Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Slapping of car leads to road rage incident in North Portland

Posted by on April 5th, 2013 at 11:27 am

Bike lane in action

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Vancouver resident Don Joling claims he got an unwanted surprise after he slapped the body of a car on North Interstate Avenue this morning. The person in the car became enraged and, according to Joling, it almost led to a shooting.

Here’s what Joling just posted to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association email list:

I almost got shot on the way home. Literally. I was rolling down Interstate between New Seasons and Fred Meyer and some car came over almost putting me in the sidewalk, so I slapped the rear quarter panel just hard enough to get his attention.

So at the next stop light, at Fred Meyer, I’m que’d [sic] up with a couple other cyclists, and he comes up on my right, and goes ballistic. Tells me that he’s got a gun and is going to shoot me in the leg. I stay super calm, not reacting at all. I tell him I was just letting him know he almost hit me. I can see in his car and the glove box is open with his hand in it. He settles down a little telling me he rides too, but I’m lucky I didn’t dent his car (he had gotten out to look apparently). A couple more standard issue cuss words (ya I’d say them, but trying to keep this family friendly) from him and we went our separate ways.”

Joling said the car is a mid-2000’s VW wagon with Washington plates.

The timing of this incident is very interesting. Just yesterday, a similar road rage story from Seattle caught our attention. In that story, a woman in a car “pulled a stun gun out of her bra” and attacked a man walking across a crosswalk. The man yelled at the woman and kicked her wheel because he felt she came too close to him. (Note that police and media reports claim the man was a “bike messenger” but in a comment on Seattle Bike Blog the messenger himself says he was actually walking in the crosswalk at the time.) The Oregonian then picked up the story and wrote a blog post titled, Pregnant woman vs. bike messenger in Seattle: One more reason why cyclists slapping, kicking cars isn’t smart.

The issue sparks debate because people have different ideas about who’s at fault. There are those who feel it’s never excusable for someone to slap another person’s vehicle and that if road rage results than the person had it coming. Then there are others who feel that sometimes, when you’re vulnerable on the road (not in a car), slapping the car is the only way to warn the driver of your presence. Of course, there are times when the slapping goes overboard and is accompanied by obscenities and other mean things (like spitting).

From my experience, everyone tends to overreact a bit out on the road when they feel threatened. It’s not a pretty sight; but the more you’re aware of how your emotions can get the better of you, the better off you’ll be in these situations.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Esther April 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I’m thoroughly against victim blaming – but one thing to think about, Ray Thomas has come out pretty strictly against slapping cars (as seen in Joe’s article) just for the reason that it’s unsafe to distract yourself while controlling your vehicle (your bike), and I also wonder if slapping or kicking cars could be considered harassment or menacing (see pp. 130 in his Bicycle handbook: http://www.stc-law.com/pdf/pedal-power.pdf ).

    Regardless, threatening to shoot someone (which is definitely menacing and harassment!) and/or tasering them with a stun gun is not OK either and are definitely worse/scarier crimes.

    As a frequent Sandy rider, I have my fair share of drivers who pass too closely, or even commit harassment and menacing. I’m still working on it, but my m.o. is becoming to get all up close to their car (no touching) and smile in a VERY, VERY friendly and sort of creepy way and shout “HI!!! HAVE A NICE DAY!!!”

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    • spare_wheel April 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      “and some car came over almost putting me in the sidewalk”

      if Joling’s statement is true then slapping a car is absolutely not menacing or harassment.

      (5) A person may use physical force upon another person in self-defense…

      i would also strongly urge Don Joling to file a police report. (the aggressor’s car was almost certainly captured on cctv and/or traffic cams.)

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    • daisy April 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      I don’t like it when cyclists slap cars when I’m near them… because I’m worried the driver will get angry and take it out on me!

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      • longgone April 6, 2013 at 10:35 am

        What does it say about a social scenario, when kind unaffiliated bystanders need to worry about association ? Hummm. I say it sounds like it happens all too often.

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        • Shoalolo April 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

          I’d say it sounds like evidence that transit-based bigotry is a real thing and an authentic concern.

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          • Caleb April 7, 2013 at 12:52 am

            I agree that it’s an existent thing and thus an authentic concern.

            But if you’re implying (like many on this site often do, sometimes explicitly) that any cyclist should behave in certain ways so that other cyclists won’t be wrongfully and negatively associated with them, I disagree and urge otherwise.

            Such expectations put onus on the individuals who aren’t at all responsible for the transit-based bigotry. Any cyclist who panders to that onus forgoes acting on his/her/its individual preferences, intentions, freedoms, etc. Because a lack of perceiving individuality is the root problem in transit-based bigotry, all cyclists pandering to that onus could result in the transit-based bigotry never being recognized by those who contain it.

            Therefore expecting cyclists to behave certain ways might only prolong the problem. If we put that potential in the context of all humanity and its history, rather than just cyclists today, perhaps we can get a glimpse of how much more damaging it can be to worry about peoples’ misconceptions for the sake of our well-being rather than challenge their misconceptions by simply “being ourselves” for the sake of all humanity.

            If you were implying, however, that we should all act as we see fit and point out when others wrongfully associate something with anything else, then I agree.

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          • longgone April 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

            Just to clarify, I am in accord with you, but I respect fully the fear one might have over being caught up in this kind of mess.

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            • Caleb April 8, 2013 at 12:38 am

              And I’ll clarify by saying I agree with you, longgone. I only disagree with translating that fear into expectations for those who aren’t at all responsible for the threat.

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    • TJ April 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      “against victim blaming – but…”

      sounds a lot like when people say something like “i’m not racist but…” almost always then follow by saying something racist.

      something to think about.

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    • was carless April 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Or.. you could just ignore it if the car already passed you.

      However, when cars get too close behind me, I often turn around and exclaim loudly, neutrally, “what are you doing?!”

      Never had any backlash from it, and I say it with a half-grin. 😉

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  • Eric in Seattle April 5, 2013 at 11:39 am

    If the driver is really that worried about denting his car, he should give bike riders a bit more room. Hitting a cyclist can leave a nasty scratch.

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    • annefi April 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Well said, Eric in Seattle!

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  • KJ April 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Considering the timing, I can’t help but wonder if the driver was “inspired” by the recent sensationalized victim blaming (instead of crazy tazer wielding blaming), media around the Seattle case. =/ -Jaded.
    Glad you are ok Don, I ride that stretch all the time, recently switched to concord, but it’s the most tense stretch and people drive for shit between Kworth and Lombard. ugh.

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  • Dave April 5, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Slapping, kicking or hitting other people or other people’s property is never the ideal solution, but it by no means is ‘asking for’ serious injury or death in return, especially when it was initially instigated by being threatened (intentionally or not).

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  • RH April 5, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I say slap someone with words (or a loud bike horn) versus slapping their car. Folks are waaaay too protective over their cars. Imagine if a car cut you off while you were driving your car…would you go up and slighly bump their car?

