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Old 11-20-08, 11:45 AM   #1
sauerwald
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Buzzed and yelled at - my reply

Last night, during my commute home, I was buzzed and yelled at by a van from a local utility company. The letter below was my response:

Dear Mr. Miller

I commute to work and back on a bicycle, year round. Last night, on my way home, at 5:50PM, I was on outer congress street, headed towards the Portland peninsula, preparing to make a left turn onto Frost St. The left turn light for Frost was red, although the light for through traffic was green. I was positioned in the right third of the left turn lane, and was slowing in preparation to stop for the red light. At this moment I was passed very close to my right by a Portland Water District Van, and the driver shouted out the window at me ‘Get on the side of the ****ing road’.

I know that the Portland Water District vision statement includes the sentence ‘We communicate actively and meet commitments.’ I can only assume that this was an example of your active communication. I don’t know if the Portland Water District has a formal driver education program in which the drivers are instructed to actively communicate in this manner, or if this particular driver was acting on his own initiative. I regret that the driver did not take the time to stop and more fully explain his opinion of the safest way to ride a bicycle. I believe that my lane positioning, the lighting on my bike and my behavior was fully in accordance with both the law, and the best and safest cycling practices.

As a regular cyclist, once or twice each month, someone yells something out of their car window as they pass. Usually the yellers are teenagers and what they are yelling is not comprehensible. Since I rarely have the opportunity to know where they are going, it is difficult for me to be able to follow up on the conversation – fortunately the Portland Water District paints their name in large letters on the side of their vehicles making it easy for me to follow up.

I would appreciate it if you could forward this letter to the driver of the van who was proceeding inbound on congress st, at about 6:00PM on the night of November 19 so that he can more fully expound upon his opinion.

Thank you
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Old 11-20-08, 12:09 PM   #2
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Who's Mr. Miller? It would help to know who you're writing to. I assume it's the CEO or general manager?

Also, I would suggest for better impact and attention, make your points in 1/4 - 1/2 the words you used. Your letter is way too long, hard to read and you don't make your points clearly or quickly enough to maximize effectiveness for a typical CEO. Even if it's a letter to the editor, most people don't want to spend that much time trying to figure out what your point is.

Good idea to write to the CEO of the utility co. though. I don't think I'd want to be the guy who did such a stupid thing in a vehicle with my company's name on the side!
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Old 11-20-08, 12:28 PM   #3
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I regret that the driver did not take the time to stop and more fully explain his opinion of the safest way to ride a bicycle


lol now that's rich....maybe you'll get a few months free service out of this.
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Old 11-20-08, 12:34 PM   #4
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Somebody's going to have a fun day at work when this reaches a supervisor. CEO's aren't generally ones to read something so lengthy as this, but this is a public service and they tend to be a little more attentive to complaints.
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Old 11-20-08, 12:54 PM   #5
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I may write a letter to FedEx. Most drivers are very courteous, but the FedEx drivers are freaking crazy.
I thought it was just my bike, but two weeks ago I was driving my Dodge Caravan, after picking someone up at the LIRR train station, and a Fedex truck passed me and ran a stop sign. I admit I was going slow, but for the sake of the passenger, I was going slow to avoid a bumpy ride going over the train tracks.

Yes, I agree, It's fortunate that some companies put their names on the side of their fleet vehicles, so we can follow up on incidents like this.
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Old 11-20-08, 01:10 PM   #6
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Portland is chock full of turds who do not know how nice they have it. It is an awesome little city, great weather, chill lifestyle, great views...close enough to Boston if you want big city...
but the city employees are freaking dirt bags
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Old 11-20-08, 01:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
Last night, during my commute home, I was buzzed and yelled at by a van from a local utility company. The letter below was my response:

Dear Mr. Miller

I commute to work and back on a bicycle, year round. Last night, on my way home, at 5:50PM, I was on outer congress street, headed towards the Portland peninsula, preparing to make a left turn onto Frost St. The left turn light for Frost was red, although the light for through traffic was green. I was positioned in the right third of the left turn lane, and was slowing in preparation to stop for the red light. At this moment I was passed very close to my right by a Portland Water District Van, and the driver shouted out the window at me ‘Get on the side of the ****ing road’.

I know that the Portland Water District vision statement includes the sentence ‘We communicate actively and meet commitments.’ I can only assume that this was an example of your active communication. I don’t know if the Portland Water District has a formal driver education program in which the drivers are instructed to actively communicate in this manner, or if this particular driver was acting on his own initiative. I regret that the driver did not take the time to stop and more fully explain his opinion of the safest way to ride a bicycle. I believe that my lane positioning, the lighting on my bike and my behavior was fully in accordance with both the law, and the best and safest cycling practices.

As a regular cyclist, once or twice each month, someone yells something out of their car window as they pass. Usually the yellers are teenagers and what they are yelling is not comprehensible. Since I rarely have the opportunity to know where they are going, it is difficult for me to be able to follow up on the conversation – fortunately the Portland Water District paints their name in large letters on the side of their vehicles making it easy for me to follow up.

I would appreciate it if you could forward this letter to the driver of the van who was proceeding inbound on congress st, at about 6:00PM on the night of November 19 so that he can more fully expound upon his opinion.

