Ask BikePortland: What should I do if a driver harassed me and police don’t take it seriously?

Posted by on April 4th, 2019 at 2:49 pm

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The latest installment of our Ask BikePortland column comes from a woman named Sabrina S. I’ve changed her name at her request.

Here’s what she asked via email earlier this week:

“Hi – I was hoping someone at BikePortland could give advice on getting help from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) when confronted by dangerous drivers.

I was riding on Southeast Division Street with a friend. We were looking for a restaurant (which we couldn’t find) before heading over to the Clinton greenway. As we were on Division, a car came up behind us then went around us (plenty of room, not a problem). But then the driver started screamed profanities at us to get off the road. We continued on (legally riding on the street, well to the side) when the driver stopped, screamed, “You wanna fight, punk?” and then more profanities as we ignored him to continue on to our destination.

I would like to point out two things: 1) We are both women, in our 50’s. Flattered he thought I was a young punk, but definitely not one. 2) He was a Lyft driver, had the insignia on display in his windshield.

Then he started to circle us, driving around the blocks and continuing to threaten us/scream profanities/say he was going to fight us. By this time we had dropped over to Clinton and were parked on the sidewalk, trying to locate our destination. He then came by again, this time screamed at us to get off the sidewalk. Not sure where he thought we were supposed to exist, if not on the road or the sidewalk? At this point we called 911. The dispatcher didn’t accuse us of anything illegal, but seemed unconcerned and didn’t want to send out an officer even though we had a description of the vehicle and license plate # (which was an Oregon Military Vet license plate). He even questioned the plate number until I told him repeatedly it was a special Vet’s plate with only four letters (rather than the usual alphanumeric ones). He finally recommended I contact Lyft. So, once we got to our destination I finally did – Lyft was much more proactive and interested in investigating the incident. Lyft was great, PPB was not. Any advice, please?”

I responded to Sabrina and shared three possible options:

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1) File a complaint with the Independent Police Review. The IPR is a branch of the City of Portland Auditor’s office and acts as an independent, “civilian oversight agency” that investigates allegations of misconduct by PPB officers. It’s not clear to me if the dispatcher Sabrina spoke with on the phone is a sworn officer or not, so IPR might not be the proper venue.

2) Pursue a retroactive citation. As we’ve covered at length in the past, there’s an existing Oregon law that allows you to work with police to file non-criminal charges against another person (I used to refer to this as “citizen-initiated citation” but I’m trying to not use the word “citizen” anymore). We’ve seen this law used successfully on several occasions in the past. Because Sabrina has the person’s license plate number, she has enough evidence to start the process.

3) Testify in front of Portland City Council. Council has an open public comment period prior to each weekly meeting where you can speak about whatever issue is on your mind. Show up 30 minutes ahead of the meeting to get your name on the list. This would put Sabrina’s experience in the official record and it might solicit a question or prompt some help from Mayor Wheeler (police commissioner) or other city councilor.

Sabrina said she’s too afraid of retaliation to speak at council publicly; but will look into the IPR and other options.

Do you have any advice for Sabrina?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

115 Comments
  • Avatar
    DEV April 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    For $40 and a quick you can easily find out who this person is from their license plate then act out your revenge.

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    donttreadonme April 4, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I have never once heard of the police doing anything remotely helpful in a situation like this. They’d be more likely to bend over backwards to try and charge you with a crime instead.

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      K'Tesh April 4, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Do not just cave into this blanket statement…

      While I can’t speak for PPD, when I was egged in Beaverton, the cops were able to catch the driver, and his buddies. The driver was let off when he gave up his buddies. They were charged with harassment, one pleaded guilty, and one settled with me. He ended up writing an apology, and donating two kids bikes to charity.

      Photos, videos, and witnesses all help in this process.

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      • Avatar
        John Lascurettes April 4, 2019 at 7:36 pm

        Jurisdiction matters. I think the PPB officers are well understaffed compared to the suburbs. Also, there’s definitely more traffic enforcement in the burbs as well.

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          Buzz April 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm

          understaffed my ass, the police are simply not interested; they go to cop conventions with members of NYPD and other PDs and trade stories about uptight, political, entitled cyclists. Only way to get their attention is to pay their overtime…

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          Toby Keith April 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm

          This is what happens when you wage war on law enforcement. And you think you are going to get anybody eager to take those jobs when the city leaders clearly are opposed.

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            Middle of the Road Guy April 4, 2019 at 11:18 pm

            @Toby,

            I’m just shocked that all of the people telling the Police how they are supposed to go about police work will not apply for those jobs in order to change the system from within.

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            • Avatar
              Johnny Bye Carter April 5, 2019 at 10:52 am

              There are a lot of requirements that need to be met to apply to be an officer. And once they hire you you’re not a real office for another 2 years due to all the training and probational employment. Many upstanding citizens that would make fine officers fail to meet all of these requirements.

