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Collision Chronicles: A ‘traumatic’ close call while biking down Interstate Ave

Posted by on August 30th, 2016 at 1:49 pm

North Interstate before Russell.

North Interstate before Russell.

This story is part of our Collision Chronicles, an ongoing series to shine a light on the constant stream of scary street interactions we hear about but that you won’t read about in the news.

This account was posted by the victim Jocelyn Gaudi to her Facebook page yesterday. Gaudi, a very experienced rider and well-known local advocate who sits on several city transportation advisory committees, has given us permission to publish it here.

This morning, I experienced the closest call I’ve ever had while riding in Portland. To say that it was a traumatic experience is to short sell the negative impact that it had and will continue to have on me.

I stood in the road, my legs shaking so severely that I couldn’t move, weeping. It took a long time before I could start riding again and even then I cried all the way down Interstate, until I made into the waterfront pathway – away from vehicle traffic.

Riding down the Interstate Ave hill, I caught up with traffic stopped by the light at Russell Street (map). The women driving this car (silver Cadillac CTS) began to merge into the bike lane, into my direct path, before the dashed lines marking the legal transition to the right turn lane began. My front wheel was alongside her front passenger door when I noticed her tires drifting across the solid white lane.

When the dashed lane began, she made an aggressive right hand move into the right turn lane, causing me to have to swerve quickly to the right as well. She was within a few feet of my bare leg, and I was attempting to avoid collision with only my right hand on the bars as I was using my left hand to repeated smack the side of her car, without any response from the driver. She very nearly had me pinned between her vehicle and the concrete barriers on the side of the road.

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14080079_10100273603014739_401110728500091879_nShe made a right onto Russell, where I caught up with her and signaled for her to roll down her window. I’m thankful that she did, to allow me the chance to explain, while I trembled terribly, she came within inches of causing me severe harm. She then inflicted even further damage when she explained with absolute resolve, devoid of empathy or concern, that she “didn’t see me” before offering me an unemotional apology, wished me a “blessed day” and then drove away. I stood in the road, my legs shaking so severely that I couldn’t move, weeping. It took a long time before I could start riding again and even then I cried all the way down Interstate, until I made into the waterfront pathway – away from vehicle traffic.

It’s only been four days since I posted my thoughts on how riding in Portland has changed, seemingly for the worst for cyclists and pedestrians. On my first commute back since writing those words – this incident.
While I was still weeping, I called Danny (my fiancé) to apologize. We’re taking our engagement photos tonight and, in less than two months, we’ll be married. I apologized because I have an irrational sense of guilt – that by continuing to choose to ride my bike, I relegate him into an inevitable future of pain caused by my death or severe injury on the roads. It’s not fair.

Dear Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), please, please, please work faster to implement improved facilities to prevent these close calls. Please – I beg you. Had I been the 12-year-old girl that PBOT aspires to design its cycling infrastructure for, there very well could be another memorial ride in the works.

Read more Collision Chronicles here.

— 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. Thank you — Jonathan

135 Comments
  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Blessed day = “you’re on a bike? ride safe, please”.

    Cadillac, Oregon plate 370-HCE, in case this is googled in the future with a similar story.

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    • John Lascurettes August 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      And she never heard the smacking on her car? Was her music cranked up?

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    • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Have a blessed day? That’s so patronizingly evil that I might have had an arrested day if she had said that to me.

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    • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      Drivers like that should try not seeing a steel post at the end of the solid white line. Meat-delineated lanes don’t demand enough from drivers.

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    • q August 31, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Ted–someone below had asked if there’s a way to track down a license plate. I assume there’s not, meaning you can’t look up the owner unless you’re a government agency.

      But out of curiosity I googled the plate as you wrote it down, and your comment popped up instantly. So that’s a clever thought–noting license plates in cases like this leads to the ability to find them in searches. You still don’t have the owner, but you do have a way to tie the car to multiple incidents. Chances are it’s not going to be particularly useful unless someone is a blatant, serial violator, but still, it’s a step towards removing the anonymity that bad drivers assume they have.

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 12:07 pm

        Thanks. Glad to be halfway right 🙂 Catching serial offenders is important.

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        • Scott Mizee August 31, 2016 at 6:23 pm

          and we do all realize this is the exact same argument folks that spend time driving motor vehicles use to have license plates on bikes. More accountability on the roadways for our actions.

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      • lyle w. September 6, 2016 at 11:16 am

        I had a really bad road harassment case a year ago, and the cop that showed up at my house afterwards and took the report told me that there was basically nothing I or they could do (because I didn’t have any witnesses), but she took down his license plate # and said something about ‘putting it in the system’. Made me feel a little bit better knowing if he did it again (which I feel would be highly likely, given how unprovoked and insane he was towards me) that case would immediately come up. But then again, for all I know, that was just what she was saying to make me feel better, and nothing period ended up getting registered.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I made the mistake of riding down Interstate after a Blazers game had just gotten out. Never again. So much selfish and dangerous driving! I even had to usher one driver to a parking spot after he had parked on the MAX tracks to make a phone call.

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    • Lester Burnham August 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      boozed up sports fanatics and motor vehicles…always a bad combo.

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  • Paul Atkinson August 30, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    “I didn’t see the victim” should be prima facae evidence of guilt, rather than an excuse. You’re the pilot of that thing, so you’re responsible to bloody well LOOK.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      “The sun was in my eyes” because I did not expect the bright star that is literally there every single day at around the same time to be there.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy August 30, 2016 at 3:08 pm

        But sometimes an unintended glare happens, sometimes from a window. Just like sometimes one gets pushed by a gust of wind.

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        • dan August 30, 2016 at 4:14 pm

          You do a good job in your role of resident motor vehicle / operator apologist, kudos to your dedication and hard work. “Unintended glare” is of course ridiculous, because it suggests that at other times you have “intended” glare. A genuine accident is, of course, possible, but we’re talking about “a wet newspaper blew over my windshield,” not “I couldn’t be bothered to see if there was anything in the travel lane that I was crossing.”

