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Man says he was ‘hunted’ and harassed by a driver while riding alone on rural road

Posted by on May 14th, 2019 at 12:24 pm

This is the intersection of NW Skyline and Moreland, where Joe Harris called 911 to report what he calls a “bike stalker”. The suspect was waiting for him in the turnout in the upper left when he summited the climb (from the right).
(Photo: Joe Harris)

Northwest Portland resident Joe Harris says he experienced a nightmare.

“He was slow and methodical, he stared me down, he drove alongside… at other times he drove ahead and waited for me, then simply drifted around incessantly tailing me at about 50 meters.”
— Joe Harris

The way Harris tells it, on Sunday, May 5th, he was riding alone up NW Moreland Road in rural Multnomah County (about 12 miles northwest of the St. Johns Bridge) when he noticed a man in a white, late model Subaru Outback had rolled up behind him. Harris says the driver “hunted” him for a half hour.

“At several points, he drove alongside and attempted to engage in conversation and asked if I needed to stop for water; at other times he drove ahead and waited for me, then simply drifted around incessantly tailing me at about 50 meters,” Harris wrote on his personal Facebook page.

Realizing he was alone and in a place without cell coverage, Harris rode up the hill as fast as he could. When he finally made it to the intersection with Skyline Road, he called 911. As he made the call, he looked up, only to realize that the man in the Subaru had pulled into the turnout to wait for him. Then the man began to drive toward Harris. “He started cutting across the road and straight towards me,” Harris explained. Thankfully he was saved when a woman riding a horse from a nearby ranch emerged onto the road and the man drove away.

It was, Harris recalled later, “Hands down, the scariest lazy Sunday spin I’ve had for decades.”

Map of the alleged incident drawn by Joe Harris.

Two officers from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office responded quickly. Harris said one drove off to look for the suspect and the other escorted him to the (relative) safety of Highway 30. As they made their way to the main highway, Harris said they came up on another rider who said he was also harassed by the same driver.

This man in the Subaru allegedly harassed Harris and used his car as to menace him. To make it even creepier, Harris recalled something like the words, “I fear only Satan” or “Satan is afraid of me” written in red marker on the car’s tailgate.

Reached via phone last week, Harris said the incident has shaken him on many levels. “This guy was on my tail for 30 minutes. He did not give up. He waited for me. And when he passed, he was slow and methodical, he stared me down,” Harris said. The man tried to start conversations with Harris several different times. When he took a swig from his water bottle, the man sped up, drove slowly right beside him, held up a two-liter jug of water and said, “Do you want to stop for some water.”

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Harris, an IT consultant and co-editor of The Outer Line on Velo News, is convinced the man had these interactions planned out beforehand in an effort to expose his vulnerabilities. Harris also thinks the man had a police radio scanner on inside the car so he would know if authorities were onto him. NW Moreland is one of the roads in that area without cell coverage and it has very little traffic — both facts Harris thinks were well-known to the suspect.

The driver is a white male in his 20s to early 30s with closely buzzed hair with a sharp chin and nose and sunken eyes. He’s driving a late-model white Subaru Outback with a smashed right front fender and tailgate.

Portlander Justin Gericke saw Harris’ post on Facebook and it seemed very familiar to him. Gericke was biking on SW Terwilliger last summer when a man with creepy behavior, driving a car with the same description, came up next to him and tried to engage him in conversation. “He appeared to be under the influence of something,” Gericke recalled when I asked him for details. “And he became offensive after I declined to engage him.” Gericke immediately called 911 as the man in the car yelled at him and he only sped away after a long line of other drivers had stacked up behind him.

“I cannot be certain it was the same guy, but the encounter was similar enough to me to think it was,” Gericke shared.

Harris thinks if it was the same man, he’s purposely moved further away from the city to more remote locations. “He’s going further out for isolation for whatever he’s hunting,” is how Harris put it.

I’m still trying to confirm the case with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. I spoke with a deputy today who couldn’t immediately find Harris’ case. The deputy who Harris met out on Skyline isn’t back on duty until Thursday.