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    • Esther April 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Yah, that’s the other thing. I have a bell and use it loud and often…as well as lungs. If someone’s car is close enough to touch, I kinda wonder if it isn’t already at the point where you’re just slapping to prove a point versus actually protecting yourself from being hit? and slapping won’t protect you from getting hit. If your point is awareness, shouting works as well as slapping (neither works with deaf or hearing impaired drivers.)

      again, not victim blaming.

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      • spare_wheel April 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        “shouting works as well as slapping”

        this is simply not the case.

        *some (expensive) vehicles have very good sound proofing.
        *motorists may be blasting music or talking on their phones.
        *ambient noise can mask shouts.

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    • davemess April 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      That’s a pretty bad analogy. If a car is within slapping distance they’re too close already (remember the three feet laws). An auto drive is in NO danger when a cyclist slaps their vehicle. Also, you’re 99% of the time going to do NO damage to the car. Most drivers that honestly accidentally did something wrong around a bike, will be apologetic and not get upset if you tap their car. The ones who react like this guy, probably we not accidentally running you into the curb (or they’re just crazy anal car nuts).

      Think about it, would you be remotely upset if someone slapped your bike if you did something wrong. Can’t say I would mind a bit (if they could actually do it).

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      • John Lascurettes April 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Except we don’t have a three foot rule in Oregon. We have one vague law that only comes into play when the driver is operating his car at 35MPH+ and that is something like this: Leave enough room for the cyclist such that if they fall over, there is enough room for them to fall over and you don’t hit them.

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        • davemess April 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

          That’s why I said “laws” as in other states that have 3 ft. laws (I kind of viewed this as a universal, not OR-centric debate thread). You make a good point though.

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        • are April 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm

          it is true, the bike specific statute, 811.065, does not apply at low speeds or if you are foolish enough to be seeking refuge in a bike lane. however, the more general safe passing statute, 811.410, requires an overtaking motorist to leave a “safe distance.” interesting question whether 065 trumps 410, in which case it was a poor idea to enact 065.

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    • BURR April 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Here’s a story about a Russian bus driver called ‘The Punisher’ who does exactly that (apparently, cutting someone off and then braking in front of them is a common traffic scam in Russia, leading to a proliferation of dash cams in private vehicles).

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  • Andrew K April 5, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I have only kicked a car once I my life and it was a situation where I would have been hit if I didn’t. The driver was floating to the right while looking to their left and was about to sandwhich me into the curb. When we both got to the ne t intersection I knocked on her window and said, “sorry for hitting your car, I just didn’t want my leg broken!”

    The driver actually ended up apologizing to me.

    In general though, it’s not a practice I recommend unless you need to get a driver’s attention or risk physical harm. Much in the same way I don’t recommend drivers honk unless you need to get someone’s attention to avoid an accident. Too often it just serves to enrage people, regardless of who was in the wrong first.

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  • Marid April 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Guns make us safer. Or so they say.

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  • Schrauf April 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I call BS on there being an actual gun. If someone is going to threaten like that, and they have a gun, they will also most likely flash the gun. Not necessarily point it, of course, since that takes things to a whole new legal/criminal level.

    Moderately smacking a vehicle that has just been controlled by the driver in a life threatening manner is indeed risky, but sometimes difficult to avoid. It takes a decent level of self-control to be attacked, and respond with absolutely no anger. Very possible, but sometimes difficult.

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    • wsbob April 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Call BS about there being a gun, all you want…Jolist’s story is that the guy driving said to him that he did have a gun. In the situation described, that, rather than defensive, was a retaliatory threat. Jolist wasn’t threatening the driver in any way that would give the driver cause to fear for his life or injury to himself. The driver apparently was just annoyed and maybe wanted revenge for a slight, whether real or imagined.

      Some people that ride bikes, also carry guns. People had better start learning to exercise a little self control, or by gunshot, fools on the road will be returning to life and death of the old west.

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    • Don J April 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      I never saw a gun. What I did see was an open glovebox, with his right hand in it, and 3-4 times told me he was going to shoot me in the leg. So ya, who knows wether or not there was a gun, but I’m not going to assume there wasn’t, that’s why I didn’t yell at him (at any point), nor give him the finger.
      I was in the bike lane, and he was coming right, giving me little to no room between his car and the cars parked to the right of the bike lane. Slapping the rear quarter panel seemed better than being crushed.
      I race, so I’m used to cramped quarters, and taking a hand off the bars is a non issue to me.
      Hope this clarifies a couple questions.

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      • Paulie April 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        Nevertheless, the perp committed a crime:

        § 163.190¹
        (1) A person commits the crime of menacing if by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.
        (2) Menacing is a Class A misdemeanor. [1971 c.743 §95]


        You should file a report.

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        • Don J April 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

          I did.

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          • Paulie April 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

            Awesome! Thanks!

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          • spare_wheel April 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm

            Thanks from me also.

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          • sbrock April 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

            That’s great! I’m glad your OK..

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          • wsbob April 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm

            Without a plate number…kind of tough to nail this guy. Although, maybe Interstate is (or has been) his regular route, allowing you a chance to spot him again.

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            • Don J April 5, 2013 at 9:54 pm

              Maybe. Me being there when I was, was an odd coincidence. I’m very aware of times/ traffic patterns (given I’ve been riding/ racing on and off for 23+ years in PDX), and normally wouldn’t be on that road at that time. While I don’t remember the plate #, everything else is pretty ingrained in my head.
              Thank’s for the support of everyone here. Be safe out there.

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      • Schrauf April 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm

        Entirely agree – best to assume there is a gun. My point is that he nevertheless was probably full of it and acting a little too much like a 15-year old kid robbing a bank with no weapon.

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      • Donna April 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        Wow. If the guy really had a gun, it sounds like you had the bad luck to encounter a real life criminal on your commute. I’m glad he calmed down. People like that will break any law there is if they feel like it.

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    • Spiffy April 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      I understand the BS call…

      I’d like to think that if somebody pulled up to me and threatened to shoot I’d take a step back and dial 911 all the while reciting the license number so I don’t forget it…

      on the other hand I could totally understand somebody being scared or in-shock and totally forgetting to get details like that…

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      • Don J April 8, 2013 at 7:24 am

        There was no place to “step back” to. Cars to my left, and him on my right. I couldn’t see the plate since I was right at his window. Reaching into my jersey pocket to grab my phone (either to call 911, or snap a photo) seemed like it would escalate the situation.
        I also wasn’t “frightened, nervous or scared”. I worked for years in ER and as such, have worked with lots of psych patients. You learn early on, how to “react” in those situations.

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  • Nik April 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I only strike vehicles that attempt to run me down in while walking in crosswalks. Nobody has yet had the nerve to get angry about it.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I wouldn’t like someone slapping my car. Remember the driver has no way to know what you hit his car with, whether you dented or scratched it, and that the sound is magnified inside the car – to the driver, it sounds like a bigger impact than it sounds like to you. Use a loud (compressed air) horn or (Crane) bell, instead.

