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After slapping a car, rider gets unexpected chat with Portland police officer

Posted by on December 14th, 2016 at 5:29 pm

What are the chances?!

What are the chances?!

Portlander Chris L. was just trying to get home and avoid the snowpocalypse.

Around 2:00 pm today Chris (who requested that we don’t use his last name) was biking east on East Burnside. There’s an unprotected bike lane on that street and it’s directly adjacent to three standard lanes. Between SE Grand and 9th Chris avoided two auto users who encroached into the bike lane as he came by (one turned in front of him, another waited and inched along, forcing him to swerve). So by the time he came up next to a woman driving a Toyota Prius just east of 8th Avenue, he was was already a bit frazzled. When he noticed she was on her phone, he became angry and frustrated. As he passed her, Chris slowed and slapped the side of the car.

“Put the phone fuckin’ down!” yelled Chris as he continued to pedal.

What Chris didn’t realize was that Portland Police Bureau Officer Bill Balzer was parked right next to him in an unmarked car when it happened.

Officer Balzer, a 21-year PPB veteran, proceeded to pull Chris over a few blocks later.

Officer Balzer in a screenshot from Lind's video.

Officer Balzer in a screenshot from Chris’s video.

What happened next was a rather colorful conversation between Officer Balzer and Chris that lasted nearly nine minutes. And because Chris happened to be recording his ride home, he caught the entire thing on camera (the car slap and the conversation). It’s rare that we get a front-row seat to such a heated exchange about such an important issue.

At times Chris was clearly agitated and he yelled (with profanity) over Balzer. Both men tried at different times to reason with each other, but neither was able to get the other one to see their perspective. Both Balzer and Chris said things that were cringe-worthy. And Balzer said a few things that don’t seem to fit into a City that has made a strong commitment to Vision Zero.

Chris didn’t back down. After he asked for Balzer’s identification (along with a threat that this would be ‘Going up on BikePortland’), Balzer wrote Chris up for a warning.

You can watch the entire exchange in Chris’s video. I’ve shared most of the text of the conversation below…

Chris [as Balzer pulls up]: They were on their phone in the snow!

Balzer [getting out of his car and walking in front of Chris]: I don’t care. That give you no right to come and hit the side of their car.

Chris: You don’t care about my safety?

Balzer: I do care about your safety, but it doesn’t give you a right to go and hit their car for crying out loud. It’s not your responsibility to tell someone to get off their phone. That is my responsibility … when you’re hitting the car you’re swerving out of the bike lane.

Chris: No, I was well within the bike lane. I have it on camera.

Balzer: Well… if the car is damaged.. then it’s… you can’t hit cars!

Chris: I had one car make a right hook in front of me on the way here too… I’m just trying to get home!

Balzer: You know what, that’s the danger of riding a bike in the city. It’s what happens. Cars pull in front of me, cars pull in front of you.

Chris: I’m more vulnerable being on a bike.

Balzer: I would agree with that; but who’s making the decision of riding a bike and riding in a car?

Chris: Me. It is my right as a cyclist to want to be as safe as possible. And when people are breaking the law it is not their right to use their phone while driving.

Balzer: But it’s not your right to hit their car to tell them not to. Do you agree? Can you tell me anywhere where it says that someone can go up to someone’s car and hit their car because they’re breaking the law?

Chris: No, it’s not my legal obligation to do that; but it [cell phone use] worries me. I bike across the Burnside Bridge everyday and 70 percent of the people are on their phone.

Balzer: Seven out of 10 cars? I would have to disagree with that… Look, I can’t stop everyone from using their cell phones.

Chris: Well, maybe I can scare them enough so they won’t do it again.

Balzer: It’s not your job to scare people to not use their cell phone.

[Balzer gives Chris his business card and his officer number and Chris gives Balzer his ID.]

Chris [to himself as Balzer writes the warning]: To be on their phone in the snow… of all times!

Balzer: To be riding down the bike lane with your hands off the handlebars hitting another car in the snow. I would ask, is that safe?

Chris: I’m a good rider.

Balzer: So if you’re a good rider you can do stuff like that? That person might say, ‘I’m a good car driver’… We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this… You can’t be hitting cars when you’re riding down your bike lane.

Chris: That’s fair.

Balzer: I mean listen, people are trying to get out of town early to get out of town before the snow — as you are as well — it’s not going to do any good for you to hit someone’s car that’s on a cell phone.

Chris: I’ve had three close calls on the way here! I have a right as a cylist to be safe and cops aren’t doing enough to enforce it.

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Balzer: I can tell you statistically that we’ve written way less citations to bicyclists over the last year compared to the previous year.

Chris [yelling]: Yeah! As you should. Who fuckin’ cares about a cyclist breaking the law?!

Balzer: Well, you have to follow the same rules whether you like it or not.

Chris: She was not following the law.

Balzer: Well neither were you. You cannot, as you are driving down the road, you cannot throw your hand into someone else’s car.

Balzer: I’m going to ask you to please keep your hands on the handlebars and refrain from hitting other vehicles, even if they upset you… I did not see the person on their cell phone. If I would have seen that…

Chris [interrupting Balzer]: Because she put it away after I scared her! Maybe she’s like, ‘Oh shit, that’s right, that’s dangerous. Maybe I’ll put it away now.’

Balzer: Christopher, there are a lot of things that are dangerous about driving.

Chris: Yeah! And she willingly added to it [the danger]!

Balzer: We’re going to have to agree to disagree… You should keep your hands to yourself, because if there’s damage to the car you could be liable.

Chris: I will. Fair enough. That’s fine.

I’m glad this didn’t escalate. And while I’m concerned at some of Balzer’s responses, he also showed some restraint. I was in a situation last year when I was pulled over for by an officer who wanted to reprimand me. When I talked back and clearly disagreed with the officer, he got mean and wrote me up a ticket to teach me a lesson. (I took the ticket to court and it was thrown out after the officer failed to show up.)

As for whether or not it’s smart to slap someone’s car and/or call them out for dangerous behaviors, that’s a big debate. We’ve had discussions about it here on BikePortland on two past occasions.

If you find yourself in this position, try and keep your cool. And keep your camera running.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I have noticed that drivers stupid actions in this town increase exponentially with snow. I have come close to kicking a few lately, but have restrained myself.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes…but no snow is yet on the ground in the photo. ‘-)

Spiffy
Subscriber

watch it again, the irregular white sections you see all around are snow…

David
Guest
David

But what if you kick a car and then the driver gets out and slaps the crap out of you or worse?

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Fat chance Balzer was going to pull that woman over for using her cell phone. Balzer is and always has been a cyclist-hater, dozens of long-time Portland cyclists can verify that.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Good thing he wasn’t booked for assault!

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Balzer must have been feeling generous today, only a warning.

soren
Guest
soren

when balzer pulled me over for slowly passing a stationary traffic jam a little over a year ago he had his hand on his gun and was screaming “this is why you people die”. i filed a complaint with the city auditor and it was not handled seriously. after consulting payed legal counsel i decided to pay the $260 ticket and avoid the demeaning safety class.

later, i learned that balzer executed an unarmed man in the head at point blank range. i recommend not provoking him in any confrontation.

John Doe
Guest
John Doe

Why don’t you share the full story of why he fired his gun? Why aren’t you mentioning the man that he had slammed an officer’s head into a wall multiple times and was in the process of trying to take the other officer’s weapon from them?

Your post makes it sound like he just walked up to some random person and killed them when in fact he was defending the life of someone else that was being brutally assaulted.

David
Guest
David

Exactly. And I get it that’s this is a bike blog but I thought the cyclist acted like a whiny baby. That cop was totally cool compared to that jerk on a bike.

soren
Guest
soren

Hi “John Doe”,

The execution-style killing by Balzer was ruled to be a wrongful death and plaintiffs were awarded damages:

https://casetext.com/case/gilbaugh-v-balzer

Moreover, it is my understanding that this was one of the killings of mentally ill individuals that led the DOJ to successfully sue the PPB for systemic civil rights violations.

Spiffy
Subscriber

that’s not anywhere close to assault…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I guess you don’t get my humor.

Spiffy
Subscriber

you forgot the /s so I’d know!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Good point, sorry.

q'Tzal
Guest
q'Tzal

That’s your word against the word of a police officer.
Guess who wins when there is no other evidence….

Jagur
Guest
Jagur

That’s a pretty lively conversation.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Balzer: It’s not your responsibility to tell someone to get off their phone. That is my responsibility…

No, it’s your job to pull them over and write them a ticket.

Balzer: You know what, that’s the danger of riding a bike in the city.

“You shouldn’t have worn a dress like that.”

Balzer: …who’s making the decision of riding a bike and riding in a car?

This clown needs to spend more time outside a car.

Balzer: I can’t stop everyone from using their cell phones.

How about just stopping everyone you see. Not everyone, just everyone you see.

Balzer: I can tell you statistically that we’ve written way less citations to bicyclists over the last year compared to the previous year.

Um…..gee thanks? I’d hazard a guess that they are writing less citations for everyone.

Balzer: Well, you have to follow the same rules whether you like it or not.

Which rules are those? The ones that we aren’t enforcing for drivers?

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

Gotta say I think Officer Balzer handled himself pretty well. I am also generally supportive of slapping cars that are making dangerous decisions because like Balzer said officers can’t see or prosecute the 7 out of 10 drivers on their phone.

We can create separated infrastructure but there will always be places where people in cars and on bike/peds interact. Car and cellphone companies could over night make it so that if you are driving you cannot use your phone without a headset. Or a warning goes over your phone that is really annoying to get out of but if there is an emergency you could. I bet that is something both Lind and Balzer could agree on. It would be a powerful force it the nations police unions advocated for that change.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Writing a ticket because you assert your rights is called non-judicial punishment. It is non-appropriate and non-constitutional.

meh
Guest
meh

Please outline in the bill of rights where is says I can touch someone else’s property?

Spiffy
Subscriber

please outline a law that saws I can’t…

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

Contrarily – where does it say I can’t? If there is no damage or intent to damage and the property is in a public space? Seems like a reasonable way to let someone in a big metal box know you are near them and vulnerable.

