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Oregonian story makes light of running over bicycle riders – UPDATED

Posted by on November 20th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

oregonian

A story posted on The Oregonian’s website earlier today seems to make a joke about very serious and potentially dangerous driving behavior.

The story, Portland’s morning commute without the Sellwood Bridge as told by GIFs is a response to current detours in place due to construction of the new Sellwood Bridge. The construction has caused a lot of congestion and backups during the morning rush hour.

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The author of the story, Adrianna Rodriguez, uses a series of animated GIFs as a humorous way to share what some people are going through as they experience the traffic backups. Each GIF is accompanied by a caption.

“Looking out the window,” the story reads, “bicyclists pass by smiling like…” and the GIF shows a photo of Pee Wee Herman smiling and happy on his bike. Then the next caption reads, “And you just want to be like…” which is followed by a GIF of someone who swerves their car into a pack of bike riders.

This type of thing is totally unacceptable — especially on a day when someone died in a collision with a truck driver.

It’s also worth noting that The Oregonian Editorial Board is actively lobbying City Council to invest fewer dollars of their proposed street fee and tax plan on the type of projects that would make the scenario depicted in that GIF less likely to happen.

We’ve asked The Oregon to edit the story and will update this story when they’ve done so.
———–

UPDATE, 4:04 pm: The Oregonian has removed the offensive GIF. They have posted this update message at the top of the story:

“Update: We have removed a GIF from this story that was offensive to some of our readers. While this post is tongue-in-cheek and was meant to be humorous, we apologize for unintentionally making light of the dangers that cyclists face on our roads.”

UPDATE, 4:25pm: Reporter Adrianna Rodriguez has tweeted an apology:

UPDATE: @markecarter on Twitter has posted a GIF that would have made much more sense:

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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Ben
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Ben

That was a very fast, an totally unacknowledged, redaction.

Bjorn
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Bjorn

How many times can a news organization print this type of “tongue in cheek” isn’t it funny when the “bikes vs cars” thing just happens, and look at that guy crashing he probably broke some bones right, ha ha ha so funny bike vs cars lol right guys type of thing, before they have to own up to the fact that it isn’t “unintentional”.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

I’m pretty tired of the “we’re sorry if you were offended but we were just making a joke” statements that are passed off as apologies. Good that the O retracted today’s example of bad taste, but how many more times do organizations and agencies need to be told that it’s not acceptable to make light of injury, violence, and the demeaning of one group by another? SMH.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I hope bikeportland readers don’t decide, because of the O writer’s idiotic effort at a joke, don’t proceed in comments here, to express similarly mean, violent references to generally demean people that drive. Decide instead to set a better example, despite the temptation to reply back on a low level set by others.

dan
Guest
dan

Yeah, I’d like to see them print a story along the lines of “You know how when you’re waiting in a slow line and someone insists on paying for their purchase with a bag of change and you just want to pull out a gun and shoot them?”

Of course, they would never print that, it’s only cyclists that deserve summary execution.

Cheif
Guest
Cheif

Where does “freedom of the press” end and “inciting violence” begin? This Adrianna Rodriguez should clearly never again be in the position of her writing being published by a commercial journalistic venture.

mran1984
Guest
mran1984

I bet she was driving a car when she “tweeted” her meaningless apology.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

I wasn’t offended until I read the statement “We have removed a GIF from this story that was offensive to some of our readers”. So they are removing it because some people are offended and not BECAUSE IT IS OFFENSIVE??? People do dumb things and this was one of them. Don’t put the blame on me for ruining your fun and games because I have a stick in my ass.

Ben
Guest
Ben

Adrianna: to make amends, bike to work every day for a week.

PNP
Guest
PNP

I think the second photo is from the Tour de France a few years back, when a media car tried to pass the riders and swerved into the pack (to avoid a tree, if you can believe it, rather than slow down). Two riders ended up entangled in a barbed wire fence, and the driver of the car was permanently banned from the Tour.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes we can hope that Ms. Rodriguez and the Oregonian issue a more professional apology in hardcopy print versus just a “drive by” tweet.

From the tweet and the post I assumed the original item might have been a letter to the editor/ informal type post versus an actual “news” article but she is a reporter at The Oregonian, since she does have an official email:

arodriguez@oregonian.com

o/o
Guest
o/o

Why am I not surprised of the O?

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

I just can’t get on board with all the fake outrage. Clearly it was not meant to be serious. Every day people seem more and more eager to act offended by something.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

Note to self, practice the feet over the handlebar move when passing traffic on bike. Or better yet knee on seat with other leg fully extended behind me.

