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Road rage erupts on Williams Avenue after woman gets called out for distracted driving

Posted by on April 7th, 2016 at 10:47 am

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Woman accused of road rage on North Williams last night.
(Photo: Jessica Roberts)

An interaction between road users on North Williams Avenue during rush-hour last night turned ugly when a woman driving a car physically threatened a woman who was cycling by swerving her car into the bike lane and then chasing her into a nearby restaurant.

It started around 5:15 pm when Piedmont neighborhood resident Jessica Roberts saw a woman in a white sedan using her cell phone. Roberts told us this morning she first saw the woman on her phone when her car passed her while she was biking in the bike lane near North Stanton (Dawson Park). As usual during the evening rush Williams was completely backed up with auto traffic. Upon passing by the woman’s vehicle a few seconds later (near Fargo Street) Roberts looked at her and yelled, “That’s illegal!” In response, the woman, “Looked up and just exploded with rage,” Roberts says.

“She flung her car door open and left it running in the middle of traffic. I was terrified.”

Roberts doesn’t remember the exact string of expletives that came from both of their mouths but she remembers the woman in the car saying “I’ll get you!” According to Roberts the yelling continued for about three-to-four blocks. During that time Roberts claims the driver of the car swerved into the bike lane she was riding in multiple times. Roberts was screaming the woman’s license plate number. Then, worried that she might forget it, Roberts pulled out her phone and snapped a photo of the car. “That was really what made her super mad,” Roberts recalls.

After Roberts snapped a photo she claims the woman in the car stopped and came running after her. “She flung her car door open and left it running in the middle of traffic.”

“I was terrified,” Roberts says. At this point Roberts claims the woman was yelling something akin to, “You fucking delete that picture you goddamned bitch!”

Seeking refuge, Roberts ran away from the woman and sought refuge inside a nearby cafe. At this point a small crowd had gathered. Roberts says a cafe employeed told her to leave and didn’t want the fracas to impact business. “I refused to leave,” Roberts says, “because I was afraid if I went back out there I would get punched.” Just as the woman entered the cafe Roberts says a woman from the crowd came in and told the woman to get back in her car and threatened to call the police. The driver of the car went back to her vehicle (which had small children in it and was still idling in the middle of rush-hour traffic) and drove away.

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Roberts isn’t sure what she’ll do next, but she’s hoping a few witnesses come forward in case she needs to corroborate her story in court. Roberts Tweeted about the incident last night. After posting the license plate number she received a response from a Portland Police officer. 45 minutes after her Tweet was published, Portland Police Officer Dave Sanders replied from the Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force Twitter account. Sanders said he ran the plate number and said he “Would pay her a visit.”

“How do we hold people accountable [for using phones while driving] without endangering our lives and with precipitating a totally pointless screaming match?”

Officer Sanders told us this morning that he stopped by the woman’s house twice last night but she wasn’t home. He has since spoken with her on the phone and is planning to meet with her in person today.

Roberts says Williams is her preferred route home and — before last night — she felt like the recent redesign of the road had calmed traffic down a bit. Her main concern is the larger question of how to deal with all the people she sees using phones while driving. Roberts, who sees people using their phones while driving “every single day” says she knows calling strangers out for their behavior almost never leads to a positive outcome. “I feel really strongly that being silent on this [people using phones while driving] is complicit,” Roberts says. “That makes it acceptable and it’s not acceptable to me. How do we hold people accountable without endangering our lives and with precipitating a totally pointless screaming match?”

Another piece of this story is the underlying tension about race and gentrification in the Williams corridor. The area used to be home to a thriving black community that has been dismantled, disrespected, and displaced after decades of systemic racism. In the past decade the corridor has changed dramatically as old buildings and homes have been demolished for new apartments and businesses that cater to — and attract — a much different, and whiter, demographic. These tensions are what bubbled up during the debate around the Williams Avenue Safety Project. In this road rage case, the woman in the car was black and Roberts (who is white) recalls that during the yelling match the woman said something about the “hipsters that have moved into my neighborhood.”

“She was so mad,” Roberts recalls, “And I bet she drives Williams every day and I bet she’s mad every day. That’s kind of scary.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Ayleen
Guest
Ayleen

Those poor children! They need a better role model in their lives, hopefully some better influencers.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Child abandonment.

Think how easy it would have been to abduct her children while she was having a temper tantrum like a little child.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Good work, Jessica, and good work, Ofc. Sanders. Curious what the response ends up being.

The only thing I regret about always riding with a GoPro is not having two GoPros. (those damn cyclists running red lights! so dangerous!)

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Thanks- can’t edit comments :/

Peejay
Guest
Peejay

That’s horrible. It’s really horrible that we are forced to either keep silent about the lawbreaking that endangers us, or open our mouth and subject ourselves to assault. I don’t know why, but my experience with calling people out for illegal stuff is that the phone users are the most hostile. More than once, I’ve been threatened by illegal phone users. What are they defending? Sometimes I try to turn it around on them. “Do you have kids? OK, how about I drive drunk in front of your house while they’re playing in the street?”

Adam
Subscriber

90% of the people that yell at me have their kids in the car. What kind of example are they setting? Their kids will just grow up thinking it’s okay to harass people for no good reason.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Interesting how the people who say riding a bike is unsafe are often among the least safe drivers on the road.

Adam
Subscriber

It’s like the people who won’t let their kids ride a bike to school because there are too many cars, so they all drive instead…

David Feldman
Guest
David Feldman

Cell phone use is a good argument for the legalization of car theft and vandalism.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Thank you for helping cyclists live up to their stereotypes! I give you an 8/10…would rate higher if you talked about throwing U-locks at people.

jered bogli
Guest
jered bogli

pretty sure that comment is not exclusive to cyclists. I ride a bike lots and drive a car lots – I don’t disagree with the FEELING of that statement.

Dave
Guest
Dave

There is no moral difference between what police often do with open booze bottles–pour ’em out on the street–and what they ought to do with cell phones–destroy them on the spot. Cell phones should be the red line beyond which we have no tolerance for a particular behavior.

Spiffy
Subscriber

THIS!

if people thought they’d immediately have their cell phone confiscated they’d be a LOT less likely to do it…

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I don’t call out motor-phoners very often, but one of the few times I did stands out in my mind. Coming into Lake Oswego (ugh) from the south, a motorist in an SUV swerved into me. At the next red light, I was slightly ahead of him and I just looked back at him talking on his phone and shook my head disapprovingly. To my surprise, he immediately ended his call, rolled down his passenger window and apologized. I was positively speechless.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

European, right?

Spiffy
Subscriber

don’t generalize them all, because some of them are horrible… as we’ve read about here numerous times…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

That’s like not generalizing rude Americans; we are the best at that.
USA! USA! USA!

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

In Vancouver BC, the VPD would frequently stand alongside the street during rush hour. THey would block a few parking spots along the street behind them, and when they saw peole driving dangerously, speeding, or using a pone, they would just motion them over to the parking spots. When had 3 or 4 pulled over, they would write them all tickets. And repeat. It is super efficient. They also used VERY unmarked cars (like older minivans). I think PPD could make a much bigger dent in unsafe driving if they got out of their cars an patrolled on bikes/on foot more frequently.

RH
Guest
RH

This is a great idea! Simple and efficient!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Wha….? You don’t need a fleet of new cars to do it?

Active
Guest
Active

The OSP vehicles are likely needed because OSP is operating on the highways and freeways (not City streets). I think it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s not so easy to pull people over with a wave of the hand at those high speeds.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Not in this country however I have seen Vancouver (BC) PD waive drivers over to the shoulder on their highways by merely stepping out in front of (albeit wayyyy ahead of) them. Again, it wouldn’t work here due to well… anyone can figure that out.

jonno
Guest
jonno

Many years back I had an OSP trooper wave me down from the shoulder of I-84 for speeding way, way out in the Gorge. So it is done by police here.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Yep. Should be able to pay for an electric bike or two with an hour’s worth of tickets. Efficiency is the operative word here. If an officer only writes 4 tickets per hour and then has to go to court for 1hr per ticket, that’s about 6 tickets per day and negative revenue because most of them are waived.

LCL
Guest
LCL

PPD should set up sting on Williams/Vancouver. Start issuing tickets and fines.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

‘distracted driver enforcement’ you mean?

Adam
Subscriber

Glad you’re okay, Jessica! I’ve been in similar situations and it’s scary. I tell myself not to engage drivers, but sometimes you just have a visceral reaction to someone threatening your life. Hopefully some justice will be served!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s amazing how I can feel my adrenaline rising even just reading about incidents like this. I don’t know how I would have reacted in this Jessica’s place. And that the restaurant staff asked her to leave? WTF?

One of the potentially contributing factors that Jonathan called out was “the corridor has changed dramatically as old buildings and homes have been demolished for new apartments and businesses that cater to — and attract — a much different, and whiter, demographic.”