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            Chris I April 5, 2019 at 7:52 am

            Your comment could be true if it weren’t for the fact that this same effect is seen in every large city in America. Cops, for the most part, are not cyclists. They mostly live in the suburbs, and thus, see big city cyclists as “others”. They aren’t sympathetic to the risks we face, and the act accordingly.

            I know you like to think everything goes back to Antifa/Libs, but that just isn’t true.

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            Dan A April 5, 2019 at 10:06 am

            I’m not sure how trying to discourage the police from shooting unarmed black men is ‘waging war’ on them.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 12:18 pm

              I suppose it depends on how you want to fight police violence. If the answer is “stop having the police enforce the law”, which was PBOT’s answer regarding Vision Zero, then you end up with the current situation and articles like this one. There has to be a different answer.

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          • TonyT
            TonyT April 5, 2019 at 12:55 pm

            “War on Law enforcement” eye roll. Yes, I clearly am waging a war on law enforcement when I point out stats on racial profiling https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2014/02/portland_police_traffic_stops.html and as a tax payer want them to do something about it.

            What other profession has allies who say, “You want them to improve in this area? You are clearly waging a war on them and you’re a hypocrite for needing them AND asking them to improve.”

            Police also have a domestic violence rate 2-4 times that of the general population. Is it waging war on them to point out these stats and ask that something be done about it?

            And our mayor just hired Robert King, a former president of the police union as his public safety advisor. King does not believe the PPB profiles even though data clearly shows that they do. But yeah, city leaders are so mean to cops.

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            • Avatar
              John Lascurettes April 5, 2019 at 1:14 pm

              Yes, asking for both better coverage and to be more accountable are by no means exclusionary. Protect AND serve.

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              Toby Keith April 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm

              Well your troubles are over with Hardesty now on city council. We can pretty much count on the police not showing up for anything.

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            9watts April 6, 2019 at 8:47 am

            “This is what happens when you wage war on law enforcement”

            Oh, please!

            They are quite capable of undermining their own reputation, shooting themselves in their feet, ruining their image with the public, without any help from your imagined histrionics.

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            • Avatar
              Toby Keith April 6, 2019 at 4:22 pm

              You’re right as always 9watts. As everyone knows every police interaction is with fine outstanding citizens.

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                9watts April 6, 2019 at 6:01 pm

                That isn’t much of a rebuttal, Mr. Keith.

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          AndyK April 5, 2019 at 7:09 am

          I like both K’Tesh’s and John’s responses….don’t give up, and jurisdiction matters! And yes, I strongly recommend the Cycliq Fly6 CE rear light/camera.

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    grannygear April 4, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    What should you do? Live your life.

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      Austin April 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      This Lyft lunatic appears to be exhibiting some personality traits that may point to them being mentally unstable or at least a complete jerk. Do you want to be the next person that they flip out at? Do you want to be in his car as a Lyft passenger when he freaks out next?

      It’s ok to want someone to face some consequences when they are purposefully endangering your safety and metal well-being.

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    I'll Show Up April 4, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve complained to the city about Uber drivers before. Check this out https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/57927.

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    John Lascurettes April 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I got a GoPro camera (one of the little tiny cube ones) as a gift a couple of years ago. I do not get on my bike without it. I see it mainly as my own legal documentation of all my rides. No incidences occur and I wipe it when I get home. I still need to figure out a good way to easily and temporarily mount it to a BIKETOWN.

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    • Avatar
      pdx2wheeler April 4, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      Truth! I’ve got a RidEye and feel naked without that camera on my bike. It can, and has, stopped harassment instantly. Once you point out, “Your being filmed…!” It’s over, if not, well now you’ve got your evidence and take it as far as you’re willing.

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      El Biciclero April 4, 2019 at 9:45 pm

      I use one of these on my own bike, but I imagine it would work on anything with similar handlebar diameter, which would be the key. Rubber shims would help with minor disparities in handlebar size.

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      dan April 5, 2019 at 8:06 am

      John Lascurettes
      I got a GoPro camera (one of the little tiny cube ones) as a gift a couple of years ago. I do not get on my bike without it. I see it mainly as my own legal documentation of all my rides. No incidences occur and I wipe it when I get home. I still need to figure out a good way to easily and temporarily mount it to a BIKETOWN.Recommended 6

      This. For offenses short of armed assault, we have to assume that police will not get involved: we’re on our own. So ride cameras are critical. At least then you have evidence and can bring civil suit if it’s warranted, and it’s possible that posting footage publicly will prompt some offenders to reconsider their actions.

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      Mike Thomas April 6, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Video recording is your friend.