Asher Atkinson
Guest
Asher Atkinson

Sorry Mr Lind, but no sympathy from me. I agree with pretty much all Mr Balzer said. If you are concerned with the officer doing his job then don’t waste so much of his time. Acknowledge your indiscretion and move on.

I enjoyed my snowy ride home just moments ago, in part because I actually got something out of the share the road class I took to avoid my fine for rolling through a stop sign on my bike. In the video you mention you took the class, too. What I got out of it was to learn to chill on my commute. I know it can be hard, but I recommend you try the same.

Paul Wilkins
Guest
Paul Wilkins

What specific law did he violate?

James
Guest
James

Seems like wreckless driving could be applicabe, definitely a stretch but would be easy for the officer to articulate it.

Spiffy
Subscriber

not even close to reckless driving…

“A person commits the offense of reckless driving if the person recklessly drives a vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in this section in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property.”

michael
Guest
michael

When someone hits a car, it makes a loud noise. That is startling. When someone is driving a massive one ton death machine, it is reckless to startle them. They could have swerved into you… or been distracted for that moment and not hit the brakes if a car in front of them begins to stop, or any number of things that can happen to distracted drivers. You’re simply adding one more distraction.

Pete
Guest
Pete

The person talking on the phone gets distracted by the noise of someone slapping their car? Oh, the irony!

Asher Atkinson
Guest
Asher Atkinson

I didn’t say or suggest Lind violated the law. I did use the word indiscretion to characterize his action. I recognize indiscretions are subjective, but I’m not opposed to police intervening to de-escalate a situation or address behavoir that may lead to violence if that’s how they see it.

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

But that doesn’t appear to be the case here. The officer stopped him further down the street after the interaction was over. This was nothing more than a punitive pullover – there was no escalation to prevent.

LOL
Guest
LOL

Criminal Mischief. ORS 164.345

q
Guest
q

“A person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the third degree if, with intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person…”.

I don’t see that the cyclist intended to cause ANY inconvenience–let alone substantial–so don’t see how this would apply.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

The cyclist seemed to indicate he wished to scare the driver.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’m pretty chill until someone nearly runs me over. Then it takes me a while to get back to normal.

Asher Atkinson
Guest
Asher Atkinson

Except in this video I don’t see where Lind is nearly run over.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I responded to your comment, not to the video. You ‘learned to chill’ on your commute. I am very chill on my commute until somebody nearly runs me over, and then I am not so chilled. I am scared and I lash out with anger. When somebody nearly runs you over, what is your response? Do you smile and wave?

q
Guest
q

That’s a reality people need to acknowledge. When say, a driver turns his car into a cyclist without noticing, the driver remains calm because to him, nothing has happened. Meanwhile, the cyclist has just got shot through with adrenaline and had to instantly react physically to an action that suddenly threatened his life. The two were just in the same near-miss incident, but the experience was completely different for each. Yet that fact is forgotten, and the cyclist viewed as an overreacting hothead in contrast to the calm driver.

Experience and state of mind can help prevent getting in those situations, and temper the response, but humans are not robots, and can’t be expected to squelch normal human responses.

JAT in Seattle
Guest
JAT in Seattle

I know I’m late to comment, but I wholeheartedly agree with this – and the response of Ofc Balzer shows that the state (in that under color of law he is a state actor) does not contemplate this in any way.

Not only does the state not care that a cyclists perception of vulnerability contributes to their agitation, the state places the blame on the cyclist for riding a bike in the city.

but, um don’t hit cars, I guess…

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

That cop was pretty awesome. Can’t say the same Lind. What a baby.

Marc Rossinyol
Guest
Marc Rossinyol

I almost did the same twice last week. It’s very frustrating to see someone on the phone driving right next to you. Makes me really uneasy…

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Why ride next to anyone that makes you uneasy? I sure as heck don’t. Just speed up or slow down depending on whether being behind or ahead makes more sense.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

….because the -NEXT- driver will be talking on his/her phone as well.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Yeah Marc, it’s your fault.

/s

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

You guys don’t avoid people exhibiting questionable judgment/skills/awareness? Why on earth not?

Cycling is more fun and safer when you avoid road hazards, including the ones in motion.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Of course I do. It’s safest to stay away from loons when possible.

I question the double standard you apply to cyclists here. Drivers get a pass and are expected to do idiotic things all the time, and oh well. Just like bad weather, something you think will never change, and we must all adjust accordingly. But cyclists have to be hyper aware and are fully responsible for staying clear of dangerous drivers, as if that’s always possible. Rather than fixing the ‘licensed and trained’ drivers, lets fix the vulnerable users, right? We’ve been doing that for a century — how’s that going?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

There’s no double standard. Even if 99.9% of the drivers are awesome, we encounter too many to ignore that 0.1%. Bottom line is that you gotta ride like everyone’s trying to kill you all the time.

BTW, I don’t ride near other cyclists unless I have specific reason to believe they know what they’re doing. Very few (definitely < 5%) know how to ride in close proximity with others.

SD
Guest
SD

Where is the law against touching someone’s car?

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

That is my question. Balzer’s stammering “Well… if the car is damaged.. then it’s… you can’t hit cars!” says it all. “You can’t because I say so.”

I have to question Balzer’s statement ” I did not see the person on their cell phone. If I would have seen that…” [implying that he would have pulled her over.] If he indeed pulled over every person that he saw driving while talking on a cell phone, he wouldn’t have time for just about anything else. Given that I do see police officers doing other things, I have to think that they have learned to ignore some cell phone use while driving.

At the same time, I don’t think hitting cars except in cases where you’re in mortal danger is very good for the “cause” of biking. I do understand it, though – so much dangerous driving behavior is tolerated by our society with next to no enforcement, I can see how people who get around by non-car means could want to be vigilantes sometimes.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

I guess “vigilante” is too strong. Slapping someone’s car is not a punishment, it’s just an aggressive means of communication. Is stamping your foot on someone’s doorstep a crime? (That is, if they haven’t asked you to leave)

q
Guest
q

It seems like one person’s “aggressive means of communication” might be the recipient’s “crossing a line”. If it had been a matter of slapping a car that was cutting into his lane, I’d say slap away. Here, I sympathize with why he did it, but can’t fault the officer’s opinion.

Spiffy
Subscriber

the recipient doesn’t get to make that call… you can’t just say “I was afraid for my life” like Ronald Gasser and take aggressive action when there’s no real threat…

BradWagon
Subscriber

I knock on cars all the time. How else am I suppose to alert them of my presence and communicate they are endangering me?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

So you think banging on a car that’s not on a collision course driven by someone you suspect doesn’t know you’re there is a good idea?

Doesn’t sound very wise. Many people swerve or take severe reactions when surprised — like that recent thread where the cyclist was killed after she fell on her own after being surprised.

Spiffy
Subscriber

yes, I think it’s a good idea…

people don’t swerve TOWARDS the clunk sound they hear, they swerve away from it thinking something hit their car…

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Doesn’t sound very wise.”

Interesting. We have two people: one pedaling a bike with a camera mounted to his handlebars, one piloting a car talking on a cell phone. You’re focusing here on how unwise the behavior of the former is. But if wisdom is the metric I’d have thought to cast the net a bit wider.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Yeah, if someone is moving into my path of travel or sitting it while I go by them I let them know I am there and that there may be more people using that portion of road on bikes in the future.

I wouldn’t do this on the move to someone just on the phone. If we were stopped at an intersection I would maybe say something to someone on the phone.

Most of my knocks are people sitting in or encroaching on bike lane. Occasionally someone that passes to close or cuts in to closely after a pass at low speeds will get a knock.

LOL
Guest
LOL

ORS 164.345

BradWagon
Subscriber

Not even close, keep hunting for that goose.

q
Guest
q

I see your reasoning. That law requires “intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person” and since he may have intended to interrupt the car owner’s phone conversation, that interruption would be the needed “substantial inconvenience”, so the law applies! Brilliant!

I believe that law could also be used to prosecute any pedestrian who interrupted the phone call by stepping into a crosswalk in the driver’s path, thereby forcing the driver to shift attention away from the conversation.

Steve
Guest
Steve

“Well, maybe I can scare them enough so they won’t do it again.”

All credibility lost right there. This Lind character doesn’t speak for cyclists, not in the least bit.

9watts
Guest
9watts

How did you get from his statement to ‘speaks/doesn’t speak for all cyclists’? You lost me there.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Your right lets all just sit back and do nothing until we all get run over.

Spiffy
Subscriber

unfortunately most drivers only obey the law because they fear the consequences if they don’t… few are doing it to maintain a safe and orderly society…

if drivers are suddenly scared that cyclists can discover them breaking the law then maybe fewer will do it where they expect cyclists…

Paul Wilkins
Guest
Paul Wilkins

I smack cars, too. It’s to get the driver’s attention.

I also am happy to interrupt dangerous behavior.

Ain’t gonna change.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

I conclude Chris Lind is a ***deleted by moderator***

Not because he hit the car, but because he acted like an entitled child for being called on what was clearly an illegal action on his part. He then doubled down on his “threat” to have his temper tantrum posted here for all to see.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Not sure what Lind did was illegal. Very foolish, yes.

But nothing is illegal unless there’s actually a law against it. And I can’t think of any laws that would specifically prohibit this (except maybe a very broad interpretation of Disorderly Conduct).

Dave
Guest
Dave

Well, why was the cop wasting city time giving grief to the cyclist for a non-crime instead of

Spiffy
Subscriber

I don’t think you can stretch Disorderly Conduct that far…

https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.025

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“Not sure what Lind did was illegal. Very foolish, yes. …” glowboy

Why do you think what Lind did, was “…Very foolish…” ?

Story says Lind just got a warning…what notes about the reasoning for the citation, were written on the citation? Ask Lind to show what, beyond his personal info, is written on the citation. Maybe Balzer didn’t have a certain statutory violation in mind when he issued the warning, but did feel a warning was in order for the safety of the person riding.

I suppose the odds of someone driving, whose car is slapped by someone passing by on a bike…going after the person riding, to retaliate…may be low, maybe very low, especially in a snow storm. That scenario is what I’d choose to avoid. Never know what kind of nut may be inside the car that’s getting a resounding slap from a vulnerable road user passing by.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Can you find a statute that supports slapping cars being illegal? I’m curious. It seems much closer to stamping your foot on someone’s doorstep (legal, until you’re asked to leave) than to hitting a person or damaging property (illegal).