          I know that you will claim there is no difference, and perhaps you even believe it, but most us will disagree with you.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

            Except Dan, that it happens on my bike all the time.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:30 am

            I don’t consider myself an automobile apologist. I try to take a middle road between things and see both viewpoints. The majority of the posts on this site are so strongly one-sided and myopic that only hard core advocates would agree with them. This is, of course an advocacy site, so I don’t expect completely rational thinking from the people who visit it.

            The idea that one is 100% responsible for what goes on on the road is silly. Things happen. I’ve nearly been blown off the road by a gust of wind or had a glare of sunlight come through some trees to where I was blinded for a second or two…all on my bike. It’s also happened in the car. Some things just can’t be predicted or planned for and that is why they are called accident.

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            • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 3:26 pm

              Here’s a crash that was reported last year, where the driver ran down two cyclists that he claimed he could not see due to sun glare.

              http://www.columbian.com/news/2015/may/27/bicycle-crash-battle-ground-clark-county/

              It was on a straight road, and the cyclists were directly in front of the driver for 1/3 of a mile. Do you suppose maybe during the course of driving that 1/3 of a mile the driver might have thought about checking the road ahead of him for obstacles? Or was he blinded by the sun the entire time? I can’t think of a valid excuse for this, but maybe you can.

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        • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 6:03 pm

          There’s this new invention, well, it’s sixty years old, called polarized sun glasses. They are basic safety equipment for anyone who takes driving as seriously as it warrants.

          Of course, most glare situations are easily predicted and avoided if one has at least half a brain and, more importantly, actually cares about driving safely.

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          • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm

            Ban windshields. Nobody can see through them anyway.

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            • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 3:26 pm

              People would drive a lot slower.

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        • q August 30, 2016 at 9:03 pm

          The glare I hate is the kind that blinds you from the front as you approach someone, then from the side as you pull even with them, then from behind as you cut in front of them, all the while also making you go deaf so you can’t hear someone pounding against the side of your car.

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        • was carless August 31, 2016 at 11:47 am

          Clean your windshield. Its your responsibility as a driver not to run your vehicle into things. Failing that, you are either negligent or incompetent.

          FYI, I’m a driver and a bicycle rider.

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      • pdxstreetcar August 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

        I have to say Adam, as a frequent BikePortland reader (and the only site I can read the comments section without cringing or being thrown into a violent rage), your comments/critiques are always so well put and such a joy to read. Thank you.

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    • dan August 30, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Yep, isn’t that “failure to perform the duties of a motor vehicle operator”?

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    • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      the “I didn’t see them” line to me is an admission of negligence… but I’ve never had to take it to court…

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      • Tom Hardy August 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        It is an admission of negligence. I almost made it to court once when I had a driver go by me and get less than a foot in front and slam on brakes and made a right turn. I went over the top of the car. No one would give me his name or license number. I dd remember the car though and the dent in the side of it about 12″ in front of the bumper.
        I confronted the driver several years later at a wedding reception. He had a stroke that evening. He did not make it. Wished him bad karma.

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        • Dan August 30, 2016 at 5:48 pm

          Well that got dark real fast

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    • David Burns August 30, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      I once swore I’d pummel the next motorist that said that to me. (I’ve since broken my oath.) As you posted, it’s meant as an excuse, but it sounds to me like a mortal threat.

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  • Adam August 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Is there any way to track a vehicle with licence plate? Or can only police do that?

    Also, if she was turning right off Interstate onto Russell, there aren’t many places she could have been doing. There are only a couple of streets down there, and all of them deadend. I would have genuinely chased her down to her place of work etc, but I know that’s just me being an idiot.

    I’m so sorry you had this experience.

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    • Edward September 6, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      There is a way to get the owner’s information, but only for police, insurance companies, and attorneys (and only in preparation for filing suit). See ORS 802.179.

      But there’s supposed to be a way a private individual can send them a request, which DMV(ODOT) is supposed to forward to the person to let them decide whether or not to respond. ORS 802.185.

      So now let’s envision that letter / request. “Dear car owner, I’d like to invite you to ride a bike with me and maybe get coffee, so we can talk about how your driving put me in mortal fear of my life.”

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  • J_R August 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Near crashes like this are an every day occurrence, but most of our policy makers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judiciary do not experience them because they are not bicyclists. Out of sight, out of mind.

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    • Bankerman September 1, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      Disagree. I do not ride a bike; I only get around via automobile. I have been driving for 50 years and still commute daily. On a daily basis I encounter numerous “close calls” in traffic, but I consider myself a defensive driver and simply back off and give the errant driver the right-of-way. Why didn’t this bicyclist simply slow down (or stop) and let the car go by? Sure, the driver was in the wrong, but why endanger your life? Of course at my age and experience level, I don’t have the ego that many cyclists seem to have….

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  • Jocelyn Gaudi August 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Jonathan – thanks for sharing and for empowering our community to share these close calls via the Collision Chronicles.

    Thanks also to everyone who has reached out to express empathy and send along supportive messages! Ride safe out there, friends.

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    • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      I’m very glad you weren’t physically injured, Jocelyn. I know that shaken up, near-miss feeling, though–it’s chilling. I worry more every day about my loved ones who ride to work and back. I find myself more and more reluctant to ride in Portland. The paths used to be my relief option, but now they don’t feel safe either. 🙁

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    • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      I’m sorry you were subjected to this. If it’s any help, almost all of us have had similar encounters of the near-death kind. My spouse and I read about another couple who found the constant parting words of “ride safe” to be a downer and reminder of the worst of times. They changed to “tear up the road”.

      It’s a small thing, but we copied them and it does brighten our outlook. So, tear up the road and congratulations on your engagement.

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  • Buzz August 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Downhill on Interstate? I would be out of the bike lane and taking the lane. Right turn lane to the right of the bike lane? I would be out of the bike lane and taking the lane. These are examples of bike infrastructure that is completely unsafe for cyclists, but makes the bureaucrats in City Hall feel good. A similarly hazardous downhill bike lane exists on N. Russell just east of this location, as well.

