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Man hospitalized after being shot while biking in southeast Portland road rage

Posted by on May 6th, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Mike Hilbrandt’s Instagram post.

Portlander Mike Hilbrandt faces multiples surgeries and is recovering at a local hospital after being shot in the arm Tuesday night.

According to a source who’s related to Hilbrandt, the incident started on East Burnside. Hilbrandt was bicycling along Burnside near 12th Avenue when he noticed an SUV in the bike lane. As Hilbrandt passed it, he tapped on the window to alert the driver to his presence. He was then chased and verbally threatened before being shot at Ankeny and 13th.

“Guy in a SUV rolled up on me at Ankeny and 13th, said “i’m gonna fucking shoot you…” and then he did,” was how Hilbrandt described what happened in an Instagram post from his hospital bed late last night. The driver of the SUV then sped off and is still on the loose.

His injuries are not life-threatening, but the bullet shattered both bones in his arm and he faces several surgeries. “Orthopedist is optimistic they can save the arm,” Hilbrandt says.

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E Burnside has a door-zone bike lane that is frequently blocked by drivers.

“We are so relieved that Mike is recuperating and while we are shaken, we are very grateful that he’s alive,” says someone who knows Hilbrandt and reached out to us about the incident.

Hilbrandt is well-known in our community. He’s married to the daughter of former Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves, used to be that shop’s assistant manager (and recovered at least two stolen bikes!), has served as a medic at local bike races, has worked as a guide for the Mountain Bike Oregon event, and volunteers with Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue.

Portland Police responded to the shooting just after 11:00 pm last night. They’ve released no additional details and urge anyone with information to call the non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

The section of Burnside where the incident began has an unprotected, door-zone bike lane that is often blocked by auto users. The bike lane is relatively narrow and it’s adjacent to three standard lanes. In 2016, another bicycle rider on this section of Burnside was frustrated and scared and struck a window with his fist, only to be pulled over by a police officer who was nearby.

Friends have launched a GoFundMe page to help cover medical expenses. You can also mail donations to:

Mike Hilbrandt Recovery Fund
c/o Jay Graves
P.O. Box 790
Banks, OR 97106

UPDATE, 5/7: We’ve heard directly from Mike Hilbrandt (via a comment below). Here’s his version of the what happened (keep in mind he’s in lots of pain and typing from a hospital bed):

The vehicle description is a door grey SUV.

I believe he had just dropped off a friend or a fare, (young woman in a dress). I tapped on his window as I was passing him to let him know I was there. It was 10:15 at night, and while I have bright bike lights, many drivers do not see bike lights. I did not want to be pulled into. If I had a loud horn on my bike, I could have used that – but I don’t.

I never said a word to this guy. I could hear him chase after me, so I got off my bike to get up on the sidewalk. I thought he was going to run me down. Instead he started to yell, and when I turned around to face him, maybe 10 feet away, he shot me. The whole incident lasted probably less than 45 seconds – from tapping his window to getting shot. I gave my description to the officer, what little I had, but it was dark, so fast, and completely a non-issue. This was not a cyclist pounding on a car because it was in a bike lane – I would have definitely been paying more attention to description in I was about to escalate a situation.

My only hope is that the young lady that appeared to be walking from his car knows this guy and comes forward.

— 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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Matt
Guest
Matt

Heal well, Mike! Hoping for your speedy return to health and the saddle. 😉

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

So sorry to hear about this tragic event. I have always known that motorists who park in bike lanes are short -sighted and selfish but now we know that some of them are violent psycopathic killers. Seems like the mental health of the motoring crowd is going downhill fast.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Don’t touch cars, don’t flip off. Just ride on and ride away.

Ben
Guest
Ben

What about when the car touches me? Will you find a way to blame me for that, too?

Mick O
Guest
Mick O

Also: Don’t park in bike lanes, don’t shoot other people.

Travis
Guest
Travis

Give it a rest, nobody is blaming anyone. The message is that people are fucking nuts (especially SUV drivers) and unpredictable. People in cars have a big advantage over someone on a bike (like being able to conceal a gun much easier).

