Alameda resident Mark Holzmann says he was the victim of harassment, vandalism and an expletive-laced tirade following a traffic incident on Tuesday night.
Holzmann emailed me yesterday to share his version of events. Today I noticed Holzmann’s story was published as an opinion piece in The Oregonian and the subject of a local TV news story last night. We’ve also heard he’s posted the story on Nextdoor.
Here’s what Holzmann emailed to me yesterday:
A few nights back, Oct 22, I was on my way to a Blazer game at the Moda Center. My tickets included parking in Moda Center garage, Bonus!!
It’s about 6:00 pm with light traffic. I took the route where I picked up N. Vancouver Ave at N Russell Street and headed South to the front entrance of the parking garage. The approach to the front of the Parking Garage is very confusing with many intersections, Bus only lanes, Bicycle lanes and all sorts of merging lanes. While merging and turning to my right I did not see a Bicyclist, and from what I can tell I turned in front of him and he didn’t like that, I may have cut him off.
I wouldn’t have liked it either, my fault. I’ll own it!! Mind you we did not touch no one was hurt, but someone had to stop short, at low speed. However, what took place after this was disturbing. The bicycle rider was angry and went ballistic. Yelling, screaming, swearing, pounding on my car, I mean screeching at the top of his lungs. Normally I would have rolled down the window apologized, I find it goes a long way. We are all human. This time would have been a bad idea this guy was unhinged. I didn’t react or give eye contact,
I proceeded slowly to the front of the Parking garage. The Bicyclist follows me in to the entrance of the Moda Center still in a tirade, the parking attendants are looking at him and can’t believe it. This man is still acting like he may explode, the expletives still spewing forward, screaming “didn’t you see me at the top of his lungs.” Still laced with expletives! I give my ticket get a receipt and pull into the garage. The bicyclist rides off screaming, I find a place to park, go to watch the game. I tell my story to my friends I am meeting about the crazy bicycle guy, watch the game, (we lost in overtime) and then go home.
End of story?…NOPE!
This morning I walk out to my drive-way and see all four tires on my car slashed and the car sitting on the rims. A note on my windshield reads, “You were so easy to find, Mark. You should drive more carefully.” BTW the note was written excellent penmanship with black Sharpie with proper punctuation, I might add. It wasn’t lost on me that he intentionally used my first name, clever. Definitely intimidating.
This unhinged person searched me with Google based on my personalized license plate, (I know stupid me, they’re coming off). He was able to find out who I was and where I lived and waited to retaliate. He visited my house in the wee hours of the night sliced my tires and flew off vindicated in the middle of the night. Consider this, it took research, decisive- planning and effort to enact this wackos revenge. Be careful out there , you gotta love this town and the foresight of mixing cars and bicycles in such a dangerous way. I strongly believe Bicyclists need license plates and identification if they want to “Share the Road.”
Lastly, this by no means is commentary on Portland Bicycle riders. As I bicycle rider myself I believe we co-exist with cars as best we can. However with the City’s agenda and support of Bicycle Transportation, has come a dangerous attitude of entitlement from some bike riders. I believe this attitude can encourage reckless behavior. I don’t need to remind anyone a bicylist is so vulnerable. I very much support education, testing, and operating licenses for Bicyclist using public roads for there primary way transportation. I also believe bikes should register and licensed similar to cars, bright side they don’t need DEQ certs!! I’d love to hear your feed back!!
And here’s my reply:
Really sad to hear this happened to you. What a terrible situation. Thanks for sharing it with me.
Keep in mind that bicycle users are trying to exist on a system of roads and laws and culture that is woefully inadequate. I know from some people’s perspective, the city bends over backward for bicycling, but that is simply not the case. Relative to the product the city provides for auto users, bicycle users are extremely underserved. I can’t speak for the man who yelled at you, but I know that often people who ride bicycles every day become very frustrated by the fact that they feel afraid and threatened by auto users all the time. That frustration and anxiety can build up and then — boom! — one seemingly small thing sets it off.
It’s hard for people who primarily drive and who don’t experience our roads by bike every day just how demeaning and scary it can be to ride a bicycle in Portland.
As for requiring licenses and registration for bicycles. It’s more complicated than it sounds. We wouldn’t want to do anything to discourage bicycling, and creating another barrier could do that. Also, we have licenses and reg. for auto users and people who drive still get away with all sorts of terrible, aggressive, irresponsible behavior. Note all the headlines about hit-and-runs where people run someone over and then flee the scene? They are often not ever caught — despite having a license and registration. Or they are dismissed in court because our system is so favorable to auto users.
Another thing about licensing… I would actually support it! But only on the condition that with the license comes a guarantee that, as a bicycle user, I would be provided with the same level of service and systemic respect that I get when I choose to drive my car.
Hope this is helpful. Again. Sorry to hear about what happened.
I also asked Portland Police Bureau PIO Sergeant Chris Burley if he could confirm the incident or share any details about it. Here’s his statement:
An officer responded to the **redacted by bikeportland** block of NE Alameda St on 10/23/18 at 4:17 p.m., on the report that a vehicle was vandalized. The victim stated his tires were slashed and a note left on the vehicle. The incident remains under investigation at this time. No one has been taken into custody in relation to this incident at this time.
If anyone has information about what happened, please get in touch.
We’ll update this post if/when we learn more about the case.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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I wonder who will be deemed the victim in this story.
Because there can only be one.
The Kurgan should not be looked to as a safe driver.
Actually two separate events can make two victims. I could and probably was a perpetrator of a mistake against the Cyclist making him a victim of my mistake. I in turn was the victim of a pre-calculated pre-mediated vandalism which is a crime.
Probably? Hmm, I’m curious whether you consistently use your turn signals or not. I suspect if they had been applied in advance in this situation, there would have been no incident to speak of.
I find it interesting that you are going out of your way to disbelieve his account.
I’m don’t disbelieve his account, just trying to fill in the gaps.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
I doubt that a turn signal would have made a difference. This was about being right-hooked. The person cycling in this story doesn’t seem like the type that’s afraid of a turn signal.
Nothing justifies the vandalism. Period.
I think that’s obvious…
The… the guy who had his property destroyed?
TFW when americans value property over life…
Meanwhile, driver-vs-driver road rage incidents like this happen just about every day. Mark says he’s not trying to demonize cyclists, but where did he turn to tell his frightening story? The local bike blog. It’s very telling.
I’m tired of the “those cyclists are crazy!” narrative that’s pushed by people who don’t understand the daily reality of bicycling in Portland. My day-to-day experience would be a whole lot less “crazy” if entitled drivers like Mark started paying more attention and driving more safely.
You are doing a lot of mental gymnastics to try and justify the behavior of the cyclist.
I don’t see anything in his statement justifying the actions of this cyclist. At most, you can accuse him of deflection here.
I won’t shed a tear for this driver, but I might for the family of people who have been killed by careless drivers in our city. This incident really sucks, but this isn’t really newsworthy.
I did not. I’m trying to point out that drivers do this stuff to each other too: automobile registration and licensing doesn’t stop road rage. Mark implies that the cyclist slashed his tires because the cyclist enjoys some kind of anonymity and that’s just a bogus argument. Who’s to say Mark’s poor driving wouldn’t result in the same outcome? Anyone can sneak around at night and cut tires. The crime has very little, if anything to do with the (assumed) perpetrator’s mode of transportation. Mark feels he’s been wronged and is looking for a scapegoat, and local news loves to run anti-bike stories. Ignorance sells.
Actually I have posted nothing on this site. I wrote a private email directly to Jonathan for his input and response.
