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  1. #1
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    Altercation with motorist

    My first shouting match in at least two years.

    I was tooling down Hawthorne at or above the speed limit and passed a long line of cars (backed up due to delivery trucks) on the left. I pull out in front at the light and when the light changes I spin up to 25+ very quickly riding in the middle of the lane. Some ******bag passes on the right so close that his mirror actually grazes my jacket. I lose my cool and take off after him. I greatly exceed the 25 mph speed limit and we end up parked right next to each other at the next red light. He immediately rolls down the window and starts screaming at me about the bike street a few blocks over. I respond by informing him that I am a human being just like him and that he could have killed me. He continues to scream that I should not be riding on the road. At this point I significantly raise my voice and I tell him that he is driving like a sociopath and that he should treat his vehicle like it's a potential weapon, not a toy. (It's possible that he is a sociopath, of course.) He just kept on screaming so I just shouted "whatever" and ignored the rest of his tantrum.

    Pure old-school "bike ambassador" fun.
    It also shows why Portland will never become a world class bike city until we end the mandatory sidepath law.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    my thought is that it would be best to could keep quiet during the incident and just report his aggressive driving to the cops. I have this failing myself

  3. #3
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    Of course you were all hyped up on adrenalin, so it is hard to get beyond the yelling stage. But bottom line, since you were at or over the speed of traffic, likely you were well within the laws to take up any lane.

    When the motorist started yelling at you, you needed to just ask the driver to quote you the law... and then be prepared to quote the proper law back.

    Now that we have discussed the solution, go make up some cards, that you can tuck into a bag or pocket, that list the bike laws for your state... and be prepared to present those to the next "road lawyer" that directs you to "the bike street..." The problem with this jackhole is that he made up what he thought were the laws... and no one has ever told him different... and like many many motorists out on the street, they think they are just doing cyclists a favor by letting us use "their" roads.

    No doubt, he didn't have a clue. Next time, be prepared to offer a proper education.

    Just copy your state laws into a word document, use a smaller font, space things so they are readable, but fit on a small card, and print away.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    my thought is that it would be best to could keep quiet during the incident and just report his aggressive driving to the cops. I have this failing myself
    when i speak out the frustration i feel washes away. i rightly or wrongly believe that internalization of the frustration poses more of a health risk (for me) than risk of further violence...
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

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    Randomhead
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    that's funny, because after years of acting on my anger, I finally realized that if I respond, I remember the incident much longer than if I just let it go. We're all a sample of one.

    I don't like mandatory sidepath laws, but there is no sidepath on the street you were on, correct? So the incident had nothing to do with the sidepath law. I would see if I could get the cops to educate the motorist on that fact.

  6. #6
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    my thought is that it would be best to could keep quiet during the incident and just report his aggressive driving to the cops. I have this failing myself
    Strangely, Your reply made me think of something pursuant to the scenario the OP described.

    There is a scene in the Steven Seagal movie 'Marked For Death', where the 'bad guys'(drug dealers) in a BMW 735i, are approached by the 'good guys'(Steven Seagal, Keith David) and immediately points' a *** at the drug dealers.

    My point in remembering the scene from the movie. Is that, we can choose to say something, or not say something. It comes down to, dealing with bullies, who can't bear the thought of a cyclist being in front of them. Even when there is plenty of room to pass, without the motorist straddling the lanes.
    Last edited by Chris516; 01-04-14 at 03:06 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    that's funny, because after years of acting on my anger, I finally realized that if I respond, I remember the incident much longer than if I just let it go. We're all a sample of one.

    I don't like mandatory sidepath laws, but there is no sidepath on the street you were on, correct? So the incident had nothing to do with the sidepath law. I would see if I could get the cops to educate the motorist on that fact.

    i think the mandatory sidepath law contributes to the belief that cyclists do not have a right to the road when there are other facilities near by. i have his license plate number so i may file a citizen's citation.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    The failure of motorists to fully understand the laws is what "contributes to the belief that cyclists do not have a right to the road." Motorists only hear part of the laws and then make up the rest to suit their needs... (yes cyclists do that too... but we are vastly in the minority)

    814.420: Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty.