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

To clarify – stamping your foot on someone’s front porch in the context of having a conversation with them.

Jolly Dodger
Guest
Jolly Dodger

And the metaphor can be completed with the homeowners doorway being guarded by a shotgun (auto) and stamping your foot is the equivalent of slapping the law breakers hood. Either way your safety is still in the hands of a more powerful possible response. I’ve never gotten an apology or acceptance of responsibility when calling careless or unconcerned driver out in traffic. Just makes them more angry you noticed their bad behavior at all.
Cuz in the cage you feel no pain, or guilt, or conscience.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

I agree, it’s not a good idea. Just trying to decide if slapping the hood was illegal (in which case the officer’s warning was justified) or legal (in which case the officer should not have done anything semi-official, and just tried to give Mr. Lind some advice, citizen to citizen).

mh
Subscriber

I suspect the slap could be considered assault – which I believe is threatening to harm – if the driver could reasonably believe their person was being threatened. Hardly likely. I’d love to see someone try to prove that an open hand could damage a car – in court. And then what’s the charge? Attempt (unsuccessful) to damage personal property? It’s a joke.

BB
Guest
BB

Touching property is in no way assault.

Spiffy
Subscriber
Auto Lawyer
Guest

It’s funny how much legal nonsense is thrown around here. Cyclist is wrong.

https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.190

Case closed.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“A person commits the crime of menacing if by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.”

Huh?

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Um, the woman was in a car, which has locks, and the rude gentleman used his hand, not a U-lock. There’s no way she could reasonably have thought she was in imminent physical danger.

Spiffy
Subscriber

you’re saying what every driver says: stay away from me or get hurt!

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

I can find many statutes that could easily be used if an officer were inclined to charge you with something. Criminal mischief, assault, intimidation, disorderly conduct, harrassment, etc.

Is it specifically called out in a law? No. Not much is.

Again though, I wasn’t focusing on the hitting/touching the car. I thought anyone with half a clue understood that even touching a car was likely to incite the occupant as well as police. Once again, I think victim mentality is clouding out sound judgement.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Would it make you feel better if I substituted illegal in my original post with “questionably legal”? That seems like I term we could all agree on.

Call it “things I wouldn’t do if I knew the police were looking”.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Oh, I understand that (which is why I don’t touch people’s cars myself). I’m just pointing out the double standard here – you can stamp your foot on someone’s sidewalk or front porch and make noise more or less with impunity, but touch someone’s automobile and make noise, and it’s harassment, intimidation, all kinds of things.

I think people subconsciously identify their vehicle as an extension of their body while they’re driving (and while not), which is why “disrespecting” someone’s vehicle can set people off so much.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Foot stomping is an infantile form of behavior used during temper tantrums that I’ve never seen a responsible adult use.

So your analogy is not far off the mark.

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

Bingo! We have a winner. Never underestimate how much people make the ownership of a car a statement about who they are. So keep that in mind when interacting with drivers, as you can’t be sure how they’ll respond to your “interaction” with their rolling totem of self worth…

Spiffy
Subscriber

“Criminal mischief, assault, intimidation, disorderly conduct, harrassment”

it’s not Criminal Mischief because there was no substantial inconvenience: 3rd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/164.345 , 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/164.354 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/164.365

it’s not Assault because there was no physical injury: 4th: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.160 , 3rd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.165 , 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.175 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/163.185

it’s not Intimidation because it wasn’t about hate, didn’t interfere with property, and didn’t cause substantial inconvenience: 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.155 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.165

it’s not Disorderly Conduct because it wasn’t unreasonable noise and didn’t obstruct the driver: 2nd: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.025 , 1st: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.023

it’s not Harassment because there’s no personal physical contact and was not intended and likely to provoke a violent response: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.065

I am not a lawyer…

LOL
Guest
LOL

So by your logic any time I see your bike parked, I can go kick it over since it doesn’t substantially inconvenience you?

Derp
Guest
Derp

Kick over? Don’t you mean “slap”? Why are you not comparing the same act?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

A slap on the saddle might be equivalent. Or a slap on the side of a cargo box.

X
Guest
X

Wait I’m confused. Who are you calling a slap? And keep your hands off my box.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

I’d bet $10000 that 95% of the police officers in Portland would disagree with you.

LOL
Guest
LOL

ORS 164.345. And if you actually damaged their car, that’s vandalism.

q
Guest
q

That requires “intent to cause substantial inconvenience to the owner or to another person”. He didn’t intend to cause any inconvenience.

X
Guest
X

“I’m a cyclist too and I conclude. . . FTFY

Guess “dick” is now part of BP jargon

Spiffy
Subscriber

CAN WE GET SOME MODERATION HERE FOR THIS PERSONAL ATTACK?!

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

Also got to add what a privilege it is to know that you have this online community and that you can have a conversation like that with a police officer. There are many people in our city who would not feel that way and many places in our country where the police make that impossible.

9watts
Guest
9watts

don’t you have this backwards?
Isn’t being treated with a minimum amount of respect (not being abused or killed) the bare minimum we should expect from *our* police? I know where you’re going with this, and am well aware that if Chris were not white things could have gone very differently, but think it risky to call being not beaten by a cop in a situation like this a privilege.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

I think it clear kiel did not mean “privilege” in any legal sense.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Having your rights respected is not a privilege. It is a right.

Adam
Subscriber

What magical land do you live in where everyone gets the same rights regardless of how much privilege they have?

9watts
Guest
9watts

you’re confusing deserves and receives.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In this country, we all have the same basic rights. If your rights are not respected, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. This is the basic foundation of a civilized society, and is the basis on which people whose rights are unjustly deprived can move forward to reclaim them.

Galavantista
Guest
Galavantista

I’ve tapped on many a car blocking a crosswalk I’m attempting to walk through; the test would be whether that garners the same response from an officer.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

I actually learned not to reach out and hit cars with my hand when I was furious with a tour bus for unloading in the bike lane and bit it hard. The people getting out of the bus were completely concerned and over to help in a heartbeat, but I was just a little road rashed.
It sucks, we all have two or three “close” calls (I use quotes because the experienced among us can see most of them coming and make them not as close as they would otherwise be) each time we’re out it seems, but that crash reminded me the only thing we have control over is our reactions. When I get upset at a d-bag person behind the wheel of a car, he doesn’t care. I’m the only one hurt by holding on to that. I’ve worked hard to focus my energy on improving infrastructure, public perception, and enforcement.
It’s a common and normal response to react with anger when your life is threatened. I won’t discount anyone for that. But I’d like to think our efforts are much more effective if we focus that anger [and fear] into the systemic changes rather than thinking we can change the attitude of people behind a windshield one encounter at a time.

Brad
Guest
Brad

How do you propose we make systematic changes to cell phone usage on the road, if it is not bringing awareness to users on a case by case basis? Law enforcement is obviously not doing anything about it, so that leaves it to the cyclists that could pay the price in the future.

HJ
Guest
HJ

I think both were a little over the line. Officer could have been more sympathetic to the challenges of cyclists and particularly our frustration over their lack of cell phone law enforcement. Cyclist was extreme with his reaction to the driver though. Prius driver was driving straight in her lane.
Do I despise people on their phones wile driving? You bet. But in the end I’m more worried about the ones actually cutting into my lane.

rick
Guest
rick

12 car pileups galore today. Today shows another reason why safe streets and more trails are needed NOW.

SD
Guest
SD

How is slapping a car significantly different from honking a horn? I thank every car slapper, including Chris, for all of the cars they have slapped. Slap on!
On the other hand, I think it is unethical if not illegal for a police officer to fabricate laws in order to write tickets or warnings.

dwk
Guest
dwk

I can’t stand drivers who honk at me if I slow roll or do Idaho stops on my bike. It is not their job.

SD
Guest
SD

I can’t stand drivers who honk at me while I am waiting for a clean shot across a 4 lane road. For some reason, if I am on a bike it drives them crazy to wait behind me, but if I am in a car they can sit and wait quietly.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Um, personally I prefer to leave generous wiggle room in case I misjudge the speed and/or distance of traffic, regardless of how I’m getting around.

q
Guest
q

Good point. I’d say hitting a car is a bit more extreme than honking, but otherwise it’s the same thing–getting someone’s attention to inform them that you saw them doing something that’s illegal. Actually worse in that the honker is doing it after the illegal action, while the slapper in this case was doing it to get them to stop the illegal, dangerous behavior. So the honker is just expressing an opinion, while the slapper is trying to achieve safety.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Such a true statement. Another situation I find myself wanting and sometimes acting, is slapping a car that is about to right hook me.

Spiffy
Subscriber

exactly, because you’re not endangering other people’s lives with your action…

q
Guest
q

Is it fabricated?

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

The police in PDX do not write tickets for motorists faults against peds or cyclists, unless a death is involved and then only if they witness it.
For instance on Tuesday I was riding down Barbur and Naito. approaching the trolly crossing where they go across the Tillicum. A truck, 40 foot semi, pulls in front of me. I had to yield. Then he made a right turn right next to the “No Trucks turn right” sign. I continued after waiting for the light to turn green again. A PPB Sargent was next to me and continues straight.
Not interested in Motorized violators.

chris
Guest
chris

“Who fuckin’ cares about a cyclist breaking the law?!”
Maybe those of us that do obey the laws? Every time a bike rider acts like an entitled dick, it reflects poorly on all of us.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Only within an illogical mind does one bicycle user’s behavior reflect upon that of another.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Haven’t you heard? We’ve entered the post-rational, post-truth era now. He who yells loudest, has the most money, the most social media followers…the biggest vehicle, wins. Duh. It’s the law of the jungle, baby.

Spiffy
Subscriber

make roads great again!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

You mean, “make great big roads again”?

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Every time a bike rider acts like an entitled dick, it reflects poorly on all of us.”