Portland-based lawyer and author of Bicycling and the Law, Bob Mionske, has spoken to Harris about the incident. Mionske says bringing a legal case against this driver would be difficult unless there were corroborating witnesses and a positive identification of the driver could be made. “In the meantime,” Mionske shared with me today, “It’s best we all share information about this guy and take precautions until we determine his motivation.”

Please be careful and keep your eyes peeled for the suspect: Harris says the driver is a white male in his 20s to early 30s with closely buzzed hair, a sharp chin and nose and sunken eyes. He’s driving a late-model white Subaru Outback with a smashed right front fender and tailgate. Harris also noticed his front license plate was bent and damaged.

Given the details of this case, we’re concerned that this guy is still out there and poses an imminent threat. Remember, it’s always safer to ride in a group. “Be aware of the roads you’re using when riding alone,” Harris shared, “and try to use routes with more frequent traffic and generally stronger cellular reception for emergencies.”

If you have interacted with this person and/or see him, please call 911 or the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office at 503-988-4300.

— 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

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Pat LowellEl Biciclerowas carlessQbettie Recent comment authors
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SilkySlim
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SilkySlim

Are you kidding me!!?!?! This is terrifying.

And just to lighten the mood just a notch, at least he didn’t have a Tom Selleck-esque mustache.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

Joe, so sorry this happened to you, but thanks for giving us a heads up.

Skyline area and Washington County used to have such quiet country roads, but now it seems like the suburban sprawl is bringing big-city car culture out that way. Between that and the loss of our beloved inner-city infrastructure like the 205 path, Portland is becoming a really depressing place for bike culture. WTF is happening here?!

Stephen Stills
Guest
Stephen Stills

What it is ain’t exactly clear.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

Which is more common: someone distracted by a vibrating toy while driving or a dangerous individual like the one described in this article? Both are real risks, but one involves some 5-10% of motorists and the other is closer to hen’s teeth. So I think I’ll pass on using roads with more traffic and cell reception. If I felt strongly that I need to be able to phone in trouble I’d purchase a satellite phone and maybe some other “tools”, though if it comes to that I may have to reconsider where I’m living.

As to riding in groups, to each his/her own. I’m not a fan of putting yet another barrier in place that might discourage people from getting out and enjoying some riding. If you have folks you enjoy riding with, by all means get on out there with them. If not, you’ll probably have a longer, healthier life if you saddle up and roll alone. I’ve met some fabulous riding partners in the past while out solo. One of them had even helped build the house I owned at the time.

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

S&W Airweight

Q
Guest
Q

Sounds like a good reason to carry concealed in multnomah county.

Zander77
Guest
Zander77

I never go out sans pepper spray at the very least.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Problem is, with the outfits worn by most cyclists, concealing a carry is difficult. Wear street clothes.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

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Q
Guest
Q

I’m not a roadie but thanks for the advice I guess?

Dan A
Subscriber
Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Yikes! So many stories today about sketchy behavior on the rural westside where I ride! One tip, if you’re unfamiliar with the area is use Google maps ahead of time to scan which driveways lead to the many farmhouses, horse ranches, vineyards and Christmas tree farms in the area. It may feel unpopulated, but actually there are quite a lot of people living out there who could help if you’re really being menaced dangerously. Even just getting past a locked gate he can’t drive though onto a logging road or driveway could shake him off and possibly help you find cell signal.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

More proof that the modern motoring lifestyle ( happy motoring) degrades ones sanity and creates full blown nut cases like this one. I think the universe is unhappy with the way we humans have treated the pale blue dot upon which we live and is getting ready to teach us a lesson. Remember the words of Prometheus, ” Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“More proof that the modern motoring lifestyle …”

…what?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

If that were the case, we would expect to see this happen thousands of times a day. We do not.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Remember there are different kinds of madness. From where I sit many drivers exhibit a kind of frantic insanity that manifests itself in many ways, this guy is only one of the more extreme cases.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’d say that this highlights the issue with our modern licensing and mental health care systems. Someone like this should absolutely not be driving, but we don’t really have a way to check in on drivers as they age, and potentially, go crazy. Although, given how ridiculously lax our testing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy could pass a driving test.