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Let’s not blame this on mental health. Plenty of people have mental health conditions who are not shooting other people and don’t need the additional stigma. Mental health conditions don’t cause you to hurt people. This is just an example of a bad person.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

This was supposed to be in reply to Bikeninja’s comment above.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s not about “blame”, it’s about not setting off a potentially volatile individual.

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

To everyone fretting about setting off people and suggesting you should just ride on; he tapped on the window the motor vehicle equivalent of lightly honking your horn to get someone’s attention when they’re blocking the lane. Would you say the same to a driver in that situation? Seems pretty reasonable to me and shooting someone in either instance is the act of a sociopath. Like the man who gunned down a woman and her child in Colorado last year for cutting him off.

D2
Guest
D2

The Oregon Driver’s Manual literally says this about aggressive drivers. I’d say it goes at least double when you’re riding your bike. Just not worth the confrontation unfortunately.

“If you encounter an aggressive driver, concentrate on your driving
and make every attempt to get out of the way. Avoid eye contact, ignore
gestures and name calling, and refuse to return them.”

Curious George
Guest
Curious George

I haven’t been shot yet, but why can’t he provide us with more information? Make/Model and color of SUV. A description of the shooter? I’ve done something similar and make sure to look at the driver in case they drive me off the road. I’m sorry for being selfish, I just want to keep an eye out for this vehicle.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I agree with you on some level – you never know just how crazy the person might be.

Still, I hope the potential for 2 strangers to have a civil dialogue without such a disproportionate reaction is still there.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

99% of the time it is. But every once in a while, someone follows you home and slashes your tires, or deliberately shoots you. Is it worth the risk?

Jason Ford
Guest
Jason Ford

I agree that it’s not a good idea to engage drivers, especially at 11 p.m. on East Burnside. Cars are bigger than bikes. The motorist was wrong on all counts, but defensive cycling means being street smart. Hope they catch and prosecute the guy. Then there was the time I caught up to a city bus who tried to run me off the road and boarded it to get the driver’s name and number, to a bus full of passengers…

Zach
Guest
Zach

This sucks so bad. Man. My heart goes out Mike.

And PBOT isn’t even planning to build protected bike lanes on this stretch for the CCIM project. More door-zone crap.

Fred
Guest
Fred

(replies and comment-nesting seem to be not working)

It’s hilarious (and sad) that some people would accuse a cyclist of bringing harm upon himself in a situation like this. All you can say is that someone who inflicts grievous physical harm upon another person, for whatever reason, needs to be locked up and removed from society.

I once touched the mirror of a car that was halfway in the bike lane, and the driver took off after me and yelled at me through his open window. He could have shot at me, I suppose, but he would have been wrong to do so. That’s really all you can say.

Yes, people in cars often feel empowered to do bad things, just because they can. That doesn’t make it right.

tim
Guest
tim

Someone did not choose to try and murder a cyclist because they got called out for parking in the bike lane. I suspect this person has a long history of increasing violent behavior. Family, friends, associates, and probably the police are well aware of this persons violence. They likely have a history of assaults and bullying. They are powerless to control their own life and feel the need for firearms and large vehicles to cover up for their personal weakness. The shooter will feel the need to brag about their latest pathetic conquest. We can hope they brag to someone with decency. Too much Criminal Minds – but…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Who has made such an accusation, or has in any small way suggested the shooter was in the right?

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

This quarantine has made me realize how little I miss going to the central city of Portland. I miss the people I know who live there, but for all the “bike infrastructure” the central city has, it feels less safe than St. Johns where we don’t have any.

Panda
Guest
Panda

I’ve been chased and physically assaulted in the past for pointing out poorly parked vehicles. I’ll continue to let drivers of vehicles know (loudly) when they’re putting cyclists at risk.

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

You touch someone else vehicle you open a door. What’s behind that door you’ll never know until you open it, but then it can’t be closed. I’ve opened that door a few times and it’s never once gone well. I’ve learned to just avoid, keep going, and not let others dump their garbage on me. I ride with a camera 100% and I will follow up with the proper authorities if needed, or push on social media for shaming. YMMV

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Did the police give Mike a warning for tapping on the car? Does the anti-car-tapping law not apply if the driver responds by shooting you? Do we need to involve a gun in order to get any decent follow through when a car driver assaults a bike driver? Why isn’t the lethal thing they’re driving not enough to warrant a special police unit being dispatched?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m not familiar with the anti-car-tapping law you referenced. Can you elaborate?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

idlebytes
Would you say the same to a driver in that situation? Seems pretty reasonable to me and shooting someone in either instance is the act of a sociopath.

