Pardon the irreverence, folks, but the last two and a half years that [Portland mayor Tom] Potter’s been in office have been just a little strange.
I mean, who can forget the time, shortly after being sworn in, that he joined Critical Mass, the radical bike event, for a ride across town.
Nothing against Critical Mass, you understand – or even the idea of prolonged adolescence that so many of its riders seem to represent – but there was the mayor himself, pedaling through all those red lights with the best of them.
There is indeed an argument to be made (in fact, although Sanford might have missed it, it was made as recently as last week in the Trib) that when an area's bike culture reaches a certain level, the promote-identity-and-awareness tactics of Critical Mass aren't needed anymore.
There is also, unfortunately, an argument to be made that we're not there yet:
Timothy O'Donnell, 66, was riding on Northwest Cornelius-Schefflin Road when he was hit Saturday by a 2006 Dodge Avenger while signaling a left turn onto Long Road, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office. O'Donnell, who was with four other riders from the Portland Velo cycling group, died at the scene.[…]
The driver accused of striking O'Donnell, 26-year-old Jennifer Knight of Hayden, Idaho, was cited for careless driving, passing in a no-passing zone and driving with a suspended license, according to the sheriff's office. Knight was trying to pass the cyclists, according to the sheriff's office.
Under Oregon law, Knight may receive a maximum fine of $1,115, said Sgt. David Thompson, a sheriff's office spokesman. […]
In the past year, several cyclists have died in Washington County after being hit by vehicles, including two Hillsboro cyclists on Oregon 47 south of Forest Grove in May 2006.
In Salem, a bill is working its way through the legislature to make the penalty for offenses like this more than a stiff fine, but in the meantime Sanford is welcome get in his car and go explain to O'Donnell's family and friends why going to extremes to raise awareness of cyclists on the road is "prolonged adolescence."