Adam
Guest
Adam

This sadly reminds me of the incident that took place a few days ago, where a man on the Appalachian Trail murdered one man with a machete and critically injured his female companion.

The “disturbed and unstable” man had been known to law enforcement agencies since April, because of his behavior threatening hikers, waving knives at them etc. He was arrested, and released, and shortly afterwards, killed someone.

This dude in a car sounds pretty similar, which is terrifying.

donttreadonme
Guest
donttreadonme

Agreed, this fits the pattern of escalating behavior and isn’t going to stop until this person is apprehended or he kills someone. It’s pretty safe to guess that he started with animals and wants more.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

“Arrested and released” is common across the U.S. as law enforcement needs are overwhelmed and budgets stretched thin. You have to protect yourself. America is no longer land of the free, home of the brave.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

We live in the safest period in human history. Turn off the sensationalist media.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

If by ‘we’ you mean ‘white men’.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The data I’ve seen doesn’t really get to those specifics. If you have data that is more specific (by gender and race), please share it.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-10-23/world-actually-safer-ever-and-heres-data-prove

Either way, my statement is true.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

How about just in a traffic sense?

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Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

Arrested and released is what happens under a still-relatively-non-fascist state when they can’t prove you committed a crime. Trust me this is for the best.

He had to be released after his detention back in April because none of those victims chose to press charges or testify.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Chris… “as they age”? This person is described as in 20’s-eary 30’s! Where is your comment coming from; let’s try to keep ageism out of this.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

As they age just means: as they get older. Most people take a driving test at 17 or 18 and then are never tested again. Someone can experience a mental health crisis months after they get their driver’s license, but that would still make them older than they were when they got it.

I think you misinterpreted my statement.

Q
Guest
Q

Misrepresenting statements in order to stir up an argument or feign outrage is quite popular these days, it’s up there with making false equivalencies to minimize reasonable positions with certain people who post here frequently.

was carless
Guest
was carless

He’s probably just a run of the mill serial killer.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

To follow up on the great Outside article shared yesterday here…Actually, this condition in today’s article may be a part of a greater / chronic issue than typically recognized in the mainstream media due to how the media amplify/ dog whistle (what originally the police communicate in press releases or police “accident” reports etc.) that there may be little risk of jail time in using motor vehicles as threats / weapons against vulnerable roadway users like cyclists. I have often thought, that cyclists may be one of the last subgroups of humans in our society that this behaviour may be tacitly sanctioned and approved.

A local to PDX example would how one of my family members now feels during her daily bike commutes on Columbia Street in Vancouver now that the public process to remove parking for traffic safety (separated bike lanes) in a school and park corridor has been mismanaged and the public ire directed back at cyclists “sharing” the roadway and her publicly voicing support for cars to only be stored in their driveways and garages. Thankfully no death threats or bottles have been hurled yet, but the mood on this public road has shifted after her 16 years of commuting and living along this corridor.

JRB
Guest
JRB

You might want to slow down on proposing that their is a causal relationship between driving and the sociopathic behavior of one individual.

bettie
Guest
bettie

I don’t believe the police responded as quickly as they said. I have never been able to get the police to do much of anything when I report anything. You have to be able to defend yourself on those rural roads because as a cyclist we are so vulnerable as it is. sad, but true.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Well, this was the Sheriff’s Department. I’ve always felt the Washington County Sheriff’s office has been very responsive to our (thankfully) very few (and relatively minor) local crime concerns. Maybe the Multnomah Co. Sheriff is equally responsive…?

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

So what was the license plate number of the Subaru?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

ILUVMETH

BradWagon
Subscriber

My question exactly… I am assuming Harris got it and it would be pretty easy for Police to find this person. This is why I ride with cameras though, to at least get vehicle descript and license plate if things happen to fast and I can’t.

Maddy
Subscriber
Maddy

How often do you have to charge your cameras?