You…. just… posted something on this site. Thought you might want to know.
yes I did, I responded to the fact that I did not initially post on this site to file grievance. You moderator columnist decided to post a private email directed to him. However since he initiated the post and named me personally I have responded to the comments. Is that fair enough?? Seems like your interested in gotcha than a reasonable conversation.
You posted again! Gotcha!!!
Kitty you’re just a stitch! Knock Knock!!
Can you really Google licence plates to find identities, even personalized ones? If so, I think every bicycle user would use this functionality with frequency.
I’ve been cut off too.
As far as I know there’s no way to do this– unless you have access to law enforcement or DMV records, either of which would be considered misuse. This part of Mark’s story doesn’t add up.
Or the person waited for Mark to get into this car and followed him home. Feasible if Mark lives on Alameda St. and is head home from the Moda Center post Blazers Game. Some fixie, leg pumped, adrenal cyclist got a kick out of running those stop lights to keep up with Mark.
Bit of a stretch. And do people still ride fixies?
Are you new to Portland?
Since he breaks laws against menacing and vandalism, I’m thinking he probably doesn’t mind “misusing” DMV records.
Anyway these days anything about you can be had for a price. There are many entities, from legitimate companies all the way to individuals on the so-called dark net that specialize in this sort of thing – correlating one public data point (your plate) with another (your address).
The personalized plate becomes a liability only by the fact that it’s more memorable.(*) But this guy sounds like he would’ve had the “gumption” to remember it regardless, even going back and walking into the garage if necessary (which I don’t think would’ve offered any difficulties).
(*) And also by the fact that Glenn considers anyone with such a plate (or driving a Hummer) automatically a douche. But they don’t feel that way in California. Which is how you know that’s probably where the person is from. I digress.
Curious as well. That sounds unlikely to me too.
So your saying it’s a false flag? I’m finding the mental gymnastics here very entertaining.
I’m just saying that I’m not familiar with methods for extracting name and home address from a vanity plate. I’d like to know if this is possible within hours.
docusearch ostensibly offers this service in 24hrs, but I’ve not spent any money on this kind of search myself, so can’t speak to their veracity.
I’d love to know how to do it, as well. For many reasons…not all benign.
You can’t find people’s names and addresses via their plates on the internet. There was a period of time that you could, 15+ years ago.
It appears he’s in the white pages perhaps his custom plate was some abbreviation of his name. He seems to think it’s the reason he was found.
No you cannot Google a license plate and get someone’s information. With that said I have a v very unique Vanity plate (now removed) which is my unique nickname. Google that and you get my Twitter account with full name. With full name having lived in Portland 60yrs you get my home address
You shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle – Look into public transit or hiring a driver instead.
You might be the perp, with this response. Jonathan, track his IP address. Very suspicious.
It’s very simple to change your car plates. You go to DMV fill out a registration form. Pay $34.00 and they hand new plates there and then. I thought I might have to surrender old plates but you don’t. The give you temp registration and mail the actual
Registration in about 2 weeks I was told b
Who has the time to look up the identities of all the myriad auto-using scofflaws they run into on a daily basis and compose an original strongly worded letter for each one??
I’m imagining an app 🙂 I take a photo of the back of the car, the app sends them a strongly worded letter. I would totally pay for that!
At 3:31PM on Thursday, October 25th, someone thought your motor vehicle was driven dangerously in the location shown in the photo below. Please bear in mind that when you drive your car or allow another to drive it, you have the power to maim or kill other people. Please drive more considerately in the future and/or require the other users of your car to do so.
The Strongly Worded Letter App team.
I notified the county sheriff when I encountered a driver playing with their phone and smoking a bong on their drive home. The sheriff sent them a nasty gram: “The registered owner of the vehicle will receive a letter stating that an anonymous reporting party witnessed unsafe driving behavior. “
OMG, you just named the app! “Nastygram!”
Oh wait, somebody probably already named an app that. And it probably does something significantly less wholesome than anonymously advocating for street safety.
Then the note goes to an address of the previous owner because the new owner hasn’t updated the registration… Happens all the time…
Those websites are not free. There is a fee per use or a subscription you must pay to access the info.
Yeah this program is literally called “the police in your jurisdiction.” Cuz they will do that. In some cases, depending on how busy they are, they might actually send an officer over there for a chat. Which is way better – just can’t beat the personal touch of having your message delivered in person by a uniformed public official. They knock loud & authoritatively too.
Yes. My wife was rear ended by another car last year and the driver refused to give any information. Luckily we were able to get the license plate. I did one of those super sketchy identity lookup websites, $20 or so, and visited the house of the individual. Well, it was definitely the car, still had our bumper stuck to the front of her car.
Called the police and insurance company and they were very happy to pursue that case.
So with no proof, he is blaming the cyclist for vandalizing his car? Sounds like he just wanted to vent his frustration to everyone.
This is true, and the police have yet to idenitfy a perpetrator, much less link it to being the same man in the MODA story. Though we have no reason to believe he is being less than truthful, what witnesses are there to say his version of the conflict in the garage is accurate? Also omitted from Mark’s testimony are his normal driving habits. How do we know his admittedly careless driving didn’t irritate a different person on a different occasion enough to lead to this? Also, perhaps he should consider a spot in a parking garage less than a blessing, possibly even pass it up in favor of public transit so as to avoid the hassle and danger of driving in heavy traffic.
I’m a driver too, and I choose carefully where and when to do it, and how to react to the other human beings on the road.
Moda Center has just called me to inform me they have video tape of part of the incident. This will be released to the police shortly.
Great, they should be able to tell it’s the same person as the one who slashed your tires when they review the video evidence of that crime as well.
The cyclist was probably wearing all black, good luck identifying, let alone seeing the person on a rainy night at dusk with no light.
The driver’s behavior shouldn’t really matter, the cyclist wasn’t hit so that should be the end of it unless Mark was driving totally recklessly, which is the police’s responsibility. But there is absolutely zero excuse to slash anyone’s tires unless they murdered your newborn child.
So if someone shoots at you with a gun but they miss, it’s not a big deal because you didn’t get hurt, end of story.
Or possibly frabricating the entire story as a means for getting attention. There’s certainly no proof presented that it even happened as told.
Wow, you sound like a Republican Senator responding to Dr. Ford.
Worked with pretty well for them, didn’t it?
So it is possible he did not cut someone off?
Anything is possible, if you try.
You are correct I have no solid proof, only circumstantial. But what are the chance you get into a traffic incident with an inflamed individual one evening and the very next morning you have your tires slashed with a note saying I should drive more carefully.
Depends on how your other interactions in life tend to go, Mark. Since you asked.
Was it the very next morning or a “few” days later like stated in your letter? Believe me that staying consistent with details like this makes all the difference in the credibility of your story.
DMV’s stopped handing out info about license plates to random people in the 90’s. There is zero evidence that there was any connection between the cyclist this guy cut off and his tires being slashed. If he didn’t do this to himself it seems much more likely that it was someone else the guy had pissed off, possibly someone who knew his name rather than just his license plate, than some random stranger who he got into a road rage incident with 2 days before and somehow managed to connect his plate to who he is. Kind of disappointing to see newsmedia not calling out that all this is just one guys conjecture.
Read above comments explaining my conjecture.
“As I bicycle rider myself ”
there it is.
There what is? It’s not possible to be both a driver and a cyclist?
Yes, this a common deflection tactic (witnessed in any discussion about bike lanes / greenways)… the cyclists’ public enemy #1:
Bicycle rider. Driver. Grammatacal writer.
