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Cyclist found at fault in fatal Hillsboro collision

Posted by on October 31st, 2007 at 10:40 am

Approximate crash location. Click for Google Map.

KATU has the story of a collision last Friday in Hillsboro that resulted in the death of 47 year-old Hillsboro resident Kerry Alfred Teufel.

Here’s what they reported:

“According to Hillsboro police, Teufel was riding east in the traffic lanes on Southwest Oak Street near Southwest 17th Avenue about 6:30 p.m. when the incident occurred. Christopher Currens, 34, of Hillsboro, was driving the same direction and did not see the cyclist – who was wearing dark clothes and no helmet and was straddling the fast and slow lanes with his bike – until his Ford Focus was very close, police said.

Currens honked his horn and slammed on his brakes to avoid a crash, and the cyclist swerved into the car, hitting the front quarter panel, police said. Teufel’s body then flipped into the air and struck the pavement, causing a serious head injury, police said.”

KATU also reports that Hillsboro police have listed the cyclist as being at fault in the collision. Police still don’t know why the cyclist swerved into the car and according to the Oregonian, they say the cyclist “had amphetamines in his system”.

Read more coverage of the incident via Google News.

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Comments
  • jami October 31, 2007 at 10:50 am

    always sad.

    but this cyclist had amphetamines in his blood, according to a news report i read. that factors in.

    it would be good to get more helmets to at-risk cyclists.

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  • tonyt October 31, 2007 at 10:53 am

    There was a report that there were amphetimines in his system as well which might explain his erratic behavior.

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/10/hillsboro_bicyclist_dies_from.html

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 31, 2007 at 11:01 am

    thanks tonyt and jami, I\’ve added that information to the post.

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  • Vance October 31, 2007 at 11:27 am

    \’In his system\’, and, \’under the influence\’, are two different things you snobs. In non-fatal accidents, helmets cause more injuries than they prevent. This irresponsible article is brutally biased, and you all are lapping it up. What was the driver wearing? Where was his helmet? Or are you now going to argue that motorists involved in accidents never hurt their heads? The BTA, and to a lesser extent, BikePortland.org, have elected THEMSELVES the de-facto voice of the Portland cyclist. If you are going to claim this, then you must own it all. Instead, you are going to say that you speak for all cyclists, over and over again; but then hang a biker out to dry based on the biased reporting of but one journalist. Do you people have no shame? By the way J, did you see MY story about this?

    http://360.yahoo.com/vancelongwell

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  • encephalopath October 31, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Vance #4

    Do YOU amphetamines in your system? That post didn\’t make any sense at all.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross October 31, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Vance sez: \”In non-fatal accidents, helmets cause more injuries than they prevent.\”

    Really, can you cite a source?

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  • jimmy October 31, 2007 at 11:35 am

    don\’t even bother vance…every poster on here would have every cyclist wrapped up in bubble wrap with full blown flood lights on their bike. \”Do it our way or don\’t do it at all\”, that\’s the portland way.

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  • Dabby October 31, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Vance,
    I think you need to relax a little.

    Reporting is reporting.

    You do not have to come here and read the articles.

    You must have chosen to click on Bike Portland, right?

    In my opinion, it is as important to point out that a cyclist is at fault in an accident, as it is to point out that a driver is a fault.

    In fact, it my be much more important to point out when a cyclist is at fault. So we may learn from the mistakes of others. It is too late to save him, so let\’s try to save some others, through education.

    Also, at that point, when we discover this,knowing he was not wearing a helmet is very, very relevant, considering the fact that he died from a head injury.

    And while it is true he may not have been high at the time, but just had drugs in his system, it is important to know how his judgment may have been impaired, even due to yesterday\’s, or last weeks, use of amphetamines. It is in the system, it has affected you in some manner. This I know.

    This is relevant info to have.

    I am sure Vance, that if the driver had drugs in his system your stance would be different.

    But the proper choice to make when reporting injury or death due to obvious negligence, is to point out some of the reasons why the bad decisions may have been made.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 31, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Vance said:
    \”The BTA, and to a lesser extent, BikePortland.org, have elected THEMSELVES the de-facto voice of the Portland cyclist.\”

    Vance, please tell me how exactly I\’ve \”elected myself\” to this position.

    \”…then hang a biker out to dry based on the biased reporting of but one journalist.\”

    First, this \”one journalist\” reported the same facts that all the other outlets reported… and that were lifted directly from Police statements (that\’s another topic).

    Second, please tell me how exactly I \”hung this guy out to dry\”. When I re-read my post it seems like I\’m merely sharing the information with the community (after several people wrote to me wondering why I hadn\’t covered this story).

    And thanks for sharing the link to your Yahoo page, now I know where to go to read about your perspectives.

    By the way, I enjoyed our chat at City Hall the other night.

    Keep in touch.

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  • matevz October 31, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Dr. Ross #6:

    This is a link to a summary of several studies looking at helmet use and brain injury. I don\’t think it necessarily supports Vance\’s claim, but it is interesting.

    http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/h-i-mech.htm

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  • brodie October 31, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    While I agree with Vance that this story could be biased, it is moreso inline with how Jonathan described it: the reporting of what the Police said, which was probably biased (as it has been so in so many other cases recently). There is absolutely no reason to come on here and denigrate Jonathan for merely passing along the only information available.

    And saying that helmets cause more harm than they protect against is possibly one of the most sadly misinformed statements I\’ve heard. If somebody was going to take a swing at you with a golf club, tell me, would you prefer a helmet or not?

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  • Klixi October 31, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Vance: and yet if the roles were switched, if the driver had meth in his system, if the driver was driving with his lights off (the equivalent of riding a bike at night in black clothes with no light) and hit a cyclist, would you be rushing to defend the driver? If anyone here is biased it is you.

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  • JT October 31, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    with all due respect, Jamie..

    putting a helmet on the head of a meth user is a waste of time…they already don\’t give a ratsh*t about their life..and a helmet will be the last thing they think of….

    Vance, its blatantly obvious you\’re severely uneducated about brain injury and helmet use…

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  • tonyt October 31, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Wow Vance, with such outstanding logic and diplomacy skills, I just can\’t imagine why the name of your \”site\” isn\’t on the lips of everyone in town!

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  • Jessy October 31, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    \”In non-fatal accidents, helmets cause more injuries than they prevent.\”

    That is one of the weirdest things I have ever read. Is it possibly because in non-fatal accidents people tend to be wearing helmets? Whereas in fatal accidents they\’re not? So yes, you might have a lot of injuries when your helmet is on… But that\’s because you\’re alive with injuries, as opposed to dead. If you look at it that way.

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  • rex October 31, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Vance really has a warped sense of importance. Here is one of his comments ripped from his website…

    \”Well the weekend frakas caught me off gaurd a bit. Didn\’t know I\’d become the de-facto voice of reason for the GLOBAL cycling community. I blew up a local press conference on bike safety on Friday. You\’d think I kicked somebody\’s baby across the street! Made national news. I\’ve done a little over forty interviews since Friday and I have lost track of correspondence a little.\”

    Heeelarious.

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  • bArbaroo October 31, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Re- #16 – when and where was this article published?

    Also, note that all of the references in the article are a bit old – 1996 is the most recent. Helmets have changed substantilly in the past 11 years. SOme of the data was in the era of lycra covered helmets so it would be helpful to know if this is a recent article or something old being recirculated on the web…and we all know that the web is ALWAYS a reliable source of information.

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  • Jessy October 31, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Hm…

    All his posts are about all the things that he\’s angry about… News reporters, BikePortland.org & the BTA, Tiny\’s Coffee. He apparently hates it all.

    It sure is easy to sit at home and complain incessantly through your blog, isn\’t it?

    Whether or not you agree with Jonathan or the BTA or anyone else, at least they\’re ACTIVELY working to enact change that they feel would make Portland a better city. Through spreading knowledge, awareness, pushing to update laws, whatever.

    I guess if someone wants to hatemonger on a blog all day, that\’s his/her perogative. It just seems like there are a lot more productive (and less negative) ways to spend your time.

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  • Marcello October 31, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Sunset on Friday was at 6.08 PM, and if I remember the weather on that afternoon correctly, there was quite a bit of light coming from the West, most likely more than enough to see a bike riding East at 20 minutes after sunset. In this case, not seeing the bike had nothing to do with it being dark, or that the rider was wearing dark clothes. Cars drive very fast in that stretch of road as they get into Hillsboro, after the long straight stretch from Cornelius. Too often they barely pay attention to each other, and no attention to speed limit signage or anything smaller than a car. While the rider may have been at fault this time (who knows, he can\’t tell his side of the story), that is one dangerous stretch of road to be riding on.

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  • Jonathon Severdia October 31, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    People, I know it betrays the progressive belief that everyone can be helped, but please do not feed the trolls.

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  • Vance October 31, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I wasn\’t very clear about which reporter I was flaming. My problem is with Suzzane Pardington of the Oregonian, not you Mr. Maus. You\’re doing alright J, I just don\’t appreciate you supporting the BTA, nothing personal. I also appreciate you allowing my post, sorry about the link. I just wanted it known that a ball got dropped this weekend. Sam Adams has stated repeatedly that he regularly consults with, \’cyclists\’, and stake-holders about policy change. In actuality he regularly consults with a tiny minority of cyclist-cum-political activists, and then uses language to obfuscate this, and make it seem that he is acting on behalf of all cyclists in Portland.

    My point. Have your little clubs. Organize. Ride for the environment. I don\’t really care. But drop this, \’we\’, crap, because the BTA, and THEIR SUPPORTERS, clearly don\’t include bicycle riders like Mr. Teufel, or myself for that matter. The BTA site is littered with the phrase, \’cycling community\’. I\’m in the, \’cycling community\’, and you don\’t see me at any of your meetings, do you? If the BTA would restrict themselves to simply promoting the sport, I\’d have no problem. But the BTA isn\’t just promoting the sport. The BTA advocates changes to a system that EVERYONE uses. And worse yet, they do it with the justification that they speak for the, \’cycling community\’.

    You wanna see some changes to the system, fine. Do it as a private citizen, not as a cyclist. As a private citizen, you are entitled to do whatever you want. The city is being given cart-blanche and when challenged, the city says it has the support of THE cycling community. Not a few members of the cycling community. Not a bicycle special interest group, but THE cycling community.

    Blame Bricker for my presence in all of this anyway. I went to Tracy\’s memorial ride against my better judgment. It was just too horrible of a tragedy to miss the ride. Once there I was subjected to an ill-prepared, rambling speech, by Bricker about, get this, his frikkin familiy! I\’m not in your little club folks. I\’ve skidded down the road on my ass more miles than most of you will ever ride. You do not speak for me. Get the word, \’we\’, out of your mouths, get the phrase, \’cycling community\’, out of your dogma. The fact is, is that BikePortland.org, and the BTA comprise a teensy, tiny, little minority of bike riders in this community; and the way YOU all tell it, you speak for all of us.