      I have found that if your first verbal interaction with a motorist is to state :

      “Just so you are fully aware, our interaction is being video recorded”

      overt aggression is immediately ramped down nearly every time. Stating this in a non-confrontational way can be hard but it really helps.

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    Lyftifa April 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Tell the police the driver looked like an antifa protester. They’ll immediately send hundreds of officers in riot gear.

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    Eastsider April 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve had similar situations and I actually tried to do a citizen initiated citation. I had photographic evidence and license plates. I called the police non-emergency and they claimed they had never heard of a citizen citation before. I had to read the law to her on the phone. They said I had to go to the police station. So I did, and they told me I needed to talk to an officer and none were available at the police station. They told me to call non-emergency. So I did, again, from the lobby of the police station. They told me they would have an officer meet me when one was available. I waited at the police station for over three hours and they never sent an officer. I was completely ignored. There was no one to follow up with or to help me file a citation. An officer is required to fill out the police report so without an officer, I could not file the citation. I don’t know if this is because the police do not take cyclist harassment/death threats seriously or because they have no idea what the existing laws are. It was very discouraging and made me question how Portland can ever become the place for biking that it claims to be of the options for enforcement are completely dismissed. I would suggest not wasting your time with this process.

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    • Avatar
      What are the chances? April 4, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Do you think they ever sent an officer your way? Did someone laugh thinking they could
      Make you wait for 3 plus hours?

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      OGB April 8, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      I was sure that the main purpose of the Citizen Initiated Citation process is to be able to get offenders cited when the police will not cooperate. There must be a way other than relying on a police officer’s cooperation to put through a citation request and get it seen by a judge.

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    • Avatar
      Fred April 9, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      @eastsider Your experience is close to mine. I once called PPB about driver harassment and they sent an officer to me at work. But boy was that officer pissed off when he arrived. He said there’s no real crime in my part of town (SW Portland) and even though I had a license-plate number, he said there was really nothing he could do – “freedom of speech,” etc. He strongly implied I was wasting his time. So if you’re going to take on the police, it’s really a full-time job.

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    J_R April 4, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    This is yet another example of why city commissioners, district attorneys, and cops need to have some personal experience on bicycles – by themselves, without back-up.

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      John Lascurettes April 4, 2019 at 5:55 pm

      It would even be better if we had mote dedicated traffic enforcement officers. Then we’d have some cops that would care about this. As is, they could hardly show Lars’s care about it.

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      • Avatar
        John Lascurettes April 4, 2019 at 6:46 pm

        *more

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      • Avatar
        John Lascurettes April 4, 2019 at 6:46 pm

        *less care

        (man, that’s what I get for typing something on my phone on my way out the door)

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        • Avatar
          Fred April 9, 2019 at 2:08 pm

          You were right the first time: Lars doesn’t care. 😉

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    bikeninja April 4, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    In a sane civilization simple video or multiple witness testimony should be enough to have a person such as this stripped of their drivers license forever as they are clearly in no position to be driving an automobile. The right to drive is a privilege that should be predicated on driving behavior that is both safe and courteous, clear evidence that a person has violated this trust should be all that is necessary to take steps to insure they do not endanger others with a deadly vehicle again.

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    • Avatar
      Squeaky Wheel April 5, 2019 at 9:10 am

      In your view, the issue is solved and justice is served by removing the car from the equation. It’s always about the car. What about the person? If someone is a dick to me, my first thought doesn’t go to the car he or she is in. Hell, my second, third, and fourth thought don’t go to that. I don’t understand why everything has to be about the car. Maybe it’s just within the context of this blog. If I told my suburban friends about this incident, I wonder how long we’d have to talk about how unfortunate it was until we got to the basest reduction of “bikers versus drivers.” Because, to spell it out, we’d be more focused on the people, and how the person needs to be punished for his actions, not his transportation mode choice. Let me spell it out even further: the car didn’t make him do this. The. Car. Didn’t. Make. Him. Do. This.

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        bikeninja April 5, 2019 at 9:26 am

        @Squeaky Wheel,

        In a perfect world we would focus on the person, but this is a much higher bar legally and leads requires more support from law enforcement and the justice system. But viewing the driving of an automobile on public roads as a privilege that can be taken away is much simpler. If a group of toddlers at a day care are hitting each other with toy trucks it is simple, effective and fair to take away the toy trucks, but it is very complicated and troubling on many levels to charge the kids with a crime or commit them to the mental health system. Having a license to purchase and use construction explosives is an extreme privilege that can be taken away with only a minimum of legal process, I only propose we treat automobiles the same way.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 12:27 pm

          Only it’s not easy to take away someone’s ability to drive. Even viewing it as a privilege doesn’t mean some arbitrary person can just revoke it — you still need a process, rules, a judge or arbiter of some sort, evidence, mechanism of appeal, protections against abuse, etc.