It is the act of a sociopath — that’s why doing what you’d do around normal people isn’t a good idea.

I have a negative interaction with roughly 1 out 100,000 motorists — rare, but it happens once in a long while. A certain percentage of the population is mentally unstable, chemically altered, sociopaths, violent felons, armed, etc. I don’t know what the exact percentages are, but it’s way more than 1 in 100,000 — and that I’m having an issue with someone takes the odds through the roof that I’m dealing with someone from one or more of these elite categories.

Assuming rationality and trying to set things straight are both really bad ideas. If you insist on believing in justice, just remember that these people regularly encounter others just like them and they’ll punish each other far worse than you ever could.

Skid
Guest
Skid

This reason it continues is because they get away with it.

 
Guest
 

That’s really not helpful Bikeninja. I’m a cyclist, motorist, and pedestrian depending on where I have to go. This motorist is a piece of shit who deserves a nice long stint in prison, but don’t tar and feather the “motoring crowd”, who this loser is not representative of. All it does is divide the community and make the bike advocates seem like the bad guys.

TheWorst
Guest
TheWorst

so now the shooter dude will feel empowered and most likely will shoot again, since he got away with it!!!

Why do we even still keep trying to eke our way around this claustro-f**ked city???

This past year, every day, I get closer to giving up and buying a car. Haven’t driven since 1991, but, riding just isn’t worth all the exponentially increasing risks.

This s**t is beyond old.

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

Kyle Banerjee

idlebytes Would you say the same to a driver in that situation? Seems pretty reasonable to me and shooting someone in either instance is the act of a sociopath.

It is the act of a sociopath — that’s why doing what you’d do around normal people isn’t a good idea.I have a negative interaction with roughly 1 out 100,000 motorists

That was a bit hard to follow but it seems like you’re saying it’s not worth it cause 1 in 100,000 people in your estimate will react this way. If that’s true we all shouldn’t go out cause you could bump into one of these people and they might shoot you. It seems like we all operate like that isn’t going to happen and that doing reasonable things like tapping on a window won’t get us shot.

Maybe you have some ability to see sociopaths before they overreact and shoot you so that makes it easier to navigate these situations but he tapped on a window and got shot. Nothing about his actions instigated that except in the case of a sociopath. You could have accidentally stepped on their shoe and got shot should you avoid walking about?

dwk
Guest
dwk

I was not victim blaming at all. This is like the equity argument, use to shut down opinions.
It is not smart to antagonize strangers who can kill you, because you were annoyed.
I get mad and sometimes do the wrong thing, but it never ends up well for a person on a bike as opposed to person in a large fast automobile.
You may be right, you will lose.

Adam
Guest
Adam

At least one business there will have security cameras. Sizzle Pie does for sure.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Why no description of the vehicle or the assailant?

mran1984
Guest

Mopeds have motors. I will be using a motor to arrive at a proper mountain bike destination tomorrow. You are one funny ninja. I bet that I will start giggling about your comment within 500 yards of my first ride. Heal up Mike! Glad Jay is around to assist you through this. JG is good people. I support confrontation, but it’s not for everyone.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Don’t blame victims.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

TheWorst
so now the shooter dude will feel empowered and most likely will shoot again, since he got away with it!!!Why do we even still keep trying to eke our way around this claustro-f**ked city???This past year, every day, I get closer to giving up and buying a car. Haven’t driven since 1991, but, riding just isn’t worth all the exponentially increasing risks.

Simple. Riding is the best and most fun way to get around. Yeah, bad things sometimes happen — this being an extreme example — but overwhelmingly it’s good.

Lest you think I have some Pollyanna view, I’ve had a gun pointed at me twice and had an M-80 chucked at me while on my bike (none of that in PDX), as well as some other interesting things. This stuff is rare and not representative of the general riding experience which is why people are upset and talking about it.

If anything, the risks have fallen over the years. Both infrastructure and social acceptance of cycling is better than it’s ever been.

We find what we seek. Those who expect danger or conflict on the roads are certain to find it, but those who seek joy will find that too.

