Monday, July 14, 2008

WTF Monday

"Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week

Oregon. South Dakota. North Dakota. I realized the other day that I'm 51 and I'd never spent appreciable time in any of those states. So I was happy to be in Portland and its suburban neighbor to the north, Scappoose, the other day. Driving through Portland is what it's like to drive through a European city in some ways, because of all the bikes in such a green-conscious city. So imagine my surprise when I picked up The Oregonian Thursday to read this headline atop page one: "Bike-car clash morphs into melee.''

Seems a driver didn't like the way a bicyclist was running red lights and driving recklessly in downtown Portland, and he yelled at the guy to stop being so careless. The cyclist got off his bike and told the driver to get out of his car if he wanted to make such a fuss about how he was operating his bike. The driver of the car got out. And the bicyclist started -- according to police reports -- beating the driver of the car with the bike. Yes, beating the driver of the car with his bike, holding the bike over his head and assaulting the defenseless driver at least five times, leaving the mark of a bike chain on him.

Not sure what the moral of the story is, but it's not good." - Peter King,

It gets worse. Apparently (because who believes the media anymore), the driver, who chided the biker for making other cyclist look bad, was a cyclist advocate! When the angry biker pulled up to the driver at the next light, he got off his bike and began using it to hit the driver’s car while cursing the driver and trying to pick a fight. Later it turns out the biker was drunk AND an employee of the city’s Department of Transportation! God the irony here is ridiculous. Passer-by’s, mostly other bikers, who came across the scene then ganged up on this driver when it was thought that this driver hit the cyclist. In fact, that’s how the 911 call went in. So, not only is this guy trying to do the right thing by calling out the biker for BREAKING THE RULES of the road, but then he gets abused by total strangers not even related to the incident from total hearsay and mob mentality. WTF???

I guess I haven't been reading the Oregonian lately and been too busy going camping and playing to realize this happened. Did any of y'all hear about this? What the fuck?! Wow. Sad. Seems that the biker was in the total wrong here. As a driver of cars and a rider of bikes try to follow the rule "Same road, same rights, SAME RULES". I can empathize where the driver is coming from having witness almost everyday a cyclist running stop signs, red lights or the like. It is very frustrating and quite dangerous. I wish that the bike cops (or any cops) would start cracking down on this. If you're riding a bike in town, follow the same rules as a car. Simple. Just because you have two wheels and foot power does not give you special privileges. And it does not necessarily make you 'holier than me' either. And if you do get called out on breaking road rules, by all means people, DO NOT abuse your accuser with your bike! Jesus. I mean, bikes are usually really expensive to repair, man. I also find it a real pity that someone that's never been here before, a nationally syndicated columnist (who by the way I emailed and offered to take around the city...but go no response), and his first nice impression (European city - nice!) is counter-acted with a bike rage episode of disgusting proportions. I guess that this will keep even more people from moving to our fair city though. Which is good news I think...

What is wrong with people? Why can't we all get along? Why can't we think before we act? Even here in peaceful, green-living, European style Portlandia?

Happy freaking Monday. Jeez.

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