    So, until you can all get a clue, and realize that not everybody is on a bike for the same reasons that you all are, I will remain a big giant Ahole. Promise. With all of that said, I again thank you for the forum. I know that you must be proud of the work you are doing. Even though I lack respect for your politics regarding the, \’cycling community\’, I deeply respect your decision to allow my obnoxious posts. It took me a couple of days, because I\’m pretty naive with social situations, but I figured out that you were being disingenuous when we spoke at the press conference. I thought perhaps you were trying to reach out. In hindsight, you were being a dick, and my not realizing it, probably made me look stupid. So, even though you think I\’m a stupid dick, you let me post anyway, and well that\’s pretty kool, anyway you slice it.

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  • Dabby October 31, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I would like to add that back then, we had a mix of Styrofoam helmets, and Styrofoam helmets that had a small slick hard shell, like all helmets today.

    These were the differences.

    The strictly Styrofoam would grip when hitting the ground, stopping your head faster from going under a tire, but probably causing more neck and tissue damage.

    Where as the Styrofoam with a slight hardshell would slide more, possibly putting your head under the car, or tires, but probably saving you from more neck and or soft tissue damage.

    Now, these facts are not so relevant, as helmets in general have the slight hard shell covering.

    But, even up until the mid 90\’s, you had a choice to make on the matter.

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  • rex October 31, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    RE #17: Found that (and a lot more of his self-righteous BS) on one of the comment section on Vance\’s blog (see link in his comment above to visit it yourself). His comment to Jonathan was obviously meant to drive traffic to his site. However, once there you will find little more than his angry uninformed rantings. He seems like the kind of guy that thinks 9/11 was a government conspiracy. I think I\’ll tune him out now. Very annoying.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    I\’ve just finished reading a bunch of Vance\’s stuff and I think he makes a lot of valid points. I know he\’s ruffling your feathers, but I also think that y\’all should give some credence to what he\’s saying and not dismiss him so quickly.

    IMO, Vance\’s rants are a whole lot closer to the mark than the stupid crap the Willamette Week published today.

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  • rex October 31, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Vance- I don\’t know. Your postings on your website seem to indicate a \”problem\” with Jonathan.

    \”Come now, come now. So much for the cycling community, you hypocrites. \’Any-body\’, is a good-body on a bike, right? Right. I thought we were all in this together? Right. Mr. Maus, I told you that I don\’t feel the need to be protected on the streets of Portland. Your response was to point out that there are less experienced cyclists, and wannabes, that your, \’movement\’, would not have intimidated. You said the mission is to include, to draw people into the lifestyle. If it is a head count you seek, then why the high-hat?

    Out one side of your mouthS you speak the lie of inclusion. Out of the other, disdain. Surely you won\’t exile me, to that place beyond the village walls? The sign on the door reads: Everyone welcome. Apparently, in my case, there will be exceptions made. How gratifying. Tell me, while politely hiding whispers behind hands free of soil, have you ever thought to invite me to one of your, \’meetings\’?

    Most of you came to my hometown from somewhere else. You take all of the desirable work in the core, you deride and mock me, you exclude me categorically; then criticize me for not being in your party of fools. At any time, during my excruciating outburst, did it occur to you that I was there, completely and utterly, by myself? That\’s called, \’personal authority\’, Mr. Maus.\”

    And that is just the tip of the iceberg folks.

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    You know, I see stupid cyclist tricks every single day, so it\’s not as if I believe that cyclists are always blameless…

    But with all of the biased accident investigations recently, I\’m not willing to look at this incident without at least a bit of skepticism.

    The cyclist was \”straddling\” the fast and slow lanes? Does that mean he was riding on the lane divider? If so, why? Was he changing lanes? Or was he riding erratically? Let\’s suppose he was changing lanes– wouldn\’t we expect him to be \”straddling\” the lane divider at some point during his lane change?

    So the driver sawe him at the last minute, at least in part because the cyclist was wearing dark clothing. There\’s no question that retroereflective material has measurable effects in alerting drivers to your presence. However, although I think wearing dark clothing is extremely poor decision-making, it\’s not illegal, and it\’s not negligent. What the article doesn\’t mention is whether the cyclist had lights– did he have a blinkie? Did he have a front light? Was he required to by law at that hour? Based on the time of collision, it appears that he may not have been legally required to be equipped with lights. However, the ariucle doesn\’t say he had no lights-=- only that he was wearing dark clothing. Therefore, because the police took pains to list the ways in which the cyclist contributed to his own death, I think that absent any statement to the contrary, it\’s reasonable to assume that he did have lights.

    Finally, the police claim to have no understanding of why he veered into the car. However, the report makes it clear why– the car honked its horn, and he rhen veered into its path– exactly what a startled person might do.

    There are three questions that haven\’t been answered in all of this. First, how dark was it at 6:34, when he was hit? Was it within 30 minutes of sunset, or was it later? Second, was the cyclist required to have lights at that hour, and if so, did he have lights? And third, what was the driver\’s speed when he first saw the cyclist?

    The answers to those questions will tell us more about the cause of this accident than the information that\’s been released so far.

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  • jonno October 31, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    My oh my, it gets worse. Vance on Scott Bricker (edited slightly for profanity):

    \”See you on the road, Mr. Bricker. That is, if you even own a bike, you posturing, in-articulate, fake- tanned, just got here from the Bay Area, self-aggrandizing, opportunistic, child-abusing @$$HOLE. You\’ll know me because if I ever find you on the road, I\’ll be the guy standing over your prone form, expressing MY feelings about the cycling community in Portland. Now if only you could find YOUR way to the blind spot of a Concrete Mixer.\”

    I shan\’t post the link, but it\’s there if you look for it. The site is a fascinating train wreck of pure unadulterated spleen, from which I can\’t tear myself away.

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  • John Reinhold October 31, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Vance,

    If you don\’t like the way the BTA does things, then why don\’t you join the BTA and work to change those ways?

    It is impossible to represent 100% of a userbase. Period.

    I own and drive a car, but I disagree with most of the \”auto advocate organizations\” most of the time.

    I own and ride a motorcycle and I sometimes disagree with the AMA and other motorcycle organizations.

    I ride bicycles and am a BTA member, and I am sure that I will not agree 100% with everything the BTA does.

    But the big picture is what we are talking about. Does the BTA help cycling as a whole? I think that they do. We all benefit from better bike access, infrastructure, and facilities. We all benefit from better bike exposure.

    You don\’t have to agree with 100% of what anyone says or does. I like and support may political leaders despite disagreeing with them from time to time. It happens. Just accept that we are all different.

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  • wyatt October 31, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    One word: Whackadoo.

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  • Dillon October 31, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Just so you know amphetamine are not illegal. They are very commonly given to treat ADHD and chronic fatigue to name a few. At therapeutic levels amphetamines don\’t really have any side effects that would cause someone to swerve into a car. On the other hand abuse of the drug can cause a whole host of problems(hyperactivity, jitteriness, etc.

    So just because he had amphetamine in his blood doesn\’t make him a Meth head.

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  • geoffrey October 31, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    \”Currens honked his horn\”

    \”Police still don’t know why the cyclist swerved into the car\”

    doh! Lets panic the rider and wonder which way they turn.

    On another note:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911102200.htm

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    you just don\’t want to hear or don\’t like what he\’s saying, is all. Minds are like parachutes, etc.

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  • Dabby October 31, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Luckily I didn\’t even bother to go to his web site……….

    My concession;

    I do agree with one thing he said, and one only, but this is not the time nor place for that…..

    But I do agree with Wyatt….

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  • SkidMark October 31, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    \”I didn\’t see him.\”

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 31, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    BURR said,
    \”I\’ve just finished reading a bunch of Vance’s stuff and I think he makes a lot of valid points.\”

    I also think he has some important and valid points to share, but his style unfortunately gets in the way of communicating them.

    Vance and I talked at the City Hall press conference and I found him to be a completely reasonable person. He had some concerns about a few things and I just offered him a different perspective.

    I thought we understood each other pretty well… but it\’s clear from reading his comments here and on his site, that for some reason he feels like now I\’m full of s***. That\’s too bad.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    that\’s the internet for ya

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  • a.O October 31, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Yup.

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  • Disco D October 31, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I used to ride that route a lot when trying to put training miles in (back in the race days). If I am not mistaken the speed limit goes from 55 to 35 right around there (going east anyway) so if it is true the guy was in the middle of the two traffic lanes I could the potential for disaster.

    As for the Vance blog…I do agree with him in the fact that the suburbs seem to get less attention than maybe they should. I have had a Portland address for about 25 years now, but I work on the westside and I will be honest…I feel a lot more comfortable riding around just about in anywhere in Portland than I do in beaverton/hillsboro. Hillsboro (where I work) = high speed roads, crazy impatient drivers, and absolutely no regard for the few bike lanes there are.

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  • rex October 31, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Trolls are fun. This would be a great opportunity to hear from \”Big Diesel\”, don\’t you think?

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  • Jonathon Severdia October 31, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    \”So just because he had amphetamine in his blood doesn\’t make him a Meth head\”

    No, but the location he was riding does. My parents live out in Cornelius so I ride that very street out from the last MAX stop to visit them. And as far as cycling is concerned, between Hillsboro and Cornelius on TV hwy it is only me and tweakers. There\’s actually a possibility that there will someday be a MUP bridging Cornelius to downtown Hillsboro along the confluence of Dairy and McKay creeks. That would be a wonderful thing…

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  • Jonathon Severdia October 31, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    well, that is until the tweakers take over the path.

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  • Dan (teknotus) October 31, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    As someone who has actually ridden a bicycle through this intersection I can say that it is a very scary place to be on a bicycle. Whether, or not the cyclist is \”at fault\” doesn\’t change the fact that it is a dangerous bike lane. I believe the speed limit is 40 there, and goes up to 50 in a short distance. To avoid this route you can either take highway 219 south (adds at least 4 miles to trip to Forest Grove), or you can take the north route which is almost as long, and takes you through the intersection where Tim was killed. The first mile south on 219 has a dropoff of at least 20 feet on both sides of the road with about 8 inches of shoulder, and a speed limit of 55. I think I can say there is no reasonable safe route between west Hillsboro, and Forest Grove for bikes. If there was a cycletrack between Hillsboro, and Forest Grove the rider probably wouldn\’t have crossed into vehicle traffic even in an impared state.