I find this an interesting observation in light of all the debates we’ve been having about zoning and density.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Interesting indeed; I certainly hadn’t thought about that aspect when I saw it on Twitter last night. It certainly doesn’t excuse road rage, but adds some potential context.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Though we have no evidence to show there was a racial or economic dynamic at work. It might have been good old fashioned road rage.

soren
Guest

Gentrification in that area was due to the obscene speculative run up in single-family home prices and associated rental rates in the late 90s and zeroes. I still have very mixed feelings about spending money in north and north east portland.

soren
Guest
tom
Guest
tom

right. and this is just the retelling of the history of urbanity itself. the central city the world over has been the desirable place to be since biblical times. our little suburban diversion is blip in an otherwise very predictable urban cycle. undervalued property in desirable locations will always be purchased by people of means and eventually improved. the story for the modern black American is mostly bleak however, and we need to remember this. half of black americans born poor, will stay poor, with the loss of industry, children of middle class blacks are extremely likely to be downwardly mobile, and nearly HALF of all black kids are raised in single parent households. the American economy has changed dramatically in the last 40 years and if you really need someone to blame, start with bill Clinton and his approval of NAFTA….that was the last nail in the coffin for low skill industry in this country. so if you are white and riding a bike around at your leisure, you are very privileged already.

RMHampel
Guest
RMHampel

If you look at endemic white poverty, the statistics are EXACTLY the same. Poverty breeds poverty. This is not necessarily a racial issue.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I have to wonder… how many people who were “gentrified out” found homes in all those nice new apartments we built in their neighborhoods?

tom
Guest
tom

id bargain a big fat zero if they are market rate. a new one bedroom is pretty much priced for two people these days. that’s a standard that were going to have to get used to unfortunately. that’s probably how it was 100 years ago too. studio equals single person. 1 bedroom equals couple, 2 bedroom equals couple with child. our notion that a single person should be able to afford a one bedroom apartment might have to change too.

soren
Guest

i wholeheartedly agree with this critique. let’s upzone some lots, tear down some 0.8 million dollar bungalows, and build some multi-family public housing in north and north east portland.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I want to know what cafe is was so that I can avoid it…

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

I’m with you, Jessica. I read the stories on here and note the cautions that these engagements sometimes don’t end well, but in some cases I simply can’t standby and “take it” when someone puts my life or others’ at risk.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“… when someone puts my life or others’ at risk.”

We know this is true, but most likely the person you might point it out to has the opposite view: you are putting your own life at risk by being foolish enough to engage in something as dangerous as bike riding. And where’s your helmet?

How can one counter this attitude? It seems that if I bring dangerous driving to the dangerous driver’s attention, I will only be viewed as a crackpot with no credibility—because I’m not in a car.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I have had more than a few of these. For some reason 911 does not work on my cell phone. Portland Maine keeps responding. They cannot find the streets on their maps!! The non emergency number helps. I will call that the next time I am laying in the street. Otherwise the 911 number is usually on hold for 2-3 minutes for me. after explaining that I am in Portland Oregon or not in Beaverton (different jurisdiction and maps).

Ben McLeod
Guest
Ben McLeod

I recently called a man out for swerving into the bike lane next to me (because he had an iPad in his lap!!). He then attempted to drive me off the road as he was screaming at me about getting a job and a real life. After a few hundred feet of this behavior, he came to a stop. As I rode up to him, I tried my best to be calm and have a conversation with him, but he immediately took a swing at me (out his car window; it was pretty lame and silly) and screamed expletives as spit was flying from his mouth. I’ll admit, I swore like a sailor right back at him and then rode off.

I’m not sure what the source of this man’s rage was, but it was scary. It’s scary to think that such angry people are behind the wheel of a few thousand pounds of metal.

The thing is, I was just riding in the bike lane. I didn’t run any lights, or take “his” lane; I was simply riding to work (despite his screaming at me about getting a job). HE was the one who, due to being distracted, swerved into another lane and nearly killed a fellow human being. Rather than acknowledging his mistake, he lost his mind on being called out for it. Then got all righteous about my form of transportation (I was a “dirty, scumbag hippy” and, according to him, everyone who rides bikes are “pieces of shit that don’t deserve rights!” I believe I had screamed at him something about the right to ride my bike without being threatened).

I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a picture, but I was too busy trying not to get run over. But I think had I taken a picture, he truly would have run me down.

PeaDub
Guest
PeaDub

I believe we get these kinds of reactions because the person knows they are completely in the wrong and there’s no possible way to justify their behavior (driving while using an iPad for god’s sake). In order for them to protect their view of themselves as something other than a severely irresponsible person who almost just killed someone, they have to somehow show that you are the actual cause of the problem, not them. Since there’s no rational way to do that, they end up in a blind rage. Cognitive dissonance in action. Also very scary.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

It’s been my experience that calling anyone out on their behavior does not end up well. I’ve called other cyclists out on running signs, lights, etc…and of course they get angry. I see it at least two dozen times a day in front of my house (bike route with a stop sign). Drivers simply have something more dangerous at their immediate disposal to act irrationally with.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

cognitive dissonance often has traumatic results.

tom
Guest
tom

correct. and a memberof the ruling class calling out a member of the lower class while in a neighborhood in transition, from upper to lower class. this is not going to end well. i got called out for making a supposedly racist comment earlier. far from it. i was merely stating that the lady on the bike, and any white person in north Portland who moved there post 1990 is probably considered an interloper by the remaining black residents. im not saying its the right attitude to have but that’s kind of how it is. America is a hostile place in 2016 and the economic rift between the American classes is growing greater by the day and black opportunity unfortunately is not improving with the times.

tom
Guest
tom

i meant lower to upper. typo….

Mao
Guest
Mao

Lower to upper, upper to lower, same to same. No one likes getting called out no matter how true or false it may be

Spiffy
Subscriber

I rarely have to call out a cyclist for dangerous behavior since there just aren’t that many threatening other people’s lives…

Dave
Guest
Dave

Remember, they’re drivers, not people. No irony or humor intended.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Finding distracted drivers is like shooting fish in a barrel. No matter how bad you think the problem is, it’s probably even worse.

You can’t see this at street level, and I don’t even notice it much in the saddle, but I do have a good vantage point. The stealthiest practitioners have one hand on the wheel and the other resting on their knee, holding their phone angled toward their face.

Maybe she’s upset for being singled out?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

People don’t like being called out, period. You do this enough and you are going to encounter someone like this.

Adam
Subscriber

Please stop with the victim blaming. Thanks.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

He’s not blaming anyone, just pointing out what usually happens.

Dan
Guest
Dan

There were no victims in this incident, just two willing participants.

Adam
Subscriber

Just because someone chose to call out a driver on their behavior does not mean they “willingly participated” in the harassment that followed. That was all the choice of the driver.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I’m really glad some people stand up to people like this. It’s important that people know they are doing something that affects others and is inappropriate- not to mention unsafe and illegal.

The alternative to communicating this ourselves is to cross our fingers for strong enforcement to send the message. Which will take a lot of enforcement and political will. We can’t even get lane markers to help deter bike lane intrusion, so I don’t put a lot of faith in this happening soon.

lop
Guest
lop

> It’s important that people know they are doing something that affects others and is inappropriate- not to mention unsafe and illegal.

Do you want people to yell at cyclists who bike on the sidewalk downtown?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Do you want people to yell at cyclists who bike on the sidewalk downtown?

Yes. Especially when it endangers lives.

lop
Guest
lop

Really? I don’t want anyone yelling over a minor thing like trying to squeeze through with their bike on a crowded sidewalk downtown. Or talking on a cell phone while driving without crashing. Appealing to illegality or the increase in stress/potential for physical harm doesn’t really reach me. The added hostility isn’t productive, it changes nobodies mind, it breeds resentment and stress for all around.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“Do you want people to yell at cyclists who bike on the sidewalk downtown?”

I condone yelling at anybody that’s doing something dangerous and is know to kill people…

Dan
Guest
Dan

It certainly doesn’t excuse the car driver’s response, or her potentially injurious actions, but you do have to be prepared for consequences for your actions- including calling someone out. Both parties are culpable (something I’ve learned based on my own actions).

Road rage is growing everywhere in the PDX metro area. My job has me on the road a lot and it’s amazing how bad it’s getting. When I lived in LA, I commuted via motorcycle and what I’m seeing here (in a truck) is getting close to the level of what I saw down there.

Regardless, Chris I’s statement wasn’t victim blaming.

Adam
Subscriber

prepared for consequences for your actions

No reasonable person should assume that asking someone to hang up their phone will result in the kind of harassing behavior this driver exhibited.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Asking someone to hang up their phone is not what the witness reported doing. She stated she yelled ‘that’s illegal’.
Yelling at someone is not asking.

Adam
Subscriber

Yelling or asking, my initial point still stands: it’s still not an appropriate response. Drivers can’t hear much outside their car anyway, so who’s to say she was just yelling so the driver could hear her?

Jessica Roberts
Subscriber

Nope. Didn’t yell. That part was said quite calmly. I admit that I got plenty mad after she started swerving at me and yelled back. But nope, not the first part.

Mike
Guest
Mike

If you are going to ride up along side a driver and yell at them, be prepared when they respond.
I’m not saying the woman responded well, but that is always the risk you run when you yell at someone.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Be prepared for a driver to run a red light and kill you.

Be prepared for a driver to cross your right of way.

Be prepared for a driver to not see you.

