Hit-and-run in Waterfront Park shows disturbing lack of conscience

Shared path Waterfront Park-1

Paths are for slow riding.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Reader Spencer B (not that Spencer B) shared a disturbing story with us earlier this month. A man riding a bike in Waterfront Park just south of the Steel Bridge, rode his bicycle into another person and just kept on going.

Here’s what happened, via an email from Spencer:

This morning while riding to work I witnessed an accident where the cyclist hit and knocked over a pedestrian and just kept going. I stopped to check on her. She was a 70ish woman who was probably from out of town and doesn’t know the dangers of the Esplanade in the morning.

Her friend was with her so I took off after the cyclist. I followed him as blew through multiple lights, weaved through traffic, went the wrong way on one way streets. He wasn’t sprinting away, just riding a good pace.

I caught up with him and his first words were that the he had been ringing his bell. I kept asking him to go back and do the right thing but he replied that he was “late and some where to be”. I told him that she was hurt and there was a visible reaction, but then he slightly shook his head and kept riding. I implored him to be a human and go make sure she was ok and do the right thing.

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Well the last I saw this guy, he was heading up 6th Ave (the wrong way). The guy was about 6′ tall, had olive skin, was riding a black single speed decked out as a well-groomed hipster complete with messenger kit, chrome bag, slicked back hair and a sleeve of ink.

Wow.

This behavior is outrageous. The man riding the bike committed a serious crime and needs to be brought to justice before he strikes again. Unfortunately, a lack of identifying information will make it almost impossible to ever find him. This is exaactly the type of incident used by some people to make the case that bicycles should have license plates.

I have heard numerous stories recently about people who witness an aggressive or dangerous road user and are able to get either video footage, a good photograph and/or a license plate. Either one of those three things can often lead directly to action by the police (like in this story from the UK where a man ran his bike into a toddler on the sidewalk and was only found later thanks to a still image pulled from a security camera).

Without a lead on the suspect or any other evidence, it’s unlikely the police will be able to do much.

For his part, Spencer won’t soon forget the incident. “For my small part in the cycling community,” he wrote via email, “I apologized to the woman.”

“I’ve commuted to work for 10 years, raced cyclocross, mountain bike and road bikes and this behavior really makes me ashamed. Now when I hear the typical car on cyclist altercation, I’ll be visualizing that old woman hitting the pavement and the unconcerned demeanor of the cyclist as he rides away.”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Esther
Esther
8 years ago

Just horrible. It was a similar situation in San Francisco ( I think on the embarcadero?) when an elderly pedestrian died a few years ago. Certainly makes the case for separating bikes and peds. I hope the woman wasn’t too hurt and recovered/recovers quickly.

Al Dimond
Al Dimond
8 years ago

SRSLY. Guy could just as well have hit someone else on a bike. And lots of car-drivers hit other cars before driving away.

Middle of the Road guy
Middle of the Road guy
8 years ago
Reply to  Al Dimond

please…not the ‘cars do it too argument’.

a
a
8 years ago
Reply to  Al Dimond

This was not a vehicle on vehicle low speed fender bender…this was a vehicle directly hitting someone who had the right of way and causing an injury. wtf

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago

There are two important issues here.

1. The cyclist struck a pedestrian and did not stop and render assistance.

2. There are no good alternatives to using Waterfront Park as a N/S connector, largely because Naito handles bicycles so poorly.

So I disagree with you — I think separating the modes is one of the issues.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

funny, I’ve ridden on the waterfront every day for the past decade and I’ve never hit/injured a single person.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

So is your point that the waterfront IS a good place for bicycle commute traffic, and there is no reason to improve Naito?

Brian
Brian
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

If an issue is that the waterfront isn’t a good place for riding then that section of one’s commute needs to be ridden more cautiously until it improves. Most of us ride it responsibly without hitting others.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

bias much?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

No, not much.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I never mentioned Naito, you did. so, yes, you are. the article is about being a d-bag while operating a bike on the Waterfront path area and the connecting trails to it.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Esther wrote a comment saying that this incident underscored the need to separate bikes and peds.

Jonathan disagreed, saying that the only issue was that the rider in question was sociopath.

I wrote a comment agreeing with Esther — The rider was indeed a sociopath, but we also need alternatives to riding through Waterfront Park, which (I implied) had a high potential for collision with pedestrians. I lamented the conditions on the obvious alternative, Naito.

You responded that you are able to ride through the park, apparently without incident.

I replied (in a perhaps unnecessarily snarky manner) that that did not discount that Naito needs to be improved.

You accused me of bias.

Please explain.

Adron Hall
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

I’ve never hit anyone there either, but it also is horrible for the commute. It adds a LOT of time during the summer time. During the winter it’s great. The fact is, there really ought to be better alternatives likea propery cycle track lane up Naito.

Middle of the Road guy
Middle of the Road guy
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

If this kind of event happened with a defined frequency you might have an argument. If this happens once out of every 100,000 times…then no. It is an outlier and the process is working pretty well.

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“…2. There are no good alternatives to using Waterfront Park as a N/S connector, largely because Naito handles bicycles so poorly. …” Hello, Kitty

There are plenty of people happy to ride fast enough to deal with Naito traffic…and this ‘ I’m in a big hurry, got to get to a meeting guy.’…may be one of them.

What mph speed is too fast for the esplanade while it’s in use by people on foot…and too slow for riding Naito? I suppose maybe 12-15 mph. So there’s a little choice to be made there, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. Either ride up to 20 or so for Naito, or slow down for the esplanade and people using it.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

I do ride on Naito from time to time, and I hate it. Note because of the speed, because it is both dangerous and annoying.

