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The Collision Chronicles: The invisible collisions we need to see

Posted by on August 26th, 2016 at 11:12 am

I believe we’re at a turning point. We can cede our streets to dangerous people and vehicles, or we can stand and fight to reclaim them.

This isn’t a post I wanted to make.

For years now I’ve debated internally (both in my mind and in talks with colleagues) about what to do with all the messages we receive from people who have been involved in collisions. Things like hit-and-runs, collisions between people biking and walking, scary road rage behavior (a type of mental collision), and so on. Unfortunately there are more of these than you think. That’s because unless it’s a fatality/very serious injury or it has some novel or interesting aspect to it, the police don’t put out statements on them. And the local media won’t pay attention for similar reasons.

Even here at BikePortland, we don’t always have the time or the inclination to make a full, Front Page story out of each collision story we receive — no matter how sad they are for those involved.

As a result, all these collisions, all this carnage, all these people’s lives changed forever, go unnoticed by the public, the media, policymakers and elected officials. This has nagged at me in these past few weeks more than ever as I’ve been forced to come to acknowledge that our roads are indeed becoming more dangerous for unprotected users.

I’ve also weighed the pros/cons of publishing these because of concerns about scaring people away from cycling. I still believe that’s a real risk.

Recently though, given what I feel is a crisis on our streets where we’re at a turning point of either ceding our public space to dangerous vehicles and irresponsible people who operate them — or standing and fighting to reclaim our streets once and for all — I’ve decided to try something new.

Similar to what we did to raise the profile of bike theft, we’re going to start publishing these stories as they come in. They won’t all be posted here on the Front Page, but they’ll be easy to find on the site and we’ll share them on social media.

In order to fully acknowledge the reality on our streets for vulnerable roadway users and to start the work that needs to be done to change this reality, I believe we have to keep our eyes wide open.

Here’s the first one:

Received 7/2/16:

Hi, my partner [name redacted] was involved in a hit and run/road rage incident last night and the police were not exceptionally helpful. I just wanted to see if there was anything you guys could do to potentially help us push the police to catch the guy that attacked him.

He was riding up N Williams and a man cut him off by taking a left onto Williams. My partner flipped the guy off after he had cut him off. The driver was ready to make a right and had a turn signal on, but at the last second chose to swerve across traffic and into the bike lane. The driver, who was also speeding, grabbed [name redacted]’s backpack shoulder strap and yanked him into the side of his car. The driver took off and ran several red lights and then took a right onto Skidmore. After the driver yanked him into his car and let go, [name redacted] flipped end over end and landed on his face. The impact was so hard his earrings fell out. His bike frame smashed into his knee and it’s very swollen. His bike was fine and he managed to make it home.

He has a good description of the car and a license plate # number that is incorrect, but could potentially be close. There were also several witnesses who gave their phone numbers to [name redacted]. When we called the police, we were told absolutely nothing would happen, because he didn’t see the drivers face and the license plate was incorrect, but the officer was sympathetic.

So, in short, a driver did a really fucked up thing, the police weren’t helpful and we need help to make sure this guy gets what he deserves.

When I read these I don’t just consider the specific details of each case, I look for larger trends. After posting a lot of these, you might notice trends too. Those are the things we should start to focus on.

As always, I learn a lot from your feedback and I want to hear it (good or bad).

— 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

161 Comments
  • Avatar
    Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 26, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Portland Police record requests take a long time- quoted as 16 weeks- but eventually I’ll be able to go after the person who cut me off with a left hook on Williams. Have the car and two video angles.

    And thanks- it’s great to stay positive, but attacking a problem that isn’t a priority for anyone at PBOT or PPB is more important.

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      Eric Leifsdad August 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Judging from that lack of priority and the attitude of the “interested but concerned”, I would say most of us already have ceded our public space. How many car drivers are regularly intimidated into speeding by tailgaters?

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        Teddy August 27, 2016 at 9:08 am

        I usually do not speed up for tailgaters. I move a lane over if possible, put on my hazards, or spritz my windshield.

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        CaptainKarma August 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        I use my cruise control extensively, set at the max speed limit, to prevent my own speeding. Anybody behind me can go to Hades (hell). Try driving up Hawthorne at the max speed limit of 25 mph sometime and see how it goes! Still, I persist.

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    Redhippie August 26, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Anyone every watch “Stop a douchebag” videos on You Tube? I wonder if there is a place like Williams or Vancouver where you are guaranteed to get footage of drivers doing stupid things. Get a group of folks with a few cameras and start to confront crazy ass drivers. Get lots of youtube views and just plain embarrass the city into action. It worked when getting the king of bike theft off the streets earlier this year.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 26, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Josh has been doing this at the “hawthorne bridge crosswalk”:

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        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 26, 2016 at 11:50 am

        I always track this stuff as it comes up and will be looking to publish more of it when appropriate. I plan to publish something about Josh’s work on Hawthorne Bridge next week.

        We have this great tool of the internet and a local blog that can amplify what’s on it. Let’s use this to have as much influence as we can… that’s the idea.

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        Spiffy August 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

        I’m hoping that all his videos will result in an enforcement action…

        might be tricky in that location, but police could easily plant a plain-clothes officer at that location and radio descriptions to a fleet of motorcycle cops on the other end of the bridge…

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 26, 2016 at 12:11 pm

          Agree. The default response is “well Josh should report them”. But why? With the crazy tow truck driver, all the evidence is there: behavior, plate, face, two angles of video. If PPB was taking this seriously they would be going after the easy wins like that.

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        Teddy August 27, 2016 at 9:13 am

        Good video. Several times I have brake checked people doing that to me, but I can never goad them into hitting me, they must be well practiced in their stupidity.

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      Spiffy August 26, 2016 at 11:45 am

      I’m subscribed to their feed… they’re so awesome!

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      Dan A August 26, 2016 at 11:52 am
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      B. Carfree August 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      I read a few years back about the insurance industry considering changing their rates based on personality tests, which had been shown to be better indicators of a motorists likelihood of being in a crash than other factors like income, education and zip code. (Not surprisingly, a sense of entitlement was the key factor.)

      Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a way to catalog the plates of the offenders in the videos in such a way that insurance companies could and would use the videos to raise the rates of aggressive/stupid motorists? Maybe the state could even jump in and use them to find our many uninsured motorists who are creating dangers on our roads and impound their cars.

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    Paul Atkinson August 26, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I understand the struggle you’re describing, and the competing interests. For my part I think this has to be the right side of the balance; it’s a problem that does not appear to be solvable without shining a light on it.

    I’m sorry it’s necessary. I’m sorry it seems like it has to be you. And I hope that, like bike theft coverage, it creates a real impetus for change.

