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Been harassed on Rock Creek Road? Lawyer says to take action

Posted by on August 22nd, 2011 at 10:35 pm

“The hope is that if enough people can show that this issue has also affected them, then the Portland Police and Multnomah County District Attorney’s office will… take appropriate, safe legal action.”
— Mark Ginsberg, lawyer

The alleged vehicular harassment of people riding bicycles by a resident of NW Rock Creek Road near Skyline Blvd continues to be an unsolved problem.

Mark Ginsberg, a local lawyer, bicycle advocate and member of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, is working to soothe tempers and make sure that action is taken against the alleged suspect if warranted.

Today, Ginsberg sent out a message to several bike-related emails lists urging anyone who has been victim to harassment on Rock Creek Road to call the police. I’ve pasted Ginsberg’s email below:

Friends in the cycling community,

There has been much discussion lately concerning events on Rock Creek Road in NW Portland.

Many people have indicated that they have been involved in events there involving car driver versus bicycle rider interactions where a specific car driver was aggressive.

If you fit this description, we request that you take action.

The legal, respectful way to do so is to report your event to the Portland Police Bureau, non-emergency telephone unit at (503) 823-3333. It may be helpful to write down the relevant information before you call.

You may also wish to refer to Brianna Walle’s case from August 11th, 2011, which is Portland Police Case # 1169038.

The hope is that if enough people can show that this issue has also affected them, then the Portland Police and Multnomah County District Attorney’s office will see fit to take appropriate, safe legal action.

Please let us know as well, by emailing me at mark@berkshireginsberglaw.com with your event date, date that you called Portland Police and a brief description of the event, so that we can follow up with the PPB.

Thank you,

Mark J. Ginsberg
Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC
Attorneys At Law
1216 SE Belmont St.

Calling the Portland Police non-emergency line is common advice whenever you experience an aggressive road user. You might not think it’s a big deal if the aggressor didn’t inflict actual physical harm; but if the person ever does get prosecuted, these calls will show up on the record and could prove vital to bringing justice.

— [Note: I had hoped to do more follow-up on this issue and call Scott Wheeler for a chat, the man who many people have identified as the man who has repeatedly driven his pickup in an aggressive and menacing manner, but I am camping all week with family and there’s no cell coverage or web access at the campsite (I’m typing this at 10:24 pm from outside a pub in Joseph, OR). I plan to speak with Wheeler on Friday or Monday.]

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Bjorn
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Bjorn

not sure that warning a nutjob who is trying to kill people that there is a move afoot to get him off the road is the best tact here…

Paul Cone
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Paul Cone

The law says every intersection is a crosswalk, marked or no.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I commend Ginsberg’s efforts here with his appeal to people who’ve had an incident with someone in a vehicle on Rock Creek Rd. Getting official, documented info against whoever this person or persons are, is the smart way to go.

“…I had hoped to do more follow-up on this issue and call Scott Wheeler for a chat, the man who many people have identified as the man who has repeatedly driven his pickup in an aggressive and menacing manner …” maus/bikeportland

Maus…if he’s caught wind of a possible police investigation building, and lawsuits, good luck getting him to talk to you about the claims made against him. Who knows though…maybe a bigger, broader platform to present his views is what he’s seeking.

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

Maybe more people need to ride up there, constantly – both to prove a point, and to bring the rat out of the wall. Knowing full well the risk you are taking on, of course. I am happy to participate unless people think this is simply a bad idea. But why wait for another unsuspecting cyclist to be threatened or attacked, one who probably won’t call the police if they are unaware of the ongoing issue?

Maybe the police themselves need to get up there on bikes, although I’ve read drivers tend to become suddenly polite and allow more space when a sidearm is visible on a cyclist. Funny how that works. Kind of like “ride softly but carry a big stick,” I guess…

Doug Smart
Guest
Doug Smart

Bjorn
not sure that warning a nutjob who is trying to kill people that there is a move afoot to get him off the road is the best tact here…