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    • davemess April 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      That’s why it’s such an effective deterrent or way to get their attention, because it sounds loud (and rarely does damage). How many times have you yelled at a car to have the person not even hear you.
      So I need to carry about an air horn on my bike? That’s not a solution.

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    • Jonathan April 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Use a bell against a car. Great advice. You almost hit me! *Ding*

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    • Scott April 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      I got in a fight with a guy downtown once who got out of his car and threw a flashlight at me and charged. Why did he throw the flashlight and rush me? Because I was dinging my bell and it infuriated him.

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      • jd April 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm

        Yep. All the “use your words” comments amuse me. This summer, a seemingly-drunk driver cut me off to take a free right into the bike lane on Naito and nab a parking spot. Not at my wittiest or most articulate, I blurted out, “You need to drive better, buddy!” He told me to shut the [heck] up, [female dog].

        Ragers gonna rage, car slap or no. Just glad Drunky used only curse words on me instead of a pretend gun, a stun gun, or a real gun. I’m glad the fellow in this story filed a police report — the driver in question should not be allowed to own a gun. Ever.

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    • Donna April 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      If you hit a cyclist, it would make a bigger dent than any hand slapping could possibly make.

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    • Pete April 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Good – I’d like for a driver to think they hit something (or someone), if it jars them into paying attention while at the wheel of a 3000+ pound vehicle capable of doing over 100 MPH. An open-handed slap isn’t going to damage sheet metal, but I’m living proof you can break bones (or worse) with even a sub-10-MPH bike crash.

      Would I like someone slapping my car? No, but honestly, the first thing that would come to my mind is the question of what I’d done wrong to deserve it.

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    • Shoalolo April 6, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      John, how is this about what you would *like*? Put me in danger and I want to do what you *won’t* like. Isn’t that kind of the point? Yeesh.

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  • John Lascurettes April 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Only time I’ve kicked a car was after the car knocked me down. Without signaling the driver cut across the bike lane on nw broadway going for a parking spot, while I was next to him. We had both been doing 20-25 mph. I only didn’t get pinched to the curb or go under the car because of my own diligence in watching his front wheel when he started to slow – I broke hard but still couldn’t stop completely before he cut across the bike lane. I tumbled down as his quarter panel touched me and came up kicking at his rear tail light – I really, really wanted to break it (but they’re tight). It’s kind of hard not to take the flash of your own life due to someone else’s carelessness lightly.

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  • Last of the Mohicans April 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Several years ago was coming back from an awesome MTB ride with several friends 2 of whom are law enforcement. During the course of the ride had an altercation with a car and 2 occupants, they got too close and one of our group responded with the car slap. Things escalated to the verbal “I’ve got a gun” this from the driver, worst day of his life. Sometimes the police are there when you need them.

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  • Gasper Johnson April 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Cars have become extensions of the self. This is a dangerous precedent if it results in being run off the road and then feeling justified for vehicular assault or worse.

    We shouldn’t coddle drivers who have become so obnoxious in their behavior.

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  • John Lascurettes April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    That’s what devices like AirZound are for: http://deltacycle.com/airzound-horn

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  • spare_wheel April 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    ignoring bullies only encourages them!

    this guy was another walter mitty in a cage. when someone starts cussing at me the first thing i do is snap a pic and tell them that i just mailed it to my partner. (if you don’t have time to take the pic…just hold up your phone and pretend.)

    i also strongly believe that these kinds of blog posts and media articles sow fear uncertainty and doubt. there have been millions of words and gestures exchanged between cyclists and motorists and…yet…somehow 99.9999% of these interactions do not result in assault or murder. just because someone somewhere once placed a razor blade in an apple does not mean you should live in fear of your neighbor.

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  • Racer X April 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Its good to double check the rear plates of an aggressive or bike lane transgressing car driver:
    – OR (Portland) = sloppy driver with less bicycling experience /novice share the road skills
    – WA (or OR State outside of Portland/ Eugene) = sloppy driver with less bicycling experience / no share the road experience and a concealed gun permit

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    • Pete April 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      There’s another characterization I could add to your generalization: the CA transplant. In OR drivers generally stay out of the bike lanes when bicyclists are present, because that’s what the rules (kinda) state. In CA drivers are taught to move to the right as far as possible up to 200′ in advance of a right turn, and bicyclists are expected to merge with this flow of traffic (in front of or behind the turning vehicles, or taking the lane going straight, which I prefer because it communicates intention and uncorks right-turning auto traffic). You can even see the difference in that OR bike lanes are painted with solid white lines up to the stop bars whereas CA bike lanes generally become dashed anywhere a right turn is possible.

      (IIRC this pattern difference was even discussed in a BP article here before; or brought before OR legislators to consider – I can’t remember the details but know it’s been talked about).

      One summer morning a while back I was commuting on Murray (in da Beav) and had a driver move into the bike lane in front of me to turn right – including passing another driver with her right blinker on. Traffic was turning left on their light so I squeezed up next to him and politely said “Unlike where you came from in California, here in Oregon you’re not supposed to drive in the bike lane, and in both states it’s a good idea to use blinkers and mirrors.” His reply? “How’d you know I’m from California??”.

      True story! 🙂

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      • John Lascurettes April 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        Unfortunately we have PPD officers in town that think the CA way is the legal way in OR. Got into an argument with one (cop) a month ago when he pulled me over for mouthing the words “w.t.f.?” to a driver that merged into the bike lane well before his right turn. Naturally he couldn’t give me a ticket because I had done nothing wrong – but he was totally in the wrong. When I gave him my contact info so he could show me the ORS that would prove his point, we shook hands we parted ways – I never heard from him again.

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    • Donna April 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      You know, it’s highly unlikely that anyone with a concealed weapons permit is going to risk losing that forever over such a stupid stunt. If someone is threatening you with a gun when you are not threatening their life, chances are they are concealing it illegally and/or aren’t allowed to have it in the first place. (convicted felon)

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    • LL April 8, 2013 at 7:26 am

      When I saw the headline, I thought to myself…this must be a Washingtonian. BTW, I live in Washington and I think that because of the rampant entitlement of drivers and hostility against cyclists. It also doesn’t help that city and county go around removing bike lanes. Sorry Portlanders.

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  • pdxpaul April 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I say don’t back down from a bully. I slap, kick, and dent cars regularly when they cut me off. I’m not above flopping, either. The world is driven by conflict. Life is boring without it.

    And I’m always ready to throw down with the fool. But I’m dumb that way.

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    • Granpa April 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      You got that last part right

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      • A April 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm

        Anonomously insulting someone on the Internet! How original.

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        • Caleb April 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm

          pdxpaul called himself “dumb like that” presumably to illustrate how his thinking is not in line with what’s socially considered “not dumb”. Given that, I assume granpa was commentating less than he was insulting, as if to say, “yes, your reason for perpetuating conflict is illogical”. Perhaps granpa was only getting at the fact that the world being driven by conflict doesn’t mean we have to keep driving it that way.

          Only granpa can certainly tell us if he was trying to insult or not, though.