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    Spiffy August 26, 2016 at 11:37 am

    when cars were a new trend every crash was reported… it got so bad that motoring organizations realized they needed a huge PR campaign to sway public opinion in their favor…

    will sites like BikePortland and the BTA (er, The Street Trust) start making a big deal out of these crashes in order to actually demand (not just ask nicely) change towards increasing safety?

    since we aren’t huge corporations do we need to rally makers like Giant and Specialized to help us in this fight?

    is BikeLoudPDX strong enough to rally enough of us for a revolution?

    posting the crashes isn’t enough if the message can’t be strengthened and targeted to reach the masses and result in a change in society…

    as always, more must be done…

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    B. Carfree August 26, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I’ve been assaulted by a motorist. It was a brake check where he passed me in the oncoming lane and then cut over in front of me and slammed on his brakes, leaving a 13-foot skid mark (in a 20 mph zone). I flipped over his car and landed, on my sandal-clad feet, next to his door. He got out and gave me a belly bump. I really, really wanted to just light him up, but I wasn’t certain of the legality, so I did what I could to encourage him to throw a punch. For better or worse (I’m still not sure), he realized what would happen if he did and he kept his hands down.

    The police? In spite of three witnesses and the evidence, they said that unless I took an ambulance ride (on my dime, er $2000), they wouldn’t even take a report. The cop even had the gall to say he could charge me for rear-ending the car, again in spite of witness statements corroborating my version.

    In other states, this would be a slam-dunk assault with a deadly weapon. In Oregon, not so much.

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      highrider August 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Slam dunk assault? Not in NYC when I was was a courier there. Guy charges into my lane going up 3rd ave., his rear quarter panel takes out my front wheel sending me over the bars and down. He gets stuck behind a line of cars looking to turn left so I get up and chase him down. I get to his car, ‘Hey! You just hit me with your..’, he jumps out and punches me in the head. The cops were across the street and saw all the action I’ve described. They charged him with harassment. I think things are actually much better here in Portland.

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      Pete August 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Sorry, but it’s more an American thing than an Oregon thing. Not so ‘slam dunk’ in other states either.

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      paikiala August 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      B.,
      Did you file a DMV report? Did you seek civil penalties?
      if not, why not?

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        B. Carfree August 26, 2016 at 8:32 pm

        The damage done to my almost-worthless (in dollar terms) town bike was below the threshold for a DMV report of a crash and my only injury was a contusion on my right thigh where my leg struck my handlebar on the way up, which isn’t something I would seek medical attention for.

        As far as seeking civil penalties, same problem: not enough damages.

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    B. Carfree August 26, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I’ll just add that in spite of the violence to which cyclists are subjected to, it’s still about as dangerous to ride as drive, on a per hour basis. Add in the many health benefits of riding and it’s not surprising that cycling adds years to people’s lives as a whole even when accounting for the people who are killed.

    The frustration is that each roadway death is so utterly unnecessary and easily preventable. I agree with Jonathan’s new approach of highlighting some of these unreported incidents. We can’t work to end what we don’t know exists. Note the law passed in L.A. a couple years ago allowing cyclists to collect damages from motorists who harass them. If we’re going to get such laws here, we need to show the need.

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    BLINKY August 26, 2016 at 11:48 am

    It sucks, but if you can afford to, get and ride with a helmet cam.

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      Paul Atkinson August 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Seconded.

      I used to use a GoPro. Advantage: instantly recognizable to most people, and just seeing a camera seemed (anecdotally) to improve driver behavior. Disadvantage: short battery life, had to manually manage storage space.

      Currently I’m using a Fly12. Advantage: long battery life, purpose-built for this (overwrites old video automatically), integrates with Strava for location / telemetry, built-in headlight. Disadvantage: not obviously a camera. They also make a rear-facing unit integrated into a taillight.

      Evidence matters. The police still tend to believe / excuse the driver.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 26, 2016 at 12:06 pm

        I like the fly12 because it means I don’t get “stranded” by leaving home without a light. The long battery life is awesome. Sometimes I run the gopro on the rear, but I don’t care as much about having it “visible”.

        Even with a camera(s) you may not be able to ID the driver or even the plate. And it sucks that never leaving the house without the camera is a sensible thing to do.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Just remember that the cops can and will likely use the video as evidence against you as well.

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        soren August 26, 2016 at 1:38 pm

        which is exactly why i do not ride with a camera.

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      Spiffy August 26, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      yes! I always feel vulnerable when I’m without my Swann Freestyle HD camera…

      it’s similar to a GoPro, but it’s only $100 because it has lower performance stats…

      I’ve noticed some people start behaving differently once they’re in a position to see the camera…

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      Allison August 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      I have been riding with a camera lately, too. I have a Rideye which has amazing battery life and is rock solid. My only regret with it is that it looks like a light and not a camera. I don’t think drivers notice it at all.

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        Pete August 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm

        For a long time now I’ve wanted to create a line of (slightly irreverent) cycling jerseys, one of which has a big `70’s smiley face on the back with ” You’re on Video…”.

        (Another one says “Honk if you misunderstand CVC 21202” (ORS 814.420 in your case)).

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm

          My favorite is the one that says “DON’T DOOR ME” but backwards.

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        Chris August 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm

        Just want to chime in and say my Rideye died the first time it rained. The company did not respond to customer service inquiries. So I don’t recommend it to anyone.

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      Andrea Capp August 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      Mobius ActionCam on the front, GoPro on the rear for me.
      Yesterday a co-worker asked me about them and I ended the conversation with “If they [aggressive people driving] won’t see me a human, at least they might see the camera and think twice about their actions.” Then I said, “Dang, that was a depressing statement.”

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    Amanda Judkins August 26, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Something that I’ve learned to do is memorize licence plates. I literally say the plate number out loud to myself until I can pull over safely and write it down/type it into my phone. Additionally, I’ve memorized the non-emergency police number (503)823-3333 and always ask for the incident report number after making the report.

    Thank you for posting this, Jonathan. Poor, reckless and dangerous driving needs to be addressed! Voicing these types of incidents, even minor ones, can help create a dialogue that would amplify the need for urgent Vision Zero policy and implementation. I hope to see our community better served by PPB/PBOT/ODOT in the very near future, before more lives are lost.

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      Pete August 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      This is an excellent tip! I too trained myself to first focus on the license plate, especially as the emotional response often overwhelms rational thinking in the heat of the moment. Years ago I was confronted by a driver who right-hooked me on Murray and Allen in Beaverton, and I noticed he was cutting across the lot to pursue me so I rode in to meet him, knowing I’d be safer in front of the sidewalk audience at McMen’s than out on the open road. He got out of his truck and came at me, but I’d pulled out my cell phone and started reciting his license plate number out loud (really loud). A couple in a Jeep Cherokee that we were blocking leaned out the window and yelled “We’re calling the police right now!”, and the guy got back into his truck and sped off.