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    • Jocelyn Gaudi August 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      The lane was full of cars backed up from the red light on Russell, so I couldn’t take it. And she started drifting into the bike lane before the turn lane even started, so I couldn’t move out of it until she had nearly squashed me.

      That being said, there are a number of pinch points along Interstate at which I do take the full lane, such as under the Larabee exit/overhead. Often, the vehicles that I feel most crowded by within the section of Interstate are large city maintenance vehicles.

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      • Buzz August 30, 2016 at 5:38 pm

        No surprise there, City yards for the Water Bureau, Maintenance Bureau, PBOT and City Fleet are all either right on Interstate at Tillamook or just off Interstate on Russell, Mississippi and Kerby. Also lots of big trucks headed to the cement plant west of Interstate at Tillamook.

        Just out of curiosity, was the motorist who cut you off even signalling her turn, or not?

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        • Jocelyn Gaudi August 30, 2016 at 5:40 pm

          No turn single to merge across my travel lane, nor to complete the right turn onto Russell.

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          • Blake August 30, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            I am so sorry to hear about this and I am glad it didn’t result in a crash. I have spent almost 3 years trying to get PBOT to make safety fixes in this general part of Interstate. It was my project for the PBOT class at PSU and I presented it in the final group of presentations which I thought would accelerate it but things still are moving slowly (we are 2 years later now).

            However, PBOT have planned are going to change the configuration at Larrabee to something close to the design preferred by commenters here in early November. The only changes to date have been ambiguous signs before the overpass by Larrabee which I tried to get changed to “”[bike] may use full lane” but to no avail.

            My constant, daily fear on Interstate is that someone will be seriously hurt or killed (me or someone else) before PBOT fixes the design appropriately to reduce speeds and limit opportunities for conflict. I see way too many much speeding, distracted driving, cars and trucks entering into the bike lane and I feel that besides some upcoming changes to one small part, PBOT lacks the sense of urgency needed for this critical route for people going from N Portland to downtown and SE Portland.

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          • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 7:21 am

            Nobody seems interested in talking about ‘failure to signal’, even here. It seems we have given up on that law.

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            • q August 31, 2016 at 9:40 am

              Driver may not have been able to see the turn signal control, due to unintended glare.

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              • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 3:27 pm

                Maybe it’s hard to signal with phone in hand?

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          • CaptainKarma August 31, 2016 at 12:42 pm

            Probably her signal was occupied with that wonderful invention, the mobile phone.

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  • Bald One August 30, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I feel for you, I hope you recover your confidence quickly. In this exact same spot, a nearly identical event happen to me a few weeks ago – not pushed to this extent as happened to you, but exact same spot, same type of driver behavior: car decided to lurch over and bogart the bike lane while too impatient to wait a few more feet to get into the right turn lane since car was in a line and was slowly moving forward. If I had been 5 more feet forward, it would have been a collision right hook, but I was able to brake and avoid it. Car was just punching it out of the traffic line just as soon as the curb opened up and they could cross the bike lane.

    I always ride this section of lane with extreme caution, since you can get right hooked here in 3 spots over 300 feet: where it happened to you; a few feet later, as the cars decide they want to make an illegal copenhagen left on Russell; or probably most common, immediately after the intersection where they make the legal right-to-left turn maneuver but are sometimes not watching as they cross the bike lane. Not to mention the very poorly designed on-ramp to Interstate for cyclists coming from Greeley – this is also a “cut-corner” type right hook spot as you come off the sidewalk onto Interstate into moving traffic cutting the paint from Greeley- so actually that’s 4 easy right hook spots over 500 feet on Interstate from Greeley to Russell.

    N. Interstate is pretty much one long safety hazard for a bike.

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  • dan August 30, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Drivers don’t understand (and/or don’t care) that for the person who is not riding around in a tank this kind of interaction is the equivalent of shooting a gun at someone and missing by a foot. “What? I didn’t hit you.”

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    • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 7:23 am

      Oops, sorry, didn’t see you there! What more do you want?!

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  • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    if it wasn’t for the time-intensive procedure of filing a citizen citation (and the requirement to see the driver’s face) we could create a lot more accountability…

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  • Chris I August 30, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    A lot of newer cars have absolutely atrocious blind spots, given their size. I have noticed this a lot lately, especially with American manufacturers who are looking for a “muscle’ look. That said, she could have easily seen you had she checked her mirror.

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    • Tom Hardy August 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Time to take out a left side mirror. they runabout a grand for a caddy, 700 for a Honda.

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    • Eric Leifsdad August 31, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Many drivers have atrocious blind spots, given their size. Some of these necks might not even be able to turn.

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      • GlowBoy September 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

        It’s not necessarily the size of cars that causes the big blind spots (although, regrettably, cars are indeed getting larger, the average new car now topping 4000 lb again).

        Most cars have larger rear blind spots due to rollover (roof crush-resistance) standards enacted during the 2000s. Even though rollover risk is about 95% confined to SUVs and other small trucks, and not cars, the standard was applied to all vehicles. If you look closely at many cars, you’ll notice the outer inch or two of glass in the back and rear/side windows is blacked out, making the windows appear larger than they actually are and hiding rear pillars that are even wider than they appear. Automakers could still build cars with the narrower rear pillars of yesteryear, and in a few instances they do, but that requires more use of high-strength steel, which is expensive.

        The front pillars (“A-pillars,” those between the windshield and the front doors’ windows) have also become wider — because they now have side airbags embedded in them. Also, side mirrors have become much larger. These two effects often combine to produce some pretty big blind spots RIGHT IN FRONT of the driver’s eyes, where they aren’t expected. If you’re pulling out from a stop in a newer car, you need to develop the habit of moving your head (and usually also your torso) from side to side to look around these blind spots, which can be large enough to hide pedestrians and cyclists, and in some cases larger vehicles. Many drivers have NOT become aware of this and trained themselves to do this properly.