    Yes we can try to get more people to wear helmets. Yes we can work to treat people with Meth addiction. This doesn\’t change the fact that the roads in Washington county aren\’t designed well enough for bicycling saftey. This is one of the primary reasons why I moved to Portland.

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  • Mike Perrault October 31, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Just because he had amphetamines in his system doesn\’t mean that he was high or that he was using any illegal drugs. Lots of medicines are amphetamine based. I have amphetamines rushing through my blood every day and without them I would be much less safe on the road or able to make reasonable choices.

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  • rex October 31, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Hey Severdia- what is it like to be better then everyone else? Way to generalize there buddy.

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  • Dan (teknotus) October 31, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    I just realized something. If he was heading east he could have been in the lane trying to avoid the right hook at that intesection. People heading into WinCo only slow down enough from the 55MPH between Cornelius, and Hillsboro to make the corner.

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  • Slick October 31, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Oh yeah… excellent idea! Pull into 55 MPH traffic because they don\’t slow down enough. Even better if you wear dark clothes and no lights. Great advice for all of us to follow!

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    no lights.

    The report doesn\’t say he had no lights, nor does it say whether he was required to have lights at that hour.

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  • Jonathon Severdia October 31, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Hey Rex, way to take cheeky generalizations way too seriously. Am I better than the other people I see biking on TV hwy in that area? No, just cleaner, better educated, wealthier, and unafraid to admit those differences.

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  • Slick October 31, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Yeah your right Rixter. It would be safe to merge into 55MPH traffic if he had a light on. Great advice either way light or no light.

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  • Jonathon Severdia October 31, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Oh, and one other difference. I\’m NOT on tweak!

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Yeah your right Rixter. It would be safe to merge into 55MPH traffic if he had a light on. Great advice either way light or no light.

    That\’s not what I said, though, is it? I merely said that the report doesn\’t say whether he had lights or not. And I think that ommission is both interesting and glaring, because he\’s been painted as being the one at fault. They even mentioned his lack of a helmet, so one could safely presume, i think, that if he actually had no lights and it was dark out, that might have been mentioned in the report. the fact that it wasn\’t mentioned is interesting, and the fact that you assumed he had no lights is also interesting. Of course, maybe he didn\’t have lights, and was required to, but we don\’t know that.

    Now, on to your straw man argument. No, merging into 55 MPH traffic would not be safe. However, this report doesn\’t say that\’s what he was doing. It says he was riding in the lane; whether there was a constant stream of cars is left to our imaginations. Maybe there were, maybe there weren\’t, but all we know for certain from this report is that there was one bike and one car on this road, and with nothing more than that information, I would not characterize that as \”merging into 55 MPH traffic.\”

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    maybe the driver noticed him too late because s/he was distracted by something else, like a cell phone.

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  • Jessy October 31, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    \”As for the Vance blog…I do agree with him in the fact that the suburbs seem to get less attention than maybe they should.\”

    Keep in mind that the website we\’re on is called \”BikePortland.org.\” Portland!

    Maybe the way that Vance can work to enact some effective change (in a positive manner) is to open a website called \”BikeHillsboro.org\” and start bringing more attention & concern to city-specific issues there.

    Just a thought.

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  • Samantha October 31, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    As someone who drives a car at night alot (And this time of year, 6:30 is pretty well dark out) I cannot stress how important it is to wear bright and reflective clothing. It really really makes a difference to driver visibility. Please please please do not underestimate how hard you are to see at times – even to the most cautious driver (there are some of us out there).

    I must also add that I believe it is extremely important to not make judgements without the facts. Granted – it would be very helpful when forming an opinion if the facts were actually available to the general public (media and ppb, that\’s you I\’m talking to you) -But assuming or hypothesizing that the driver was on a cell phone is irresponsible and unfair (Although I think the things should be banned while driving!).

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  • David Dean October 31, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    It\’s a lot easier to be a ***** **** ***** *** when you aren\’t looking people in the eyes. Jonathan, I appreciate your reporting and think this guy is full of himself.

    \”Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.\” -Sam Rayburn

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 31, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    \”It’s a lot easier to be a ***** **** ***** *** when you aren’t looking people in the eyes\”

    What is with everyone lately?

    I\’ve had to edit out several insulting, name-calling comments today. Surely all of you are smart enough to figure out how to make your points without resorting to name-calling?

    Please resist the temptation to call each other names (I feel like a grade-school teacher when I say that!)

    Thanks for understanding.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    calling someone a retard is an insult too, but you let that one stand, I can\’t speak for anyone else, but that\’s what got me started.

    Vance\’s blog is full of cuss words, too, maybe that spilled over….

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 31, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    \”calling someone a retard is an insult too, but you let that one stand\”

    that has also been edited.. thanks for pointing it out.. . Remember folks, I\’m not a robot, automatically deleting certain words, and I don\’t have a staff doing this… just please take it upon yourself to make appropriate comments. thanks!

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  • Disco D October 31, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Jessy:

    This is straight from the BTA website:

    \”The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is a non-profit membership organization working to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and SW Washington.\”

    Like it or not, Hillsboro is part of Oregon (and the Portland Metro area).

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    But assuming or hypothesizing that the driver was on a cell phone is irresponsible and unfair

    Not only is it entirely fair to ask that question, I believe that it is part of due diligence in all accident investigations. So far we\’ve heard a one-sided report on this accident. Now, maybe with all of the facts laid on the table, the cyclist really was at fault, but we haven\’t yet heard anything about the motorist– how fast was he driving? Was a blood test performed on the driver? And yes, was he using a cell phone at the time of the collision?

    These are not only fair questions, they are necessary questions in determining who was at fault.

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  • wyatt October 31, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Sorry, I was out of line with \”whackadoo\” ;)

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  • Andy October 31, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    An interesting quote from the Science Daily article:

    \”There should definitely be more information on the needs of other road users when people learn to drive, and practical experience would be even better.

    \”When people try cycling, they nearly always say it changes the way they treat other road users when they get back in their cars.\”

    Maybe a little cycling time could at least be a requirement for obtaining a CDL — kind of like how police are in some places required to be shot with a taser before they\’re allowed to use one.

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  • pat H October 31, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Here are a few questions:

    Could the cyclist be trying to turn? How is he at fault? Bikes are required by law to use a bike lane if there is one (there doesn\’t seem to be one here), to be to the right unless there is a hazard or trying to turn. There\’s no mention if why the cyclist is between two \”car\” lanes, but the simple fact of being there, does not make this action illegal nor, for the accident, at fault.

    If the question is not answerable, the police should assume he was cycling legally, and prosecute the driver. It would be the driver\’s responsibility to show that the cyclist was at fault.

    Both driver and cyclist were heading the same direction. How do you serve to hit something behind you? really slow speed of the cyclist?

    The basic principle of traffic code is the vehicle in front has the right of way. In this case, that would be the bike. However, you loss that when you are in a place you should not be. This relates back to my first question. Honking your horn does not give you the right of way even if the front vehicle is going slower.

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Maybe a little cycling time could at least be a requirement for obtaining a CDL

    That\’s exactly what I think. There are at least two sound reasons for requiring that.

    First, if you\’re going to put an inexperienced vehicle operator on the road, it\’s better that person learns the rules of the road on a bicycle rather than behind the wheel of a several-hundred horsepower machine.

    Second, every new driver on the road post requirement would have experience as a cyclist, and would therefore understand the rules (test them on it as another licensing requirement) relating to bicycles, and the needs of cyclists.

    A requirement like this would be built-in driver education, and would have the additional social benefit of placing teens on the road with less dangerous vehicles while they\’re learning the rules of the road.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    a little cycling time would be great for the traffic division cops too

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  • Robin October 31, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    One thing about the meth. These kinds of drugs metabolize quickly in the system so when someone tests positive their use was pretty recent as opposed say a drug like marijuana.

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  • David Dean October 31, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    \”I\’ve had to edit out several insulting, name-calling comments today. Surely all of you are smart enough to figure out how to make your points without resorting to name-calling?\”

    My comments were in response to his blog post and I think they were justified. Allow me to explain. It is xenophobic to assert that people not from Portland have no right to move here and have a say in the community. It is misanthropic to disparage other people for their own personal motivations. And it is \”antagonistic\”, among many other words, to go out of the way to needlessly criticize people.

    I think a lot of people\’s natural response to reading his blog is disdain and I think it is healthy for him to see that disdain.

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  • Kristen October 31, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    So…. I have a question:

    Did anyone ask the driver WHY he honked his horn??

    Personally, I see this as implicitly telling drivers that it\’s okay to honk at a cyclist when they pass by. It\’s not. It\’s startling, and I\’m not surprised the cyclist went down in this situation.

    And yeah, being between the \”fast\” and \”slow\” lanes (I\’m assuming they mean the left and right lanes) of a fast street is always a bad idea. And while black may be slimming, it\’s also a bad idea in low-light conditions– read, not just at night, folks, but in the fog, in the rain, when it\’s cloudy, when it\’s near sunrise or sunset.

    I didn\’t read any of Vance\’s vituperous rhetoric, because I\’ve already come to the conclusion that bikeportland.org really only pertains to the downtown core area. Oh, well.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 31, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    \”…I\’ve already come to the conclusion that bikeportland.org really only pertains to the downtown core area. Oh, well.\”

    Hi Kristen,

    I\’d love to know what you mean by that…

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  • Matthew October 31, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Title of this thread: Cyclist found at fault in fatal Hillsboro collision

    #68: \”I\’ve already come to the conclusion that bikeportland.org really only pertains to the downtown core area.\”

    Uhmmm, okay, that doesn\’t make a lot of sense, but whatever…

    #26: The KGW story says that he didn\’t have lights. I don\’t know exactly how dark it was at 6:30 on Friday, but I imagine that it wasn\’t exactly bright…

    http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_102907_news_hillsboro_fatal_bike_accident.1ba92441f.html

    In any case, that actually doesn\’t matter, the car hit him from behind, and he was required to have a rear reflector… I personally have never really trusted reflectors, that is why I have a light, but…

    Vance: I was volunteering for a yes on 49 thingee last week, and the person I was with had a great quote: \”Democracy is controlled by the people that show up.\” The BTA shows up at these events on a regular basis, where as I assume you haven\’t been… If you want to show up often at these sorts of things, people will listen to you too. And I would indeed encourage you to do so, but if the BTA isn\’t representing your viewpoint, and you aren\’t showing up to represent it either, then you should expect that your views will not get heard… But don\’t complain to us about it, I\’m not going to show up and represent your viewpoint. In the first place, I don\’t even know what it is.