Mike
Guest
Mike

My Cycliq cameras last 4-6 hours. That’s with the blinkers on too. Probably extend that a bit if I turned the lights off.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Roughly the same as Mike, my rear Cycliq can last a long road ride on a low flash. The front facing one is less but it does a day or two of commuting with a low flash. Cold weather really affect them though. The newer models likely better. In the dark months I charge them just about every day due absolutely needing the lights to stay on getting home.

Maria
Guest
Maria

Sorry to hear it. This has happened to me countless times, both on foot and on bike. It happened A LOT in Chicago, SOME in San Francisco and a couple times here. As a female person, I’ve come to expect it. On a similar note, I’m often shocked on bike tour when cyclists tell the “friendly motorist” where we live, where we’re riding, where we’re sleeping, how many of us there are etc. Be careful out there!

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

This is really unsettling.
I’ve had crazy motorists harrass and Chase me before, but in the city, and I could outrun/outmanuever the car.
I hope they catch the guy in the act and can jail him.

Maybe in addition to manditory drivers license retesting, there needs to be a Minnesota multiphasic assessment.
“Are you dangerously unstable? Oh, then you don’t get to drive this 2-ton battering ram”

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

The MMP test costs significant money each time it is used, as it is a copyrighted and licensed work. Also It’s validity for many uses has been questioned. I do believe retesting of state laws, possibly every two years would be highly appropriate. Hypothetically it was administered randomly without time to study ip, I bet there’d be a 50 % fail rate. Times have changed. The traveled infrastructure has changed a lot.

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

Yeah, I know, not super realistic. Just a “wouldn’t it be nice if…” vent/gripe.
It would be nice if there was a fairly reliable, not overly expensive way to screen out the people with dispositions/traits that make them unsafe to drive.

I like your “retest every two years, with no advance notice” idea. Much more ambitious than my hope for every 4 or 5 years.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Moreland is hardly the only local road with creepy history, or at least the vibes. It was just over ten years ago that a woman was murdered and dumped there, and slightly more recently the same happened on Larch Mountain. That’s just the stuff we know about, now imagine what happens on those remote strips of pavement we often have to ourselves.

Cell signal, companions, and feelings of perfect ease are all wonderful things, but rare on the rides I enjoy. I’ll be vigilant, and especially on the lookout for this guy, but we must refuse to let events, much less feelings, keep us from the things we love.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Let’s not forget that part of why this story is sketching people out – and of course it should – is that it happened to a white man. I know a lot of women with stories of creepy guys following them around and trying to “engage them” in awkward conversation. I also know nonwhite people who’ve had unpleasant harassing experiences in rural America.

Just some perspective. Not saying that this guy isn’t a public menace, and is likely to escalate his behavior, possibly violently. This kind of thing should not be tolerated regardless of the target of their harassment.

Glennf
Guest
Glennf

Time to get some Cycliq cameras

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

I’ve been on the fence about getting cameras on my bike, but it definitely removes the hearsay issue of pursuing criminal charges against harassment/assault by drivers.

Joe
Guest
Joe

few years back had driver brake checking me trying put me into his rear bumper, and pushing me to the curb was really trying to cause harm to me, few mins later after not taking me down he got upset and sped off and pulled over on side of the road jumped out and waiting for me in middle of the road I sprinted fast as i could to get around him as he was in the lane trying to tackle me off my bike, so I shot to other side of the road so I wouldn’t make contact with him just got around him as he lunged for me… scary as hell sorry..

Adam
Guest
Adam

It is incidents like this that make me want to get a handlebar-mounted or helmet mounted GoPro. As much as people who bike, hike, or trailrun are mocked for having GoPros, in a situation like this, it would be crucial in bringing anyone harrassing you to justice.

There’s no “He said/She Said…” when it’s on video. It would also capture a license plate effortlessly.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Is it safe to assume this was a Hillary or Sanders supporter since it was a young man in a Subaru Outback? I do recall from the other story the old man in the Mercedes was assumed to be a Trump supporter since we are into stereotyping.