    (1) Except asprovided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.
    OK, what exactly is the meaning of "nearby" in the above clause?

    And certainly the exceptions can be cited in this case as the cyclist was avoiding slow motor traffic by moving to the left...

    (3) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

    (a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.

  9. #9
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    I can't imagine any eureka moment overcoming the driver if Sparewheel had whipped out the driver's manual. I understand that lots of people have no idea that they can legally bike on a roadway (probably not too many in Portland though), but legality is really irrelevant. They aren't itching to join the ranks of all those scofflaws out there, "if only it were legal!" they shout, fist in the air from their balcony.

    The real problem is that they probably can't envision themselves riding a bike amongst cars. That's it. If we could solve the human ego crisis it would be irrelevant that the majority of our fellow humans can't envision riding a bike amongst cars. But since empathy is on short supply, the answer is to our problem is <fill in the blank>

  10. #10
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    I think this why we live easier here in New York. When something like this happens, we just "salute" each other and go on with our day.

    BTW- this is my objection to the VC lane position to the left of center. Yes, it dos force someone into a full lane change to pass on your left, but there'll always be the one guy that thinks he can squeeze by on you right. I make it a point to leave drivers only one option about passing me, except at places likes forks or highway on-ramps, where the road is wide enough to leave a full lane to either side.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    The guy in the car was very likely well described as being a sociopath, or having those tendencies. However, I would be slow to engage - I am doing a "do what I say not what I do" here - if possible, simply because I am relatively defenseless on my bike.

    Now, I have an eeensie teensie bit of empathy for the driver (no sympathy for his behavior, though) - Portland is a maddening place to drive at times. Finally discovered GPS - I love that lady's voice, since she tells me when to turn and I can spend all my energy watching for jaywalking peds and cyclists that use the lane, bike lane, and sidewalk with impunity - often in the same block. Don't have to look at street signs any more. Never mind the cyclists that will dart off the sidewalk into intersections, etc. (donning my fireproof suit now) Drivers are also idiots in Portland (IMHO, Oregon in general), so it is a combustible mix. To quote one famous man "Why can't we just all get along" doesn't seem to work yet - and it is nobody's fault, and it is all of our fault.

    Sadly, this is just people being messy. Like Linus said " I love mankind, it's people I can't stand!"
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  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    BTW- this is my objection to the VC lane position to the left of center. Yes, it dos force someone into a full lane change to pass on your left, but there'll always be the one guy that thinks he can squeeze by on you right.
    Only one? Guaranteed that a cyclist riding in Philadelphia like the OP will be passed on the right at least every other city block if there is any room to be found to squeeze past, legal or not. No one will give a dang what anybody on BF considers sociopathic behavior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Only one?
    Yes, only one. Certainly only one at a time, but also because hopefully the cyclist will responding by closing off the opportunity. If it happens to you more than once in a day, you're a slow learner.
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  14. #14
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, only one. Certainly only one at a time, but also because hopefully the cyclist will responding by closing off the opportunity. If it happens to you more than once in a day, you're a slow learner.
    Apparently some cyclists might respond instead by getting into street side shouting matches/name calling rants on the Internet.

  15. #15
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Actually, you both broke the law, and both acted like jerks. I urge to try to issue a citizen citation.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    ...
    .......Portland will never become a world class bike city until we end the mandatory sidepath law.
    I've been saying for 30+ years that bicycle advocacy for segregated infrastructure would lead to mandatory side path laws. Nobody wants to believe that. But if the rational for side paths is safety, then it's a hop skip and jump to saying that we need to stay in those side paths --- for our own good.

