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Event planned in response to fatal crash

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 24th, 2006 at 9:16 am

[Intersection of SW 5th and Washington]
Photo: Susan Otcenas

Citizen activists mobilzed by the death of cyclist Mike Wilberding on August 1st have channeled their emotions into a traffic safety awareness action. The event will be held on September 1st from 4-6pm at SW 5th and Washington Streets in Beaverton (the intersection where the crash occured).

The circumstances surrounding Wilberding's death spurred a large amount of community response, including the formation of a web-based traffic safety activism group.

traffic safety education action
[Sign from a recent traffic
safety event in NW Portland]

According to organizer Brian Scrivner, he and other volunteers from this group plan to educate passing motorists with signage that promotes safe driving. Scrivner has scheduled the event to happen during rush hour for maximum visibility.

Scrivner also worked with PDOT on a recent traffic safety awareness event in Northwest Portland. You can read more about that event on IShareTheRoad.com.

This event is open to everyone and volunteers are encouraged to show up and get involved. Details:

    Beaverton "Safety Awareness Get-Together"
    Friday, Sept. 1st, 4-6PM
    SW 5th & Washington, Beaverton
    Bring: yourself, ideas for safer streets, willingness to hold a sign

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Comments
  • Bill August 24, 2006 at 11:29 am

    Will there be a ghost bike installed here? This is a regularly traveled close-to-work location for me, and really hits home.

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  • Joel August 24, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    Though there was a fatal accident at this location, I see it as one of the safest streets in Beaverton to bike. The traffic here is slow due to a well-patrolled school zone, people are used to watching for pedestrians due to the fountain and library, there are bike lanes on both sides, and it's not the major throughway that Hall, Watson and Lombard are nearby. Why, then, the need for a safety awareness get-together? One accident is not indicative of a systemic problem in the area. I would much rather see efforts focused on nearby Lombard, where there is lots of bike traffic, no bike lane and lots of sidewalk riding at high speed. I can appreciate the desire to affect positive change as a response to this tragedy, but I'm afraid misplaced efforts will come across as alarmist and ultimately undermine our legitimacy.

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  • organic brian August 24, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    "undermine our legitimacy"? Joel, are you an interested participant in traffic safety awareness actions? I don't remember any Joel at any previous event, but correct me if I'm mistaken.

    One death at such a safe intersection is too many. Also, any motorist passing through that spot will likely eventually also travel one of the more dangerous streets you mentioned. Not to mention, motorists will be more able to read the signs if they're driving more slowly, and the park location offers a pretty nice spot for hanging out and interacting with the public about safe streets.

    So, Joel, let's hear what actions you would like to lead / volunteer time for in the future. Getting a committed core of "safety awareness action" monthly event people is certainly a goal some of us are striving for. Hopefully you're not just criticizing from the sidelines as a non-player.

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  • Martha August 25, 2006 at 11:59 am

    I'm not familiar with Beaverton, but a place near a school, library, fountain and park, with bike lanes and lots of pedestrians sounds like an ideal location for a traffic calming campaign. Given that it is the site of a recent fatal crash, it does not sound like it is quite as safe as it should be. Then again, fast streets with few pedestrians and bicyclists are also prime candidates for safety campaigns. The more safety awareness events we have, the more they'll stick in everyone's mind and the more they'll do to promote safe and polite road usage. So long as they continue to be focused on driver education and awareness, and so long as they remain positive, upbeat events, every single one of these campaigns will strengthen our cause -- that of safer streets and fewer traffic injuries/fatalities. What WILL "undermine our legitimacy" is a fear of getting involved and a reluctance to continue to push for safe streets.

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  • Matt P. August 25, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    "Given that it is the site of a recent fatal crash, it does not sound like it is quite as safe as it should be."

    Why is that? Nearly every stretch of road has had a fatal accident at some point since it was constructed. The presence of an accident or death isn't nearly as important as the accident *rate* in that location. There are many intersections in Beaverton that are far more dangerous than this stretch, and if those places are not addressed in favor of correcting a more highly-publicized but less deadly stretch of road, then a disservice has been done to cyclists and pedestrians in general and to Beaverton in particular.

    It sounds like you were trying to make that point right after the comment that I've quoted, I'm just looking to clarify. I agree that every campaign is helpful, but I think that the most dangerous areas should be addressed first whenever practical.

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  • organic brian August 25, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    Matt P., an awareness event at this particular intersection would have more poignancy because a fatal collision had occurred at the spot recently and it was due to carelessness. It is the carelessness which we are targetting with the message. I don't know what is so hard about this for anyone to understand.

    What intersection would you have an action at? I would like to see one at SE 39th & Hawthorne, at SE 21st & Powell, and at E Burnside & 28th in Portland, but right now this intersection in Beaverton is where the largest # of people seem to have an interest in focusing on due to the tragedy. Are you willing to host an awareness event? I'd say go for it, I would like to see these happening every month at a location with a reputation for collisions.

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  • Walt Lersch August 30, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Mike Wilberding was a friend. He is deeply missed.

    Just about any activities that improve bike safety are worth the effort.

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  • Allen August 30, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Mike Wilberding was a kind, sweet, gentle soul who impressed me greatly as one of the safest and most responsible bicyclists I've ever met. It was passing his desk each work-day morning as I walked to mine that inspired me to start cycling the 20 mile round-trip from my home in Forest Grove to work earlier this year. When the 2 cyclists on Highway 47 riding in the bike lane were killed by a motorist who veered into the bike lane it really scared me but after talking w/Mike it helped calm me. It was terribly ironic that Mike's accident occurred when I was in China, a country where bicycles far outnumber cars. When Mike died as a result of his injuries I took it very, very hard. I no longer cycle to/from work.
    Holding the bicycle safety event at the scene of Mike's accident is absolutely the right thing to do. Mike did everything the right way as a cyclist. A human on a bicycle will lose every single time up against a 2+-ton motorized vehicle. Automobile/truck owners MUST be made aware and MUST be held accountable for their actions.

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  • pdxcommuter August 30, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    I found the following obituary in the online version of the Oregonian. Since the Oregonian removes articles after a time, I thought that this should be reproduced here.

    "Michael J. Wilberding
    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Michael J. Wilberding died Aug. 5, 2006 at age 58 of injuries sustained in an accident.

    Mr. Wilberding was born July 19, 1948 in Auburn, Alabama. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He moved to Aloha in 1977 and graduated from Portland State University. He was an electrical engineer for Intel. In 1988 he moved to Portland. He married B.J. Soriano in 1974.

    Survivors include his wife; daughter, Misha Depp; son, Dayn; and one grandchild.

    Remembrances to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Arrangements by Autumn."

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  • Patrick Wilberding September 4, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Allen and pdx thanks for the nice words about my brother. I was in Portland for the first time and with him when he passed and I can see why he'd liked to ride. I live in So. Calif. and to ride a bike around here you might as well wear a target on your back.

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