      (Ironically, I ended up renting a room down the street from him for a year, and my roommate said he was a school bus driver with anger and drinking issues (they were on their HOA together); when I moved out there mysteriously appeared a “Practice Seeing Bicyclists” bumper sticker on his Ford Ranger).

      Apologies to those of you who’ve heard this anecdote before… 🙂

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        Bay Area Rider August 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        When I was involved in bicycle races we would sometimes have an angry driver get disruptive at the finish line of a road race. Amazing how having someone shout “Get the license plate” makes the angry driver disappear in the blink of an eye.

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      soren August 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      With all due respect, the portland police bureau and the courts are institutionally biased against vulnerable traffic. Until this changes you are wasting your time, IMO.

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    David Lewis August 26, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I like where you’re going with this, Jonathon. You’re probably sitting on some of the most damning evidence for why Portland needs activists to do the work of our elected officials and civil servants.

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    Zaphod August 26, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    This is a really important initiative. While I’ve been lucky (knock knock) but I experience fear and stress for myself along with my kids. It’s perhaps the single largest stressor on existence. I’d love to not only see close calls and real injury reduced… but elevate riding/commuting such that it’s actually enjoyable and perceived as safe for nearly all routes at nearly all times for all people. Transitioning from politely asking to demanding what is reasonable… the time is now. We built greenways. Let’s add diverters because drivers have discovered their efficiency and misuse them. We’ve built routes 80-95% lovely but with broken links and connectors. Let’s f&##^ing connect them! With the current and projected population growth the city really needs more people on bikes to allow movement and livability. It shouldn’t be framed as an us-vs-them but instead a collaboration to allow peaceful and low stress movement about the city.

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    rachel b August 26, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Good on you, Bike Portland! The description of that assault is horrific. People seem more ready now to cross previously uncrossable lines than they ever were before.

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      paikiala August 26, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      my definition of horrific differs from yours.

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        rachel b August 26, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        ??? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

        horrific: causing horror

        horror: an intense feeling of fear, shock or disgust.

        I think being seized and forcibly dragged by a moving heavy vehicle is fear-, shock- and/or disgust-inducing, yup. Or maybe I’m misunderstanding the story?

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    rainbike August 26, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I suspect that this specific incident would have ended very differently if the cyclist had not flipped off the motorist.

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      Paul Atkinson August 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      That’s your takeaway? That’s the element you think was pivotal in this whole encounter? Of all the behaviors by all parties, you think the single most egregious thing that must be called out in a comment is *that* one?

      Let’s try it with other behaviors.

      I suspect that this specific incident would have ended very differently if…

      1 …the driver had been attentive and law-abiding, and therefore not cut off the cyclist at all. (This is #1 because it is the single behavior I’d call out from this whole incident.)
      2 …the driver had ignored the finger and simply driven home.
      3 …the driver had not been speeding.
      4 …the driver had not physically assaulted anyone.
      5 …after the incident, the driver had done his duty and stayed to ensure the person he’d injured was all right.
      6 …the driver had not run any red lights.

      The one behavior in this entire sequence that hurt no one was the finger. Literally every other behavior was illegal, dangerous or both. But please, let’s focus on the politeness of a person whose life was just threatened.

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        rainbike August 26, 2016 at 8:56 pm

        All good points. Funny thing is that while I try to be good, on my commute home tonight, I accidentally flipped off a motorist who laid on the horn while I took the lane, preparing to make a left hand turn with on-coming traffic.

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        21 Speed August 28, 2016 at 8:53 pm

        Cutting someone off is not necessarily illegal. Depends on the distances involved, etc. What one person calls being “cut off” might be a safe lane change or safe turn to another person.

        In this case, given the description, it is hard to know exactly what happened. This description is a little vague if you aren’t familiar with the streets where it happened: “…..He was riding up N Williams and a man cut him off by taking a left onto Williams. My partner flipped the guy off after he had cut him off. The driver was ready to make a right and had a turn signal on, but at the last second chose to swerve across traffic and into the bike lane. “

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      How else am I supposed to alert to the driver that they had done something wrong. It’s not as if there is a “your dangerous driving has caused me to feel unsafe in your presence” hand gesture.

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        Paul Atkinson August 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm

        Well, not *another* one anyway.

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        Allison August 26, 2016 at 1:23 pm

        I’ve been intentionally struck by an angry driver before, too. I didn’t even flip him off–all I did was scowl when he ran a stop sign in front of me. And that’s all it took.
        (Note–this was in Tucson. I ended up in the ER, husband got plate number, and vehicle and driver description. Tucson police literally laughed at me.)

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        Alan 1.0 August 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm

        /me *waves*

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        lop August 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm

        What do you think alerting to the driver that they had done something wrong will actually accomplish?

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

          It makes me feel slightly less helpless.

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            paikiala August 26, 2016 at 4:48 pm

            Most vehicle operators use their horn…

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              Eric Leifsdad August 26, 2016 at 5:37 pm

              …violating ORS 815.225

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 11:17 pm

              DING DONG

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 26, 2016 at 2:29 pm

          I believe in operant conditioning. I give big waves and smiles and say “THANKS” when a driver is surprisingly nice, and I have a good “HEY!” loaded for a driver who has- or is about to- do something stupid and/or dangerous.

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      • Tony T
        Tony T August 26, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        I go with the thumbs down. It’s not quite the “eff you” and more “your driving is lame.” I save the middle finger for the particularly egregious acts.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2016 at 4:40 pm

        Flipping off idiоts is like barking at dogs. It might be fun (and somewhat satisfying on some level), but it only riles them up and never leads anywhere good.

        First of all, it is not a good idea to assume people are rational. A certain percentage of the drivers are psychologically disturbed, under the influence of powerful drugs, homicidal, armed, etc. Percentagewise, few drivers mess with us so anyone that bugs you is already an edge case and more likely to be one of these dangerous people.

        The whole reason people do this stuff is because they either want to scare you out of your skin or рiss you off. So when you flip them off, you reward them by giving them exactly the reaction they wanted.

        If they intentionally provoke, the best thing to do is pretend like they don’t even exist. These people are like kids who throw rocks at bees’ nests — if the bees don’t come out, it’s boring and they go away.

        If you have any reason to believe their action *might* be unintentional, a palm to the sky indicating WTH or pointing where they should be or where they’re threatening you is far more productive.