You can be any two.
Road rage is reprehensible in all forms and by anyone. But one thing that occurs to me reading this is that in/with a car violence can be (all too often is) meted out immediately. Whereas the poor guy on a bike with a road rage complex has to go home, do research, find a knife, steal through the night to commit property damage. And write a note to establish authority.
Like I mentioned earlier. I very well could have been the instigator. However, it was not done intentionally, I was not out to hurt anyone. My car was stopped in traffic after the event, keep in mind there was no impact or damage. Minimally the rider needed to stop or apply brakes quickly. I had to do this many many times driving defensively for others mistakes. If the cyclist would have approached my window rationally I would have been very sympathetic and most likely apologetic. Instead he chose to be irrational and threatening. At my age you keep the windows rolled up and be as non provoking as possible, when someone becomes unhinged.
I’m not defending this person’s behavior, but I have to ask: Since you didn’t see the cyclist beforehand, how do you know what evasive action they needed to take? There’s a gap in this story — he may have been going 20mph and you may have turned directly into his path without signaling.
Then obviously the cyclist is going too fast for conditions. The same criteria would be applied to a driver, no?
If you are driving 20mph and someone suddenly turns across your path immediately in front of you, it doesn’t mean you are going too fast for conditions.
Actually, that’s exactly what it means…
I can be walking 2mph and have someone walking in the same direction as me suddenly turn sharply into my path without looking and cause a collision. Am I going too fast for conditions then? What about when I’m cycling and I get doored. Should have been going slower?
Dan S, you’re not making sense to me.
Dan A wrote,
“If you are driving 20mph and someone suddenly turns across your path immediately in front of you, it doesn’t mean you are going too fast for conditions”.
You replied, ” Actually, that’s exactly what it means…”
No, whether you’re going too fast for the conditions is determined by how you are able to react, not by what the other person does. Someone turning in front of you does not mean you’re going too fast for the conditions. It means someone turned in front of you. Even if you are unable to avoid a collision, that’s not proof you were going too fast for the conditions.
I’ve nearly got hit crossing the street in a marked crosswalk with the light, when a driver suddenly turned into my path. If I’d been hit, would I have been walking too fast for the conditions? From your response, I would have been going too fast even if I HADN’T been hit.
Going back to this story, the person riding the bike was able to avoid a collision, so it’d be hard to argue he was going too fast for the conditions.
Nonetheless, it demonstrates how hard it is to react to an auto driver when riding a bicycle 20 miles an hour in a congested area. Think about Williams Ave, if one is riding that fast through that safety corridor, they’re asking to get into an accident (e.g., ped walking in front of you, left hooked, collision with another cyclist). This next example can be anywhere in the city, but I often find myself riding pace with the car next to me. If I’m not careful, I’ll be riding right in their blind spot. So yeah, when they go to make the right, they don’t see me and I’m hauling ace down the street and then I have to make an evasive maneuver – maybe I am going a little too fast…
This doesn’t track. If someone enters your lane of travel with no warning and you’re going at or under the speed limit how can you be considered at fault due to traveling too fast for the conditions?
Gotta be a defensive cyclist. Observe out in front of you and assume when you’re that close to traffic that a driver at any moment could merge into you. It’s like walking into a crosswalk and assuming everyone is going to stop because it’s the “law”. Hmm, I don’t think that way.
You can be hyper-defensive and still have drivers suddenly swerve into your path. Just ask anybody who has been right-hooked or left-crossed. Those that are still alive, anyway.
I disagree that this is like walking into a crosswalk without looking. In this case, the person on the bike is already in a lane of travel. Sure, keep your eyes peeled for anyone doing something stupid, but we all have our responsibilities as users of the road. All of us are responsible for checking adjacent travel lanes before merging into them.
Imagine what driving on the freeway would be like if we were all held to your standard of defensive driving. I guess since at any time any other person could make a lane change in front of me I just need to sit there at a complete stop until everyone else is off the road?
Well, the law does get a little bit tricky at unsignaled crosswalks. Drivers have zero obligation to stop for a pedestrian until the ped actually does “step into traffic” by placing “any part or extension of the pedestrian, including but not limited to any part of the pedestrian’s body, wheelchair, cane, crutch or bicycle…onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed” (ORS 811.028(4)). Until then, the pedestrian is not crossing the street, and drivers don’t have to stop. Further, until the pedestrian has taken a few steps, it is impossible to prove that they entered the roadway “with the intent to proceed”. So if a pedestrian waits for traffic to stop before entering the roadway, they are depending on drivers to disregard the law (or be “courteous”) by stopping prematurely.
No, it is not obvious that the cyclist was going too fast for conditions. In multi-lane situations, it is not uncommon for vehicles to go 20 mph (or more) when their lane is clear. The burden to make sure the bike lane is clear before driving across it is on the motorist who is coming from an adjacent lane, just as the burden would have been on him if he chose to cross into a neighboring travel lane.
The motorist admitted he was confused by the road set-up and that he’s on the older side of the median age which implies less acute vision, particularly in the dark (people in their fifties need twice as much light to see something as people in their twenties) and reflexes. It’s generally a bad idea to make lane changes when confused; just go straight on through until you get clear and then find a way back for another pass. You may arrive late, but you won’t be as likely to give anyone a near-death experience that you then have to try to minimize so you can pretend you’re not a jerk.
I disagree. When your error nearly brings someone to harm, however great or small you think it might be, you need to immediately own it. In this case, that means rolling the window down and apologizing. People almost always respond to repeated and sincere apologies with some level of forgiveness.
Yesterday, a motorist ran a red light to make a right turn at an intersection that is clearly posted “No Right on Red” because it’s at a sidepath. She knew the light was red and that even had she stopped a turn on a red light was illegal there, by her own admission. Unfortunately, she hit my wife, knocking her to the ground. The driver got out of her car and admitted all fault, apologized profusely and made numerous offers of assistance (need a ride? can I pay for the damage (minimal)? are you sure you’re okay? (My wife hobbles because of a severely arthritic hip.) My wife ended up feeling badly for the scofflaw! Now that’s an impressive level of apologizing, imo.
I’m sorry, but where is the connection that an irate person on a bicycle slashed his tires? Sure, sounds possible, but the only connection is the timing of events. Based on one persons interaction with a person on a bicycle, all bicycles need registration and their operator need licensing.
How many people does Mark interact with on a daily basis. Nobody else could have done this.
Seems like fuzzy guilt and logic to me. But go ahead paint bikes as evil and dangerous.
We’ve all had unpleasant interactions with drivers and I’m no stranger to exchanging some heated words, in the moment. But while I can’t speak for anyone else, in general I’m angry for a few minutes and then it passes; by the time I arrive at my destination I barely remember any of it. “Following up” days later seems ludicrous for an incident in which nobody got hurt.
Gotta wonder if Mark’s personal and business relationships, debts, etc. are in order, because I’d sooner expect someone from his day-to-day life to do such a thing, not some unconnected stranger.
My personal finances and credit score can be made available upon request. Would you like my tax returns as well, let me know…holy cow
I’ll expect them once we get them from Trump.
Anything to deflect possible blame of a cyclist wrong doing.
Talk about off topic and odd. Would you like a “Jump to Concluaions” pad for Christmas?
Bikes aren’t evil and dangerous, but knife wielding wackos who take the law into their own hands are very dangerous. Even as a fellow cyclist, I don’t like the fact that people like this are out there.
Strongly agree. And at the same time, why is this a story without real proof of the connection?