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          • Avatar
            idlebytes April 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm

            It’s quite easy. We could re-write our laws so that the punishment for driving infractions is no longer a fine but seizure of their vehicle. I mean if you lose your car for 3 days because you were speeding. I bet when you get your car back you’ll be paying a lot more attention. That simple change would alter a lot of peoples behaviors pretty quickly because it’s so much more inconvenient then paying a fine.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 2:09 pm

              While I don’t disagree with this in principle, I’ll bet it would lead to many fewer speeding citations. Maybe this would be ok.

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        mh April 5, 2019 at 10:40 am

        The car didn’t make him do it, but it’s a helluva weapon if he is inclined to do such things. Assault (the threat) with a deadly weapon.

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        John Lascurettes April 5, 2019 at 10:44 am

        Well, in a way, the car [culture] did facilitate him doing this. And the system that makes it so easy to drive a car, and to maintain the privileges to continue driving a car, and that it is de facto the most convenient transportation choice for most (so much that many see it as the only viable option), and roads that value automobiles more than other modes — those things together definitely put people who shouldn’t ever be driving behind the wheel. Yet, we see all of that as normal — because people feel they have to drive (particularly those that get apoplectic about alternative transportation).

        Having a driver’s license should be a much more specialized and restricted status; and it definitely should be much, much harder to hold onto a license. Get into a collision where you’re considered at fault? Then you should be required to take a training course or lose your license. Got enough infraction points on your license? Then you you should be required to take that same course. As is, you pay the fines and move on with your bad habits.

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        Johnny Bye Carter April 5, 2019 at 11:01 am

        A car gives people both a huge weapon and a huge shield. The average person will not start a fight with 2 other people as the odds aren’t generally in their favor. A driver is more than willing to use the safety of their position to wield the weapon they’re driving against others with no such advantage.

        The car is absolutely the problem.

        Jerks are generally not an issue. Jerks in armor wielding weapons are an issue.

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        El Biciclero April 5, 2019 at 11:09 am

        I would agree with everything John Lascurettes said above. However, I would state it even more strongly, as an instance of “Power Corrupts”. Feeling entitled to the privilege of wielding overwhelming force (compared to the non-motorized) can lead to changes in psychology that do indeed embolden or entice people to engage in more aggressive behavior. Reminding people that wielding that kind of power is a tenuous privilege they should feel honored to have rather than feel entitled to, could have beneficial effects in changing the attitudes of the person. At the very least, it would be a harm reduction measure.

        The other thing I would strengthen from John’s post is that I would change “lose your license” to “lose your car“. Until the vehicle is physically gone, there is nothing stopping those with suspended or revoked licenses, no insurance, etc. from driving the car that is still sitting in their driveway.

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        idlebytes April 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm

        Adding onto what those above me have said. I’m curious if any of your friends from the suburbs act more aggressive behind the wheel then they would when they’re out of their car. I’ve known a number of people that yell and scream and become irrational when they’re driving and I’ve even pointed it out to them at the time. Being separated from people inside your car definitely changes how you interact with them. It’s not much different then how people treat others online vs how they would interact with them in person.

        Have you really not encountered this before?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 12:31 pm

          Some of us do this on our bikes as well, so it may not entirely be the fault of the car.

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            idlebytes April 5, 2019 at 12:36 pm

            Are you just trying to be contrary for it’s own sake? I mean road rage and people acting terrible to others in their car is pretty well established. It’s so common I would say every person who drives has either acted irrationally at times or at least knows another person who drives that does.

            How common is it for a person on a bike to act out? It’s not nearly as frequent and the typical impetuous of it is people acting dangerously around them in their car.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 12:44 pm

              I don’t know which is more common, but I have seen irrational anger by cyclists (to the extent they might follow a driver home and slash their tires). I can’t speak to frequency (as I see relatively little of it from drivers or cyclists, luckily), but I do know it happens. I think there is something about being on the road with other people that turns unintended slights into perceived aggression.

              Certainly, when you are in a car, you have more opportunity to act on that anger.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm

                Sorry – track them down on Twitter then slash their tires.

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              • Avatar
                idlebytes April 5, 2019 at 12:50 pm

                So I’ll take that as a yes. The difference of course between being on the road on a bike vs a car is how vulnerable you are. How common is it for a cyclist to yell at someone for not going fast enough, for not going through an intersection when they would have, for being on the road, for being on the sidewalk or for not noticing the light has changed?

                Trying to point to a small fraction of cyclists that may feel entitled enough on their bike to do similar things as irrational people in cars is dishonest. The majority of things you see cyclists yelling about are the same things people cars do. Who wouldn’t get upset when someone acts dangerously around them or almost hits them. Cyclists aren’t acting out in similar ways because they’re not protected and separated from people.