        Being aggressive with people in giant steel cages is like a chihuahua threatening a Rott. Laughable to them at best, very dangerous to you at worst.

        If you want to dispense justice, just remember they’ll sometimes run into people just like themselves and punish each other far worse than you ever could. If that’s not enough, just memorize their vehicle and give a friendly 5 finger wave every time you see them. People are creatures of habit, meaning they tend to show up about the same places at the same times. Strip them of their anonymity, and you’ll find they act way nicer. I’ve turned hostiles into motorists that give me more than average space that way.

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        lyle w. August 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm

        I actually have taken up a very sarcastic and enthusiastic thumbs up along with a gigantic smile and eye contact. I’m sure they usually know the true intent.

        Middle fingers feel good, but they also have a way of setting off the craziest out there in a way nothing else can. And it doesn’t matter how poor the driving on their behalf was leading up to the middle finger…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 12:42 am

          Blow them a kiss. If you’re really pissed, you can use a bit of tongue.

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      soren August 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      I flip people off who endanger vulnerable traffic with enthusiasm (in PDX almost always because they threaten someone else — typically a pedestrian).

      So…

      # of times I’ve flipped a motorist off: approx. 8000 (200 times year x 40 years).
      # of times flipping a motorist off resulted in an assault: .

      I realize that not everyone has my tolerance for risk but I applaud anyone who stands up to bullying on our roadway. So thank you “redacted” and I hope you heal up quick.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm

        I flip off motorists all the time, most often when walking around my neighborhood. Or I do the “scowling face, arms up” gesture.

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          soren August 26, 2016 at 2:07 pm

          i often flip drivers off when i enter a legal crosswalk and they fail to stop. sadly, this means i flip people off very often in pdx.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 2:08 pm

            Yes, this is the most common scenario for me as well. Or that they stopped their car in the crosswalk.

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            David Hampsten August 26, 2016 at 4:19 pm

            When I lived in Portland for 17 years, it was a rare day that I didn’t silently mouth-off to motorists an “F-U” or a “I hate cars”. Strangely enough, living here in car-centric Greensboro NC, I almost never do so anymore, which is odd, because drivers here routinely run red lights, go 20 mph over the limit, and cut me off. Perhaps we expect bad behavior here and the rest of the US, but polite in Portland?

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 10:35 pm

              Nah, I definitely yelled at and flipped off more motorists when I lived in Chicago.

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 27, 2016 at 11:50 am

                With or without a speedometer?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm

                Without, but I never left home without my wide-brimmed hat.

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            Mike 2 August 29, 2016 at 11:55 am

            Flipping people off is cool. Look how many people flip off cameras to show how cool they are. There is a cycling team here in PDX that basically uses the “bird” as the new way to smile at the camera.
            So maybe the offending driver thinks you are just showing them how cool you are.

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          Andrea Capp August 26, 2016 at 2:17 pm

          I give them my disappointed mom face and head shake.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 29, 2016 at 11:58 am

            If you are like my mom, that would scare the crap out of me!

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          SilkySlim August 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm

          I bet that doesn’t help anyone at all….

          I go with the hand to chest “my goodness! that was close! aren’t we lucky you didn’t go 1′ further? I’m out of breath from being scared!”

          As angry as you are, projecting that isn’t helpful to anybody. I’m sure how you’ve seen the response to be defensiveness more than apology.

          Give people a chance to come to their own conclusions after seeing your emotions, rather than feeling forced to immediately agree.

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        BB August 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

        Only 200 per year I salute your reservedness.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm

        200 times/year is a lot of birds. Dude, something is not right with this picture.

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          rachel b August 26, 2016 at 11:51 pm

          200 birds a year! 🙂 There may be something not right with the picture, but it kinda makes me adore soren… which is kind of uncomfortable, frankly. 😉

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    Brian August 26, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve had drivers flip me off before, I never tried to kill them

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I was assaulted by a cabbie in Chicago and the police not only refused to take a report, they tried to convince me that I, in fact, had not actually been assaulted.

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    RH August 26, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Business idea: A fake gopro cam that mounts to your helmet. Cost, $10. Possible positive change in driver behavior : Priceless.

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      Pete August 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Cycling jerseys with police logos aren’t so bad either.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        That I think might technically be a felony.

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        Dave August 26, 2016 at 2:14 pm

        What about jerseys with NRA or gun manufacturer logos?

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          Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2016 at 6:04 pm

          There are a million variations on this theme such as POLITE jerseys where the graphic display looks like police jerseys http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/polite-think-bike-jacket.jpg

          as well as armed forces, etc. But if you don’t ride a bike that looks like something an officer might reasonably ride and maintain an appropriate cycling style and demeanor, this sort of tactic will probably backfire.

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        B. Carfree August 26, 2016 at 8:51 pm

        A decade ago, there was a group of Eugene police who took to riding bikes for exercise. They always rode in a group with their POLICE labelled shirts and both the lead and trailing riders were in uniform. I spoke with one of them one day and he admitted that they were pretty much all afraid to ride without making sure everyone knew that attacking them would create a world of hurt.

        I found it to be incredibly sad. Unfortunately, rather than push to beef up their department’s efforts to enforce traffic laws, literally all of these officers gave up riding within a few years. I’m betting that none of them were ever actually endangered on the roads, they were simply uncomfortable with a feeling of helplessness that can come with being a vru.

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    John Lascurettes August 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    The “trend” you’ll notice is the police are unwilling to investigate and prosecute deliberately violent and dangerous acts.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      The police do not exist to protect you or any other citizens. They exist to maintain a definition of “law and order” that has been determined by the establishment. Police do not exist to exact justice.

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        Spiffy August 26, 2016 at 2:20 pm

        from the PPB web site:

        “Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.”

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 3:13 pm

        We are “the establishment.”

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          9watts August 26, 2016 at 6:18 pm

          We are?
          We may be white (not sure, I am), but I haven’t bought any politicians lately (or ever). I recognize I have all kinds of privileges in other realms, but when it comes to the police and what I feel I can expect from them in situations such as we’re talking about I don’t feel like the establishment at all.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 6:46 pm

            Who, exactly, is the establishment, then? It’s not old guys with suits and cigars, scheming to keep the automobile dominant over scotch at the clubhouse.

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              9watts August 26, 2016 at 7:22 pm

              Well I’d start with

              Matthew Garrett’s Rolodex.
              David Evans & Associates, CH2MHill.
              Those who got big breaks when Novick and Hales were puffing their cigars in the back rooms figuring out who’d be exempt from paying the street fee: the fatcats who own parking lots in this town.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 9:40 pm

                The police and the engineers are in cahoots to rule the world?

