Collision Chronicles: Roadway assault on North Skidmore near MLK (8/29/16)

Collision Chronicles: Roadway assault on North Skidmore near MLK (8/29/16)

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This story is part of our Collision Chronicles, an ongoing series to shine a light on the steady stream of scary street interactions we hear about but that you probably won’t see covered in the news.

 I never thought I’d be emailing anyone about something like this, but it finally happened to me.

I was assaulted by a driver on my short morning commute, Monday 8/29, around 7:20 am. I was following a driver from the MLK/Skidmore light west down Skidmore and he was driving erratically, slowing as if he was going to turn right several times. I thought he might be a uber/lyft driver, after the 2nd time I tried to go around him and he sped up, obviously taunting me and yelling, “Why the F are you riding my bumper?!”.

I should have turned off the block at the point, but didn’t (oncoming traffic), I figured I’d slow down more and give him space, when all of a sudden he slammed his brakes to a stop and jumped out of the car to grab me (this was between Cleveland and Williams on Skidmore). I reached for my u-lock to defend myself (I had no where to go oncoming traffic, again). now that i was in front of the car I was spooked he would try to run me down so I got off my bike. Big mistake.

He came at me yelling “I won’t have you impose your will on me with that fucking bike, I’m sick of you people” and we yelled at each other for a few seconds and then he punched me in the eye and side of the head quickly, I dodged a few other punches and backed up to try to take his photo and he tried to rip the camera off me. I kept saying “buddy your assaulting me, get back in the car, you’re fucked” etc, he grabbed my lock from me and started swinging that at me, finally was able to break away. I never got a punch in edgewise. he threw the lock at me and he sped off and I picked up my bike. I pedaled to my office, called non-emergency and cleaned myself up. My eye was cut.

I talked to the police, the officer was polite but fairly nonchalant about the whole thing. I got a plate and they ran in, but the car was recently sold and not re-registered, so it sounds like that was a dead end. the officer said these things often don’t get resolved, but said they may see him out driving, etc. The car was a Black Volvo wagon circa 2000 or so, no tint or rack, a few stickers in the window, OR Lic. Plate YAA548

There were bunch of witnesses at a machine shop across the street and a few contractors loading up for their work day, but the majority of my interactions with these types of guys hasn’t been great the past few years in this neighborhood, bike or not, I’m hesitant to go knock on their door.

OK, that out of the way, the true reason I was emailing, what do people do in this situation? I really don’t feel like the police will be much help. I am pretty spooked that the guy lives in my neighborhood as we are both leaving my neighborhood at MLK and Skidmore (the car seemed familiar, but there are a zillion Volvos around). I’m pretty spooked and looking into small devices for self-defense, etc. people are nuts. I won’t stop riding (obvs.) but do feel the need to be able to defend myself better.

For the first time in my life I’m looking over my shoulder a lot. very unsettling feeling, especially in my own neighborhood.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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