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          • Granpa April 6, 2013 at 9:41 am

            Caleb pretty much sums it up. I was agreeing with PDXPaul’s summation.
            To eagerly engage in violence, to embrace a culture of conflict and even to employ deception (“flopping”) to initiate violence is not what I consider smart. Also, he pitched a soft ball right over the plate….

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            • pdxpaul April 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

              I am but a colorful thread in the tapestry that is society. Don’t homogenize me, bro.

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  • 100th Monkey April 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I know that section of Interstate VERY well myself, living in Kenton and shopping several times a week at Arbor Lodge NS and have had many close encounters myself.
    My usual response is to yell ” It seems you don’t need your right mirror, would you like me to remove it for you?”, said in jest and with a smile of course!

    Actually, for Oregon and the states around us the law governing the safe distance for a motor vehicle to pass a bicyle as “safe distance” not 3 feet, as a few states have. Leaving the distance VAGUE and not delineated is something that was argued in Salem, with the “lets-keep-it-vague” crowd winning out.

    Oregon: 811.065
    Washington: 46.61.110
    California: VC21750
    Idaho: 49-632

    Here is the link to all state’s related laws:


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    • esther c April 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Oh lordy, the homicidal Freddy’s customers. What is it with them. They consistently right hook me and my husband. We just plan on getting right hooked and are ready for it. We just yell at them “keep driving like that and you’re going to kill someone”

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  • dwainedibbly April 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Bump the car, fall down, claim they hit you.

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  • Livellie April 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I always ride with this feeling that car drivers don’t like me or any other bicyclist sharing “their” road. I go out of my way to stay out of their way. But I have to say, I admire riders like Don who are willing to confront drivers who endanger them. I’m just too big of a wussy and way too concerned about my own self preservation to risk an unhappy ending.

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  • dan April 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Agreed that it’s totally inappropriate to ever slap a car. Unless they threatened your life, a simple yell / horn / bell suffices. If they did threaten your life, it’s much more appropriate to respond with a corresponding level of force. Or, you know, getting them to threaten to shoot you on camera could be pretty good too.

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    • A April 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Being menaced by someone operating heavy machinery (automobile for example) IS a threat to your life.

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      • dan April 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm

        Yeah, maybe I was a little too subtle up there. I was suggesting that maybe it’s time for more cyclists to start packing heat, thereby giving the Wayne LaPierres of the world exactly what they claim to be looking for: “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a car? A good guy with a gun.”

        I have a feeling that if there was some media coverage of a cyclist firing at a particularly unsafe motorist that people might change their driving habits around cyclists. As it is, there are no legal or other penalties for vehicular manslaughter, so why wouldn’t you throw your weight around as a driver?

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        • wsbob April 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm

          “…As it is, there are no legal or other penalties for vehicular manslaughter, so why wouldn’t you throw your weight around as a driver?” dan

          A person DUI can be cited for Vehicular Homicide:


          Where Oregon law is tough for vulnerable road users under threat from drivers, is situations involving routine absentmindedness on the part of drivers.

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          • dan April 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

            Yeah, but it’s pretty hard to distinguish between routine absentmindedness and criminal intent. Say a driver veered out of their lane onto the shoulder for 50 feet, hitting and killing a cyclist. As long as they’re not drunk, the prosecutor (as we’ve seen all too often) will almost certainly decline to press charges. But for all we know, the driver killed that cyclist deliberately…

            Just reinforces my point that drivers can feel confident of getting away with almost any kind of bad/unsafe behavior to cyclists that you can think of — as long as they’re not drunk.

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  • Hart Noecker April 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Bikeportland comments section: Where cyclists yell at other cyclists for not behaving exactly the way they think cyclists should behave.

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    • longgone April 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      AHHH, Springtime! gotta love it.

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    • davemess April 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Pot meet Kettle.

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    • aaronf April 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      …and then the most important cyclist drops by to yell at the rest about what they should all contribute to the comment section.


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      • 9watts April 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        I dunno. 20 people (and counting) thought what he said was
        * funny?
        * true?
        * saucy?

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        • longgone April 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm

          21, now. SAUCEY!

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      • Caleb April 5, 2013 at 11:34 pm

        Perhaps its my own bias, but my perception is that Hart’s comment involved nothing he referred to as “yelling”.

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        • aaronf April 6, 2013 at 11:34 am

          Yelling was Hart’s word, which I reused. If you read some comments here as “yelling” but others as “not yelling” maybe you can sort them all out for me and in the future I’ll use your system. Unless something is all caps I don’t usually associate the comment with yelling. So who WAS yelling?

          Still, think about my point without getting worried about the word “yelling.”

          Is Hart not complaining that some cyclists don’t discuss issues the way he wants them to? Hasn’t Hart been repeatedly telling us “It’s time to wrap up this discussion” recently?

          So, here he is trying to control people’s behavior, and (ironically?) the behavior he doesn’t like is people trying to control (or at least comment on) how we ride.

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          • Hart Noecker April 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm

            28 now. Have a bit of humor, good sir.

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            • aaronf April 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm

              Here, I’ll try. 28? That’s only like a third of the swarm! Has wifi gone down at the Red & Black?

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          • Caleb April 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

            Yes, I noticed you were reusing Hart’s word. I didn’t mind you doing that, though. And I have so far not seen any comments that I thought involved anybody literally yelling, as in, raising their voices. I assume you and I basically use the same set of logic to determine that.

            “Still, think about my point without getting worried about the word “yelling.””

            I was not worried about the word “yelling”, and I did think about your point. My interpretation of your statement led me to believe your point was that he is a hypocrite. I believed we didn’t have enough evidence to know that, though, so I made my comment encouraging more consideration for what exactly Hart meant by the word “yelling”.

            “Is Hart not complaining that some cyclists don’t discuss issues the way he wants them to?”

            I don’t know. All I can see is that he characterized the Bikeportland comments section as a place “Where cyclists yell at other cyclists for not behaving exactly the way they think cyclists should behave.”

            Because the word “complain” connotes someone describing something in conjunction with feeling negative emotions, and Hart’s characterization gives us no explicit indication of his feelings, we can’t know if he was “complaining” or not. Also, he didn’t say whether or not he included himself in the group he referred to as “cyclists”, so if he was “complaining”, we couldn’t know he was not “complaining” about himself, too.

            “Hasn’t Hart been repeatedly telling us “It’s time to wrap up this discussion” recently?”

            I don’t know. The only other threads in which I’ve seem him respond much lately were the two about the Chaisawat/Uehara story. I just rechecked those and didn’t see anything I would say involved him telling anybody to wrap up the discussion, though.

            “So, here he is trying to control people’s behavior, and (ironically?) the behavior he doesn’t like is people trying to control (or at least comment on) how we ride.”

            When he said “yelling”, I interpreted that as referring to not just commenting in general on how we ride, but commenting in a certain manner on how we ride. I’ll try and illustrate the difference between what I think Hart considers “yelling” and not “yelling” by discussing an aspect of your comment I responded to.