I’d be interested in whether there is in-car video, parking garage video, neighborhood doorbell video etc. But you are right, there are no shortages of asymmetrical violence toward vulnerable road users, most of which are not reported, or the victims can no longer speak for themselves. A complaint to the police will usually result in “I have to witness the event” to do anything about it.”
Do you use a light in the fall when it is dark at 7pm? I often yell at people on my commute who ride their bike without anything lit up. I don’t feel bad when I do. Better for them to hear me chastise then the true statement of “they came out of nowhere.” I suspect things are well lit in NoPo. That’s not the same everywhere else in town.
Individually, ninjas are not very bright (see what I did there?). Collectively, they do provide a service to the herd, which is to encourage people to slow down and pay attention.
A difference exists between “not seeing” and “not looking.” The close calls I have on a daily basis are the result of the latter. I am “looking” all the damn time so that I can get home safely. It would be nice if every person on our roads did the same. The Rose Quarter mess is a mess PBOT.
ahhh that area is crazy with most ppl not paying attention behind the wheel.
The cyclist may have been in Mark’s blind spot. As a driver, I’ve almost hit a cyclists because of this. As a cyclist, I’ve almost been hit because of this.
Anything to deflect possible blame of a driver wrong doing.
“I didn’t react or give eye contact.”
While I can understand not wanting to confront someone being really irate. The lack of reaction or eye contact could easily be interpreted as “I don’t care.”
When I’ve been struck by a car (only once so far) or suffered a near miss (scores of times, including intentionally), I experience an adrenalin rush that has caused me to be other than a reasonably polite, non-confrontational individual.
I’m sorry for your experience, Mark, and by the way, I abhor vandalism regardless of by whom it was inflicted or whether it was in retribution for a real or imagined injustice.
From his description, it sounded like he panicked and I’m guessing the cyclist perceived that as him just fleeing. Now, granted, he had no legal obligation to stop here. No collision occurred.
What I find more interesting about this story, is that we apparently have some sort of cyclist-Krampus loose in our fair city, punishing naughty drivers. It’s too bad Portlandia isn’t filming anymore.
Sounds far fetched, I know. So does adult men riding children bikes down the largest hill on a sunday night, most likely intoxicated. You’re right though, weird.
True realistic response I have thought that myself…
It took me less than 30 seconds to find what his license plate was.
Did you start with his full name?
Because some searches work better in one direction than the other.
I’d be curious to know how one finds people starting with their license plates, or for that matter, looks up vanity plate owners. I’ve tried both in the past and struck out.
took me 1min50sec
damn you HK and your superior search skills
While the vandalism was probably done by the bike rider, I don’t see the link between him being on a bike and him being a jerk. I think he would have still been a jerk if he had been a pedestrian or the driver of a car. To link all other bicyclists to this event seems a bit over the top.
Just because he said he doesn’t think ill of other cyclists in one spot doesn’t mean he didn’t link all other bicyclists to this event. He did condemn all bicyclists when the very next word was “However…”
That was followed by him elaborating on about bicyclists’ “reckless behavior”, “attitude of entitlement” and him pining for testing, operating licenses and registration, none of which have much to do with anger-management issues or tire slashing.
Just a couple of points in response to some of these comments. First, the circumstantial evidence is pretty overwhelming that the incident with the cyclist is correlated with the tires being slashed. Reading some of these comments really makes me appreciate how biases can alter a person’s view of evidence. (One person even wrote there is “zero evidence” of a correlation. That’s just an incredible statement.) Second, it is absolutely not okay to retaliate like this. I abhor any suggestion to the contrary. This cyclist has anger and mental health issues. (One has to wonder how he deals with other disputes or difficult events in his life.) I hope he’s found and prosecuted and that, ultimately, he gets the help he needs. He gives us all a bad name.
I was almost hit by a very old lady in my neighborhood who made a left turn through a red light and narrowly missed me as I was going through the intersection. I managed to catch up to her as she was pulling into her driveway and I had a nice conversation with her, to try and discern whether she had seen me or not. It turns out that she HAD seen me, but thought her light was green (it had turned red at least a few seconds before she entered the intersection). I hoped afterwards that maybe this conversation would encourage her to consider whether or not she’s still up to the task of driving. Seemed like a better way to approach the situation than to slash her tires.
Sure, the evidence might be “overwhelming” to you…. but not in the eyes of the law. It’s a good thing that the justice system requires tangible proof, and not just emotions.
I don’t know what you mean by “tangible proof,” Columbo. If you’re interested in how a judge would instruct the jury on evaluating evidence, then see Uniform Criminal Jury Instruction No. 1025 (criminal cases) and Uniform Civil Jury Instruction No. 10.01 (civil cases). A criminal or civil case wouldn’t be so difficult to prove as the retaliatory motive, timeline, and the handwritten note would be more than sufficient to meet the burden of proof … the trouble is definitively identifying the cyclist. How will we figure that out Columbo?!
Actually, circumstantial evidence is admissable in court, provided there is a clear connection between the fact and the inference. I think in this case, an attorney wouldn’t have much of a problem establishing a connection between the near-miss, and the slashed tires/note.
That all depends on the authenticity of that note, which I as an attorney would dismiss very early on.
Are you actually an attorney?
“This cyclist has…”
“He gives us all a bad name.”
I’m not a “cyclist” and. nothing you or anyone else does gives me a bad name. Antisocial behavior, such as, stereotyping an entire group based on the behavior of a single person is an individual failing.
Amen! Membership of a group (especially one where membership is “assigned” like “cyclists”) does not make one person in any way responsible for the misdeeds of another.
OMG. This, from you?
“Antisocial behavior, such as, stereotyping an entire group based on the behavior of a single person is an individual failing.”
i realize that highlighting the negative externalities of automobility puts some on the defensive but when i write about “deathmobiles” i’m not referring to a person. i’m using *rhetoric* to express my outrage over 40,100 mostly avoidable deaths in 2017.
My commute takes me past the Moda Center and I have come absolutely dread basketball season. I fully recognize this guy’s attitude and completely sympathize with the angry cyclist. People driving are confused, I agree, but they respond to the confusion by driving as quickly as they can, turning or switching lanes without signalling, blocking lanes unnecessarily, and not even bothering to make a simple headcheck before turning across a bike lane. When they cut you off or sideswipe you intoa curb, they respond EXACTLY like Mark: oops, sorry/it is crazy out here, right?/ what are you mad about? I said I was sorry. This guy has zero self awareness and comes across as a self-entitled baby. Mark, if you are reading thi, please slow down. If you don’t know what lane you are supposed to be in, go even slower and take more time. Keep an eye for bike lanes and remember that in stop and go traffic, the bike lane is a through lane and bikes may be moving faster than you. Try not to hurt anyone, and I mean REALLY try- stay focused and be aware of your surroundings and your potential to very easily and casually hurt someone.
And if you are an aggrieved cyclist, try to control your anger several hours after an incident occurs. That is how adults behave.
“That is how adults behave.”
Um, I think adults behave in all sorts of ways.
Some reprehensible, some noble, and a lot in between.
I don’t think there were any children mentioned in this story.
Thanks for the advice you make very good points. No doubt Car drivers need to be more present I will try to be better in the future. No one wants anyone hurt. If I hurt someone my fault or not I would be devastated.
Actually the person you maim or kill will be “devastated”. Nobody cares if your mistakes make you sad. Hire a driver or get a bus pass.