Concordia Cyclcist
Guest
Concordia Cyclcist

Maybe the assumption wasn’t based on the vehicle, but due to the fact that he was old.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You do know that Trump has repeatedly espoused violence towards ‘others’ at his rallies, right?

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Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I have found that 99% of the smaller cameras’ do not have long enough recording time for more than at most 15 or 20 minutes without swapping out memory and/or recharging the battery. I refurbished an old obsolete 32 bit netbook that had only a 7.7GB SSD in it but a good battery. I hooked up a $10 web cam to it via a USB port that mounts on my helmet. I put the netbook in a small bag on the handle bars and programmed it to not go to sleep when the cover was closed. the Netbook records into a 64 GB flash drive and the battery is good for 6 hours. The flash drive can hold about 24 hours of video at 7.5 frames per second.

Mike
Guest
Mike

A few cycling cameras will used a 64gb card and operate on a loop. I’ll go through a battery (4-6 hours) before I see video from that ride being written over. The cameras will also lock a file if they detect motion consistent with a crash (i.e. like the bike falling over) so it doesn’t get overwritten.

MantraPDX
Guest
MantraPDX

I’m using a 64gb card in my Cycliq and I get about 1-2 weeks of footage at 1080P60 before the videos start rolling over. I ride around 1 hour per day.

ES
Guest
ES

Last week I was riding on Skyline at about Newberry, heading in the direction of Cornelius Pass. There were cyclists coming in the opposite direction, at a bend in the road, and just as we were about to pass each other the car behind them decided to pass, crossing a double yellow coming toward me. I raised my hand at him, first, to alert him to the fact that I was there and, also, to show my displeasure that he couldn’t have least waited to pass them until I was clear, as he was now in my lane. Open hand, not a fist, didn’t shake it at him or say anything, just to motion that I was there. So, a minute later he pulls up along side me after having turned his car around, yelling at me something about cars having the right to the road. I still didn’t say anything to him, but will admit I then gave him the finger as he sped off in front of me. He stopped in the road ahead of me, and so I stopped as well and pulled my phone out, ready to call 911. He then took off again, in obvious road rage, and as I rounded a bend he’d just turned around speeding back toward me, raging. I recall a story from a female cyclist who was being harassed by a man on Rock Creek a few years ago, had trouble getting the police to come out, and the advice was, tell the police you ‘fear for your safety’. That will get them running. So I was ready to dial and say just that but he left the scene without further incident. The Moreland incident would have freaked me out. Turn around, ride downhill to quickly exit the environment, that’s my plan.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I was driving on Skyline only last week, and came within inches of a car driver coming the opposite direction who decided with all two of their braincells to overtake a cyclist on a blind curve. That meant they were in the oncoming lame. I had to half swerve into a ditch to avoid them.

Skyline needs speed tables. It is a twisty windy road frequented by vulnerable road users. Not I-84.

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

Speed tables, center rumble strips through corners, painted optical illusions to make drivers feel like they’re speeding up at hazardous points, lower the speed limit to 30mph so people will only drive 45mph instead of 60mph, etc.

BradWagon
Subscriber

I’m a broken record on this but skyline needs to have its centerlines removed and made a single lane road where drivers are only permitted to use shoulders when negotiating oncoming traffic and AFTER yielding to any cyclists already using shoulder lanes.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I respectfully disagree. It is solid concrete infrastructure that slows drivers down, not signage.

Signage only works if there is enforcement in place. In my 16 years living in Portland I have not once seen a cop car on Skyline.

rick
Guest
rick

I have seen at least one law enforcement officer on or very close to NW Skyline Blvd (I see more Wash Co officers near SW Skyline than Portland / Multnomah) over the past four years of riding on or near NW Skyline. He was parked at the fire station parking lot by Skyline Elementary about one or two years ago.

He (and others) said that there is just one police officer from the Multnomah County Sheriff office on duty each day to patrol the entire westside of Multnomah County.