Adam
Subscriber

There’s a difference between a reasonable response (yelling back, maybe honking), and an unreasonable one (menacing and chasing the rider for four blocks, getting out of her car, and chasing on foot). In a civilized society, we should not be training ourselves to assume an anti-social response. This only leads to more anti-social behavior.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Exactly – riding up to someone and yelling at them is not what I would call civilized. I guess it’s ok since she was on a bike though.

Had a driver pulled up next to a cyclist and yelled at them for being on their phone while riding, I’m sure there would be plenty of outrage.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

I’m sure you missed Jessica’s response, above, where she clarified she didn’t yell until after the road rage started?

Want to walk that back once you read it?

Mike
Guest
Mike

I apologize for believing the story was accurate.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Per the article above:

“Upon passing by the woman’s vehicle a few seconds later (near Fargo Street) Roberts looked at her and yelled, “That’s illegal!” ”

It’s great that Jessica is clarifying her story now, perhaps we can get the other persons perspective too? Oh, never mind – she was in a car.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“Exactly – riding up to someone and yelling at them is not what I would call civilized.”

what’s a civilized response to a driver endangering the lives all those around them with their distraction?

to me it’s to get their attention so they are aware of it and can stop…

how do you get the attention of somebody in a car? yell at them or hit the car, otherwise they may not notice you…

Dan
Guest
Dan

True, but it also leads to a higher probability of survival as well.

Roger Horner
Guest
Roger Horner

I think there is sociological difference at play here. What should be considered ‘reasonable’ in a vacuum where the environment is neutral and knowledge of the other person’s perspective is quite different from what is ‘reasonable’ when the environment is unfamiliar and the interaction is with someone you do not know. If I am having a conflict with my neighbor my expectation for a reasonable response is vastly different from what my expectation of a reasonable response in an environment such a my commute home.

In some environments it might not be unreasonable to expect a gun to be presented during a conflict, even if ideologically a gun should never be used for conflict resolution. Our perceptions of the environment we live in can also vary vastly between people who may even be occupying the same space.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I would not call either one a victim, but I would identify one as an upstanding citizen doing their duty to call out those that break the law and endanger the lives of children. The other “participant” appears to think they entitled to break the law and endanger children.

Adam
Subscriber

Jessica was the victim of harassment and menacing. Curious to know what threshold you believe must be crossed for one to be a victim.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Interesting question – The driver should be charged with harassment, menacing and child endangerment, but Jessica should be called a hero not a victim for standing up for our community against an obvious bully.

Adam
Subscriber

Ah, thanks for clarifying. Though can’t someone simultaneously be a victim and a hero? The terms are not mutually exclusive.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’m just stating a fact. Don’t do this if you aren’t willing to deal with the potential consequences.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

Which makes it no different at all from literally every other choice you make. But by calling it out, it appears that you put some of the onus for this assault onto Jessica.

“You shouldn’t call people out…they might assault you!”
“You shouldn’t ride your bike in the bike lane…someone might hit you!”
“You shouldn’t ride without hi-viz…drivers might not see you!”
“You shouldn’t go out dressed like that…”

That’s why this looks like victim blaming. Because “you made a choice, you may have to deal with the consequences” shouldn’t include taking the blame when 1) your actions are legal, and 2) the consequences include someone criminally attempting you harm.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Perhaps there was a better, more tactful way of calling it out rather than just yelling at a unsuspecting driver? I don’t know. Maybe that really is the most social and constructive way to handle that type of situation.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

She didn’t yell. Refresh the thread. 🙂

Spiffy
Subscriber

“I don’t know.”

I also don’t know… Jessica didn’t know…

but I do know that they need to be called out… and you have to be loud to penetrate the noise and sound insulation of a car…

Steve
Guest
Steve

I’d really like to know the name of the cafe. Demanding someone who is being threatened leave is unacceptable.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Jessica – glad to read that you were not injured or run over. This driver used their motor vehicle as a weapon so it will be interesting to see what the PPB / judicial system chooses to do.

Sadly – I would recommend that you buy some post incident protection: Rideye (or similar) camera mounted on front and back of your bike. [Let me know if you would like to borrow mine to try it out. You know how to get ahold of me.]

daisy
Guest
daisy

“Roberts says a cafe employee told her to leave and didn’t want the fracas to impact business.”

I hope Jessica is getting in touch with the manager and owner of this business. This is a really terrible thing to say to someone who is seeking physical safety.

Jessica, if they’re not apologetic for their employee, can you share the name of the business so I can know not to go there?

On another note: I’m not questioning Jessica’s judgment in this situation because when you’re under threat like this, it’s really scary and you do what you need to do. But why wouldn’t someone else nearby call the police? It sounds like the person in the car abandoned her car in the middle of the street to chase after someone else. Did it just all happen too fast? Was there a concern the police wouldn’t get there in time? Do bystanders not think it’s their place to call the police?

Jessica Roberts
Subscriber

No, no, it’s OK. It must have been scary to have shouting people come inside. I don’t blame them at all.

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

Yikes, I must have just missed this. Glad nobody was hurt!

The reaction is inexcusable, however I’m not sure I would have yelled at a random motorist sitting in traffic on their phone. Yes, being on the phone is illegal, but yelling at strangers is a great way to instigate conflict, and more often than not doesn’t solve anything.

J_R
Guest
J_R

The café employee should be embarrassed by telling someone in fear for her life to leave.

The message to the motorist would-be assailant should not be “I have called the police” not a threat to do so.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

well we don’t know what their state of mind was or how the whole thing unfolded. I suspect they might have been confused as to what was going on.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Fear for life? I thought it was fear of getting punched. Still not fun, but usually not fatal.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

“Please go back outside, she doesn’t want to kill you she just wants to punch you.” ??

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

Again I say, harsher penalties for infractions and encounters like this.

Cell phone use = Suspended License
Road Rage = Suspended License
Harassment of other road users = Suspended License
Running red lights and stop signs = Suspended License
etc

I do hope the driver isn’t suffering from some life changing event like her husband dying and for whatever reason the passing comment was the last straw but phew, very scary reaction. Sometimes we shouldn’t be operating motor vehicles…whether it’s because of a horrible day, general disregard for laws that protect others, or anger management issues.

Glad your ok Jessica, I’ve definitely made similar passing comments. I’m at my wits end with distracted or angry people in cars.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’d add to your list that if a driver is caught driving with suspended license… IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION!

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

Or impound the car…

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

Or?

Embrace the power of “and.”

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

touché

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Don’t impound. Confiscate and crush or sell at auction.

Matthew B
Guest
Matthew B

I am a big old scaredy cat so I would never call out a driver. You never know how they’re going to react, expletives and a finger or even a fist are less dangerous than a gun. The last time I got yelled at by a motorist I was actually doing something wrong and deserved it, I have since modified my behavior to be more conscious and respectful of other road users. Usually when I am driving, my phone is put away, unless I am using it for turn by turn directions.

I am glad Jessica is okay, but I would warn everyone that there are a lot of people out there on a hair trigger with poor impulse control.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“The last time I got yelled at by a motorist I was actually doing something wrong and deserved it, I have since modified my behavior to be more conscious and respectful of other road users.”

same here… that was last year… and it was because a traffic signal wasn’t working and I wasn’t careful enough proceeding through a red… now I’m wiser… but at the time I was already upset at the light and I lashed out at the driver even though it wasn’t their fault… I felt pretty bad…

Brendan Treacy
Guest
Brendan Treacy

The larger point here about road rage is that allowing people, who often have a ‘hair trigger’, abundant access to something as dangerous and powerful as a car is a flawed system. We shouldn’t have to face that danger just beneath the surface every time we leave the house. It makes the world a hostile place and it doesn’t need to be.

Julia
Guest
Julia

I’m afraid for my wife to ride on Williams. I advise her to stay calm when there are close calls, but I can’t follow the example. Sometimes I get so upset I feel like I could lift a car up and throw it across the street.
I try to shake my head at the driver, hoping they will get that they are not as sly as they think with their texting.

KT
Guest
KT

I’m way more fearful of drivers hitting me on purpose these days…the aggression out there towards bicyclists and pedestrians is really scary

k.
Guest
k.

This is why I avoid Williams and ride home on back streets through Irvington and Alameda. It’s much more peaceful.

rick
Guest
rick

Should it have to be like this?

tom
Guest
tom

no, but bikes are seen as a kind of beacon of white, liberal privilege in a lot of Portland. poor black folks in buicks or rednecks in big pickups will react the same way. shrug….

Spiffy
Subscriber

not to those in the inner city… we’re used to seeing all kinds of people on bikes from kids to homeless to rich white recreationalists… it seems that the really mad ones are those that never walk to their corner store or to school… they’re mad at all those people in their way that slow them down…

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

We switched over to Interstate shortly after the Williams reboot and a couple of too-close calls. Oddly enough, Interstate has proven to be much more predictable, the drivers more courteous and the traffic more forgiving than Williams. I wonder if the left-hand bike lane on Williams ups the stress on all the road users just enough to bring out more unpleasant behaviors.

Spiffy
Subscriber

the left-side alignment certainly makes it easier for a driver and cyclist to see each other and interact…

Mao
Guest
Mao

I like back streets just because there is much few everything and I can meander around

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Pepper spray? Firearms? Starting to sound like reasonable defenses.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

>Firearms?

Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. If you brandish or actually use a firearm on someone and there’s no evidence of deadly physical force, you are going to have a very bad time in court.

And carrying a ready-to-use gun would be so practical! I’ll just add it to the phone, wallet, keys, and pocket change already in my pockets. Maybe I’ll get a sexy Batman utility belt. Or just throw it in my pannier beneath my bike pump, tools, gym clothes, rain pants, and books. “Hold on person threatening me, let me find my gun!”

Adam
Subscriber

A gun is a really great way to escalate an already dangerous situation. No thanks.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

“I need to remove my commuter jacket to reach my Glock. Can you hold on?”

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

I would, however, worry about the driver who is more likely to have a gun tucked away in the glove compartment.

jd
Guest
jd

Yeah, pointing a gun at a car with two children it is an amazing idea.

Sam
Guest
Sam

I’m glad no one was hurt.

Thank you, Jonathan, for framing this story with the gentrification issue.

Gentrification and systematic racism do not justify the driver’s actions, but like the driver’s actions, they cannot be ignored.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

“I feel really strongly that being silent on this [people using phones while driving] is complicit,” Roberts says.

I feel exactly the same way. We must start holding people accountable, at least verbally, and there isn’t (and will never be) enough police coverage to fully entrust them with that job. No slight on the police in that; it’s just that effecting cultural change requires grassroots involvement.

I’ve been tempted to bolster my personal protection, as I’ve also encountered angry drivers — none so aggressive as the woman who attacked Jessica — but I’m still holding onto enough confidence that my visible GoPro will deter people from going *too* nuts.

Here’s hoping an appropriate response is forthcoming from the police.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I had the unfortunate experience of driving yesterday evening. No only did a trip that should have taken 45 minutes, take two hours, I saw at least a dozen people on their cell phones several cases of minor road rage and lots of rude drivers. I could have done the entire trip in an 1:20 by bike on a lovely spring evening. When I finally got the beast parked, five drivers would not stop for us to cross Sandy and I saw one driver nearly hit a pedestrian. Why do people drive in this town?

rick
Guest
rick

No district-based city council.

JL
Guest
JL

Why did you?

eddie
Guest
eddie

Why do people drive anywhere? Because Americans are brought up to see it as the “normal” way to get around. Transportation infrastructure was designed for the car, and continues to be as such. Every American city is a driving town, every single one. Most American adults are drivers. It’s completely normative, no matter where you live. And unfortunately I don’t see this changing…

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

They drive for the very same reason that you did that day…

RMHampel
Guest
RMHampel

Because, when you are poor and live many miles from your crappy job and you have small children to schlep to daycare and public transit is never where you need it to be when you need it to be and you are fundamentally lazy and one of those people who are always late and…

RH
Guest
RH

Road rage will continue to get worse during rush hour. The roads are at capacity and folks are continuing to move here and many of them drive.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

The roads have lots of unused capacity, if you know when to drive.

Tim
Guest
Tim

or if you are on a bike.

Spiffy
Subscriber

it only helps a little when you’re downtown… not enough bike lanes means you end up splitting lanes or walking on the sidewalk…

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

*Most of them drive.

Jolly Dodger
Guest
Jolly Dodger

Doesn’t,”I’ll get you!”, attempting to use the car as a weapon constitute some type of intent to do bodily harm? Like a threat? If I said that to an officer and then tried to hit them with my bike, i’d be shot.

jd
Guest
jd

Those two little faces.

The driver did a few things very wrong, but it seems like de-escalating could have happened on either “side.”

JJJJ
Guest

“Roberts says a cafe employeed told her to leave and didn’t want the fracas to impact business. ”

This business needs to be called out immediately. This is insane.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Sad story and probably one that is repeated many, many times. Although this can happen anywhere, N Williams is a powder keg that requires only a little spark to ignite. Anyone claiming that the street has become calmer must be riding a N Williams about which I know nothing. I use it frequently and it seems to me to have been re-designed by the Committee to Create Conflicts, not the Orwellian-titled Williams Avenue Safety Project. The number of close calls I’v experienced on N Williams is way up over a few years ago. I suspect it’s only a matter of time until “close” becomes “collision.”

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

‘Roberts, who sees people using their phones while driving “every single day” says she knows calling strangers out for their behavior almost never leads to a positive outcome. ‘

Which means it’s not a good idea. Drivers know they’re not supposed to yak on the phone, but they do it anyway. Yelling at them just puts them in fight or flight mode (usually the former since they have a couple tons of steel around them) and is as productive as barking at dogs.

Here’s something to think about. There is a certain percentage of dope addicts, convicted murderers, schizophrenics, etc. in the population. If you think about how many motorists actually mess with cyclists, it’s clear they belong to an elite group that falls far outside the norm. Assuming these people are sane/normal during your interactions is not a smart move.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

I believe the minimal (but existing) risk is worth the minimal (but existing) benefit. I’m not sure you have any grounds to say it’s “not smart” without presenting more than just your opinion (any more than I can claim it *is* smart without the same).

You decide what risk level you’re good with. I’ll decide for me. And let’s try not to call each other names any more, ‘K?

Adam
Subscriber

Not to mention, many people feel helpless to stop dangerous driver behavior. The police are trying, but it’s an uphill battle. The problem seems to be getting worse, not better. As a vulnerable road user, any little thing a driver does can make you feel unsafe, and this frustration often manifests itself as yelling at the driver. Because that’s really all you can do, whether it’s effective or not.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Useless as barking at dogs? I fully disagree. It may carry a risk of irrational response, but it’s definitely not useless. It definitely works in many cases.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

[I know this is WAAAAY too long–my apologies in advance. Just struck a familiar nerve, which I’m sure will come as no surprise to those of you who know me. 🙂 If you actually read it all, let me know and I’ll send you a candy bar]

Very glad Jessica’s ok. What a terrifying incident! I hate how much I’m avoiding riding my bike–but I don’t feel safe on our roads.

Please forgive the digression…

I don’t doubt that driver’s frustration stems from what (I confess) I feel too, which is a sense of helplessness and hopelessness and even rage over this city’s intense focus on newcomers and tourists (and, chronically, whites), to the neglect of existing residents and our communities. Swift and all-encompassing change of the kind Portland has experienced comes with serious fallout and side effects, and it falls hardest on existing residents. This goes ignored, and all that seething ooze comes out sideways.

As a newcomer, you’re leaving someplace you perceive as worse for something better. You’re excited, it’s a new start, a clean slate. You’re gaining something. But–in super ‘hot’ lifestyle cities like Portland–for locals, we’ve been losing something. Not at first, not when the numbers were smaller and more manageable. At some point, the numbers and the growth stymied daily life for many of us, the things we loved about our city, effectively choking/polluting the reasons why we lived here and hampering our freedom and mobility, even in walkable neighborhoods.

I know, I know–may be a lot better than where you (who moved here recently) came from, but trust me, it’s a whole lot worse for many of us, and it’s been beyond stressful. Depressing. Discouraging. Hopeless-making. The gulf between you and me and our experience of Portland can be daunting. The fact that most all I’ve seen, for years, in the NY Times et al is your (very positive!) side of the picture is alienating.

Even if we (locals) are in a lauded walkable neighborhood and have stuff around, great stuff, some of us now avoid going out because the lines are monstrous, the places are always crowded, the walk there is horrible because there are so many damned exhaust-spewing cars (and people driving to your ‘walkable neighborhood’). You, as a newcomer, seem to gain (or assume) an almost instant sense of ownership, while I and other locals, lose it.

In the case of North and NE Portland, the losses are grave and of longstanding (white longtime residents guilty too), and all the gentrification of late is just the poo icing on the shit cake for them. The sense of displacement I’ve felt since The Great Bulging of Portland is magnified a millionfold for the black community, I’m certain. I can’t even fathom it.

The air has gotten very bad and grows worse, the ease and friendliness we used to feel among strangers has disappeared (I used to smile and greet–now I’ve got perpetual, self-protective mean face), harassment is a daily threat, once clean streets are littered, traffic’s omnipresent and loud, smelly, awful, once-uncrowded spaces are all packed, manic lifestyle-seekers abound. It sucks! Not compared to where you may have come from, many of you, but for many of us who were here, it most definitely has NOT gotten better. Your paradise is my hell.

I get the impression, with recent newcomers especially, that many regard Portland as their own personal tabula rasa–an extremely shortsighted and egocentric view that only contributes to the tension currently existing between locals and newbies. But the City shouts the message at us, “Change is GOOD! Growth is GOOD! Density is GOOD! Get over it!” It spreads its arms open to newcomers and tourists and turns a cold shoulder to locals. We’re an obstacle. People reading this here, now, will see me simply as an obstacle to everything they want to achieve in Portland, including accommodating people who want to live here who aren’t even here yet. Those people are most important.

If all this change is so good, why are so many of us so unhappy? Can it be that there are actual reasons to be unhappy, that daily life has gotten harder for many of us, that our city has become less available, less navigable, less pleasant, less enjoyable?