I appreciate you coming on here, and I fully believe that you weren’t intentionally trying to cut the cyclist off, much less harm anyone. I feel *most* drivers feel the same way. However, there seems to be a disconnect with many that, regardless of intent, you can easily kill or seriously injure other people with a car. I’m sure that when reading the last part of that sentence, you’re like, “well duh!” But how many people do you believe are consciously thinking of that while they’re driving, and having that influence their actions behind the wheel? This is something I realized of myself just within the last couple of years, and it’s made me a much more observant and careful driver. Reading the comments of this site actually helped me come to that realization, even though I disagreed with most of them initially (even as someone who started cycling for the majority of my commutes a few years before finding this site).
The physical comfort afforded by cars is great, however letting ourselves get too comfortable mentally while driving is, I believe, the main problem. I think when most people get mentally comfortable while driving they lose respect for the power they are in control of, they don’t think of the potential consequences for making that turn without checking the bike lane (or the sidewalk, crosswalk, other vehicle lane, etc…). And then we end up with 40,000+ people dead, millions more injured, with probably 99% of the people responsible for it not intending to hurt anyone. While I don’t believe you deserved what happened to you, if it can help you develop better driving tendencies, and especially if you can use this incident as a way to help others be more conscious of the risks they impose while driving, it could possibly turn into a good thing.
Remember, the Blazers attract audience members from around the state. My first time driving in Portland was because of a Blazers game. I was 17 with three other 17 year olds in the car. I was coming from Albany, a town of 40,000. Now imagine that scenario, pre GPS era, night time driving, rainy, heavily congested, bicyclists. Now that I reflect on it, I can’t believe I didn’t get into an accident or run over a cyclist.
One-sided story with no evidence or eye-witnesses. Just his word.
The story stinks of insurance fraud and misdirection
Are you implying that he slashed his own tires to get that sweet, sweet insurance money? Maybe you should go investigate? Measure his tread depth!
I wont be claiming insurance for $936.00 in damages with a $500.00 deductible. Do you know how insurance works??
I’d like to thank you for coming here and mixing it up with the commenters.
I often wish we got more participation, more engagement by folks out there.
I enjoy it also. It really exposes the bias many people in this forum have.
Would it be biased to point out that bike tire sabotage for no reason is a common occurrence in Portland?
This is true. Look it up.
Yes, but now you can upgrade to the latest Michelin technology. I’m sure it made it all worth it.
I think Costco still has a coupon on right now.
I know I was thinking upgrade too. The previous tires were noisy. But alas I was given only 2 Choices at Schwab. You see my 18” rims are a bit unusual for tires that fit on a Mazda3. It was either Cooper or Toyo. I chose Toyo, want do you think was that a good move?
I would have gone Yokohama, personally.
No, my bar job doesn’t provide insurance. Is it wrong to not claim your tips?
The note would have been enough.
That said, when you read the KOIN piece, and Holzernator says he didn’t see the cyclist, and the cyclist must have been behind him, but then Holzergoob says the cyclist was riding aggressively, ol “HOLZIE” and his story aren’t really adding up. Googling HOLZIE returns nothing remotely connected to him, so either the perp has some connections inside DMV, or the Holzster drives around like this all the time and it is coincidence. I bet Holzerhoff checks those mirrors next time though.
Jonathan’s response is perfect though, because very often in my experience it is the constant deluge of “stop short at low speed”, random lane changes, doors opening without looking in the mirror, etc., etc. that result in one random aggressor getting the brunt. When your brief blip of a life gets put into question due to some guy trying to go to a basketball game, it is tough to keep it all together and stay calm and collected.
I like his use of the exclamation point. As if to say, “Really, I’m not an a hole!!!!!!”
Oh I can be plenty irritating but usually quite self deprecating and a joy to be around. Let me know if you like to meet for a beer!
What seems like a low speed incident that isn’t a big deal to a driver often isn’t the case at all to a bicyclist. Since Mark admits he didn’t see what happened, his mistake could have nearly bumped that person off their bike and under the wheels of faster moving traffic. Acting like such negligence is just an innocent mistake really gets to a key issue: there is little recourse for a bicyclist here.
Mark may very well have killed someone by not taking his responsibility as a driver seriously. And the laws do not protect bicyclists—even when drivers maim and kill there often is no justice for what quite simply boils down to criminal negligence. It’s not an “accident” that these things happen, it’s a failure to check blind spots and treat driving as deadly serious of an activity that it is.
You can have all the perfect infrastructure that can exist, but if admitted negligence like this is dismissed as normal these things will continue. There should be laws that assume fault of the driver unless proven otherwise—you’re the one operating a vehicle with an immense ability to cause irreparable damage, not people on bikes. Mark admitted he didn’t see the person on the bike, well that’s your responsibility as a driver and it should be treated as the deadly serious offense that it is.
If Mark knew that “not seeing” someone on the road could lead to the loss of his license he’d be a lot more careful. But I think Mark knows full well that there is nothing the bicyclist can legally do to achieve any consequences for his possibly near-fatal error. Clear video of even more egregious negligence rarely if ever results in justice and is not taken seriously by the legal system.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that bicyclist did track Mark down and slash his tires. It’s understandable to want to deliver some consequences to someone that nearly killed you and there are few legal avenues to do so. This isn’t a problem that infrastructure can solve. There needs to be ways for bicyclists to report drivers that nearly kill them and a process for removing drivers’ privelege to operate a vehicle on the road who do not exercise due care on the road.
Until then bicyclists are going to take matters into their own hands. I don’t condone it, but I understand it.
If I remember correctly, most reporters have ways to access DMV information. I wouldn’t dismiss that part of the story so quickly.
I could be off base here, but to me those responses read like satire on some of the more outlandish excuses for the murder of that Saudi Journalist or claims of who might be behind the mail bombs found yesterday.
My experience with the sportsball fans at my work is that they do not respect people using the road on bicycles. I’ve heard the always stupid “if you go up against a car you’re going to lose, every time” several times and it’s corollary “i’m bigger than you, you need to look out for me” and surprise surprise… “bicycles need to have a license plate”
Not ever driver (nor cyclist) is the same, true. But I’ve never said any of those things, and I am not hostile towards cyclists when behind the wheel. I am confident in my assessment that my colleagues’ negative attitudes towards bicycle riders translates into disrespect on the roads.
Sorry, that was supposed to be a response to Dan, above.
Does this story work better and showing the extent of road rage out there?
Or maybe this one:
What bothers me most about this story other then the over the top reaction and retribution of the cyclist is Mark’s lack of understanding of this near collision. He didn’t understand why someone might be so angry at this “low speed” near collision. Other then the fact that he had no idea what the cyclist’s speed was since he didn’t see him as he likely passed him on the road. This seems to be a problem with a lot of drivers. They see their mistakes while driving in relation to other cars. So while this might have resulted in an annoying dent in someone’s car that they’d have to get repaired it could have easily seriously injured the cyclist.
I think drivers would be a lot better at their task if they had a better grasp of the potential outcome when they make mistakes. Instead of oh sorry I almost bumped into you it should be oh please forgive me I almost broke your leg and gave you severe road rash.
Almost = did not happen.
What do you even mean by that? Since they weren’t hit by a car it still wasn’t an upsetting situation that might cause them to yell? Do you not get bothered when cars almost hit you? If so I would say your reaction to that type of experience is pretty far off from the average person.
I’ve experienced road rash sufficient to require stitches in a collision with the pavement when I had to take evasive action as a motorist, without signaling, cut me off in a turn. He fled the scene. Since the car and my bike didn’t actually touch, I guess you would consider that the “almost” collision did not happen and, therefore, it was simply a cyclist (me) who injured himself by hitting the ground. Have I got that right?
