Many of you here may be aware of this article, which specifies that any citizen in Oregon can file a “citizens citation” provided they have a description, name, and address of the suspect.
This morning I was close-passed by a pickup truck on a 45mph country road w/o a shoulder/bike lane where they had to give me a full lane under ORS 811.065(1A) (the distance if I were to fall over is about a full lane). I caught up to them at the end of the road, but the door to the business they went into closed just before I had a chance to say anything.
So on my commute back home this afternoon, I noticed his truck was still out front so I went inside the business, talked to his boss, who grabbed him and we had a little verbal argument where he and his boss who wasn’t even there claimed I was “in the middle of the road going 5mph” as I was going 15-20mph in the right-tire tread, legally of course.
Victim-blaming aside, I left their business and wished them a good day while pointing a camera at the driver’s face informing them I was getting evidence for my police report.
I then compiled the footage on an SD card and took off to the Tualatin Police Station and talked to an officer. At first he thought I was riding a motorcycle due to my gear and seemed quite defensive in my favor when I said it was a 3 foot pass, but as soon as I specified I’m on a bicycle the demeanor changed. I showed him the footage on my laptop.
He hadn’t heard of a citizen’s citation in his 5 years which isn’t a surprise to me, they’re rare. We talked over everything and in the span of an hour, he basically agreed that a law was broken, and said he wouldn’t file charges himself despite the evidence. He also tried to imply that the citation wasn’t broken by including a completely irrelevant part of the statute in sub b and saying it applies to sub a or whatever. He also implied that the judge wouldn’t be able to determine the passing distance by video evidence even though the driver was a quarter into my lane, I was in the right tire tread, and I’m well over 6 feet tall. (do I need a rangefinder? Wait, how can they prove my rangefinder is calibrated?)
Nonetheless, after persistence and his attempts to try and get me to drop the debacle (although in a kind, cordial, and passive manner), he went to his supervisor. He came back out and said they couldn’t give me his name/address because it’d violate some privacy law, which is what is required for a citizen’s citation. The article at the top of this post indicates that the police may help you gather that evidence, although this seems to be untrue or perhaps based on discretion.
He did inform me though that I should try and get his name/address through a search myself, and that I should print out the citizen’s citation and file it at the Tualatin Municipal Court.
I’ll be going to the DMV tomorrow since its literally on my commute to try and file a records request on the drivers license plate to see if I can get that info for a buck or two; else its a bust.
Has anyone else tried this stuff before? It’s way harder than this article makes it out to be.