Thank you
You need to capitalize "Congress Street."
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Old 11-20-08, 01:38 PM   #8
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You need to capitalize "Congress Street."

congress street is not worth capitalizing

you been there lately ?
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Old 11-20-08, 01:48 PM   #9
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I think that the letter is good. Definitely will make someones day.
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Old 11-20-08, 02:12 PM   #10
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congress street is not worth capitalizing

you been there lately ?
If that is the formal name of a street and it is a recognized street, it should be capitalized.
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Old 11-20-08, 02:32 PM   #11
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Yes, the street name should have been capitalized, but otherwise I thought it was a superb letter.
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Old 11-20-08, 02:48 PM   #12
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Please let us know if you get any response.
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Old 11-20-08, 05:49 PM   #13
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So your going to get someone burned because you got buzzed. Ever see what water dept. employees have to work in, usually in the dark and cold. Move on.
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Old 11-20-08, 05:55 PM   #14
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So your going to get someone burned because you got buzzed. Ever see what water dept. employees have to work in, usually in the dark and cold. Move on.
Everybody's got their cross to bear. It doesn't mean you have the right to drag it over other people's feet.
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Old 11-20-08, 08:02 PM   #15
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So your going to get someone burned because you got buzzed. Ever see what water dept. employees have to work in, usually in the dark and cold. Move on.
That's rich...so if I have a crappy job, or just a crappy day, then I get to act like an ass and harass whoever the hell I feel like, while representing the company I work for?
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Old 11-20-08, 08:31 PM   #16
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Tooooooo bad you didn't get a truck number - then he would certainly get to go to safe driving school!
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Old 11-20-08, 10:01 PM   #17
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There's something magic about sending a certified letter to a CEO's home address - or the head of the Board of Directors. That's proven quite effective for me. Be very brief and polite, with time, place, all details you get established.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:03 PM   #18
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Everybody's got their cross to bear. It doesn't mean you have the right to drag it over other people's feet.
Nice.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:16 PM   #19
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And this, from the NRDC Switchboard

Things must be really cookin' in Portland. This, from the NRDC Switchboard web site:

Meanwhile, in Portland, a driver who chased down a cyclist and tried to ram him -- and then sped off with the biker clinging to the hood of his car -- was sentenced to 45 days in jail. What did the biker do to get the driver so riled up? He yelled at him to slow down (maybe using profanity, according to a police report). There's video of the end of the incident below. Commenters in several places have said that the sentence seems a little light -- but of course there's always someone willing to blame the biker for daring to mouth off at a driver. Bikeism, anyone?

45 days for what amounts to assault with a deadly weapon. that's a real bargain.

Check out this chilling video at the Switchboard site:
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sd...nd_the_ho.html

Last edited by lesiz; 11-20-08 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 11-21-08, 06:59 AM   #20
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Things must be really cookin' in Portland. This, from the NRDC Switchboard web site:

Meanwhile, in Portland, a driver who chased down a cyclist and tried to ram him -- and then sped off with the biker clinging to the hood of his car -- was sentenced to 45 days in jail. What did the biker do to get the driver so riled up? He yelled at him to slow down (maybe using profanity, according to a police report). There's video of the end of the incident below. Commenters in several places have said that the sentence seems a little light -- but of course there's always someone willing to blame the biker for daring to mouth off at a driver. Bikeism, anyone?

45 days for what amounts to assault with a deadly weapon. that's a real bargain.

Check out this chilling video at the Switchboard site:
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sd...nd_the_ho.html
The guy on the hood of the car is terminally stupid. Why would he want to stay latched onto the hood when the driver stopped at the intersection?
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Old 11-21-08, 07:06 AM   #21
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Please let us know if you get any response.
They might cut his Water Off.
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Old 11-21-08, 08:07 AM   #22
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Good reply. Even without the truck number it's much better than either confrontation or passivity.
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Old 11-21-08, 08:50 AM   #23
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That's rich...so if I have a crappy job, or just a crappy day, then I get to act like an ass and harass whoever the hell I feel like, while representing the company I work for?
Thats right Mr. perfect. Everyone is so happy that you are the perfect human bieng, now move along sniveler.
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Old 11-21-08, 08:53 AM   #24
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Here in Portland Maine, by 6:00pm it is completely dark, so catching a plate number or a truck number is difficult, but I agree, it would have been nice if I had caught that. I think that the other Portland incident cited was in the newer upstart Portland, in Oregon.

Just to reply to a couple of the questions... Mr Miller is the director of the PWD, and the letter was sent on paper, via snail mail. In terms of length, with the address blocks at the top, and signature at the bottom, it fits cleanly on a single side of one sheet of paper.
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Old 11-21-08, 09:01 AM   #25
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Here in Portland Maine, by 6:00pm it is completely dark, so catching a plate number or a truck number is difficult, but I agree, it would have been nice if I had caught that. I think that the other Portland incident cited was in the newer upstart Portland, in Oregon.

Just to reply to a couple of the questions... Mr Miller is the director of the PWD, and the letter was sent on paper, via snail mail. In terms of length, with the address blocks at the top, and signature at the bottom, it fits cleanly on a single side of one sheet of paper.
Feeling pretty good about yourself right about now. Let me guess, you bike to work a couple miles and then sit in an office all day. Your going to show that big bad contruction worker who's boss. Get yelled at a lot, but this is the first time you got some ammo, and your going to make them pay. Nice. Go ride a parking garage were there"s no one around to hurt your little bitty feelings.
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