Anyway, I know I’ve gone on too long. I think about this a lot, constantly struggling (over years, now) to come to grips w/ my new reality, my ‘new’ city that I didn’t choose. I don’t get on very well. I really don’t like the new city, and I loved my (former) home of all my life. My point is not to make newcomers feel terrible. I have many dear friends who I thank my lucky stars moved here. It’s mainly to put the idea into people’s heads that it’s normal and ok for longtime residents and locals to have these feelings of frustration, anger, hopelessness and alienation, and we ignore them at our collective peril. We need to address them.

It would be weird if we didn’t feel those things. We all know the city’s growing, but a backing off on the heretofore all-encompassing boosterish “Partay! Come on, everybody!” aspect of it all and a simple acknowledgment and understanding of the down side, the very real stress and strain and loss that happens with growth (for locals), would be helpful. I especially welcome newcomers (and recent-comers) that appreciate this.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

p.s…and that was a TRUE digression. Re: distracted drivers, I think most have poor time management and are simply self-absorbed and impatient and used to ruling the road. And cars of now make us way too comfortable and apt to take stupid risks.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

(the comment of mine I was commenting on above is awaiting moderation. It is long and digressive)

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

I demand my candy bar!

That was an excellent read, thanks for sharing rachel b. I’ve been here exactly 10 years now. And wow those were different times–I fondly remember how warm everyone was when I got here, I couldn’t believe strangers were asking me if I needed help finding things and chatting to me in the grocery store. I like to think I was one of those newcomers that came to something good and appreciated it for what it was and made it my own. Your perspective is certainly longer than mine, but I know exactly what you mean. The current influx has a very different feel to it, and it is definitely stressful and sometimes depressing.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Edit: by “made it my own” I meant adapted myself to absorb the ethos of my new home, not the other way around!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Hah! You DESERVE a candy bar, Gary B! And everyone else who made it through that. Seriously–if you give bikeportland (Jonathan or Michael) your address to pass on to me, I WILL mail you a candy bar. 🙂

I’m aware it’s bound to raise hackles to say it, but the folks moving here “back when” did seem to approach Portland with what I consider a much more normal and appropriate mindset–one of easing in and of great appreciation for what existed while still eager to contribute to the future Portland. I’m still flabbergasted by the people who move here now and immediately–day one!–know it all (and will share it all with you, educationally) and start self-identifying as “Portlanders,” and get really affronted when you say, “Uh….” I’ve lived other places and it never once occurred (or appealed!) to me to instantly say (for example) “I’m a New Yorker.” That would be rude, to my way of thinking, as well as inaccurate.

I will never be a New Yorker, though after some time living there I’d feel comfy identifying it as my home, my place. But only after some time! Am I the only one who sees this? You’re not the same as a New Yorker just because you move to New York! You’re not a Canadian if you move to Canada. Why does anyone care so much, now? Why can’t you be an appreciative guest-becoming-elective-citizen? I never felt marginalized or upset about this when I lived other places. It didn’t even cross my mind. I was an Oregonian in New York, a Portlander in NYC. What’s not enough about that for some people? I could really use an explanation.

These are clearly different times and different people. I chalk it up to more rootless people in America, and Portland (and other It Girl cities) attracting a disproportionate number of those–and of people who are thirsty to identify with Portland, for some reason. I also blame the internet. 😉

tom
Guest
tom

blame the that’s good enough culture of baby boomers who raised an entire generation of slacker kids with huge entitlement issues. gen x, me, maybe you, I dunno were probably raised by old school parents, raised in the 1930s or 40. boomers were hippies and raised wimpy, bratty kids who expect everybody to bend over backwards for them.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Haha, you should keep your candy bar, although it’s a hilarious thought.

Really though, it was an enjoyable read. It’s a difficult perspective to communicate honestly and fairly, but you did a great job. Much better than some of the crap that’s been peddled by our local media over the last year in their effort to galvanize for clicks.

lop
Guest
lop

>Why can’t you be an appreciative guest-becoming-elective-citizen?

It sounds like you stayed a Portlander because you still loved your original home. What do you say to someone who isn’t in that position? If they elect to move can they adopt a new home, and work to bring it closer to being their Eden? Must they consign themselves to be an eternal guest wherever they go? How long do you have to stay in a place before you are allowed to try to change it? Since you mentioned NYC, native/newcomer frustration abounds there as well, many New Yorkers share your frustration. Here’s one blogger’s response to it:

http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2015/04/they-cant-go-back-to-ohio.html

“””If we really want to keep the people who come to New York because it’s New York and get the rest to go away, bringing rents down, we need to give them what they want elsewhere. That means bringing jobs back to the downtowns of Saint Louis, Schenectady, Syosset and Saugerties. It means tearing down their bypasses, reconfiguring their one-way pairs, reforming their zoning and undoing all the other changes that have turned their centers into parking craters. It means reconnecting them to the rest of the country with trains and buses that go downtown.”””

“””It means solving the underlying problem instead of wasting a bunch of people’s time in a counterproductive attempt to stop the symptom. It means looking at these “hipsters” and “yunnies” as people making more or less rational decisions, instead of as faceless monsters. “””

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Is it any surprise that New Yorkers might not be overly welcoming to people who move to New York and try to change it into something it’s not? At first you’re a guest, and then, at some point, you’re not. It’s been like that everywhere I’ve lived.

lop
Guest
lop

My point wasn’t to delegitimize the frustration, anger, etc…that Rachel b and many others feel in Portland. Merely to ask you to consider the frustration, anger, etc…that newcomers seeking to change Portland likely felt about their original home. And likely feel about Portland as well – why do you think they’re trying to change it? And if you can accept where they’re coming from as legitimate, you might see that the answer to their frustration may be the same as your own. Some of what attracts people to Portland – the potential to live low car/car free, the economic opportunities etc…are in short supply in this country. The solution is larger than Portland. Working to set state and federal incentives that create more nice places may prove more productive that squabbling over the few that exist.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Dear Lop: I said “Why can’t you be an appreciative guest-becoming-elective-citizen?” ‘Guest-becoming’ is the key. I welcome the ‘becoming’! ‘Becoming’ reflects investment.

I think hello, kitty said it succinctly and well– “At first you’re a guest, and then, at some point, you’re not. It’s been like that everywhere I’ve lived.” At some point, very organically, you become a citizen of where you are, mainly by virtue of time spent there. I can’t recall people ever worrying over this in the past–it just was. You bide your time and soon enough you’re a true part of a community. You grow into it naturally. You invest time and yourself. That, to my mind, is a lovely thing.

The thing that is noticeably new to Portland, as far as it newcomers go, is a perceived eagerness bordering on pushiness to instantly ‘belong’ to and to ‘own’ the city, and that includes becoming a self-appointed arbiter of change.

When people move here, they are ready for change. They’re moving here for change. A lot of people move here to Portland in particular to escape old lives and make new ones. Therefore, they are highly open to and jazzed about change in general. Of course they want to seize their new city with both hands and put their stamp on it. And that’s ok, even a great idea, if you come to an actual empty city with no history, no past, no existing citizenry. Fab! Have at it!

But why on gud’s green earth would anyone expect a perfectly happy, longtime resident group of people who’ve invested heavily, both financially and personally, in their city, to cheer on the rapid, often unpleasant change wrought by a sudden tidal wave of newcomers–when they (the locals) had gradually, thoughtfully and carefully shepherded it to a place where life was very good? Longtime residents have lost a lot in this bargain, whereas most coming here are gaining something, to their way of thinking. There’s a transaction taking place, and one of the parties is not happy with the transaction and didn’t initiate it. One’s gain is another’s loss. It’s a real thing that’s happening. It doesn’t mean locals hate newcomers as a rule and that we think all change is evil. It just means locals feel neglected and unheard, because they have been neglected and unheard. Go figure!

I’ve welcomed scads of newcomers to Portland over the years, and gladly. As I’ve said before, something changed in 2008ish. We seemed to start getting a lot of a different kind of newcomer, and the tension soon followed. I know several recent newcomers who are better than all of us combined. You’re may be one of those (are you a newcomer? I can’t remember!). But 2008 is when I began to feel the pushiness, the lecture-y quality of the Change Brigade toward locals, as though we all were NIMBY troglodytes, trembling in our homes supported only by our canes, unable to grasp the lofty concepts of New Urbanism & density, unable to realize what’s good for us.

RE: the weird ownership thing and my own anthropological musings.
Many new newcomers waste no time in curating the city for the citizens of the interwebs, pretty much the instant they get here, authoritatively blogging, yelping and instagramming on all that is Portland and Oregon. Newcomers didn’t used to be eager to advertise, gush and encourage a stampede to our door. Longtime residents certainly didn’t. But I think the promotion is less about Portland and Oregon and is–as so very very many things are nowadays–more about the individual, about what their move says about ‘ME’, and advertising that. It makes ME look good to have “discovered” Portland, and Oregon. It makes for a great post. For what it’s worth, this is counterintuitive, unsettling and aggravating to many locals. Like me. ME!

Gud, I’ve gone on too long again–forgive me. Stopping now.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

One of the best ways to create more nice places is for young, energetic, motivated people move there and make them nice. Federal policy is unlikely to produce a winner.

tom
Guest
tom

move to NW Portland. its like that every day. most of the inner east side is provincial and populated by college town escapees. I lived over there for a decade. once I moved back to the west side of town, in actual historic and dense urbanity, the world suddenly righted itself. the east side is in transition and will get there but its populated by too many tribes vying for their own mindset. house owning nimbys, new hipster transplants, old school townies and aging hippies. the west side is actual urbanites just minding their own business and living in a city they accept as weird and bustling, but still friendly and accepting. its nice.