Dangerous because auto speeds are so high, and to activate the left turn signal at, say Oak, you need to stand right over next to that speeding traffic (rather than in the center of the turn lane which would be much safer).

Annoying because the only reason for a N-bound rider to stop is when a pedestrian is crossing, and yet you face red lights all the time when there are no pedestrians in sight.

I no longer ride at all along the Waterfront, because there are just too many pedestrians about. Instead I usually take streets through downtown, which can actually be faster than Naito or Waterfront Park.

So yes, Naito handles bikes poorly. It could be great. But it isn’t.

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“…Instead I usually take streets through downtown, …” Hello, Kitty

Good choice. Broadway and 4th are better. On a bike, Naito is difficult, with more than the usual level of danger present when riding among motor vehicles in use. The esplanade is for leisurely travel. Inevitable that some people are disinclined to recognize this, and choose to try use it as a fast commuter route, or ‘fast-fun’ route instead.

Possibly a best, first way to start getting changes to Naito that would improve its functionality for the range of types of people that commute by bike, is, if it were somehow reasonable, for those people on bikes that are regularly filling the Hawthorne Bridge MUP and Williams Ave, to include Naito on their route.

Equivalent numbers, if Naito doesn’t already have them.

I noticed a comment with some thinking behind it by Sierra Renz:

http://bikeportland.org/2015/08/24/hit-run-waterfront-park-shows-disturbing-lack-conscience-156160#comment-6535034

Spencer’s story sounds credible to me, though it wouldn’t hurt to support it with some additional facts and information. How’s the lady doing? Assuming it is a legit account, it’s really too bad that the person that ran into the lady, hasn’t come forward. There’s a chance there’s some people that know who this person is and what he’s done.

Eddie Barksdale
Eddie Barksdale
8 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Naito is in no way a safe route to use. I’ve seen too many cyclists hit on a right hook and have had several confrontations myself. The disappearing lane on the south side is also horrific. I use the waterfront or esplanade because they are safely away from careless cars.

The issue is, there is no place that is setup for commuting or casual cyclists to use. The city wants the waterfront to be pampered to tourists aimlessly walking about and Naito be access to I5, 43, Barbur, and other highways. The cyclists are left to either dodge getting doored and hooked or to ding their bell until it’s breaks.

soren
soren
8 years ago

its absolutely an issue. people cycling in portland habitually and ubiquitously bike too fast around pedestrians. and this is especially true on mixed use facilities.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  soren

I totally agree… I notice it on the Hawthorne Bridge where cyclists overtake one another in such a way that it forces one to buzz a passing pedestrian. Just like we want drivers to slow down, cyclists need to do so too.

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Lack of facilities for high speed bicycles traffic does not excuse being an asshole. Remove the halo of the bicycle and replace it with any other mode of transportation. The guy is just an asshole.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

It’s too bad that people on bikes have been forced onto the narrow strip of concrete with people walking. If there’s an excessive amount of fast riding around pedestrians, maybe it’s because too many of our bike routes rely on shared space? In some of my interactions with PBOT, I’ve been told they are designing to purposely slow down bikes. So, keep leaning that way and we’ll just reinforce the notion that if you want to get somewhere, you take a car because bikes are for leisurely exercise. Taking the lane on the steel grate — because platinum.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric Leifsdad

We agree that our bicycle facilities have not kept up with demand, and need improvement.

I hope we also agree that it is important to ride safely and respectfully around pedestrians who are stuck sharing those same substandard facilities, even if that means going a little slower than we might otherwise want.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Everyone is capable of and responsible for slowing down if safety requires. I don’t disagree there. But, the design is error-prone and Portland could do better if we got our priorities right. America’s best “lease a hyundai and enjoy safe and forgiving travel designed specifically for speeding while applying makeup and playing words with friends” city has plenty of parking, so why bother trying to get somewhere on a bike?

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric Leifsdad

People that want to ride faster than practical than people on foot are traveling, can find their own routes; faster riders are not required to ride sidewalks and MUP’s in use by people on foot, and slower riders.

WAR
WAR
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Those pedestrians could use the other side of the bridge during rush hour. Just saying.

lop
lop
8 years ago
Reply to  WAR

Those cyclists that aren’t capable of riding like decent human beings and waiting for a safe time to pass can get off the sidewalk and head to one of the other bridges. Just saying.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Esther

what? it makes the case for slowing the hell down and paying attention in crowded areas.

ethan
ethan
8 years ago

Physically separate all modes.

Jacob
Jacob
8 years ago
Reply to  ethan

Yep. If cycling and walking volumes are high, then the whole concept of a “shared-use path” falls apart, creating highly congested paths that are not pleasant or convenient for any mode. Cities often ignore this congestion for years before taking action. Few good cycling alternatives makes a bad situation worse. I’m not saying this guy is right (his actions were callous and harmful), only that the poor design of the path and poor planning of a decent bicycle network are partially to blame.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  ethan

or..you could save $100s of millions in infrastructure changes to design your utopia…and simply slow down and ride with respect and dignity for other people.

ethan
ethan
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

Waterfront path is too crowded. It needs to be bigger, and may as well be physically separated.

Alternatively, we could save billions if we didn’t build sidewalks! Think how safe everyone would be if everybody was slowed down to walking speed and there was no separation between modes.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  ethan

and the crowds will be gone after Labor Day, except for the transient camps.

