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Updated: Collision in Gresham sends man to the hospital; no car involved

Posted by on August 6th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

[Updated, 4:25pm]

Here’s a sad (but interesting) case you just don’t come across very often.

I had to re-read the title of a press release sent out a few minutes ago by the Captain of the Gresham Police Department. It reads:

“Bicyclist Injured After Hitting Pedestrian”

Apparently, at about 1:30 this afternoon, a 69 year-old man was riding his bike in the bike lane going west on Powell Blvd. when he collided with someone who was walking across the street at SW Walters.

According to the press release, the pedestrian had the “WALK” signal and the cyclist ran into him, then crashed, struck his head on the pavement (he was not wearing a helmet), sustained “serious head injuries” and was transported to OHSU.

Captain David Lerwick says investigators don’t know how fast the man on the bike was traveling at the time of the collision. He’s also asking anyone who might have witnessed the collision to call the Gresham Police Department at (503) 618-2341.

With more folks biking and walking these days, do you think non-motorized collisions will become more common? It brings to mind this story I published back in June: Realities of bike traffic: The bike-on-bike collision.

UPDATE:
I just got off the phone with Captain Lerwick. He says the pedestrian was uninjured (except for a bike tire mark on his leg). He also added that the man on the bike was 69 years old (which I’ve added to the story above).

Most interestingly however, is the type of intersection and why the collision actually occurred (I think it is a great lesson for all of us).

Lerwick says this was a “T” intersection, meaning the man on the bike ran the red light because he assumed — since there was no cross motor-vehicle traffic — that he didn’t need to stop. There was also a telephone pole between the man on the bike and the pedestrian.

I have often thought about how bikes treat “T” intersections. Traffic lights and signs are more commonly ignored in this situation (like when that guy flipped me off) because there a sense that you’re not crossing any car traffic, so why wait? I think this collision offers a good reminder that folks should take caution and compliance at T-intersections.

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Comments
  • matt picio August 6, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Get ready for more of these incidents. With more and more cyclists on the road (many of them inexperienced) and greater numbers of pedestrians and transit users, we\’re likely to see this become much more common.

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  • steve August 6, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    This one outta be a good test of everyones new found manners.

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  • miguelaron August 6, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    please start wearing helmets

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  • Forseti August 6, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    This is a textbook example of how helmets can prevent or mitigate head injuries.

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  • BubbaX August 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    So you think wearing a helmet is going to help the pedestrian who was hit? NOT!!!

    It\’s an unfortunate reality that many cyclists go with the \”my fellow cyclist can do no wrong\” and are unwilling to wise up to the fact that many of their brethren are just as culpable in these kinds of situations as they claim other vehicles and pedestrians are.

    No – I don\’t have a solution. Seems like it\’s either totalitarian rule or anarchy when this subject comes around…

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  • jeff August 6, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    It\’s also a textbook example of how being inattentive and not respectful is not good.

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  • Steve August 6, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    One, ran over pedestrian while in cross walk with \”walk\” sign.
    Two, not wearing helmet.
    As with many automobile accidents, sounds like this could have been avoided with following the law and a little good sense (helmet).

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  • nuovorecord August 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    The cyclist doesn\’t need a helmet in this instance if he simply stops for the light. I hope he recovers, but it was totally avoidable.

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  • Whyat August 6, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    It\’s a good example of how a fall off of a bicycle can be more detrimental to one\’s head than a fall from a fast moving motorcycle due to the distance of the head to the ground. Seriously people (especially parents who have kids to take care of)… wear a helmet.

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  • DD August 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    And he definetely wouldn\’t need a helmet if he didn\’t hit or fall, regardless of stopping or not for the light.

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  • Aka August 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    This is very sad. I hope the pedestrian didn\’t get hurt in the process and that the biker will recover quickly. Hopefully, this event will not create a \”car vs bike vs pedestrian\” article …

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  • Le-oh! August 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    So a bicyclist attempted to blow a red light- with a pedestrian in the crosswalk no less!- and got injured because he wasn\’t wearing a helmet when he hit the pavement.

    I feel for him and all, but I hope he learns his lesson, that was really irresponsible. In any other situation, it would be the pedestrian that could\’ve been severely injured. Who was the guy the cyclist hit, the freakin\’ Hulk or something?

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  • KWW August 6, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    ANSI, CE, DOT and Snell helmet requirements are built around a fall from a moving vehicle (horizontal velocity) and from head height to the distance of the head to the ground.

    A $30 helmet would of saved this guy thousands….

    Helmets are not designed for inter-vehicle accident protection though.

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  • Forseti August 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    But cyclists won\’t always do everything perfectly on the roadway. Mistakes are *unavoidable* – everyone makes them. And that\’s why they make helmets. And why this poor fellow should have been wearing one.

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  • steve August 6, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Took three posts to blame it on a helmet(or lack thereof).

    Hows about, Stop at stoplights and don\’t run into stuff?

    I am curious, was he wearing kneepads? Did the pedestrian remember to wrap himself in his Nerf suit?

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  • Forseti August 6, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    \”Took three posts to blame it on a helmet…\”

    What do you mean by \”it,\” here? I don\’t think anybody is blaming the collision on the lack of a helmet, but citing the likelihood that the extent of the head injury was exacerbated by not wearing a helmet. You think this injury would have been just as severe with a helmet?

    \”Hows about, Stop at stoplights and don\’t run into stuff?\”

    So, just never make a mistake? Brilliant! Wish I\’d thought of that! Problem solved!

    [Hope you don\’t consider the above to be \”bad manners,\” Steve. It\’s intended as a serious critique of the substance of your post – done with more than a hint of sarcasm – and not a personal attack. I don\’t find you particularly thin-skinned, but just for the sake of clarity and of honoring Jonathan\’s recent request, I thought I\’d add this here.]

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  • E August 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I witnessed an incident like this when I was brand new in Portland. I\’m on the bus; the bus is stopped at a bus stop; people are getting on. A man on a bike zips full speed between bus and sidewalk (yes there\’s a bike lane) and collides with a woman getting on the bus. He was really moving; there are arms and legs everywhere, and we\’re sure someone is dead. However, the woman is entirely unharmed; helmet-wearing bicyclist is bruised, scraped, and shaken up but generally ok; light-weight racing bike is trashed, front wheel bent at almost a right angle. He could barely get it into the bus bike rack (horrified driver gave him a free ride). I had never heard of anyone getting hit by a bicycle; it was kind of a new experience.

    It seems that in collisions between bikes and peds, the bikes still lose.