“Almostc seems very real when YOU are the one about to interface with large, sharp, and noxious machinery driven by drivers that may be on their phones, might kill you and not even know it, and are statistically likely to run if they did know it.
Let’s say you’re hiking on a trail, and a guy further up the mountain who doesn’t know you’re down there pushes a bowling ball-sized rock down the hill, which bounces down the hill at high speed and almost hits you in the head. Would you find that upsetting? Suppose you hiked up there to confront him about it, and he pretended not to notice your existence and kept walking….
Let’s further say these trails had a history of people committing acts of violence because of perceived slights, and you approached the hiker yelling and angry, and he didn’t want to make eye contact thereby risking an escalation while he figured out how to get away from you without violence.
People just don’t engage that way while they’re driving.
Is that what humans do? Nearly kill somebody and then try to pretend as if that person is invisible? Or is that just reserved for humans in cars?
Most humans try to avoid conflict and potentially hostile interactions with strangers.
Right…..so, next time I nearly injure somebody I’ll just walk away and pretend they don’t exist. Strange world you live in.
If that’s your best avenue to avoiding a potentially violent conflict, I think you should.
Almost = some likelihood a law was broken.
I put a lot of the blame of this incident on the root cause… The Moda Center parking attendants. What is their one job? Ensure that they manage the traffic coming and going into the Moda Center. My experience, repeated over and over, is these attendants will wave cars to turn right into the parking garage despite a bike in the lane with a full set of lights. Why are they even there if they can’t perform the most basic duty to keep people safe? I’ve asked Johnathan to bring this up with the Moda Center staff during the Bike to a Blazer game and it seemed to go into the “Oh we’ll look into it”… Well, now it’s finally boiled over and we have an incident where cyclists are getting bashed in the media. For what it’s worth, it stopped riding in the bike lane through the Moda Center during an event, instead I take the full outside lane and own it. Stay out of that ‘gutter’ of a bike lane through there when traffic is congested!!
I second this wholeheartedly! I even raised this issue with the MODA management. I am not a lawyer, but I suspect they take on liability by dressing and acting like they are directing traffic (safety vests, flashlights with cones on them. standing in the public ROW, motioning for people driving where to go, etc), but they are, in fact, the human equivalent of inflatable tube men- just marking an entrance. That said, with a bit of training, they could easily use hand signals to direct cars to wait in the lane until the bike lane is clear AND there is enough space to turn without blocking the bike lane.
The Moda center parking attendants are there to make sure the CAR traffic gets in and out of the parking garages easily– they’re not there to make overall traffic flow work.
People tend to not work so hard for $12/hour.
I can certainly understand the cyclists behavior at the scene. It is blood boiling to get almost hit.
Finding the guys house and slashing tires is sociopathic behavior….
I hope they find him.
This should not have happened. In a good and just world ,that cared about the future, the traffic scofflaw that endangered the cyclist with an illegal lane change would have been spotted by a keen eyed constable and taken away to traffic jail. These type of events are the inevitable result of a failure to provide law and order on the public byways. If we continue down the road of lawlessness by motorists and others ,more vigilante justice will inevitably follow. ( note, I am not advocating such a thing but in a grand view of history it is how things always work out.)
That would totally fix congestion, and the streets (and bike lanes and sidewalks) would be blissfully empty!
Let the sinners be punished!
We don’t know that the cyclist was going too fast for conditions, do we?
that’s funny, you mention tread depth. The guys at Les Schwab said the same thing. Insurance would have prorated the tire life and maybe given me $450 against my deductible oops I’m upside down on that one
So you almost seriously injured a cyclist and then proceeded to ignore the person and were surprised at this outcome???
Then you advocate a ridiculous and unenforceable bike license plate law so that you could perpetuate the cycle of maiming and shaming that was perpetuated on you? Cool.
Maybe all drivers would be more attentive and polite knowing they could suffer the same fate. Yes your license plate is searchable online (for a small fee). Drive with this knowledge and we have no problems here.
So that’s the way I understood it about license plate searches online when I checked into it. You had to pay a fee. Therefore, the identity of the plate searcher IS KNOWN. Case solved, did anyone actually look up the plate before the story curiously hit the media just when the Portland Bussiness Alliance is weighing in on Central City in Motion?
In this case, the vanity plate matched Mark’s Twitter handle, so it was easy & free to find his information.
To look up a plate the places only want your money and your email address.
I have just been informed by Rose Garden security of tape helpful in the incident. Its to be released to the police upon their request.
Fingers crossed that it shows the entire event. We could all learn a lot from it.
Good luck getting the police to follow up.
Its disheartening to hear that this took place. I feel like every user on the road should feel safe when in transit to wherever they are going and that they shouldn’t feel afraid of other road users treating them without respect.
However in my own personal experience, car users take it for granted that they are travelling at high speeds in what is essentially a giant metal box. They forget that this object that takes them to work has the ability to mow down people/cyclists/anything that gets in their way and they will be safely inside their vehicle wondering what the hell just happened.
I have seen/experienced it way too many times: a driver that is inattentive suddenly decides to make a turn/stop for no reason/open their door all because they forget that the world around their vehicle is moving and that others cant read their mind. Or even worse an aggressive driver decides that they can drive faster than this person can ride their bike and so decides to pass in an unsafe manner which endangers the cyclist for no reason other than that the driver is too impatient. My all time favorite (and something that has happened to me personally twice) is when a driver feels that a cyclist has wronged them and decides to intimidate them with their vehicle. Whether that means aggressively passing too close or just straight up driving into the bike lane and chasing. Both of these things happened to me, and I used every avenue of recourse that I could find to no avail. I was essentially told (in both instances) that because I wasn’t physically harmed that there was no reason to pursue this issue. Mind you, I noted down license plates, times and locations, called the police, called attorneys and every single time I was told that this wasn’t an important issue because I was uninjured. I even went so far as to print out statutes related to these incidents and was told by the responding officer (when I tried to file a report) that this wasn’t going to go anywhere because it wasn’t important enough.
This is the attitude that most cyclists have to contend with on a daily basis and it’s incredibly frustrating that drivers just don’t care about cyclists safety. Until drivers stop feeling like they drive a bubble in which their actions don’t have consequences I have a feeling we are going to see a lot more of this since there is no real recourse for tracking down drivers that endanger cyclists.
So if this cyclist seemed unreasonably pissed off about getting cut off, it’s most likely because they have been dealing with drivers who almost kill them and then shrug it off and continue on their day. Most likely you weren’t the first person to cut this cyclist off and you probably won’t be the last. Also this cyclist is most likely familiar with the lack of legal recourse since they decided vandalism was the best way to handle this situation. I know I definitely considered this when all available channels for pursuing these issues told me my problem wasn’t important enough, but I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble because that would just beget more problems and make cyclists look bad.
So, the snippet of the report says the victim “stated” that their tires were slashed, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that is true. Did the responding officer see slashed tires? In the news report they show a car wit inflated tires.
A Portland Police Officer once told me I could be both “right and dead right” in bike vs. car collisions. That helped me safely navigate the past 10 years riding in Portland. Recently someone informed me that when we yell, we yell to hear ourselves. Both of these anecdotes would serve everyone in the bike community. I’ve never had productive traffic instruction convo’s with drivers while I’m riding my bike :), NEVER EVER EVER.
And this is likely the meta-reason why bicyclists yell. Those two bits of insight that you recount essentially say, “Hey, you’re the one who’s gonna die, so you’d better stay out of the way, because nobody else cares”, and “Furthermore, there’s no way anybody is going to ever learn to be any more careful, so don’t bother attempting to tell anyone about it.”
