"Citizens Traffic Citations" aren't really a thing

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.


Went to the DMV, it’s a bust unless you’re a P.I. as obtaining a name/address from a license plate is private information.

Essentially, the citizen’s traffic citation articles you see are exaggerated and a near-myth.

Unless you can come up with the driver’s address and name on your own (no plate search site can give you that, they’re all scams), then your only chance at accountability and justice lies on officer discretion on whether they’d like to file charges themselves or not.

If someone knows of a time the police gave the citizen that private info to file the citation as the koin news article claims happens, then I’d like to hear that story. In my case, they said they couldn’t because of a privacy law that they couldn’t cite.

Guess this leads to accountability with drivers breaking traffic law at the hands of the police, which we all know bias against bicyclists whether its victim blaming or twisting the statutes. They don’t give a rats hiney. In London, you can email offenses and get prosecutions. In America, someone’s opinion trumps the non-ambiguous law.

Now I know most of ya’ll didn’t care to read the text blocks I posted, but I wanted to be detail-specific for anyone else trying to file one of these citizens traffic citations. Hopefully, this will come up in google search results before anyone else has to go through the same effort I did.


Perhaps reach out to the reporter of the article and share your experience. Maybe they’d be interested in doing a follow up.

If you were to just file it at court, you have the driver’s photo and description, I don’t see why the COURT wouldn’t be able to obtain the information though. Much like photo radar tickets do.


Most of the time we hear about this it’s in Portland, and the Portland Police Bureau
Manual of Policy and Procedure has a section that specifically says they need to help you get the name and address of the defendant.

However, there are a lot of privacy laws in place that normally protect that information. Most of the cases here on BP involve people that already have the defendant information from a previous crash that didn’t result in a citation at the time. Reading through some of the articles here (https://bikeportland.org/tag/citizen-initiated-citation) it looks like you have an advantage being the person involved. And the privacy laws are vague in their wording about it being an “unreasonable invasion of privacy”.

I’d contact Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost (https://www.tcnf.legal/) for a consultation. They would know if there’s specific language and statutes you need to cite in order to get some cooperation from a non-Portland police department.

Please keep us posted.


What exactly do you mean by this/how does this relate to citizens citations?

It doesn’t relate to it, but with your activism style, gathering up things like vagrancy detritus, needles, etcetera from bike lanes, then re-locating them to the city owned planting strips in front of wealthy homeless industry exec’s homes would do a good public service. You’re technically only moving trash from one public place to another public place.

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Thanks, I expected my local PD to behave like this, though I was a little surprised. Just hoping they do better if I ever get hit by a driver, because if they don’t pursue charges, or provide me with the info, then I’ll be at my wits end.

I’ll seek that consultation if another incident occurs where I feel trying to file charges is necessary. Thanks Johnny.

Got it, next time I see any “detritus” located in the bike lane it will be relocated in front of a mansion and put on my channel.

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@FlowerCrow are you still around?

Are you carrying a gun while you ride? You mentioned that in the past and your prior video posts have shown your violent outbursts. Although I’m generally in favor of citizen citations I do have concerns about you getting people’s addresses.

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Oh wow if ever there was a candidate for a firearm red flag law it’s this FlowerCrow person. They sound very volatile.

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Very true. Unfortunately a lot of instability and anger seen in prior posts. However his fire truck horn adapted to his bike was pretty ingenious (albeit somewhat obnoxious). Hopefully he can concentrate on more positive endeavors and less on road rage.

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Let’s just hope they get the help they need.

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