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  • miguelaron August 6, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    i think some commenters need to read the previous post about the negativity.

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  • Donald August 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Tell you what, man. I\’m not a firm believer in helmets.

    But today, coming back from a lunch-hour couple of innings at PGE Park, I stopped for a red light downtown on the Max line.

    Instead of de-clipping, I grabbed a couple of those green poles they use to keep traffic off the tracks.

    When I got my green, I pushed off all ski jumper like and the damn things were loose as a 7-year-old\’s teeth!

    Front wheel went 90 degrees and I did the most ungraceful 1.5mph faceplant in history. I was astounded at the force when my helmet hit the sidewalk. And once I got to work was suprised to see that I had indeed totaled my foam. (oh and cover your barends, folks: this thigh bruise would have been a nasty hole without them).

    So, I\’m keen on helmets again. Just don\’t tell me to wear one. That totally ticks me off…

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  • FredLf August 6, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I nearly hit a pedestrian a few weeks ago. A car had stopped in the middle of the block to let a woman cross the road. I couldn\’t see her because she was standing behind a telephone pole. She stepped into the road and then stood stock still in the gutter without once looking to her left. There was absolutely no way I could stop in time and, since she was paying no attention whatsoever to the near lane of traffic, she had no idea I was coming. I was able to squeeze between her and the curb by putting my right-side pedal up at 12 o\’clock to avoid scraping the curb, but it was really, really close. Now I know that if there had been a collision, it would have been technically \”my\” fault for failing to yield to a ped in the roadway. But the real cause of the near miss was (a) the motorist trying to be \”polite\” by stopping in the middle of block for a pedestrian and (b) the fact that the pedestrian paid no attention at all to oncoming traffic (i.e. didn\’t look both ways when crossing!). I guess the lesson is two-fold. For cyclists, eternal vigilance and defensive riding are imperative; always anticipate that other users will do the dumbest possible thing. For drivers, being \”polite\” and ceding the right-of-way is usually more dangerous and confusing than following the standard rules (in this case, only treating intersections like crosswalks).

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  • Cameron August 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I was hit once by a bicyclist riding down the wrong side of the street.

    It was a neighborhood street, just a two way stop. I guess he had the right of way, but he was hugging the curb- maybe half a foot from his wheels and I didn\’t see him. I stepped into the street and he yelled, I had just enough time to get my knee up to protect myself. He went down to the ground, uninjured but for my knee to his groin. Looking back it\’s actually kind of funny. If someone had a camera, it would\’ve been a front-runner for America\’s Funniest Home Videos. He got up and walked away, cursing me.

    This incident is part of the reason that I don\’t ride down the wrong side of the street-

    I hope the bicyclist is OK and the pedestrian too, really this could happen to anybody.

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  • B.C. August 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    This type of \”T\” intersection is very common along Naito Parkway. When I am riding home, I ride down Oak St until it hits Naito. When the light at Oak turns green, I turn left onto Naito. The lights are timed in a way that all the lights on Naito will turn red as well, making we wait at the next street to the North for about 10 seconds. Multiple times people will wizz by me and go through the red light, nearly missing pedestrians as they are trying to get across Naito from Waterfront Park.

    Its a tricky situation!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 6, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    \”This type of \”T\” intersection is very common along Naito Parkway.\”

    definitely.

    my compromise on Naito is, if the light is read, I\’ll roll up onto the sidewalk on one side of the intersection and then re-enter the roadway on the other side.

    I think this is legal and I find it much less egregious than just blowing through the light (even though you can tell if there is no ped. traffic).

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  • Pete August 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    \”With more folks biking and walking these days, do you think non-motorized collisions will become more common?\”

    Not only will they become more common, but they\’ll be publicized more, and we\’ll start to see just how many riders are out there on sidewalks, riding the wrong way in bike lanes, and blowing through stop signs and red lights. I don\’t think they\’re uncommon now, just not publicized. But now that local media has a known attention-getting topic for slow news days, we\’ll get to hear about it in the lunchroom from our non-cycling coworkers. And yes, the thousands of miles we log without incident will continue to go unnoticed. Sigh.

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  • Pete August 6, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    My spin class instructor asked on Monday night: \”why stop for a red light at a T intersection?\”. Nobody knew the answer he had in mind – pedestrians crossing. (I answered it\’s because it\’s the law and was somewhat ashamed for his answer not popping into mind). He had seen this happen while out riding, and the pedestrian (an older woman) was badly injured (broken bones).

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  • Anonymous August 6, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Here\’s what I\’m hearing…
    If he wouldn\’t have run the light, he wouldn\’t have hit the guy; end of story.
    But if he would have been wearing a helmet, he could have run the light, hit the guy, and got away with it. Is that right? Is that what some of you are saying?

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  • bahueh August 6, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    anonymous..NO, that\’s no what anyone is saying.

    helmets save brains. period. do they work effectively to protect every rider from car collisions? hardly, but collisions with vehicles are only one form of contact a rider can experience..
    wish people would get that through their skulls (which so many appear to think are much thicker than they are).

    riders often get the worst of it when stationary objects are involved…whether its a pedestrian or otherwise..a lot of folks don\’t seem to realize that either…

    everyone needs to start asking themselves a question and realizing the answer…would you drive in the manner that you operate a bike? no seat belt, running stop signs and lights, riding the wrong way down the road? why on this earth would you operate a bike that way? just don\’t understand. a 69 year old guy should know better. maybe he just learned his lesson.

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  • RonC August 6, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Jonathan asked \”With more folks biking and walking these days, do you think non-motorized collisions will become more common?\”

    While initially we might see more of this type of event, I would postulate that at some point the frequency of these occurrences would level off, due to a greater awareness of potential pitfalls by both cyclists and pedestrians alike. (Kudos to Jonathan for bringing this to our attention.)

    Some have also pointed out that Darwin\’s theory of natural selection might also weed out those who refuse to acknowledge the probability of unexpected events. In this case, I sincerely hope Darwin is proven wrong, and that the rider (helmet or no helmet) pulls through this OK.

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  • Forseti August 6, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    \”But if he would have been wearing a helmet, he could have run the light, hit the guy, and got away with it. Is that right? Is that what some of you are saying?\”

    I really don\’t see how you could have reached that conclusion. Can you point to some language in some post(s) that suggests this conclusion to you? Regardless, that is not what *I* am saying.

    I was saying that if he had been wearing a helmet and he ran the light and hit the guy at least he wouldn\’t have such a serious head injury.

    I\’m not justifying his behavior. It seems pretty obvious, based on the article above, that it was entirely his fault. He\’s lucky the guy wasn\’t hurt – then he might have to pay a second set of medical bills.