MantraPDX
Guest
MantraPDX

Ken S
I’ve been on the fence about getting cameras on my bike, but it definitely removes the hearsay issue of pursuing criminal charges against harassment/assault by drivers.Recommended 3

I felt the same way for so long. My main hangup was the thought that having a camera might shift my attitude about cycle commuting from happy-go-lucky to fearful and paranoid. I ended up buying a cam after the last garbage truck death and it quickly just became part of the normal bike routine. Don’t think much of it until I need it, so those fears were unfounded.

Just last week I was nearly smeared by a garbage truck on NW Naito. Wrote the company and reported it. The response was swift and remorseful and since I had screenshots to send them there was never any sense that they didn’t believe me or they didn’t care. At least if I do die my partner can have evidence to understand what happened and pursue legal options if the driver was at fault. After a couple close calls with the camera equipped I’m glad I have it now.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

It is strange what we can become accustomed to. Not being a big helmeteer in my youth, I now feel naked/borderline irresponsible if I don’t wear it (note I said “feel”; I don’t believe it is always irresponsible not to wear a helmet). Never used a mirror until a few years ago, now I feel less safe if I forget to attach it. Similarly, my handlebar camera goes along for every ride, and I feel a vague sense of additional vulnerability if I forgot to charge it or leave it at home.

However, I try to think of my camera as more of a “game tape” that I use to review rides or revisit segments where I thought something was out of the ordinary or interesting. Also, as I attempt to stay out of The Cloud as much as possible, my recordings serve as a stopwatch of sorts that I can use to see whether I just felt slow, or was actually slow, and to evaluate the efficiency of routes, etc.

Even though I capture crazy/impatient/careless driving by others on just about every single ride (commute), I still treat that footage as just another “point of interest” along the ride.

Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

I wish I could say the same, but the attaching/detaching, turning on/turning off and so forth, of my (both front and rear) cameras does indeed put me in a worse state of mind, not least because of the subtle mental shift you mention. I also resent that I’m basically volunteering to ruin, or at least erode, one of the nicest advantages of cycling, which is the simplicity of the “routine” upon starting or stopping. There’s no engine to start/stop, no doors to open/close, no windows to de-fog or defrost, generally not a great deal of searching for a parking space, and no reversing out of said space. But now I’m doing a lot of fiddling with two cameras and holding two buttons for a full two seconds each or whatever it is and waiting for them to not just come on like a light, but boot up like the little computers they are.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

With this, you make a good point. By the time I reset my computer/odometer, attach and turn on my camera, make sure my headlight and tail light are turned on (also little computers)—It does feel like I’ve gotten in my car, fastened my seatbelt, started the engine, run the defogger for a minute, and backed out of the driveway… I don’t even want to think about dressing in rain gear.

Josh G
Guest
Josh G

Just got a beer bottle thrown at me (inaccurately) on NE 33rd Dr. not too far off Marine Dr

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Craft or domestic? That’s how you can tell who they voted for.

Kidding! Again, this is beyond absurd behavior. Wtf.

donttreadonme
Guest
donttreadonme

Most crafts are domestic..

Josh G
Guest
Josh G

It was Corona

Abe.
Guest
Abe.

that’s why I always carry pepper spray with me when I bike beyond city lines. As a minority, I am not afraid to deal with such people, and I make it clear; and thankfully that always drives them away from me.

an example of that happened to me last summer around June, I was biking on Sauvie and I see a white Nissan Altima driving on the wrong side (the side that i’m on) and he was basically playing chicken, but between a car and a bike, clearly this person does not understand basic physics… anyway, I point to him that he’s driving on the wrong side, but he wouldn’t budge. my first reaction was to jump on the tight shoulder (Sauvie gravel shoulders) to dodge him, and by that time I thought that he was another meth head or one of the drunk drivers that you see out there when the weather is nice. between 30 or so feet he decides to “miss” me yet I was round 3 feet away from the body of the car. I don’t budge easily, that was scary, but now that he’s gone I just put my head down and continued to bike.

But WAIT there is more!!