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                9watts August 26, 2016 at 9:59 pm

                I’m not sure they intended to, but I think it has come to that. I think some District Attorneys might also fit into this camp. I mean, if you get right down to it, why is the VRU or the basic speed rule not enforced, not invoked when it seems to us here that the crash/crime fits perfectly? Why do all the wonderful people who are registering disregard from law enforcement getting shafted? Why does the CRC get $200M for a series of studies which we couldn’t afford and never needed, when there’s no will or money to even get the twenties bikeway right?
                There’s inertia in our car-drenched system, sure, but who are the sticks in the mud? Institutions like ODOT, the judicial and law enforcement systems, etc. But there are also smart folks who run these organizations, make decisions. The ESTABLISHMENT to me consists of this cabal of status-quo defenders.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 10:49 pm

                I don’t entirely disagree, but I see it more as general conservatism rather than any kind of conspiracy.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 11:07 pm

                So going back to the statement we’re responding to, Adam H. said the police are not there to “exact justice”, but to maintain the rule of law and order created by “the establishment.”

                I think this is exactly right, and that it’s not a bad thing. Justice is what the courts are for; none of us wants to live in a society where the police “exact justice”. That’s what’s going on in the Philippines right now*, and while it’s popular at the moment, it will inevitably spin out of control.

                So the duty of the police is to maintain the rule of law and order, and where does that law come from? From the establishment; from our government, which is to say, from our representatives. It’s basically Civics 101.

                *http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/philippines-police-chief-1900-killed-anti-drug-war-160823070010316.html

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 11:26 pm

                Discussion of police is perhaps a topic more appropriate for a different setting, but I will say this: at an individual level, there are good cops and there are bad cops. However, the system of policing in America is broken. There are entire groups of people in this country who for them, the police are not protectors, but instigators. For many communities, the definition of “law and order” involves racist policing strategies and maintaining white privilege. If the police are failing any of us, they are failing all of us.

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                9watts August 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

                That is kind of an intresting way to bracket this, Hello, Kitty: Conspiracy or Conservatism.
                Are those really the only two options? How about self-serving inertia? Entitled paternalism, with a side of institutional racism? The point here, I think, is to get beneath the easy, exonerating explanations to try to understand the reason the outcomes seem always to favor the wealthy, the well-connected, the car-bound, the white. It isn’t as if, for instance, either of your two explanations explains why blacks in this country receive consistently worse treatment at the hands of police. And invoking a conspiracy is a surefire way to dismiss the entire project, while calling it conservatism lets the air out of what could/should be a more energized search for answers.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 27, 2016 at 9:51 am

                I don’t see paternalism at all, but conservatism could be seen as akin to inertia. I think the lack of a widely embraced alternative to the status quo probably doesn’t help… that could also be a manifestation of conservatism.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 27, 2016 at 10:00 am

                And, no, neither of my explanations explains police-minority relations. How do you explain that? Please don’t say “racism” unless you are prepared to explain why minority officers are often part of the problem. I have a theory, but I’d like to hear from others first.

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                9watts August 27, 2016 at 10:41 am

                You keep skipping over the self-serving part in your replies. Let’s not forget that there are winners: CH2MHill, David Evans, pensioned public employees, and losers: minorities, poor, young people who are going to inherit a world with nothing but stranded (infrastructure) assets and not enough food and water, those who don’t use cars right now, etc.

                I guess the reason I find your returning again and again to conservatism as the explanation so dissatisfying is that it has a blase, boys-will-be-boys, this is what you get feel to it. I guess I see this (=who are the establishment and what can we do about it) as urgent and solvable, but not with a stance that treats all this as par for the course.

                Oh, and as to why minorities don’t get fair treatment by the police? Institutional culture, inherited bias, bad apples, and none of those precludes black cops from occasionally abusing black citizens; it isn’t as if there were no example of white cops abusing whites, right? People of all colors can behave badly, and some institutions work hard at rooting this proclivity out while others don’t try that hard.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 27, 2016 at 12:42 pm

                Conservatism is the “easiest” explanation, and by that I mean the one that allows everyone to just keep muddling along with no larger plan in mind. Because it requires the least “energy”, it is also most likely to be correct. It does not mean we’re in an optimal state, and I think you and I would agree on many of the things that we would want to see change. I’m sorry it’s a blase, bland, boring view of our affairs.

                In terms of our future, my #1 policy priority is a carbon tax; that would not only change the incentives on the individual level, but might also cause a rethinking of things at the institutional level, at least in regards to transportation policy and all the things that are connected to that. Unfortunately, I see approximately zero chance of getting one.

                The real problem is that the vast majority of people seem generally willing to accept the status quo. If that were not so, we’d select different leaders (and for the record, I only voted for a single incumbent for local office in the primaries).

                As to your explanation about the police, I mostly agree, but would add tribalism and fear. Racism certainly plays a role with some individuals, but it’s an unsatisfying explanation for larger trends.

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            rachel b August 26, 2016 at 11:54 pm

            Hello, Kitty is white and fluffy.

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              rachel b August 26, 2016 at 11:54 pm

              meow! 😉

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    Tom Hardy August 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    A year ago last June my bike buddy was injured by a left turning kid on SW Vista and Market. The kid was making the left turn onto Vista and my friend and I was descending at an easy pace between 38K and 42K. The car waited until the car was past in front of us then gave us about 50 foot warning. I missed the car. My friend did not. He caught the front wheel well, hood, Windshield, wrinkled the top, and blew out both side windows on a 3 day old BMW M6.
    We were both dressed in bright clothes, but the driver said he did not see us. A Multnomah county deputy was immediatly behind us and he said that he had a dash cam going as he was following the car in front of us that passed us on the chicane. 4 PPB cars were on the scene before I was able to get through to 911. The PPB motorcycle Sargent made out the report and told me that He would make out a major citation. I received the driver info from the Deputy.
    No citation was issued. No video was produced. My bike buddy spent over 7 days in intensive care. Got 40 screws in his wrist and ankle and had a muscle in his leg removed as it was hamburger from the Carbon frame of his bike shattering into 6 inch pieces. He tried to get back on the bike but now his heart is needing some work.
    Enforcement is definitely on the side of the motorist.
    All PPB officers should spend at least 6 months as bike cops without armor.
    All video’s of traffic offences should be sent to a clearing house for the insurance companies to adjust rates on idiot motorists that drive dangerously. The Public prosecuters must issue at least an edict for licensed drivers (make them ride bikes for a period). Also those with no insurance and/or licenses should have their vehicles impounded + a little stint in road cleanup or jail + use bikes for transportation for an extended period of time.
    My $0.02 worth.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Tom: do you have a case number? Might be interesting to do a records request in the name of good journalism.