Do you have that same mindset for skateboarders, drivers, pedestrians, dog walkers, folk dancers? One thoughtless move by one of this tribe ‘reflects badly on the whole tribe?’ What a crock.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

For most people, If that group is in the minority, then yes. They aren’t in that minority group, so they paint the group with broad strokes based on their limited experiences with the group.
It might be “illogical”, but it’s pretty much human nature.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“It might be ‘illogical,’ but it’s pretty much human nature.”

And once it has been called out (it has been pointed out here on bikeportland many, many times) you’d think folks could recognize it for what it is: ill-considered, small-minded, parochial bias.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

And yet probably 0.1% of the Portland metro reads Bikeportland.

I get this site is full of idealists, but we still live in the world (even a “paradise” like Portland).

9watts
Guest
9watts

But we are talking about bikeportland readers/commenters who are the ones carrying water for this in-group/out-group/tribal thinking.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

And that doesn’t make it any less true for the majority of people out on the roads.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Horse feces. Respectability politics are a waste of time and energy.

Adam
Subscriber

And cops shouldn’t harass cyclists for minor infractions. It gives all cops a bad name! /s

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

And yet some commenters on this site seem to have that mentality.

jonny b
Guest
jonny b

thanks for posting this exchange, this shit happens all the time but having a record of it is key! I don’t know if I woulda easily thought about pulling my phone out and recording in such an incident but maybe this’ll help

Spiffy
Subscriber

action/helmet cams are getting cheaper all the time… I feel vulnerable when I’m on the road without a camera, in any mode…

I’m starting to bring mine along even when I walk… drivers are getting more emboldened and dangerous…

BradWagon
Subscriber

Subconcious car culture rages on.

Spiffy
Subscriber

unconscious-driver culture also rages on…

James
Guest
James

Cat 6 commuting looks miserable. No wonder you have so many close calls.

We all experience the same stuff day in day out. But Linds you were just another jerk commuter today, and an awfully entitled one at that. Reminds me that an jerk in a car is likely a jerk on a bike. I’d rather have em on bike though : )

Spiffy
Subscriber

cat 6 commuting? he’s rolling along in his lane, which he is completely entitled to do…

driving while on your phone? you’re not entitled to that…

still riding after all that
Guest
still riding after all that

More than 40 comments already, but not one person has pointed out that the police officer chose to follow and stop (and berate) the cyclist instead of the motorist. Am I the only one who noticed?

Why did the cop not go after the driver and cite her for use of phone while driving?

SD
Guest
SD

I thought about this, but the officer said that he did not see the driver using their phone and could not do anything. He implied that he would have stopped the driver if he did, but we could probably look at the number of tickets issued for illegal phone use by an officer that is not directly involved in a traffic enforcement action and see that his assertion is false.

Brad
Guest
Brad

In my opinion, if the officer didn’t see the driver using his cell phone, the officer wasn’t doing his job.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Right. He could have pulled her over and had a talk with her, and written her a warning.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Things have gone from bad to worse in Portland over the past several years for one reason only: lack of meaningful enforcement of existing traffic laws. Enforcement works. It’s one of the things that fell by the wayside with population growth and police short staffing, I know, but that’s just not acceptable. You don’t cut corners where lives are at stake, and that’s what it comes down to.

Our city leaders created this problem through inertia and negligence. The result was predictable. It frustrates the hell out of me just what a dangerous mess we have on our hands now. I don’t know if we can ever claw our driving culture back to where it was (a relatively civil place). Humans are bad little animals and once we get a pass to take that inch and make it a mile, it’s the very devil to get us to give it up and go back to our measly (rightful) portion. Cue the umbrage should you try.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Enforcement works.”

So right.

Amity: a small hamlet SW of Portland with a 25mph speed limit on the portion of 99W that runs right through the middle of town that for years was aggressively policed. My mom who lives near there pointed out to me this week that although the aggressive policing of the speed limit stopped years ago, it was sustained enough that today—in fact every day—EVERYONE still creeps through Amity at exactly 25mph, always.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Same with Bingen, WA. When the speed backs down to 35 mph (and then 25 moph) you know that by the time you get to the sign, you better be at 35mph or below. It’s well known, and no one I know disobeys. And no one bitches about it, they just do it.

Dave
Guest
Dave

And that’s a good thing!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“It’s one of the things that fell by the wayside with population growth and police short staffing, I know, but that’s just not acceptable. You don’t cut corners where lives are at stake…”

Population growth, short-staffing—and attitudes that incorporate the belief that you’re asking for it if “[you’re] making the decision of riding a bike [instead of] riding in a car”

See? The only lives that are really at stake are those of bicyclists who decide to stake their lives on the good behavior of all those drivers who wisely chose to protect themselves inside of cars. If you have a death wish, why should the cops stand in your way?

/s

Pat Franz
Guest
Pat Franz

If the intent of the slap was not to injure the driver or their car, I see no reason for it to be a problem IF the vulnerable road user is imminently threatened. It’s a fast, natural consequence that gets attention quickly. In my experience it pisses the drivers off, but at least they stop what they were doing that was going to injure me. I wouldn’t do it if they were on their phone and in their lane unless they were on a track to hit me.

If anyone finds themselves in this situation often, I would suggest getting an air horn. It is good at getting attention, and drivers are usually sheepish instead of belligerent like they are when you yell at them or slap their car.

curly
Subscriber
curly

Distracted drivers are a fact of life whether you drive, walk, or ride a bike. As a seasoned automotive technician, I’ve followed technology creeping into automobiles and become more and more of the “driving experience”. It is a fact of life in this technology age. You can run a business from your automobile, and many people do.
Some of you may remember the time when you were thrilled you had a working heater and radio in your car, and operating these functions was not an interactive event.
As an east Portland resident who rides Division daily, I see the same distracted drivers as other cyclists see, but I never confront drivers because my safety depends on them!
Here’s where I give a big THANK YOU to all the professional drivers I encounter, or encounter me, on my commute. Trimet drivers are high on my list of best drivers. Thanks to all the #4 drivers!
Distracted driving will always be an issue, because very few people who drive are professionals, or take the driving privilege as seriously as they should. Myself included, but I’m getting better, “cause it’s getting scarier to drive.
Thanks for posting the video. It was food for thought. Ride safe! j

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I second your thanks to the good drivers, including the TriMet drivers (go, #4!). I don’t accept that it’s inevitable, though, distracted driving–absolutely not a fact of life, and I’m loath to give scofflaws that comfy out. In places where they enforce the law, distracted drivers learn right quick to give up the dangerous behaviors (or else they’ll pay).

I’m willing to accept things it’s truly impossible to change, but distracted driving is oh so easy to combat and change–we just need to dedicate the resources to it. We did, at one time, and the roads were a much more civil place as a result. And since it generates revenue to ticket/fine dangerous drivers, I don’t understand why it can’t be funded. Beyond frustrated.

You can still find outlying cities that are fierce with enforcement, and the proof is in the pudding. Drivers have been trained–under penalty of hefty tickets–to go the speed limit, to not drive like selfish jackwits. Milwaukie and Lake Oswego are two examples, off the top of my head.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Officer Balzer might catch more cell-phone using drivers by patrolling on a bike.

Chris Lind
Guest
Chris Lind

So this is my video. I’ll post a few thoughts. I had a GoPro on my handlebars for the ride home today, because I thought it would be interesting to record the ride in the snow. Not once, but twice, I was nearly right hooked before the inciting incident, so I was already on edge. Seeing the driver on their phone blew my mind they would be doing something so dumb in dangerous conditions.

I’ll gladly admit to smacking cars in the past, and I will continue to do so, maybe scare tactic isn’t the right word, and I rarely get a positive response, but I feel it necessary to let people they are doing something wrong, that infringes on my safety and the safety of others.

Spiffy
Subscriber

thank you fellow car-slapper!

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

Are the two almost right hooks in this video? The silver car and then the blue delivery truck? In those circumstances both vehicles clearly had their right turn signals on well before you approached them, and you decided it was a good idea to pass them.

dwk
Guest
dwk

His cycling made me cringe…..

Spiffy
Subscriber

a good idea to pass them? more like his legal right to pass them…

and if there were cyclists behind him and he stopped he’d be guilty of illegally obstructing traffic…

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

Not if he’s trying to overtake a vehicle that is already in the process of turning.

Slowing down in instances like that seems prudent.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I think the difference here is that you assume these turning vehicles will illegally violate your right of way by turning into you, while I assume they will obey the law…

I don’t get paranoid whenever I see a turn signal…

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…both vehicles clearly had their right turn signals on well before you approached them, and you decided it was a good idea to pass them.”

Having a turn signal on does not confer right-of-way. If there is no bike lane, don’t pass right-turning drivers. If there is a bike lane, it is your legal right to continue in your lane—while watching tires and being ready to emergency-stop—and pass vehicles in the lane next to you. Turn signals are pretty meaningless anyway; should you not ever pass anyone while riding in a bike lane because they might suddenly turn into you, signal or not? Should you not pass in front of anyone waiting to turn out from a driveway, because they might not see you and pull out right into you? Should you wait at a 4-way intersection until it is completely clear, because a stopped driver might illegally take your right-of-way and plow into you? Do you not proceed at a green light because some driver might decide to make a right on red and hit you? Should you not ever use a crosswalk unless the street is empty of all vehicles? Which legal rights do you want to give up, and at what point do we proceed on an expectation of legal behavior by other road users? Sure, be vigilant, but follow the law—even when it works to your advantage.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Did you also see the “near-right-hook” at about 1:00 into the video? The navy-blue Volvo making, in all likelihood, an unsignaled right turn? Was it a “bad idea” to pass that car, too? Signals are largely irrelevant, and if anything, give you a heads-up to be more aware, but not necessarily automatically give up your right-of-way.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

“all likelihood”? All the video shows is that car slowing down.

This site continuously laments right hooks (and rightly so as they’re a real risk and very dangerous), yet many don’t think it’s prudent to exercise some caution and take some basic precautions in avoiding them because they don’t legally have to. Good luck with that.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“All the video shows is that car slowing down.”