2 seconds later I hear a tire squeal from the back, apparently that guy flipped a U and started “chasing” me, by “” I mean that I was riding at a 10ish mph pace to see whats up. he rolls by me and rolls down his window and start video taping me and shouting slurs and “you don’t want to mess with me” type of Crap. Apparently they were a bunch of shirtless kids with tattoos out looking for trouble. I stopped reached out for my spray incase they were to do something, because the driver started threating to “kill me” and “make me pay” all that because I was minding my own business and riding on the right side of the road. after a couple of min of these threats he sees that I wasn’t budging he simply peels off barely missing a white Prius on the other side of the road. I didn’t bother reporting it to the police because as a person of color I cant just call the police, trust me I tried many times before, but they always refer me to Non-emergency and want to talk to me after the fact.

this is by far the worst incident, but I have had more than that happen to me (some are funny too!).

anyway, ride in groups when you can, and stay vigilant, Always.

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Sigh, and then I also saw a former teammate post on Instagram today that he was chased and menaced for several blocks right in Portland until he pulled his phone out to take a pic. Be aware of a black or dark gray or blue newer Mercedes SUV Or. tree plate 179 KXJ.

Ron K
Guest
Ron K

Good God. Scary. I often ride out near North plains on Mountaindale and Pumpkin Ridge road, and I’ve had no issues with anybody on those roads. The only other road uses are usually farm equipmen, local farmers and hired workers (and other cyclists), and they’ve been very chill. I’ve ridden up to Moreland and Skyline and didn’t even think about cell coverage or any of this creepy stuff. Maybe it’s time to get a GoPro and some pepper spray.
FWIW, I’ve had way more issues in Hillsboro with aggressive dkheads, and even then, overall it’s not too bad.

bettie
Guest
bettie

The street racing car culture in Hillsboro scares me just as much in addition to a-holes in giant diesel pickups. I get every single on of them on camera and I have a list of repeat offenders. The cameras on both ends are worth it.

MantraPDX
Guest
MantraPDX

Glenn II
I wish I could say the same, but the attaching/detaching, turning on/turning off and so forth, of my (both front and rear) cameras does indeed put me in a worse state of mind, not least because of the subtle mental shift you mention. I also resent that I’m basically volunteering to ruin, or at least erode, one of the nicest advantages of cycling, which is the simplicity of the “routine” upon starting or stopping. There’s no engine to start/stop, no doors to open/close, no windows to de-fog or defrost, generally not a great deal of searching for a parking space, and no reversing out of said space. But now I’m doing a lot of fiddling with two cameras and holding two buttons for a full two seconds each or whatever it is and waiting for them to not just come on like a light, but boot up like the little computers they are.Recommended 0

I totally get it. In my case my camera and light are one unit so I swapped out a headlight I had to turn on every time with a camera/headlight I have to turn on every time. So a net wash in my situation. If I was also running a rear cam I would probably feel the same way you do. Some day I’ll probably upgrade my Garmin watch to one that will include the ability to automagically turn the lights on as soon as I start my ride.

I use mine in the same way El Biciclero does. I don’t look at the footage unless something of interest happened on the ride and in most cases the videos get automatically overwritten after a week or two when the memory card fills up. There have been a couple cases where I thought something was a major driver screwup and after reviewing the footage it doesn’t seem all that bad. Those are definitely edge cases though.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Until we get some cops, district attorneys, city commissioners, Oregon Transportation Commissioners, ODOT senior managers riding bikes and experiencing for themselves the same things we talk about on this forum, nothing will change.

Time for another enforcement action at Ladd’s Addition from PPB and a new annual report on the success of Vision Zero from PBOT.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

So, where is the crime here?

X
Guest
X

Like, no blood no foul? ‘Not a crime’ does not equal ‘perfectly fine normal behavior.’ We have laws that aren’t enforced. Stuff that is a crime doesn’t get prosecuted so hey it’s all fine to ruin somebody’s day power tripping in your cay.

X
Guest
X

. . .in your car.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The behavior is obviously not normal and not cool, but this is a good question. Following at 50 meters? Driving alongside a bicycle rider? Attempted awkward conversation with another road user? Waiting beside the roadway?