    Maybe he was going to go through the intersection against the light because he\’s the stereotypical scofflaw cyclist, or maybe he just wasn\’t paying close enough attention. I don\’t know. And it doesn\’t really matter, because either way it\’s a traffic code violation and probably negligence.

    But, to the/my point: As someone said above, $30 (or less) could have saved this guy literally $$ thousands, not to mention any lasting disability from the injury.

    I just think this is a really obvious example of how helmets do save pain, suffering, injury, and money. And if this guy is one of the 45 million Americans who don\’t have health insurance, us taxpayers will be picking up this tab.

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  • Cruizer August 6, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    #26 Where are you getting \”he could have got away with it?\” No one is suggesting tips for hitting pedestrians and \”getting away with it.\” People are discussing the likelihood that the cyclist\’s head injuries would have been less if he\’d been wearing a helmet. That\’s all. But first and foremost everyone is in agreement that lack of awareness led to the undesirable result of hitting the pedestrian who, thankfully, remains uninjured.

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  • KT August 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Anonymous, I think what people are saying that if he would have been wearing a helmet, he probably wouldn\’t be in the hospital right now.

    Not that he could have hit the ped and gotten away with it; I think in this particular case, even if he had been wearing a helmet he wouldn\’t have been able to whiz away on his bike!

    What I\’m hearing is, use some common sense about both your equipment and traffic control devices.

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  • djasonpenney August 6, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    OMG please, everyone, stop the helmet wars already. We all know that helmets reduce fatalities by 85% in one certain type of accident; whether or not this was one of those is a moot subject.

    No one seems to have pointed out that even if there was no light, the cyclist would still have been in the wrong. So, everyone stop the traffic signal wars, too, OK?

    The real takeaway for me is how the public really needs education. Too many people think that knowing how to brake, steer, and pedal a bicycle means that they know how to operate one safely.

    Nor is experience driving a car directly applicable to riding a bike. Think about the visibility issues that played into this accident: both a cyclist and a pedestrian are much harder to see than a motor vehicle. The cyclist clearly wasn\’t riding defensively.

    I am relieved that the pedestrian was not seriously injured, and I\’m saddened that this cyclist will have to take so much time off of the road as part of his lesson in this experience.

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  • Racer X August 6, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    And depending on the striping of the bike lane (I do not know this intersection)…the top of the \’Tee\’ can operate similarly to that of a car slip lane…you keep riding in the lane since turning car traffic does not cross into your lane.

    But having said that…a pedestrian would have the right of way, especially with a walk signal…bikelane or slip lane.

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  • Jim F August 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Darwin at work.

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  • Steven M. August 6, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Poor bastard.

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  • Donna August 6, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    my compromise on Naito is, if the light is read, I\’ll roll up onto the sidewalk on one side of the intersection and then re-enter the roadway on the other side.

    I think this is legal and I find it much less egregious than just blowing through the light (even though you can tell if there is no ped. traffic).

    IMO, these kinds of intersections would be ideal for a pilot of bike-specific stoplights. It could be green for bikes when it\’s red for cars so long as a pedestrian hasn\’t pushed the crosswalk button.

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  • SkidMark August 6, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    My mom taught me to look both ways before I cross the street…just sayin\’

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  • cyclist August 6, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Nobody ever gets hurt when cyclists run stop signs and stop lights, I wish people would stop going on and on about it like it\’s a big deal.

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  • Icarus Falling August 6, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    \”If he wouldn\’t have run the light, he wouldn\’t have hit the guy; end of story.
    But if he would have been wearing a helmet, he could have run the light, hit the guy, and got away with it. Is that right? Is that what some of you are saying?\”

    That is exactly what people are saying, or pointing out, and they do not even realize they are doing it, sadly. And, when and if they do realize that is what the are saying, they would never admit to it.

    It appears to be difficult to jump down off of your pedestal once you have climbed all the way up there.

    Keep your helmet ideals off of my head.

    Illegitimus Non-carborundem.

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  • Chris August 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Anonymous, Icarus

    At 69, any sort of head injury is very bad. We can probably assume this was a low speed crash since the pedestrian was uninjured, and yet the rider is in the hospital.

    Yes, the rider screwed up, we can all see that, but it is potentially life altering to the rider. Screwing up should not cost someone their brain. Perhaps they could have both walked away if he had a helmet. I think we should all hope everyone walks away from a crash, even one that is self inflicted.

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  • Icarus Falling August 7, 2008 at 12:06 am

    of course we hope everyone should walk away from any crash. I hope this man is doing fine.

    But, once again, the self righteous are using another injury to preach the good word about helmets.

    A word that has been abused so much, it might as well be considered blasphemy.

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  • Eileen August 7, 2008 at 12:07 am

    yes, skidmark and Icarus, wearing a helmet absolves you of all wrongdoing. I think the pope just released that statement.

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  • the pope August 7, 2008 at 12:10 am

    \”helmet\” is only blasphemy when used in vain.

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  • steve August 7, 2008 at 12:43 am

    You are a beacon of civility, Eileen

    Do you have any opinions involving cycling that don\’t revolve around helmets or fear?

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  • KWW August 7, 2008 at 12:44 am

    People are not assigning blame, just realizing that when you wear a helmet you are preparing for a worst case scenario.

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  • jimbo August 7, 2008 at 12:44 am

    You should have a talk sometime with a trauma nurse. Ask about the guy that hits his head on the ground and is now a vegetable being spoon fed and dosn\’t even know it, hes the lucky one cause the other guy that hit his head on the ground and is spoon fed but is still aware of his suroundings and hates his life. It only takes a split second to change your life forever. If you don\’t want to wear a helmet I think you should have that right. We don\’t need a Marxist govt to tell us everything we need to do. If you want to act foolishly that makes me sad but it is your choice to make.

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  • Morrow August 7, 2008 at 12:58 am

    I think one thing that needs to be mentioned. Accidents do not always happen because you made a mistake. Say a pedestrian walks in front of you without looking or a car opens its door into a bike lane right in front of you. Then you are seriously hurt or killed because you were not wearing a helmet. OK fine you decided not to wear a helmet thats your fault if you die/get seriously hurt, but what about the person that made the mistake and having to deal with the thought of killing/seriously hurting someone; and who deals with the your hospital bills if you are uninsured; and the fire and rescue time?

