From The Nostalgia File

Yesterday morning, I was thinking about the most popular post I’ve done, which I think was put up on the second day Insurance Coverage Law Blog was on the web, back in January. Lots of regular readers weren’t here yet, and they may not have combed the archives to find this item. I speak, of course, of this video of an enraged bus rider attacking a bicycle rider who had a dispute with a city bus here in Portland.
I was undecided whether to do a new post, when last night as I was riding home on my bus a bicyclist got mad at the driver and for several blocks drove in the traffic lane instead of the bike lane, having the effect of holding up the bus, as well as about 40 people on the bus who likely had no particular wish to become embroiled in this battle of wills. Mind you, even though I come from North Dakota, where self-help is something of a cultural artifact, I am taking no sides in any of this. Nor do I cast judgment on the propriety of any actions or pretend to know anyone’s motives –I merely comment on the appearances. As a former journalist, however, I do note that the TV report provided in the link above was far out of sync with the thoughts of Portland residents about this incident and smacked of Big Brotherism to some people I spoke to. Judging from comments on local blogs and letters to the editor of the local newspaper, the majority of people, including regular bicyclists, seemed not only to understand the bus rider’s reaction, but to find it admirable as a kind of decisive, Jack Bauer-esque conduct. One lawyer friend of mine, a reasonable, mild type of guy, said he hoped they didn’t find “the righteous bus rider.” Some people observed that, since the incident took place on one of Portland’s many bridges and the bike did not wind up in the Willamette, there was no real harm, in their view. I do not endorse such sentiments, but I do note their existence.
Some time after this report, the authorities apparently still hadn’t found the bus rider, and the only calls to Trimet, the local transit authority, were not to report the man’s identity but to praise him. I checked with Trimet yesterday about what if any developments have happened, but no one knew anything. I’ll let you know more when I know more.
UPDATE: Check out this post for more information. Unfortunately, the link above goes only to a summary with text and a few pictures. KATU News tells me their video links are only good for about 60 days due to space limitations, so you won’t be able to watch the video.

2 Comments

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2 Responses to From The Nostalgia File

  1. You don’t mention what made the bike rider angry.
    Also, do you know that it is legal for a bike to “take the lane” in Oregon? That is, Oregon law allows bikers to ride in the middle of a lane of traffic.

  2. David Rossmiller

    Mick, I think you’re talking about the second rider, the one I saw the other day holding up the bus. He might have been mad because buses cross the bike lane to let people off at the curb, I don’t know. About taking the center of a traffic lane when there is a bike lane available: if our only standard is doing what is legal, as opposed to what we should do over and above that, we’re setting the bar pretty low.