’s with aggressive drivers.

          Note to self: buy Joe a six pack.

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          Daniel Porter March 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

          +1 to what Kenji said.

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          T. Drake April 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm

          Completely understand where your’e coming from but these comments are nothing in comparison to the animosity, anger, vengeance, rude and hateful comments that were made against my son when he was the cyclist! For that, Joe can be grateful. I’m sure he’s a nice guy; I have nothing against police officers as long as they’re out for the betterment of the community and not on a power trip, but if he were not an officer of the law, the comments posted (not so much here as other sites) would likely be considerably more disrespectful & hurtful!

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      craig March 24, 2011 at 7:34 am

      GOT TO get that GoPro helment cam!

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    mike March 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I love it how this story turns into police bashing. Just imagine what these folks go through every single day!! It’s easy to point fingers when your most important decision is whether to get a double or triple mocha.

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      Greg March 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      It’s not bashing. It’s just pointing out the well documented double standard that is endemic to systems such as police forces, military, etc.

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      Tiffany March 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      Are you reading the comments? We’re angry because when the exact same thing happened to us, we were ignored or dismissed by the same people willing to prosecute now.

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        Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

        A guy hit me on purpose in ’03 or ’04. Guy went to jail for 10 days.

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          Mark March 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm

          You got to tell the rest of us how you managed to get that to happen when so many here who experienced the same thing did not get such a result.

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            Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

            Actually a pretty interesting story. Guy ran over my bike (while I was on it) and took off. Called 911 and I sat until OSP came an hour later and took my statement. Trooper went to the guy’s house to investigate. Figured the guy was drunk but couldn’t do anything about it since it was so far removed from the fact. The trooper was hesitant to charge the guy but I was friendly and persistent. Gave him the statutes to charge him under. Trooper then wrote it up on a citation then I signed it. He delivered it to the driver. Then I got in touch with the DA’s office and victim’s assistance. The person who actually ended up prosecuting it was a law student. (3rd years are allowed to do it). It was great because he was really invested and interested in the case. He was convicted! What helped was having a knowledge of the law and being extremely friendly. Remember, DDA’s and officers appreciate being treated nicely. They deal with a lot of garbage and being professional and courteous goes a long way.

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          Michaelk42 March 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

          The plural of anecdote is not data.

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      Michaelk42 March 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Yeah, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in a job that doesn’t even crack the top 10 for the most dangerous, yet hype it up like it’s #1.

      http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/08/fishing-construction-logging-business-most-dangerous-jobs.html

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        matt picio March 24, 2011 at 9:32 am

        I’m not sure that’s really relevant. Even the most dangerous jobs aren’t that “dangerous” – your chances of dying or being injured on the job aren’t that dissimilar from dying of non-job causes like car crashes, slip & fall, or firearms. What’s far more relevant in my opinion is how stressful the job is. From that standpoint, law enforcement, air traffic controllers, 911 operators and social workers deserve and get my respect – they do jobs that ordinary humans can’t. Law enforcement is the 5th most stressful job, right above commercial pilots (who are #3 in terms of “most dangerous”). And according to another source: http://www.billshrink.com/blog/8642/12-of-the-most-stressful-jobs-in-america/ it’s actually the #1 most stressful job.

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t examine the story critically, nor that we should assume the officer in question has an unbiased and objective view of the incident – but saying the job is over-hyped because officers don’t rank in the top 10 in deaths/injuries is unwarranted. Perhaps they’re just better at avoiding those outcomes due to training, equipment, backup, and the benefits of authority. Firefighters are the #1 stressful job and they don’t rank in the top 10 in deaths either – in fact the only profession that ranks top 10 in both stress and deaths is taxi drivers, and that kind of speaks for itself given how many hours/miles they drive.

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          Michaelk42 March 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

          Oh, BS.

          When “Mike” comes in with:

          “Just imagine what these folks go through every single day!! It’s easy to point fingers when your most important decision is whether to get a double or triple mocha.”

          Such condescending BS as that, it needs to be pointed out that it doesn’t take a superhuman to do the job, much less someone better than everyone else (but for purposes of his comment, especially us.)

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      S brockway March 23, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      Just what is it exactly “these folks go thru every day ”
      that they didn’t “sign on ” for?

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      Finn March 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      @mike

      “Just imagine what these folks go through every single day!!”

      I can totally appreciate what these people go through every day. Putting themselves in harm’s way just for trying to get where they’re going, facing hostility just for being out on the road, being assaulted with deadly force simply for trying to make a driver aware of their presence before they get run over, or for something as trivial as slapping a hood…

      Wait, did you mean cops?

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        craig March 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

        “Like!”

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      El Biciclero March 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Try reading the Oregonian’s comments–I think it’s usually about comment one or two that starts the cyclist-bashing on stories like this. Comments here are really quite rational.

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    Tiffany March 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    And does anyone have a description of that man’s car?

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      Gordon Neitling March 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      Yes… they do. In fact, it was taken into custody as evidence……

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        Tiffany March 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm

        Yeah, I found it. I live in the same neighborhood as that cop and it was a SUV that tried to run me down, on 25th too. Mine was a red GMC though. His was silver something.

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    Tourbiker March 23, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    wonder if Santos could now vouch for the feeling that being treated this way is like having a gun pointed at you.
    Something most riders already know

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    Suburban March 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    It is impossible to recreate the events using the two lead paragraphs of this story, although you can certainly get the up-shot with the photo.

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    michweek March 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I’m going to become a cop! Yup, if that’s they only way any kind of action will be taken, then I’m doing it!
    I was intionally run off a skinny road by some black pt cruiser and called in the license plate crying due to the thought that some one totally disrespected my life and could/would of killed me, just to be told no can do! What bull!!

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    Kevin March 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I slapped a car once after it’s driver threatened me and the group I was riding with. The driver ran into me, knocking me to the ditch. I was charged with criminal mischief for slapping the car and damaging the mirror in the process. I guess I should have been a cop instead of just a working stiff. Story at the following link:
    http://tinyurl.com/clby4b

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      Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Cripes. I remember that one. I think I e-mailed with you didn’t I?

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  • Joe-Bike.com
    Joe-Bike.com March 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    The whole system, starting with the police, needs hard evidence. Give them hard evidence: Get a helmet cam.

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      q`Tzal March 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      Yeah, I like the Contour GPS but we are left with the “admissible in court” issue.

      It will be easily argued by any lawyer that the video could have been altered by anyone with any of the free software available online.

      The only thing I think might work is if we can get a law passed saying that the reporting officer has to accept the video memory card on site, at the incident, as real unaltered expert testimony. This coupled with accurate GPS data, with VERY VERY accurate time stamps (due to GPS) it should be easy to rule out data tampering.

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    Kevin March 23, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Yup Kenji, you did.

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      Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Dang it. Sorry it turned out that way. 🙁

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        Mike Fish March 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm

        You shouldn’t have to smile and make lots of phone calls to get justice.

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    Mike bodd March 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I think g neitling is Larry fornshell!

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      Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 5:52 am

      No… I am G. Neitling, my real name… absolutely nothing to hide here. Born and raised in Portland/Beaverton, OR. Live way up north and work as a firefighter in Bellingham, WA. I am an avid cyclist myself.

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        Lazlo March 24, 2011 at 7:43 am

        So…your intimate knowledge of this incident comes from the accused, who would in no way be biased.

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      zb March 24, 2011 at 6:49 am

      related by marriage

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    Ted Buehler March 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Plailnly, what we need is a campaign to get more cops to commute by bike.

    Ted Buehler

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    deborah March 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Some Portland Police officers are also bike commuters?!! How can this be anything but a REALLY big plus for the biking community.

    Yes, I agree that (probably on a daily basis) there are huge differences about this story and others that do not cover bike commuting police officers. Though I bet that will change as more officers also bike commute.

    Sadly though, I would almost always assume that a driver would react very angrily if I ‘smacked’ their car. It is a HUGELY provoking action to take – even if it is often warranted. It’s very threatening. It jolts a person out of the sanctity of their automobile and makes them feel that they are not in control, even trapped and claustrophobic. It almost begs them to pop out and start a fight with you. And almost certainly I would feel the same way if anyone decided to try and touch my bike in anger. I would feel immediately violated, safety and prized property threatened, and probably react fairly viscerally.