Middle of the Road guy
Middle of the Road guy
8 years ago
Reply to  ethan

Ditto for the CRC. We need more capacity.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago

And my office totally needs a bigger elevator.

Middle of the Road guy
Middle of the Road guy
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

exactly. sometimes you just need more capacity to handle peak demands.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

That’s why I buy all of my pants two sizes too large — so that I can be comfortable on Thanksgiving.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

maybe consider taking the stairs on occasion?

Tyler
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

Except that it doesn’t happen. Separation is the key.

PorterStout
PorterStout
8 years ago

You hear about sociopaths but it’s chilling when you actually meet one.

Chris I
Chris I
8 years ago
Reply to  PorterStout

Sociopath AND a coward.

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago

Spencer is due plenty of credit for making an effort, and actually succeeding in pursuing and catching up to the guy that knocked the lady down. And for having confronted him.

Very regrettable though, that he did not, or felt he wasn’t able to do more to keep a tail on the guy until the police could come and make inquiries and arrest if warranted.

Easy to say not having been in his shoes, but outside of a threat with a weapon, I would not have let the guy go without attempting to alert passersby for assistance, or following him to keep track of his whereabouts until police arrived.

I hope the ladies’ injuries aren’t too bad, and that she’s got access to good medical care.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Such a sad comment that you even need to inquire about whether the woman has access to healthcare…

Byron
Byron
8 years ago

I agree with ethan, the modes need to be separated. I have ridden along the waterfront in the past, as well as the esplanade. However with the number of people walking it is getting hard to ride well. It is also the reason that I don’t go across the Hawthorne anymore but go North to Couch and Burnside to get across the river. Between walkers and risky behavior by some bicyclists it is just too dangerous.

This city is not getting anywhere on increasing bike share and improving walking. We used to be a first class city but very little has been done to improve things recently. We need to slow everyone down, move to fewer cars, and improve other modes of transportation.

We also need to enforce the no-bicycles-on-sidewalks rule in downtown! But that is another rant.

By the way, I ride a bicycle daily to work!

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  Byron

What’ so hard about painting in lanes? I rode the waterfront and was appalled at the mishmash of people and bikes.

lop
lop
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

It’s way too narrow. The waterfront is appropriately wide for the pedestrian volumes and uses it sees if you get rid of all cyclists. As a bike only facility you’d want just about the whole path for the diverse uses as well (stressed out commuting/time trials vs visiting the waterfront). Any division would be poorly respected, and possibly encourage faster cycling leading to more crashes.

Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Steel Bridge would have camera footage.

dan
dan
8 years ago

Hmm, the San Francisco crosswalk fatality was also a hipster. Could it be that image-obsessed narcissists are too self-centered to be good at sharing the road/MUP?

tedder
8 years ago
Reply to  dan

could it be the label “hipster” is a terrible label used by the “get off my lawn” crowd that also thinks all millennials are self-absorbed and their generation was awesome?

Granpa
Granpa
8 years ago
Reply to  tedder

Hipster is the new Yuppie

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
8 years ago
Reply to  dan

I don’t think the crosswalk fatality in the Castro was a hipster. He was a Strava KOM-type rider who was completing his morning work-out ride.

For what it’s worth, it was never shown who had the right-of-way. Sure, the cyclist pleaded guilty in exchange for not facing jail time and for the felony charges to be reduced after probation, but that isn’t the same as his actually being guilty. It is possible, even probable, that he entered the intersection prior to his signal changing to red, which gave him the right-of-way to complete his crossing of the very wide intersection. If the pedestrian entered the crosswalk while the cyclist was still crossing, even if the pedestrian had received a green pedestrian signal, it is the pedestrian who is at fault.

Frankly, given the level of bike hate in the SF jury pool and among the sitting judges there, I probably wouldn’t have rolled the dice with a trial either.

canuck
canuck
8 years ago
Reply to  B. Carfree

I think it was quite obvious who was at fault in that collision.

“Bucchere sped through several stop signs before arriving at Castro and Market, and he rode into the intersection after the light turned red, prosecutors said.”

“After the accident, but before Hui died, Bucchere wrote a post on an online cycling forum saying he was “way too committed to stop” before hitting Hui.”

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Bicyclist-sentenced-for-fatal-S-F-crash-4736312.php

Alex
Alex
8 years ago

Can we get some good signage and markings near the Esplanade? So much of the traffic down there is all over the place because there are no signs and no markings.

stace
stace
8 years ago
Reply to  Alex

There are a few “bikes yield to peds” type signs already in places at various spots along the path.

Alex
Alex
8 years ago
Reply to  stace

That is not enough and I don’t think it should be just bikes yielding to peds. Some signs should be “Pay attention to your surroundings; Cyclists don’t speed/use your bell; Peds don’t block path for cyclists”

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  Alex

What we need is Naito to be made safe, then faster cyclists can use that.

Alex
Alex
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Safer and less of a pain in the ass.

Even still, I think the Esplanade would be great for bikes and commuting, the City just hasn’t invested in smart long-term planning around it.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

no, you’re not biased at all.

tedder
8 years ago

I’m ashamed that I used to haul ass along the waterfront (five years ago). Now I never use the waterfront- I use Naito when northbound and have a few different routes for southbound.

