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.