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      Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 5:54 am

      Deborah….. ding, ding, ding, ding….. you are a winner. Your thoughts on how a driver may react when being threatened, and is caught off guard and scared for their personal safety….. hmmmmmm, just may have a lot ot do with this type of case.

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        cycler March 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

        ooh yeah, no difference at all between a human hitting a two ton steel and glass machine with their hand and the same two ton steel and glass machine nearly hitting a human- completely equal and the guy on the bike absolutely deserved to be run over for it- show him to ever touch another person’s personal property!

        I think that what you seem to be missing Mr. Neitling is that ” feeling threatened” is not a legitimate excuse to try to kill an un armed, un-enclosed-in-steel human being by running them over with your vehicle. The scale of the threat is completely asymmetric.

        I only wish that every driver who threatened a civilian cyclist was given as much attention.

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        Bob March 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

        So slapping the car is so threatening that a driver is justified in (allegedly) retaliating and driving over the guys bike ? Turn the tables, where the car “slaps” the bicyclist. The threatened bike rider is now justified and can hit, scratch and do the boogaloo on the hood of the offending car?? I believe the car driver needs to drive away and not escalate the response. Or a simple, “sorry” can go a long way.

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      matt picio March 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Great, let’s do it more and then maybe people will start to comprehend that the roads aren’t safe, and that the actions of others actually DO affect them. (Note: I am not saying to actually damage the vehicle)

      This is eventually all going to come to a head. These incidents are increasing in cities all over the country as the number of cyclists increase and as the roads get more crowded.

      Frankly, I think putting any safety equipment in a car was a mistake – it’s the automotive equivalent of Jevon’s Paradox. If motorists perceived there was a danger, they would drive safer, but since there are few consequences for driving recklessly, many people do.

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      Daniel Porter March 24, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Deborah,
      How about how a cyclist feels that gets buzzed from within the tunnels on Lovejoy/Cornell. When that happens to me I feel threatened (and my most prized possession at risk; MY LIFE). I’m a normally benign person, but when this exact same thing happened to me, I went after the driver as well. I was angry, scared, etc. Luckily I came to my senses after spewing a few choice words and no one was ultimately harmed, but come on…

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    Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    That’s not a bad idea. There’s quite a few that already do!

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    Kenji Sugahara March 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Oh my. Gordon, now I understand. You’re married to this guy’s daughter- and you’re a cyclist too. Ugh. This is ugly.

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      Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 6:00 am

      It’s not ugly for me, Kenji. I had nothing to do with it. I don’t even live in the same state. And believe me when I say I am in way more support of cyclists than I am drivers when it comes to sharing the roads, as we all know who wins when it’s car vs bike.

      This situation is only ugly for the family, because the whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion, and has been made to be something that it never really was. And now the media had taken it and made it even worse….. that is the only reason I have spoken up her at all, because I saw that the story being told is false, and everyone seems to be out for Mr. Fornshell without even caring to know all of the details or facts first.

      Believe me, as a cyclist myself…. I would be first to go right to the cyclists side and show my support… but, I got first hand knowledge and report of the actaul events and what happened, which has since changed my outlook on this particular case.

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        Matt D'Elia March 24, 2011 at 8:30 am

        actually you don’t.. you weren’t there as there were no witnesses. What you got was second hand knowledge from someone who was involved in this case. Personal bias.

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        Mike Fish March 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

        Ugh, I can’t believe you’ve been wasting our time, playing these stupid games without simply disclosing your relationship to the affected party. People would take you more seriously if you’re HONEST.

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    Marid March 23, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Can we stop blaming the victim here?

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      craig March 24, 2011 at 7:39 am

      And who would the victim be, exactly?

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    J_R March 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I hope this gets prominent coverage in the general media. Maybe the Sergeant’s actions will make some of road ragers worry that the next cyclist he chooses to intimidate is a cop. And maybe it will make more in the PPB believe it when a cyclist complains of deliberate, unprovoked assault by motor vehicle.

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    Scott McElhiney March 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    http://www.meetup.com/Rubber2theroad/members/13137352/

    Gordon, this you? Telling us that the truth is out there from way up in Bellingham WA? You have better info than the cop that was attacked using your vantage point up by the Canadian border? You need to come clean and tell us what you know… was there a second gunman?

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      Gordon Neitling April 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Yes, Scott…. that is me! 🙂 300 miles north of you. And for the record, I have come clean…. I did tell you what I know…. weird, though, I don’t recall this story being about any gunmen at all.

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    Scott McElhiney March 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I’d say that in many cases the cyclist doesn’t report the assault because it’s too common along with the negative experiences “well, you know it’s dangerous riding a bike in traffic, your should consider yourself lucky you weren’t killed!”. Before I learned proper lane positioning (and stopped filtering up on the right), I would experience several close shaves, yells and things tossed out the window a DAY on my 26 mile round trip commute… all with me trying to be a nice guy riding as far to the right as I could. Moved into the lane and the incidents lowered to a couple of idiots honking a month… but the close calls went away almost completely. I’ve had drivers try to run me off the road and caught up to give them my mind… both politely and in anger. Neither one seems to be of use, probably because the driver is the one now in fight or flight mode because we caught up with them.

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    Mike March 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Would it make a difference if that cop was wearing skinny jeans and riding a fixie? Kind of like asking if a tree fell in the forest while no one was around.

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    Bjorn March 24, 2011 at 1:05 am

    This guy looks like a guy who intentionally caused me to hit his car (he passed me cut in right in front of me and slammed on the brakes) on fremont 3-4 years ago. He then got out of his car and chased me around it until he realized I was on the phone with 911 while shouting at me that I should be on the sidewalk. Out of curiosity does anyone know if this person was driving a black Volvo sedan? Looking at the photo I actually think it might be the same guy. I waited for 1 hour for the cops to show, they did not, and I got too cold to wait any longer. I then tried 3 times over the next week to file a report, they would not take it because I was not injured. (Word to the wise if you are in a collision with a car that is bad enough to call the cops the correct answer to the are you injured question is either “Yes” or “I think so”. You can always change your mind later, but they will not do anything if you aren’t hurt.)

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    Tourbiker March 24, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I don’t mean to hijack this thread but….

    Is It me or does KATU (chan2) here in PDX have a problem with cyclists?
    This story as they report in the headline doesn’t even mention a bike. just “Police: Man tried to run over a cop”. comments section seems filled with bike haters.

    Sorry it had to happen to anyone let alone a cop. Happens more than I’m sure most cops even realize.
    I even have come to expect it out on a tour.

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      Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 6:03 am

      My belief here, based on what I know of this, is that if the cyclist hadn’t been a police officer, this story wouldn’t be anything right now. There was no bodily harm done to either person, and had this been any one of us it happened to, we wouldn’t be talking about it here right now…. sad, but true!

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        She March 24, 2011 at 8:45 am

        I do not get why “no bodily harm” matters, the guy has a bent bike. Yes, we do not know what happened but really neither do you. I could see a guy not fessing up if his family are bike riders, he may be embarrassed, or remorseful (which really is good) but for Gordon to say there is more to the story, he really knows NO more than we do.

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        Bjorn March 25, 2011 at 1:33 am

        I don’t think that it is a great thing that in most cases someone can hit and run a cyclist, damage the bike but not the person and get away with it. You may be right that your brother in law would not have been arrested if he had intentionally hit a civilian instead of a cop, but that doesn’t make the fact that he used his car as a weapon any less awful.

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        Jeff March 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

        gordon, are you f*cking serious? your family member hit and run a human being. a human being. he reversed his car to make sure that it occurred. why do you continually want to condone that behavior or protect your family member? if you, as a cyclist, were even hit….would you want the driver to leave you there with no accountability?

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      Andrew March 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

      Don’t ever watch KATU. Yes, they do have a problem with cyclists. They’d even go so far as to set up a reporter in a chair on the SE Holgate buffered bike lanes to “prove” no one uses the lane.