Likewise, I don’t expect to make good time on the Esplanade or inner bits of Springwater. That’s okay with me.

spencer
spencer
8 years ago

I thankfully get to avoid the waterfront now. For years, my wife and I seasonally adjusted our commutes to the Burnside bridge to avoid the overcrowding on the East and West bank esplanades. Its sad that this occurred. It exemplifies the need for increased space for cycling. Its unsafe on Naito, so people ride on the path instead.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
8 years ago

It’s very sad that many seem to feel like this reflects poorly on “people who ride bikes” aka the cyclist tribe. Many nice people with sleeve tats surely feel the same. What self-respecting hipster has a bell on his fixie? Also “crash”, not “accident”. “Fast bikes use naito” signs are as useful as “slow walkers swim” ones. If we don’t make space for people to ride and walk at their desired speeds, what we get is conflict.

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric Leifsdad

desired speeds? are you serious? My desired speed is 30mph on a bike. I can do it regularly and for extended periods of time. Should I on the waterfront at any time I want at that speed? lets take that same mindset to driving a car. any speed. any time I want. I mean its what I desire, so why should I have to change, right?

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

Yeah, you don’t have a right to ride dangerously just because you want to ride at 30mph, but most people might like to ride faster than 1.5mph. We have conflicts where we don’t make space for “fast” bike travel and our current routes will often put you in conflict at 10mph. We don’t even know from this account how fast he was going or how the collision happened, only that the guy on a bike didn’t respond appropriately. It seems to me that routing bike traffic onto a park sidewalk might be the best thing to fix here, especially with all that spare pavement on Naito. I can’t even bike with my 4yo on the paths through that park without having conflicts with people walking, forklifts, geese…

jeff
jeff
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric Leifsdad

there’s “separation” on Moody, but pedestrians and cyclists both still locate themselves in the wrong spots and cyclists still ride quite fast on it.

no, actually, they don’t have a ‘right’ to travel at any speed – they have a responsibility to chose a safe speed for the circumstance.

davemess
davemess
8 years ago
Reply to  jeff

ebike?

fat spandex dude
fat spandex dude
8 years ago

tedder
could it be the label “hipster” is a terrible label used by the “get off my lawn” crowd that also thinks all millennials are self-absorbed and their generation was awesome?Recommended 0

Nah, it’s a pretty good label for the real cool dude in his 20s riding the wrong way down Cesar Chavez on a singlespeed, at night, without lights except for the one coming from the lit cig he’s using as a fashion accessory.

Dunno what I’d call the bloke in full TT gear having a ragefit because he can’t go fast on the Esplanade, and doing dangerous things to try and pass people. Manchild?

Zimmerman
Zimmerman
8 years ago

That would be “Pathlete.”

Zimmerman
Zimmerman
8 years ago

I believe the label you’re looking for is “Pathlete.”

Wonder why this got moderated as a reply to your comment, which labeled some cyclists in a fun, but derogatory manner?

Scott H
Scott H
8 years ago

It’s high time we publicly shame all of the sociopaths.

pdx2wheeler
pdx2wheeler
8 years ago

Story doesn’t really surprise me. I saw a guy the other day riding pretty much full speed through the esplanade, only thing was, he was sitting on his handlebars riding backwards, looking over his shoulder for pedestrians. My best guess he was going maybe 15-20 mph, and it was pretty crowded. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Scott Kocher
8 years ago

“Its unsafe on Naito, so people ride on the path instead.” Yup. Need a multi-use path on Naito, with connectivity to the bridges and N and S.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
8 years ago
Reply to  Scott Kocher

Not a MUP. Please. That’s what the waterfront park path already is. For efficient (yes, “fast”) bike travel, MUPs—or even a too-narrow separated “bike path”—will not do.

JMak
JMak
8 years ago

The typical commuting cyclists along the esplanade are simply dangerous. I’ve been riding off and on along the Naito side for five years and it’s just dangerous, particularly in the afternoons. The usual commuters are flying through there weaving in and out of people and have an expectation that you should be moving out of their way.

In fact, I was hit once, two years ago as I was coming off of the steel bridge, turning left to head south along the Naito side of the waterfront. There’s crossing bike traffic coming under the bridge and onto the waterfront there…I was riding straight and I had the right of way, but some jackwagon, with his kid on the bike no less, turns right in front of me. Breaks my rear derailleur. When I stop and ask him why he crossed in front of me he said he expected me to stop.

Look, casual riders along the waterfront is okay, but these road-racing-wannabes with their several thousand dollar bikes racing along at 20+ mph at 5:30 M-F need to be on the road.

tee
tee
8 years ago
Reply to  JMak

I have been hit twice on the esplanade. Both times by commuters who weren’t fast or racing, just simply lacking skill and riding hybrids. Luckily, my only injuries were getting ribs popped out so visibly you could see them through my shirt. Why all the focus on “fast” riders? The issue is people passing without skill or care.

JMak
JMak
8 years ago

spencer
I thankfully get to avoid the waterfront now. For years, my wife and I seasonally adjusted our commutes to the Burnside bridge to avoid the overcrowding on the East and West bank esplanades. Its sad that this occurred. It exemplifies the need for increased space for cycling. Its unsafe on Naito, so people ride on the path instead.Recommended 3

Well, it does not help that we have hordes of young, refuse-to-work, homeless people (who apparently have sufficient money for alcohol, smokes, and drugs) crowding the waterfront day and night.

I rode along the waterfront three times last week and each time, just north of the burnside bridge, gangs of young homeless young people were laying about the pathway along the railing and out into the path. And then more of them are criss-crossing the path with no regard for people actually using the path.

I have to wonder why we allow this to happen? Why is our waterfront being crowded and polluted by these people? Why our elected representatives permit this to happen not only along the waterfront, but the even more so dangerous springwater corridor? Do the city’s leaders believe this maintains the city’s cool image as weird? Do the city’s leaders believe this displays kindness and compassion?