Heh. Really? this makes me chuckle. In your experience riding in situations similar to the one in this video, how many reasons are there for a driver to slow down prior to arriving at an intersection? Is traffic backed up across the intersection? No. Is the traffic signal yellow or red? No. Is there a parking space this driver could possibly be pulling into? Only if he is going to stop in the lane, then back in to a spot behind. Do you suppose this driver is going to just double-park for some reason? I doubt that. Mechanical? The car just quit working right at the intersection? Was this driver hoping to ask a pedestrian on the sidewalk for directions? No, there isn’t anybody there. I would bet all the money in my pocket this driver turned right as soon as he was out of the video frame. Mr. Lind might remember, but I wouldn’t count on it after the slapping encounter.

“This site continuously laments right hooks (and rightly so as they’re a real risk and very dangerous), yet many don’t think it’s prudent to exercise some caution and take some basic precautions in avoiding them because they don’t legally have to. Good luck with that.”

So, if you’re advocating taking such basic precautions to avoid right hooks, and claiming that others here are advocating for NOT taking precautions on the basis of a legal technicality, why would you discount my evaluation (based on years of experience) of the 1:00 situation? Aren’t you kind of arguing from the same sort of technicality? “Well, it is a near-certainty this car is about to turn right, but the driver isn’t using a turn signal, so no precautions necessary”? If people want to judge this rider (and others) for not “taking precautions” in potentially dangerous situations, why not include all potentially dangerous situations? Or are we allowing that each situation might be slightly different, and tolerable “precautions” can be left up to the rider who is in the situation, based on their experience, and details that they can sense at the time?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Do you also drive in the freeway fast lane at 55 mph to make sure everyone else is not speeding?
You are not the police. I do not want car drivers policing me on a bike by honking, touching or swerving.

BB
Guest
BB

Who cares who is or isn’t a cop if the cops do literally nothing but brag about not doing their jobs?

Spiffy
Subscriber

“Do you also drive in the freeway fast lane at 55 mph to make sure everyone else is not speeding?”

so what if he does? would it annoy you that he was the only one obeying the law?

I drive the speed limit everywhere and I don’t care even one bit about the impatience of the drivers behind me…

dwk
Guest
dwk

Repeat. It is not your job!

Spiffy
Subscriber

what’s not my job? and why do I care? driving the speed limit is not my job in that I don’t get paid for it but it’s my job in that it’s my responsibility…

dwk
Guest
dwk

It is your responsibility for yourself, not to decide what speed everyone else drives. You don’t get that?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Hmm, that’s weird. The County Sheriff instructed us that if we want to reduce speeding on Bethany then we should all drive the speed limit so that everyone behind us would have to as well.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Why didn’t you tell him it was his job to police the speed limit.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

It was at a rally that we helped put together at our elementary school to encourage parents to let their kids walk to school. We rounded up our SRTS coordinator, the school principal, the sheriff, our county commissioner, and school district board members, along with a bunch of parents, and presented ways that we could help them get to school safely.

Somebody asked the sheriff what they were going to do about speeding drivers, and one thing he suggested was that we all drive the speed limit so that people behind us would have to drive the speed limit too. I wasn’t about to call him out during his presentation in front of 50+ people to ask about the 10mph cushion they give, or the fact that I regularly see them speeding around the county as well. Not a good way to keep the sheriff on our side.

Spiffy
Subscriber

oh yes, I certainly get that…

what you don’t get is that my driving the speed limit isn’t forcing anybody to do anything…

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

It’s *my* responsibility to follow the basic rule. Having said that, I use the passing lane for passing and the driving lane for driving. If the following drivers don’t like it they can pound sand…

It’s always interesting when they then pass, or I pull over, and they zoom off into the distance. Only to wind up (I have observed all of these over the years):
– Off the road in the ditch
– Upside down in the median/ditch
– Car head on into a tree
– Car head on into a semi
– Car rear ended a Snow Plow (lol)
– Car right side up 30 yards off of the road – passenger half in and half out of the door window – crushed to death by the roll over – intoxicated driver thrown clear and lying face down in the snow several yards from the car
– Pulled over by the high way patrol

dwk
Guest
dwk

Do you ever slow roll stop signs on a bike?
Do yo think drivers should try to stop you?

Spiffy
Subscriber

yes I do…

and yes they should if it’s dangerous, and like the topic of this conversation, is known to put other people’s lives at risk… in other words, no, they shouldn’t try stopping cyclists safely rolling through stop signs illegally or pedestrians illegally crossing the street safely…

..

are you really equating dangerous distracted driving that’s known to kill people with an action that’s legal in a neighboring state?

dwk
Guest
dwk

No, I am equating you trying to act like a cop….
You have a superhero complex.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I’m not following your line of thinking… I don’t understand how my obeying the law is trying to act like a cop…

you’re saying that we act like cops if we obey the law… that’s ridiculous on many levels…

I’m required to drive the speed limit to keep the roads safe… how are you mad at me for that?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Who, by the way, decides what is dangerous?
A lot of people think riding bikes in the city in general is dangerous.
It is not your call……

Adam
Subscriber

Who decides what is dangerous?

How about scientists?

Distracted driving vs rolling though stop signs on a bike

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

I think you might be using “scientists” a bit liberally there.

Adam
Subscriber

There are no scientists at the Center for Disease Control, or at DePaul University?

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

“The Chaddick Institute is a dynamic forum for community leaders, transportation and land use professionals, and students.”

Sounds to me like transportation engineers and urban planners. And I wouldn’t equate them with “scientists” any more than I would to PBOT or BPS. But maybe we have different definitions of scientist. I go with:
“a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences”

I think in this case you’re trying to use “scientist” to equate their findings with unequivocal facts. Which I don’t think traffic analyses are.

Adam
Subscriber

Hw many people die per year at the hands of cyclists who ignore traffic control devices?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Not many I suppose.
It is still not my or your job to police traffic in cars or on bikes.

Adam
Subscriber

Whatever happened to “if you see something, say something”?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Because I want every nimrod out there acting like his own police force?

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

except this situation involved “see something, do something”. Not just “say something”.
If he had just yelled at the car, none of this would have likely happened.

Adam
Subscriber

I got pulled over in Chicago for “yelling at a car” after they tried to kill me.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

And yet you’ve already lamented in these very comments how different Portland Chicago are and how we’re not supposed to use anecdotes for argument.

Adam
Subscriber

Also in Chicago, a cabbie tried to run me off the road, jumped out of his car, and screamed at me. I called 911 on him and the Chicago Police called me a lier and hung up on me.

Adam
Subscriber

And especially since the cops are useless at best and downright hostile and deadly at worse at enforcing traffic laws, why shouldn’t we help police ourselves and peers?

dwk
Guest
dwk

So you are willing to let everyone else do the same thing?
You really don’t believe this….

Adam
Subscriber

Social pressure is a powerful thing. If we start shaming distracted drivers the same way we shamed drunk drivers, then perhaps people will change their behaviors.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

What of the provision in the law that allows a bicyclist full use of a substandard-width lane? Is that asserting one’s legal rights in an effort to increase one’s own safety, or acting like a cop by not allowing drivers to pass in an unsafe manner? There are similar situations in which a bicyclist must “control” a lane for safety purposes; how does that compare to, e.g., driving the speed limit in a place where drivers with a desire to speed cannot get by?

Mark
Guest
Mark

Common misconception. It’s not the “fast lane,” it’s the passing lane.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

In Oregon, it’s neither.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

So oddly enough, two people NOT on a phone nearly hit you but the one on the phone didn’t.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Slapping a vehicle may sometimes be necessary to alert a motorist in extreme circumstances, but that’s not what was going on here. The video clearly shows an erratic and aggressive cyclist who was not under any kind of threat going out of his way to slap a car.

People like him give us all a bad name and draw attention away from the issues such as distracted driving.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

While he may not have been in any imminent danger, he was reacting to behavior that is unpredictably lethal. Speaking rather generally, cultural complacency eventually kills. We’re fools if we think that automobile was threatened by his hand, and we’re perhaps greater fools if we believe a dent is anything about which to give a damn when it is incurred by reaction to behavior that can kill.

If bicycle users must accept automobile-induced danger in choosing to ride, certainly automobile users can accept non-threatening consequences of their inattention. People over property.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

But he wasn’t harmed. He had an overly-emotional reaction to something that happened prior.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Lind was looking for an excuse to create trouble. If he is so concerned about safety, he might consider adjusting his riding style. He is all over the place and does things which will set him up for conflict which I would guess he finds often.

Who here doesn’t see much worse driving than that pretty much every single time they go out? Seriously. If you can’t deal with garden variety stuff without going postal, you don’t belong on the roads. Good thing Lind isn’t in a car.

Last night, I saw vehicles doing all kinds of illegal things. Take this clip from my ride https://youtu.be/eFmp2r1e_x0 Note that the two trucks don’t even start to enter the intersection they have no way of clearing even though the light is fully red. I saw many other intentional acts that were potentially dangerous. I saw many accidents and almost got hit by some sliding cars.

Deal with it. Anyone who can’t work with things they see on virtually every ride without losing control or lashing out at others is not a good candidate for cycling (or driving). They are a good candidate for counseling.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“He is all over the place and does things which will set him up for conflict”

he’s riding legally in a bike lane… he’s not doing anything wrong at all with the way he’s riding…

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.415
“Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaking vehicle is a bicycle that may safely make the passage under the existing conditions.”

One could make an argument for unsafe passing on the right.

Spiffy
Subscriber

you must have missed this part of the statute you quoted:

“Overtaking and passing upon the right is permitted if the overtaken vehicle is proceeding along a roadway in the left lane of two or more clearly marked lanes allocated exclusively to vehicular traffic moving in the same direction as the overtaking driver.”

you are not unsafely passing somebody on the right when you’re simply proceeding in your own lane…

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

Except I interpret that to apply to two lanes of auto traffic, where a car would not be making a right turn from the left lane. A bike and adjacent auto lane aren’t equivalent to this.

J_R
Guest
J_R

You interpret incorrectly. There is no differentiation in the Vehicle Code that defines an “auto lane.”

Wendy Byrne
Guest

A bike lane IS equivalent to a car lane. It is a travel lane, and when you are riding in it you have the right of way to continue in it. That is the law.