      Disgusting ratings-driven “journalism.”

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        El Biciclero March 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm

        Wandering further down the rabbit trail: surprisingly, FOX 12 (KPTV) has seemed to be one of the most bike-friendly broadcast stations in the area. I have even seen them run PSAs with Mark Nelson (their weather guy, who must ride a lot) about sharing the road with cyclists. They’ve even had a bike commute weather forecast on occasion.

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        CaptainKarma March 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm

        You should not watch ANY tv.

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    Steve B March 24, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Anytime an incident like this happens, it’s unfortunate. This is a real person folks, and it totally sucks that this happened to him.

    As Ted mentions above, having enforcement officers out there commuting to work on bike helps bring a whole new level of firsthand experiences to police culture.

    Sorry this happened to you, Sergeant Santos. I hope we can start making stories like this obsolete, hang in there.

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      Michaelk42 March 24, 2011 at 3:54 am

      I don’t think anyone’s glad this happened to a police officer; I think people are justifiably upset that it’s suddenly an actionable offense to other police officers when it happens to one of their own.

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    estebancycle March 24, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I’m not from Portland and I’m new to bicycling (been commuting to work for 2 months) so please educate me… why would a bike pass a car on the right at a traffic signal?

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      Chad March 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Why would a car pass a bike on the left, at a traffic signal or otherwise? So many folks get bent out of shape about bikes Lane-splitting and passing on the right, but never think twice about cars lane splitting on the left.
      That being said, when I come up to a traffic signal on my bike, I take my spot in the lane, behind the car ahead of me. It’s just safer that way.

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      Over and Doubt March 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Not saying this is the case in this incident, but for instance: You’re in the bike lane, going straight through the intersection. Bike lane is alongside the main lanes, of course, and continues after the intersection; may even be dotted-line striped through the intersection. The markings therefore justify you continuing through on the right, but you gotta anticipate the right hook from those who don’t signal.

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      Paul in the 'couve March 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      It is something that needs to be done in a considered manner. It depends on the street and the traffic and the bike facilities or lack there of. The main caution is that you have to watch out for the first 2 or 3 cars possibly turning right.

      Sometimes passing on the right at a stop light is justified or at least acceptable. First if you have a bike lane, you proceed to the intersection in the bike lane alongside the cars. If there is no bike lane but a wide shoulder and you carefully look for right turning vehicles its acceptable and if the line of cars is long enough that’d you likely have to miss the light then it’s justified (IMO). If the shoulder is narrow, the line is only 2 or 3 cars, and/or most of the cars are turning right it”s better IMO to take the lane when you come to the line of cars and proceed with traffic.

      It is somewhat obnoxious to re-pass vehicles on the right at lights when they’ve already passed you and the roadway is narrow requiriing bikes and cars to share the same lane. Yet sometimes I do it if I feel the driver was unreasonably imaptient in passing me – just to prove he needn’t be in a such a hury. This is primarily on roads where I am riding very close to the speed of traffic.

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    jonathan March 24, 2011 at 6:22 am

    If someone pulls a knife on me but I have an AK-47 to pull out, does the fact that I was first threatened give me a right to retaliate? Vigilante justice is seldom justified. The driver can always drive away. Civilized society is damaged whenever anyone acts out in violence. Portland condones vigilantes. I never felt safe living there.

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    Dave March 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Nick V
    Poetic justice that the guy he tried to run down happened to be an officer. Throw the book at ‘im and I’m glad the cop is okay.

    My sentiments exactly!

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    Gordon Neitling March 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I apologize, but I have been asked politely to refrain from any further postings or comments regarding this situation. If anyone woule like, you may contact Jim McIntyre, attorney, who is handling htis case. I am sorry, but I do not have contact information for him.

    Be safe out there! I do pretty well up here in my neck of the woods, just south of the Canadian border… but it is mostly rural farm lands where I ride…. tractors and dogs seem to be my primary nemesis.

    I love riding down in the Portland/westside areas, primarily out around Hillsboro and North Plains, etc.

    I will be down to ride in the Petal Pedal, and the Portland Century, and the tour de Cure, and then the Harvest Century this year. 🙂

    Take care one and all….

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    Steve Brown March 24, 2011 at 8:14 am

    If there was ever a story to galvanize a community this is it. At the risk of over simplification, show a weapon at a cop, your dead. Run over a cyclist. it is the riders fault for not getting out of the way. The only way this story gets better is the cop shoots the driver. Time for all of us to review our behavior on the road and PPB and all of law enforcement to get serious about cars v bikes. When I got right hooked in a bike lane, one of the first things the West Linn officer asked me was how fast I was riding. Flattering a sprinter by complimenting his top end is always a good way to start a conversation, but this guy was serious. It told me everything I needed to know about the status of bikes v cars in West Linn. Regardless of what the outcome of this with regard to the two individuals involved, it would be great if this served as the basis of a better understanding of all law enforcement of the situation almost all riders face everyday.

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    Brad March 24, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Gordon –

    Five minutes spent searching on Google last evening establishes that you are related to Mr. Fonshell thus, your “first hand knowledge” is tainted with obvious bias and is no more reliable that the media accounts that you claim are slanted. You also state in an earlier post that you can’t discuss this matter further due to legal reasons and yet, you persist in a one man P.R. campaign on behalf of a family member without disclosing your connection to alleged perpetrator. You may also be an avid cyclist but that hardly matters. It is just a cheap attempt to establish credibility and to curry favor with other cyclists on this blog.

    This is now a matter for the courts to decide and there may be witnesses to corroborate or conflict the accounts of both Mr. Fonshell and Mr. Santos. Right now, the facts as reported are all we have to go on. Going on a popular bike blog to coyly accuse the alleged victim of lying and the local media of willfully distorting facts in the alleged victim’s favor is not helping your kin’s defense.

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      Mark March 24, 2011 at 11:02 am

      I think for every time there is car versus bike incident, emotions run high for all of us who bicycle are more vulnerable to the anger of a car driver. We can rant about the wrongness of this particular driver but I suspect this is trigger for all of us who feel the danger of vehicular encounters AND the general lack of justice from the police.

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  • tonyt
    tonyt March 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I’d like to know what kind of car this guy was driving and his plate #. I had an altercation a number of years ago with a driver who looked a lot like this guy. We had a long and quite animated conversation.

    I remember the car and some of the license number. Just curious if he finally got his comeuppance.

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    rider March 24, 2011 at 8:50 am

    There is usually some old guy sitting out in front of the abortion clinic. Wonder if he was there?

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    Bob_M March 24, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Brad
    Awesome!

    As a cyclist I know that the adrenaline bomb only goes off in my head when someone really puts me in danger. I can’t imagine this situation beginning in any way other than the driver endangering the cyclist. I hope that this issue raises the awareness of LEOs to the vulnerability of cyclists.

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    k. March 24, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Kenji Sugahara
    Actually a pretty interesting story. Guy ran over my bike (while I was on it) and took off. Called 911 and I sat until OSP came an hour later and took my statement. Trooper went to the guy’s house to investigate. Figured the guy was drunk but couldn’t do anything about it since it was so far removed from the fact. The trooper was hesitant to charge the guy but I was friendly and persistent. Gave him the statutes to charge him under. Trooper then wrote it up on a citation then I signed it. He delivered it to the driver. Then I got in touch with the DA’s office and victim’s assistance. The person who actually ended up prosecuting it was a law student. (3rd years are allowed to do it). It was great because he was really invested and interested in the case. He was convicted! What helped was having a knowledge of the law and being extremely friendly. Remember, DDA’s and officers appreciate being treated nicely. They deal with a lot of garbage and being professional and courteous goes a long way.

    Kenji,

    That is a great story and I’m glad you got justice. But basically what you are saying it you had to do the job of the OSP officer and the DA yourself. Not every is a lawyer with the type of knowledge and resources you have at hand.

    k.

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    Andrew Lynch March 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Sounds like this area of town needs a little Critical Mass action. If you draw a lot of attention to this incident, the police will feel obligated to take similar future incidents more seriously.