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  • Steven J August 7, 2008 at 3:02 am

    I too am against helmet laws,….but I wear em.
    I Recently completed the trans-am west -east, helluva ride..but back on point.
    was in Ozarks being chased by non less than 3 dogs…think it\’s a law in Kentucky..you can\’t have one or four..3 required.
    Anyway..traveling about 12mph with one particularly aggressive lab on my heels, I looked down for a second and when looked up, I was heading off the shoulder & 10ft embankment.
    Bike tires bogged down in soft shoulder made up of cantaloupe sized rocks, and clay. Bike went down fast with 45lbs of extra gear on it. front panniers snagged a rock and threw me to ground.
    My head skipped like a stone on water for at least 5 feet.

    Moral of story: helmet had multiple dents that would have been in my head.

    It happens that fast folks.. better to have it and not need it, than need it and be without.

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  • Moo August 7, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Red means stop…what\’s so hard to understand here? I laughed at the dude who blew the Williams light northbound just past the Rose Qtr..\’cause a cop nailed him for $242 biguns.

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  • Scrumhalf August 7, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I am not very familiar with that part of town but this piqued my curiosity – I Googled the intersection in question.

    The street level view shows a wide intersection with clear views – in fact I can\’t imagine a more benign setting considering Powell is a major street. The hard part for me was figuring out how this happened – even if the cyclist was running a red light, it isn\’t like he couldn\’t have seen the imminent collision well in advance.

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  • Maculsay August 7, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I ride the outer NE area most of the time, and notice quite a lot of older folks riding ancient bikes. I\’ve talked with some of them – folks from other countries (recent immigrants) typically did not wear helmets (obviously non-empirical). When counting bikes for PDOT at some of the outer NE intersections, I\’ve had some good dialogue with folks, and two guys from Croatia without helmets said they were \”silly, and it my head\”. Both left the intersection riding in the crosswalk against traffic, but with the green.

    I\’m thinking of starting a blog that supports chefs, but with a special section for the posts about knife injuries, and the case for using duller knives.

    It\’s a dangerous world out there. Every time I did something foolish as a child, my dad would retort, \”Use your head\”.

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  • kg August 7, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Wear a helmet, don\’t wear a helmet it\’s your head. With regard to running lights and stop signs it always amazes me that some folks indulging in this behavior take it so lightly. For instance with the stop sign \”stings\” if you are really being extra alert and proceeding in a manner that will allow you to stop if isn\’t safe to proceed then why don\’t you see the police sitting there? What else might you be missing?

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  • kg August 7, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Maculsay,

    A dull knife is actually more dangerous as it requires more force and is more likely to slip off track. Oh wait, was that off topic?

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  • E August 7, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Here\’s why I always wear a helmet. A friend of mine was riding slowly, 2 blocks from her house, on a no-traffic street. She hit some gravel and went down, her head bouncing on the kerb. If she had not been wearing a helmet she\’d be a drooling vegetable now. And how stupid would that be? Would you like to be a drooling vegetable because you hit some gravel at 2 miles an hour? Just too embarrassing. And don\’t tell me you\’re too smart to slip on gravel at that speed. Everyone is stupid sometimes.

    I think it\’s important to get that the MORE you do to prevent accident and injury, the MORE accident and injury you prevent. They will both still happen. For example, what if this rider had obeyed the law and stopped for the pedestrian, but braked too hard, skidded on gravel, and hit the ground anyway? No law broken, one head broken. By obeying the law AND taking certain intelligent precautions, you can avoid a lot of bad outcomes. You can\’t avoid them all, but why not stack the odds in your favor?

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  • Maculsay August 7, 2008 at 8:17 am

    @kg #53 – Exactly! Hmmmm…

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  • k. August 7, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Arguing this subject is like arguing politics. Most people have their mind firmly made up and are closed to further analysis. But for some reason they figure everyone else can be convinced by their arguments. Can I see a show of hands of people who really are undecided on the helmet issue and are open to thoughtful, reasoned discussion?

    Anyone?

    I didn\’t think so.

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  • Mary Sue August 7, 2008 at 8:41 am

    In the words of my great-grandfather (a wise and holy man), \”Stuff happens. If you\’re still alive after, count your balls and learn your lesson.\”

    (Okay, he used a word that\’s not \’stuff\’ that made us kids think he was the coolest guy ever and our grandmothers and mothers utter an exasperated \”Victor! Language!\”.)

    I wear a helmet because my brain\’s not paid off yet (student loans suck). You don\’t want to wear a helmet? That\’s nice. But as my g-grandfather\’s wisdom points out, you gotta be alive to learn a lesson.

    From the comfort of our Internet connection, we all insist we are 100% aware at all times of our surroundings, especially when we are out traveling by foot, bike, motorcycle, car, bus, or truck. I\’d like to think I am, and I\’d also like to think I\’m a law-abiding citizen. But as my g-grandfather points out, stuff happens, such as the day last month where I stepped off the curb midblock and almost jumped seven feet out of my skin when that car honked at me, bumper stopped only two feet from my shin. I would have sworn up and down I\’d looked and seen no one coming before I began my jaunty little jaywalk.

    Stuff happens. Sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes we don\’t. Sometimes we err on the side of caution and take basic safety precautions. Sometimes physics can\’t be assuaged and we lose. But if you\’re still alive, count your balls and learn your lesson. Then move on.

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  • bahueh August 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

    K…people will not change their mind on a subject until that particular subject touches them personally…
    sad that it only takes one instance on a bike to make you a complete paraplegic/quadraplegic or in a vegetative state…I\’ve offered to try to set up visitations the TBI ward of the hospital I work at….funny no one\’s take me up on it.

    a kid running out in front of you, another cyclist blowing a stop sign, a dog, a tack in the road, a faulty front tire, a broken front spoke, a wet paint line, coupled with 15+mph…

    can easily lead to a traumatic brain injury, financial bankruptcy, and destroyed families…

    who here wants to be a ward of the state? anyone?

    I didn\’t think so…

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  • SkidMark August 7, 2008 at 9:13 am

    I still get this vibe that the fact that he wasn\’t wearing a helmet makes him some sort of scumbag who if he hadn\’t gotten injured would have rode off.

    People come in here and blame the cyclist even when they have the right of way all the time. I think it is a matter of common sense to look both ways before you step off the curb. He could have been by a truck, good thing it was just a bike. \”Right-of-way\” is not some magic force field that protects you from harm (neither is a helmet).

    And OBVIOUSLY the bike rider should have stopped for the pedestrian.

    It was really hot out yeasterday and the guy is a senior citizen, could it have been heat exhaustion? I know it\’s no excuse, but everyone is acting like he deliberately mowed down the pedestrian.