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

One of my *iron laws* of bicycle commuting is *never ever pass on the right*. This has worked for me for almost 35 years.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

One of my rules is “always use caution when passing on the right”. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Spiffy
Subscriber

why wouldn’t you try to stop somebody from driving drunk? don’t you think that’s dangerous?

talking on the phone while driving is about equal to driving drunk…

9watts
Guest
9watts

“People like him give us all a bad name”

Why do folks keep saying this?
Do you really see the world in these tribal categories?! My hunch is that when you see someone behind the wheel texting you don’t immediately jump to ‘all drivers are thoughtless jerks,’ so why do this with someone pedaling? Baffling.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I don’t personally identify with any specific bike culture and specifically distance myself from the one which seems to predominate here for a number of reasons. I don’t even call myself a cyclist. I ride bikes — it’s what I do, not who I am.

Right or wrong, motorists lump us together and what we do reflects on each other. Incidents like this only encourage anticyclist sentiment and undermine cycling.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Right or wrong, motorists lump us together”

You were the one (do you consider yourself to belong to the motorist tribe?) who made the statement. You seem to be doing the lumping here (see quote above).
Unless this is Stockholm Syndrome you should try to come up with a better retort.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I own a car, but I don’t drive much. I’ve never driven to work since moving to Portland and I had a 40+mile bike commute for over 10 years where I went 47 months consecutively without driving once.

I do not identify with a tribe. I have this crazy idea that if you ride defensively and treat others with respect, you’ll do fine. It works well for me.

Most riders are reasonable enough and there is a significant percentage of cyclists who are quite good. Nonetheless, Portland cyclists are the worst I’ve encountered anyplace I’ve lived. Too many ride assuming that people will see them and do the right thing — this is a recipe for disaster whether you’re on a bike, in a car, or on foot. Too many people ride like their the only ones on the road without regard for anyone.

If you want people to not want to cycle, keep up what you’re doing. Don’t use common sense, be considerate, or do anything a good driver would do. Make sure that a great and fun way to get around looks like a constant dangerous battle. Act as self righteous and entitled as possible. Be sure to repeat as often as possible that you’re a road user, but be unable to deal with the vast majority of actual roads or road users. And last but not least, label anyone with a different perspective as an enemy, or at best someone who doesn’t have a clue.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If you want people to not want to cycle, keep up what you’re doing. ”

You just switched horses in midstream.

Before you were championing/parroting the tribalist view that one bad cyclists makes us all look bad when viewed through a windshield; now you’re suggesting the one bad cyclist will turn off potential cyclists. That strikes me as an even further reach. How do you know this?! Maybe seeing someone bike like they’re entitled could be an inspiration to someone who would also like to live that free, that unencumbered!? It seems hard to know either way, though speculating is always fun, eh?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

This entitled behavior looks bad no matter what the perspective — behind a windshield, from the bus, from a bike, on foot, it doesn’t matter. People don’t like it because it’s disrespectful of others.

In my case, it may not be total speculation. Aside anecdotal evidence — neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, etc have asked me for advice on a wide variety of cycling issues for many years and total strangers have told me I inspired them, and parents have asked me to help train their kids to ride on roads. I know I’ve helped people who were initially hostile to cycling (including stereotypical jacked up 4WD owners) become decent level headed road cyclists. A few companies think I’m a good enough example that they want to be associated with me to the point I receive consideration for that.

I am normally happy to give them a shoutout as I think they make great products and inspire passion for the sports I love, conservation, and the outdoors. But you will not hear me mention them here.

If I were them, I’m not sure I’d want my brand associated with this environment. If any of them expressed concerns about my participation here, I would leave, and it’s not because I would be kowtowing to corporate censorship. It would be because I agree. It would be because I don’t believe the dominant attitudes here are good for cycling which I love both as a sport and a way to get around.

I know people here don’t agree with my views and I do believe people are trying to do the right thing. But I think the brand of advocacy that dominates has such a narrow appeal it that it drives people away.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“This entitled behavior looks bad no matter what the perspective — behind a windshield, from the bus, from a bike, on foot, it doesn’t matter. People don’t like it because it’s disrespectful of others.”

You still haven’t answered my main question about why you feel it right and proper to single out bikers (as a tribe) for this particular infraction?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I don’t single out anyone. It is always wrong.

Of course I encounter entitled motorists on and off the roads like everyone else. Entitled motorists don’t read BP, so I don’t try to connect with them here. There are other places for that and I use approaches tailored for each situation. I find that keeping things calm so people will engage is far more effective than direct confrontation.

The reason I am so critical is of seeing the behavior in cyclists is that if we have the same weaknesses as motorists do, we have no right to condemn them.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“if we have the same weaknesses as motorists do, we have no right to condemn them.”

There’s that tribalist thinking again. *We* don’t have the same weaknesses as *motorists*. There are thoughtless people using both modes, but that is not the same thing as what you wrote. I don’t ride like that, and you probably don’t drive like that, so what is gained by insisting on treating this as a tribal failing?!

You are the one doing the condemning by essentializing from the behavior of a few to the group.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I don’t single out all cyclists.

I call out entitled cyclists — a group disproportionately represented in this forum and whose behavior is repeatedly justified in this thread and others.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I don’t single out all cyclists.
I call out entitled cyclists ”

except that earlier you wrote:
“People like him give us all a bad name”

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

That’s how motorists see cyclists, not how I see cyclists.

From what I can tell, the brand of cycling that a number of people here seem inclined towards is only practiced by a small minority of cyclists in general. Thank God for that.

Unfortunately, many drivers assume the rest of us are also like that or at least supportive.

9watts
Guest
9watts

KB 12/14 @ 10:13 pm: “People like him give us all a bad name”

KB 12/16 @ 12:34 pm: “That’s how motorists see cyclists, not how I see cyclists.”

This is getting Orwellian.
When you carry water for a certain view and someone calls you on it you need to on some level acknowledge your role in reifying this (ill-considered) worldview, not just punt.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Dude, the name we are assigned by others is not my choice. It is theirs.

I most definitely do not associate myself with the type of militant cycling focused on perpetual victimhood that I see here nor people who practice it. I think it is unsafe, disrespectful, drives people away from cycling, and contributes to the marginalization of cyclists.

However, others lump me in with you guys. Coworkers and friends who don’t know any better think I’m sympathetic to all this nonsense because I ride as much as I do and have some unique bicycles. Drivers see cyclists with bad attitudes blocking their way when it isn’t necessary and project those qualities on others (like me). People see this site on the Web and think this place actually represents what most cyclists think. So I’m stuck being associated with you whether either of us like it.

If you’re wondering why I’d come here if I think all those things, it’s because it’s a source of cycling news you can’t get elsewhere. Also, I have this hope that someday there will be more tolerance for moderate voices here. If you guys think I’m pro car or an apologist, you have no idea what you’re really up against.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Drivers see cyclists with bad attitudes blocking their way”

I am well aware of this. It is rampant. It is also classic projection since it is almost invariably those in cars jamming everything up. But the point we disagree about is what the role of particular cycling behaviors have/had in creating (or as we’ve here been discussing, undoing) this set of attitudes. My guess is zilch. You obviously think it has much greater significance. The way we would make progress is finding ways to interrogate this hypothesis.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of what most people think about blocking aren’t exactly logical.

Motorist stops in the middle of a busy street for a couple minutes to turn left rather than continuing to the light a block or two ahead? Not blocking. Driver puts car in reverse on busy street to get parking space mucking up flow behind? Not blocking. Cyclist doing 22 in a 25 zone? Blocking. Cyclist doing 12, motorist has to wait 10 seconds before doing a safe pass? Blocking.

But there actually are a lot of reasonable drivers and cyclist out there. If people believe you’re trying to help them through, most play nice and even the haters soften up. Some cyclists intentionally block cars. Many feign plausible deniability or act like the cars don’t exist. These folks probably receive a lot of abuse.

Now that we have all this snow and ice at the side of the roads, I’ve been taking the traffic lane even on busy roads. So far, no problems with motorists.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Stockholm Syndrome, exactly.

“Captors are gonna do what captors are gonna do. It’s up to US to be good prisoners.”

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I get where I’m going faster and have more fun doing it than motorists as well as the vast majority of people here.

I’m neither a victim nor a prisoner. The people who fit that description are intimidated by ordinary daily life.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do. The point is that some (most?) people do this. Do you not recognize this? Do you think it doesn’t occur? Have you never overheard a coworker at lunch or an uncle at a holiday party talking about “those crazy cyclists always breaking the law, I almost hit one on the way to work”?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I hear that from coworkers, but I think some gentle persuasion from me has helped them ease up on this view.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

You are right. Most people do this — including the cyclists here who demonize drivers despite the fact that most drivers do quite well.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I suspect we dont feel this way because we are part of the the “tribe” and recognize the differences in our own behaviors and actions. But to those ‘outside the tribe’ these sorts of interactions just confirm their presumption that cyclists are all self-entitled jerks with little disregard for sharing the road.
The amount of time I listen to my family, extended, but also siblings and the like- talk about how much they hate cyclists, and how they are so dangerous, and don’t think the rules apply to them, blah blah blah. Just over thanksgiving there was an extended conversation how they wish they could just carry in stick in their car to shove in bikers wheels as they go past. They say this in front of me knowing I bike commute everywhere. That I ride for transportation, fun, and competition. I have mostly given up trying to even counter, because why bother. For every point I make, someone else is going to slap their car and undo any goodwill I’ve tried to build. That will always be the interaction they remember, not the cyclist sharing the road with them.

Personally, I ride with my head on a swivel and defensively. I never just take the right–of-way to prove a point (cycling past a vehicle with signal clearly starting to turn). I try to assume most drivers are not out to harm me and yes, I get angry at close calls. But i don’t imagine that screaming, threatening, banging on cars is going to soften their hearts toward bicyclists. I’ve only ever seen it trigger the fight mode in a driver.

9watts
Guest
9watts

This is really interesting, Kate, and I appreciate your posting about your family’s attitudes toward people cycling.
I’m going to venture though that behaviors such as Chris Lind exhibited are not in fact the cause of this bias, and trying to police or eliminate such behaviors will have no salutary effect on your family’s resentments, for the simple reason that this bias is not grounded in fact, but as others here have already noted an in-group/out-group scapegoating exercise. It is a priori.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Let’s take these in turn:
“talk about how much they hate cyclists”
This I think gives the game away. Hate is a very strong negative emotion to feel for an entire group about which one presumably knows very little, as they are by definition an out-group. The fact that this is directed at an entire class of people (potentially everyone when you think about it) tells me that very little introspection or serious thought preceded this utterance, however easily it trips off the tongue.