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    Ron March 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Howdy–

    I certainly agree with Deborah, smacking a car is a dramatic statement. Sheet metal makes a great drum, and the driver is sitting inside it. They are jarred and startled.

    That’s exactly why I do it. If a car is close enough to me that I can slap it, it’s too close in many situations. Whether the driver is aggressive or oblivious, the car is threatening me. I want to make a dramatic statement.

    I don’t do it often, only when there’s a true threat (for instance, it would be a little ridiculous to feel threatened while sitting next to a car at a stoplight). I don’t like perpetuating the sterotype that we’re all just a bunch of car haters, but sometimes I do hate the way cars enable people to behave.
    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg
    Corvallis

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    Todd Boulanger March 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Perhaps the BTA WPC and the cycling community should hold a press conference honoring this work and that the PD has in it’s actions undertaken a new Vision Zero to protect vulnerable road users. 😉

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    Travis March 24, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Given police officers tendency to abuse the position of “power” and overstate or understand when convenient (trained to do so?), I’m withholding judgment (though obviously not assumptions) toward either party. While I wouldn’t feel any more pleasant regards toward the driver, if he knew the cyclist was a cop it possibly changes the nature and reasoning of the entire situation. Further if the cop knew the driver knew he was a cop. –t

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    Jpdx March 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Perfect reason to spend more time mountain biking in the peace of the forest instead of riding around town on city streets and dealing with Aholes in cars.

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      zb March 24, 2011 at 9:50 am

      grocery store bank library workplace school not in the forest

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        El Biciclero March 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        +1

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    Chrehn March 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Ah! This changes everything. While the “average” bicyclist may not enjoy much credibility, things change when a policeman is involved. I hope that this will have some positive outcomes. Fortunately, no one was injured.

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    are March 24, 2011 at 9:53 am

    sounds like testosterone on both sides of the transaction

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    Daniel Porter March 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    This story reminds me of a person mugging a person at a hotel where a police convention is going on. Had the police not been there, the mugger may have gotten away with it.

    How many times do you get buzzed or watch some one do something blatently illegal (running lights, etc.)and wish there was a cop around. One of my fathers favorite sayings was ‘I wish I was a cop’ whenever he saw some poor driving.

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    Velowocky March 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I rode with Joe a month or so ago and asked him about his work. He is a true professional and in law enforcement for all the right reasons. Not saying this ‘proves’ anything just that I have tremendous respect for what he does and I know from experience he knows and follows the rules of the road when riding. The accused will have to answer as to how and why the officer’s bike is messed up.

    When I saw this story last night I said to my wife that happens about twenty times a day in Portland! As Kenji suggested this is a good opportunity for all cyclists to brush up on a few of the relevant laws that would offer recourse. I had a very similar altercation last year and the responding officer said there was nothing he could have charged him with. We both knew that wasn’t true given the facts of what happened but I didn’t have anything in mind to cite at the time. Lesson learned. Hopefully this will increase willingness on the part of law enforcement to actually pursue charges against offenders.

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    Deborah March 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Daniel Porter
    Deborah,
    How about how a cyclist feels that gets buzzed from within the tunnels on Lovejoy/Cornell. When that happens to me I feel threatened (and my most prized possession at risk; MY LIFE). I’m a normally benign person, but when this exact same thing happened to me, I went after the driver as well. I was angry, scared, etc. Luckily I came to my senses after spewing a few choice words and no one was ultimately harmed, but come on…

    I don’t for a moment blame you or any other cyclist, and certainly understand that we are threatened by cars often. Sometimes a car slap is utterly justified. But what I hoped to say is that the car slap will rarely bring anything other than an escalation to the situation. What I HOPE for in confrontations is to win someone over so they’ll be better drivers.

    I had the fortunate occasion to be driving my old mercedes around a couple weekends ago downtown during the shopping cart scavenger hunt. While we were waiting on some of the participants to cross the street, others came from behind and they were mad that we were slowing them down, so they smack the car to get us to move. I was really surprised at my guttural instant anger reaction, even though I find myself in my car at most a couple times a month and really don’t identify myself as a car driver. That’s all I’m saying. It tends to insight a primal reaction and won’t get the best result out of either party.

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      wsbob March 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks to…Gordon Neitling…relative to the driver…no doubt readers here at bikeportland are doubly enthusiastic to eventually read driver Larry Fornshell’s explanation of the incident, which in Neitling’s comments via 3rd hand information, suggests will have the driver dispute the idea that he attempted to use his vehicle against the cyclist.

      Details of the incident and sequence of events occurring in it as described in the PPB media release posted in maus’s above story, have it looking fairly conclusive that Fornshell was decidedly not an innocent victim, if that’s what you’re suggesting about Fornshell’s reaction to his car being slapped by the cyclist.

      A number of people’s comments above have offered their impression, from personal experience with him, that cyclist/police officer Santos is an even tempered, upstanding type of person. Of course that doesn’t rule out the possibility that on the bike, he’s occasionally a hothead that would harshly slap someone’s motor vehicle for no particular reason. The Portland Police Bureau definitely has some nutty cops in its ranks, several of whom within the last year or so have been taken to court because of their outrageous behavior. From descriptions reported so far, Santos doesn’t seem to be one of those types of guys.

      Sure…lets’s see what driver Larry Fornshell has to say.

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      Perry Hunter March 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      Slapping cars is like teasing dogs, when you find the one that bites you wish you’d been smarter.

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        wsbob March 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

        Excerpt from the PPB media report as posted in the story above:

        “…Santos said he had to ride to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid hitting Fornshell’s car and slapped Fornshell’s vehicle with his hand. …”

        Does that statement suggest to you that cyclist Santos was attempting to tease driver Fornshell?

        I’ve heard examples of road users interacting in antagonistic ways towards each other for no other reason than to get each others goat. With the information available so far, Santos doesn’t seem to have been trying to tease Fornshell. Whether Santos story bears out remains to be seen, but apparently the slap was intended to get Fornshell’s attention directed towards the presence of Santos on the bike, to whom Fornshell for some yet to be fully unexplained reason, is said to have allowed his vehicle to get unsafely close.

        Under the circumstances and assuming he had a legitimate reason to do so, was there another, less alarming way Santos could have got Forshell’s attention? I suppose we’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

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          craig March 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

          Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly. Santos said he had to ride to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid hitting Fornshell’s car

          No matter what, Santos was in the wrong on this specific point.

          No one on a bike has to ride to the left to avoid rear-ending a car that brakes suddenly, unlesshe was violating the law (ORS 811.485), which bikes are also required to follow) that requires him to follow at a sufficient distance to stop safely. This behavior in itself demonstrates that Santos was probably pursuing a confrontation with the car driver.

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            Kristen March 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

            Obeying that law is hard to do when a car cuts suddenly in front of you and immediately hits the brakes.

            In that instance, you would be forced to take evasive action or risk slamming into the back of that car– and we all know that the person who rear-ends someone is automatically at fault.

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            Brad March 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

            Are you forgetting the case in Los Angeles where a prominent doctor deliberately “stopped short” causing two descending cyclists to rear end his car at high speed? Both were hurt badly and the doctor now sits in prison.

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          Perry Hunter March 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

          I was responding to the other mentions of “retaliatory” car slapping, and did not intend to imply any knowledge of what Officer Santos may or may not have done. Sorry that was not more clear.

          I see cyclists do it frequently, usually when a car has intruded into what the cyclist considers their right of way. Most often in Beaverton, this is some jerk who thought their personal tank would fit on the other side of the intersection when the light turned yellow, and ends up blocking the bike lane portion of the roadway through the intersection.

          I do think the times that it might be justifiable are rare, and that it’s usually done as an expression of anger rather than a means to get a drivers attention and cause them to move their vehicle in a different direction.

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            wsbob March 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm

            I’d agree with the general substance of this comment of yours. Casually and harshly slapping people’s cars for relatively minor oversights…(I kind of think that drivers negligently letting their cars hang into the crosswalks and into intersections are examples of this.)…isn’t a good idea.