    As far as I'm concerned, side path infrastructure is proof that we need to be careful what we ask for, in case we get it.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 01-03-14 at 10:52 PM.
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  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I've been saying for 30+ years that bicycle advocacy for segregated infrastructure would lead to mandatory side path laws. Nobody wants to believe that. But if the rational for side paths is safety, then it's a hop skip and jump to saying that we need to stay in those side paths --- for our own good.

    As far as I'm concerned, side path infrastructure is proof that we need to be careful what we ask for, in case we get it.
    You may have been saying so for 30 years, but the OP's incident doesn't show a darn thing about the issue, since supposedly there was no sidepath on this street. If some ignorant motorists wish to scream and yell and tell cyclists where to go, they do not a sidepath or a sidepath law to "justify" their misinformed comments.

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    This is the sort of problem that is created by influential "advocates" like notorious segregation-advocate Mia Burke. She is agitating for an enhancement of Oregon's onerous mandatory use law to include adjacent streets. Step one is to get signage installed on roads in PDX that are parallel to what she considers more appropriate roads to cycle on that would direct cyclists to move to a different street. What do you think motorists will make of such signage? Why exactly what the motorist in the OP made of our current poor law: Cyclists don't belong on the roadway and are "less equal" users.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    You may have been saying so for 30 years, but the OP's incident doesn't show a darn thing about the issue, since supposedly there was no sidepath on this street. If some ignorant motorists wish to scream and yell and tell cyclists where to go, they do not a sidepath or a sidepath law to "justify" their misinformed comments.
    I thought that selectively quoting only the OP's reference to getting rid of the side path law would put my post in context. But I guess not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Actually, you both broke the law, and both acted like jerks. I urge to try to issue a citizen citation.
    What law did the OP break, exactly?

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I thought that selectively quoting only the OP's reference to getting rid of the side path law would put my post in context. But I guess not.
    You quoted, "it [the OP's incident] also shows why Portland will never become a world class bike city until we end the mandatory sidepath law." I responded that it "shows" no such thing.

    You disagree? What "context" are you talking about?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    What law did the OP break, exactly?
    According to the post he greatly exceeded the 25mph speed limit. Does hot pursuit apply to aggrieved citizens?

    OTOH, it might just have been BF bravado.

    According to one source, some 40,000 new laws went into effect 1/1/2014. I assume (hope) that this refers to ALL federal, state and city? laws. But with the amount of laws added annually, it's hard to get through the day without breaking some.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    You quoted, "it [the OP's incident] also shows why Portland will never become a world class bike city until we end the mandatory sidepath law." I responded that it "shows" no such thing.

    You disagree? What "context" are you talking about?
    You're right, I wasn't clear enough in the parsing of the quote, I've gone back and fixed it to be clearer.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    According to the post he greatly exceeded the 25mph speed limit. Does hot pursuit apply to aggrieved citizens?

    OTOH, it might just have been BF bravado.

    According to one source, some 40,000 new laws went into effect 1/1/2014. I assume (hope) that this refers to ALL federal, state and city? laws. But with the amount of laws added annually, it's hard to get through the day without breaking some.
    In Oregon, since a citation cannot be issued for a speed that is less than the 85th percentile speed (actually, the next 5 mph increment up) as determined by a recent traffic survey, it is more likely than not that exceeding the 25 mph posted speed limit was not actually illegal. (It's pretty rare for the 85th percentile to be less than 5-10 mph over the posted limit.) It's a lousy situation, but it is what we live with.

    Our traffic engineers can't even set speed limits below that 85th percentile level, which is why some pro-bike traffic engineers in PDX have taken to using the timing of the traffic signals to calm the traffic. Spare_wheel has written about this strategy previously.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    In Oregon, since a citation cannot be issued for a speed that is less than the 85th percentile speed (actually, the next 5 mph increment up) as determined by a recent traffic survey,....
    Who writes code out there? How is anybody supposed to know what's OK and what isn't?

    At least here in NY the only wiggle on traffic enforcement is the working accuracy of the measuring instruments, which buys you about 5mph leeway on speed limits, and why they don't usually issue DWI citations if you blow a 0.09.
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