Thursday, July 10, 2008

When Bicyclists Go Wild

You think things are weird in Bend? Over in Portland, open war seems to be breaking out between motorists and bicyclists.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 8:03 AM

You think things are weird in Bend? Over in Portland, open war seems to be breaking out between motorists and bicyclists.

According to a blog post on The Oregonian site, an altercation between a driver and a cyclist turned ugly Sunday night when the cyclist - described by police as drunk - bashed the driver's car and then the driver himself with his bike.

And then, when a passerby came to the driver's defense and knocked the cyclist down, an angry crowd gathered - and threatened the motorist.

According to The Oregonian, it all started when Colin Yates, 47, "saw a bicyclist pass him on the left and blow through a stoplight on Southeast 20th Avenue at Belmont Street. Yates continued driving north on 20th Avenue, through another intersection, until he caught up with the bicyclist.

"Yates honked his horn, leaned out his window, and chided the bicyclist for making other cyclists look bad."

The bike and car proceeded a few blocks before stopping at another traffic signal, where the angry cyclist, Steven McAtee, 31, challenged Yates to a fight.

"Yates said McAtee picked up his bike and wielded it like a weapon, smashing it against [his car's] hood and windshield.

"Yates stepped from his car and told McAtee to back off.

"McAtee turned on Yates. He lifted his bike above his shoulders and struck Yates with it, Yates said. Yates tried to use his hands to block the blows and then ducked back into his car and attempted to leave. But McAtee got in front of the Subaru and repeatedly struck the vehicle with his bike, Yates said.

"Yates stepped from his car again and was struck five to seven more times with McAtee's bicycle, police reports say."

At that point a passerby came up and knocked McAtee down, whereupon "nearly a dozen people - many bicyclists who were riding by and noticed the commotion - swarmed around Yates, shoving cell phone cameras about a foot from his face and accusing him of roughing up the bicyclist. ...

"Officers found a confusing scene when they arrived. About 25 to 30 people were gathered, and police described the atmosphere as hostile towards the motorist."

McAtee ended up being charged with third-degree assault, criminal mischief, DUI and disorderly conduct. As for Yates, police said he "had an imprint of a bike chain on his left forearm and grease stains on his shoulder."

"It's almost kind of quintessentially a Portland thing," said Officer Robert Pickett, described as the Portland PD's "unofficial liaison" with the local bicycling community.

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