                Again it’s just like the internet are you gonna deny that too and say well some people do act out in person?

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                idlebytes April 5, 2019 at 1:17 pm

                To clarify: Cyclists aren’t acting out in the impatient, threatening ways that drivers do. Sure you can point to a few rare instances but it’s not nearly as common as the casual way people in cars do it. I mean just the other day I tried to talk to a woman that passed me approaching at a stop sign who ended up on the left side of the road at the sign. I wanted to tell her why that was dangerous but she just drove off. I’m sure if that woman did something dangerous outside her car I could have talked to her and explained and she would have apologized.

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                Fred April 9, 2019 at 3:35 pm

                Sorry, Kitty, but I think everyone who has ever cycled has experienced heightened levels of aggression from people driving cars. Too many people seem to feel empowered by their ability to push 4000+ lbs with 200+ horsepower to take out their aggression on people riding bicycles, who can generate maybe 0.15 horsepower on a good day. I was once chased by an old lady (had to be over 70 years old) in a van for knocking over a pot of flowers she had placed on the sidewalk in front of her house. Yes, she may have been unhinged mentally, but her ability to get into her 5000-lb vehicle and chase after me at high speed certainly made the act feasible. There should be dire consequences for using your vehicle in this way.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

                For following a vandal who had just knocked over her flowers?

                But more generally, I totally agree that people who menace others with their cars should prosecuted just as they would be when they wield anything else as a weapon. I’m not sure why you would think I would disagree with that.

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    Doug Hecker April 4, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    The city has decided that items like this aren’t worth their time. Why? Because we continue to vote for people who do not value the police force. I find it backwards that we vote this way and then want them when we need them. It doesn’t work that way. I call non-emergency and get the same response. We need more people answering the phones at 823-Safe, operators at PPB who know what they are doing, and commissioners who value events like this. Until then, we’re just banging our heads against the wall.

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      Gary B April 5, 2019 at 7:59 am

      We have close to 150 vacancies on the PPB because they don’t have enough candidates to fill them. But yeah, tell me how it’s my vote that resulted in–in your view–not enough cops.

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        SERider April 5, 2019 at 9:16 am

        A lot of cops have left though because they have been tired of having their hands tied by city hall/council. In outer SE we continually hear it from frustrated officers (many of whom quit) when trying to help out.
        So yes, politicians do matter on these issues.

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      9watts April 6, 2019 at 8:55 am

      “people who do not value the police force”

      This is so over-the-top, ridiculous.
      Have you missed how throughout the entire country the cops have done a thorough job ruining their own reputation without any help from us, through a combination of poor judgment, racist profiling, trigger happy abuse and murder of minorities, the mentally ill, and the poor?

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    rick April 4, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    One person driving a car told me that I should not be riding a bike on West Burnside Street. It was near 20th and I was riding east. Traffic was moving at about 13 mph.

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    Dan A April 4, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Platinum!

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    JeffS April 4, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Remember that it is your history of voting that lead to a culture of lawlessness.
    Remember that the police are as frustrated as you are, knowing that if they arrest someone, the DA is going to let them walk. On the off chance that the DA pursues, the judge will most likely let them walk.

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    B. Carfree April 4, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve found that it is helpful to not let the dispatcher know that you were using a bike when you were menaced. Seriously, if a bicycle is involved the incident seems to go to the bottom of the tall pile and there will be no response.

    I suspect this is simple tribalism: cops live in cars, both on and off-duty. People on bikes are the “other”. As others have noted, we probably need some sort of mandatory bicycle riding by cops (all government employees, if you ask me) if we want to get past this othering of people based on their means of transportation.

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    Steve Scarich April 5, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Most here miss the point. PPD does not have enough cops to respond to these sorts of things, which happen dozens of times every day with mentally ill street people. So, they created a new level of staff, non-sworn officers. Guess what, of the first 61 applicants, only three passed background checks. Nothing is going to change soon.

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      Mike Quigley April 5, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Drug tests are now called “background checks.” They couldn’t pass the drug test.

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        Johnny Bye Carter April 5, 2019 at 11:39 am

        “They couldn’t pass the drug test.”

        Probably for a drug that’s legal here and the PPB doesn’t cite for at the national level it’s illegal at. Something that you can buy and use legally all over the west coast disqualifies you from employment.

        Also, you can’t have used any federally illegal drugs within the past year.

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        Steve Scarich April 6, 2019 at 12:17 pm

        You’re right. Many of the rejections are based on something as ‘minor’ as pot in the bloodstream. I have mixed feelings about cops being potheads, although I have know many who do a fine job.

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          donttreadonme April 9, 2019 at 2:25 pm

          Yes, cops being wife beating alcoholics is a much better situation..