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    • shetha August 31, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      So true. Also, as she turns her car to an angle to move into the turn lane, her side mirror is pointing a direction towards the lane she is leaving, not towards the bike lane. I have seen this lead to a right hook on Barbur with cars waiting to cross Ross Island bridge. They suddenly change their mind about route and don’t think about the person a bike that might be zooming past on their right. Luckily the guy on a bike wasn’t too badly hurt and the girl who hit him was very responsible and helpful (she was actually an ER nurse). Still I got his number and he got mine (as a witness) and he followed up later to tell me he was ok and she was covering all the follow up.

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  • bikeninja August 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Makes me feel like rereading the Ed Abbey Classic, ” the Monkey Wrench Gang”.

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  • Jeff August 30, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    As an atheist, I take tremendous offense to the driver’s invocation of blessings, almost assuredly in a religious context, as a way to dismiss her moral and ethical obligations to the community at large. This is becoming increasingly common among the religious as a way to justify just about anything immoral or unethical. I encourage all readers to embrace atheist now and free themselves from mental slavery.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:33 am

      How utterly dismissive of all religious people as if they are all the same.

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      • Jeff August 31, 2016 at 4:41 pm

        The large majority are. Brainwashed. Many, however, had no choice. I can’t blame them too much. It’s a form of child abuse.

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    • CaptainKarma August 31, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you, Jeff. Spot on.

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    • jd September 1, 2016 at 7:56 am

      She could have said, “I’m sorry I broke the law and made you fear for your life and I’ve learned from this mistake.”

      That would have been far better than, “I’m jumping on my hippie cloud where I feel no guilt and in fact I’m judging you as insufficiently chill about me breaking the law and nearly killing you.” Er, “Have a blessed day.”

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  • David Lewis August 30, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    “Did not see” is a confirmation of guilt without necessarily admitting to not looking, however operators’ responsibility is to confirm a clear path, not to look or see or any other term. There are no excuses and with a police presence (I could go weeks without seeing a single officer, and I’ve never encountered a cop on foot) and enforcement, maybe people will get the message. Ha! Who am I kidding?

    Public shaming has absolutely no value, because it will not affect behavior, neither of the offender or anyone else. We have government to sort this out, and if you haven’t noticed they’ve been doing a poor job for over a century. We need a new political class in this country with the courage to serve the people effectively. I had high hopes 8 years ago, as did many, but the propaganda machine capitalized on fear and took over Congress, c@xk-blocking the president. I have no expectation of change this time around.

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    • stephen salter August 30, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      but as has been referenced multiple times on this site according to Oregon law the driver could have actually killed the cyclist and not be held accountable, at most might get an unsignaled turn citation, but without the cyclist there to say there was no signal the driver wouldn’t probably even get that. the driver has to either admit that they maliciously and with intent hit the cyclist, or it has to be without a shadow of a doubt as in the case on Hawthorne last week where the driver was clearly driving recklessly, otherwise they will receive no penalty what so ever. in other words, if you want to get away with murder, do it with your car.

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  • soren August 30, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    “as I was using my left hand to repeated smack the side of her car”

    perhaps she did not see you but how could she have not heard you? also, “have a blessed day” is evangelical christian slang for @#$% you.

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    • dan August 30, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      I learned something today! What’s the appropriate response? “Bless you too!” ?

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 30, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        Texas: “god bless her, but she [something really horrible]”

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      • Eric Leifsdad August 31, 2016 at 2:40 pm

        “May you soon be at peace, sinner.” seems to fit.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Actually, it’s shorthand for “I wasn’t paying attention and/or didn’t think to look.” Hopefully, she’ll do better in future. Some drivers do and some drivers don’t. That she actually stopped is encouraging.

      In truly critical situations, having both hands on the bars to maximize maneuvering/braking/whatever capabilities is a good idea.

      Slapping cars sometimes wakes people out of their trance and/or convinces them to look up from the phone they’re texting from, but it’s usually best reserved for times when you feel confident enough that the situation allows you to safely handle the bike one handed.

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      • Jocelyn Gaudi August 31, 2016 at 2:20 pm

        Dear Kyle, you don’t know me, so I suppose I can’t get too worked up over your mansplaining of instructing me on how to ride my bike with both hands and how to accept the threat of death because I like riding my bike.

        But please don’t disregard people’s emotions as valid – ever. My motivation to apologize was my own and not up to you to tell me it was right or wrong.

        Regarding your point on how best to proceed, I think I’ll just continue my many volunteer efforts to help progress Portland toward a future where close calls like this aren’t part of the cycling experience. It’s possible. I truly believe that. And I would encourage you to change your thinking to believe that Vision Zero is possible too.

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        • Carrie August 31, 2016 at 2:50 pm

          Thank you Jocelyn, for being more articulate than myself in your response to Kyle’s advice.

          Carrie.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 2:58 pm

          I apologize if I came off as dismissive — that was not my intent. I was I am unclear where I even implied your emotions were inappropriate so if you could point that out to me, I will owe you another apology for not seeing what I did wrong even after being called out. In another post referencing your apology, I responded to another poster who said it would have made more sense for the apology to be delivered by the driver. Since the danger you faced had the potential to deeply impact your fiance, but the motorist faced no danger that might potentially impact her loved ones, that made no sense to me.

          I favor the efforts to VZ and am glad that you and others do advocacy work. My focus is different in that I believe the most important thing to do in the short and medium term is learn to operate safely in a dangerous environment, but we share the same ultimate objectives.

          On an aside note, I do not believe that sexist terminology contributes to productive conversation.

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          • jd September 1, 2016 at 8:08 am

            I’ve seen lots of guys say they’ve slapped cars over the years on BikePortland. I’ve never seen someone then explain to them how to ride a bicycle.

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            • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 9:35 am

              Some people obviously have mad handling skilz.

              It’s one thing to slap a car to tell them they’re getting too close and another thing entirely to be in a situation where your life is threatened and you execute an extreme one handed maneuver while registering your displeasure to a motorist.

              Way outta my league. My limited imagination and experience led me to believe that life threatening situations on a bike would require both hands on the bar for control.