It seems to me the goal here is to make the road safer. If a particular individual gets a quiet wake-up call and changes his behavior, that would achieve that goal and do so fairly quickly.
If that doesn’t change things and a number of complaints come in and said individual gets a more formal warning or finds himself the target of an investigation, that might achieve the goal.
If it goes to the point that said individual is prosecuted and sanctioned on some level, that will probably achieve the goal.
Each of these escalations gets more complicated and takes longer to get to the simple goal of a safer road. If your goal is to prosecute and punish, don’t tip your hand. If your goal is a safer road as soon as possible, spread the word.
Also, I love the potential of a number of informed individuals acting in a simple and appropriate manner. It’s not a coordinated effort. It’s not a conspiracy against an individual. It’s not “a move afoot”. It’s not drawing a new line. It’s just society taking note of a line that already exists.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

As a side note, I was watching the channel 12 news this morning, and they were talking to a neighbor about the brush fire up off of rock creek road.

The guy being interviewed was holding his young son and was wearing a blue “cycle oregon” shirt. So hopefully whoever is causing trouble up there is acting alone and doesn’t represent part of a larger “anti-bike” sentiment amongst the residents.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Oops, my bad. I didn’t realize the fire was on a DIFFERENT rock creek road – just looked it up on a map. Sorry!

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Ah for the good old days when a town would just horse whip them and run them out of town.

Mike
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Mike

Then where would all the cyclists go?

Remember that the cyclists are the minority, thus more likely to be the whipped.

Quentin
Guest
Quentin

This probably sounds crazy and it’s extremely unlikely to happen, but I always hope that angry aggressive bike-hating drivers would accept an invitation to ride a bike where they usually drive, just to see what it’s like. Probably too much to expect, but maybe Jonathan can try to arrange it.

cw
Guest
cw

The last time I called the police’s non-emergency number to report a driver that tried to run me over, I was laughed at. I think the actual words the police used were “so you want to report being nearly run over? You didn’t get hit, so why are you calling us?” I had a license plate # and about 10 witnesses who saw the driver run me into the curb, and the ONLY reason I wasn’t hit was because I got the hell out the way. The police didn’t seem that interested.

S brockway
Guest
S brockway

CW,
I too have been given the exact same treatment on the non-emergency line. I was told “no damage had been inflicted”, after being run thru a ditch and a nice endo into the bushes.Although my bibs were trashed (for two reasons). I am pretty sure it was intentional as the kid/idiot hanging out the pass.
side window with the boat air horn had perfect timing.

esther c
Guest
esther c

CW, I think if you said “I want to charge him with menacing” you might get somewhere. Tell them you have witnesses.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

I split my riding/commuting 50-50 between a motorcycle and a bicycle. Not sure if this is the same guy, but in the motorcycle circles, we’ve all talked about the ‘crazy guy’ after Cornelius. Dude has some misplaced issues for sure.

Joseph E
Guest

What does the “crazy dude” according to motorcyclists? My understanding is that he tries to force bikes off of the roadway onto the gravel, because they are slower than him. But most motorcyclists should be just as fast as a car. Does he do the same thing?

tct
Guest
tct

I’ll be out riding with my rear facing camera on today.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I don’t follow this either – I was actually hit by a driver who then complained to the cop who showed up about me taking the lane, amounting to “I saw him, he was in the way, I hit him” – and the cop refused to make any kind of record of the event in case the next time he actually really hurt somebody.

are
Guest

sounds like some people would have grounds for a citizen’s citation. following too close, passing too close, vehicular assault, possible other violations.

Anton
Guest
Anton

My friend just alerted me to a different kind of bicycle harassment up in Washington. Someone has been boobytrapping MTB trails with fishing lines and hooks: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/08/galbraith_mountain_bike_trails.php

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Holy crap, that is about my worst fear. At 10-15mph speeds ANYTHING strung across at neck level (that’s string enough — ahem — not to be cut by flesh) could be fatal. As far as I am concerned this is attempted murder.

And I do know about clotheslining personally. When you have the forward momentum of a bike and rider versus a thin clothesline stretched across the body, that’s a pretty ugly battle.

I once hit a steel cable strung across a dirt road. There were no signs or flags hanging from it, and filtered sunlight made it almost impossible to see. Thank goodness (a) I was going uphill at 6mph, and (b) it was juuuust low enough to catch me by the arms and chest, not the neck. Even so, my arms were cut badly, and 8 years later I still have scars on both my biceps.