    As far as the \”helmet issue\” goes I wear one because I am not stupid, but I don\’t think not wearing one should make me a criminal. I am anti helmet LAW not anti-helmet. I don\’t know why you pro-helmet folks can\’t make that distinction.

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  • Aka August 7, 2008 at 9:14 am

    word!

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  • Red Hippie August 7, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Meanwhile, back in portland…

    I have a couple of T intersections on my daily commute. The big ones are on Greely by Adidas and Interstate near Widmear. I usually slow and look for pedestrians and roll through. This definately makes me think about this a little more critically.

    A sugestion, why not have a small, bike land yeild sign for these intersections. This way the pedestrian has the right of way, but the cyclist is not bound by the full stop requirment and does not loose momentum. There is still the leagal hook for the cyclist if they do not stop for a pedestrian.

    Any other ideas of solution out there?

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  • Cøyøte August 7, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I wrestle with T intersections too. Normally, I always stop for red lights. (Stop signs not so much).

    Personally I think the sidewalk trick is more dangerous than just rolling the light. The Naito Parkway is such a board street with generally excellent sight lines, there probably is not much risk in rolling those intersections at a walking pace. However, I still (usually) stop, it makes life easier, and I am generally not in that much of a hurry. Besides $242 is a lot o pints.

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  • Slick August 7, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Here\’s a simple and free one, Red. Stop at red lights.

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  • El Biciclero August 7, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Chris said: \”Screwing up should not cost someone their brain.\”

    I don\’t think Chris consciously meant it this way, but this is a large part of what is wrong with the American way of non-responsible thinking, of which one variation is, \”I should be allowed to screw up with no consequences\”. What we need to realize is the potential for disastrous outcomes due to our screw-ups in various situations. If I screw up pouring milk and I spill some, well, no big deal. The only reason I am careful pouring milk is because I want to avoid the hassle of cleaning up a milk mess. The potential for disaster is low.

    When riding, on the other hand, there is a wide range of disaster potential for screw-ups. On many occasions, I have screwed up by shifting into the wrong gear, or failing to downshift at a stop, and the only consequence I experience is an uncomfortable cadence for a few seconds. But I also have to realize that if I screw up by looking away from the road at the wrong time, fixating my attention on one thing while ignoring others, disobeying traffic signs or signals, etc., those \”screw-ups\” can have disastrous consequences. I must realize that if I am not prepared for those consequences, I should be extremely conscientious about avoiding such screw-ups. Just because I fail to realize the possible consequences, or I play the probabilities and hope for the best, it does not mean I am absolved of responsibility for myself and my screw-ups, no matter how disastrous the outcome. Sometimes, the bad things that happen to me are *my fault*.

    Drivers as well largely fail to realize the potential for disaster at the slightest screw-up behind the wheel. This is why they want helmet laws so badly–to cover up their screw-ups (not to say that drivers are always at fault in car-bike collisions!) or make them feel less anxious about inattention to their driving.

    I think people generally don\’t like having life-and-death responsibility, and so we tend to tell ourselves that we don\’t, when really we do. If we truly understood the potential for disaster our actions had, and were willing to own our responsibility, we would be very much more careful about how we conduct ourselves in traffic.

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  • Chad August 7, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I\’ve been on two wheels (motorcycle and bicycle) more in my life than I\’ve been on four but I was taken down hard by some oil on the road a few months ago just after I pulled out of New Seasons on Rosa Parks.

    I went down so hard that I bruised my hip bad enough that I couldn\’t walk for a week. My head hit the ground with enough force to break my glasses and badly bruise my face.

    I luckily had my helmet on…I won\’t speculate what condition my brain would be in had I not been wearing it.

    I was going 5 mph, just a few blocks from my house…just going to the grocery store. I had every reason to leave my helmet at home.

    I think helmet laws are stupid, but I also think that choosing not to wear a helmet because you think you \”are an experienced cyclist\” or \”are just going a few blocks\” is pretty dumb too.

    (BTW, Jonathan, right after I collected my injured self and bike from the roadway, I was limping across the crosswalk (with the light in my favor) to N Montana and I was almost hit by a woman with a green x-tra cycle going east on Rosa Parks. Just so you know Jonathan, I don\’t think she didn\’t recognize my bloodied face, but she apologized immediately regardless) ;)

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  • Oliver August 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Moo,
    I also laugh when I see the police writing tickets. It\’s quite amusing to see the sheriff\’s mobile tax collectors at large in Nottingham spreading cheer and goodwill among the citizens of the county.

    (lols esp turn to rofl\’s when tazers are involved)

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  • RonC August 7, 2008 at 10:09 am

    It seems to me there are at least three good lessons to be gleaned from this story.

    1) People riding bikes need to watch out not only for people driving cars and trucks; but also for other people walking, running, and riding bikes.

    2) People who are walking and running need to watch out not only for people driving cars and trucks; but also for other people riding bikes, walking, and running.

    3) Wearing a helmet when riding a bike is often a very good idea as it can protect from serious head injuries occurring in certain situations (and none of us can reliably predict when those situations might occur.)

    In my mind, lessons 1 and 2 are the more salient issues brought by this story, as most of us are on some part of a learning curve regarding how to make this grand share the road experiment work more effectively. I for one, have been trying to train myself to always scan for pedestrians when I see a crosswalk, whether riding a bike or driving a car. It\’s easy to get distracted out there, and that\’s usually when accidents happen.

    But I don\’t want to minimize the importance of the wearing the helmet lesson. It\’s just not a new story, and sadly one we are apt to see repeated again and again.

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  • Doido August 7, 2008 at 10:31 am

    El Biciclero said:
    “this is a large part of what is wrong with the American way of non-responsible thinking”

    That’s interesting, because I’m not from the US and I have lived in three continents and travel in many countries – and my impression is that Americans actually have this extremely responsible thinking when it comes to safety. Perhaps too responsible even.

    I hope this is not interpreted as off-topic, because I think that this is the underlining issue behind most of the debates here: the cultural approach towards risks and safety.

    I feel that in this country there’s an obsession with safety and liability. The presumption is that avoiding accidents and injury should not only be the absolute priority but also that pain, misfortune and death are an “error” in the scheme of things, that when they happen not only there’s a problem in the infrastructure/social dynamics but also that someone must be at fault and therefore be liable for it. Then you have those crazy lawsuits and the pervasive/suffocating rules and regulations and concepts like enforcing the use of helmets… there’s a particular world view at play here. The fear and the perception that the world out there and your neighborhood and traffic are so dangerous is absurd when you compare that to other cultures, where things are remarkably more dangerous but people are way less fearful and way less worried.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with this culture of safety – but it seems to me that things have gone way overboard when most people can’t even conceive that someone may have a different approach to life – that if they decide not to wear a helmet, for example, they must be a total idiot or so irresponsible that the state must come to their help and enforce safety for them.