            In your comment, you labeled Hart “the most important cyclist”. I have not noticed Hart ever mention his importance or say anything to remotely suggest anything about his importance. I’ve not seen anything from BikePortland like that, either.

            I have, however, noticed other commenters mention Hart’s “self-importance”. It appears to me they mention it to imply his self worth motivates his behavior, most specifically his activism, but also including his perception of himself and others, as if the commenters think he is of the “holier-than-thou” sort.

            When people make such implications, they do so without objective basis, because Hart’s “self-importance” is only directly evident to himself. The rest of us can only get an inherently vague understanding of it by observing and reading about his behavior, because his “self-importance” might not actually influence any of his behavior we directly witness and/or indirectly learn about.

            In short, it takes ignorance and presumption to make such implications, no matter who they’re about. So it looks to me as if commenters perceive Hart’s behavior and jump to conclusions about him and negatively characterize him and his behavior.

            Now apply that pattern to comments about the differences in how we all ride. Some seem clearly “positive”. They offer suggestions that could help others ride safer, have more fun, etc. Others though, involve “negative” characterizations of the ways people ride, and even the people who ride in those ways. Given how people generally “judge” Hart and his behavior like that, I assumed that’s what he was referring to by “yelling”.

            If that’s the case, I don’t think Hart was being a hypocrite in making his comment about the comments section. Yes, he might have intended it to be provocative, but the comment doesn’t implicate a specific individual, but instead speaks of many unspecified individuals. For that reason I get the impression he didn’t seek to offend or belittle anybody, but instead sought to encourage us all to be more inclusive.

            And that impression of mine is reinforced by his responses to people such as yourself who appear to intentionally try influencing his reputation and self worth by insulting and implicating him. He doesn’t generally appear to meet his offenders with corresponding harsh, negative convictions, but instead appears to just continue with light, positive suggestions.

            That’s all based on three threads with a few comments, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if my understanding of the situation is entirely incorrect.

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            • aaronf April 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

              So, you didn’t mind me using “yelling” but decided to object to it anyway (while acknowledging your bias, which I appreciate) because you thought I was implying Hart is a hypocrite. Well. Personal attacks are frowned upon at BP, so.. excellent detective work! 🙂 I fail to see what hypocrisy has to do with yelling though, unless it’s as simple as “Hart’s comments nice, other comments mean, so Hart isn’t yelling.” Sounds to me like that’s a pretty biased argument, but maybe I’m missing something. Moving on.

              “Because the word “complain” connotes someone describing something in conjunction with feeling negative emotions, and Hart’s characterization gives us no explicit indication of his feelings, we can’t know if he was “complaining” or not.”

              I encourage you to apply that same lens to everything you just typed about the “negative” comments and the motivations of the folks who post them. Remember, anything you assert without an “explicit indication” is an ignorant, presumptive thing.

              Thanks for the thoughtful response (being sincere here (I swear!)).

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              • Caleb April 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

                “So, you didn’t mind me using “yelling” but decided to object to it anyway (while acknowledging your bias, which I appreciate) because you thought I was implying Hart is a hypocrite.”

                No, I didn’t object to you using “yelling”. I only referenced your use of “yelling” to show how I thought you misconceived something about Hart, because I was objecting to what I perceived as your implication about him.

                And I think I should clarify that by saying “I assumed”, I only meant it was the possibility I considered “most likely” based on the limited information I had, and that I acted on that suspicion. I have a hard time communicating myself, because of how much time I’ve spent thinking about words throughout my life, and how agnostic I am about their use and interpretation by others. Sorry for being such a mess. 🙂

                “I fail to see what hypocrisy has to do with yelling though, unless it’s as simple as “Hart’s comments nice, other comments mean, so Hart isn’t yelling.” Sounds to me like that’s a pretty biased argument, but maybe I’m missing something.”

                Hypocrisy only has something to do with “yelling” if somebody says “don’t yell!” and then “yells”. If you were only commenting on Hart’s using a figure of speech, then I completely misunderstood your comment and apologize for the intrusion.

                So yes, you didn’t explicitly say he was a hypocrite, and maybe you didn’t even intend to imply that he was, but you responded to his comment to say he was doing what you thought he was complaining about, and then later reinforced that notion by saying, “So, here he is trying to control people’s behavior, and (ironically?) the behavior he doesn’t like is people trying to control (or at least comment on) how we ride”. I perceive that as you trying to convey hypocrisy. Perhaps you could clarify just what you were trying to convey in those statements, though.

                As for “Hart’s comments nice, other comments mean”, I only brought up that observation, because I thought you were implying hypocrisy, since we humans often don’t bring up someone’s hypocrisy unless we are frustrated by something that person has done, and in the context of Bikeportland comments, that something has often appeared to me to be the perception of “mean” comments.

                In the exchanges between you and Hart, I thought it seemed some of your comments were deliberately antagonistic, whereas the things he said to warrant your comments did not seem that way to me, nor did his responses to them, though I acknowledged his possible antagonism could have just been more subtle.

                That may be a biased argument (all arguments are, somehow), but if you had said what he said, and he had said what you said, then I would have concluded “your comments nice, Hart’s comments mean”, because I was going entirely on his words, your words, and other words directed to him.

                “I encourage you to apply that same lens to everything you just typed about the “negative” comments and the motivations of the folks who post them. Remember, anything you assert without an “explicit indication” is an ignorant, presumptive thing.”

                I already had applied that same lens to everything I typed about the “negative” comments. I otherwise wouldn’t have put “negative” in quotes or written out all that I did, because I wouldn’t have understood the subjectivity of polarity in perception and language.

                Please note I didn’t assert that you or others did indeed imply such implications as I said requires ignorance and presumption, but instead only said that’s how the situation appeared to me. I didn’t assume myself free of ignorance and presumption, which is one reason I was trying to make my whole perspective (biases) clear and obvious for scrutiny. I just want everyone to be “nice” to each other, and hiding my biases and/or being ignorant to them is generally not conducive to that. 🙂

                “Thanks for the thoughtful response (being sincere here (I swear!)).”

                You’re welcome. And I thank you for yours.

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  • Carter Kennedy April 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I don’t think you would like another cyclist slapping your bike to let you know you were in their space. To many, touching their car is like touching them.

    It is not your job to enforce the law or even to remind people of what the law is. Drivers are going to do stupid and inconsiderate things and you should regard them impersonally as traffic rather than personally as drivers.

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    • spare_wheel April 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      i would have absolutely no problem with someone slapping my bike to signal that i was endangering them. in fact, i would want them to do this.

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    • are April 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      when someone almost takes you out, the communication is not really about etiquette

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    • davemess April 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Yeah, this isn’t an issue of enforcing laws, this is an issue of you not getting killed. A slap is completely appropriate. And if I’m doing the same thing to someone else with my bike, I’d gladly take a slap.

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    • longgone April 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Geez, It’s been so long since my bike and I have been touched or slapped, I almost welcome it !

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      • sbrock April 5, 2013 at 9:43 pm

        That might be spanked you’re thinking of … Just a thought, no right answer.