It’s the constant* bullying on the streets (whether intentional or not) and the being told to take it and like it (‘cuz you could be dead, so…) that frustrates so many who regularly travel outside of cars.
*BTW, when Jonathan says bicycle riders “…feel afraid and threatened by auto users all the time”, it doesn’t mean “like, every week or so”, it means “every few minutes of every trip taken by bicycle, if it is in proximity to motor vehicles”. At least in my experience.
I love your creativity with nick names where were you when I was growing up. Sadly they wouldn’t fit on a license plate although they would be awesome. So your creative but a little dense with internet search. Like the note said, ‘you were so easy to find.” So let me help you. Google “HOLZIE” eh, not much right? OK now try “@holzie” dang second try you get my full name. Now Google”Mark Holzmann” OMG, Profession, work address, white pages gives my last 3 residences, bingo I’ll get my knife…
You should stick around.
You have a better sense of humor than some of the regulars here. 😉
Call me out make the claims you want I will respond as best I can and I believe I can flush out your reasonable doubts.
Meet me at Les Schwab on 6th and Broadway, the have the previous tires, with lots of tread life, slashed on the side walls. I asked them to hold them in case the police wanted to review them. Believe I could have used the dollars in a more fun way…
Mark, I want you to know that seemingly inconsequential incidents for you can be very scary for cyclists. My friend was killed by an inattentive driver, and I have had a bike totaled by a driver who ‘just didn’t see me.’ when you do this, and then ignore your almost victim, I can understand that person’s rage. Especially given that you didn’t apologise or even acknowledge your mistake. Act better Mark.
Christ, anyone who goes through that amount of premeditated planning to slash car tires… you are a lunatic. That is getting close to a felony as well, if the tires are worth enough.
I can see both sides of it– almost hitting someone that you didn’t know was there is stressful and scary and almost being hit because someone wasn’t paying attention is also stressful and scary.
I think the driver, Mark, escalated the situation and did the wrong thing when he didn’t park his car, get out, and attempt to defuse the situation by admitting his wrong (which he does in the story, but to JM and BP, not to the guy he almost smashed) and apologizing. Even the appearance, from inside the car, of contriteness and concern goes a long way– staring into the distance and ignoring the situation makes things worse.
As a cyclist, I would have appreciated it if the driver who scraped me into the curb in Tigard by Fowler Middle School had stopped and apologized and made sure I was ok (I was).
As a driver, I try very very VERY hard to be aware of what’s going on around me, because I know how easy it is to lose sight of vulnerable road users. I know how easy it is to get confused by lots of painted lines and lots of other traffic. That’s why I try to be careful, and ALWAYS ALWAYS check my mirrors and turn my head to check before turning. Because hurting someone else because I wasn’t paying attention is NOT an option for me.
Drivers don’t understand (and most, apparently, don’t care) that their actions can kill. They don’t care because their convenience trumps all care about anyone else. It’s frustrating.
I don’t condone the cyclist’s actions with finding out where someone lives and slashing tires. I can understand why, but it’s the wrong response (in my opinion)
I don’t think not stopping to talk with someone with whom you’ve had a near collision in traffic can rightfully be called an escalation.
I think ignoring the person who is standing outside your window yelling at you and staring straight ahead is only going to escalate the problem.
Making eye contact and saying sorry in a sincere and non-sarcastic fashion could help to defuse the situation, or de-escalate, if you will, the situation. Especially if the person who almost ran over the other person makes an effort to show that he’s heard the other person’s concerns, acknowledges that he screwed up, and will make more of an effort when driving next to be more aware.
Acknowledging an error is much different than stopping and having a conversation about it, especially when you are being yelled at.
For me, when a stranger is yelling at me, for whatever reason, my goal is to remove myself from the situation as quickly as possible.
Frankly I am surprised how many people here want to question Mark’s authenticity, speculate wildly on his motives, and quickly assume he is understating the harm to which he put the cyclist. He didn’t post the story here; he shared it with Jonathan. He also acknowledged his mistake. In light of all that, I am also surprised how few people dismiss or ignore the truly scary behavior of the planned revenge vandalism.
I don’t have any more facts than anyone else, but find his story quite possibly happened exactly as he describes it. Here is why.
I have cycled in Portland since the 1980s. I have observed improvements in both the culture and the infrastructure even if far short of what it needs to be for truly safe (vision zero) streets. But I have also observed an increase in the number of angry people on the road who clearly bring frustrations to road interactions that have nothing to do with the immediate situation. They are always men, which says a lot to me.
And many of these angry, combative and, yes, entitled individuals are on bikes. The fact that the ones in cars are 100 times more dangerous doesn’t change that fact. The Portlandia skit from years back was not off the mark. These are the cyclists that cycle like some drivers drive; they have adopted the competitive, short-tempered car culture (with a little extra self-righteousness) that, despite some positive trends, still dominates our streets.
This combative and vindictive anger does nothing to dismantle the car dominated culture and transportation system that puts human lives and the planet at risk every day.
Thank you for saying that. Best response in this entire thread!
Thanks for your comment Jim.
I just want everyone to know that I didn’t just randomly post Mark’s private email to me. I actually read it and then replied to him without even thinking I would post it (I get a lot of stuff like this in my inbox).
Then I noticed he was on the TV news, had published nearly the exact thing in his email to me as an Oregonian op-ed, had shared it on his public FB page, and on Nextdoor. Once I realized he clearly wanted it to be public, I figured it made sense to do a post here as well.
“He acknowledged his mistake.”
That right there is the ONLY part of this story that I have a problem with.
Since a few people seem to be reading into my questions and making the wrong assumptions, let me clarify: I DO believe that this cyclist screamed at Mark and scared him, and then looked him up on the internet, and then slashed his tires. And I DO believe it was absolutely wrong of this guy to do so. Horrible and inexcusable.
But, it also seems like Mark has downplayed the initial incident himself, and if that’s the case, he HASN’T acknowledged his mistake. It seems to me very unlikely that someone who had to stop short at low speed would react by seeking out the driver’s house and attacking his property, unless said person is mentally ill. How would one person have enough time to run around town slashing the tires of every driver who slightly inconveniences them? In Mark’s story, there’s little reason for a cyclist to respond the way he did.
“While merging and turning to my right I did not see a Bicyclist, and from what I can tell I turned in front of him and he didn’t like that, I may have cut him off. I wouldn’t have liked it either, my fault. I’ll own it!! Mind you we did not touch no one was hurt, but someone had to stop short, at low speed.”
So, how can you not see someone but also know how fast they were traveling? Did Mark turn slowly and signal beforehand, or did he just swerve right? I’m hopeful that the video will answer some of that.
“He acknowledged his mistake.”
What if this is evolving? What if Mark’s understanding of his mistake has shifted over the course of the past few days, may yet be shifting? Is it not possible that Mark’s willingness to subject himself to the withering scorn of bikeportland comments is a piece of this? And what if, after digesting the conversation here, he will come to appreciate a fuller set of perspectives on what happened? I think it is very possible. My only point here is that harping on Mark’s ostensibly inadequate initial (pre-bp-article) contrition should be weighed against the potential for insight and learning on all of our parts if we are less quick to judge someone who appears to be accepting responsibility.
You use “entitled” as if it’s a bad thing. As a cyclist I’m entitled to some things that drivers are not. Often drivers think these legal entitlements are illegal and it angers them.
