(Photo © J. Maus)
Residents around Skyline Blvd have scheduled a community forum next month to discuss road safety issues.
Hostilities between road users on narrow, winding rural roads like Skyline (and its many offshoots) got a lot of attention back in August when a local email list lit up with allegations of road rage and intimidating behavior by a man who lives on Rock Creek Road (near Skyline).
In April, a man named Scott Wheeler had a letter published in the Skyline Ridge Neighbors newsletter titled, “Bicyclists Should Obey Traffic Laws.” In his letter, Wheeler said more law-abiding behavior would, “greatly reduce the chances of road rage, potential injury, and would make our roadways safer.”
Wheeler was also identified by several people on the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) email list as the man who was intentionally harassing people riding bicycles outside his home on Rock Creek Road. In addition to the letter and these allegations, Mr. Wheeler has also repeatedly accused noted Portland bike lawyer Ray Thomas of purposely misleading the public about Oregon’s passing laws.
Wheeler has filed formal complaints against Thomas with the Oregon State Bar. While the Bar has declined to move forward with any punishment of Thomas, Wheeler continues the complaints. The most recent one was filed on August 24th (it was also formally denied as of yesterday).
I called Wheeler today to ask him about the most recent complaint, and about the serious allegations against him. Wheeler vociferously denied the allegations and hung up on me a few seconds later.
Unfortunately, Oregon law regarding passing in rural road situations isn’t as clear as it could be, making an already tense situation (two vehicles sharing a rural road) even worse. Fuzzy legal language breeds debates where both sides insist they are right. But no matter what the law says, there’s never an excuse for inconsiderate and dangerous behavior between road users.
In light of all this, the Skyline neighborhood is taking a proactive approach. They hope talking about the issues will help calm hostilities and spread awareness of the law and the need for mutual respect and safe behavior.
Skyline resident and author of several local guidebooks, Laura Foster, has organized a community forum for November 9th. The forum will be mediated by Stan Stinick (bio) from Portland State University’s Department of Conflict Resolution.
Representatives from OBRA and bike law expert and lawyer Mark Ginsberg, will be in attendance.
If you care about this issue and want to share your perspective, consider attending the meeting.
- Skyline Blvd Traffic Safety Community Forum
November 9th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Skyline Grange (11275 NW Skyline Blvd)