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  • Frank October 31, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Comments from out-of-state:

    The assumption that the cyclist was at fault really rankles me. Dark clothing is not, and should not, be illegal. For all we know, the cyclist _had_ a rear reflector (from what I can tell online, a taillight is not a requirement). While I agree that visibility is important, it is FUNDAMENTAL that a motorist MUST drive so he does not injure other legal road users! In my opinion, the motorist should be forbidden to drive until he proves his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt – which may be never.

    And about the helmet: If it had been a pedestrian killed by head injury, would the lack of helmet be mentioned? Do you realize that walking near traffic carries a greater head injury risk than cycling? Do you realize that bike helmets are certified for only a 14 mph impact, and are completely overpowered by most car-bike collisions? It\’s very unlikely a helmet would have saved this guy.

    In fact, there is no known population where massive helmet use improved cyclist safety.

    Visit http://members.shaw.ca/jtubman/deadhelmet.html for just a few examples of helmeted fatalities.

    Visit http://www.cyclehelmets.org for a less credulous take on foam headwear.

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    #26: The KGW story says that he didn\’t have lights. I don\’t know exactly how dark it was at 6:30 on Friday, but I imagine that it wasn\’t exactly bright…

    I finally found it, sunset at 6:07 PM on October 26, so he would have been required to be equipped with a front light after 6:07 PM…and he was hit at 6:30 PM.

    In any case, that actually doesn\’t matter, the car hit him from behind, and he was required to have a rear reflector… I personally have never really trusted reflectors, that is why I have a light, but… And he would have been legally required to be equipped with reflectors at that hour too.

    It appears that he was at fault, then, at least in regards to his own visibility, and possibly in regards to his road position, if there was a bike lane, as it appears there was.

    BTW, think of your reflector as a failsafe device in case your batteries die or your light malfunctions.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    but no statement was made regarding lights OR reflectors. You can have both and still get hit, you know. And if the accident investigation wasn\’t thorough, they might have missed, or not cared about, a few bits of reflector that got separated from a mangled bike.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    and can I point out once again that all we basically have is the word of the driver here, since the cyclist is dead.

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    There were others on the scene after the accident:

    Currens and passers-by attempted first aid and called police.

    However, while it\’s clear the cyclist was negligent (absent any bits of shattered lights & reflectors), it doesn\’t mean the motorist wasn\’t also negligent, if he was speeding, or on the phone, or not keeping a proper lookout, or not exercising due care to avoid the cyclist after he saw him, etc.

    Of course, it may simply be a case of a negligent cyclist and a blameless motorist.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I guess that depends upon how much you trust the driver\’s and witnesses statements, and the thoroughness and objectivity of the investigating officers, all filtered through a media prism.

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Of course you\’re right, but sometimes, in the end, the cyclist is at fault. Not that my questions about the driver have been answered.

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  • BURR October 31, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    sure, cyclists can be at fault, no argument from me on that. but I\’m more interested in institutionalized bias against cyclists, I think there are a lot of times that motorists are not held responsible when they should be, for a variety of reasons.

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  • Wendy October 31, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Re: #67. I agree. What an ****** (self-censorship). I took a peek and am pretty sorry I did:

    \”See: If you make it harder to get a license, it is discriminatory against women and minorities who categorically score lower. Out of a spirit of fair-play, Driver Licenses are basically just given out to all who may apply. This is a huge problem. We need tougher testing, but when we do, it becomes unfair.\”

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  • rixtir October 31, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    I\’ll agree with you on that one, and we\’ve had some textbook examples of institutional bias here in PDX this past month.

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  • wsbob October 31, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Helmets.org is the place to go if you want information about bicycle helmet protective capability based on scientifically conducted testing. I wish someone would leave a link…I don\’t know how to do that. They call themselves \”consumer funded\”. You can check it out for yourselves.

    It\’s a big site, but somewhere in it, they actually address the issue of how helmets can hurt a cyclist. One of the big culprits in helmet design where this is possible, is in helmets that have a kind of elongated shape to make them streamlined. Round is the recommended shape.

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  • Dabby October 31, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Why is it that when a person claims that a cyclist may be actually at fault, that person is automatically considered biased?

    Sometimes, the car is not at fault.

    This is a fact.

    Sometimes you need to step off your high horse and accept personal responsibility.

    This is one thing about the comments here that really piss me off.

    It can be said, in relation to certain accidents, that a fact is a fact.

    We cannot hide behind our bicycles….

    We need to stand up next to them.

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  • Peter W November 1, 2007 at 12:06 am

    re #53:

    I like the idea of starting a website to support cyclist communication and community in the west side suburbia, but I\’m thinking \’bikehillsboro.org\’ is too specific. There is a ton of stuff going on in Portland so bikeportand.org makes sense for this city, but maybe we need a website for the whole of Washington County (much of which is urban but not part of any city).

    Any ideas for website names?

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  • Michael Swanson November 1, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Interesting comments on the subject of bicycles vs. cars. I grew up with the Teufel boys and knew Kerry when he was just a kid. How sad that his life ended this way, despite any personal problems he may have had. None of us know whether the drugs in his system had anything to do with this accident. Certainly, he had culpability in this incident because he did not take every reasonable precaution to ensure his own safety – lighting, reflective clothing, helmet, mirrors, etc. I\’ve read all the arguments – no, it\’s not illegal to ride without some of these things, but cyclists who don\’t take every measure to protect themselves and ensure they are seen by motorists, particularly at night, run an extreme risk of being struck by a vehicle. To infer that wearing a helmet decreases a cyclists chance of survival is sheer foolishness. Now, that being said, I\’m an avid cyclist (I commute 32 miles round trip most days between Gresham and Portland throughout most of the year), and am very disappointed that inattentive motorists who do strike and kill cyclists when the cyclist is abiding by the rules, are not cited or prosecuted. The recent death of the cyclist on Interstate Ave. is a case in point. He was riding legally in the bike lane and the cement truck driver fails to yield to the cyclist when making a right turn onto Greeley Ave. With the poor driving record this truck driver had, why was he still driving and even allowed to keep his CDL? And why wasn\’t he cited for failing to yield the right of way to a cyclist riding legally in the bike lane? Also, I could cite numerous accidents in Washington County within the past couple years wherein cyclists were riding legally on country roads when they were struck and killed by inattentive motorists. One such accident occurred on Hwy 47 south of Forest Grove, a section of road with a wide shoulder, when a husband and wife cycling together were mowed over by a woman driving a Subaru. Based on what I read of the story, the vehicle driver was remorseful that the accident happened, but there was minimal cost to her to her inattention that killed two people. Maybe she was cited for careless driving; I don\’t remember. But remorse doesn\’t bring the dead back to life, does it? Then there was the retired school teacher, 56 years old, riding in a bike lane near Sherwood, killed by an inattentive teenager driving one morning. The two cyclists near West Union, again riding legally, and again killed by a motorist not paying attention to his/her driving. I\’m tired of it! When it can be determined that a cyclist was riding safely and legally and the accident was the result of laxness on the part of the driver, unless there are severe penalties (steep fines, incarceration) to the motorist for striking or killing such a cyclist, including forfeiture of further driving privileges (and they are privileges, not rights), nothing will change from the way things are today. I suspect it may get worse as more people discover bicycle commuting. Now, with that said, I fully acknowledge that cyclists are sometimes at fault. When they are, they already pay a very high price by forfeiting their lives or experiencing injury. And I\’m all for law enforcement citing cyclists who fail to obey the rules, as well. Now, back to Kerry Tuefel. Sounds like he was culpable, but it also sounds like this accident didn\’t have to happen. Makes me wonder – the more I read of this story, sounds like accident could still have been avoided. I\’d be interested in hearing further thoughtful commentary on this story as well as cycling in general.

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  • Frank November 1, 2007 at 7:11 am

    In #81, wsbob says \”Helmets.org is the place to go if you want information about bicycle helmet protective capability based on scientifically conducted testing.\”

    Rather, that website is where to go if you want bias. The owner, Randy Swart (who calls himself an \”institute\”) is unabashedly in favor of mandating helmets for all cyclists. So much so that he continues to trumpet the false claim that helmets prevent 85% of head injuries, even though he\’s admitted it is false, and has never been observed outside one tiny, incompetent study. (He has said removing that claim \”would not be helpful.\”)

    The website does have some value. On it, you can find some details of helmet certification tests – the details that indicate helmets are certified for mere 14 mph impacts. However, the tech-babble may camouflage that number. I suggest consulting a scientist or engineer about the impact speeds involved in the test.

    Alternately, go to http://www.cyclehelmets.org, a website on this topic which is actually run by scientists and engineers.

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  • Steven J. November 1, 2007 at 7:19 am

    \”Police still don’t know why the cyclist swerved into the car and according to the Oregonian, they say the cyclist “had amphetamines in his system”.-KATU

    Don\’t know if you can get much more bias in reporting than this.

    Ever had a driver pull up behind you and hammer the horn?
    If I don\’t get startled off my bike.
    I swear every time I\’d like to drag the driver out thru the window and educate them.
    I also get sick of hearing the reports are made by the media. just once I\’d like to hear…

    \”Police report that a cell phone was found in the possession of the driver with last call in progress at time of the accident, Multiple burger king wrappers on the front seat and a \”kill em all let god sort em out bumper sticker\”
    \”no skid marks were reported\”

    we get..\”Was struck at 40 mph from behind\”- He wasn\’t wearing a helmet\”

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  • Dr. Mark Ross November 1, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Frank sez: \”the details that indicate helmets are certified for mere 14 mph impacts\”

    Hmm . . . about the speed of an average bicycle, eh? Not everybody goes 25 MPH or more.

    The usage of the word \”mere\” suggests you\’re slanting your comments.

    I invite you to stand for a moment then drop your head on a curb. I will do the same, however, I will be wearing a Mere 14 MPH Rated helmet. Lets then see who fares better.

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  • David Dean November 1, 2007 at 8:38 am

    I too question how the bicyclist was \”at fault.\” Details are scarce and so far inconclusive. It isn\’t illegal to ride without a helmet, it isn\’t illegal to have amphetamines in your system, it isn\’t illegal to be straddling both lanes if turning. It is illegal to ride without a reflector after dark but I wonder if the KGW article stating he had \”no light or reflective gear\” means to say he didn\’t have a rear reflector or simply means he didn\’t have reflective clothing. The vast majority of bikes come with rear reflectors. Did the motorist have his lights on? No mention.

    I\’d be surprised if the honking and swerving weren\’t somehow related.

    Given the limited facts as presented, I don\’t know how anyone could draw conclusions as to who was legally at fault. We need to hold the police and the local media to higher standards when presenting evidence as to how fault was determined.