    I think it’s cool that there is this 69yo man who is relaxed enough to not only ride his bike, but to not wear a helmet and roll a red light. Sure, accidents may happen, but that’s still way better than so many young people that I know who are so freaked out that they won\’t ride in traffic cause they think they would die if they did so…

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  • El Biciclero August 7, 2008 at 10:38 am

    RonC brings up another good point that I was thinking about just this morning on my way in. I was thinking that, when on the road, we tend to more actively look for things that will do us harm, and less actively look for things to which we could cause harm. I think this is a natural self-preservation tendency, but as RonC states, \”I for one, have been trying to train myself to always scan for pedestrians…\” (emph. mine).

    It does take training to learn to watch out for those things that are smaller and even more vulnerable than we are as cyclists, but it is a valuable skill to master. I think this is a main reason drivers \”just don\’t see\” cyclists, because they are not actively looking for things that don\’t pose a direct threat to them. That\’s why so many accident victims come \”out of nowhere\”. Where is \”nowhere\”? Anywhere we aren\’t looking!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 7, 2008 at 10:47 am

    \”we tend to more actively look for things that will do us harm, and less actively look for things to which we could cause harm.\”

    I think that\’s a very good point to bring up and I agree.

    Remember my story about being more aware of bike traffic?

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  • El Biciclero August 7, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Doido, When you say,
    \”The presumption is that avoiding accidents and injury should not only be the absolute priority but also that pain, misfortune and death are an “error” in the scheme of things, that when they happen not only there’s a problem in the infrastructure/social dynamics but also that someone must be at fault and therefore be liable for it.\”

    This is exactly what I mean by non-responsible thinking. That we (as individuals) want to blame society, faulty instructions, big tobacco, our mother, someone–anyone–else for our own lack of common sense and due attention to what we are doing. \”It\’s not my fault!\”, we cry. It is Americans\’ unwillingness to accept responsibility for their own mistakes that has brought about so many laws intended to \”protect us from ourselves\”. In a society where a burglar can sue his victims because, while breaking into their house and attempting to rob them, he tripped over a toy and broke his arm, something is wrong.

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  • KG August 7, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Just a couple of weeks ago I passed a bike/bike accident at the Waterfront. The two cyclists were laying on the grass, one was holding his head; I don\’t know how serious it was, but 911 had been called. A fire truck was arriving just as I passed.

    At one point this morning, I approached a red light with three other cyclists – and I was the only one to stop. Each of those cyclists ran the next red light, as well. There were cars stopped all around us, watching this occur.

    As bike lanes and roadways become more crowded with bikes, many of them not obeying the laws of traffic that are designed to prevent problems, we\’re going to see increasingly negative repercussions of irresponsible biking. And by irresponsible biking, yes, I mean putting the desire to save 5 seconds by blowing through a stop sign above the general good of following the same traffic laws as everyone else in our crowded and growing city.

    It\’s been mentioned in this blog that \”we\’re all traffic.\” That\’s the best phrasing I\’ve heard to describe what we need to move towards – but we sure aren\’t there yet! I know yelling out \”hey, that was a red light\” isn\’t going to do any good – what else can we do to help create a responsible bike community?

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  • Chad August 7, 2008 at 10:51 am

    @ Doido…good points throughout most of your post, but you honestly think it\’s \”cool\” that he rolled through a red light and hit a pedestrian???

    And you believe that having accidents is BETTER than young people staying off the road???

    I think I\’ll take the freaked out young people staying off the road, not having accidents, rather than sharing it with 69 year old dudes that\’ll be relaxed enough to run a red light and hit me or my kids…but that\’s just me.

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  • Russ August 7, 2008 at 10:54 am

    First, whenever I see the \”momentum\” argument, I process the person as lazy and/or weak. Which is funny, because some of the same people who make the momentum argument like to talk about how lazy and weak drivers are.

    I do a couple of recreational routes a week, and both stop right at a juice shop next to a T intersection which I like to sit at (with the same type of pole blocking line of site) and watch to see if any bikes even slow down for it. In the last month I\’ve seen one bike stop, around 1 in 5 maybe slow to under 6-7 mph, and a goodly amount of peds dodging bikes in the crosswalk.

    It happens so much at least that most of the peds seem to know to poke their heads around the pole and proceed with caution, cause the bikes ain\’t gonna stop for them even if they are seen. God forbid someone loose any momentum; they might actually burn a calorie or two.

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  • KG August 7, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Aikido training is probably more effective than helmets in preventing injury from bike/motorcycle accidents. You learn how to hit the ground without hurting yourself! It takes a couple years before it gets that ingrained though… maybe a local dojo would be interested in running a \”how to roll\” class specifically for cyclists?

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  • FuzzyGear August 7, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Don\’t really see why people make such a big deal about wearing helmets on a bike. Seems to me that it\’s a self correcting problem. People either wear helmets, have a close call that makes them want to wear a helmet, get lucky and never have anything go wrong, or end up not being able to feed themselves. As more people end up on feeding tubes the number of lucky people diminish.

    Kids ridding bikes are required by law to wear a helmet. If the law is followed then most kids growing up will not really find the helmet as offensive as many of the anti-helmet people seem to. Those that choose to not wear one will get to be part of the ever smaller group of lucky people.

    No new laws or forum flames required.

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  • the pope August 7, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Steve, sorry you didn\’t catch the humor. Icarus knew I was joking. Thanks again for all the kind words. You\’re a peach.=)

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  • Doido August 7, 2008 at 11:20 am

    El Biciclero – Gotcha. Sorry for misunderstanding you.

    Chad – I guess that did sound weird. No, I don\’t think its cool to have accidents – he shouldn\’t have hit the pedestrian. I guess my point is that is better to everyone be aware of the risks (including the pedestrians and your kids) than getting a case like this to call for actions to sistematically eliminate even the smallest risk from the top down…

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  • Myra August 7, 2008 at 11:26 am

    People who refuse to put a helmet on are like people who believe that the world is flat. They have all sorts of reasons but in the end they are just wrong.

    Helmets saves lives.

    Why would you not do all you could do to protect your life and well being?

    Sure some times it will not be enough but the same can be said with seat belts in planes.

    I have yet to fly in a plane without seat belts.

    Physics never blinks \”Work = 1/2 Mv12\”

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  • KT August 7, 2008 at 11:44 am

    El Biciclero, you have many good points.