I refuse to take my family down to the waterfront or along the springwater corridor out of fear and to protect my young children from this nonsense down there.

Mao
Mao
8 years ago
Reply to  JMak

You don’t just smell the weed being smoked, I’ve also seen people lighting up. If you ride early enough in the morning (7am or before) it’s not as bad since the people camping overnight are sleeping off to the side and don’t block anything. Noon and later is when it gets bad with people leaving no space for even pedisterians to cross.
I’ll roll by at my slowest speeds to get to the underside of the steelbridge and will get dirty looks. Once I was even told to ride on Naito. I’m not blazing a trail in the park, just taking it easy so I don’t hit any people or pigeons.

caesar
caesar
8 years ago
Reply to  JMak

Yeah, but have you heard their twilight jam sessions on the east bank esplanade near OMSI? I’m talking two or three congas, a guitar, several rain sticks and tambourines, and even a didgeridoo. One time there was even a guy with a full drum kit. Sounds fantastic. Viva Portland transients.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

I hope this comment makes it in as others have been censored.

What exactly was this rider going to do? Go back and provide his insurance? If you are bike only, you don’t HAVE insurance. My car insurance covers me on a bike and if I hit someone. Hey, even my home insurance provides liability to others.

Why didn’t the chaser take a picture of the chasee? Why didn’t he disable the chasees bike? Not hard to do. Let him complain to the cops after he assaulted someone.

So, yeah, thanks for chasing him down…

And doing nothing.

Things like this keep happening..and the state will be forced to require insurance on riders.

canuck
canuck
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Wow, I guess personal responsibility doesn’t mean much to you. So somehow the good samaritan is at fault.

Not everyone has a camera with them at all times. And I am in that group. I still use a cheap flip phone, no camera, no texting, no internet connection. I use it to make phone calls.

John Lascurettes
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

“keep happening”? As heinous as this was, it’s not an everyday occurrence that someone on foot is knocked down and injured by a bike operator. It is so for motor vehicles. Thankfully, this is an exception, not the rule. It is too bad Spencer did not get a picture of the guy at least.

HJ
HJ
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

While he may not have been able to do anything to offer financial support there is something to be said for stopping briefly and saying “Are you ok?”. I had several crashes like this when I lived in Philadelphia. The path along the Schuylkill river would often get very crowded and runners would have a nasty tendency to suddenly turn and run across the path right in front of you. Nothing a cyclist can do at any speed.
Every time though I did stop and inquire if they were injured. Every time (even though both of us were usually hurting) it ended up not being a big deal. Both parties acted like adults, accepted responsibility for their actions and went on with life.
Now it sounds like the woman wasn’t paying attention and may have stepped into the cyclist’s path causing this incident. The cyclist may also have been riding too fast for the situation, I don’t know. Either way I’m sure the discussion would be going very differently if he had just stopped for 30sec.
Considering that this guy is clearly a dirtbag and unable to even follow the basic rules of the road, he’d be the one without insurance even if it was mandated. The simple fact is collisions like this happen all the time. Usually people are decent and stop. Usually all people want is an acknowledgement of the situation. Making a mandate wouldn’t solve anything.

John Lascurettes
8 years ago

Too bad Spencer didn’t have a GoPro or pull out his camera when he did get the guy to speak to him briefly. Since this was a witnessed event, there would have been no “allegedly” about it and it could have been crowd-sourced to identify the guy.

Really bad behavior by that mystery rider. Really bad.

WAR
WAR
8 years ago

How many laws did this individual also break in order to catch up?

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
8 years ago
Reply to  WAR

Which is worse: breaking the law with no physical consequence, or knocking someone to the ground and riding away?

gutterbunnybikes
gutterbunnybikes
8 years ago

There is one basic rule to travel on shared travel spaces – be it roads with bicycles and cars, and MUPs with bicycles and pedestrians.

That rule is assume the slowest has the right of way, and proceed around them with great care and when you can’t safely pass slow down to their pace.

If you aren’t capable of riding a bicycle at a walking pace you don’t belong on a MUP. And quite frankly, if you expect to ride faster than a walking pace on a MUP you are simply a(n)- .

Hit and run is an inexcusable and should be investigated and charged as attempted or murder or assault with a deadly weapon bet it car or bicycle whenever an injury is a result.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
8 years ago

Okay, I’m not justifying what the derriere chapeau did. It’s inexcusable and illegal. However, it’s illegal because of two things: he was involved in an injury-crash and failed to stop and because the esplanade is a sidewalk, where pedestrians have the right of way. It was inexcusable because of the obvious that has already been written.

I have to take issue with your general MUP statement. MUPs don’t exist in the Oregon vehicle code. Sidewalks do, and pedestrians have the complete right of way there, no ifs, ands or buts. Bike paths do, and they are roads in the vehicle code. That is a game changer. Check out ORS 814.070. Basically, pedestrians have zero right of way on bike paths and all other roads that lack sidewalks. Therefore, if a collision occurs between a pedestrian and a cyclist on a bike path (not a sidewalk that is commonly used by cyclists, but an actual bike path), then the fault lies with the pedestrian since they had no right of way and must yield. (You still have to stop and deal if you are in a collision, though. I’d add who wouldn’t, but we already know the answer to that one.)

As if that’s not enough, Oregon is the only state I know of where one does not have a legal obligation to avoid a collision if possible. Fortunately, no one knows about this one, otherwise I suspect we would see even more crashes than we do.

lop
lop
8 years ago
Reply to  B. Carfree

Which MUPs are you talking about where you think it’s a bike path and pedestrians have to yield to cyclists?