    We also need to demand more speed cameras, black boxes in automobiles, and a law against driving while using a cell phone. Cell phone logs need to be pulled after fatal accidents. The news article should read like this, \”The driver\’s cell phone logs indicated he wasn\’t using his cell phone. There were no drugs or alcohol found in his system. The car black box indicated his lights were on, he was driving below the speed limit, and his seat belt was fastened. The car logs further also indicate he applied full brakes before honking.\”

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  • Kristen November 1, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Peter W, #83: There\’s a Washington County bicycle alliance website, but it\’s lacking in content. What we need is a bikeportland-type site, but not just for Portland.

    Jonathan: What I meant was, education and outreach actions as reported on this site pertain, 95% of the time, to the area bounded by Portland\’s city limits. What I also meant was, there are cyclists in other parts of the metro area that are NOT in the city\’s limits who are as deserving of better bike lanes, safer streets, police enforcement, etc as those cyclists in Portland. (FYI: Tigard is officially Portland, as we don\’t have a separate post office; I never see anything on this site pertaining to any education or outreach, etc happening in Tigard, though.)

    However, we don\’t have a site like this to band together and figure out how to change this.

    The BTA is also, by and large, focused on Portland, not so much the suburbs surrounding Portland.

    And yes, I know: if you want something changed, sometimes you gotta stand up and do it yourself. The problem is, I\’m already involved in a lot of things and am stretched thin right now.

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  • Peaceful Co-Existence? November 1, 2007 at 9:17 am

    At post position #88 I hold no illusions that this post will change anyone\’s mind, let alone be read by anyone, but I feel compelled to point out that the real problem is not fault or harm.
    A car and my bike attempted to occupy the same space at the same time at the corner of Greeley and Interstate, and by the grace of god I am here now to comment on recent events(though much the worse for the wear.) My refections on the accident have helped me to remember that for every crash there is the obvious pain of the person hurt and also the less obvious damage done to the person who must live with the knowing that they caused that damage, be it death or injury.
    The vitriol of the comments on this post indicate that many of us are firmly attached to OUR side of the equation.
    IMO cyclists, motorists, nay everyone would benefit from more respect for those on the other side of the issue. We are all sharing the roads, and the Planet.
    Let\’s look out for ourselves but ratchet the hubris down a notch so we can also have compassion for others.
    I don\’t want to die in my next bike/car encounter, but I also do not want to turn another human into a killer.
    Love thy neighbor/ cyclist/ motorist/ and even thy troll.

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  • Paul Tay November 1, 2007 at 9:29 am

    So, when was the last time an out-of-control, reckless, law-breaking, drunken bicyclist EVER ran over a motor vehicle and KILLED the driver?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 1, 2007 at 9:29 am

    \”Given the limited facts as presented, I don’t know how anyone could draw conclusions as to who was legally at fault. We need to hold the police and the local media to higher standards when presenting evidence as to how fault was determined.\”

    I agree. We cannot allow Police crash investigators to dictate the public dialogue around these crashes…. that is what my post the other day about Marine Drive was getting at.

    My main question is still this: If the police can\’t issue citations because the investigations is \”still ongoing\”, than how and why is it acceptable that they issue proclamations of fault to the media within hours of a collision?

    Unfortunately we never know the full picture because the bicyclist is usually killed or rattled so hard they can\’t remember what happened.

    This situation needs to change.

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  • Paul Tay November 1, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Maybe the fault really lies with the motorist. Who\’s wielding the BIGGER stick in the first place?

    CERTAINLY, there\’s a cause of action, BOTH mens rea and actus rea, for involuntary manslaughter.

    More than 42,000 die because motor vehicles. So, how come bikes get 86\’d, and not cars?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 1, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Kristen said:
    \”Jonathan: What I meant was, education and outreach actions as reported on this site pertain, 95% of the time, to the area bounded by Portland’s city limits. … However, we don’t have a site like this to band together and figure out how to change this.

    Thanks for clarifying your thoughts Kristen. I have talked to one person with interest in starting a website like BikePortland that focuses specifically on Wash. County. It just has not come together yet. If anyone has real interest in helping with expanding coverage in places West of the city, feel free to contact me – jonathan at bikeportland dot org.

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  • David Dean November 1, 2007 at 10:24 am

    PCE @ 90,

    I\’m not calling for a lynch mob. I\’m calling for more objective information and accountability. More accountability will lead to a more peaceful co-existence. Right now the information provided and accountability administered is gruesomely one-sided.

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  • wsbob November 1, 2007 at 10:39 am

    cyclehelmets.org (comment #85)Frank.

    Hadn\’t heard of that website Frank. I\’ll check it out.

    Also hadn\’t heard that helmets.org\’s owner was unduly biased. The basic principle he describes about how the helmet protects the brain seems pretty sound to me. He\’s got a fair run-down on helmet construction history and comparison between brands too. I\’m no scientist, so I couldn\’t vouch for his actual testing methods, but I\’d heard the 14 mph figure long before I ran into that site. Personally, I\’m more than happy to wear a bike helmet for that level of protection rather than none.

    What other adults decide to do with their own head concerning whether to wear a helmet or not is their business as far as I\’m concerned. I would just hope that somehow, they pick up some understanding of how helmets work and what they potentially have to offer in terms of personal protection. Doing so could very well have a positive effect on their long term health.

    Michael Swanson (#84), thanks for sharing that bit about Kerry Teufel. Nice to hear from someone that actually knew him.

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  • Frank November 1, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Re #87: Dr. Mark Ross said, about the weak 14 mph certification standard for bike helmets:

    \”Hmm . . . about the speed of an average bicycle, eh? Not everybody goes 25 MPH or more.\”

    Yes, Mark. But are you pretending the head of the cyclist killed in this crash impacted the car at less than 14 mph? That\’s extremely unrealistic.

    The certification test actually calls for a 2 meter linear drop. That\’s roughly equivalent to a person tipping over while standing at a traffic light. Yet well over 90% of cyclist fatalities involve being hit by a car. Would you advocate a silk sweater, when what\’s needed would be a bulletproof vest?

    \”I invite you to stand for a moment then drop your head on a curb. I will do the same, however, I will be wearing a Mere 14 MPH Rated helmet. Lets then see who fares better.\”

    :-) And I invite you to let a 60 mph car brush by your head, exactly 1/2\” from your scalp. I\’ll do the same. But in your case, we\’ll fill the distance between your scalp and the car with a 1\” thick helmet!

    Examine figure 2 at http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/campaigns/velo.htm
    The increase in \”target\” size of a helmeted head is significant. It\’s certain that for some range of impacts like the one you proposed, an unhelmeted person\’s reflexes would keep the head clear; but the helmeted person would dent styrofoam.

    This, to me, is a likely explanation for the disparity between the fervent \”My helmet saved my life!!!\” stories, and the lack of evidence of any reduction in fatalities or serious injuries with increased helmet use. (Except, of course, by reducing the number of cyclists.)

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  • rixtir November 1, 2007 at 11:43 am

    that website is where to go if you want bias…Alternately, go to…

    A website that supports your bias, Frank?

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  • rixtir November 1, 2007 at 11:55 am

    So, when was the last time an out-of-control, reckless, law-breaking, drunken bicyclist EVER ran over a motor vehicle and KILLED the driver?

    Well, if we can overlook the fact that the bicyclist may not have been \”drunken,\” and didn\’t actually \”run over\” the motorist, in April:

    http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/041307/geo_9214445.shtml

    mens rea

    Presumably you have some evidence of this?

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  • BURR November 1, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    It occurs to me that if the cyclist swerved to the right upon hearing the horn, he was attempting to get over to the right and out of the way, which could mean that the motorist honked too close to the cyclist and was going too fast in the wrong lane at the time – the LEFT lane is the passing lane.

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  • Matt Picio November 1, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    rixtir (#26) wrote \”However, although I think wearing dark clothing is extremely poor decision-making, it\’s not illegal, and it\’s not negligent\”

    Absolutely. We don\’t ban black cars from being on the road – again, not smart, but not illegal.

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  • Kent November 1, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Kerry was my youngest brother– a really funny and wacky guy, with a personality much like the characters portrayed by the actor Jim Carrey.
    My Dad offered Kerry a ride home in his pickup truck that day, and instead of tossing his bike in the truck, Kerry said, \”No thanks, its such a beautiful day, I think I\’ll ride my bike home.\”
    At least he died doing what he loved to do.
    Thank you to everyone in the biking community for your concern and analysis.
    God bless you, and be careful out there.

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  • David Dean November 1, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    My sympathies to you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

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  • rixtir November 1, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Likewise, I\’m sorry for your loss.

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  • Frank November 1, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    In #98, rixtir wrote:

    \”A website that supports your bias, Frank?\”

    Rather, a website that supports what I\’ve learned after diligent study of this issue. And a website with strong science behind it.

    Years ago, I was a great believer in bike helmets. I recommended them to others. I spoke in favor of them at bike safety events. I was convinced they made sense.

    I was later surprised to find serious discussions on the internet, where people who were expert with engineering principles, data interpretation, etc. made serious arguments for the fact that bike helmets were ineffective. Based on those discussions, I began obtaining and reading the original research papers on the subject. My library of papers on helmets is now quite massive.

    What I\’ve found is this: Case-control studies with self-selected subjects purport to find helmet benefit, and predict that helmet laws and/or widespread helmet use will cause these benefits to appear in the general population.

    OTOH, studies of actual effect in general populations with big increases in helmet use find the opposite: No helmet benefit per remaining rider.

    (Note! The \”per remaining rider\” part is important. Some studies have counted head injuries before and after helmets became mandatory, and called a 30% drop in head injuries proof of benefit – but carefully ignored data showing a concurrent 35% drop in cycling!)

    Furthermore, I began studying a related question: \”Is ordinary cycling an unusually dangerous activity, or one with an unusual risk of serious head injury?\” Again, I dug out data from many, many sources. The data shows the answer is \”No.\” Normal cycling is NOT very dangerous. It does NOT carry a significant risk of serious head injury.

    In any case: I\’ve studied these issues long and hard. I eventually changed from a helmet promoter to a helmet skeptic based on what I learned. If anything, that\’s the precise opposite of \”bias.\”

    I suggest you do similar study.

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  • rixtir November 1, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    I suggest you do similar study.

    I have studied it. Whether I\’ve studied it to the extent you have may be at issue, but you assume too much in your conclusion.

    And yes, the website you cited to is heavily biased, which is amusing, considering the fact that you directed wsbob there because you objected to the bias at helmets.org.