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    • Donna April 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      And what if you have failed to get their attention any other way? Should you just let them plow into you without trying to get them to notice you?

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  • David April 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I’m surprised the Oregonian piece wasn’t titled, “MILITANT BIKER DROPKICKS PREGNANT WOMAN IN THE [READ MORE>>] car tire.”

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  • maxadders April 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Ignore the “road rage” / slap nonsense for a moment– there’s a man driving around THREATENING TO SHOOT PEOPLE. Only an unstable and dangerous man makes those kinds of threats. Get plate numbers, get the cops involved, press charges. It’s for the good of everyone.

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  • Redhippie April 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Here is a point that has been missed. Interstate Ave. is the major bike route into North Portland and the bike lanes end just before ainsworth and don’t reappear until North of Lombard. The road in between is very conjested and there is not a great alternative. Yes there is Williams but that is also pretty far away. So when is PDOT going to figure the planning out for this and put in a viable alternative or stripe the lane?

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    • Terry D April 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      The neighborhoodand the city made the decision when the MAX went in that the stretch without bike lanes would become a “comercial center.” Thus, the developement was SUPPOSED to be bike and ped focussed. It did not workand it is too late now to fix it. That is why Denver has bike lanes.

      The same decision was made in the 90’s when thy did the Woodstock steetscape…hence the bike lane drop off in the “heart” of the comercial zone. This approach may be good for parking and local busnesses (they think), but itonly works well if the speed limit is dropped to 25 or 20.

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      • davemess April 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm

        Isn’t that section of woodstock 25? I don’t really ever feel car pressure there, but I’m a very experienced rider. Interesting to see if the new bike lanes on 52nd will bring more riders to downtown woodstock.

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      • NF April 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

        25 or 30? No way. If regular folk are expected to ride in the lane, with cars, the speed limit needs to be 15 MPH.

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    • KJ April 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Concord is actually rather nice, and not that far off to the left. Stop signs are all turned for it and crossing the major streets are a breeze, no traffic, hardly any cross traffic. I think it’s quicker (haven’t timed it), even though its a block or two off Interstate. Not that it’s ideal since I agree with your main point that Interstate is a N/S connector and it sucks. I agree. But give Concord a try. I’ve started taking it from Kenton to Alberta St or so, and then picking up Interstate from there, I ride to Willamate on the way back up and turn left, getting into the left turn lane from the bike lane is a pain in the eve past Going, but I prefer to cut over before the Going ped bridge.

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      • KJ April 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        (or after the Going ped bridge heading back north, getting my directions mixed up!)

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    • Terry D April 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

      There are other alternative routes as well. I help moderate a group:


      Wen are working towards building an integrated greenway network “Central Portland” as we call it (Inner east according to PBOT). Our master map is here:


      The connections in light green are only recommended, but are excellent routes if you are careful at the intersections (the worst ones are place marked with cost estimates to make them “safe” ).

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  • Sunny April 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Ever belled someone’s head with a pot and “gonged” it? It’s kinda like that.

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  • Pete April 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I cannot believe the O would publish an article with a title like that. I won’t even waste my time checking it out because I have an idea what to expect. And to think there was a point in time I actually subscribed to that so-called newspaper…

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    • John Lascurettes April 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      I cannot believe the O would publish an article with a title like that.

      I guess you haven’t been paying attention to the O’s standard practices.

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    • Richard Allan April 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      I can believe it. The “Bikes vs. Cars” theme is a big source of clicketyclicks for The O, and clicks = ad revenue.

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  • Sunny April 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    If someone threatens with an invisible gun, call his bluff and continue tirading until he brandishes(after noting the license plate). You’ve won until he shoots you.

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    • Donna April 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Um, no. You assume the scumbag actually has a gun and you take evasive maneuvers. (Get out of their line of fire!) You try to get the plate number in the course of trying to get out of the line of fire. Try also to get an approx. description of the scumbag. Then you call 911 and tell them you were threatened specifically with a firearm. Once a gun is in the mix – even a phantom gun – that’s usually enough for police in Portland to treat this as more than a simple road rage case.

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  • Mark April 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I think the headline for this story is misleading. It should read:
    “Inattentive operation of a motor vehicle leads to road rage incident.”

    The slapping of the vehicle was in response to the driver’s careless operation. It is also not permissible in Oregon to use, or threaten to use, deadly force to defend property. Deadly force can only be used to defend a person. The driver would never convince a jury that he thought his life was endangered by a hand slap to the outside of his heavy steel car. Even if the cyclist had kicked the car hard enough to cause damage, the driver would not be justified in using deadly force.

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  • Martie April 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Yeah, I’ve been in this situation quite a few times where I felt wronged as a cyclist and slapped a car mirror or quarter panel. However I did that to the wrong guy one time and he followed me for a few blocks and then hit me with his car… intentionally. Then he drove over my bike with his car. Fortunately I wasn’t really hurt. I got his license plate. There were witnesses. He got in trouble with the law, went to jail, and I prevailed in a law suit against him. I don’t blame myself for his actions against me. He was way out of line. But at the same time, I don’t slap people’s cars anymore, because I might have been in the right, but I could have easily lost my life in the process.

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  • pdxmechanic April 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    If you’re driving so close I can kick your car, you’re too close. Easy and simple.

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  • are April 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    keeping a gun in the glovebox is concealed carry for which you need a license. if your report results in actual contact with this guy, remind the police to check into this.

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    • longgone April 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

      I recall reading that Oregon had no law for carry of loaded gun in car. If the gun is in a locked box or glovebox, it is allowed. If you find the stat. on it please post it. I was trying to find it. The ironic thing to me is that Oregon has some of the most hair spitting laws concerning shooting intruders in the home. weird.

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      • Mark April 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

        It can get complicated. In most of the state, you are allowed to carry a loaded handgun in your car as long as it is either: in plain view, or inaccessible (in a LOCKED glovebox or console, or in the trunk). However, different municipalities are allowed to make their own, more restrictive laws.

        Portland, for example has this:

        14A.60.010 Possession of a Loaded Firearm in a Public Place.
        (Amended by Ordinance No. 184274, effective December 31, 2010.)

        A. It is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess or carry a firearm, in or upon a public place, including while in a vehicle in a public place, recklessly having failed to remove all the ammunition from the firearm.

        B. It is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess or carry a firearm and that firearm’s clip or magazine, in or upon a public place, including while in a vehicle in a public place, recklessly having failed to remove all the ammunition from the clip or magazine.

        Of course, this changes if you have an Oregon Concealed Handgun License. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

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      • Donna April 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm

        Within the City of Portland and in Multnomah County, you must have a CHL to be able to keep a loaded firearm in the glove box of your car. This is not the case for most of the rest of the state. Also Oregon does not recognize Washington’s CHL, and they aren’t very eager to issue them to Washington residents. So, if someone was driving up N. Interstate and had a loaded gun in their glove box, they either have an Oregon CHL or they are carrying it illegally. If it’s a Washington vehicle, the chances are good that they are carrying illegally.