Springwater corridor is a park.

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=679

The waterfront? Yup, that’s a park

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=156

Esplanade is a park

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=105

Here are the park rules on shared paths.
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/161457

Slower traffic has the right of way.

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago
Reply to  B. Carfree

“…MUPs don’t exist in the Oregon vehicle code. Sidewalks do, and pedestrians have the complete right of way there, no ifs, ands or buts. Bike paths do, and they are roads in the vehicle code. …” B. Carfree

Haven’t yet checked, don’t know personally whether that acronym ‘MUP’ is used or has been defined in an Oregon statute, so for now, set aside whether it is or isn’t: MUP’s are designed for, and officially are recognized as places where people walk, so MUP’s are effectively, in part, sidewalks. They’re effectively, also bike lanes.

What then, must come into play in order for the type of infrastructure that MUP’s are, in order for them to be safe for both walking and biking, is for people using them to apply their best judgment and self control…and respond to their conscience and sense of responsibility if and when a collision occurs. Morally and ethically, as well as legally, you can’t just run off from a collision you happen to be involved in, because you have some meeting, etc. to go to. This kitted out single speed rider guy’s dereliction of responsibility, was unconscionable.

Somehow, I hope the discussion about the collision gets back to him, and that he mulls over his shameful behavior, decides to come forward and make amends as needed.

Here’s a link to a text of the law you cited. It’s a lot to take in, but worth studying:

http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.070

Clark in Vancouver
Clark in Vancouver
8 years ago

I’m so annoyed that he apologized on behalf of some cycling community. Nobody else who cycles in Portland or the world is any way responsible for the actions of this one individual.

tedder
8 years ago

That’s a bit of a “no true Scotsman” argument.

Clark in Vancouver
Clark in Vancouver
8 years ago
Reply to  tedder

I don ‘t see the connection but are you saying that everyone else who has ever cycled and who has never hit anyone with their bike is guilty too? Why stop at cycling? Why not they be guilty of what someone else of the same race or gender has done?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago
Reply to  tedder

Not at all. It’s more about individual vs. collective guilt.

Joe Adamski
Joe Adamski
8 years ago

My friends wife was hit on the Springwater several months back, breaking her pelvis. This was reported on Bike Portland http://bikeportland.org/2014/12/22/collision-springwater-reminder-ride-cautiously-shared-paths-123052
One small notion is the use of the phrase ‘bike path’ vs Multi Use Path. MUP imparts a totally different message.
Enforcement by police seems unlikely.. I occasionally use the “slow down FRED’ insult.. and occasionally it works.. but it seems like trails are still in the mind as bike trails regardless of how we work to emphasize the multi user mode. These paths are linear parks, not only providing transportation corridors but access to safe(r) recreation for many. This is a piece of work that needs attending to. In the foreseeable future we will have more trails and more users relying on them. Turning them over to the aggressive riders at the cost of others in the community will simply dampen any desire for more paths and more access.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe Adamski

“One small notion is the use of the phrase ‘bike path’ vs Multi Use Path. MUP imparts a totally different message.”

Ah, yes. On the one hand, government wants bicyclists to believe there are paths dedicated to their use (“bike paths”). On the other, they want bicyclists to act as pedestrians and slow down when using “Multi-Use-Paths”, which are, in fact, the same pieces of infrastructure. It seems government/authorities are speaking out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to dealing with “the bicyclist problem”. To say that these places where pedestrians and bicyclists have continuous conflict are indeed not “bike paths” is to acknowledge that there really is vastly less “bike infrastructure” than they would like to claim.

It is only through political double-speak and hand-waving semantics that “Bike Path” and “Multi-Use-Path” ever came to be synonymous.

I’d actually be fine with MUPs and “Bikes Yield to Peds” signs if the same treatment were given to all roads: let’s see some “Cars Yield to Bikes” signs—and not just at green boxes and ill-designed right turn locations…

Lester Luallin
8 years ago

Might be time for a 15 MPH speed limit for Esplanade, Waterfront and lower deck of Steel Bridge. Maybe 10 MPH for the Steel Bridge, due to the narrow path there.

lop
lop
8 years ago
Reply to  Lester Luallin

The problem with that is there are times when cyclists need to slow to 3-5 mph for an uncomfortably long while, and times when 25 mph is fine. I know it’s stressful and frustrating to have to slow down over and over again, but it’s what people need to learn to do when it’s crowded.

WAR
WAR
8 years ago
Reply to  lop

How you ride your bike at 3-5mph without falling over is baffling.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
8 years ago
Reply to  WAR

“Bike paths do, and they are roads in the vehicle code.”

“Bicycle path means a public way, not part of a highway…” –ORS 801.160

“Improper position upon or improperly proceeding along highway” — title of ORS 814.070

I don’t think a pedestrian can be accused of improper position upon a highway when on a “bike path” that is not part of a highway.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
8 years ago
Reply to  El Biciclero

Wrong reply thread. This was for B. Carfree.

lop
lop
8 years ago
Reply to  WAR

Drop a foot to the ground and paddle forward. Works like a charm.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
8 years ago
Reply to  WAR

Pretend you’re perfecting your trackstand.

tee
tee
8 years ago
Reply to  WAR

It’s physics, dude.

Adam H.
Adam H.
8 years ago
Reply to  Lester Luallin

My bike doesn’t have a speedometer; how am I supposed to know how fast I am riding? Not everyone has a Strava iPhone mount…

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago
Reply to  Adam H.