None of these things is illegal. Unless outright threats were made, there is not even cause for menacing (unless the final “driving at” the bicyclist right before the horse rider appeared could be considered menacing). We can’t claim “impeding traffic” if there was no other traffic. There is no case for unsafe passing, since driving alongside a bicyclist likely happens at speeds less than the 35-mph cutoff for that law to apply. No vehicular contact was made. If there was excessive “drifting”, and if an officer would have witnessed it, there could be a citation issued for failure to drive within lane, but even that is iffy if there is no other traffic that poses a danger.

Even if the police/sheriff wanted to take some action against a driver who behaves this way, what would it be?

X
Guest
X

The word ‘conscience’ seems to be an anachronism. For that let’s substitute the queston, would this person have carried on if there were a police officer present? If the answer is no, as I guess, there was probably some wrong about it. Something that could put them in traffic court at least. We have enough laws that almost any person driving in the casual way we’re accustomed to can be ticketed any day.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…almost any person driving in the casual way we’re accustomed to can be ticketed any day.”

Right. That’s why I mentioned the weaving. If a cop had been there to witness it, that could have meant a citation for the driver. But after the fact, is there anything more serious than a class B traffic violation that would be worth pursuing without any evidence?

Que
Guest
Que

The cops can still keep an eye on him, hang out outside his house, follow him around when he leaves, engage him in vaguely threatening conversation when he’s vulnerable. Since none of that is illegal it should be perfectly fine, right?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Well, there is an authority imbalance there that makes it a bit more tricky; it seems that kind of behavior by police could constitute some kind of abuse of authority. Even though there is a definite power imbalance between drivers and bicyclists, there is no authority to be abused.

I’m NOT saying AT ALL that the behavior shown by this driver is “perfectly fine”, “right”, or “moral”. Let me be clear that this kind of thing is shady and creepy and it would have made me feel afraid and threatened. However, in a strictly legal sense, was there any crime committed?

Imagine being at a family picnic in a public park, and having some weirdo fly a drone over your heads the entire time, presumably (but not provably) taking video of you and your family. Annoying? Yep. Creepy? Yep. Vaguely threatening? Sure. Illegal? …I don’t know. There’s all kinds of stuff that people probably shouldn’t oughtta do, but that isn’t illegal.

Q
Guest
Q

Tricky? Abuse of authority? Since when did that apply to how the police conduct themselves? All I hear is that you think it’s ok for some psycho to harass a person on a bike but not ok for the police to aggressively investigate a dangerous person. Interesting point of view there.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Wow.

Did I not just say directly above that there is no possible universe in which I think this driver’s behavior is “OK”? You mischaracterize “my” point of view—I am only attempting to adopt the point of view of The Law, which is the only generally accepted tool police have to deal with most kinds of behavior. As far as “abuse of authority”, again, I’m merely imagining the trouble—in the current cultural climate (which I am NOT saying is either good or bad)—police might have pursuing a “dangerous person” based on the word of one witness that they did something vaguely creepy, but not illegal.

If anything, I am highlighting the balancing act we must all maintain in a so-called “free” society. Should the police have leeway to pursue/harass anyone they feel is “dangerous” for any reason? Or should there be some adjustment to The Law to allow such? Not so long ago, “stalkers” faced little or no consequences for following, harassing, attempting to communicate, and otherwise creeping out or intimidating their victims, as long as they didn’t overtly threaten, menace, assault, trespass, or break any other existing laws. I believe the law has changed to allow for consequences under certain circumstances that can be deemed “stalking”. Perhaps we need to amend traffic law to specify circumstances under which drivers can face legal consequences for doing what this driver did?

Can you see the value in imagining points of view that neither you nor I might agree with, but that highlight a potential need for changes?

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

Numerous reports on Nextdoor.com of a similar sounding guy (20s, hoodie, “druggie-looking”) and car (white/silver Subaru Outback, dented rear) harassing people in the Council Crest/West Hills area. Another neighbor said her white Subaru Crosstrek (which looks similar to an Outback on first glance) had recently been stolen.