            Not all drivers in this situation have done so out of arrogance. Sometimes things don’t work out…the day’s been long and stressful, attention, reflexes and timing are off a bit, traffic is heavy and backed up and you get stuck misjudging the movement of vehicles ahead slowly working there way through the intersection. It’s not a comfortable situation having the vehicle hanging out where it’s not supposed to be.

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    random rider March 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I’m confused as to why this particular story doesn’t include information such as whether the bicyclist was wearing a helmet, what lighting configuration he had, whether his bike was fixed gear and had hand brakes, the color of his bike and a thorough description of his attire at the time of the event.

    These all seem to be relevant in most circumstances when a bicyclist is struck, why not this time?

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    Brian March 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Gordon Neitling, please shut up. You stated you weren’t there. You WERE NOT A DIRECT WITNESS. So that’s really all that needs to be said. You didn’t see anything so please shut up. You can have an opinion, as just about all of these other commenters do, but you have nothing factual or even substantive to add. Your claims of “there is so much more to the story” are likely true, but the same claim can be made of ANYTHING. When I “go to the grocery store” there is always so much more to the story than me simply “going to the grocery store.”

    Please just shut up.

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      Kat March 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

      It’s fair for someone to say there is more to the story. Obviously due to legal issues all facts may not necessarily be allowed to be told. And even the facts that are known paint the picture of a cyclist riding on a dangerous road to begin with. The story we DO know gets shakier in regards to an attempted assault on the part of the driver. Scathing someone’s name across the media without knowing all the facts isn’t right. As cyclist we all love it when a rude driver gets caught, but if you really read and listen to even the things we DO know, this story of an attack by the driver doesn’t make sense. Listening to both sides of the story is the fair thing, but so far we’ve heard only one, and condemning the other party without hearing all details is not right. Gordon is right to say this. [Also, you weren’t there either.]

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    craig March 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Man, I hate these nested comments. Especially on a long thread like this, it’s impossible to identify *new* postings in context with their nested parent.

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    Deedlebug March 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I agree that the car slap thing rarely helps matters, but cylists need some kind of socially acceptable alert. Cars have horns, but my little bike bell isn’t going to get the attention of anyone behind glass. When drivers do something that puts our lives at risk, we should be able to call them out on it.

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    Skid March 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I slap fenders and mirrors all the time. If a car is close enough to me that is is within arms reach , it is too close. To feel threatened by this is ridiculous, you are inside of a steel box, the same steel box that could flatten me if it gets any closer than me being able to touch it.

    What this Police Officer experienced is nothing i haven’t experienced dozens of times while riding bicycles and even motorcycles. Deliberately or not you are often faced with some vehicle trying to push you off the road. Often times a loud slap on the fender is what gets them to look and not continue to come over into you. It is not threatening, it is meant to get the attention you need to keep yourself from being run over.

    There has been a rash of this sort of behavior lately, of people in cars being aggressive towards cyclists. I guess it is backlash against bicycles becoming even more popular than they already are in Portland. What amazes me about it is that the person that you are bullying in your car could be a neighbor, or your neighbor’s son or daughter. It’s truly sickening to think that some people think it is OK to intimidate someone with a car. To me is not different than pointing a gun at someone.

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    chad March 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    As a lifelong cyclist and commuter, and also a vehicle owner I will say that outright slapping someone’s vehicle- regardless of their proximity to you, is a threat to them and their property. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, folks, this cyclist/driver is alllll for licensing cyclists to aid in controlling this narcisstic behaviour.

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      craig March 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      You miss the point that slapping a car is sometimes the only way to alert an innattentive driver and to save your own skin, which it did for me TWICE (not the same as retaliatory car-slapping):

      1) I’m walking, preparing to cross eastbound across NW 9th Ave from the corner on W Burnside where the Firestone store is. Old pickup with curvy hood approaches the stop sign to turn right on Burnside, and I wait for him to fully stop, which he does. I proceed to cross, whereupon he hits the gas, giving me time to only jump and land on his hood. He does not notice me then, as his head is twisted left, watching the approaching westbound traffic on Burnside for his opening. He doesn’t stop. I slam my (wedding ring) hand down on his hood, and THEN he turns to see me with his face breaking into an “OH SH%T!” expression. Now well onto Burnside, he hits the brakes, and buries his head in his steering wheel, repeating, moaning, “Oh god, I’m so sorry!” I was unhurt, and we were cool. The end.

      2) Riding in the bike lane eastbound on NE Weidler approaching NE 7th Ave, SUV in the adjacent lane right-hooks me, and I’m now against the passenger door, and she doesn’t seem me either. I’m panicked and struggling for control of my bike, being forceably hurded to the right by the SUV driver as she continues her turn. I smack the passenger window (wedding ring again) and she turns and sees me. She continues he turn, but slows down a little, shows no expression on her face. I’m regain control of my bike, move the shoulder and she drives on without hesitation.

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        captainkarma March 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

        Probably on her bluetooth.

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    Babygorilla March 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    “When both came into town to a traffic control device, Sergeant Santos rode to the right of Mr. Fornshell’s car. Fornshell turned right, into Santos.

    Just prior to the intersection of Northwest 25th Avenue and Northwest Lovejoy Street, Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly.”

    I’m not sure what traffic control device is referenced in the first quoted paragraph if it isn’t the stop sign at 25th and Lovejoy. If I recall, there aren’t any for a long while on Cornell until you get to the intersection at 25th and Lovejoy. And from my perspective, that’s when I consider myself “in town.” Also, other reports show that on turning right, the car operator “almost hit” the bike operator, whereas the quoted report implies that the car operator hit the bike operator.

    Also, will the bike operator be cited for violating the basic rule? If he could not stop safely for an abruptly stopping vehicle and needed to swerve into oncoming traffic, he was riding too fast for conditions.

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      Kenji Sugahara March 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      What in the world?

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      Brad March 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      I was confused by that as well but they may be referring to the traffic calming devices on that stretch of Cornell. These are two “D” shaped, curb height concrete planters at either end of a painted crossing. By “turning right” into Santos, that could mean that the driver was attempting to squeeze the rider into the planters.

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    Kristen March 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Gordon: You weren’t there, therefore you do NOT have first-hand knowledge. At best, you have second-hand knowledge, probably information told to you some time after the incident when your father-in-law had had time to rewrite the story in his head to make him sound like the victim.

    Don’t feel bad– we all re-write our memories to some extent because we don’t like to be the bad guy.

    I’m glad Sgt Santos was not injured. I’m also glad and sad that the police chose to follow up on the cyclist’s report– glad because they followed up and sad because I feel like the only reason they followed up was because they know the cyclist. What about the rest of us? Police bureaus, would you please follow up when one of the rest of us who aren’t policepeople call in a license plate? Or at least respond when we call you and you say you’ll come out to take a report?

    I mean, I know there are a lot of other crimes happening in the city– but I really wish you would treat us the same way you just treated your colleague.

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    driveabus March 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Slapping the car was antagonistic. It was not any kind of warning. They both knew where each other was. If the bike almost rearended the car then the same rule applies as for motor vehicles…following too closely. You just don’t go around slapping other peoples property and expect no reaction. I wonder if the cop was hoping for a reaction when he slapped the car.

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      wsbob March 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      “Slapping the car was antagonistic. …” driveabus

      driveabus…you don’t know that for a fact. It may be the conclusion you at this point, given the details presently available…choose to come to, but you really don’t know whether or not Santos was attempting to antagonize the driver.

      Read, or as the case may be…re-read the PPB media release in maus’s story above. According to it, driver Fornshell first passes very close to cyclist Santos. Next…driver Fornshell right hooks cyclist Santos. Santos manages to escape unscathed, only to have driver Fornshell stop “…abruptly. …”, causing cyclist Santos to have to make an emergency diversion to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle.

      Santos didn’t run into Fornshell’s vehicle. Sounds as though through an obligatory panic maneuver, he successfully avoided colliding with Fornshell’s vehicle. According to the media release, Santos slapping the vehicle was connected with his having to make this abrupt diversion around Fornshell’s vehicle.