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        Tom Hardy August 26, 2016 at 7:23 pm

        We have it Ted. Will see you Monday.

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      rachel b August 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      What an awful tale! Your poor friend! So infuriating. Very glad you weren’t hit. 🙁

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    Andrea August 26, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Just a few more to add to that list.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26wbJakuA6Q
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQfNPjfRtfQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W40Qq2AT_zc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUqxD4YTNds

    There’s more where that came from sitting on the computer at home:

    Two drivers this morning didn’t fully stop and look both ways at stop signs and nearly hit me on SE Ankeny (one at 15th and one at 13th).

    Which reminds me, I have footage from another stop sign runner last week at 15th and Ankeny nearly hitting a cyclist and I’ve witnessed, but did not save the video of two more near collisions from stop sign runners there as well.

    I have footage from Tuesday of a near left-hook from a moped driver on the newly made bike lane on NW 2nd.

    Footage from a driver yesterday trying to speed up to pass me approaching Cesar Chavez with CARS PARKED on either side of the street, then threatening me for motioning no no to him.

    Footage from last week of a driver nearly hitting me when pulling out of a driveway after failing to see me with the two other cyclists just ahead of me.

    Footage of a driver trying to push me off to the side of the road with his truck last week attempting to pass me while approaching a stop sign where I needed to make a left-hand turn (at NE 47th & NE Everett). I couldn’t signal, because I was trying not to get hit by his mirror. At least he apologized when I told him he was getting too close, could have been authentic, or the cameras, we’ll never know.

    It’s nearly daily from “little” things to much more extreme problems, and school is back in session soon. It seems to be worse when school is in. I’ve been thinking it’s time to have a documentation system where citizens can input incidences with license plate numbers and the description of the event so there’s a record. I have to think (at least in the case of these violent aggressive encounters) some of the same people will start showing up over and over.

    Jonathan, this is a monumental task. Thank you for taking it on. I appreciate all you do for our community.

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      John Lascurettes August 26, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      That last video of the guy pulling right through the stop sign is an almost daily occurrence on my local greenway (NE Siskiyou between 7th and 15th). 🙁 Glad you were watching when he wasn’t.

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        Dan A August 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        That video highlights the reason Portland should enforce Oregon’s parking law (http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.550: “Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.”).

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 4:48 pm

          I don’t see that at all… the driver (who, as noted, didn’t stop as required), had a clear view of the cyclist before he started accelerating.

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            John Lascurettes August 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm

            You’re both right. The Portland practice of allowing parking right up to the corner (especially by trucks) creates really dangerous blind corners for pulling out into traffic and for trying to use a crosswalk. But in that video, the driver very clearly had clear line of sight on Andrea the entire time — both as he rolled through the stop and as he decided to accelerate through the intersection.

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      Mark August 28, 2016 at 9:10 am

      I too ride through the diverted intersection at SE Ankeny and 15th. Since they put it in, I’ve nearly been hit by four different drivers running the stop sign. I’ve called the city and also submitted a complaint with PBOT’s web form. One driver, when I mentioned that he had run the stop sign, got out of his car to beat me up, cursing at me the whole time.

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    Pete August 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    There’s one approach I’ve adopted, and that’s to relate intersections with the names of their victims. It’s something that I’m sure gets the goad of the local agencies, but on public forums like blogs or hearings or city council meetings it has a shock factor that I think (hope) is impactful. Believe me, it is done with the deepest of sympathy and respect.

    Unfortunately this is relatively easy, since it usually takes a publicized death to rally the authorities to react, even in situations where the public has been asking for it for a while. Case in point is Page Mill Road in Palo Alto at the I-280 underpass. You’ll have to look it up yourself but it’s an astonishing piece of roadway that forces cyclists to cross two lanes of 50-MPH traffic to stay in the bike lane. The County finally started to implement stop-gap changes after Jeff Donnelly was killed there last year, but not too long after the incident a few of us to start referring to it as the “Jeff Donnelly Memorial Intersection” in public hearings with the County and Caltrans. It has to be done tactically and respectfully – especially where survivors are concerned – but the one thing I do notice with this approach is that my previously-unacknowledged emails on these issues always get responses now.

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    pixie August 26, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I’m very glad you are doing this. The city needs to understand how frequently close calls are happening, as well as the more violent reactions that can result.

    Two weeks ago, I had a driver cut me off on Spokane by speeding up to make an unsafe pass with stopped traffic just 2 houses away forcing them to cut back in and come to a quick stop, and me to swerve out of the way. My non-verbal response led to being chased through Sellwood, including the driver getting out to attempt to “get” me. Witness intervention, despite the angry driver warning the witness not to get involved, prevented escalation and I was able to get away, only to find myself chased again five minutes later by the same vehicle in Eastmoreland. Egads.

    Based on prior incidents noted here, I knew contacting police would lead nowhere.

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  • Mike Gilliland
    Mike Gilliland August 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    As a road racing cyclist for too many years than I want to recall, and having been nearly killed by a motorcycle downtown, what it comes to for me is simply – defensive cycling. Keeping a chill head and always, always anticipate everything around you when your are on your bike – for and aft – 360 degrees.

    Remember, road rage isn’t worth it. Peds and bikes are at the bottom of the urban food chain on the road, the challenge is to managing this is being alert.

    Defensive actions are a positive aspect to this subject that don’t get reported. It’s got to be part of maneuvering through urban streets.

    Signalling, bike control, proper maintenance, ongoing conditions evaluation, using mirrors and lights….and even just giving up your ‘right-of-way’ go a long way to staying upright and away from road rash or worse.

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      Dave August 29, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Wow, pretty rare to have a scary encounter with a motorcyclist; usually they’re not as rude as ***word deleted. Dave, please find a different way to describe people who drive cars. Thanks. — Jonathan***.

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    Tom August 26, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    With all the detailed accounts collected and victims willing to testify, there should be enough to file a class action lawsuit against PPB and the DA office. Faced with reviewing hundreds of embarrassing cases, some concessions might be made.

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    Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Mike Gilliland
    …what it comes to for me is simply – defensive cycling. Keeping a chill head and always, always anticipate everything around you when your are on your bike..

    This is what it boils down to.

    Those who flip off motorists encourage them to harass us. The whole reason they do it is to provoke, and when you so eagerly take the bait, they get a good laugh the same way people laugh when teacup poodles lunge at them.

    It is clear that many posters here are doing something wrong. In the entire time I’ve lived in Portland, no motorist has ever flipped me off. Of course, I’ve had a few unfriendly encounters, but they are extremely rare.

