Travel site says ‘driving cyclists off the road’ is rite of passage in Portland – UPDATED

Travel site says ‘driving cyclists off the road’ is rite of passage in Portland – UPDATED

“… you’re the one driving a two-ton bullet of a machine, and thus you’re the one with all the power.”
— MatadorNetwork.com

Portlanders are used to being on lists when it comes to the travel and tourism media; but not like this.

Matador Network, which bills itself as the “web’s best independent travel media site,” has published an article that makes light of driving a car into bicycle riders. The article, published on December 29th, says it’s one of the seven “rites of passage everyone will experience in Portland.”

Surrounded by six other completely innocuous items, here’s the part about bicycle riders:

matador

Northeast Portland resident Gregg Lavender took to Matador’s Facebook page (which has 294,651 likes) to express his concerns:

“As a Portlander, I guarantee that I’ve never: “Daydream(ed)about driving cyclists off the road.” Please don’t fantasize about hurting me, my family, or my friends.

I’m sorry to read that Matt Staff feels otherwise. I’m sorry to read that Matador supports these dangerous (And not funny) articles.”

Thankfully, Gregg has already heard back. “We appreciate you reaching out,” said an admin for the Matador page, “and have sent this feedback to our editors.”

We get that Matador’s writers are paid to generate clicks and they certainly have the right to their opinions. But as we’ve noted several times on our front page over the years, it’s never funny to make light of traffic interactions like this — especially when the behaviors being encouraged could easily lead to someone being killed.

Hopefully Matador’s editors do the right thing and delete that item.

UPDATE, 9:23 am on 1/13/15: We are happy to report that the article has been taken down.

UPDATE, 1/14/15: I heard back from the author of the blog post. Here’s his apology:

You’ve my sincerest apologies for the recent article featured on Matador Network regarding bikers in and throughout Portland.

The riff on reckless action was inappropriate, insensitive, and disrespectful to those folks of the biking community impacted by the destructive actions of drivers in the past.

In no way was I EVER encouraging drivers to ‘kill’ cyclists or harm them at all – there’s a fine line between attempts at humor and ‘too far’ and that line was crossed in pursuit of a coldhearted punchline.

I’d never encourage, stand behind such an evil action (harming a cyclist-harming anyone), and will always condemn those that do. I’ll have you know those that know me outside the ‘click-bait, humorous writing’ know me to be a man of high morals, good character, and well grounded values.

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