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      9watts April 6, 2019 at 9:00 am

      “PPD does not have enough cops”

      Lots of ways to parse this. I think they have plenty of cops; our system just has them responding to situations for which they are ill-suited, making society dramatically less safe. Instead of sending a dozen cops to kill one mentally ill person, or an unarmed black male, how about sending individual cops out to apprehend people who are actually threatening the public?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 6, 2019 at 11:21 am

        What is it you think the police do? Actually, don’t answer that. Instead, please spend a night doing a police ride-along to see how it really is.

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          Jim April 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm

          What is it that you think police do?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty April 6, 2019 at 4:10 pm

            Something different than sending out dozen-man hit squads to kill the mentally ill and black males.

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              9watts April 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm

              John Elifritz, James Chasse, Patrick Kimmons, Quanice Hayes, and dozens more.

              You find it easy to disagree, but on what basis?
              Do you have explanations for why each of the people in the very long list below deserved to die at the hands of or in the custody of the PPB?

              http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/listofshootings.html

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 6, 2019 at 6:21 pm

                No one “deserves” to die at the hands of the police.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 6, 2019 at 6:47 pm

                And I should probably add that one need to defend any particular police action, nor be a police apologist in general to note that your characterization is neither accurate nor helpful, or to acknowledge that the job of policing is highly complex and difficult and does not lend itself well to blanket black-and-white statements.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 6, 2019 at 6:48 pm

                ugh… “need not defend”

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                9watts April 6, 2019 at 7:07 pm

                “No one “deserves” to die at the hands of the police.”

                Another platitude.

                The trouble with your bland assertions is that the people who do die at the hands of our police, complexity notwithstanding, are mostly poor, mentally ill, or black. I’m sure you have complex explanations for why that is, but it doesn’t have to be so, and murdering all those people does not make our city any safer, and it unquestionably makes it much less safe for people in those various communities.

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        dwk April 6, 2019 at 7:48 pm

        ” I think they have plenty of cops”
        Do you anything but cliches?
        Petty crime and theft is ruining this city.
        Bike thefts are epidemic, I have had car smash and grab in the last 6 months..
        Portland Police can not respond too anything..
        Apparently you did not even read the article you replied to.

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          9watts April 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm

          “Petty crime and theft is ruining this city.”

          Talk about cliches…
          Maybe that explains why everyone is moving here?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty April 8, 2019 at 8:27 pm

            No… they’re coming for the housing.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 8, 2019 at 8:30 pm

              (My point being that people coming here does not mean [insert cliche issue] is not a problem.)

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                9watts April 8, 2019 at 10:40 pm

                Except… if it were really as bad as dwk would have us believe ‘ruining this city’ you’d expect some demographic repercussions.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

                How do you know we don’t have “demographic repercussions”? Unless you judge solely by the number of immigrants, in which case both Portland and the US as a whole must be doing better than I thought.

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    Johnny Bye Carter April 5, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Time to start taking the lane on division more often. He can’t get away with yelling at all of us.

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      Jonathan Radmacher April 5, 2019 at 10:09 am

      While we have a right to take the lane, riding for any length of time on Division is just a bad idea, particularly where we have a designated bike street one block away, with great diverters and speed bumps.

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        dan April 5, 2019 at 10:15 am

        I half-agree. Traffic on Division is so slow (especially behind a bus) that often a cyclist isn’t holding anyone up. That especially applies if you’re going downhill. But it is usually easier to know the cross street you want and pop out at the right place on Division.

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        Johnny Bye Carter April 5, 2019 at 11:40 am

        I think this is the same attitude of the driver described in this story.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        I disagree. Riding on Division (downhill, at least) is probably safer than Clinton — you can ride near the speed of traffic, and drivers entering the street do so extra cautiously because they expect a car to be coming. Clinton is much more a roll of the dice.

        Uphill, when speeds are much lower, is a different story.

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          9watts April 6, 2019 at 9:03 am

          If I have business to take care of on Division—and I do, regularly coming from the North—I am not, NOT, going to ride on Clinton. I really don’t understand, resent the mentality which would have us sequester ourselves on the side streets.

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    Gary B April 5, 2019 at 9:32 am

    It’s interesting that although the dispatcher said nothing about not having a resource available to help, many commenters here charitably assume that was the reason, then go on to blame their chosen political circumstances as the cause.

    Anyway, Option 4: Post the car and driver description.

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      Johnny Bye Carter April 5, 2019 at 11:30 am

      “Option 4: Post the car and driver description.”

      I’m all for some good old fashioned public shaming. Also, this person might be a delivery driver for food apps such as GrubHub and PostMates and I want to make sure they’re not the ones delivering things we might order from that area.