      Was the slapping antagonistically motivated, or was it a desperate effort to get the attention of a motorist that was perhaps oblivious to the presence of a vulnerable road user near the drivers vehicle? Or did Santos merely slap the vehicle as part of his effort to push himself away from Fornshell’s vehicle that may have in fact been for some reason, continuing to close in on Santos on the bike?

      I’m very much looking forward to hearing Mr. Fornshell’s explanation of how this incident proceeded.

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    craig March 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Kristen
    Obeying that law is hard to do when a car cuts suddenly in front of you and immediately hits the brakes.
    In that instance, you would be forced to take evasive action or risk slamming into the back of that car– and we all know that the person who rear-ends someone is automatically at fault.

    That’s not what was reported above.

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      wsbob March 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      You’re right…that isn’t what the PPB media release reports. It doesn’t report that the driver cut in front of the cyclist. It reports that first, the driver turns right into the cyclist. It reports that next, after both have traveled an additional distance down the road…the driver abruptly stops short of the intersection.

      So we have here a somewhat extraordinary situation; That is, of a road user, the cyclist…who incidentally happens to be a cop on his way to work…having first been right hooked by a motor vehicle operator, only to have that very same driver, shortly thereafter, cause the cyclist to successfully make an emergency panic maneuver to the left side of the drivers abruptly stopping vehicle.

      The driver right hooking the cyclist may indeed have caused the cyclist/cop to realize the driver could be someone to whom closer than usual attention was in order, to begin a process of determining whether the driver was in a condition to drive competently and safely.

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    craig March 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Brad
    Are you forgetting the case in Los Angeles where a prominent doctor deliberately “stopped short” causing two descending cyclists to rear end his car at high speed? Both were hurt badly and the doctor now sits in prison.

    I couldn’t say how the CA law differs or how it would have applied in that case. As I recall, the story went that the driver passed the cyclists then immediately hit the brakes. If it was otherwise, and the the bikes were merely following too closely, they would have been at fault.

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    Mark March 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    craig

    Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly. Santos said he had to ride to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid hitting Fornshell’s car

    No matter what, Santos was in the wrong on this specific point.
    No one on a bike has to ride to the left to avoid rear-ending a car that brakes suddenly, unlesshe was violating the law (ORS 811.485), which bikes are also required to follow) that requires him to follow at a sufficient distance to stop safely. This behavior in itself demonstrates that Santos was probably pursuing a confrontation with the car driver.

    Just so you know, 811.485 applies specifically to motor vehicles. I defended myself in court against a citation issued to me for following closely on my bicycle. Thrown out since I wasn’t operating a motor vehicle at the time.

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      craig March 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Hey, good point. Which brings up a question for me: I’ve been to 3 of Ray Thomas’s bike legal clinics, in which he states that Oregon law requires bikes to follow the same statutes as motor vehicles, except where explicitly directed otherwise. I searched and couldn’t find any ORS stating that. Perhaps Mr. Thomas sources this information from judicial rulings, to which yours (Mark) would have been an exception?

      Anybody know?

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    Kat March 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Sounds like a pissed off cop to me. Why in the world would a cyclist have to vear clear into another lane just because someone cut him off (bicycles don’t exactly require that much room to pass – and he has time to hit a car while he’s avoiding oncoming traffic?). Cornell is a tight road to begin with AND busy. You’re telling me that somehow the driver manages to hit ONLY the bicycle AFTER the cyclist has already made it to the sidewalk? I don’t think so. Either you go with the story of some very tricky backing or a cop on a power trip. Anyone ever heard a few stories about the PPD? Just cuz a cop says it, doesn’t make it so. This story doesn’t even begin to add up.

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    Calvin March 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I am in shock at this. I’ve seen first-hand (as a bike commuter) distracted, rude and downright dangerous drivers. In fairness, I’ve seen bikers who take unnecessary risks, or ride in overly aggressive, unsafe and illegal manner. Still, I love that Portland is usually a good place for me to feel safe biking (and driving).

    However, I’m shocked because I know Larry. (Note: I have not spoken to him about this case, and don’t expect to know details ahead of the public.) I understand that it’s hard to believe anything good of the guy when reading this report, and I’m not trying to slam or malign Sgt. Santos. It’s just…

    Larry is a genuinely kind, gentle guy who brings a sense of calm to any situation. He’s always willing to help others, and goes out of his way to treat people with dignity and care. I can’t imagine him being angry or malicious toward anyone. He’s not impulsive or hot-tempered. It seems truly out of character for him to put anybody at risk, especially from behind the wheel.

    When I heard the report on the news, my first reaction was fury with anyone who’d hurt a biker. I seriously never thought that Larry could be related to this story, and figured it was a sad coincidence that he shares a name with the suspect.

    When I searched the story on bikeportland, I couldn’t believe I saw his photo. I don’t know what happened, but I’m hoping there is more to the story or even a horrible mistake about who was involved. This doesn’t match the character of this guy.

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    Dabby March 25, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Slapping a fender can be very helpful, very informative (to the driver), and can be done with little more damage left than a couple fingerprints.
    If done wrong it can be dangerous, painful (as in don’t slap/punch an armored car), and damaging to both you and the vehicle.

    I have successfully used this tool in traffic for a very long time.
    It has pretty much saved my life before. More than once.
    My bike does not have a horn. My yelling rarely makes it through a thick glass window and the stereo sound inside.
    My slight slap of the fender reverberates through the car, and the drivers senses. Is like an ammonia tablet under their nose.

    On another note,
    It is honestly so sad for me to see that the police continuously look out for their own far and above over those they are paid to protect and serve.
    It is not a club, it is a job. A job you signed up for.

    Do it.

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    Dude March 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Anyone who is justifying attempted murder based on provocation from slapping a car is insane.

    Slapping your car does no harm and serves to alert you that you are sharing the road with other people at times when you obviously need such information.

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      Diondatta March 26, 2011 at 5:46 am

      Yeah, following that logic, a cyclist would be within his or her right to use a firearm to protect their life and limb. Is that the kind of society we want?

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        noah March 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm

        I don’t follow.

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    Bjorn March 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    @Diondatta, thinking that someone touching your car is the same as them shooting you in the face with a gun is the kind of logic that causes people like the Larr Bear here to run people over when they are on the sidewalk after their cars get touched.

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    dmc March 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    wow….. some of you kids need to go on a bike ride. 🙂

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    Diondatta March 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    noah
    I don’t follow.

    Okay, A guy in a car thinks it’s okay to run a cyclist over with his car because the cyclist touched his car (i.e. using a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon), thereby, any person is justified to use deadly force to protect themselves against someone else using a car as a deadly weapon against them. Follow now? I am not advocating this, just trying to demonstrate how ridiculous the driver’s argument/logic is.
    I have been assaulted by vehicles twice while on training rides alone on country roads…one of those time, Literally inches from being hit by a couple of (apparently drunk) rednecks in a van screaming and blowing their horns while coming from behind me (but they waited until they were right on me and passed me doing at least 50mph). Regardless, that is vehicular assault and if someone did shoot them for that I would not feel the least bit sorry for them.

    @ DMC, I do ride, every day all winter long.

    @ Bjorn, I’m not sure that you understand what I was trying to say, I definitely did not mention anything about shooting anyone in the face. Scroll up and re-read.

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    Diondatta March 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    chad
    As a lifelong cyclist and commuter, and also a vehicle owner I will say that outright slapping someone’s vehicle- regardless of their proximity to you, is a threat to them and their property. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, folks, this cyclist/driver is alllll for licensing cyclists to aid in controlling this narcisstic behaviour.

    I guess your kids won’t be able to ride a bike until they get their license too. Licensing sure doesn’t control a driver’s narcissistic and aggressive behavior, does it? Face it, cars are dangerous and kill millions of people every year the world over. Cars are the problem, not pedestrians and bicyclists. Operate motor vehicles in the proper way that all dangerous machines should be operated.