Honestly hope to see that some time when I’m behind the wheel, would make the “commute” much more pleasant. I might not be able to enjoy driving at the time, but at least I’d know someone is out having fun out there on the road.

J
Guest
J

“and you want to be like”. Ms. Rodriguez need’s a course in morals and grammar.

Joe
Guest
Joe

be more human will ya.. try riding and see if you can hang, bet you fade into ur box. sorry.. RIP to the rider 🙁

Keith
Guest
Keith

The Oregonian sinks further and further every week. I remember when it was a real newspaper. Only a a few more downward steps and it will become 100% tabloid. Soon we’ll only find it in the checkout line next to the National Enquirer.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Give her a break, she probably gets paid hardly anything and will be out of a job in a few years.

Brian Mack
Guest
Brian Mack

Exactly what I would expect from the editors of the Boregonian: poor reporting, short-sighted commentary, and an apathetic apology.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Funny thing is that it is ok for drivers to be frustrated while people on bicycles glide by happily; isn’t that the “bike appeal” advertising slogan?
Look how slow you are going and how fast I’m going on on a bicycle.
Look how angry and frustrated you are stuck in traffic and how exhilarated, energetic and healthy I am riding my bicycle to work.

Hasn’t this ALWAYS been the urban PR strategy to convert drivers to bicycle riders?

They have no right to act out violently against us and it is of shaky legality of public institutions to promote violence.
BUT… we have to acknowledge… they have every right to be frustrated and irritable.
They just don’t have the right to ACT on that anger NOR is it responsible for a trusted institution to legitimize such violent outbursts by making it apappear “normal”.

econoline
Guest
econoline

Zero chance she gets any discipline, if anything this better get a raise. Personally I think many of these “reporters” including this one are just intentionally posting offensive items because they are only being judged on clicks and bullshit bikes vs cars stories get lots of clicks.

KillMoto
Guest
KillMoto

Problem: more cars on the road than roadway capacity is making me late for work.

Solution: get angry at the people who are not driving in any of those cars.

Doesn’t make any sense.

Yellow Vest
Guest
Yellow Vest

My Digital O writing sample:

“Out window, bike is like ‘U Mad?’

And I’m like ‘KYS DIAF’

And they’re like ‘Wut?’

I’m just jel, lol.”

Andyc of Linnton
Guest
Andyc of Linnton

This is surprising in what way?
Maybe Peewee is smiling because he’s never read an Oregonian.

Dan P.
Guest
Dan P.

Ugh… another perfect example of why humor should be left to professionals. When unfunny people try to funny, more often than not, this is what you get. I would very much like to be funny but I don’t try because I have a great enough respect for comedians to know that theirs is an art and craft that they have often spent years perfecting in order to make it look so effortless. Having not put in that time and effort (and not having the time to anyway) I leave it to them.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Okay, yes, the bike GIF is deeply offensive — seriously, it was bad and the O should feel bad — but I’m way more grossed out by the O publishing a super-lame Buzzfeed-ripoff GIF blog post in the first place. Ten years ago the paper would not have stooped so low. No doubt there’s loads of embarrassed people in the newsroom, and I feel for them.

It’s like the Seinfeld “No, it offends me as a comedian” joke. Does it offend me as a cyclist? Not really. Does it offend me as a news reader? Hell yes.

Rob
Guest
Rob

When seeing someone enjoying themselves on a bike, her reaction is “I want to take that happiness away from them” instead of “I need to try me some of that happiness.”

Paul in the "couve
Guest
Paul in the "couve

Really, there is no excuse here. The Oregonian is a major new player in a serious cycling town, and knows better and the reporter should know better or shouldn’t be working. No excuse. No credit for quick redaction. No excuse.

{sanitized my sanitized exhortations to avoid moderation, let the old version die]

Jeff M
Guest
Jeff M

Apologizing and not meaning to offend is different than understanding why her actions were disgusting. I do not accept that as an adequate response. I am ashamed of Adrianna Rodriguez and of the Oregonian. I am ashamed that they publish in our community.

D.D. Lyon
Guest
D.D. Lyon

The bill payment, for the Oregonian delivery, goes to Kentucky. How much do the s.e. con. owners empathize with Oregonians? Ha ha, yeah. I am canceling my service.

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

I cancelled our Oregonian subscription because of this. Yes, I should have cancelled it sooner.

Skid
Guest
Skid

Boohoohoo cyclists are passing you while you sit in traffic. Get a bike.