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  • Jeff April 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I would have told the guy “shoot me in the head or don’t shoot at all, because if you only shoot me in the leg, I’ll nuke you and your family”

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    • dan April 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      I hope to never find myself in that situation, but if I do, I think I might have to say: “Are you really going to shoot me in front of all these people?”

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    • aaronf April 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Why not just karate kick the gun out of their hand?

      I was robbed at knife point and I didn’t have anything clever to say. Mostly I felt very frightened and cooperative. You must be really tough though.

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      • Jeff April 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm

        Not tough. Just not afraid to die. There is no god, therefore nothing to fear in death. I have little self-worth, so what better time to lay it all on the line for some dumb ass.

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        • Caleb April 6, 2013 at 4:55 am

          Your self worth is a matter of your perception, of course. Do you think it’s possible that perception might change somehow if you actually find yourself facing possibly imminent death?

          I ask, because I frequently lack any emotional motivation to continue life, but I’ve also experienced moments where I actually thought I might die, and in such times I felt quite motivated to remain alive. Remembering those times, at least, helps me keep my mental will to live separate from my self apathy so that I might avoid making a choice I’ll actually end up regretting while dangerous events unfold afterward.

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          • longgone April 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

            Sounds like you need to lay off the opiates.

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      • spare_wheel April 6, 2013 at 7:42 am

        i cry at movies and drink cosmos but when someone waving a knife tried to mug me i busted out laughing. does this make me “tough”?

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        • aaronf April 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm

          Yes. Unless there is more to the story?

          I was at work when I was robbed. There were three of us and just one robber, but we weren’t supposed to fight for the $ in the register. Having someone hold a knife at my stomach (he walked behind the counter) while his hand trembled made me feel very helpless and humiliated and out of control. It was a pretty traumatic day for me.

          One thing I remember best about that day was having other coworkers who were not there tell me about what THEY say they would have done if they had been there.

          I could have been more direct initially (that’s a theme for me!) but I empathize with Don’s situation because I’ve been there (sort of) and I really didn’t appreciate having other people pop in and tell me how to respond to a serious, direct threat to your life.

          Now, at least you have a story… you could say “Having your life threatened is no big deal. When it happened to me I laughed. I’m awesome!” I guess that could be helpful, but at least it’s not total conjecture.

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          • spare_wheel April 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

            keeping your cool can be “tougher” than reacting aggressively (in more ways than one).

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    • pengo April 5, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Would you have used McBain voice? Please tell me you would have said it in McBain voice.

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  • Zaphod April 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    The trouble with all of this is that a motorist can put cyclists into real danger with zero effort and it’s impossible to discern intent. So when placed in danger, never mind the sort of danger, all creatures (Honey Badger excepted, of course) get pumped with adrenaline. It takes an epic amount of self control to be dosed with this powerful drug to not do something with it.

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  • Peter. April 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I slap cars but only when really necessary. In the 20k miles and 7 years I’ve been commuting by bike I think I’ve done it 3 times. Once was a kick with my carbon road shoe. That one left a mark…

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    • Rick April 7, 2013 at 9:33 am

      I started riding a bike to work back in 1992 down in CA and I’ve continued when I moved here. I love riding because it’s stress-relieving. I have never kicked or slapped a car, even when drivers have been rude. And let’s face it, other cyclists can be rude and dangerous too. I’ve had my share of people passing without any alert or almost running into me. The answer isn’t to be angry or reactive. I think a big problem with many cyclists here is that they view cycling as though it were a morally superior form of transit. To me, it’s just one of many. Let’s all respect each other.

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      • Bill Walters April 12, 2013 at 10:21 am

        The issue isn’t (or shouldn’t be) drivers being rude (because you’re right, riders are as well); it’s drivers dealing out potential death and dismemberment with their carelessness. *That* metric will never be symmetrical for riders and drivers.

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    • Eric April 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      I stopped slapping cars under most circumstances after I figured out the car companies think that tin foil is too thick for body panels. The driver of an SUV cut me off so they could get to a red light before me, then failed to proceed when the light changed. I smacked the back of the car with my fingertips, and it made a huge sound, all out of proportion to the situation.

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  • just joe April 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I have had my car slapped several times, usually by a cyclist coming up behind me in a bike lane while I was stopped. I suspect it is a ‘heads up’ to not right hook them.
    I never took offense, nor will I. An individuals safety, driving or riding is a primary goal . Inflated ego about my precious car isn’t.

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    • dr2chase April 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      That’s a pretty boneheaded use for slapping cars, if you ask me. If a bike is passing on the right that close to the front of a line of stopped cars, they should probably just wait. Otherwise, you’re going to ride past, they’ll see you anyway.

      As far as what to do about people passing too close, I think it needs to be automated. Put a couple of proximity sensors on the back of the bike, if they trigger “too close” in the right order, do something appropriate.

      Not sure what’s appropriate, of course — probably flashing lights and taking pictures. Loud noises would just scare the rider (and the driver is deaf anyway), and automated vandalism (spraying paint), as amusing as that might be, is probably not legal.

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  • Skid April 6, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Washington drivers….just sayin’

    I think I will pursue a license to carry concealed.

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  • Skid April 6, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Also if I am close enough to slap or kick a car, it is way too close to me.

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  • Steve Scarich April 6, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I live in Bend and rarely (maybe once a year) have a ‘close call’ where I really am in danger. That said, I have pretty much given up riding inside city limits of any city. It’s just seems like there are too many risks that are unavoidable (getting doored, cars pulling out of blind alleys, distracted drivers, etc.). If I did have to ride in a city (and I know many people really have no other viable option), I would use a GoPro. A friend of mine just caught a violent interaction (involving a close call, stopped driver who threatened him, etc.) on his GoPro. He called the cops, showed them the incident on his GoPro, they immediately drove to perp’s house, and his behavior toward them, and the video, got the guy arrested. This was in Orange County, California, where riding your bike on a public street is always a life-threatening adventure.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

    One more thought. If you have time to slap a rear quarter panel, you have time to touch your brakes. One action “might” get the driver to notice and stop moving into your space – or it might not, and you might end up sandwich filling anyway. The other action “will” drop you back out of harm’s way in a fraction of a second, no driver’s reaction required.

    Sure, one can imagine a scenario in which touching the brakes is not possible or won’t protect you. But most of the time, the choice to slap instead of brake is because the cyclist wants to keep their momentum, defend their real estate, or assertively push back at a numbskull driver. If you’re a “best defense is a good offense” type, then slap away. Personally, I tend to choose the action that most reliably and rapidly takes me out of harm’s way. I’m pragmatic that way.

    That said, maybe I should start carrying my Glock on rides. If only it didn’t weigh so much. The world needs a CF frame, Ti slide G26. Maybe they can license it to Campagnolo.

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    • longgone April 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

      There are more than a few options on the market for sub 14oz 8 round 22magnum revolvers. This size gun has all of the firepower, if not greater than a 32 cal. with better penetration. My prefered option for close range, last ditch self defense. Cheap to practice with as well, making your ability to actually place several rounds in your target, as opposed to bystanders on the Max station. Now with that said, I hope this kinda shenanigan never happens again in P-town. peace.

