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imperialism & war

Peace Activist and Cyclist Killed

Noam Stampfer died on June 26th of injuries form a bicycle accident.
As a Jewish moderate, Stampfer was well known in the Portland community as well as in Israel for his outspoken views on the need for peace with Palestine and for independence in Palestine.

Deadly accidents like Stampfer's would happen less often if our society were less reliant on the automobile and rushing around, as well as the laziness that often accompanies car driving. In addition, the majority of motorists are largely unaware of the surrounding environment because they are so contained in their moving boxes. Besides reducing the number of automobiles on the road, our society would greatly benefit from incorporating more thorough cyclist awareness training into the standard drivers' education courses and requirements, as well as providing cyclists with safer paths to travel.

Car culture allows us to pack more things into our day, separates us from the elements and uses vehicles as a symbol of status. It also takes lives and this is unacceptable.

From his Obituary in the Oregonian:

Noam Rogers Stampfer...died June 26 of injuries from a bicycle accident at age 50. Mr. Stampfer was born March 22, 1951, in Lincoln, Neb., and moved to Portland in 1952. He graduated from Wilson High School and Columbia University in New York City, earned a law degree from New York University and a master's degree from Yale University.

He was a clerk for the Oregon Court of Appeals, an aide for the Oregon Senate Educational Committee and assistant director of finance and administration for the Oregon Division of State Lands. He also was manager of finance and economics for the state Department of Environmental Quality, interim director of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and most recently was a private consultant.
location 29.Jun.2001 18:59


I heard that Noam was killed in a bike accident while riding on highway 26 downhill from Mt. Hood near Zigzag I think. I do not know if any motor vehicles were involved.

bike safety 04.Jul.2001 12:27

Bill B,

well, i'll say this: who was out there???? i mean, i think if ther ewas no one out there, who can say if he fell on his own or there was like this big ugly truck who was an ass and hit him then kept going?

in any case, even if he were to have just fallen on his own (odd for an experienced cyclist to fall badly enough to kill himself...) i think this still is a time for us to reflect on the safety of cyclists. thank him for riding a bike, getting out there on the two wheel wonders.

if he died from his own manoevering, well then, he probably died flying down a hill and dies with joy!

cars = packing in more things?!?!? 05.Jul.2001 16:42

Matt Hohmeister mdh6214@garnet.acns.fsu.edu

"Car culture allows us to pack more things into our day, separates us from the elements and uses vehicles as a symbol of status. It also takes lives and this is unacceptable."

I quote the first story. I must agree with the taking of lives--if any other available consumer product killed 50,000 people a year through its misuse and accidents, it would be surely banned from the market, and a MUCH safer alternative found.

As far as the "packing more things into our day" goes, it seems that just the opposite is true. Look at the auto-centric American city you live. Whether you have a car or not--and if you do, no matter how much or little you drive it (or if it's a 2001 Mercedes S600 or a 1988 Honda Civic), you are LESS productive than you would be if your city was based entirely on mass transit.

To visualize this, imagine the city you live in now--big parking lot at your apartment complex, big parking lot where you work, big parking lot at the grocery store, and 4- to 6-lane roads to carry it all. Now--shrink these parking lots to about 1-10% their original size--to allow for fire-truck access, delivery parking, and bike racks. Develop 2-story residential and commercial space (or green space) on the leftover parking-lot space, shrink all the roads to 2 lanes, and reserve them for buses, taxis, delivery/service vehicles, emergency services, and bicycles. We'll eliminate traffic tie-ups, save the air, make stormwater management a lot easier, and *everyone* will save money compared to our current system. Oh yeah--the (now less) time you spend actually traveling around the city? You can now use that time to read the newspaper, talk on your celllphone, tie your shoes, comb your hair, put on makeup, and other stuff that you can't do while driving ;)

accuracy in reporting 05.Jul.2001 18:25


The problem is no one here seems to know if Mr. Stampfer died as the result of a careless motorist or if it was just a terrible accident, with no cars involved? This goes to the heart of accuracy in reporting -- we shouldn't claim or insinuate that Mr. Stampfer was killed by a motorist if we don't know this for a fact. I agree, there are too many cars on the road and altertative forms of transportation are the way to go. However, we shouldn't just assume that because a cyclist was killed, it was due to a careless driver. That's not really fair.

RE: accuracy + biker killers 11.Jul.2001 15:17


I must take issue with this prior statement as well:
<<However, we shouldn't just assume that because a cyclist was killed, it was due to a careless driver. That's not really fair. >> If a bicyclist _was_killed_, then they _were killed_ by an auto driver. There are no other "predators" capable of killing a cyclist other than an automobile.
It _is_ possible that someone, perhaps even Mr. Stampfer, could die from injuries sustained in a bicycle-only accident if they were to crash into a tree, curb, or something else solid.
Therefore, it is ENTIRELY FAIR to say that ANY cyclist _killed_ in an accident was killed by an automobile, the leading cause of death in this country next to old age.

Clearing things up 12.Jul.2001 09:23

A friend

Thought I'd clear things up about the accident.. the reason he lost control is that he hit some loose gravel while going downhill very quickly... he had a helmet on, but even that wasn't enough. It's always nice to blame things, but this is one sure seemed like the dice falling on ten sixes. Sure, if we had no *gravel* it might not have happened, but the important thing to take from it is to do what you can to support bicycle safety and automobile alternatives.