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  • Frank November 1, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    In #106, after I suggested he do study similar to mine, Rixter responded:

    \”I have studied it. Whether I\’ve studied it to the extent you have may be at issue, but you assume too much in your conclusion.\”

    Perhaps I need to be more specific. Because \”have studied it\” could mean \”I visited one website for a few minutes.\”

    I suggest you visit your library, or otherwise access the pertinent journals, and read and study the following papers:

    Pro-helmet: A case control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets
    Thompson RS, Rivara FP, Thompson DC. New England Journal of Medicine, 1989 v320 n21 p1361-7. 1989.

    Attempted pro-helmet: Trends in cycle injury in New Zealand under voluntary helmet use
    Scuffham PA, Langley JD. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 1997 Jan;29(1):1-9. 1997.

    Helmet skeptic: Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws
    Robinson DL. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 1996 Jul;28(4):463-75. 1996.

    There are dozens more, of course. But those three might form some basis for discussion. One point to consider when comparing those would be the size of the samples, and the possibility of self-selection bias in the samples.

    \”And yes, the website you cited to is heavily biased, which is amusing, considering the fact that you directed wsbob there because you objected to the bias at helmets.org.\”

    It\’s true there is no such thing as a helmet website that does not take a viewpoint. So perhaps I shouldn\’t have chided helmets.org for its bias.

    However, I will chide it for the quality of its logic and science. In my view, it\’s hard to respect a helmet promotion website that includes a list of insults to hurl at riders whose choice disagrees with yours. Or that goes to great lengths to make cycling sound horribly dangerous. Or that continues to claim outlandish benefits for helmets, despite its owner\’s admission that the benefits are exaggerated.

    And BTW, regarding bias: I\’m sure there are those who fervently believe in elves and fairies – and who would claim an elf-skeptical website was \”biased.\”

    It takes more than disagreement to prove a source is biased. It all comes down to the quality of the logic and the science. And one quick test is this: Are the predictions proven true by actual measurement?

    The pro-helmet side has the great bulk of the publicity, but it has a problem: the predicted benefits of helmet use are not appearing. Here\’s a New York Times article that discussed that point:
    http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b63eec01188.htm

    So let\’s talk science. Let\’s talk numbers.

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  • wsbob November 1, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Frank, first off, I haven\’t yet checked out the website you recommended. I hope to, but it might not be right away. As far as your position on the advisability of wearing a bicycle helmet based on integrity of research you\’ve conducted and have generally implied in your comments, I would not suggest that anybody I have a concern for subscribe to it.

    The scientific method can be a great tool for learning and discovery, but it is also for some people, a means to completely discount stark reality staring them right in the face. Some people knowingly use the scientific method to deceive. Others have such a falsely elevated confidence in the scientific method that they themselves are deceived by the results acquired by use of the method.

    As respectfully as I can, because I have to say I was having a bit of a time keeping from laughing out loud when I read comment #105, I have to say Frank, that your decisions about what to do about your own health based on the numbers and statistics you\’ve zealously researched, are your own business. I just hope everyone else is smart enough not to fall for some flaky egghead dismissal of a simple preventative measure that could help preserve their health.

    Finally, I want to mention an article in last Sunday\’s Oregonian. (I think that was the issue). It was about the history of and advancements in the protective capabilities of football helmets.

    Laugh and dismiss if you want, any possible comparability between football impact situations and cycling impact situations, but I think a comparison is appropo. The article addresses exactly the same brain speed reduction issue that helmets.org does. A cyclist may go a long time before sustaining a blow to the head, but football players may do so numerous times during game and practice. And the speed of a football player may not be 14mph, but still.

    Apparently parents, coaches and fans are smart enough to figure out that people can hurt their heads playing football without a good helmet. Will these people believe that a similar, actually half again as fast(football player 7-10mph?, bike 14mph)impact sustained when taking a dump off a bike not possibly inflict similar or worse injuries to the brain? I don\’t think so, but leave it to the numbers/stats slaves to throw them a curve ball.

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  • Michael Swanson November 2, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Regarding post # 102 from Kent Teufel – Kent, it\’s nice to hear you\’re still out there and reading this blog. I\’m very sorry for your loss. Kerry certainly died way too soon. Every day is so precious and when you\’re still relatively young, you don\’t think that today could be your last. I sent your folks a sympathy card yesterday. God bless you and your family.

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  • true November 2, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    yikes! the circular helmet debate is making me miss vance and big diesel.

    kent – i\’m so sorry for your loss.

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  • Matt Picio November 2, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Kent, very sorry to hear about your loss. May your family find comfort and healing.

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  • Dabby November 2, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Yes, wear it or don\’t wear it, a helmet is a personal choice. And that is what it boils down to.
    Let\’s get over it and move on.

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  • Frank November 2, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    in #108 wsbob seemed to disparage science!

    \”The scientific method can be a great tool for learning and discovery, but it is also for some people, a means to completely discount stark reality staring them right in the face.\”

    How, then, does one determine what is reality and what is fantasy? If we don\’t use science, we\’re left with people\’s wild guesses, or worse. And if that\’s the standard, we\’ll soon be back to claiming the sun revolves around the earth, black cats cause bad luck, and witch doctors cure all diseases!

    \”I just hope everyone else is smart enough not to fall for some flaky egghead dismissal of a simple preventative measure that could help preserve their health.\”

    FWIW, I don\’t completely dismiss the value of helmets. If I were still doing tricky, skill-testing mountain biking, I\’d probably wear one. If I were still entering citizens\’ races, I\’d wear one. Why? Because I believe the risk of head injury is significant in those types of riding.

    But yes, I _do_ dismiss this \”simple preventative measure\” for most activities. I dismiss it for riding in cars (the source of half of America\’s head injury fatalities). I dismiss it for urban walking (which has a worse fatality rate and serious head injury rate than cycling). I dismiss it for using stairs and ladders – and I dismiss it for ordinary on-road riding. It\’s just not necessary!

    I\’ve ridden avidly for over 30 years now, all around America and many parts of Europe. I\’ve fallen only once, at about 3 mph. I\’ve never come close to needing a helmet.

    And the science and national data you disparage show that my experiences are not at all unusual. Despite the scare stories, cycling is NOT a significant source of head injuries! Again, look up the comparative numbers! There are at least 55,000 head injury fatalities per year in the US, but fewer than 550 of them are cyclists! Cyclists ride at least 15 million miles between fatalities! Cyclists are vanishingly rare in head injury wards!

    \”Laugh and dismiss if you want, any possible comparability between football impact situations and cycling impact situations, but I think a comparison is appropo.\”

    Misspelling aside, your paragraph says a lot. You apparently think the risk of serious head impact while cycling is comparable to the risk of serious head impact while playing football! The very notion is ludicrous!

    You have bought into the propaganda that cycling produces an unusual number of serious head injuries – and that a flimsy, breakable foam cap magically reduces those serious head injuries to almost nothing.

    At one time, I vaguely accepted some of the things you seem to believe. I admit, I bought the propaganda, and didn\’t bother to search for real data. However, once I got off my duff and hit the academic library, it became quite clear that the propaganda was false.

    I don\’t see much chance that you\’ll make the same journey I did. Your mind appears quite closed, and I don\’t know how to open the mind of someone who rejects science. But I will note that one person I know who argued as you do, eventually did make the effort to learn about this issue. He read the arguments from both sides, and their supporting research papers, and the discussions of such papers.

    That person is now literally (and quite effectively) leading the fight against mandatory helmets in his country.

    Believe it or not, cycling is NOT unusually dangerous. Believe it or not, large increases in the use of bike helmets have NOT increased the safety of cyclists. Like it or not, that\’s what the real-world data says.

    It doesn\’t mean you can\’t keep your fantasies. But please don\’t foist them on others. The horror stories scare people away from cycling, and support the idea that anyone who bikes deserves any injuries they get.

    Cycling is NOT very dangerous. It does us no good to pretend it is.

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  • wsbob November 2, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Wow.

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  • Dabby November 3, 2007 at 1:38 am

    The earth is flat.

    Be careful you don\’t sail off the edge….

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  • wsbob November 3, 2007 at 2:36 am

    I guess that\’s why I\’m always trying to squash my oranges flat like a pancake before I eat them. I knew it was true, I knew it was true! That Chris Columbus guy was nuts!

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  • true November 3, 2007 at 9:34 am

    i always wear my helmet when i get too close to the edge of the earth. it\’s just not safe, and it does us no good to pretend that it is.

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  • rixtir November 3, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    How, then, does one determine what is reality and what is fantasy? If we don\’t use science, we\’re left with people\’s wild guesses, or worse.

    Sound science is exactly what we should be using. But you have to be careful– as my grandfather used to say, \”Figures don\’t lie, but liars can figure.\”
    And as an example, let\’s look at this comparison:

    Again, look up the comparative numbers! There are at least 55,000 head injury fatalities per year in the US, but fewer than 550 of them are cyclists!

    Now I\’m hoping that you\’re just repeating somebody else\’s misleading use of statistics, but that misuse of statistics is the antithesis of sound science. Let\’s look at some real numbers.

    In 1991, in a study of all cycling accidents, commissioned by the Directorate of Epidemiology, using data from the National Electronic injury Surveillance System, found that helmet damage was reported in about one-third of all cycling accidents. In 69% of these accidents, there was no accompanying head injury.

    Source: Jeffrey P. Broker, Ph.D. and Paul F. Hill, Bicycle Accidents; Biomechanical, Engineering, and Legal Aspects (Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2006).

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  • rixtir November 3, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    You have bought into the propaganda that cycling produces an unusual number of serious head injuries – and that a flimsy, breakable foam cap magically reduces those serious head injuries to almost nothing.

    Classic straw man argument.

    Not very scientific of you, Frank.

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  • Frank November 3, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    In #118, rixter said:

    \”In 1991, in a study of all cycling accidents, commissioned by the Directorate of Epidemiology, using data from the National Electronic injury Surveillance System, found that helmet damage was reported in about one-third of all cycling accidents. In 69% of these accidents, there was no accompanying head injury.

    Source: Jeffrey P. Broker, Ph.D. and Paul F. Hill, Bicycle Accidents; Biomechanical, Engineering, and Legal Aspects (Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2006).\”

    And the implication is what, exactly? Correct me if I\’m wrong, but you seem to be implying that this means cyclists would receive head injuries in one third of all accidents. And you seem to be implying that helmets prevented head injuries over 2/3 of the time.

    An alternate explanation? Helmets are significantly larger than heads, and 00 incur impacts the head would not. Furthermore, helmets are fragile, and impacts sufficient to damage a helmet would not produced a significant head injury, let alone a serious one.

    Look at figure 2 at http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/campaigns/velo.htm
    Can you seriously believe that everything that dents a helmet would have seriously hurt the rider\’s head?

