monitors, analyzes and corrects media reporting errors and bias concerning messengers and couriers.

Messenger Institute
 for Media Accuracy

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Nerves of Steel
Get the definitive book on bike messengers - "Nerves of Steel"

Classic Case of Bias

Colluminst Steven Beaven failed to address facts raised by MIMA that proves a messenger's riding behavior was lawful.  In his follow up collumn Beaven addresses readers' defence of the messenger but fails to acknowledge that the messenger' may have been riding in a lawful manner.

He continues to refer to the messenger as "reckless" and "dangerous."

He does however respond to MIMA in personal e-mail:

"In what way was this guy legally passing? He wasn't. There is nothing in the law that says he was making a legal maneuver on the bicycle. I was there. And I know the statute."

Here again is the statute and Mr Beaven's clear statements that the messenger was passing him:

On March 7th Beaven decribed the "reckless" behavior this way:
"It was odd, we thought: a cyclist passing between two cars on a busy, one-way downtown street."

And that's his entire argument.

It lead him to road rage, honk his horn and ignore section (2)(a) of ORS 814.430:

(2) A person is NOT in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:
  (a) When overtaking and PASSING another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.

Beaven was there but his bias prevents him from knowing the statute.


Back Seat

The Oregonian, March 14, 2005

By Steve Beaven

Memo to self:

When you seek "thoughtful" responses and ask readers to "spare us the tiresome rants," what you actually are doing is asking for vitriol, anger and profane outrage.

But that was just the guy from Hillsboro.

Most of the readers who responded to our little run-in with the daredevil bike messenger a few weeks ago were, indeed, thoughtful.

They raised several important points about this gentleman and his dangerous move in between two moving cars on a one-way street: Perhaps our reckless bike messenger was worried about riding in the lane closest to the curb, one reader suggested, because he didn't want to get knocked over by someone opening their car door. This is a legitimate concern, but not enough to justify riding in between moving cars and putting the safety of drivers, passengers and himself at risk.

While cyclists can't split traffic like our friend, they can ride in the middle of the lane if it's too narrow for side-by-side travel, according to Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for Portland's Office of Transportation. He also points out that on a one-way street, cyclists can ride close to the left curb or the right curb. This guy is just a working stiff, some readers said. He doesn't make much money and he's under lots of pressure, without having some fat cat honking at him. Well, cry us a river, OK?

Besides, our all-fiber diet has rendered us svelte and sexy. Honking your horn at a cyclist could distract him, forcing him to take his eyes off the road, creating a danger for the cyclist and those around him.

Good point. Honking in anger is generally not a good idea, though we must admit, we do it all the time.(Bad Back Seat driver! Bad Back Seat driver!)

But in a case like this one, it could be helpful to let the fellow know he's dangerously close to the cars, and it's best to get in a safe place.

Sure, maybe it angered our buddy a few weeks ago. But it also helped alleviate a dangerous situation.

And it gave the fella in Hillsboro a chance to combine bad words and nonsense, creating his own little language.


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