Go ahead and drive your bike like your drive your car. Even if you do a horrible job it’s so much less likely to kill anyone.
Mark, I’m sorry your tires were slashed and that you were the victem of that creepy note. That does suck.
I was the victim of being dragged under a car for over 100 yards when a truck driver didnt see me. Broke my back and the road rash has scared me pretty good. But that was long ago and Im feeling good! Most importantly, it has taught me how to ride with cars.
I ride alone, with kids onboard, race and am a driver also. The Moda Center is predictable by cyclists and those who ride with children(or a sense of self preservation) are well aware of how to handle dense, chaotic areas like that. You can imagine how both cyclists and drivers are weary around both Lyft and Pizza delivery drivers creeping in our hoods looking at phones and addresses on homes… it’s a curve ball no one enjoys and we all defend accordingly.
Thanks for jumping into our world, I think we need more like ya.
Just know we’ll drive and ride accordingly around ya!
Yes very salient points I’ll do that. By the way all your points are very well taken. One would have to question the intelligence of one that subjects one self to the abuse, danger and trauma many say to endure. If I had to choose between your ordeal and mass transit I believe you and many a strong case to purchase a TRI-Met pass.
So because you present a specific danger to people riding bikes, you think that people should not ride bikes because people like you are out there. Interesting perspective.
9 Watts thanks I just may do that it’s a pretty easy group to rebut and cover some of the nonsense with logic. I totally understand the emotion but the biased disbelief is surprising. To hear tell I just flew out of nowhere and lacking the love and attention I crave made up a rediculous story about a crazed individual. I’m not this creative to make this up and cover the bases I have with many here today.
I think it has to do with (some) folks here being shell shocked most of the time. Ten years (in my case) of being exposed to the deep biases within our law enforcement system which are themselves mostly reflections of our cultural bias in favor of the person driving and against the one on the bike makes (some) people jaded, suspicious, and occasionally trigger happy. I’m not immune from any of this, am not pointing fingers at all. Your showing up here (for me at least) helps to reveal the humanity (and even glimpses of humor) in situations like this. Soften the edges. Upset some of the apple carts of suspicion.
As far as LE goes. It’s not a surprise they’re often biased. Most have long car commutes to work where they then drive all day. When you spend that much time in a car, it does something to how you see the city. What, I’m not sure, but that much time in a car everyday has to do something to you.
I’m not willing to excuse it. But acknowledging it is an important first step.
I think it’s worth noting Mark that while you’re surprised at the “biased disbelief” of what you are reading here that people who don’t sympathize/identify with bicycling have had equally — if not even more so — disturbing reactions to this story. Even on your own FB post there were people saying this guy was part of some “antifa mob” and others were mentioning shooting bicycle riders and stuff like that.
Best to realize that, like I always say, we shouldn’t try to define people first by the vehicle they happen to be using. People are people and there’s a very wide range of opinions and beliefs among them — regardless of if they are driving, biking, walking, or whatever.
Thanks again for commenting here. I also appreciate our email exchanges. Hope we’re able to track down the suspect in this case. Happy to post a description of him if/when you provide one.
I like this one:
“Couple of months ago, I parked my SUV on MLK Jr When I returned, my side mirror had been smashed off. The Lexus dealership said it’s a common angry cyclist maneuver. Insurance calls it vandalism and deductible is $500. My out of pocket was $550.”
I’m curious how the Lexus dealership knows that broken side mirrors are commonly caused by angry cyclists? Who spilled the beans? I mean, I guess it should be obvious that cars can’t cause this kind of damage.
If you don’t look, you can’t see.
Actually due to selective perception it is more like If you aren’t looking for you aren’t going to see even if you look. Yes if someone isn’t looking for a bicycle rider, or a motor cycle or a pedestrian, then you can simply not see them even if you look. There are a couple of good videos that demonstrate this online. Also here is a good article about this subject on why you might not see something on the road even if you are looking and ways to avoid the problem.
No comment other than plenty of blame, victimizing, grandstanding and over-reaction to go around here, overall fairly non-productive no matter how you look at it.
Thanks Hazel I sure will. I’ll let you know when your out of line too, OK?
You gained some points with me with your first sentence, then lost them with your second.
I believe what Hazel was trying to tell you is that when you ride a bike in traffic, you’ll at least occasionally get close calls caused by drivers that, as she said, “can be very scary”. They’re scary because you can come a fraction of a second or a foot or two away from being knocked down, hit, hurt or worse. Often a driver who’s involved isn’t even aware it had happened.
In contrast, I can’t think of a time, EVER, where I got a scare or jolt of adrenaline remotely like that when I was driving that was caused by someone riding a bike.
A driver being “out of line” can injure or kill a cyclist. It happens several times a year just in Portland. A cyclist being “out of line” rarely causes a driver anything worse than needing to brake.
So your “I’ll let you know when your (sic) out of line too, OK?” comes across as a flippant response to her, especially after she has told you her friend was killed by an inattentive driver.
Hazel makes good points, but her last sentence wasn’t really necessary either. I think these are somewhat delicate exchanges or should be treated that way. Mark is here, subjecting himself to the full panoply of bikeportland comments, and at least to me has come across as accepting responsibility, willing to hear folks here out. But I think to honor that we would do well to also keep track of our tone, our finger wagging impulses.
I don’t think anyone is going to take kindly to being talked down to.
I’m sure you will. Drivers already let me know when I’m ‘out of line’ for things like riding in the lane when I’m making a left turn or crossing the street at a street corner (as a pedestrian). They do this by honking at me and threatening me with their cars.
I find it astonishing how little of the discussion here focuses on the root problem, the infrastructure. I am not fully sure I get this right, but it seems like this might have occurred at the right turn from Vancouver / Wheeler to Center, just north of Moda Center. I’ve been riding that stretch for a while and dread that right turn. The on-ramp to I-5 encourages acceleration, it is a confusing spot, and people driving often don’t think about the people biking there because they are focused on staying in traffic flow. I know, I know, it would be great if everyone paid more attention, but the whole point of a Vision Zero philosophy is to create an infrastructure that allows for errors, without these causing harm.
Now the easiest and best way to fix that right turn would be to close N Center by putting a barricade there and some signs. People driving would need to go through Broadway to access the parking space, which would be more inconvenient to them, but people biking would be safe. The real scandal to me is that the city does not create a safer infrastructure for people biking here, essentially making a deliberate calculation that the lives of people biking is less important than the convenience of people driving. To me, it is only a matter of time before a person biking gets hit here.
While I understand that the person biking got upset, I think slashing someone tires as a deliberate act of revenge is morally wrong, and we all here should condemn it. I also think that we should distinguish between people like Mark (hi, Mark!) who do not pay sufficient attention but do not do so purposely and take responsibility, and others who purposely behave aggressively towards people biking or who deliberately engage in actions that distract them from driving or reduce their ability to drive safely (e.g., by texting while driving).
Is there a description of the suspect and/or their bike?
I haven’t been on BikePortland for a while. After reading the comments in this thread, I was reminded how *some readers seem to be quick to assume, judge and admonish. I did appreciate reading the thoughtful responses about the need for better biking (and walking) infrastructure in the Rose Quarter area though.
Hi Stephan. This episode has had me conversing with people normally outside my sphere. One is Rose Quarter Security, they too are very concerned about the traffic circus that’s come to be. I have learned the City is planning a redesign of the traffic area in discussion. All are aware of its inadequate nature. More so after major events that have thousands of people, hundreds of cars mixing with the regular pressure of bikes buses and cars after the event is over. Usually at tired and drowsy 11:00 at night.