Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hit and Run

With the warmer weather, I've been bike commuting to work in Yarmouth three or four days a week recently. This morning, while approaching the bridge on Washington Avenue (near the old Nissen bakery), a road raging psychopath in a pickup truck sideswiped me with his (possibly her) trailer and dragged me ten yards down the street.

I'm fine - luckily it was chilly this morning and the pavement tore up my jacket, not my skin. The incident did fill me with some adrenaline-fueled rage at a certain cowardly hit-and-run motorist.

In almost ten years of bike commuting, I have never been hit until today. This guy hit me even though he had just honked at me and decided to pass anyway: clearly he saw me, and made a conscious decision to try to crowd me off the road. I have a hard time believing that both the driver or the passenger couldn't hear me yelling while they dragged me along the pavement at 25 miles per hour.

I've filed a police report, but the officer with whom I spoke told me not to expect swift justice - I didn't get the license plate number, and so I'm almost certainly out of luck.

That said, I'm going to provide a description of the truck here and hope that a witness might come through with an identification:

The vehicle was a green pickup truck - probably a Ford Ranger (similar in color and size to the truck in the photo, but without the canoe). It was towing a black trailer made of black metal grating, with 1 foot high railings around the edge. Some orange construction cones were in the bed of the trailer when it hit me, and there was a pudgy white-haired guy in the passenger seat (surprise, surprise - a dude of dubious virility riding in a pickup truck). If you see any similar vehicles with aggro drivers behind the wheel, it's worth calling the cops on speculation. Any evidence helps.

I wouldn't have much hope for justice if it weren't for this article about a hit-and-run driver in Oregon who was just sentenced to 9 months in prison thanks to the efforts of the local cycling community out there. If you know anything that might help my case, please call the Portland Police Department: 874-8601. Thanks, all.

1 comment:

Turboglacier said...


This makes my skin crawl and my blood boil. I'm sorry this happened but glad you're okay. How's your bike?

I am just about to trade (at last) my daily drive to Disgusta for a bike commute to Falmouth. You bet I'll keep my eyes open for the green pickup with black metal trailer... shouldn't be too hard to spot. How old/new shiny/beat up was the truck?


P.S. Back in my bike-touring days out west, we used to get bottles and cans thrown at us from pickups all the time. A trick we learned was to strap American flags to our back racks-- rednecks won't think twice about maiming a biker, but they won't throw bottles at the flag. I don't know if I could bring myself to do the same thing in Portland, though.