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    Diondatta March 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Mark

    craig

    Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly. Santos said he had to ride to the left of Fornshell’s vehicle into the oncoming traffic lanes to avoid hitting Fornshell’s car

    No matter what, Santos was in the wrong on this specific point.
    No one on a bike has to ride to the left to avoid rear-ending a car that brakes suddenly, unlesshe was violating the law (ORS 811.485), which bikes are also required to follow) that requires him to follow at a sufficient distance to stop safely. This behavior in itself demonstrates that Santos was probably pursuing a confrontation with the car driver.

    Just so you know, 811.485 applies specifically to motor vehicles. I defended myself in court against a citation issued to me for following closely on my bicycle. Thrown out since I wasn’t operating a motor vehicle at the time.

    So, it does not apply to bicycles like you said it does. There is a specific section for bicycles. Motor vehicle law does not apply to non-motorized vehicles across the board for obvious reasons. In my opinion, a bicycle is more similar to a pedestrian than a car, truck or SUV.

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      craig March 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Whatever the specifics of that ORS, if you think a bicycle rider can’t be cited for following too closely, good luck to you.

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    Skid March 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    “No one on a bike has to ride to the left to avoid rear-ending a car that brakes suddenly”

    Yeah you also have the choice of going right, hitting the curb and going over the handlebars. Sweet.

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    adamdoug2011 March 27, 2011 at 4:57 am

    that is funny because the same thing has happened to all of us who ride, yet I do not recall ever getting a call back from the ppb or from any lawyers office when I made these reports. hmmm, I wonder what the difference is?

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      wsbob March 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

      If you’re talking about this incident in general: a driver allegedly taking a number of dangerous and threatening actions, using his vehicle on the road against another, as it turns out…a vulnerable road user…to the point of actually running his vehicle into the vulnerable road users bike… .

      Towards a lot of on the road encounters between road users where one abuses or assaults another, the police can’t take action without proof, such as eyewitness accounts that can be checked for truthfulness. Most everyone reading probably realizes that one of the fundamental differences between this on the road encounter, and ones with some similarities that other cyclists experience, is that the alleged victim and the witness…is a cop, experiencing the encounter first-hand.

      So if this goes to court, the cop has still got to prove the charges made against the driver; that the driver didn’t just accidentally come come dangerously close to the cyclist, stop short in front of him, and finally, proceed to right hook him, and bump into the cyclists bike.

      Barring the possibility…that the alleged victim/cop in this encounter is an ethically depraved, idiot liar, out for some unjustified reason, to get the driver…the cop is likely to be a better than average witness. Cops are trained to know the law, to know people’s behavior, and to look for clues in that behavior that can help prove whether a person has done something deliberately, or not.

      Even so, the cyclist/cop still might have a challenge on his hands proving that the driver deliberately threatened and assaulted him with his vehicle. And what explanations is the driver planning to offer, to counter the charges? No word on that yet.

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        Gordon Neitling March 28, 2011 at 6:49 am

        Court date is set for April 19th. So, everyone can just speculate for another few weeks…..

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          wsbob March 28, 2011 at 11:04 am

          Everyone that hasn’t read all of the comments to this thread, has just stumbled on it: Use your browser search function to search this thread for all comments posted by ‘Neitling’, to learn something of the significance of Mr. Neitling’s remark.

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    adamdoug2011 March 27, 2011 at 4:59 am

    all in all, though, this comment thread is pretty good – I would not want to goto the oregonian website and read that learned exchange of ideas 😉

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    Al March 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Regarding the comment about the cyclist having to veer to the left to avoid hitting the back of the car…and the opinion that the cyclist is at fault…the commenter must have never had this happen to them.

    Last week as I was riding (in Seattle) in the right lane (empty left lane same direction next to me) and approaching a red stoplight (within 30′) doing about 15-18 mph and preparing to stop, a driver sped by me on my left, partly in my lane (I was riding centered due to the intersection approach). As she passed me, she quickly slowed to my speed and moved to the right, cutting me off. I had almost no time to react. I was not following too close. Her INTENT was to cut me off and force me to stop. I couldn’t move right due to high curb. I had to brake and veer left to avoid hitting the rear of her car. If I had been in a motor vehicle, I would have experienced the same situation and she would ALSO have been in the wrong (illegal lane change and aggressive driving).

    The chilling thing about my incident is that as I pulled around her and looked at her she was *laughing* at me. Yes, it was very clear she knew exactly what she did, thought it was funny and had no regrets. She may be the nicest person in the world to those she knows, but some people change when put behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, like it or not.

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      craig March 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      You’re right about that, I agree. But this article is about a different situation altogether. My remarks were in the context of what was reported about this event, and it was >b?not reported that Fornshell pulled suddenly in front of Santos before braking suddenly.

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        wsbob March 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

        The description of the incident suggests that what Fornshell did, was to stop for no apparent road or traffic related reason:

        “… Just prior to the intersection of Northwest 25th Avenue and Northwest Lovejoy Street, Mr. Fornshell stopped abruptly. …” PPB media release

        If true, why did Fornshell do this, instead of come to a gradual stop at the intersection, which a road user following another, as Santos was, would have good reason to expect them to do?

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    gene b March 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    sounds like, despite conflicting perceptions, there was a collision between a car and a bike, the auto driver knew it, and he drove away without any exchange of info as required of all drivers. Hit and run can get you arrested…

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    Jim Labbe April 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I don’t know how I missed this story. I bike and drive this route regularly and all too often encounter individuals driving extremely hazardously, although never this bad. It is pleasing to see that just one can be brought to justice.

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    Gordon Neitling April 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Good Morning one and all….. it has been a joy to sit and watch you all rake me, Larry, and even Sgt. Santos over the coals over the past couple of weeks. 🙂

    I just wanted to come back briefly to let you all know that the scheduled court date of April 19th will NO longer be happening. Why? Oh, because the true story of the events that happened that day have come to light, on both sides. Both parties involved met together, discussed what happened and why it happened. Both parties realize that they each were at fault in some way for the way things happened.

    Yes, Larry Fornshell, unintentionally came way too close to Sgt. Santos that morning while passing by him, which both scared and angered Sgt. Santos…. and rightfully so. I have no idea why Larry did not see Sgt. Santos on his bike, or why he got so close to him, as I was NOT there, and Larry is not able to say why it occurred. What I can tell you is this, Larry had NO idea that it had even happened, had no idea how close he had come to causing potentially great harm to a cyclist at that moment. And for the record, that bothers me… a lot!!! As both an avid cyclist, and as Larry’s son-in-law, and as a firefighter who deals with the end result of these types of encounters….. this brings about a real mix of emotions and feelings for me. There is the side of me that knows Larry very well, and knows that he would NEVER do anything to intentionally try and harm or scare a cyclist. And there is the other side of me that wants to know just how it is that Larry and so many others are capable of allowing these things to happen without even knowing it!!! To me, that is irresponsible driving, and just the sort of thing that causes accidents, injuries and even death! I am faced with such drivers regularly up here where I live as well, and it is very bothersome.

    Anyway, moving on…. so, Larry had no idea that he had done anything wrong, didn’t know he had caused any problems with the cyclist he had gone by. So now Larry comes to a stop at the intersection, and Sgt. Santos, who is both scared and now angry, catches up with Larry, smack on his car to get his attention, lays his bike down in front of Larry’s car, and agressively approaches Larry in his car. I am not sure exactly what physical gestures were made, or what words were said by Sgt. Santos, but I can tell you that his approach completely startled and scared the crud out of Larry at that moment. Larry was caught completely off guard in that moment, and panicked. Larry did NOT want to be involved in any confrontation, and had no idea what this bicyclist wanted from him. In panic mode, he made a rash decision to get out of there and get away from this cyclist, without first finding out what the deal was. Larry backed up, knowing that the cyclist had laid his bike down in the street in front of his car. He then turned and drove forward, trying to drive around the bike to leave the area, but actually hit the wheel of the Sgt. Santos’ bike as he left the scene. Larry was so scared in that moment, he didn’t even know he had hit the bike.

