Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on September 26th, 2008 at 4:05 pm
(Photo: Carl Larson)
At around 5:00pm yesterday evening, there was a right-hook crash involving a bike and a truck at the intersection of Broadway and Williams in Northeast Portland (Map).
According to the Police Bureau’s assistant PIO Greg Pashley, a woman riding a bicycle was struck by a “short panel truck” and was transported to Emanuel Hospital. Pashley said the woman ended up underneath the truck after she was hit, but luckily, there was no serious trauma involved.
Pashley says the bicycle operator was positioned to the side and just to the right of the rear of the truck — which would have put her directly in the blind spot. The truck reportedly made a “legal right turn” (says Pashley) and the bicycle operator would never have seen the blinker (if it was on).
Also according to Pashley, the driver of the truck was not cited for any violations at the scene and it was decided to only exchange information (for insurance purposes) between both parties. Pashley says the officer accompanied the woman to the hospital so I assume he was able to hear her side of the story (I have not been able to get her name yet and ask her myself). *See update below.
(Photo: Carl Larson)
This intersection has been the subject of much thought by PDOT traffic engineers. It was identified as one of 14 dangerous intersections to receive a bike box and/or colored lane treatment, but due to the complex lane configuration and traffic flow issues, no safety improvements have been made. For more information on that, see my story, PDOT ponders fix for dangerous intersection (3/25/08).
When I first heard about this from a witness on the scene just minutes after it happened (thanks Carl L.), I expected the worst. Despite the communities best efforts to increase awareness and education about bike/truck safety, this right-hook scenario is all too common. Let this serve as a reminder to use the utmost caution when riding your bike around trucks, especially in crazy intersections like Broadway/Williams.
*UPDATE, 8:36pm: I want to make it clear that in talking with the PIO, it’s still unconfirmed what exactly took place. When I pressed the PIO on the “legal right turn” question (looking at the photo, how could it be deemed “legal”) he made it seem like we just don’t know exactly what happened yet (as if to make it seem like somehow the woman on the bike could have done something herself that would have absolved the truck driver from legal responsibility).
When I tried to follow-up with another PIO (Pashley was not in the office) in order to get the victim’s name, she couldn’t find the original call and has now left for the weekend.