    Furthermore, we should note the inflated importance now given to the term \”head injury\” regarding bicycling. The term is poorly defined, and helmet promoters and sellers capitalize on that fact. Is a cut ear a \”head injury\”? Why, yes! At least, according to the 1989 paper that found \”85%\” reduction in head injuries for helmets! So is a scratch on the forehead or scalp! (They have a footnote: \”Forehead injuries (abrasions and lacerations) are classified by the AIS system as facial injuries; in the present work, they were classified as head injuries.\”

    Most so-called \”head injuries\” of cyclists are minor by any reasonable definition. According to the data in Stutts, et. al, \”Bicycle Accidents: An Examination of Hospital Emergency Room Reports and Comparison with Police Accident Data,\” Transportation Research Record #1168, only 6% of cyclists treated at emergency rooms had moderate or worse head injuries. And some even smaller fraction would have had brain injury. The vast majority of \”head injuries\” treated were mere cuts and scrapes.

    Finally, IMO the real test for helmet effectiveness is the change in hospital data after helmet use jumps tremendously. The best test case is when helmet use increases something like 50% in a short time (say, within a three year period). If helmets are wonderfully protective, the change in hospital data should show a significant reduction in _serious_ head injuries per cyclist at the same time.

    But that\’s exactly opposite of what\’s been observed. Note – to date, the only places that have seen such a jump in helmet use have been places that have imposed mandatory helmet laws; and those places have seen big reductions in cycling. But reductions in serious head injuries have not even matched the reduction in cycling.

    The best paper on this is probably Scuffham, P.A., \”Trends in Cycle Injury in New Zealand under Voluntary Helmet Use,\” Accident Analysis & Prevention V. 29 No 1 pp 1-9, 1997, wherein helmet use suddenly rose as high as 90% for kids, but no safety improvement was detectable. And BTW, Scuffham was intending to promote helmets when he started the research!

    Despite the hype, helmets do not seem to be causing a detectable improvement. But that\’s OK. Cycling isn\’t dangerous enough to require them.

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  • jacque November 3, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Frank,
    I\’ve really been enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work. For some reason, people don\’t want to think about these things. I don\’t understand what the personal investment is that keeps people from reading the research.

    It is possible that helmet use, like bike lanes, instills a false sense of security, leading to unwise choices and risk taking (zooming thru the suicide slot for instance).
    I have also read that mandatory helmet laws reduce ridership. Is this across the board? If so, it\’s a very important piece of the puzzle. People have begun to call for mandatory helmet laws again, while at the same time everyone is admitting that it is increased ridership that is the number one thing that will keep us all safer out there.
    I absolutely love riding around on my bike. But If I\’m forced to ride in bike lanes, and forced to wear a helmet… I\’m going to have to start walking everywhere or move away.

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  • rixtir November 3, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    And the implication is what, exactly? Correct me if I\’m wrong, but you seem to be implying that this means cyclists would receive head injuries in one third of all accidents. And you seem to be implying that helmets prevented head injuries over 2/3 of the time.

    I\’m not implying anything– I\’m reporting colf, had fact.

    And the fact is, in one-third of all cycling accidents where helmet damage was reported, there was no accompanying head injury in 69% of those accidents.

    An alternate explanation? Helmets are significantly larger than heads, and 00 incur impacts the head would not. Furthermore, helmets are fragile, and impacts sufficient to damage a helmet would not produced a significant head injury, let alone a serious one.

    For somebody who claims to have done an enormous amount of research into helmets, you quite clearly have NO idea how helmets work; your conclusion above is proof of that.

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  • Frank November 3, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    In #121, rixter said:

    \”I\’m not implying anything– I\’m reporting colf, had fact.

    \”And the fact is, in one-third of all cycling accidents where helmet damage was reported, there was no accompanying head injury in 69% of those accidents.\”

    Well, rixter, you sound like a great candidate for a helmet design I jokingly proposed. Instead of the helmet exceeding the head size by the current margin (figure #2 in http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/campaigns/velo.htm) we\’ll give you a helmet that\’s, oh, 28 inches in diameter. You know, just barely able to fit through most doorways. It will be a nice, soft grade of styrofoam. And we\’ll ask you to wear it everywhere, not just cycling.

    Within a week, you\’ll have dents all over it, of course! And you\’ll be able to say that in 100% of all doorway accidents where your helmet was dented, there was no head injury in _any_ of those accidents.

    Which, by your logic, will prove a) the terrible danger of walking through doorways without your large-sized helmet, and b) the incredible effectiveness of your magic hat! ;-)

    \”For somebody who claims to have done an enormous amount of research into helmets, you quite clearly have NO idea how helmets work; your conclusion above is proof of that.\”

    Actually, I\’m a registered professional engineer and college professor. And yes, I\’ve studied this issue literally for years. I\’m reasonably sure I know _much_ more about how helmets work – and how they don\’t work – than most people. Yourself included, of course.

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  • wsbob November 3, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Frank, If you really are claiming to be a presently working college professor, now might be a good time to share the specifics of your credentials with eveyone here. Your demeanor and manner of thinking leaves me doubtful that you actually are a college professor. At any rate, surely not a legitimate, state or federally accredited college. What educational institution with any integrity would hire you?

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  • Frank November 3, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    in #124, wsbob wrote:

    \”Your demeanor and manner of thinking leaves me doubtful that you actually are a college professor…What educational institution with any integrity would hire you?\”

    Sorry, \’wsbob\’, I wouldn\’t post my resume even if were requested by someone who did _not_ use an alias. What I posted was true and accurate. And my college\’s and program\’s accreditation are impeccable.

    Rather than descend into ad hominem arguments, let\’s discuss the web sites, the research papers, and the factual points I\’ve cited, OK?

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  • wsbob November 3, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Sorry Frank, based on that response, I\’m inclined to think you\’re making false claims about being a college professor. Based on what you have shown followers of this weblog about yourself, if I were president or dean of a college, I definitely would not hire you.

    On the matter of further discussion about the other items you noted, doing so would probably serve no one but yourself. That does not seem like a responsible use of this forum, so I\’m going to politely decline to participate further.

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  • annefi November 4, 2007 at 1:50 am

    http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/campaigns/velo.htm

    The above web-site linked by Frank in post #123 is full of thought-provoking data involving elements of the helmet debate. The references cited are as recent as 2006, which makes the data very up-to-date. I have worn a helmet since the \’80s but this report makes me question their usefulness. It is unfortunate that insurance companies (and the media) discriminate against riders who choose to not wear helmets when there appears to be considerable evidence that they can actually cause head injuries, in addition to several other negative consequences.

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  • jacque November 4, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for proving my point WSbob.
    I can just see you now, with your eyes closed, and your fingers in your ears, going la la la la la la.

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  • jacque November 4, 2007 at 9:28 am

    As to the subject of this post…

    When I first read the news article, I thought the cyclist was heading the wrong direction between two lanes! I attribute this confusion to the way the news piece painted the bicyclist as at fault.

    When I come off the Burnside bridge going west, I always cut over and ride between- straddling the middle of- the two lanes. This is so I can get out of the way of right turning vehicles, without being completely in front of all the fast cars in the left lane coming off the bridge behind me.

    But am I understanding this correctly now? Does the road split just after where the collision took place? If so, I don\’t see one single thing that would put the cyclist at fault.

    As others have mentioned, when someone honks at you from behind, your natural response is to pull to the right.

    Every day that I rode into town when I worked there, I had amphetamines in my system… prescribed to help with focus.

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  • jacque November 4, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Also, as to lights…
    I\’m pretty zealous about using them. I\’ve even walked my bike to a bike shop and bought cheep ones just to continue home when I\’d found myself out later than expected.
    But there have been times when I\’ve unexpectedly found myself un-lit, and have ridden home anyway.
    Most of us have been caught this way.
    Don\’t make too many assumptions about the level of care the rider had about his safety.

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  • wsbob November 4, 2007 at 11:47 am

    annefi, I checked out the website you provided via the link. A lot people would probably need a helmet just to help counter rotational force experienced from trying to read and make any sense whatsoever from such a staggering lot of facts and figures.

    What gives? Geez, the question of whether or whether to not wear a bicycle helmet is not rocket science. It\’s not too complicated to understand how a bike helmet can make life easier on your brain, yet some people seem to feel compelled to expend enormous energy defeating such understanding.

    Here in the U.S., bike helmet use is not mandated for adults. Any adult that doesn\’t want to wear one should exercise the choice not to, but they also shouldn\’t be trying to fool people into failing to understand the benefits of protection available to them from the use of basic biking equipment.

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  • Anonymous November 4, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Actually, I\’m a registered professional engineer and college professor. And yes, I\’ve studied this issue literally for years. I\’m reasonably sure I know _much_ more about how helmets work – and how they don\’t work – than most people. Yourself included, of course.

    And I\’m reasonably sure that somebody who relies on straw man arguments and other misleading arguments to make his case doesn\’t have a case.

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  • rixtir November 4, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Actually, I\’m a registered professional engineer and college professor. And yes, I\’ve studied this issue literally for years. I\’m reasonably sure I know _much_ more about how helmets work – and how they don\’t work – than most people. Yourself included, of course.

    And I\’m reasonably sure that somebody who relies on straw man and other misleading arguments to make his case doesn\’t have a case.

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  • Frank November 5, 2007 at 8:48 am

    I notice we\’re having a hard time getting wsbob or rixter to discuss anything regarding numbers or data!

    Come on, boys! If it\’s \”not rocket science\” and \”not too complicated,\” you should be able to make a case for it by referring to real-world data!

    To review, my contentions are:

    a) The rate of serious head injury from cycling is greatly exaggerated. That is, people are being falsely scared into helmets and away from using bicycles. In truth, cycling is NOT very dangerous.

    b) The certification standard for bike helmets is too low to provide significant protection, beyond minor bumps and scrapes. (Recall, the standard puts a bike helmet at its absolute limit with a stationary topple – and it doesn\’t even attempt protection from rotational acceleration of the brain.)

    c) Both facts are proven by examination of large data sets in jurisdictions where helmet use has markedly increased. There has been no corresponding increase in bicyclist safety.

    Which of these points do you want to address with real data?

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  • rixtir November 5, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Which of these points do you want to address with real data?

    Amusing coming from somebody whose argument consists soleley of straw man and other misleading arguments.

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  • a.O November 5, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Frank, your logic is so poor and unscientific it\’s exhausting and almost certainly a waste of time to even discuss your attempt to pretend the mass of scientific literature on the topic supports your opinion.

    Here\’s one simple example: You don\’t use scientific research or data sets to \”prove\” things. Until you understand why that\’s the case, there probably can\’t be any meaningful discussion of what the data show or how science works.