    Larry drove the rest of the way to work, where he then told co-workers the story of what had happened to him. He was shook up by the ordeal, and took the advice of co-workers, calling in and making a police report of what had happened, from his perspective. He had no idea there was anything more to the story.

    Now, as a cyclist, I can completely understand how reactive feelings take over when motorists nearly cause us grave harm. And I am NOT saying that Sgt. Santos did anything differently than I may have done if involved in a similar or same situation. What I am saying here is this…. as cyclists, we have to be careful in how we try and deal with motorists in all situations. Many of them are ignorant, many of them just don’t care, and a whole mess of them may react to us in such a way that could bring us further harm.

    So, for the record, Larry and Sgt. Santos met. They talked, and they heard one anothers side of the story. They both recognize that they both contributed to the outcome of this story. They both made aplogies to one another. They have worked out their differences, and are moving on.

    There it is, that’s the story.

    Happy trails, and many miles logged!!!

    Gordon

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      Michaelk42 April 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

      So basically… if Sgt. Santos hadn’t been a cop, either the entire incident would have been ignored by the police in the first place (as is historically the case) or Santos would likely have been the one charged (based on the experience of other cyclists in this thread that have slapped cars to get attention, etc.)

      In other words, business as usual when dealing with the police practically anywhere. The only miracle here is Fornshell didn’t get completely wrung through the legal system; he agreed not to take action over the arrest/Santos trying to stop him without ID’ing himself as a cop I imagine?

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        Gordon Neitling April 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm

        That may very well be the case, I don’t know for sure. I do know that Larry is glad to be moving on, and putting this behind him. It is costing him dearly, with thousands of dollars in lawyer fees, and thousands of dollars in replacing Sgt. Santos’ bicycle. On top of that, the humiliation of being arrested at gun point in his home, having his mugshot plastered everywhere, media attention that never included his side of the story…… He just wants to get past this and move on. This has been a real eye-opening experience for him, and for his family.

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      wsbob April 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

      “…What I can tell you is this, Larry had NO idea that it had even happened, had no idea how close he had come to causing potentially great harm to a cyclist at that moment. And for the record, that bothers me… a lot!!! …” Gordon Neitling

      That would tend to bother most people…a lot. And your relative, Larry…has no explanation whatsoever, as to why it was that he was so unaware of another road user, a cyclist…on the road with him? Why not? Something seems very wrong here. The info you have provided in your comment, opens questions related to whether Larry is competent to operate a motor vehicle in traffic.

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        Gordon Neitling April 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

        Ummmm, Yes…. doesn’t this go for about great than half the people on the road operating motor vehicles?!?!?!?! I can say that in my career, at least half the people on the road in motor vehicles shouldn’t be there!!! Your point is???? 🙂

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          are April 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

          dunno what his point is, but my point is get these people off the road

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          are April 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

          also, could we please shelve the phrase “avid cyclist”?

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            Gordon Neitling April 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm

            Yes…consider it shelved! I am simply a cyclist, with a passion for cycling. I love riding, and ride for fitness and fun, and also for commuting to work on occasion.

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          wsbob April 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm

          “Ummmm, Yes…. doesn’t this go for about great than half the people on the road operating motor vehicles?!?!?!?! …” Gordon Neitling

          The way you’ve written your response, it sounds like you’re not willing to give possible factors relating to the incident the serious consideration they deserve, but the answer to your question is…’No’. Half, or greater than half (as it seems your were intending to write.) the people on the road, operating motor vehicles, unlike your relative Larry, are not oblivious to bike riding road users. For a variety of reasons, some road users definitely are, for considerably longer than a blink of an eye or the turn of their heads…oblivious to people and vehicles on the road, to the point that it can be a big problem.

          It sounds as though Larry may be amongst that category. Why he wasn’t requested to get some kind of testing to confirm that he either is or isn’t fully competent to drive, is something to wonder about.

          Efforts need to be made to get to the bottom of why this is happening for these people. It could be a ‘one-off’ rarely occurring kind of thing, or it could be some kind of more serious…the first signs of a gradual onset of a medical problem.

          In addition to your speaking anecdotally on your relatives behalf, more of a factual account of the resolution of this encounter between Larry the driver, and the cop on a bike on his way to work, a cop that almost didn’t make it there, thanks to Larry…might not be a bad idea for everyone reading here.

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            DG April 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

            I’ve been waiting to hear the other side of the story here. Larry was raked over the coals without being allowed to say what happened. The fact that he called and filed a police report about the incident not knowing that Santos was a cop probably saved his bacon.

            Some posters say that because Larry was in a car, he shouldn’t have been afraid. Are you kidding? Have you ever been approached by an aggressive person while in your car? I have . . . dark night in college. The guy tried to get into my passenger seat. Thank goodness my doors were locked. I sped away, running a red light. I never looked back to see if I’d hit him . . . I was afraid. How did Larry know the guy didn’t have a gun. A young strong guy approaches his car . . . he did what most people would have done . . . he got out of there.

            I wish this HAD gone to court so that the truth would be a matter of public record. Sounds like this aggressive cop lied about what happened and he will get off looking very magnanimous for sitting down to coffee and resolving the issue when actually, he was the aggressor. Larry deserves better than that. He was falsely accused and falsely arrested. How to do you just “take it back” so to speak?

            Something’s fishy here. He filed charges . . . shouldn’t it be in the DA’s hands? Watch and see if Santos is on desk duty for a while . . . then we’ll know who was actually telling the truth. The Portland Police are trying to avoid bad press here.

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        Bjorn April 6, 2011 at 6:35 pm

        Didn’t know there was a cyclist on the road as he passed by nearly hitting him, then ran over a bicycle without even noticing, sounds like someone needs to be tested to see if he should even have a license. I didn’t know I hit something is not a reasonable defense for hit and run, but it sure is a common one.

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    kgb April 7, 2011 at 8:59 am

    How do you miss passing a cyclists coming down Cornell road. Larry is a liar or has no business operating a motor vehicle.

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      DG April 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      Cornell is my commute, too. If you asked me did I pass any cyclists this morning? How many? I wouldn’t remember. I wouldn’t remember how many cars I saw either.

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    Bjorn April 7, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Does anyone have any corroboration for family member of the driver Gordon Neitling’s story? Jonathan a followup perhaps? I’m thinking that we still may not have heard the whole story on this…

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    James Crawford April 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Nice to see this incident finally resolved peacefully. The result is not surprising to those of us who noticed the logical inconsistancies in Santos’ account. I’d ask the bikers on this forum to consider how their own experiences and prejudices affected their perception. Years ago I would ride from the bottom of Thompson, up to Skyline, then down Thompson then up Cornelle to Skyline, then on Skyline over to Thompson then back down. It was not unusual for me to pass cars going down Thompson. If a car driver had gotten angry and followed me to confront me the way Santos followed Fornshell, they would have found themselves staring down the barrel of a .45. Fornshell would have been well within his rights to intentionally run over Santos’ bike to immobilize him so he couldn’t continue following him. It is amazing that the PDX police allow this hot head to carry a gun and a badge. It is even more amazing that his colloquies decided to aid and abet a road rage by doing an armed raid on Fornshell’s home. This is why most citizens of PDX distrust the trigger happy morons.

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      wsbob April 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      “… The result is not surprising to those of us who noticed the logical inconsistancies in Santos’ account. …”

      Logical inconsistencies? You claim there are logical inconsistencies, but then you don’t cite them, or provide anything to show they even exist in Santos account of the incident.

      I read this comment of yours after I read your comment to the more recent bikeportland story about this incident. So it is I’ve just now read your suggestion about using guns against other road users before you even have a clear idea of what their reasons or need to approach you might be.

      Then you go on to write the following:

      “…Fornshell would have been well within his rights to intentionally run over Santos’ bike to immobilize him so he couldn’t continue following him. …”

      It’s a good thing Fornshell didn’t have you sitting in the back seat, trying to convince him to follow your advice. If he had, he might now have been looking at some prison time. That’s if you, by your bizarre sense of justice, hadn’t shot Santos first.

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    Tony Columbo April 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Someone say good call. Tony was right again. Bad cop.

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