    In your post #64, the middle paragraph makes a lot of sense; common sense and personal responsibility!

    In your post #71, you reiterate it again; and I agree, most everyone would rather blame someone else, anyone else, for something they\’ve done wrong.

    I have a theory that this is why there is so much road rage…. because when someone screws up, and gets caught by other road users, their first defense is to go on the offensive. From embarrassment, adrenaline, fight or flight… everyone\’s first instinct is rage. Fury.

    Maybe if more people took responsibility for their actions… and drove/rode/walked like the supposedly mature adults they are… well, it\’s my dream of utopia. :)

    It\’s hard to say, \”yes, I screwed up\” and take the blame for it. It\’s a mature and responsible member of society that can own up to their mistakes.

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  • Chris August 7, 2008 at 11:48 am

    OT – Steven J (#48):
    We called those Kentucky Intervals. Ride at a nice touring pace, see pack of dogs bolting from some ramshackle house, sprint! Recover and wait for the next batch of Kentucky hounds…

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  • steve August 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    My biggest complaint with the helmet advocates is that by their own logic, one could argue against cycling on shared roadways.

    Really, what is the difference?

    You must wear a helmet because it is unsafe out there, you may fall or be hit by a car. Wear a helmet!

    You must not ride on Division, Powell, Alberta, or at rush hour. It is unsafe out there, you may fall or be hit by a car! Don\’t ride your bike! It is unsafe!

    That is all I hear when confronted by a helmet harpy.

    And I wear a helmet!

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  • […] other reason I’m exhausted on the helmet thing is this (I mean the comments, not the article). Portland’s bicycle media have been fucking taken over […]

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  • Eileen August 7, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Well how about this for a reason? Today I was talking with two little kids (not my own) who were playing with little skateboarder toys and some of them had helmets and some didn\’t and one fell and I said, \”oh no, I bet that hurt. Good thing he had his helmet on.\” (we were all pretending) and the little boy said, \”no, this one doesn\’t have a helmet, that\’s just his hair\” and then they started telling me how they see people riding bikes without helmets all the time. I didn\’t say a lot because I\”m not their mom except, \”well, that can be kind of dangerous, I hope you guys wear your helmets.\” But it just made me realize once again that you all are not legally responsible to anyone, but what is your moral responsibility to everyone? I don\’t have the answer to that. For me personally, I see myself as a member of a community and I have a responsibility to my community. Part of that is being a role-model to and caring for the children among us. I think whether you have kids or not, we all share that responsibility. Every day that you go out without your helmet, little children see you and think they aren\’t really all that important.

    In anticiipation of the flaming I am about to receive, let me state for the record that I am just giving my personal view on why I always wear one, especially in front of my kids. I know not everyone agrees and I am not telling you what to do, just asking you to think about it. I know many people do not think they have any responsibility towards others and I\’m not going to try and talk you into that, but for those who do, I think it\’s a good idea to at least think about this.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Eileen,

    i have two girls (ages 3 and 5) who ride with me all the time.

    one of the main reasons I put a helmet on every time they\’re with me is for the exact reasons you cite above.

    even though I do not think we need/should have a mandatory, all-ages law, I wear one in large part because I want my kids to see me wearing it.

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  • JV August 7, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks Doido (#68) for bringing in the international perspective. I agree that it is sad that our first instinct seems to be to assign blame rather than learn from experiences and accept that the world will never be safe, sterile place. I can\’t believe how preoccupied and paranoid we have become about safety…

    That said, I think many cyclists would benefit from rapidly dismounting (crashing) more often to get a better sense of the physics and bike dynamics involved. As a mountain biker I have had to bail from a bike dozens of times, and it helps to develop an understanding that even when you think you are in control, on a route that you have ridden before, sometimes unexpected things just happen. I have had aluminum bike frames break, wheels taco, and brakes fail…all are part of the risk/adventure of moving faster than you can walk/run. Because of these lessons I almost always wear a helmet, and I have replaced 2 of them due to cracks that otherwise might have been in my skull.

    Ironically, even though I have had a greater number of unexpected high-speed dismounts while on trails rather than roads, I believe that roads are much more dangerous than trails. This is due to the sheer number of other users who have the potential to occuppy the same physical space at nearly the same time. My only serious injury on a bike was in a collision with a car…we were both at fault and not paying close enough attention. I was lucky and escaped with a broken collarbone…I was not at the time wearing a helmet.

    I don\’t belive that not wearing a helmet should be grounds for a interaction with law enforcement – in the same way that I don\’t believe that the somewhat arbitrary enforcement of mandatory seat belt laws should be grounds for a motor vehicle traffic stop. I do however expect and deserve to be stopped and fined if I commit a moving violation regardless of the vehicle. On my bicycle I do routinely stop and then proceed against red lights when there is no traffic around me. If I am so unaware of my surroundings (including what is going on behind me) that I fail to notice a marked police car, then I definitely deserve a fine. T intersections such as the one referenced can be tricky and somewhat unclear depending on the direction of travel and bike lane markings. I hope this injured person recovers fully and is able to ride again soon.

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  • wsbob August 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    The Cost of Cool:

    \”I think it’s cool that there is this 69yo man who is relaxed enough to not only ride his bike, but to not wear a helmet and roll a red light.\” Diogo #68

    I like \’cool\’. Rolling a red light, not looking for and consequently hitting a pedestrian with the bike the 69 year old guy was riding? Not so cool.

    Of course, he could have done the safe thing and stopped at the light and avoided the collision. Would doing so have been at the expense of his \’coolness\’? Maybe he did what he did because he thought that anything else would have been too great a price to pay.

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  • jacque August 8, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Myra,
    My reason for not wearing a helmet is that I\’m not all that concerned for my safety. How is that \”just wrong\”?
    \”People who refuse to put a helmet on are like people who believe that the world is flat. They have all sorts of reasons but in the end they are just wrong.\”

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  • jacque August 8, 2008 at 6:59 am

    And I\’m saying that in the sense that Doido is talking about it in his post 68, (which I thought was a brilliant interjection to this argument).
    \”I feel that in this country there’s an obsession with safety and liability. The presumption is that avoiding accidents and injury should not only be the absolute priority but also that pain, misfortune and death are an “error” in the scheme of things, that when they happen not only there’s a problem in the infrastructure/social dynamics but also that someone must be at fault and therefore be liable for it. Then you have those crazy lawsuits and the pervasive/suffocating rules and regulations and concepts like enforcing the use of helmets… there’s a particular world view at play here. The fear and the perception that the world out there and your neighborhood and traffic are so dangerous is absurd when you compare that to other cultures, where things are remarkably more dangerous but people are way less fearful and way less worried.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with this culture of safety – but it seems to me that things have gone way overboard when most people can’t even conceive that someone may have a different approach to life – that if they decide not to wear a helmet, for example, they must be a total idiot or so irresponsible that the state must come to their help and enforce safety for them.\”

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  • jacque August 8, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Jonathan, Is there any word on how this man is doing?