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    • dr2chase April 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Bingo. Unfortunately not well understood, and also true for cars. Think of the logic behind most uses of a horn — “I will honk, and the right person will hear me, understand from my skilled use of the horn exactly what the problem is, and react appropriately — more quickly than I could have just tapped my brakes.”

      A corollary of this is that whenever I hear a horn nearby, I tap my brakes, pretty hard. Because a horn means (in theory, according to the law) that something bad is likely to happen, and I don’t know what it is. The one thing I can do without any other information is reduce my speed, which will reduce the violence of any subsequent collision, should I be involved. This will only be the wrong choice if the person honking their horn is behind me and has lost their brakes. However, even in that case, my car is the cheapest they could possibly hit (and has seatbelts and an airbag) so it’s a public good if I take one for the team — he’d rather replace my car than almost anything else he would hit.

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    • spare_wheel April 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      braking is often not an issue. in many cases slapping occurs because the oblivious motorist is moving into space the cyclist already occupies. and i would like to add that anyone with even a modicum of cycling skill can brake effectively with one hand.

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  • Skwirlyo April 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Joseph Rose would swear up and down that he’s pro-bikes and I’m sure that he sincerely believes it, but his writing for the Oregonian has the exact same deleterious effect as concern trolling. “I agree that bikes are great, but shouldn’t we be really worried about the horrors of car slapping?!? Car slapping: The scourge of our times!”

    Uhm. No. We shouldn’t be worried. It’s not news. It’s maybe something of interest internally for bicycle culture to debate. If Mr. Rose is paying attention, he has to know full well that he’s airing the most inconsequential dirty laundry of one culture and he also knows full well that the majority culture is quick to sharpen pitchforks at the sign of just one reason to beat down the bicycling subculture.

    He also knows full well that if he wrote proportionally about the tens of thousands of traffic deaths attributable to automobiles every year, he’d lose his audience. Fine. But just admit to yourself and everyone else that this is not objectivity and it is not equality. It is entertainment.

    The funny thing is that hearing from others that he is not a good ally to bicycle culture is clearly a pretty painful thing for him to hear. But being a good ally is about more than feeling guilty and then continuing to do the same old ‘cars VERSUS bikes’ bullshit muckraking story.

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    • spare_wheel April 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      and if you post anything remotely critical about rose’s (or his colleagues) reporting you are banned in short order.

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      • Lazy Spinner April 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm

        Doesn’t seem any worse that when happens when you criticize Bike Portland. In fact, a ban seems more pleasant than getting hectored by Jonathan, then treated to a few sentences about how awesomely confident and hard working he is, and then told that you are wrong and will always be wrong because you are not Jonathan Maus.

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        • Hugh Johnson April 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

          Maus truly has become a martyr. I like what BikePortland was. Not what it has become.

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          • are April 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm

            what it was and what it has become. bikeportland is a blog, to which a rather large number of people post comments. a blog is, or used to be, a venue for an individual to post his or her perspective on events, with links to sources. in other words, by nature a blog would reflect or express the individual personality of its author.

            for whatever reason, jonathan’s site has come to be seen by many, to some extent including himself, as a news source, as in, a distributor of original reportage, ostensibly objective. that does not negate the fact that as a blog it is an expression of an individual personality.

            at this moment, the fact that the personality is that of a white male living in a racist environment and coming to terms with what the critical race theorists call “whiteness” has become a subject of some of the postings. i do not see that this makes jonathan a “martyr,” and i do not see that it is a departure from the tenor of the site, which has always been, and may always be expected to be, an expression of jonathan’s individual perspectives on what is happening in portland involving people on bikes.

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        • spare_wheel April 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm

          trying very hard to remember the last time the boregonian issued one of these long drawn out “what white people do” (when they realize they are racist) apologies. the oregonian thrives on the worst facets of societal polarization.

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      • Dave April 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

        Or get raked across the coals in an article proclaiming insane nonsense about your point of view to give him a scapegoat. I mean, not that it’s ever happened to me…

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    • are April 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      you are reminding me how very, very long it has been since i have bothered to check in on joe rose. i think i will give it awhile yet.

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      • Dave April 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

        Good choice.

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      • longgone April 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

        I had forgotten that his articles exisisted. So as of the mentioning here, I went to the blog… It lasted all of 6 mins. Forgotten once more.

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  • jim April 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    That’s a lot of comments. Didn’t read them all.
    Was the guy in a bike lane when the car cut him off?

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    • are April 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      more to the point, was he wearing his invisibility cloak

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  • DK April 8, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I’m glad this didn’t escalate any further. I, personally, would never slap anyone’s car.

    Figuratively, I’m happy they didn’t hit me, regardless how close they came. I’m not really into “telling them about it”. I’m alive, the car passed, let’s “move on”.


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  • Joe April 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Got right hooked on Stark yesterday stayed up didn’t tap the car but lucky I stopped in time. downtown drivers are getting bad.

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  • esther c April 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I was riding south on Williams yesterday just south of Russell and there was a car parked and blocking the traffic lane. Another car decided to get around it by swerving into the bike lane in the exact spot I happened to be occupying at that moment without regard to that fact. My husband was riding behind me and saw what was going to happened and yelled at me. I swerved to the right and there was a driveway entrance there allowing me to ride up onto the sidewalk.

    It was a really close call. The guy in the car who almost creamed me was oblivious. If I had slapped his car, which I didn’t because I had no opportunity, it really would have been quite a minor insult considering that he had just almost caused me major bodily harm. If I wanted to discuss it with him how else could I have gotten his attention since he had his windows rolled up?

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  • El Biciclero April 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I slapped a school bus once because it was making a right on red (which I believe is prohibited for school buses) across the bike lane as I was stopped (for those who will wonder: I was stopped at the red light before the bus arrived. I didn’t roll up beside it after it had stopped; it rolled up beside me). No amount of hitting the brakes could have helped me, since I was already stopped, and backing up isn’t a very quick maneuver to make on a bike. My slapping didn’t appear to have any effect–probably because the driver was too distracted by the noise of middle-schoolers inside the bus. As it was, I nearly got my toes run over by the rear wheels of the bus. Seriously; I had to pull in my elbow to keep it from getting brushed by the top of the rear tire. When something so unbelievable happens suddenly like that, and we feel cornered, we often react with the first instinctual thing (attempt to fend off the predator) rather than evaluating options (I could have hauled my bike up onto the curb, but that is about as fast as backing it up). I don’t think we can say that slapping a vehicle is never advisable. I know somebody will say, “but your slapping didn’t have any effect, and you didn’t actually get run over, therefore, your slapping was pointless and you should not have done it.” Well, hindsight is great, isn’t it? At the time, I had no idea whether the bus tires would clear my foot or whether the bus would have shoved me over; I was taking the only immediate action I could muster at the moment in any attempt to wake up the driver.

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