    BTW, one thing to keep in mind is that people are creatures of habit meaning they show up in about the same places at the same times. So if you encourage positive or negative interactions, you set the tone for future encounters.

    Rules for dealing with motorists and hostile dogs are nearly identical. 90% of the game is just being calm and assertive. Once you let anger take over, you’ll have problems every time.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 26, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Some people believe that if you’re not getting yelled at, you’re riding wrong. Sigh.

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        Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2016 at 6:10 pm

        Also if you’re polite.

        A number of self identified bird flippers here have also self identified in other posts as people who don’t believe in thanking motorists for being considerate.

        They seem unaware that most drivers are reasonably polite to each other and frequently display friendly hand and facial gestures to thank, yield right of way, etc. They also do this for cyclists who work with them.

        Today, several motorists gave me friendly gestures, but zero gave me unfriendly ones or engaged in any act of hostility. That’s what the vast majority of my days are like.

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          Random August 26, 2016 at 8:13 pm

          OTOH, flipping off a driver about every day and a half since 1975 demonstrates remarkable persistence…

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    Scott Kocher August 26, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you, Jonathan. Three thoughts. First, I think it is appropriate to print these. Not sharing these stories allows people to think “it can’t happen to me.” Second, sometimes a lawyer can help even when the police can’t. Lawyers can request DMV records, and most will talk through options for free. Third, there are dozens of injury lawyers, and each of us has hundreds if not thousands of clients and former clients with stories like these. I wish they could have a bigger advocacy impact. They move quietly through the legal process by the thousands and then disappear. Perhaps it’s time to dust off and update or re-imagine the B-SMART tool.

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    Beth August 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    “Thank motorists for being consideerate” is one thing.
    Thanking them for obeying the law is entirely another, and I generally don’t do that. I think if I do, it gives them the chance to consider signals and signs as suggestions.

    On another note, about fifteen years ago was the last time I got visibly and audibly super-upset at a driver who cut me off and then tried to turn in front of me AFTER he saw my reaction. His car physically bumped me and I almost fell down.
    When we both had to stop at the next stoplight, I was behind him. He looked at my angry expression in his rearview, put his car into park, got out and ran towards me menacingly. I didn’t stick around to find out what his beef was. I turned my bike around and sped away, shaken.
    When I called the police to report the incident, they told me i should have “controlled my impulses to keep things from escalating.” They would not take a report or follow up because I was not injured and there was no evidence

    If I was much younger, faster and stronger, I might do some of the things described in posts above. But these days I take the path of lesser resistance, both in my route choices and how I choose to interact with other road users. I will let the younger, stronger folks directly engage. I just don’t have the energy anymore.

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    KTaylor August 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I was hit in that horrible crosswalk on W. Burnside at SW Park. Two of the three lanes of eastbound traffic had stopped for me, and an SUV in the inner lane plowed on through and hit me broadside. When the driver got out of her tank, she told me she was trying to wiggle her coffee cup free from the cupholder and she didn’t see me or the other two stopped cars.

    I wasn’t hurt badly, fortunately – just got a few big bruises that left behind freaky, calcified bumps – but the officer who arrived at the scene (this was 3 years ago) said if the driver had wanted to press charges, I would have been found at fault because I didn’t get off my bike and walk across the crosswalk.

    I could feel that the two stopped drivers expected me to hurry – cross the road and get out of their way fast. There’s no stoplight there, and drivers are on the honor system to stop for the flashing beacon. They would have been annoyed had I gotten off and walked, slowing them down still further, so I didn’t. Basically, I was being a good woman.

    Luckily, the driver who hit me recognized she was at fault and voluntarily paid for my doctor visit and my totaled bike. But my takeaway from this is that I want cars to be both tiny and uncomfortable. About the size of a smart car – no drink holders, no radio, no TV, no automatic transmission, no cruise control, some kind of chip that makes it impossible to go over 20 mph within city limits and seats that are ergonomically correct but not cozy. I want people to feel like they’re getting into the cockpit of a plane every time they drive.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Interesting, especially since the cop doesn’t know the law.

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        KTaylor August 28, 2016 at 12:16 am

        What is the law, exactly? I was pretty out of it, but I do know I was told that I was at fault for not walking my bike. Thanks!

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm

          It’s 811.055.

          http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.055

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            Alan 1.0 August 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

            811.055 is “Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk,” and does not specifically talk about crosswalks, so I don’t think that’s the right law for this case.

            814.410 “Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk” section (d) says it’s an offense to ride a “bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk,” which implies that bikes are ok in crosswalks, and is ambiguous/silent about speed after entering it.

            Portland ordinance 16.70.320 (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/16278) prohibits bikes on sidewalks where KTaylor was hit but it does not mention bikes in crosswalks, so there could be a gray area or confusion in that regard.

            These two state laws expressly prohibit the actions of the driver who’s vehicle struck KTaylor:

            811.028 “Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian”
            “For the purposes of this section, a pedestrian is crossing the roadway in a crosswalk when any part or extension of the pedestrian, including but not limited to any part of the pedestrians body, wheelchair, cane, crutch or bicycle, moves onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.”

            811.020 “Passing stopped vehicle at crosswalk” prohibits exactly the action of the driver who hit KTaylor in the crosswalk.

            Maybe there’s a more official stance (court decision? policy statement?) on that city ordinance and crosswalks, and possibly depending on KTaylor’s speed in the crosswalk, but at face value, the most credibility I can extend to that cop is that he was talking about an unlikely worst-case scenario, and also that he had a diagnosable case of carhead.

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              Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm

              You’re right- wrong cite. Thanks. While the laws aren’t perfectly clear, it’s pretty obvious they are legally allowed in crosswalks.

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                KTaylor August 30, 2016 at 8:12 am

                Thanks, Alan and Ted. I feel like a chump – wish I’d looked into this sooner. Fortunately, driver had a conscience!

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                Alan 1.0 August 30, 2016 at 10:57 am

                I don’t see you as a chump in any way, KTaylor; you were operating your bike correctly. I see the cop as a bit of a chump for blindly following misperceptions of traffic laws, but I see PPD as a whole – particularly its leaders – as a bigger factor for not ensuring that all traffic officers are better informed. They have the knowledge but apparently have not been effective at disseminating it. Their 2009 video is quite good:

                https://youtu.be/xKmwKP5ZRtQ

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    David Lewis August 26, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Jonathon, you probably expected the long list of “this happened to me…” narratives here, and maybe part of you never wanted to go in this direction for fear of Portland losing its reputation of bike-friendliness. If you compare Portland to America’s worst sprawl boulevard, there is a lot to like here, but I’ve never been one to set the bar so low and I lived in Europe for several years while in the service. I’ve literally seen “better”. It’s time to paint Portland with the brush it has earned and put the politicians to task to do their jobs. I don’t give two flying facts what party they’re in (although that says a lot on its own) or to which choir they sing.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 26, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      If Portland actually fully funded and implemented all its plans, we would be an amazing city to live in.

