The Portland bike community is rallying to catch a man who allegedly killed a duck with his bicycle.
Near Bethany Lake, a tipster named "Steve C." told bikeportland.org, a man in red and white lycra ran down a duck with his bicycle, then didn't stop. "Steve said several people pleaded with the man to stop and report the incident to the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District," writes Jonathan Maus, "but to no avail."
The bicyclist is "middle-aged, has white hair, a beard and a mustache. He was wearing a black and red jersey and shorts." The Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District would like to ask him some questions.
The killing of the duck does not, apparently, violate any laws enforced locally, but may be under the purview of the Federal Migratory Bird Act—so the feds, theoretically, could come after the man if he is positively identified.
Mike Green of U.S. Fish and Wildlife says that many duck found in parks are domestic, and therefore not protected by the act.
"If it's a protected species," says Green, "strictly speaking, killing it even accidentally is a violation. Would law enforcement go after that? It's doubtful. This wouldn't be considered a case any court would likely entertain. The same is true of people who hit birds while driving."
"I have bad memories from my childhood of parents hitting an animal and then protecting us kids by moving on and not checking," writes a commenter on Bike Portland. "I'm so fucking glad it's a law that one has to stop. I bet very very few people know it's a law, either." To another commenter, she writes, "What's laughable is the lack of empathy toward a suffering animal you exhibit."
"Accidents happen," writes another commenter, "but I am certain the big deal is that the rider showed no sympathy to the folks who were clearly distressed–that alone was a reason to stop. Also hitting a duck and not stopping may have indicated excessive speed."
Another reader smelled conspiracy. "On a more serious note, this smells a lot like a complaint by an anti-bike person who is looking for a reason to get bikes removed from a MUP."
Maus had briefly published photos alleged to be of the cyclist—which were then removed from the site after readers complained of a witch hunt.
"You may not think it amounts to a public shaming," wrote George H. "but many of your readers do and will."
Because the case has since been referred to enforcement, we have re-posted the photograph above.
The bicyclist remains at large.