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  • wsbob November 5, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Oh my… . I\’m just hoping that Kerry Alfred Teufel, though not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of his fatal collision, at least had been introduced, some time during his cycling life, to the additional margin of safety a bike helmet could offer him. Everybody that rides a bike should be offered this knowledge whether they decide to wear a helmet or not.

    Bike helmets, like other kinds of safety equipment, are not the result of static technology. Manufacturers are working on new innovations that will enhance helmet safety benefits and counter any inherent faults they may have. Consumer awareness could help to raise the safety standards that bike helmet manufacturers are required to meet.

    I also hope that it\’s learned exactly what kind of amphetamines Kerry Teufel had in his system and why they were there. People commenting here have noted that there are legitimate, healthful reason for some people to be medicated with amphetamines. I believe this is true, though I don\’t know the specifics.

    The police on the other hand, most likely know very well that there are specific, legitimate, healthful reasons for people to be having amphetamines in their system. This being the case, it seems important to compel the police to review their policy of making unqualified announcements about the presence of this drug and others in people\’s systems. The public should be made aware of the consequences of illegal drug use, but it does no good to mislead the public when the drugs used are legal and appropriately prescribed.

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  • Frank November 5, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    In #135, rixtir responded to my request to discuss real data, by saying:

    \”Amusing coming from somebody whose argument consists soleley [sic] of straw man and other misleading arguments.\”

    Rixter, so far I\’ve cited four research papers from refereed journals. I\’ve cited and linked an article from the New York Times. And I\’ve given links to three separate websites that address the common fallacies in helmet promotion.

    For review, here\’s the list of what I\’ve cited so far:

    Pro-helmet: A case control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets
    Thompson RS, Rivara FP, Thompson DC. New England Journal of Medicine, 1989 v320 n21 p1361-7. 1989.

    Attempted pro-helmet: Trends in cycle injury in New Zealand under voluntary helmet use, Scuffham PA, Langley JD. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 1997 Jan;29(1):1-9. 1997.

    Helmet skeptic: Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws Robinson DL. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 1996 Jul;28(4):463-75. 1996.

    Stutts, et. al, \”Bicycle Accidents: An Examination of Hospital Emergency Room Reports and Comparison with Police Accident Data,\” Transportation Research Record #1168,

    Scuffham, P.A., \”Trends in Cycle Injury in New Zealand under Voluntary Helmet Use,\” Accident Analysis & Prevention V. 29 No 1 pp 1-9, 1997

    http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b63eec01188.htm

    http://members.shaw.ca/jtubman/deadhelmet.html

    http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

    http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/campaigns/velo.htm

    I\’m amazed you can claim all that is \”soleley straw man arguments.\”

    Which of those do you want to discuss? Let\’s talk numbers.

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  • Frank November 5, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    in #136, a.O wrote:

    \”Frank, your logic is so poor and unscientific it\’s exhausting and almost certainly a waste of time to even discuss your attempt to pretend the mass of scientific literature on the topic supports your opinion.\”

    I\’m sorry, a.O., but I see no proof from you that my logic is at all poor. I see only evidence that you disagree. As with rixter, I invite you to discuss specifics. Let\’s talk numbers. I\’ve certainly given plenty of sources for you to digest!

    \”Here\’s one simple example: You don\’t use scientific research or data sets to \”prove\” things.\”

    What an astonishing statement!

    How do you imagine the FDA determines whether a certain drug is effective?? How do you suppose manufacturers decide whether a new material will suit their product\’s design?? How do you imagine they know smoking causes lung cancer??

    All of those concepts – and millions of others – are \”proven\” by use of scientific data, and by analyzing that data using statistical methods. After all, what\’s the alternative? Consulting crystal balls really doesn\’t work well, you know!

    Again, I\’m not sure how to communicate logically with someone who disparages science. I\’m not sure it\’s even possible. Shall I try an abstract painting of the data? Interpretive dance?

    Perhaps a heartfelt poem, mourning those cyclists at http://members.shaw.ca/jtubman/deadhelmet.html who died despite their faith in helmets…

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  • Senny November 6, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I just read that helmet article (http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/h-i-mech.htm). It never actually says that helmets cause or worsen injuries. It says–based on conjectural deduction–that helmets \”may cause increased brain injury\”.

    The article attacks \”helmet researchers who perhaps have their own agenda in promoting helmet\” for not mentioning old research that may or may not be applicable. However, the article presents no empirical data to support its conclusions, and one is left wondering about the agenda of the author.

    The article ends (emphasis mine): \”In conclusion, while it is readily accepted that bicycle helmets may reduce skull fracture and focal brain injuries, it remains highly questionable whether they can prevent serious brain injury, and there is a risk that they may actually cause increased brain injury.\”

    It is scientifically dishonest to arrive at this conclusion. No justification beyond armchair hypothesizing is given for the parts I emphasized.

    In short, this article lends no real support to anyone\’s argument.

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  • fun-key November 7, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    what happened to Vance\’s blog?

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  • Frank November 7, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    In #140, Senny wrote:

    I just read that helmet article (http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/h-i-mech.htm).

    \”…the article presents no empirical data to support its conclusions…\”

    \”The article ends (emphasis mine): \’In conclusion, while it is readily accepted that bicycle helmets may reduce skull fracture and focal brain injuries, it remains highly questionable whether they can prevent serious brain injury, and there is a risk that they may actually cause increased brain injury.\’

    \”It is scientifically dishonest to arrive at this conclusion. No justification beyond armchair hypothesizing is given for the parts I emphasized.

    \”In short, this article lends no real support to anyone\’s argument.\”

    The article is a discussion of other studies, addressing the detailed mechanics of brain injury and the effects of helmets on brain injury. The major point is that there is science showing that rotational accelerations of brain tissue are likely to be more damaging than linear accelerations; yet helmet standards and helmet designs address only linear accelerations.

    The main emphasis is certainly not on proving that helmets cause brain injury. Rather, it\’s intended to give a possible (and partial) explanation for the fact that mass adoption of helmets has not been found to significantly prevent such injuries.

    While the author did not give the empirical data on rotational acceleration effects, he did give proper citations to the relevant papers. That\’s pretty typical in articles of that type. At this point, you\’re free to obtain the articles from a library and see if he\’s telling the truth.

    Senny also says \”one is left wondering about the agenda of the author.\” But there\’s no need to wonder. The author is obviously a member of the Cyclists Rights Action Group, which is linked from the bottom of the page. He lives in a place where a mandatory helmet law is in effect, and strictly enforced. (I\’ve read accounts of people jailed there for bicycling without a helmet.)

    CRAG believes the law is ineffective, counterproductive, and an infringement on personal freedom. The purpose of the group is to repeal the law. They present evidence for their arguments on their website.

    Try reading some of the articles at that website, http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/index.html. Of course, they\’re not filled with flashy graphics – but hopefully, that\’s not important. Read the numbers.

    Try this one: \”Change in Casualties to Cyclists Following The Helmets Law,\” http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/nswstats.htm

    The article gives, and analyzes, empirical data. From the conclusion: \”Pre-law to post-law, both total injuries and head injuries declined less in proportion than the decline in the number of cyclists. Even without allowing for improved traffic conditions, for the remaining cyclists the risk of injury including head injury therefore increased.\”

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  • Peter W November 9, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I just got these answers to questions about the crash.

    Questions:

    Where exactly did the collision happen? Was it east or west of the
    intersection? Which lanes was he straddling? (if it was east of the
    intersection, there are two straight lanes and one turn lane.
    Articles mention it was between the \’fast\’ and \’slow\’ lanes; does that
    mean the it was between the two straight lanes?). And does
    \’straddling\’ mean the bicycle was riding in a straight line exactly
    between the two lanes?

    Which lane was the car in before it hit the cyclist?

    Do the police know why the bicyclist swerved?

    How wide are those lanes?

    Is it not possible for a car to pass a cyclist straddling the lanes?
    If I were driving I think I would break and swerve to avoid the
    cyclist, not break and honk at them (it seems like honking at cyclists
    is a good way to scare them, which would explain the swerving).

    What kind of amphetamines were in the cyclist\’s system? Meth?
    Ritalin?

    What kind of bike was it?

    Was the cyclist straddling lanes because he was trying to get over
    in preparation of a left turn? There is a bus stop going towards
    Cornelius on the north side, and the left turn onto Main St is just a
    block past where this happened.

    How much car traffic was there at the time, east bound, and west
    bound?

    Did the bike have any lights or reflectors?

    Finally, just to be fair…

    Was the driver\’s blood tested for alcohol or drugs?

    Was the driver using a cell phone while driving?

    Answers from the Hillsboro Police:

    1. The collision happened on Oak Street 100\’ west of west Main Street.
    2. The cyclist was straddling the #1 and #2 lanes on a two lane street
    going one way east, going back and forth between the two lanes, hugging
    the dotted white line.
    3. The car was in the #1 lane to the left on the cyclist.
    4. We do not know why the cyclist swerved.
    5. The traffic lanes are 12\’ wide each.
    6. It is possible for a car to pass the cyclist straddling lanes. In
    this case the quick, jerky movements of the cyclist made it impossible
    for the car to know which lanes would be safe, in a 2 second time frame.
    7. The car did brake very quickly as soon as the driver realized the
    bike in the roadway.
    8. Honking is an accepted mode of warning others and has is accepted as
    such in traffic situations. In a split second reaction, it is
    instinctive and appropriate for drivers.
    9. There was methamphetamine in the cyclist\’s system.
    10. We do not know whether the cyclist was attempting to turn left or
    get over to another part of the roadway, we were not able to interview
    him.
    11. Traffic was moderately heavy for that time of day; the traffic was
    one way divided and was same heaviness on both sides of the road.
    12. The bike had no lights and one reflector in the rear. Dark clothes
    and no helmet by the cyclist.
    13. Driver blood not tested for drugs or alc. Officer\’s observations at
    time of crash did not bring any suspicion of such.
    14. The driver was not using a cel phone.
    15. The bicycle swerved into the side of the car.
    16. The bike is a Giant brand 18 speed.

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  • Vittoria Randonneur November 9, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    If I go out and ride my bike in low-light conditions or in ANY conditions with dark clothing AND no lights I\’m asking for death. Sounds like this cyclist asked for it and got it.

    I ride with YELLOW or ORANGE AND with FLASHING lights front and back, day and night. If I get run over by a car the driver is going to prison for intentional homicide by vehicle. Period.

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  • wsbob November 9, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Interesting, but those answers still leave many questions unanswered. Were those answers direct from the official police report, or the outcome of some personal conversation with somebody? I\’m still hoping somebody will thoroughly investigate this fatal collision and learn the why of what happened there.

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