Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 14th, 2014 at 10:43 am
Robert Hudgens, a 15-year-old who threw a brick into the face of a man bicycling past him on NE Tillamook back in April was sentenced to four years in prison yesterday .
The Oregonian had a reporter in the courtroom. Here’s a snip from her story:
Police say Hudgens and a 15-year-old friend were throwing bricks at cyclists on the evening of April 19. One cyclist, Jonathan Garris, 52 of Northeast Portland, reported getting hit in the leg. A 27-year-old cyclist also said he was targeted, but not hit.
It’s unclear who struck Garris. But Hudgens was charged with striking Richardson. His friend apparently missed the cyclists, so instead of being prosecuted for a Measure 11 felony in adult court as Hudgens was, the friend was charged with a misdemeanor and allowed into juvenile court.
Read full details and watch a video that includes a statement from victim Adrian Richardson, via The Oregonian.
Assault and harassment of bicycle riders is more common than you might think. While incidents like this that result in serious injuries are very rare, and felony convictions are even more so, I’m always disturbed by the amount of harassment I hear about. It’s a frustrating issue because, unless the case involves physical harm and a victim who will come forward to help with the prosecution, these things usually go unnoticed.
Here’s one such case that a reader shared with us last month:
“Last night at around 1:30am I was on US Grant Place and 37th-ish with my partner, riding to South Tabor from a party near Mississippi. We both were wearing helmets, riding single file with me in back (pretty close to the curb since there were no parked cars), and had our lights on. I heard a car coming up from behind, but we were just chatting away waiting for it to pass. The car pulled up extremely close next to me and slowed way down. As I turned towards it to look, pretty confused as to why it was there, someone hanging halfway out the back window (I believe a woman, looked around mid 20s) said something about “cyclists”, reached out with both arms to grab my backpack, and pulled me down on the ground. By the time I looked up, they were speeding around the corner. It happened so incredibly fast and was so confusing that neither of us caught the license plate or a better description other than to say it was a light gold or silver sedan.”
In the above case, there was a physical assault, but no suspect. And it’s unknown whether the police were notified and/or what they could have done given no solid evidence or leads.
Then there’s the incident below that happened on Monday in Damascus (southeast of Portland) and that’s making the rounds on Facebook:
“Today (at around 1:00) this woman was in such a hurry to get to the bank in Damascus, and I impeded her driving by 5 seconds by being on the road, so she tried to run me off the road by passing me so close I had to move into the dirt (almost ditch) to avoid being hit while blaring her horn and swerving into where I would have been had I not braked at the last second. I got to the stop at the same time as her and followed her to the Key Bank to talk with her, educate her, and remind her that I am a person, and that my family depends on me and that I have kids. She asked the teller to call the police (I wish they would have) and proceeded to tell me that I should have not been in her way, I should not be on the road, that I need training wheels, and the next time she sees a cyclist she will make sure she hits them and she hopes it is me.”
That type of thing is relatively common. But, without any contact being made by the driver, it wouldn’t be considered Assault under Oregon law. Instead, it would be a case of Menacing (ORS 163.190), which is a Class A misdemeanor.
When trying to figure out how to deal with these type of interactions, knowledge is your friend. To learn more about the various types of harassment, what your legal rights are, and what you can do about it, I strongly recommend reading Part III of Ray Thomas’ excellent Pedal Power Legal Guide. It’s a free PDF download available on his website.