BikePortland.org

After he cut someone off, man claims he was victim of harassment and tire slashing


Clip from KOIN TV segment that aired last night.

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!!

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And here’s my reply:

Hi Mark,

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 jonathan@bikeportland.org

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