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    Pat Franz August 26, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    There is so much wrong with our feeble attempts to sanction bad behavior it’s hard to know where to start.

    One place I would propose is start is with the BS around having to get positive ID on the driver. It’s just too hard. If you get a license plate, the police or some other entity should be able to create consequences.

    I know the offense goes with the driver, and not the vehicle, but the vehicle has an owner and the owner is supposed to carry insurance. I see absolutely no reason why every sworn incident on a given license plate should not be recorded and made available to insurance companies. The insurance companies would be fools not to check it. I would also propose that if there are more than a small number every year, or several in a short period of time, that the police would be required to pay the owner a visit. At the least, check they have insurance and impound the car if it doesn’t.

    Yes, we would need to include some way to make sure people wouldn’t file false reports, and some way to make sure drivers wouldn’t be able to attack those who report them. All solvable.

    It’s 2016, we have new tools and new possibilities to approach an old problem that gets worse the more drivers think their bad behavior will go unpunished. It’s time to give them pause. People are watching, and they do care. It’s time the people watching, and the people that care, can cause consequences.

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    eddie August 27, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Publish the license plate numbers of abusive drivers on the internet. Perhaps on this blog. Identify them. Make a list. “Out” them. Then they can be held accountable by we the people. However we see fit.

    I personally just get the hell away from road ragers, de escalate the situation. Making them angrier might endanger the next cyclist or pedestrian they come across.

    Remember, you can always catch the license number then call 911 and report them as an out of control, possibly drunk driver…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 27, 2016 at 10:33 am

      I suspect that having their license plate listed on a site they don’t know exists will have a minimal deterrent effect, especially in the heat of the moment.

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        eddie August 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

        The idea isn’t for them to know they’ve been outed, it’s for us to know who they are and find ways to make them as individuals accountable.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 29, 2016 at 12:51 pm

          Ok, I can see that.

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    SD August 27, 2016 at 10:33 am

    It would be nice to know if PDX police officers have formal training in how to deal car v bike collisions/ altercations, and what they are told. Or, are they just winging it, some officers being better, more experienced than others.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 27, 2016 at 11:05 am

      I have found Portland police to be generally pretty good regarding bikes. However, this judgment is, of course, clouded by the fact that I happen to be a white male.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 27, 2016 at 11:29 am

        You’ve obviously never had an encounter with Officer Jerkhole (not his real name), but I blame him and not the system.

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    Andrea Capp August 27, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    THAT IS IT. I’m opening myself for madness here but I’m starting a simple spreadsheet of our negative interactions, harassment, poor choices, etc with people driving. I’d like to see if I can find any trends.

    Please feel free to send me your encounters and suggestions for improvement at CommuteBetterPDX@gmail.com.

    Example editable spreadsheet can be found here: http://bit.ly/2bPGCUt

    Ongoing locked spreadsheet that I plan to continue updating can be seen here: http://bit.ly/2bHhvCy

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    Kittens August 28, 2016 at 2:53 am

    This is a great initiative Johnathan. I think I speak for most cyclists when I say we feel completely and utterly alone to defend ourselves on the road.

    Daily we are targeted, taunted and abused. With the shift happening at city hall regarding active transport, you would think an equally powerful change on the enforcement end of things would accompany. But sadly law enforcement seem to be largely absent and irrelevant in this regard.

    Taken as a whole, the streets are the largest public space in the city and they are becoming more and more a scene of frustration boiling over to rage and volience by a handful of awful people.

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    Edward August 28, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for doing this!

    A huge part of the problem is the 9-1-1 dispatch. “Oh the reckless driver, well you didn’t ask for a callback.”. “This wasn’t a misdemeanor reckless driver, this guy was intentionally coming after me with his car and I’m on a bike! He was you g that he was going to murder me and run me over and the. He tried! This was attempted murder. This is a major felony!”

    And p.s. (to anybody reading this far) – if you pull out your phone to call 911, you better just start video recording and/or taking pics while you’re on hold.

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    Phil Richman August 29, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Late last spring there was a person driving at an unreasonably dangerous rate of speed repeatedly past our house. Too fast to even catch a license plate #. It did not help the car was engulfed by a cloud of dust from our dirt road. I was really concerned for everyone’s safety. We happen to live down the hill around a blind corner with no stop sign adjacent to SW Trail #6. My family and I began to notice there was a pattern around the time of day and had witnessed enough to articulate a description of the vehicle and the direction of travel. So I articulated this concern for neighborhood safety via Nextdoor.com. In less than a day the person (a local high school student) was identified by his mother through the site. She courageously proclaimed he would NOT be driving again any time soon and if/when he was given his keys back he’d behave in a legal and respectable manner. I thought it was hugely cool for her to come out. There was nothing but praise for her courage in doing so and I haven’t seen the car since.

    Point is as Jonathan has suggested the internet is a powerful tool. Don’t rule out using Nextdoor.com as another tool in the safety advocacy/idiot shaming quiver. In this case no one was hurt and law enforcement was unnecessary. It strengthened the neighborhood and presumably taught the kid a valuable lesson. A lot of times the people who are endangering others are also your neighbors, friends and family members.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

      That’s a great story. I do believe it is often our neighbors who are the worst culprits on our neighborhood streets.

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      Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 29, 2016 at 11:29 am

      That is awesome. It demonstrates several good things about humans.

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    21 Speed August 29, 2016 at 9:46 pm
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      click shifter September 3, 2016 at 1:53 am

      guy in small pickup was the equivalent of the cyclist in the main incident described in this BP story.

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    21 Speed August 29, 2016 at 9:49 pm
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    21 Speed August 29, 2016 at 9:51 pm
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    21 Speed August 29, 2016 at 9:54 pm
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      Eric Leifsdad August 29, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      officer at 1:55 “Unfortunately, when we get into the cars we become uh… we feel invincible.” uh… yep.

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        click shifter September 3, 2016 at 1:51 am

        officer at 1:10: “…..the number 1 gesture from your hand… will just make the issue worse….”

        That’s the point of the video and the point that most commenters above either fail to grasp or else don’t want to admit in the above discussion; and the point that would have made the incident in this story not occur at all.

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          Or perhaps the speeding driver who failed to yield could have, you know, operated their vehicle in a safer manner.

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