“and how they are so dangerous”
This is patently absurd, coming from people who, we can with some statistical assurance assume have chosen the car as their mode of transport, which is after all responsible for killing 99% of all people who don’t come home alive from their traffic encounters. This seems to reinforce the sense that rationality has no place in this assessment; that the speaker has no interest in identifying causal links between observed behaviors and attitudes formed therefrom.

“and don’t think the rules apply to them”
Well in some instances this is factually correct: Some rules of the road do not in fact apply to people biking (passing on the right being just one that has particular resonance for me, having been ticketed for it—unfairly as it turned out). In most others it is of course not, but the basis for feeling that rules-made-for-automobiles shouldn’t apply to people cycling is reasonable if you are open to looking closely, reflecting on the history of transport law; and there is some albeit very gradual movement toward recognizing instances where the same rule is not helpfully applied to both cars and bikes.
The larger point I’d make though is that while no one likes to see someone behave like an entitled jerk, especially not someone from an out-group, an open mind would allow the person-predisposed-to-making-this-judgment to discover the nuances of the subject, appreciate perhaps that the situation looks very different from a narrow leather seat than from behind a windshield.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I also appreciate your posting as I suspect it reflects many people’s experiences.

The sad fact is that one negative encounter probably undoes 20 positive ones. I can’t help but notice that a bad experience seems to make cyclists think poorly of motorists in general and vice versa, regardless of the fact that most people are in fact quite decent regardless of how they get around.

I hope you will share your thoughts more often in future. You express yourself well and your perspective is underrepresented.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The sad fact is that one negative encounter probably undoes 20 positive ones.”

Only for people who are into this tribalist thinking. Do you really think Kate’s relatives are taking an actuarial approach to this subject, have an open mind, are reflexive about the process by which they arrive at their judgments?
Give me a break.

Kate
Guest
Kate

9watts – I agree that this is not a rational approach to viewing cyclists, taking one negative experience and using it to paint a larger group. I don’t disagree at all with your analysis that most of their opinions are unfounded, and come from a place of never having ridden a bike around town. The point I was trying to make is that most people are not going to sit and think those points one by one. The reality, at least my reality is that a very large set of people who not bike feel this way. They feel this way even if they have a loved one who bikes. They’ll say- oh we don’t mean YOU, Kate! It’s all the other cyclists. And I try to save, well assholes are everyone- in cars, on bikes, etc. I guess what I’m trying to say is that these interactions do have a negative effect on the way people view cyclists. It may make us feel better in the moment, but I think it contributes to an overall adversarial relationship between roadway users.

9watts
Guest
9watts

We agree on most all of this, and your example helped to flesh out this knotty problem.
All I’m stuck on is whether—given the irrational resentments that gave rise to this view of cyclists—shifting the statistics of future cycling behavior (the call from certain parties here) is likely to have any salutary effect on your relatives’ and others’ attitudes about cyclists. My hunch is no. But I would very much like to talk to folks who have attempted to test this hypothesis.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

If we are condemning tribalist thinking, a lot of people here should take a good look in the mirror.

9watts
Guest
9watts

You’re not providing a very good example of that in-the-mirror looking.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“I suspect we dont feel this way because we are part of the the “tribe” and recognize the differences in our own behaviors and actions. But to those ‘outside the tribe’ these sorts of interactions just confirm their presumption that cyclists are all self-entitled jerks with little disregard for sharing the road.
The amount of time I listen to my family, extended, but also siblings and the like- talk about how much they hate cyclists, and how they are so dangerous, and don’t think the rules apply to them, blah blah blah. Just over thanksgiving there was an extended conversation how they wish they could just carry in stick in their car to shove in bikers wheels as they go past. They say this in front of me knowing I bike commute everywhere. That I ride for transportation, fun, and competition. I have mostly given up trying to even counter, because why bother. For every point I make, someone else is going to slap their car and undo any goodwill I’ve tried to build. That will always be the interaction they remember, not the cyclist sharing the road with them.”

Isn’t it interesting when you know people who know you ride frequently for all the reasons you mentioned, yet they have no compunction about denigrating “cyclists”. The most disturbing thing from your post is the “stick” comment. I know there have been a few comments here recently about how “rocket launchers” might deter drivers from certain dangerous behaviors, and that would be the near-equivalent. But really? Do we really wish we could send different-mode travelers to the hospital—or the graveyard?

I also wonder about the motivation for this desire to wipe bicyclists of the face of the street. Is it because they truly believe bicyclists pose a threat to them? I remember one time riding in a car with my dad when we came upon some bicyclists riding along the edge of the road. His comment was along the lines of, “see what these guys are doing? Forcing me into oncoming traffic?” My thought was “why is that what they’re ‘forcing’ you to do? Why aren’t they merely ‘forcing’ you to slow down for a few seconds until there is no oncoming traffic”?

Is it because they are envious of bicyclists who are bold enough to flout certain laws (not that I advocate flouting laws if it impinges on other road users)? Do they see bicyclists running red lights and stop signs and secretly wish they could get away with it, too (even though it is likely a rarity that they, themselves come to a complete stop at stop signs or crosswalks or prior to making a right on red)?

One thing I strongly suspect is that many people don’t know what is legal for bicyclists to do, and get bent out of shape when they see a bicyclist not “sharing the road” by always just scampering “out of the way”. Are they upset when a bicyclist “takes the lane” to prepare for a left turn or to avoid unsafe passes or other dangers? Do they view legitimate lane changes by bicyclists as “weaving in and out of traffic” (not realizing that a bicyclist is part of traffic)? Do they become upset when a bicyclist uses a bike lane to pass them—especially at an intersection—because they see it as “dangerous” and don’t understand or acknowledge their own duty as motorists to yield? Do they get scared when they suddenly see a bicyclist they weren’t looking for, and blame the bicyclist for “not being visible enough”?

I hear you about attempts to counter-argue. No matter what you can possibly come up with to gain some empathy or make a case based on ethical treatment of one’s fellow humans, there is always the nuclear option that Ofc. Balzer used in this very encounter: “well, it’s your choice to ride a bike, so anything that happens is basically your own fault.” It can be indescribably frustrating.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Thanks for weighing in. I think you hit on a whole bunch of salient points. I particularly think envy is too often overlooked as an explanation of this sort of attitude: Bikey guy is exhibiting the very freedoms the car ads promised me before I shelled out $30,000, and here I am stuck behind this j$rk!!!!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Good thoughts. Though I think it just comes down to a culturally sanctioned sense of entitlement to the roads, perpetual impatience, and “YOU’RE IN MY WAY!” Vroooom.

9watts
Guest
9watts

none of which has anything to do with the particulars of the man-on-a-bike’s behaviors.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Precisely.

Vans
Guest
Vans

I am pretty sure this has been covered before that you cannot legally slap, strike or hit another vehicle or person, basically assault if I remember correctly. HOWEVER, I totally agree with Chris doing so.

Spiffy
Subscriber

assault requires physical injury…

Brad
Guest
Brad

In my opinion (and my GF’s) Slapping a car as a cyclist is the equivalent of using a horn as a driver. Until bikes come standard with air horns, car slapping in urban cycling will happen.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Lind handled this terribly. From the footage it does not look the driver put his safety at risk at all. Not to excuse using a phone while driving but Lind comes across as irate and illogical in this exchange. I’m not the biggest fan of the police but the officer handled this well.

Spiffy
Subscriber

a driver on their cell phone puts the safety of everybody around them at risk just like a drunk driver…

david
Guest
david

Chris did no wrong, I’ve done the same thing. He acted out of an illegal act. But the officer saw the reaction as illegal.

q
Guest
q

Off the subject, my first impression of the video is how scary riding in a city is. It looks like a video game, or drivers’ ed video, where you’re proceeding forward never knowing what’s going to jump out in front of you or from where. Makes me think I shouldn’t get my own camera–might scare me.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

It looks scary because he’s a bad rider. You can ride fast in town and make it look outright boring. Because it isn’t exciting or dangerous.

q
Guest
q

Good point. That’s probably why it didn’t match my own experience.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

If a motorist shot action video of their trip at speeds hitting maybe 25mph tops (this video looked like less than 20), it would be a snooze.

Only on BP could such speed be appear as a harrowing death defying event — particularly since the cars in the video were going slower than the bike.

Spiffy
Subscriber

you say bad rider, I say legal rider…

opinions don’t matter to the law…

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

They don’t.

You can do things that are much nuttier than what was shown in the video and be totally legal. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s not a really bad idea.

James
Guest
James

Perception and opinions are one and the same…hence the reason Linds got pulled over.

Spiffy
Subscriber

perception also doesn’t matter to the law… you’re either doing it or you aren’t, regardless of what it looks like you’re doing…

James
Guest
James

Do LE work and tell me perception don’t sent matter to enforcement and application of the law. Be involved in a trial with a judge or jury and tell me perception doesn’t matter.

While I do agree you experience just tells me otherwise.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Distracted drivers could be less of an issue if they had a fear of receiving tickets. The lack of enforcement of the cell phone laws in Portland (and nationally) means that it might as well not be a law at all. For crying out loud a cyclist was killed in Covallis OR this year, the driver ADMITTED to looking down at his phone prior to the crash, and the DA decided not to press charges!! (http://bikeportland.org/2016/03/17/corvallis-da-wont-prosecute-driver-who-admitted-checking-his-phone-before-deadly-hit-and-run-178040)

Drivers are disincentivized from speeding because they are worried about being ticketed for speeding. Distracted driving could be handled the same way. Law enforcement needs to enforce the law; using a cell phone while driving is ILLEGAL.

Since law enforcement doesn’t seem to want to do this, cyclists who’s lives are on the line get frustrated. This attitude is what leads to frustrated riders in dangerous conditions slapping a car when the driver is making dangerous decisions. Most cyclists would not feel the need to inform other drivers of their lawless behavior if law enforcement did that for them.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

“Most cyclists would not feel the need to inform other drivers of their lawless behavior if law enforcement did that for them.”