              Happily, I can always count on the wisdom of BP to set me straight.

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          • Jim A-W September 1, 2016 at 9:31 am

            I think what you meant to write was “I apologize for being dismissive – that was not my intent. I will not follow this apology with a lot of defensiveness because my point of view is not more important or more correct than yours. I realize that sexism may exist in places that I do not see it. Thanks for helping me to learn another person’s point of view today. I’m glad we can all work together on these things.”

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. September 1, 2016 at 9:40 am

            I’m struggling to find what was sexist about that comment.

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            • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 10:28 am

              Most people consider “mansplaining” to be sexist.

              I’ve worked in a woman dominated industry for 20 years (80% female). I volunteer at a woman dominated organization, and I participate in a woman dominated sport (obviously not cycling).

              I’ve never had that term thrown at me in my life anywhere except on this forum.

              The Portland cycling community is interesting. Despite lip service to the contrary, it is the least diverse and least tolerant of divergent opinion of any I’ve encountered.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. September 1, 2016 at 10:32 am

                The act of calling someone out for mansplaining is not sexist.

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              • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

                Only if you’re too much inclined towards “White Whine.”

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              • q September 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm

                Just using the word “mansplaining” is inherently sexist.

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              • Jim A-W September 2, 2016 at 9:55 am

                I’ve never hit and killed a cyclist with my car in twenty years, except for that one time on Powell last week, so it must be the road that is at fault . . . . .

                An author who is a woman felt that a person who presents as a man commented in a way that was didactic and condescending and dismissive. This played into what many feel to be a long-established pattern between genders. And then the opinion of the person who felt dismissed gets dismissed. This pattern could be considered a form of sexism.

                I’ve been around the bike culture here for many years. I meet many people who consider themselves progressive and in possession of a social conscience, yet seem unable to accept criticism or engage in self-reflection.

                Why cannot we accept the divergent opinion of the author, without telling them what they should have done instead?

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        • Scott Mizee August 31, 2016 at 6:34 pm

          Well. Said. Jocelyn. Thank you for responding.

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    • Robert Burchett September 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Well. I am a post-Christian person (has to do with being born in a particular place and time). Sincere Christians exist: my neighbor is a minister, has not a mean bone in her body, and when she says HABD she means it.

      The equivalent answer for the ironic HABD is: I’ll pray for you.

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  • Zimmerman August 30, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    “I apologized because I have an irrational sense of guilt – that by continuing to choose to ride my bike, I relegate him into an inevitable future of pain caused by my death or severe injury on the roads. It’s not fair.”

    This just shattered me, because I think the same thing very, very frequently while I’m riding in Seattle, or any city I’m visiting. I wish it was different.

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  • Anna G August 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Interstate is scary to bike on for many reasons, I now take the N. Michigan greenway in the am, getting on to interstate at the last minute via Mississippi. For those looking to switch routes for safety, this might be worth a try.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 30, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Why victim blame? We shouldn’t have to cower on a subset of bikeways/striped lanes out of an already small number of bikeways/striped lanes.

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      • Alan 1.0 August 30, 2016 at 7:31 pm

        Anna G’s words sound like empathy to me.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:35 am

        Who is a victim here? Nobody was hurt. Someone got their feelings hurt, but that does not make them a victim.

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        • q August 31, 2016 at 12:22 pm

          Nobody got hurt or killed due to the evasive actions of the cyclist. The reason the driver isn’t facing living knowing she killed someone, having her license revoked, being sued, etc. is that the driver was lucky enough the cyclist was able to save herself.

          I guess you could also say if someone tries to kill you, but you escape, then you’re not a victim, either. But there was still a crime.

          Totally clueless, insensitive, credibility-destroying comment.

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        • BB August 31, 2016 at 12:25 pm

          Just because an automobile operator was unaware that they were assaulting someone with their vehicle doesn’t make the assault any less valid.

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        • q August 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm

          You said in another comment, “The majority of the posts on this site are so strongly one-sided and myopic that only hard core advocates would agree with them.”

          In this case, your summing up the incident as “Someone got their feelings hurt” is about as one-sided and myopic as anyone could get.

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      • MonicaInPDX August 31, 2016 at 11:51 am

        We shouldn’t have to “cower”, but Anna makes a good point. As I tell my riding-solo 12-year-old girl (a real beloved daughter – not a Vision Zero aspiration), “We can be right all day long, but if we’re dead it doesn’t matter.”

        We should continue to advocate as a community for better infrastructure and safety on ALL streets. In the meantime, I’ve become an avid user of neighborhood greenways without bike lanes, where the traffic is slower and the risk of right hooks is nearly non-existent. If you’re fortunate enough to have a greenway within a few blocks of your commute, it’s worth changing your route if staying alive is your top priority. I’m thankful to BikePortland for alerting me to the existence of these routes years ago. Now I look for them and have much less stress when riding.

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 11:57 am

          What bothers me is that sure- you can move to a greenway, but you still have to go through major intersections, or gaps in bikeways. There’s a lot of second-guessing going on.

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          • soren September 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            And greenways and their sharrows have no legal standing in OR or Portland.

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    • ethan August 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      How is the greenway? I just moved to the area and would normally take Vancouver but the merge at Cook scares the shit out of me.

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      • stephen salter August 30, 2016 at 10:53 pm

        if the merge at cook scares dont go anywhere near interstate

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      • Anna G August 31, 2016 at 9:54 am

        N. Michigan is fine in the morn, but for some reason the volume and bad behavior of drivers seems to increase during the day, making the same route less pleasant in the evening, especially the crossings at Alberta and Killingsworth. I take Williams in the pm, crowded but the lights at intersections are a big plus. there is also a greenway west of Interstate, concord ? but I don’t live on that side so have little experience with it.

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        • MonicaInPDX August 31, 2016 at 11:55 am

          Rodney (farther east) is almost always a good route in the evening, especially with the recent addition of the green-hashed bike crossings at Fremont and Killingsworth. You just have to be careful because lots of drivers blow through the stop-signs on the east-west streets between Knott and Fremont in the evenings- they seem to think those intersections are 4-way stops so you have to watch for them.