Spiffy
Subscriber

right now the closest I can get to west side is the SE 70’s, but thanks for the invite… cut the prices in half and I’ll think about it… I’m struggling enough just not to be priced out of the city limits…

Tim
Guest
Tim

The dislike or fear of those perceived to be newcomers, strangers, “not from my tribe” has a name – Xenophobia. Some say it is embedded in our DNA from times when strangers came to rape and pillage, but modern educated people associate it with racism and a variety of social ills.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

America eventually gets over xenophobia of a particular culture when their traditional cuisine transitions from “cheap junk” to “the new hotness”.
You know you are no longer an outsider and a “true American” when your cultural dishes are fused with southern cuisine and whatever is hot in NYC at that moment.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I really don’t think that’s it, Tim. I welcome Syrian refugees and other ethnicities. I’m less sanguine about (often rich, white self-absorbed) Lifestyle Nomads and their locust-like way of descending upon ‘hot’ cities and heedlessly consuming them to death with little to no regard for the people already there.

q’Tzal’s comment made me laugh–very true! 🙂

I don’t fear and dislike newcomers. I never did, anyway. Is it weird to worry about the numbers, the greedy attitudes, to want to say “When!” ? If I were crammed in a room with all the people I loved, I would not be happy. That doesn’t mean I fear and dislike them. I do dislike the folks that come here and consume Portland like their own personal bowl of bar peanuts. Does it help clarify to say I dislike jerks?

Pre-2008, I was a regular welcome wagon. That changed when it just became too much–too much for the area, for the infrastructure, for the environment. So much, so many that my very home became completely unrecognizable, and all the things I loved it for went away.

Anne Hawley
Subscriber
Anne Hawley

I get the impression…that many regard Portland as their own personal tabula rasa…But the City…spreads its arms open to newcomers and tourists and turns a cold shoulder to locals. We’re an obstacle.

I’ve just begun to experience some of this personally. I remain a booster for density because we really do need more housing, but this tabula rasa attitude (excellent way of putting it!) is extremely troubling. It’s not just egotistical, it’s about money. Money. Money. I have it, you don’t, so I’m going to get the neighborhood I want and you aren’t.

A couple of the worst, most actually-threatening instances of driver rage towards me on my bike have come from black drivers in NE Portland, and though I don’t condone it, I can certainly understand it. I accept what I must represent to them: the same thing these tabula rasa newcomers represent to me. It would be disingenuous of me (at best) to pretend otherwise.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Very well spake, Anne H (per usual!). There’s such a stew of giddiness, acquisitiveness, resentment, frustration, anger going on in Portland right now, and no wonder. I wish that cities “on the grow!” would pay more attention to these things, instead of simply incessantly tooting their own horns and encouraging this sort of Gold Rush mentality.

Spiffy
Subscriber

most of my road-rage comes from older white people in large vehicles…

but that’s probably due to living in SE and not NE… I can’t afford to live in NE…

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

rachel your posts are consistently thoughtful and thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing your perspective here.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Thank you, Rob. 🙂

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

“If all this change is so good, why are so many of us so unhappy?”

Because you don’t embrace change unless it serves your particular needs.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

AGhghhghgghghhghghhghhghghghghghghghghghghhgh.

Don’t know what to tell you, Middle. I’ve embraced change so much, it would make your head spin. But you would never believe me. Did you read what I said? I think it’s pretty clear it’s not as simple as me not embracing change.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

…and I think that particular (predictable) response is sure death to the conversation I feel needs to be happening in Portland–the very reason I commented, by the way.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

That’s the heart of the matter rachel. I’ve always understood that things change with the times and I have to change with them. The thing is, Portland has changed more rapidly than anyplace I’ve ever experienced. Given my habit of talking to strangers, I know many other people feel that way too. The rate of change is enough to make your head spin.

This is the biggest city I’ve ever lived in and it was intimidating at first. Once I decided, like Gary B, to adapt to the city it was a pretty dreamlike feeling that I’ll never forget. It’s a strange thing to finally realize you”re a people person in your 30’s and I owe that to the acceptance I found here. When people move here in droves like they have been, it feels like they can just sort of bully us all into their vision of Anywhere, USA.

If people are going to drive like assholes, stop looking out for their neighbors, tear down every working class edifice in the city, etc.,etc. than what’s the point of Portland? I’ll continue to miss the days of being able to have a blast with $8 in my pocket. It was so, for lack of a better word, humane.

I really do feel for you old-timers and natives. I hope I’ve been a good neighbor.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I’m certain you have, Rob. 🙂

Sam
Guest
Sam

Thanks for this Rachel. You have given be the courage to post the first comment I wrote yesterday. I’ll do that here…
I’m glad no one was hurt. Thank you, Jonathan, for framing this story with the gentrification issue.
I felt safest riding on Williams and Vancouver long-ago, before even the first bike lanes. The re-design is a disaster.
Not to blame or glorify the victims, but I would be full of rage too if my neighborhood had been taken over by wealthy, entitled people who changed it to suit their needs without giving a sh!t about mine.
Yes, the women in the car went way overboard, but I’m tired of bicyclists acting like we are the oppressed. You should go move to Dallas and tell me about their cycling infrastructure. We (the mostly white readership of Bike Portland) have it really good here. We are privileged. Remember that before you shout at someone from an elevated position regarding their behavior.
I do not condone road rage, distracted driving, passive-aggressive online commenting, or gentrification. But, I am guilty of all those things.
On the road, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars, we are all just people trying to get someplace. Let’s be respectful to each other.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“We are privileged.”

yes we are… as cyclists, drivers, whites, blacks, etc we’re all privileged… and as such we deserve safety…

Sam
Guest
Sam

See my last two sentences. Also, tell me how a person who grew-up in N. Portland because of her economic/social position then is forced out later in life because of that same economic/social position has the same level privilege as you do?

Spiffy
Subscriber

reading through this very well written opinion I keep seeing change as a theme… new people, new houses, new customers, new lane configurations…

this is nothing new… this country isn’t the same as it was 600 years ago and it won’t be the same in another 600… change will happen… some bad and some good… what Portland is doing is trying to make good change… good change comes with new ideas… new… there’s that word again… we need new people, houses, customers, and lane configurations to make Portland good… the long-time Portlanders like the comfortable rut they’re in.. they’ve mastered it and it works for them… change is hard for most people, and there’s a lot of it coming…

I too came here 14 years ago for a blank slate… my blank slate, not the cities… I was your typical suburban driver and Portland was awesome… now I’ve grown older and wiser and have given up my constant driving and meat eating… granted I haven’t absorbed the beer and coffee culture… I came here because I liked the city, not because I thought I could change it… I didn’t expect it to change me and make me more aware of all the injustice… but now I know that change happens…

now I know that all this driving is bad… that we don’t have to kill 30,000 of us a year… that we can live happily in a dense city with everything we need close by… and everything we want close enough to get when we occasionally want it…

my favorite restaurant is packed full? I keep walking… sometimes for a mile, or an hour, until I find one that’s not… why would I be mad that everybody else got there first?

I’m jealous of all those effected by gentrification in NE because I can’t afford to live there… their houses got more valuable and their neighborhoods more walkable… but my SE neighborhood can be just as great… some day it will be… maybe I’ll be here to enjoy it…

nobody is ignoring the long-time Portland residents… they’re just not comfortable with change… and why should they have more say in Portland’s future than the new generation? they shouldn’t and they don’t… we all have an equal say…

there’s plenty of Portland for everyone… not just you or me or the gentrified ones… Portland needs to be for everybody… and if it can’t accommodate everybody then it’s doing something wrong… and if everybody can’t learn to play nice then we’re doing something wrong…

we’ve always lived in a society of self-policing where we alert each other over the perceived injustices… but for the last 100 years we’ve been doing it impersonally with a horn inside an insulated cage… now we’re doing it face to face in the street again and we don’t remember how it’s done… that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, it just means we’ll get better at it…

I better stop or you’ll owe me 2 candy bars… (vegan dark chocolate please)

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Dear Spiffy–har, about the candy bars! 🙂

“the long-time Portlanders like the comfortable rut they’re in.. they’ve mastered it and it works for them… change is hard for most people, and there’s a lot of it coming…”

Don’t know how to say this except to be blunt about it–it’s just plain insulting and infantilizing to distill what locals are feeling down into “Portlanders like the comfortable rut they’re in…change is hard for most people.” It also presumes all change is good, and that whomever the current change agents are, they are always correct, sir!

As someone who’s embraced change and rarely turned down a challenge my entire life, and in a high-stress, high-stakes field, I sure don’t see myself in this oft-repeated simplification of what I and other locals/longterm residents feel. It doesn’t ring true to me, personally, and I’m sure it doesn’t to many others. It is, of course, true for some. Mainly, I think that kind of minimizing of something quite serious is a neat and fatal tried and true killer of the conversation…a conversation I feel it’s vital we be having in Portland.

