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Injured cyclist needs witnesses

Posted by on June 15th, 2006 at 5:04 pm

[Click for large view of crash scene.
Image by Timo Forsberg.]

At around 7:00AM last Monday morning Justin Isle was riding in the bike lane on his way to work, heading westbound on NE Broadway. As he approached N Williams Avenue and the I-5 onramp (right near the Shell station) he was struck by a car.

He now has two compression fractures in his back and no witnesses to help with his case.

Justin seems to remember people standing around, but the crash happened very suddenly and he was in no condition to get their names. Unfortunately the responding police officer didn’t take down any witness information either.

Justin needs our help to bring this motorist to justice. If you saw this crash take place, please email him at jisle [a] masonbruce.com.

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  • Timo F June 15, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    A disclaimer – I labeled the crash site from my general understanding of what happened, per Justin’s e-mail. I don’t know exactly where in the intersection he landed.
    I do know it’s a difficult place to ride through, given that the bike lane goes between two automobile turn-lanes heading towards the I-5 freeway.

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  • Jonathan Maus June 15, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    No sweat Timo. I talked with him today and he was almost completely through the intersection when the car turned into him. It was as if the driver realized at the last second she wanted to go North on I-5 and made a sudden turn.

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  • Esther June 15, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    this is one of the most dangerous sections of my commute. I always ride with extreme caution because people turning right and cutting me off is one of the most common occurrences (it also seems to happen a lot where Broadway crosses Grand – people suddenly realize they’re at Grand/MLK and wanna head north, so turn right when the light turns green, as I’m starting forward in the bike line)—even though I may have passed them while they were waiting in the queue at the light, or they may have passed me before they got stopped at the light. The worst at this onramp to I-5 where the accident happened are the big trucks with bad blind spots. It seems the blue stripe here and on Weidler (heading east) have faded a bit, and I think that may account for some driver incaution, I wonder if the 823 number would respond to complaints that they’re not bright enough?

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  • mr.macadam June 15, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    This sucks. We’re all aware of the folks driving in front of us while we’re riding (and we make adjustments to their driving), but those lamo’s behind us have got to pay attention to us!! We can’t swerve or accelerate to get away from them. Here’s to a speedy recovery and I hope this driver get’s there’s. How irresposible are some people? Geez.

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  • Dan Porter June 15, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    This intersection ties as one of my least favorites in Portland (The other being East on Everett as car traffic crosses the bike lane to merge into 405 South).

    I only need to go this route when I drop my kids off at daycare (thankfully only 1 or 2 times per week). Lately though instead of going this way I have been cutting South into the Lloyd district and crossing at Multnomah then down through the Rose Quarter and over into town via the Steel Bridge. This only extends my commute by about 1/2 mile (which I don’t mind). However I do it for the sole reason of avoiding this intersection.

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  • Tree June 15, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    I really empathize with Justin. This was a hit and run? And none of the drivers behind the criminal driver stopped? Sometimes I wonder at the ability of the police to investigate hit and runs. For instance, if a witness calls later and says a bicyclist was hit by a car, who links the witness to the “accident.” Is the hit and run entered in a computer (or just in the officer’s notebook) so that the police recipient of the call can match it with the accident?
    I was involved in a hit and run several years ago. There were several cars behind the ******* that ran me out of the bike lane into a concrete lamp post and none of them stopped. After I got out of the hospital, I called the police or 911 (can’t remember) to see if anyone called to report it and they said, no. I seriously doubt the police’s investigative skills and personal motivation.
    Justin, I would place an ad in The Columbian and The Oregonian asking for witnesses. I never did and I regret it. If you have auto insurance you probably have coverage, so be sure to call your agent. Good luck to you.
    By the way, I will not ride the Broadway bike lane, especially at the subject intersection. Way too many close calls. Drivers simply do not yield. Good place to commit suicide.

    How about some tickets there, law enforcement!!!!!!

    I’ve yet to see a bicyclist who ran a stop kill somebody. Not that I think it’s okay to do less than a California stop.

    Good luck Justin!

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  • Matt P. June 15, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    Tree said:

    “I’ve yet to see a bicyclist who ran a stop kill somebody.”