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  • Betsy Reese August 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Collisions causing injury but not death, and near-misses without physical contact, need to be tracked and seen as just as much a call to action as a fatality.

    Some work is being formally done on this in the UK:

    THE NEAR MISS PROJECT STUDIES CYCLING INCIDENTS THAT DON’T RESULT IN INJURIES, BUT MAY PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCE PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES AND BEHAVIOURS. http://www.nearmiss.bike/

    They even have an acronym for the self-absolving dismissive “I didn’t see you.”

    SMIDSY

    (Britain, Australia) Sorry mate, I didn′t see you.  [quotations ▼]
    Usage notes[edit]
    The acronym is used by motorcyclists and cyclists in reference to traffic collisions in which the driver of a car or larger vehicle claims not to have noticed a two-wheel biker. It is usually derogatory, in that the claim is often that the driver was not at fault (when he/she patently was). SMIDSY was also used as a title of a BBC series on road safety broadcast in the 1980s.

    A related usage by the UK government is LBFTS ‎(“looked but failed to see”).[1]

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    • Seth D. Alford August 30, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Another related term is SMIDGAF. It’s for the cases where they see you but don’t care.

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    • SE September 1, 2016 at 8:33 am

      What an RAF pilot can teach us about being safe on the road

      from the article..

      “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. Is a catchphrase used by drivers up and down the country. Is this a driver being careless and dangerous or did the driver genuinely not see you?

      According to a report by John Sullivan of the RAF, the answer may have important repercussions for the way we train drivers and how as cyclists we stay safe on the roads.

      John Sullivan is a Royal Air Force pilot with over 4,000 flight hours in his career, and a keen cyclist. He is a crash investigator and has contributed to multiple reports. Fighter pilots have to cope with speeds of over 1000 mph. Any crashes are closely analysed to extract lessons that can be of use.

      see full story at link

      http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilot-teach-cyclists/

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      • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 2:50 pm

        Someone dares to suggest on this forum that cyclists take any responsibility and observe common sense practices for their own safety on public roads?

        Whoa.

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    • Bald One August 31, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Yes, this was good work from Blake. But, still not enough. Yesterday, I nearly had my left arm removed by a Tri-met bus as I was hand-signalling my intention to move into the car lane ahead of the Larabee street underpass travelling South on N. Interstate. I was nearly hit by that bus right in front of that crappy sign that most drivers ignore (especially Tri-Met!) alerting drivers to the fact that cyclists may be in the travel lane. The rest of the bus roared on by me at 35+ mph passing me within inches immediately under the bridge at this speed. Truly terrifying. Currently, Tri-met has many more than typical buses moving people through this area as the MAX is down for a few weeks. I think many of these temporary bus drivers have no idea how to drive safely in this section and are using their usual aggressive/fast approach as default behavior.

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      • MaxD August 31, 2016 at 10:35 am

        I wish they would put in a bike box and sharrows at the signal at Tillamook so bikes could more easily take the lane under the Larrabee Overpass and under the Broadway bridge. Or, better yet, route ALL motorists over the Larrabee Viaduct, and covert the southbound lane of Interstate Ave into a 2-way MUP for bikes and peds. This would stretch from the signal at Broadway and Interstate to Tillamook and Interstate. South of the Broadway, the path could run along the top of the river bank and eventually pass under the Steel Bridge (above the UPPR service road) and connect to the Esplanade.

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        • Blake August 31, 2016 at 10:43 am

          Based on what I have been told, there will be a bike box at Tillamook installed sometime in early November.

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          • Bald One August 31, 2016 at 12:43 pm

            Blake, do you think a bike box at Tillamook will address any of the problems at Larrabee underpass narrow pinch on Southbound N. Interstate? It is at least 100 meters away, and there is a bit of a hill in between that only serves to slow down any cyclist that might have been given a head start and to increase vehicle speed so by the time they are over the hill and then barreling down the far side to the dangerous pinch point under the bridge. When I am biking this section, I look behind me to find a clear road, only moments later to find a speeding car or bus have come up and crested the hill after I have already checked behind. Problem with this section is not at Tillamook, but rather at the underpass. I don’t think a bike box solves this issue, but solves the different problem of the lane mixing immediately after Tillamook.

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            • Blake August 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm

              I don’t think it will address the Larrabee underpass pinch, but as you mention, it is part of the problem section leading up to the mixing zone. It also helps with the right turning vehicles headed to Lower Albina Industrial Area. They have not completely finalized the design for the changes that will come in addition to the bike box but it will more or less split the bike lane into two where one takes the right side up onto Larrabee and then there is a neutral space between that bike lane and the bike lane for people continuing on Interstate. The vehicle traffic will have one lane for longer with a shorter mixing zone where cars will have a significantly shorter mixing zone where they cross the bike lane.

              This corresponds to something similar to Option C in this post: http://bikeportland.org/2015/11/13/city-ponders-new-bike-lane-striping-design-for-n-interstate-ave-168239

              It doesn’t address the issues with the underpass under Larrabee. Besides the ambiguous signs deployed before all 4 overpasses (N & S, Larrabee and Broadway) there is a change in the Comp Plan that would (with $5 million of funding):

              “Remove the existing weight-restricted, low-clearance, poor-condition Interstate to Larrabee southbound flyover ramp (Bridge #153) and replace with a pedestrian / bicycle overpass and multi-use path to connect the future N Portland Greenway Trail to the Broadway Bridge.”

              https://www.portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp/maps.html#mapTheme=cc2035TSP

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              • MaxD August 31, 2016 at 2:00 pm

                Blake, do you know where the “eplace with a pedestrian / bicycle overpass and multi-use path to connect the future N Portland Greenway Trail to the Broadway Bridge” is proposed? The early NP Greenway plan had bikes going on the Larrabee viaduct and behind the MODA center! I am hoping they are considering something on-structure but adjacent to Interstate so bikes are not routed many blocks out-of-direction and over a substantial hill.