Wil
Guest
Wil

This is terrible, never know when the person behind the door might be crazy or violent.

Still, never, NEVER touch someone’s vehicle. Wave at the driver, make eye contact somehow, or else just give a very wide berth. Do not touch the vehicle.

It’s the equivalent of touching someone without asking. It’s an a-hole move.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

People are f* n nuts. You never know who you are dealing with on the roads. Act accordingly 🙁

Michael Hilbrandt
Guest
Michael Hilbrandt

All – since I am in excruciating pain and unable to sleep, I thought I might give a little more insight into the incident. The vehicle description is a door grey SUV.
I believe he had just dropped off a friend or a fare, (young woman in a dress). I tapped on his window as I was passing him to let him know I was there. It was 10:15 at night, and while I have bright bike lights, many drivers do not see bike lights. I did not want to be pulled into. If I had a loud horn on my bike, I could have used that – but I don’t.
I never said a word to this guy. I could hear him chase after me, so I got off my bike to get up on the sidewalk. I thought he was going to run me down. Instead he started to yell, and when I turned around to face him, maybe 10 feet away, he shot me. The whole incident lasted probablyless than 45 seconds – from tapping his window to getting shot. I gave my description to the officer, what little I had, but it was dark, so fast, and completely a non issue. This was not a cyclist pounding on a car because it was in a bike lane – I would have definitely been paying more attention to description in I was about to escalate a situation.
My only hope is that the young lady that appeared to be walking from his car knows this guy and comes forward.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Wil
This is terrible, never know when the person behind the door might be crazy or violent.Still, never, NEVER touch someone’s vehicle. Wave at the driver, make eye contact somehow, or else just give a very wide berth. Do not touch the vehicle.It’s the equivalent of touching someone without asking. It’s an a-hole move.Recommended 0

A car is not a human being. Touching a car is absolutely not equivalent to touching a person. What is wrong with this country?

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

What? If we’re standing in a line at a bank and you don’t go to the open teller I’m going to tap you on the shoulder at some point. I’m not going to jump in front of you waving my arms trying to get your attention like I’m directing a plane.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Hopefully it was a fare. Did she go into that apartment building between 12th and 13th?

CarsAreAwesome
Guest
CarsAreAwesome

And this is why no one learns from anything any more; suggest how people might learn from a situation and you’re immediately told you’re victim blaming. Whether or not someone is in the right to do what he did is totally irrelevant, this is what can happen. Yes, it should never happen, but it does. Suggesting that what someone did turned out to be an error in judgment isn’t blaming them, it’s pointing out how things can go wrong. The person who shot him is obviously the one to blame for shooting him. Wishing Mike a speedy recovery.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Get well soon Michael. Pretty lame that some here are trying to turn this into a “bikes vs. cars” thing though. More than once I’ve been threatened physically by our beloved urban campers for simply trying to squeeze by their camps and trash piles that were blocking public right of way.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Michael; Can you give us the description as well? Any distinguishing features of the shooter?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Dude, pretty lame that some here are trying to turn this into a homelessness issue.

The article did not mention that at all.

James
Guest
James

Heal up…things will circle back for this lunatic. A lot of would and still will tap that window. Would like to think incidents like this would change my tune. Once a sheepdog always a sheepdog.

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

Terrible & very unsettling. People can get angry but in the past there has been some kind of self control.
Yesterday coming downhill at the bottom of Rocky Butte as its turns onto NE Fremont a women on her bicycle was stopped in the middle of the road texting, oblivious to any traffic around her. We were going slowly since had pulled out of a driveway. Had we lightly tapped the horn to let here know we were passing it would have startled and possibly angered her.

Rudi V
Guest
Rudi V

Is there any update on this or is the PPB just letting a random little “harmless shooting” slide like they do with property crime now?

Rudi V
Guest
Rudi V

The one other point I’d make is, damn, google “cyclist shot”. It’s a whole genre it seems.

2Na
Guest
2Na

Why no description: Because the police don’t want him to rabbit. They doubtless have a solid description and need a little bit of time to be sure, recon the possibles at their known homes of record, and would rather surprise the target at a location of their choosing than have to start chasing a trigger happy “very fine person” on the lamb.