“nobody is ignoring the long-time Portland residents… they’re just not comfortable with change… and why should they have more say in Portland’s future than the new generation? they shouldn’t and they don’t… we all have an equal say…”

Nobody’s asking for more say. My very point was that we actually don’t “all have an equal say.” That’s why I wrote what I did. This city has been firmly focused on pimping itself out for years now; hence the priority has been prospective and new residents, and tourists. TravelPortland and TravelOregon have grown like cancers, as have our tourist and new resident numbers. This city’s leaders have not prioritized locals or longtime residents and their concerns. Do you honestly think they have? And really–what makes someone who just moves to a place equal to a longtime resident, where ownership is concerned? Where did this bizarre idea come from? There IS a difference–of course there is!

You earn things in life, with time, with effort, with investment. Just because we live in the age of instant gratification and we all want what we want does not grant someone who just moved to a place and has lived there a day the same rights and privileges as someone who’s lived there 15, 20 years. I would have thought that would be obvious, but I’m daily astounded by the growing hubris and sense of entitlement of the American people. Have a little grace, already! Be a polite guest for awhile when you move to a place; be respectful. Learn the lay of the land, gain your footing, invest yourself. Earn it.

Mark McClure
Guest
Mark McClure

Rachel, I really appreciate your response. And your comments that followed. As a long-time resident in NE Portland, you’ve articulated what I’ve been feeling and recording for the past few years. After reading many lazy (clickbait) articles about change in Portland, your thoughtful perspective is very refreshing.

rubenfleur
Guest
rubenfleur

you are speaking to the feelings i have had since around 2010-11, i just have suffered from a sense of becoming increasingly smothered and harassed. A few years back i literally gave up on trying to even walk anywhere downtown since my disability makes it difficult for me to navigate crosswalks quickly enough for turning vehicles. I had way too many close calls with impatient drivers who gunned their vehicles towards me, it was only a matter of time until i was going to actually get hurt. Riding my bike has given me back some freedom of mobility, but even that has become more choked off every year by the increased traffic levels. i most likely will be leaving PDX to get away from that drowning smothered feeling of too many bodies in a small space, there just is not enough oxygen anymore. i am certain ten newcomers will be there to take my spot, so my absence will not be felt.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Thanks, Mark & rubenfleur. Honest discussion about Portland is important! What’s happening currently, this fervid, (to my mind) pathological idealization of our City, has done more harm than good and has me feeling sometimes like the entire world’s drunk the kool-aid. People just want SO badly for this imagined, glowing, perfect city to exist somewhere, and our bad fortune (in the age of that greatest of megaphones, the internet) is to have been crowned and fixated upon as that city (among a handful of others, of course).

I know many newcomers have been stunned—those esp. who moved here for Portland, the World’s Most Perfect Green Eden—to find out about our exceedingly poor air and water quality and chronically poor regulation. People are simply hellbent on believing Portland is Shangri-La, and that stubborn insistence that “Portland is the best place! The perfect place! The ONLY place!” just feeds the fever, and a lot of obfuscation.

Portland sometimes seems to me to be filled with panicked directors, dancing around a once-great, deteriorating actress who they’ll film only through a vaseline filter. The pity of it is, the actress doesn’t care. It’s the directors (and producers and TravelPortland and proud, Portland-identifying newcomers) who care about appearances.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Self driving rideshare ridepool can’t come soon enough. Drivers will be so mad at self driving cars slowing them down by driving the speed limit and constantly photographing everything, they will long for the days when they only had to deal with bicycles. The good old days.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I hope it doesn’t take too long for us to allow all that video to be used against law-breaking drivers to get everybody to start driving safer…

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

The driver was called out in a very aggressive way in front of her children. I can’t help but wonder if a a polite, but assertive request to not use the phone while driving would have still drawn some grumbling but not much more.

TJ
Guest
TJ

Very aggressive is getting out of your car to threaten/assault someone who called you out in a manner warranted by the deadly risk posed to other road users and the children in the backseat.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I’ve had just one incident of me lashing out at somebody yelling at me for something stupid I did in traffic in front of my kid… (*grumbles about non-working traffic light*) I had to explain to my kid how I wasn’t right, and I shouldn’t have done that, and that I left really bad for doing it… so I’m hoping that example sunk in with both of us… so I’m hopeful that even though a driver may react poorly in the moment that at least some of them go home and calm down and realize just what they did…

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

This is why I carry a gun.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

Why? Did someone in this story deserve to die?

Was it Jessica? The angry mother? The kids?

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

Couldn’t tell you, I wasn’t there. I do know I’m personally not going to stand by passively and let someone run me over with their car. Having almost been hit in a crosswalk yet again only yesterday I’ve had it with maniac drivers. I don’t even get on my bike anymore if my cameras aren’t charged and that saddens me. This town has gone downhill in a hurry.

The psycho driver’s kids frankly aren’t my responsibility. She certainly doesn’t seem to care about them.

eddie
Guest
eddie

You’re scary

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

Good, maybe I won’t get run over.

pengo
Guest
pengo

Meh. Maybe I haven’t shot enough people but I figure at best once I go for a gun the driver who hits me has a legitimate claim to self defense; at worst I fire and hit a bystander.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

If a driver hits you, you have a legitimate claim to self defense. Work on your draw more.

pengo
Guest
pengo

Will do. In the meantime, since you can’t possibly be suggesting that I get hit and then spring to my feet in order to light up the driver who stuck around after 100% definitely hitting me on purpose at what point am I meant to fill the car with perfectly aimed hot justice? How exactly do you envision a shooting scenario playing out? Like a stand-off?

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

Who said anything about filling a car with “hot justice”? You seem to have missed the part where the driver got out of her car and gave chase on foot. That’s the sort of thing that OC spray is for. No imaginary scenario is needed to figure that one out.

pengo
Guest
pengo

Oh so you mean we’ve been talking about your pepper spray gun THIS WHOLE TIME?! Jeez. My bad. Once I get my draw dialed I’ll start working on the reading comprehension, but is that draw for my pepper gun or my bullet gun? (just trying to save time, thx)

Spiffy
Subscriber

I think that carrying a gun can be a great deterrent… although we shouldn’t need to seem threatening just to get respect, but that’s how it works on the road: might is right… open carry if you don’t ever want to get harassed…

I think using a gun can be a bad idea… at least for most minor incidents… but if you’ve got off your bike and are posing no threat and somebody is purposely aiming their car at you I would certainly not fault you for shooting them…

pengo
Guest
pengo

No dude, he meant pepper spray. Don’t worry though; I made the same mistake.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

You should have both available, right tool for the right job and all.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

I love North Portland and I find African-American drivers to be more courteous when I’m riding around. I’ve had far more issues with middle aged white people.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I wish I could say the same. Consistently, if I’m harassed by a motorist it’s either a female in a relatively new expensive vehicle or a male in an old, cheap, dented thing. Every so often I actually count them out for a month or so to see if I’ve fallen into a confirmation bias trap, but each time those two represent a huge fraction of the negative interactions I have.

Race doesn’t seem to play any role in driving behavior that I can detect, although back before Reagan’s 1986 amnesty I did observe that the Hispanic population in the Sacramento Valley were the most considerate motorists on the planet. I guess even the dark cloud of official racism can have a small silver lining.

Matt
Guest
Matt

The fact that you’re counting them doesn’t disprove the confirmation bias hypothesis: You could still be unconsciously ignoring bad drivers who don’t fit your stereotypes.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I know it’s not right, but I yell “hang it up!” in those situations–unless– they are black, in which case I just keep quiet. I’ve had bad run-ins in this (my) neighborhood with the older African Americans and I don’t engage negatively at all anymore. (Sorry to hear about this incident Jessica.) My normal route north is now on Rodney Ave to avoid most angry people.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Let’s hope that woman is their mother, and not their caregiver.

The eBike Store
Guest

The ironic thing of this interchange is that using your cell phone to snap photos of a road raging driver while cycling is just as illegal as texting while driving…

eddie
Guest
eddie

It is? By what law?

Adam
Subscriber

It’s not illegal to use a phone while riding a bike. The law specifically calls out motor vehicles.

Spiffy
Subscriber

you’re allowed to use your cell phone for emergencies at any time…

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

Well, I know where I ain’t buying my ebike once I decide to finally do that.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

Paul Atkinson
I believe the minimal (but existing) risk is worth the minimal (but existing) benefit. I’m not sure you have any grounds to say it’s “not smart” without presenting more than just your opinion (any more than I can claim it *is* smart without the same).
You decide what risk level you’re good with. I’ll decide for me. And let’s try not to call each other names any more, ‘K?
Recommended 3

Labeling an action “not smart” is not calling anyone a name. If yelling works so well, I take it yelling at you is an effective way to get you to comply with a desire?

My opinion is based on more bike than car miles over a timespan measured in decades including a 10 year span where I had a 44 mile bike commute and a 5 year span where I went 47 months without driving on that stretch.

Based on my calculations, roughly 1 out of 100,000 motorists I encounter does something hostile. From what I can tell, most cyclists have far more problems than I do. I ride everywhere and am regularly on roads people seem to consider unrideable or unsafe. People who keep having problems with motorists are doing something wrong.

bendite
Guest
bendite

You’re off target by blaming cyclists. I’ve had drivers repeatedly try to intimidate me with their cars when I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

ethan
Guest
ethan

“People who keep having problems with motorists are doing something wrong.”