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    dan April 5, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Squeaky Wheel
    In your view, the issue is solved and justice is served by removing the car from the equation. It’s always about the car. What about the person? If someone is a dick to me, my first thought doesn’t go to the car he or she is in. Hell, my second, third, and fourth thought don’t go to that. I don’t understand why everything has to be about the car. Maybe it’s just within the context of this blog. If I told my suburban friends about this incident, I wonder how long we’d have to talk about how unfortunate it was until we got to the basest reduction of “bikers versus drivers.” Because, to spell it out, we’d be more focused on the people, and how the person needs to be punished for his actions, not his transportation mode choice. Let me spell it out even further: the car didn’t make him do this. The. Car. Didn’t. Make. Him. Do. This.Recommended 3

    Sure, but it’s the car that enabled him to menace and intimidate. If he was on foot, this interaction wouldn’t have happened. Makes more sense to strip driving privileges from someone like this — removing access to their tool of intimidation — than jail them, wouldn’t you say?

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    X April 5, 2019 at 10:58 am

    After the second pass? Call them in as DUI. Very likely true, but certainly plausible. As above, no mention of bikes because that seems to chill response at all levels. Sorry, PPB, but you have to wear that one.

    If 911 is reached, tell angry dude help is on the way, get ready to walk the line. If you’re comfortable doing it, camera in one hand and U lock in the other. Otherwise, stand on sidewalk w/ bike in front of you, ready to feed the bike frame under their legs if they advance. Retreat into a business. If nothing else, go onto a porch and ring the bell. If there are chairs that could also be a defensive block.

    I’m not a brave person myself, these are things that are easy to say in hindsight. An ex-marine of my acquaintance takes the tactic of telling people “you’re scaring me.” Which may be really good advice, I don’t know.

    I like that you contacted the employer. They have to protect themselves from liability and also they need to know what their business model is doing to people. Maybe that person in the car is angry and desperate because they’re in bad economic straits and facing a lot of insecurity? –speculation.

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    psymonetta April 5, 2019 at 11:44 am

    There’s an attribution error going on here. The dispatcher is a Bureau of Emergency Communications employee – which is different than PPB. If the call was never sent to PPB, PPB was never involved in the entire incident. Just a point of clarification to ensure that the proper bureau is involved in the complaint. A lot of blame is being put on the police here when they never even had the opportunity to be involved because the 911 Dispatcher was the one to triage and round file the call.

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    JeffP April 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Accept the challenge offered. Worst case scenario the person gets out and comes after you – someone will get that footage and after they leave the vehicle, they are then the exhibited aggressor. However, 9.9 times out of 10 – they drive off after saying something about not having the time to ‘learn you a lesson’.

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    LT April 5, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Here’s a great solution for you, get a cheap streaming camera (GoPro or such) and ride with it on so that you have a record of these things and can get the license plate on film.

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    eddie April 5, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    I would do my best to video the whole incident then send the video to relevant parties. In this case, Lyft. Good job calling them, and I’m sorry the cops didn’t do more.

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    bendite April 5, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    When someone says “you wanna fight punk?”, you get them out of their car and quickly watch them sing a different tune. Cops don’t give a sh*t in these situations.

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    Caelin April 6, 2019 at 12:38 am

    I got rear ended by a drunk driver in a 10 mph zone, he ricocheted and destroyed 9 cars in total. He was rude to the many witnesses and police, admitted to being drunk, and even said he did it on purpose in order to scare his girlfriend and year-old infant who were his passengers. All charges were dropped, including 2 felonies, in a plea deal. He recieved a 3 month license suspension and a free, shiny new car.

    Ive got another more twisted story about actual attempted mass murder, peeling out into a group bike ride on an empty 4 lane street, while screaming intent and damaging their vehicle in the process. Nobody was hurt. Plenty of witnesses and video, but after dozens of reports it was never even acknowledged. Unless you hit a celebrity with your car, it is practically encouraged.

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      9watts April 6, 2019 at 9:06 am

      Are either of these horrific, infuriating incidents written up anywhere? I am not doubting your descriptions, but would like to learn more. The level of outrageousness when it comes to letting unhinged drivers off the hook seems to know no bounds.

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    chris April 6, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Don”t depend on the police for anything, especially in SE. I was literally watching some guy pick my front door lock through the peephole when I was at home with my 1 year old, called 911, and they just put me on hold. The guy got spooked when my next door neighbor went outside but I saw him hanging out in front of the meth house down the block 20 minutes later, called the cops again, and they didn’t even bother sending anyone over.