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              • Blake August 31, 2016 at 2:30 pm

                I think it will just replace the existing overpass with a new one that goes up to the Broadway bridge and then continues to merge with Interstate at the Memorial Coliseum. Presumably in that process, they would be able to put the bridge columns in a different position so that the pinch is removed but if there is a walking/biking bridge there, I’m not sure how much better infra they would put onto Interstate itself despite the issues you mention about basically adding an unnecessary hill. If I recall correctly, the rationale behind the Larrabee alignment is that it would be totally separated. I don’t really agree with that, but that’s a longer-term issue since most of the work on the N PDX Greenway is on the upper sections now (or was when I had enough free time to check their status).

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      • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:39 am

        Why weren’t you more aware of your surroundings and take into account what might have happened?

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 12:06 pm

          Perhaps there’s a reason for the 3-foot rule? Or should every cyclist jump onto the sidewalk if there’s an approaching vehicle?

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          • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 1:45 pm

            There are a lot of good reasons for the 3 foot rule. Even people who don’t know about it are not that bad about following it since cars tend to do whatever the person in front of them did.

            A mirror is an insanely effective device for knowing what drivers coming up from behind will do — it’s one of the best defenses against the right hook. Beats me why more cyclists don’t use them. They’re not required by law when operating a bike like in a car, but they’re much more useful.

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  • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 5:42 am

    I sympathize with the cyclist and hope that doesn’t mess with her too much. The unfortunate reality is that a lot of motorists are like that.

    I guess I don’t expect as much out of motorists as a lot of people here. I experience the same things others have reported along this stretch, including issues almost identical to the near accident in this story.

    While incidents like this are all too common, Portland drivers are still the most cyclist aware and cyclist friendly that I’ve encountered. Riding now is so much better than it used to be, and we must continue to raise awareness and improve facilities. But the only way to ride safe is to assume drivers won’t do what they should.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Oh Kyle, that means cyclists have to have some responsibility and agency in the matter and that means they can no longer blame everyone else for what happens. Seems to be a trend on this website.

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      • BB August 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm

        Those operating the sort of heavy machinery that kills 30-40000 of my fellow Americans every year have the large majority – to the effect of 99.9% – of the responsibility of anything that might happen based on the fact that they have decided to bring this machinery out into the public thoroughfare. Even if I’m not paying attention, it’s the responsibility of the person who decided to get in the car to not kill me with it. No matter what.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 3:26 pm

          That may be true in your eyes. But that is not how the law sees it. And even if the driver is 100% responsible for hitting you, that is no consolation if your life is destroyed.

          No one has a greater interest in your safety than you do, so trusting it to random strangers rather than yourself is very risky.

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  • eddie August 31, 2016 at 6:01 am

    “I apologized because I have an irrational sense of guilt – that by continuing to choose to ride my bike, I relegate him into an inevitable future of pain caused by my death or severe injury on the roads. It’s not fair.”

    Wouldn’t the same thing be true of driving a car? To rephrase:

    “I apologized because I have an irrational sense of guilt – that by continuing to choose to drive my car, I relegate him into an inevitable future of pain caused by my death or severe injury on the roads. It’s not fair.”

    Honestly, feeling guilty for driving a car is way more rational… with the added possibility of severely injuring or killing another human being.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Given the motivation for the apology and that it was to her fiance, this makes no sense at all.

      The author was shaken up by this experience, but the question is how to best proceed. I’m assuming she was expressing herself while under duress, but anyone who truly feels that severe injury or death is the inevitable outcome of cycling really shouldn’t do it.

      I don’t want to sound callous and you guys can jump down my throat for this, but the experience she described is part of being on the road. If you overtake people from the rear on the right, people will sometimes pull in without signaling and use the cycling lane like a turn lane.

      No, they’re not supposed to, but this sometimes happens. Sometimes, they’re just not thinking and it’s an honest mistake. Other times it’s garden variety aggressive driving because they’re in a hurry and want to make speed. On rare occasions, some miscreant who doesn’t like cyclists will do this to lash out.

      Being within your rights is no consolation if you get hit. Riding defensively is an absolute must if you’re going to be safe — if one car in 100,000 does something that will hurt you if you don’t do something you shouldn’t have to do, the math will still catch up with you if you’re out there long enough.

      Motorists do not read this blog, so calling out examples of bad driving does nothing to improve their behavior. However, these examples are useful for informing cyclists of what to be ready for out there.

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      • Anna G August 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

        I respectfully disagree with your statement “motorists don’t read this blog”, several of us here are also drivers (myself included) and would never act so clueless or selfish while driving. I also think drivers should be held to a higher standard and be held accountable for their bad behavior. That said getting more folks on bikes would go a long way towards generating empathy that would naturally cause them to be more aware of cyclists on the road (wouldn’t it be great if that was the punishment, bike in my shoes now see what it feels like !) Yes we have to bike defensively but it shouldn’t be a given that there’s nothing that can be done to improve the situation. Bring on the $10 gas, narrow the car lanes, reduce parking, make it harder to drive in general, perhaps these are tools that might be effective.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 11:45 am

          It is true that many people here drive. But it’s a group of drivers that’s already cycle aware and tend to play well.

          I totally agree that getting more folks on bikes would improve empathy and awareness. As a matter of fact, I think simply getting more people riding is the single best way of raising motorist awareness and improving behavior. That is one of the specific reasons that I like to focus on how cyclists can ride safely on streets as they are now (i.e. to encourage more people to join us) rather than emphasize the dangers which discourage newcomers and existing cyclists alike.

          I also am all in favor of accountability and think of that gas prices, parking, and space are useful tools for encouraging desirable behaviors. One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Portland is that there are very few large pickups or large cars in general compared to other areas. I would guess is that they’re too miserable to drive on narrow streets or park.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy August 31, 2016 at 11:44 am

        You’re making perfect sense but that will mean little to people who can only see one side of an issue and think emotionally. Welcome to Pariahville!

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        • soren August 31, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          Welcome to Pariahville!