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  • SkidMark August 8, 2008 at 7:07 am

    I dunno Eileen, I think it\’s more important that a kid understands that not wearing a helmet is dangerous. i think it\’s also important for a kid to understand that wearing one will not magically protect him/her from all harm. Some people strap on a helmet, and think \”I\’m safe\” and then don\’t pay as much attention as they should. I think that is much more dangerous then not wearing a helmet.

    Education not legislation.

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  • jacque August 8, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Re post 26, which is mine…
    If you declared this to be a perfect example of how a helmet could save you, then you\’re saying what I said you said. If the story headline was \”man skids on patch of gravel and takes a fall\”, you\’d have a better leg to stand on.
    This article is a perfect illustration of what can go wrong when the traffic rules aren\’t followed, even when it seems perfectly safe to do so. It\’s also a great heads up that we all need to be seeing, and expecting to be seeing, people out on the road in some way other than a car. My main gripe about people blowing stops, cutting corners, going the wrong way around turnarounds, riding at night without a head light, etc. is that they are not looking for me on my bike and they do not see me on my bike. Because in fact, I do have some regard for my safety, but I\’m not willing to don protective gear to protect me from your bad behavior. Please start looking for other cyclists, and pedestrians.

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  • Forseti August 8, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Sorry Jacque, you don\’t get to tell me what I\’m saying.

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  • Metal Cowboy August 8, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I always wear a helmet (personal choice based on my experiences and understanding of gavity, etc.) and I always put helmets on my children, BUT I also have taken pains to educate them about other safety factors, proper riding techniques, rules of the road etc. and hold discussions on the limitations of helmets to protect them in various situations. In this way they do not pedal around as if in storybook forest. They know that a helmet does not create some superheroes forcefield around them. They also understand that an improperly worn helmet can be dangerous – it needs to fit snug enough on ones head so that in case of a fall it does it\’s job. I know that understand this b/c they help their friends fit and tighten helmets before rides. Oh, and Jacque – you can tell me what I\’m saying any time you want, it might be an improvement ;-)

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  • Chad August 8, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Skidmark, awesome point! My now six year old daughter said just this spring \”the cars can\’t hurt me because I have a helmet on\”…after a shriek and some catching of breath I explained things a little better and found a good opportunity to highlight (again) the things to look out for when you\’re on your bike.

    It is important to show a good example to all bicyclist regarding helmet use (and I believe this has been working if I remember 2007 data correctly as stating that helmet use continues to increase every year), but as Skidmark said above, there are a lot of kids AND adults who believe helmets are a magic shield that will protect them from everything smaller than a train.

    I think the reason there are \”helmet and safety advocates\” is because we can\’t rely on PDOT and ODOT to teach everybody what they need to know to be safe, much like how a parent cannot rely on schools to teach our children everything they need to know to survive and be successful in today\’s world.

    Good sound advice given to your child or friend is among the most valuable education one can receive.

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  • 21 speed August 8, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Helmets: good.
    Not watching where going: bad.
    Not watching where going while running red light: stoooooooopid.

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  • steve August 8, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I agree Skidmark and Chad.

    It is the difference between crippling children, and empowering them.

    I still think it would be best to let them know how dangerous cars are, instead of how safe helmets are.

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  • jack August 8, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    maybe instead of debating \’helmet safety #1\’ vs. \’cars are dangerous #1\’ we can agree that both of these topics are important pieces of safety education for new/young riders

    check out what i mean by my rephrasing of steve\’s last comment:

    i think it is important to let them know how dangerous cars are, as well as the safety benifits of wearing a helmet

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  • DD August 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I don´t think its my responsibility to be a role model to anyone.

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  • shawn August 8, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Earlier today I read this post and just now, my wife IM\’ed me to tell me that she was hit by a guy on a bike while walking home from the grocery store. Thankfully she is fine. Apparently the guy was biking like a maniac down the sidewalk on SE 52nd. He clipped her from behind and then crashed into the bushes. He\’s lucky he did not lose control and fall into the street. SE 52nd is pretty busy. The bushes broke his fall and my wife said he seemed OK. He did apologize to my wife who gave him a dressing down for biking on the sidewalk.

    As an aside, has anyone else noticed what seems like a lot of people biking on the sidewalks in Woodstock lately? It drives me crazy.

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  • steve August 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Only trouble with that jack, is that you remove the disparity between the two. By conflating the two problems, you create the perception of equality, when in fact one could posit a vast disparity in importance between the two.

    Just depends on your intentions I suppose. I notice you did not mention the safety benefits of tooth brushing, wearing kneepads, and proper bicycle maintenance. Why not?

    Perhaps because they are not as important to your agenda in that particular moment? And now we expose the true dilemma, are we attempting to allow children to perceive reality unfettered? Or forcing them to see the world through our prejudices, fears, and ideals?

    I know which path I tend to travel.

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  • jack August 8, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    paragraph one: excellent point, good material for further discussion

    paragraph two: irrelevant/aggressive/noncompassionate/condescending to others posts/thoughts/ideas/concepts

    paragraph three: aggressive/accusatory

    paragraph four: self-rightous

    sigh…i give, no need to continue talking kind to an unkind in this forum. good luck with life steve.

    ps. non-violent communication, it will make you a nicer person and open ears that you usually find shut

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  • eileen August 8, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Skidmark, I actually agree with you. I am not at all for legislation, and I agree, kids need to not only wear helmets, but wear them properly and well understand that it is not full body armor and you\’re just as screwed if your torso is impacted. That being said, just thought I\’d let you all know that kids are watching you.

    In fact, I want to say that I have just decided that an ounce more of anybody\’s energy spent on this discussion is a waste. I know people have been saying this and I just had an epiphany this evening while watching a movie that we should all be out feeding the homeless or the people in India because way more people die from hunger than anything else and (lack of a)bike helmet deaths are infinitessimal in comparison! And how many people die because they can\’t afford healthcare right here in the US?Screw bike helmets. Do what you want. Let\’s put our energy into something useful. By the way, getting more people to ride bikes is an important part of being able to feed the hungry and spread out the world\’s resources, I get that.

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