It’s not so difficult for people riding, to develop a sense of how fast, within a couple mph faster or slower, they’re traveling relative to the speed of nearby people on foot, or motor vehicles. Takes a little thinking, but not much more.

Main thing is to not be whipping by people on foot in the close quarters of sidewalks and MUP’s. Too much can go wrong. Speeds beyond triple the speed people present are walking, get to be something like the unpleasant feeling of walking along a highway.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago
Reply to  Adam H.

Visit Western Bikeworks. I’m sure there is some sort of device that might do what you’re looking for.

Joe Adamski
Joe Adamski
8 years ago

Stealing from the signs I see in neighborhoods… Ride like its your grandpa / neighbor / kid / puppy next to you.

Andy K
Andy K
8 years ago

I’m glad we’re shaming this guy, this is no place to ride as fast as you can.

The bigger safety issue on the waterfront paths is the drug users and homeless.

Clark in Vancouver
Clark in Vancouver
8 years ago

So there are principals for design that can be followed. It should be assumed that people when they cycle should not be mixed with when they walk. An exception can be made when volumes are low. Otherwise there should be separate paths.
So, time to get a second path installed.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
8 years ago

The second path is called Naito. The recipe for making it less sucky is clear; it was tried this summer when they blocked off the outer auto lane and made it a proper bike facility. Do the same thing in the south-bound direction, fix the signals, and it would work great.

Sierra Renz
Sierra Renz
8 years ago

Johnathan,

I’m concerned about the legitimacy of this source and the story. My impression from this article is that there is little to no proof other than hearsay. Some questions that arose while reading: Did anyone file a police report? Are there any other witnesses? Was the woman hospitalized?

I’m concerned about whether this actually happened or not, considering there is only one source cited and it seems to be a biased one. Also, if Spencer stopped to help this woman and check on her, how did he or she manage to catch up with the perpetrator? Then, when he or she did mange to catch up with the perpetrator, they failed to take a picture or have more distinct descriptors of this person?

Obviously, if this story is legitimate, the behavior of the perpetrator should not be condoned. If Spencer is telling the truth, he or she also failed to give any details about the incident other than that there was a collision. All this person seems to be doing is shaming the cycling community as a whole. Spencer does not appear concerned about catching the said perpetrator, he or she only seems concerned about highlighting an instance where a cyclist made a mistake comparable to that of a motorist.

This doesn’t seem to be a call to action for the cycling community in terms of finding someone that broke the law, this seems to sheerly be a moment of self-policing of a community that sees instances like this very rarely.

With this quote by Spencer: “Now when I hear the typical car on cyclist altercation, I’ll be visualizing that old woman hitting the pavement and the unconcerned demeanor of the cyclist as he rides away”, this very much appears to be a story that is meant to excuse motorist behavior and simply ridicule cyclists. The description of the event and the perpetrator is extremely vague, which is why I question it’s validity.

Spencer B.
Spencer B.
8 years ago
Reply to  Sierra Renz

Well Sierra,

I guess you could answer any issue that doesn’t align with your own views by calling BS. That doesn’t make it wrong.

I have been a active member of the cycling community in Portland for about 15 years. This has included racing, volunteering for Sunday Parkways, siting on advisory panels, counting bicycles for BTA, course setting, etc., so I figure I have earned the right to call out the community for some of its lamer episodes. This is definitely the worst I have seen, but there are those folks out there that consistently show poor form by speeding around pedestrians, running lights, ignoring traffic controls, etc.. This is just one of those cases where that behavior got someone hurt.

I didn’t take a picture because I tried to talk the guy into going back and jamming a camera in his face wasn’t the way to start a discussion. It took me awhile to catch up because I stopped to check on the lady, and since I am getting old and fat it took me awhile to catch up with him while winding through the traffic across Naito’s morning traffic. Same with making a phone call while trying to keep up with him.

I checked to see if there was an incident report on the PDX Map crime map and there was none. So if I call up the PoPo and say “well there was no incident reported, but there was this guy…” I could of kept following him to his work or residence, but I wasn’t in the mood to risk my life by chasing him the wrong way up the bus mall and all over PDX after that. I could of wrestled him down, but that could be a crime in itself. I even walked through Bike Gallery, West End, Chrome, Timbuktu and a few other place trying find the guy. Needless to say this was a really upsetting event. Yeah, the best I could have done differently was to have a go pro running 24/7 but then I would just be out there looking for worst to happen.

If I see a dork acting like a dork, I say something. We should all say something because if we don’t we are condoning it. This is important because it ultimately affects my safety, my kids safety and of a civil society. I’m in the process of teaching my 6 year old how to ride on the street. I have seen incredible kindness from both other drivers and cyclist in a number of ways like giving extra space on the road or smiles of encouragement. This is a reflection of what is good about the bike community and what a positive relationship can foster. I have also seen stupidity where folks on training rides on Willamette inadvertently buzz her because they don’t see her in front of Daddy’s big dummy and are being dorks.

I guess it comes down to the fact, that if we as cyclist want a civil relationship with our community and roads, we need to project a civil relationship with our community and our roads. For me, that means stopping to apologize to an old lady who got hit and trying to do something about it in a positive, non-threatening manner. That also means setting a good example for my daughter and the other riders around me.

Eddie Barksdale
Eddie Barksdale
8 years ago
Reply to  Spencer B.