Yup. Well said, Brad. The level of frustration for cyclists is a direct result of the lax attitude Portland law enforcement takes toward enforcing traffic laws. Years of it, with the roads getting more and more dangerous for everyone.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I wonder what would have happened to the driver’s phone had Ofc. Balzer’s car been a painted cruiser with a light bar on top. Would they have dropped it right quick, or do drivers not fear being caught or cited for phone use at all? I kind of think the “emergency use” clause in the law gives officers a way out of enforcing it. Why try to ticket someone if they are just going to claim phone use is necessary for their job?

christopher
Guest
christopher

While living in NYC I was doored by a couple in a luxury taxi service. The car started to speed off with the passengers still in the car. I pursued, slapped, punched and yelled until the driver finally pulled over. I made the driver and the occupants wait while I called the cops. After waiting an hour the cops never showed. My collar bone was severely bruised from the door but we all went our separate ways after talking it through. We all need to look out for each other. Life is fragile.

Tom
Guest
Tom

It does not help that the Vision Zero proposal almost completely ignored dealing with the subject of distracted driving, a practice proven even more dangerous than drunk driving, and growing at an alarming rate. The message the Vision Zero committee is sending out to the police is that distracted driving just ins’t that important, when it is now believed to be the number one factor contributing to collisions. Yes we don’t have hard data due to privacy rights, but there are plenty of studies that work around the privacy issue that show just how bad the problem has gotten and how dangerous it is. There was another study released just this week.

What I keep hearing is that if we make roads more difficult to drive, people wont use there phones, but this case shows that even in one of the most difficult driving situations people will still use their phone.

If the driver had been drunk instead of using the phone, would the policeman still have gone after the cyclist instead of the driver?. I don’t think so. We need to change the perception that driving distracted is not that bad, and the Vision Zero proposal could have done something to help but it didn’t.

Brad
Guest
Brad

THIS

Matheas Michaels
Guest
Matheas Michaels

I used to smack cars when I felt threatened, but I’ve had a few too many intense interactions as a result of it. For some reason, I’ve experienced people getting really violent and confrontational with me for doing this, even when I felt it was necessary for my own safety. It seems like the people I’m most likely to want to knock on their hood are also most likely to start threatening me, or even actively try and fight me. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like a target for angry people while on my bike, maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just cause I’m on a bike. Anyways, I have gotten so intimidated by aggressive drivers over the years, I barely even feel comfortable giving the finger any more for fear of what the driver might do in response to that.

James
Guest
James

Can’t meet road rage with road rage and not expect it to escalate. I hope the self-declared car slappers are ready to handle themselves when it gets real. Also Portland is small, don’t be surprised when someone encounters you later and remembers your perceived transgression.

Spiffy
Subscriber

when you do something illegal that’s known to kill people and a cop pulls you over and yells at you is the cop suffering from road rage?

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

This goes to the heart of one of the biggest problems with having everyone drive a personal car – people are so insulated traveling inside a personal car that it does feel like a big, invasive shock for another person to slap or tap on their shell. Emotionally, they seem to take it as if they themselves have been slapped, and they don’t think about the fact that a person not in a car has no other way of getting their attention. Slapping should be legal/acceptable in all the cases honking is legal for cars, and we need a public information campaign to inform drivers that it could happen to them and they don’t have a right to slide into a rage over it and retaliate. The idea that slapping a car could damage it is ludicrous. The car would sustain a lot more damage if you keep your hands to yourself and let it run you over.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Similar to trying to get the attention of someone w/ a leaf blower (and protective headphones).

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Maybe to puppy-kickers, bicyclists look like puppies?

Steve
Guest
Steve

Being a cyclist doesn’t give you special rights in this world. People do dumb shit all the time, yet there’s a reason we don’t support vigilante justice. Live with it or choose another method of transportation. I admire the officer’s patience with this self-righteous dbag.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“People do dumb shit all the time”

Right, and when those people are sitting behind the wheel people get killed.

Your point?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Who got killed this time?

Spiffy
Subscriber

telling people to stop their illegal behavior is not vigilante justice…

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

What’s the difference between slapping a car and honking? What would you suggest as an alternative to slapping a car if you need to get a motorist’s attention quickly?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Interpretive dance!

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

Great topic Johnathan.

At the very least, wasting your time as a police officer going after people touching cars while all around you are people speeding, distracted driving, etc is extremely irresponsible and perhaps morally negligent. It shows an inability to prioritize the duties entrusted to you by the people you are sworn to protect.

The guy on the bike may be a loudmouth and jerk but it is not the point here, the officer is supposed to be the professional. We don’t have an endless supply of police hours in a given day. The officer needs some better ideas of how to spend his time especially on a day with so many problems on the road.

kitty meow meow
Guest
kitty meow meow

you go, girl!

ben
Guest
ben

For some reason people ….get violent and react confrontationsally when you smack their vehicle. Really? Maybe their reaction is because you’ve transgressed someone else’s personal property line (their vehicle).

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

You take your personal property out into public spaces and it might get touched. That doesn’t mean there has been a transgression. It means your sharing a space.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

So it’s cool if someone comes over and kicks your bike because you’re in a public space?
This a weird argument.

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

You can get a cyclist’s attention without kicking their bike. What else can you do to get a driver’s attention if you aren’t in a car with a horn?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

KTaylor has been making a very lucid point, here. What DO you do to get a safely cocooned motorists attention? A woman drove over my bike and halfway over my foot once before she registered my frantic slapping on her bumper. Fortunately it was a slow roll, but–my foot. My bike. Almost my all of me. How else should I have alerted her to the unfortunate slow crushing of me under her wheels?

God forbid I touch her car…?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

You can wave, wait until the next stop and gently tap their window…I am sure there are other ways.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“Maybe their reaction is because you’ve transgressed someone else’s personal property line”

the cyclist didn’t transgress their vehicle, they stayed outside of it…

people brush up against each other all the time walking around downtown, some even bump one another, and I don’t see cops stopping those people to give them warnings…

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Those people are not chasing others down with the intent to bump into them.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Actually, it happened to my son, who was followed by an irate SUV driver and was “bumped” as you call it, intentionally, at a stoplight. The driver ruined his wheel, and escaped.

Jon
Guest
Jon

If someone driving a car decided to slap me or my bike because they did not like the fact that I was looking at my bike computer instead of paying attention to traffic I would probably take that action badly. I can think of no reason to take my hands off the handlebar in dangerous situation. I want to have full control of my bicycle in that case. To me the action of this cyclist is no different than a car driver trying to intimidate a bike rider by crowding a bike rider, swerving, buzzing, or throwing a soda at the rider, all things that have happened to me while riding a bike. What if a driver decided to swerve into the bike lane because they saw a cyclist ride through a stop sign? That is dangerous vigilante behavior. This cyclist was engaging in similar vigilante behavior toward a motorist. Bad behavior is bad behavior. We as bicycle riders have to oppose all poor behavior be it by motorists or cyclists.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

How are you equating slapping a body panel on a car with slapping a person riding a bike?

9watts
Guest
9watts

People piloting autos who are also on the phone—or distracted by other means—kill upwards of 3000 people a year in this country. And injure I think 400,000+ people.

Nothing remotely similar can be said of the people on bikes checking their bike computer. Lind’s anger comes from a place that recognizes the statistical difference in POTENTIAL DANGER such behavior poses.

Spiffy
Subscriber

why are you equating an action known to kill people with something that’s legal in Idaho?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Extreme asymmetry. Slapping a vehicle, while not usually advisable, is very, very unlikely to kill or injure anyone. Swerving one’s motor vehicle intentionally at a bicyclist can have deadly consequences.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Ah the barnum and and balzer 2 ring circus strikes again. Was he too scared to use the motorcycle yesterday? I saw so many people sliding all over while talking on the phone yesterday, it was frightening.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Person screaming out on the sidewalk. Cop sees them and pulls over.

“What’s the problem?”

“That person over there just attacked me and stole my purse!”

“Ma’am, you are disturbing the peace. I’m going to write you a warning. And you shouldn’t be just carrying money around, out in the open.”

Jonathan R
Guest

Thank you for opening up such an interesting discussion!

I live in New York and ride in traffic every day, so I find videos like this one fascinating for the opportunity to see how people in other towns ride.

I would suggest to Mr. Lind and other riders who brave similar conditions that the chances of being right hooked are much reduced by slowing down to let the vehicles turn in front. At 0:24, the rider passes on the right a blue truck that is signaling a right turn but yielding for a pedestrian to clear the crosswalk. Rewinding the video, you can see at 0:16 that the truck has its right blinker on; it is not the case that the truck decided at the last moment to turn right.

Bicycle riding in traffic is not risk-free; it is my belief, however, that riding with an eye toward mitigating one’s own risks is the best policy. As someone who shares the road with many people who operate motor vehicles erratically, the onus is on me to protect myself by avoiding situations where I am putting myself in danger from erratic operators.

It is also my belief that aggressively confronting individuals about perceived deficiencies in their conduct toward others is not a strategy that often results in change in behavior. I appreciate Mr. Lind’s frustration nevertheless and urge him politely to adjust his own approach to riding in order to mitigate the risks he faces from drivers on the phone.

Spiffy
Subscriber

Mr Lind is in a bike lane and has the right of way over vehicles turning across the lane… this is not dangerous behavior it’s how you’re supposed to ride… you don’t slow down and invite right-hooks… you expect that people are obeying the law… I certainly don’t ride paranoid that everybody is going to break the law or else I wouldn’t be able to leave the house…

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

So assume people will obey the law, they see you, there’s no one crossing in front of the truck that you can’t see — what could go wrong?

Chris Lind
Not once, but twice, I was nearly right hooked before the inciting incident, so I was already on edge

Funny. I haven’t been hooked even once in the 5 years I’ve lived in Portland. Haven’t felt the need to hit or yell at a vehicle either.

Chris seems to have had two close calls plus a physical confrontation in a single ride while riding on an easy street in a bike lane with slow traffic. I would think that this is a poster child for dangerous riding and if this is your experience, you’re not doing it right. Glad I can count on the wisdom of BP to set me straight.