    I only know of one instance:

    Ore. Bicyclist Charged With Manslaughter
    Sep 12 12:21 PM US/Eastern

    CORVALLIS, Ore.

    A bicyclist was charged with manslaughter after he ran through a stop sign and struck and killed a 71-year-old woman, police said Monday.

    Jean Calder died at Good Samaritan Hospital after she was struck Friday night as she crossed a street at an unmarked crosswalk, Corvallis police Capt. Ron Noble said.

    Christopher A. Lightning, 51, was charged with manslaughter and reckless driving.

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  • Dabby June 15, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    I was struck friday night by a woman in her car. She turned right into me, ruined my shoulder, ruined my arm, ruined my beautiful bike.
    She was so nice at the scene, now days later is telling me to sue her, because this is the only way I will get medical or anything.
    Is this what it boils down to?
    People believe that it is ok to hit a bike and walk away?
    Peole also actually believe that auto insurance coverage doesn’t, or they are not required to, apply to bike wrecks.
    People also believe that , if riding at dusk, it is illegal to be without lights.
    I filed a police report, yet she called the police, and they told her I had to take her to court.
    The police are telling lies about dealing with bicycle related wrecks, and allowing people to get away with what could amount to murder.
    This must be changed.
    I will be dealing with the person who is trying to avoid me 1,000 percent. More if she wants.
    Sadly, I already contacted one of our “bicycle lawyers, asking to retain his services.
    I was referred only to the bicycle statuates page.
    THis is not the help I wanted.
    If there is a lawyer out there that actually wants to make a diffrence, please contact me soon.
    Thanks, and I hope the perp in this posted accident is also brought to justice.

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  • aaron hayes June 16, 2006 at 8:13 am

    I go through this intersection every day. I’ve found that taking the middle lane(just to the left of the bike lane) solves the problem of cars turning right into my path.

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  • vrc June 16, 2006 at 9:49 am

    i was thinking the same thing as aaron hayes.

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  • West Cougar June 16, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Actually, Dabby this should be a pretty simple affair you can handle yourself. Does she have insurance? Have you spoken with her insurance co?

    Write them a letter detailing what happened and that you are requesting compensation for your losses. Be polite but firm. As much as possible have documentation backing up all your loss claims. Depending on how bad the injuries were, I believe typical pain and suffering pay-outs are 3 times medical bills. It’s been a long. long time since I’ve done a pain & suffering claim so that might have changed.

    If nothing else let the agent know you have no insurance and will be making a Personal Injury Protection claim to cover your medical bills. PIP is no-fault coverage required of all drivers in the State or Oregon.

    In any case, your first step needs to be to contact her insurance company and let them know you are making a claim. You don’t need to and shouldn’t be dealing with the driver at all.

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  • Dabby June 18, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for your input. I certainly know how to handle this, if it was a normal accident situation.
    Yet, this person is refusing to give me insurance information, which is a violation of the law, and turns it into a hit and run, even though she stopped.
    MY post is a plea for help in dealing with anothers ignorance.

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  • West Cougar June 19, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Hey Dabby,

    I don’t have any step-by-step advice for your situation, just generalities. She is probably thinking she can be a big enough pain that you will go away. So, you have to decide up front whether you want to put the effort into fighting her.

    If you do want to fight her, go to a police precinct station *in person* and ask for some help there. As you said refusing insurance exchange is illegal and consistutes a hit and run. If you are patient and nice and come across as an honest person needing assistance from the system there is likely to be some clerk somewhere willing to take pity and help you out. The key is to work within the system. If you get resistance from the bike angle, be ready to say if I were in my car and in this situation what would I do? The police are always used to dealing with cars. So ask them the questions they know: what if you were in a car? Then, apply their answer to your situation.

    I infer you only have her phone number from the post-collision pleasantries. She may try to disavow ever having met you. Be ready to respond to that however best you can. A witness, if one can be found is obviously the best. The question then how did I get your phone number and know your make of car, is better than nothing.

    It is probably not going to be easy, but there is no money in this for anyone but you. As such lawyer types are not going to be of particular use. You will have to hustle this one out largely yourself. Sorry to say, it sucks.

    I think this goes to underscore that if bikers wish to be treated fairly as motorists, they have to act as motorists, among them: demanding insurance exchange when collisions occur.

    Best luck.

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