It’s not an issue of where something aligns with a particular ideal but a lack of hard facts, credible sourcing, and also a situation that seems to make little sense. How did the collision occur? Where on the waterfront/eastbank did it occur? How was the cyclist able to stay in control of his bike after the collision? How did you manage to catch up to the perpetrator and still have time to talk with the lady? Also, what’s with painting an immediately negative view on a particular style? What’s with the name calling and hipster stereotyping? This is an issue of is this credible news, or is this a prank setup to divide the cycling community as well as paint us in a negative light?

If you want to remain civil, leave the name calling and stereotyping aside and focus on the issues, but don’t try and compare someone getting injured by a bicycle on pedestrian collision as the same as someone dying from a car on cyclist collision. They are entirely different subjects.

Also, you are allowed to make a citizen arrest in the city of Portland and State of Oregon. If you see someone who has broken a law, you have the right to hold them until police arrive.

Sierra Renz
Sierra Renz
8 years ago
Reply to  Spencer B.

Spencer,

Thanks for your reply. It’s not an issue of not being in agreement, it’s an issue of this piece being entirely based on one anonymous source and thus not having enough accountability or credibility in order to be newsworthy.

Behavior like this does need to be called out; however, both the original e-mail and this article are non-productive. This piece does not have the goal of starting a conversation, or, more importantly, catching the alleged perpetrator, it has the goal of fostering in-fighting and shaming. Neither of those are helpful in this situation. If this were a more common occurrence, shaming might be productive. But, in the case of BikePortland readers, this is not necessarily the most helpful approach.

I appreciate that BikePortland is not one sided and points out poor behavior across the board. However, in the case of this article(http://bikeportland.org/2014/12/22/collision-springwater-reminder-ride-cautiously-shared-paths-123052) and this article(http://bikeportland.org/2015/05/11/third-party-view-u-lock-throwing-road-rage-story-143066), multiple, direct, and non-anonymous sources were used. This piece, in its current state, is not practicing journalistic integrity because of the lack of overall productivity and lack of reliable sources. These are things that Jonathan should be concerned about.

Some other questions that arise: Was the woman hospitalized, or did she need immediate medical care? How did the perpetrator manage to hit someone hard enough to knock them to the ground and not be knocked off their bike as well? If this person was in a hurry to get somewhere, how were they still out and about in downtown for Spencer to find them?

As a witness of a crime, the best thing to do in this case is to notice identifying features of the perpetrator and to file a police report, along with putting out a call to action to the community to both find this person and to prevent it from happening again. This article seems to be a way for both Jonathan and Spencer to vent, and is not actually helpful or productive. Where are the details? How did the accident occur? Simply announcing poor behavior, in this case, is not enough.

I understand that BikePortland is a blog and, thus, writers are entitled to opinion pieces. However, this very much straddles the line of news and opinion and needs to be more clear in terms of what the piece is meant to accomplish. Jonathan should be concerned about accountability and credibility and reporting stories in a somewhat objective manner, at least to the point where there are details about the incident and a clear goal regarding the issue at hand.

Stereotyping and in-fighting are not helpful for the community. Are there any identifying features noticed about this person that could actually be helpful in finding them? That seems more concerning and positive than shaming the bicycling community for the alleged actions of one person.

As I previously said, it’s not a matter of not being in agreement. BikePortland is considered a reliable news source by many in the community, and, if this is the goal of BikePortland, it is completely appropriate to request more details and more sources for a story that is lacking both.

wsbob
wsbob
8 years ago
Reply to  Sierra Renz

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, used whimsically: ‘pictures or it didn’t happen.’ Whimsically, in other words, just because a particular incident about which people may find objectionable, there aren’t hard, cold, documented facts of photos and evidence backing up claims of it having happened…does not mean it didn’t happen.

You’ve certainly got a right to your questions about whether the incident Spencer described having happened, did in fact happen. The prevailing fact is, apart from absence of evidence you believe is necessary to accompany particular accounts of outrageous behavior on the part of some of the people biking, such incidents or something close to them, generally are too common.

It’s no stretch of imagination or facts to figure the event as he described it, did in fact happen. If biking used increasingly as a form of transportation, is to maintain its integrity, as well as respect and support from the general public…the people that actively bike had better be prepared to scrutinize very critically, their conduct and behavior while biking, with regard to all road users, but particularly people that travel on foot.

John Liu
John Liu
8 years ago

Agreed, the path on Waterfront Park is often congested and Naito needs a real bike lane.

And doubly agreed, the rider is a complete prick. When you pass him, take care you don’t swerve suddenly in front of him, and accidentally take out his front wheel with your rear wheel, giving him a taste of concrete . . .

In the meantime, there’s nothing preventing any of us from riding on the grass, at least absent an event with fencing.

David Lewis
8 years ago

Naito and Waterfront Park are reasons I laugh when locals laud Portland as a bicycle-friendly city. As a former serviceman stationed in Germany, I can tell you that there is a better way, and millions of people (maybe hundreds of millions! – billions?) coexist by more than just conversations about separations of modes; education is a huge factor in collision prevention.

In Germany, on mixed paths a bicycle bell is a universally understood message that a bicycle is approaching and pedestrians know to make way. In America, a bicycle bell is either ignored or misunderstood as threatening communication. Either way, it is not in our culture.

While riding my bicycle one evening in Germany, I hit a pedestrian crossing against a do not walk sign. She knew she did wrong and had no interest in sticking around to chat, although I will remember the incident for the rest of my life and relive it often. If it had happened in Portland I suspect I would be like the subject of this story, because activists like to hang the boogeyman.

There are two sides to every story.