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    Cory Poole April 6, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    While I’ve rarely had these kinds of interactions in portland. I had them all the time when I lived in Salem. Riding a bike or more often a Skateboard apparently made me free game to harass or worse. I’ve had food, garbage, drink containers and fireworks thrown out of cars at me. I’ve been run off the road and verbally threatened more times than can count. The police NEVER took my concerns seriously. Even with license #s and driver description.
    This is a real problem. If a person was threatening the public with a gun the police would respond in force. A car is every bit as lethal as a gun yet we are left to fend for ourselves.

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      9watts April 6, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      “If a person was threatening the public with a gun the police would respond in force.”

      While I agree 100% with your larger point it is also worth noting how this shakes out by race. White people shooting up a church full of black people are (somehow) apprehended without lethal force*, yet unarmed black boys and men who are in their grandmother’s back yard, or asleep in their car, or walking down the street are routinely murdered by law enforcement across this country and in our city, who then reflexively claim all sorts of nonsense about how they feared for their lives and were forced to kill these people.

      “A car is every bit as lethal as a gun yet we are left to fend for ourselves.”

      Yes.

      * https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article24952345.html

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        Cory P April 6, 2019 at 10:44 pm

        I agree. Riding a bike or skateboard on the street is a rare opportunity for me as a white guy to get a small glimpse of the inequities faced by many minorities every day.
        This is one of the reasons why I work to get skateboarding legalized in cities. In too many cases the pretext of skateboarding is used by the police to harass or search people, ( often minorities or the poor ). Unlike them I can easily shed my ‘minority’ status and rejoin the entitled. We all need to work more to make sure that inequities are addressed where ever possible.
        All that said, I still feel that more needs to be done to end the harassment and intimidation of cyclists and skaters on our roads.

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    mark smith April 7, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    A concealed carry license is still quite easy to get in Oregon. Google is your friend, and so is a 9mm.

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      Mike Quigley April 8, 2019 at 8:05 am

      This is a hoot! A concealed carry bike rider in a shootout with a concealed carry motorist. Who has is most vulnerable (besides innocent bystanders)? Only in America.

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      Dan April 8, 2019 at 10:44 am

      This is actually something that has crossed my mind, but honestly, wouldn’t open carry have more deterrent effect?

      I mean, when are you going to pull your concealed handgun? When you need both your hands to steer / brake to evade the loony toon that’s threatening you? After the incident has passed and he/she is driving away? Doesn’t seem like it would be much help in either case. Open carry, on the other hand, seems like it might encourage civility and head off potential incidents, but at the cost of possibly getting attention from LEO / freaking people out.

      Overall, I’m not sure the cost / benefit pencils out.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 8, 2019 at 11:10 am

        I’ve often thought that the reason I have experienced fewer conflicts with drivers than other people report is because I commute with my AR-15 strapped to my back. The American flag fluttering behind me keeps the police at bay.

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          Brian April 8, 2019 at 1:49 pm

          AR-15, huh? I just put a huge SLAYER backpatch on my Showers Pass rain jacket. No one messes with SLAYER fans. \m/\m/

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          dan April 8, 2019 at 1:49 pm

          Strapped to your back? Psshaw, how will you get it when you need it in a hurry? 😉

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    Mark smith April 8, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Mike Quigley
    This is a hoot! A concealed carry bike rider in a shootout with a concealed carry motorist. Who has is most vulnerable (besides innocent bystanders)? Only in America.Recommended 0
    </blockqaure

    Sure, only in your fantasy world.

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    Mark smith April 8, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Wow. You guys have active imaginations. Someone is welcome to “harass” me (whatever snowflake definition that is this week. If they decide to get out of their car and follow me up on the sidewalk, it just might he snowing for them.

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      Chris I April 9, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Internet tough guy acts like tough guy on internet.

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    Mark smith April 10, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Just remember, some legislature critters are incensed that the words ‘traffic violence” even exists. Hey, if we don’t use the word. It doesn’t happen right? Just like when women and kids were routinely beaten by drunk and angry dad. Until we had a word and a crime for it (domestic violence) cops just walked in by.

    It’s time for a traffic violence section in the law.

    Kate, you listening? Peter philandering Courtney? You listening?

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    Not a zen cyclist April 13, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I admire everyone’s ability to stay cool in this situation. As a white 40 something male who is in decent physical shape I have to admit, I would lose my shit at this driver. In fact something similar happened recently and a white dude in his 60s harassed me while I was crossing SE 52nd at Division. He was very angry that I cycled across the street while the pedestrian light was green but the traffic light was red. I asked him if he’d like to pull over and chat about his problem with me and he did. Things were pretty heated and I was prepared for violence but it did not come to that. We called each other some choice names (some of which he needed me to explain to him) but it went absolutely nowhere. Zero resolution. We agreed to part with one thing viewpoint in common, this planet and everyone who inhabits it are fucked. Anyway, I’d never waste time calling the police (even when a driver physically shoved me) but I say this in full acknowledgment of my privilege.

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