EXACTLY! Like the time a driver intentionally hit me while I was riding my bike on a bike boulevard. I must have been doing something wrong, right? Or the time someone got out of their car and punched me for stopping at a red light. Clearly I was doing something wrong. Or the time a driver drove onto the sidewalk and hit me with their car while I was walking my bike. Obviously, I shouldn’t have been walking!

Spiffy
Subscriber

you’re more than welcome to ride in silent bliss…

some people are trying to make Portland safer by taking action…

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…doing something wrong.”

You mean, “doing something motorists don’t like“. There’s a big difference, and the seeming uptick in motorist responses like this one is disturbing indeed. We can say that motorists who react to words with physical threats of violence are definitely “doing something wrong”, morally and legally; that is where correction is needed, rather than accusing bicyclists of failing to kowtow.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Read the “article” and wasn’t going to comment, but it’s really buggin’ me.

How is this news? Not to justify road rage, but it occurs hundreds if not thousands of times in one form or another every day in this city. The only difference is this one has pictures.

How does this article encourage the 8-80, the “interested but concerned”? If there was ever a day for them to heed the call – it is today.

With nearly forty years in the saddle (over a decade of it without an automobile), I get it. I’ve had cars play chicken with me and been run off the road while riding a bicycle. interestingly enough these type of incidents have occured more times in my car than while on my bike.

It’s “your word against mine”, it’s not going to be resolved to anyone’s satisfaction, it’s just one big ugly picture of the streets of every American city, something everyone that walks, bikes, or drives already understands.

It goes without saying that I’m glad no one was hurt, it very easily could have escalated into a real news story.

It’s a beautiful day, a perfect day- for riding your bike while this city is near the peak of its spring splendor – everyone from the author to the commenters should feel upset that time spent on the article and comments has taken away those often too few precious moments to just enjoy the sun, the blooms, our beautiful city from atop your bicycle in the spring.

bendite
Guest
bendite

So basically ‘oh well, those gosh darn drivers. Can’t do anything about it’

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Not my point at all. In fact, the only thing we have that is remotely news is a police officer doing follow up on a tweet. Nice work officer, hats off.

What we have here is a self-entitled cyclist (she admitted that she knew nothing positive would come of it) a distracted and angry driver, subtle hints at reverse racism (whatever that is, I’m as white as you get btw). Followed by nothing but horror stories and blatant racism in comments.

Anyway, my ribs are done resting from a nice slow BBQ, I’m going go eat and watch the sunset from my Brooks. Wish I could say it was fun.

Spiffy
Subscriber

what you call a self-centered cyclist I would call a brave woman exerting her rights to call out dangerous and illegal behavior…

she’s a hero if you ask me… she took a risk that she knew had to be taken (for the good of societys) without expecting anything in return…

I find your comments offensive…

how is this NOT news? the whole city should know that if you use a cell phone while driving people will yell at you and take your picture and the police will call you and question you… if everybody thought that then there’d be a lot less distracted driving going on…

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Hero?

Williams is one way and at any point after the calling out she (the cyclist) could have turned around on the sidewalk or turned down a side street- done. But no! She kept the yelling match up for multiple blocks, She could have sat out a light cycle once she saw she had angered the woman. Nope, she kept on yelling and arguing with the driver FOR MANY BLOCKS. In such a anger she admits she doesn’t even remember what was said from the exchange (pretty convienant). Blind rage is surely heroic.

How distracted was the driver while they were shouting each other down for blocks at a time? Likely as distracted, if not more so- than being on the phone.

Then of course, there is the attempt of reverse racism bit at the end of the article (didn’t realize hipster had any racial connotations). I don’t know the rider or the driver and I don’t like taking this path but emphasizing potential racism of the driver makes me wonder why she would? Perhaps to in attempts to gain extra sympathy? Which further leads to the question would she (the cyclist) called out a 6′ tall black man for the same thing? A 6′ white man? A white woman? HIspanic? Asian? Icelandic?

N. Williams has a huge amount of traffic with who knows how many on cel phones while they drive it, does she yell at all of them? Or just the black women with children in the back seat? Was this driver singled out because she was a perceived “safe” verbal punching bag? Is this perhaps an example of the “liberal racism” at work upon the cyclists part?

Don’t for a minute think that these are acusations (I didn’t start this fire), they are mearly questions- and ones which only the cyclist can answer and really it’s none of my buisiness. But I do know that racism runs deep in the best of us, myself included – and until we all see and reconize these traits within our selves the issue will continue.

If the desire is present most of us that ride can easily yell at many of the drivers for the same thing, we can even at ride beside them and continue the verbal berating, but most of us don’t.

Like I said earlier this whole story is nothing but one big pile of ugly. No one involved should feel good about it (except you Officer Sanders).

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

There’s a better name for “reverse racism”: Let’s just call it racism.

soren
Guest
are
Guest

thanks for taking the time to lay all this out, GB. not to lay too much blame on ms. roberts, as things do sometimes unfold in unexpected ways and it is easy to lose track of where you should have set the boundaries.

and i actually agree with the basic premise that folks _should_ take an active role in changing the culture around distracted driving. call people out once in awhile, particularly if the distraction is placing others at immediate risk. but once the message has been delivered — and especially if it is clear it has not been well received –, then it is time to check the box and move on.

Random
Guest
Random

Clearly, we need to accelerate the pace of gentrification on N Williams…

are
Guest

how is this a constructive comment?

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

Typical Bike Portland echo chamber.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Wow, scary indeed. I frequently call out texting drivers – look, this has been to be MORE dangerous than drink driving. At this point it is probably killing as many people, but unfortunately distracted driving is a lot harder to prove, because we don’t yet have implied consent laws regarding cellphones in automobiles like we do regarding alcohol.

Severely distracted drivers deserve to be called out, and I see it as a civic duty on the part of those courageous enough to do it. That said, I’m careful about whom I do it to and in what situation*. For one thing, it has to be more blatant for me, to do it when I’m on a bike than when I’m in a car.

Most drivers, when called on it, either (1) pretend not to notice me, (2) pretend they weren’t doing it, (3) become contrite, or (4) become defensive. Honestly, (3) is more common than (4), I think because by now most people know they shouldn’t be doing it.

Of those in (4), a small number become really defensive, getting really angry at me for telling them what to do, screaming expletives, etc. Most of these people have been women. I’m not exactly sure why this it is, but it probably has something to do with a middle-aged white male telling her what to do. Well, too bad. Not going to stop me.

* A reminder that a few drivers out there are seriously deranged: yesterday here in Minneapolis, woman honked at a driver who cut her off and was shot 4 times by the guy who cut her off. She’ll survive, but the assailant has not been caught yet. This 1980s style incident (remember all the freeway shootings?) has got a lot of people talking about being more careful in their interactions with others on the road.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“this has been to be MORE dangerous than drink driving.”

Oops, meant to say this has been shown to be more dangerous than drunk driving. Honestly, I’m not drinking and typing tonight.

SE
Guest
SE

JM: Have you ever thought of turning OFF comments on some stories ?

Matt
Guest
Matt

I like to think he feels the cost of having to monitor and delete inappropriate comments is outweighed by the benefits of an open dialogue.

pooperazzi
Guest
pooperazzi

Yet another example of a ridiculous action taken by a bicyclist that could only occur in Portland. They are in a 2-ton piece of metal, you are on a bike. You can’t trust the drivers to not threaten you. In any other city, no biker would dare to yell this at a driver, simply because you are in the weaker position. Use your brain! You are not the cell phone police.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

This is simply not true. I have enough motorist interactions from the east coast to quickly fill a book. Year after year of commuting alongside where a wide outside lane was the closest thing I ever saw to bicycle infrastructure. Though I did end up here, so maybe that somehow proved your point.

Not everyone is scared of interacting with drivers.

An aggressive screaming driver can ruin your night. Yelling back, taunting their manhood and watching them tuck tail and drive away after acting like they’re going to get out of the car? Completely cathartic.

That said, texting and distracted weaving wouldn’t even register on my radar as an offense.

pooperazzi
Guest
pooperazzi

I can see how that’s cathartic but it’s also dangerous. When I lived in Philly, two drivers fought over a parking space around the corner from my apartment. The first driver got out of his car with a baseball bat. The other driver then pulled out a gun and shot him. People in Portland act like they are invincible – people walk across the street without looking first, bikers yell at cars etc. – but it only takes one crazy person to cause real physical harm or death. IMO this behavior is insane.

lop
Guest
lop

>An aggressive screaming driver can ruin your night. Yelling back, taunting their manhood and watching them tuck tail and drive away after acting like they’re going to get out of the car? Completely cathartic.

Catharsis breeds anger. Spend a month training yourself to relax into a peaceful little smile in response to that sort of aggression and you will no longer be so vulnerable and helpless that any little thing can ruin your night. Not feeling the need to yell back is far more enjoyable than the transient relief that comes from yelling back. Not escalating a bad situation can save your life.

Christopher Sanderson
Guest

Sat at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Belmont this morning with my dog for a minute waiting for the light to change, and watched two drivers go through the intersection staring at their phones. It happens way more than we think.