          The oppression of drivers by the “The All Powerful Bike Lobby” must stop!

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  • Rain Waters August 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Happening to be sitting in a drivers seat while texting is no longer viewed as a dangerous avoidable distraction by 90% of people you see in cars and trucks. These are not and will never be able to understand a motorist who’s also a cyclist point of reference.

    Consequently. . .

    They, or should I say WE obviously take this as the new NORMAL.

    Hence the relentless rush to embrace driverless cars. It looks like people are dying to remain “connected” as long as this DOES NOT involve direct interpersonal physical interaction.

    Interesting times indeed.

    RW

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  • q August 31, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I had a similar run-in, but I was on a standup paddleboard and the “driver” was the captain of a 40+’ commercial boat on the Willamette. I was paddling alongside a dock, and he didn’t want to wait to pull in for gas, so he pulled up alongside me, then maneuvered into the dock, squeezing me between the side of his boat and the dock. I got slammed hard into the dock by his wake, and if I’d been less experienced, I’d say I would have certainly been hospitalized at a minimum.

    I confronted him. He said he saw me, but “How long can a guy wait?” He was willing to kill me to save 20 seconds. His boat had no ID, and I left. A week later, I found his boat, found who owned it from his marina neighbors, and reported him to the State Marine Board and the County River Patrol. The Marine Board wrote him a strong reprimand and warning. The River Patrol couldn’t cite him, because they weren’t present, but helped me to cite him myself with a $400+ “unsafe operation” ticket. I didn’t win in court (and didn’t expect to) since it was my word against his. But he was forced to spend a morning in court defending himself.

    Point of this is that the Marine Board and River Patrol (Sheriff’s office) were 100% supportive. The equivalent in this case would have been for DMV to reprimand the driver, and the police to assist the cyclist in citing her. What a difference being on water vs. land makes…

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      That is insane. Not just from a willful danger and irresponsibility point of view, but also the no boat ID.

      There is another option you might have some luck with. You might complain him at the marina itself. They don’t have to (and probably can’t) do anything, but if word gets around, he can receive corrections from his own people.

      I also do snow and paddlesports, and my experience is that both communities are pretty good about getting those who engage in screwball antics back in line.

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      • q August 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        I did tell a few people and would have done more if the Marine Board and Sheriff hadn’t come through so well. I agree, in small communities of participants (or actual small communities) you can get results, I think because they remove the anonymity that drivers feel protects them from having to take responsibility for their shameful behavior.

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  • cam August 31, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Observed in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1970: many bicycles fitted with a pennant (orange, about 12″ x 5″) on a fiberglass rod with a pointed brass finial at the end, mounted horizontally on the rear luggage carrier. It was the same idea as the old springy wire curb feelers that cars had–the vibrations warned the person in the car that they were too close. The brass finial encouraged the car driver to not get that warning.

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    • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 6:01 am

      You can buy flags designed to be run sideways to push motorists out and I’ve seen them in use. From what I can tell, they do help cars keep their distance.

      However, you might not want something like that in a tight urban area since there are frequently reasons you might want to be close to others — even cars.

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      • Eric Leifsdad September 1, 2016 at 8:40 am

        Remote-actuated dropper post. Or just something soft and flexible like a pool noodle. I have a taillight mounted 15in off the left rear of my electric xtracycle on a length of 1/2 PVC grey conduit and I do sometimes snag it on things. Mounting it on a pivot with a bungee might allow it to breakaway and spring back. Since it’s lined-up with my handlebar/elbow, I can generally tell when it’s going to get caught in a gap.

        It seems to help with elbow room and drivers judging speed. From the back, a bike looks about 23mm wide to some people.

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  • Knowall Kowierd September 1, 2016 at 10:21 am
    • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      We are in danger of crossing a line here.

      Alerting people to specific dangerous drivers and where they might be encountered can arguably be justified in the name of safety.

      However, I am concerned about posting the personal address of a woman on a forum frequented primarily by men — some of whom are known to be unsympathetic to motorists (to put it mildly).

      I do not condone vigilante action against anyone, especially against people who probably don’t know they did anything wrong. If I were her or someone who cared for her, I would be concerned.

      I have nothing against anyone here personally, but I must make it crystal clear where I stand. If this woman experiences any misfortune that appears to be the result of vigilante action, I will assist in identifying the perpetrators. We owe it to ourselves and to everyone else to be responsible citizens.

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      • Edward September 7, 2016 at 9:46 am

        Wow. Uh, OK.

        My earlier response was focused 1) on how the law works (to hide drivers and make it hard to contact them unless you want to file suit!?!), and then 2) envisioning what that contact could be like (I was going for kind, personable and understanding — NOT terrorist cell fear hyping).

        One of the great things about biking is the ease of discourse. I’ve had so many great conversations with other bicyclists in traffic – but never with drivers while stuck in my car. I love the ease on a bike of, “Oh excuse me!” Or “Go ahead! I’ll wait. Beautiful day! Have a great ride!”

        Even the “bad” conversations are good. Yesterday my neighbor apologized for almost killing me with her van elsewhere in the neighborhood and I got to apologize for gesticulating wildly and swearing in Spanish. We laughed. It was actually great.

        I love the notion of inviting (a) driver(s) to join up for a bike ride. Heck, I’d bring an extra loaner bike, or help you tune up the thing you don’t ride in the back of your garage (it isn’t a bike until it rolls), I’d help plan a good bike commute route and join up for the first one.

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  • Paul Z September 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    “I was attempting to avoid collision with only my right hand on the bars as I was using my left hand to repeated smack the side of her car, without any response from the driver.”
    Is there anyone on here that recommends the above as a “collision-avoidance” technique? Maybe if Ms. Gaudi had both hands available to apply to her brakes she could have distanced herself out of harm’s way.

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  • Houston September 5, 2016 at 9:59 am

    “I was attempting to avoid collision with only my right hand on the bars as I was using my left hand to repeated smack the side of her car, without any response from the driver.”

    In my experience, a U-lock works way better than an open handed slap. Your mileage my vary.

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