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Major injury right-hook crash at 9th and Lovejoy

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 2nd, 2009 at 10:12 am

This is the northeast corner of
NW 9th and Lovejoy.
(Photos by Marion Rice)

This morning around 8:45 a woman riding her bike in the bike lane down NW Lovejoy was right-hooked as she attempted to cross NW 9th.

According to Marion Rice, who was on the scene just minutes after the collision took place, the woman was pinned under the car and dragged across the intersection. The car and the bike came to rest near the northwest corner of the intersection (in front of Subway).

Police and ambulance responded to the scene and the woman was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. An officer on the scene told Rice that the woman was conscious (but unable to speak) and has likely suffered a broken leg and pelvis, a broken jaw, and has suffered serious facial lacerations.

Story continues below

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Police on the scene also think it's clear that the woman on the bike had the right-of-way and that this was a classic right-hook situation. Rice also reports that the man driving the car (who has remained on the scene) was given a field sobriety test and has just been arrested (we assume for DUII, but we can't confirm that yet). The car is being towed.

This intersection is no stranger to
right hooks. I took this photo in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

To say this is a notorious intersection would be a major understatement. This is a very busy route for bike commuters and it has been known as a dangerous intersection for years. One reader who emailed me about this morning's crash wrote:

"I ride through this intersection every morning and it is the most dangerous part of my commute. You all should write a story on dangers of this intersection."

Back in the summer of 2006, I joined several citizen activists for a pedestrian and bicycle safety education action at this exact location (see photos here).

In November 2007, in the wake of the Brett Jarolimek and Tracey Sparling fatalities, Lovejoy and 9th and was slated to be one of 14 intersections to receive a bike box and painted bike lane, but those improvements never happened.

While she was at the scene this morning, Marion Rice happened upon a sign posted at the intersection...

Right-hooks are common at this intersection.

According to a source at the Bureau of Transportation, one of the main reasons a bike box and painted bike lane was not installed at this intersection is because the streetcar will soon run up Lovejoy and onto the Broadway Bridge. The street will a major makeover when that project happens, so PBOT doesn't want to install a bike box only to have it torn up later.

(Update: 11:30am) I spoke to city traffic engineer Rob Burchfield about this intersection. He confirmed that plans for a bike box were put on hold due to the Portland Streetcar Loop project that is expected to begin construction in September. Burchfield said that anything put in now would be torn up when the streetcar project starts and he adds that, "How we would treat bikes [at this intersection] is a major part of our part of that [Streetcar Loop project] discussion."

Thanks to everyone who emailed and called about this crash. We'll follow this story and publish updates as necessary.

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Comments
  • Meghan H March 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I hope whoever the bicyclist is in this situation that she recuperates soon. I had a close call this morning because of an inattentive driver, and it's amazing how quickly a life-changing incident can happen.

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  • Caroline March 2, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I never thought of this intersection as being that dangerous because I ALWAYS get a red light when coming down that hill. I thought the intersection was lame because of that, but I guess that's what's been saving me!

    Serious well-wishes to the lady on the bike and her family. Also, condolences to the driver, as I'm sure he's shaken up as well.

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  • Jonathan L March 2, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I hope that the bike lane is situated differently after the tracks are installed.

    It should have been a long time ago.

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  • Steve March 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I ride thru that intersection daily at about 4:30 a.m. so little if any worry about cars then, I have, however, been rear-ended by a cyclist that didn't think that the redlight applied to us. I am concerned that PDOT decided against a bike box here because of a future project...when excatically is this extension going to occur?...didn't the bridge just get resurfaced? Me thinks me smell a rat...

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  • Marion March 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Thanks Jonathan for posting this.. as far as I could tell the driver may have serious issues and in my humble opinion should not have been behind the wheel. I am sure more will come out about him.

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  • Zaphod March 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I wish her a speedy and complete recovery. I really hope that the DUI assumption is false. Or if it's true, that DUI at 8:45am is a rare event.

    As I read of this accident, it truly makes me want to start a coalition to DEMAND cyclists have extremely safe, perhaps car free, routes. I practice vehicular cycling all the time and it works but it would surely be nice if there were a network of bicycle-only or local traffic only routes.

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  • dersins March 2, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Looks like a WA state license plate on the car in the photo. Hmmm....

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  • Burk March 2, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I rode past the aftermath of the accident this morning, pretty horrifying to see a bike wedged under a car like that. Hoping that the injured rider makes a quick & complete recovery.

    That intersection is a disaster, between the monster Semi's cutting across the entire road to make the turn into the Post Office and oblivious drivers right hooking cyclists I think they need to do some kind of short term fix until the streetcar project starts.

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  • Bjorn March 2, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I read an article earlier this year that had some pretty scary statistics about morning DUII. People aren't necessarily drinking at 8:00 am. It is more that your body metabolizes alcohol slowly when you are asleep and if you are really drunk when the bar closes you may not be sober when you wake up.

    Bjorn

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  • carlos March 2, 2009 at 10:58 am

    This intersection is difficult for multiple reasons. Many cars for whatever reason do not yield when making a right turn. Cars make this right turn and I have to yield to them on average once or twice a week. Secondly, pedestrians are crossing this intersection regularly as well. So, not only am I looking for cars making right turns, I'm also trying to guess if the person at the corner is going to dart in front of me as I'm making my turn. Lastly, this intersection is at the bottom of a fairly steep decline. Couple this with the fact that there is still a lot of gravel from when we had all that snow, and you get a very dangerous terrain. Something needs to be done, whether the city puts up signs or a bike box or both. Something has to be done.

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  • Marion March 2, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Yes, Bjorn and the smells emanating from the driver were awful.. I smelled a combination of pee, alcohol and stale cigarettes. I am sorry to say, there seemed to be some pretty serious hygiene issues as well. It was all very sad that this person was behind the wheel and a woman was seriously injured. Based on my observation.. it was a time bomb waiting to go off and it did.

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  • Spencer Boomhower March 2, 2009 at 11:04 am

    That's horrible. My heart goes out to that woman, and I hope she recovers quickly.

    A collision is one thing, but that aspect of someone being dragged along takes it to the next level. Like in that story of the kid in Vancouver dragged under the SUV. A momentary lapse of attention can happen, but to be so oblivious that you don't notice you've got a live person pinned to your bumper, and you're scraping them along the pavement is criminal. It should have serious repercussions.

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  • Bob_M March 2, 2009 at 11:10 am

    What a horror! My thoughts are for a speedy recovery for the victum and justice for the driver. (in that order)

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  • Lance P. March 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I'm so upset right now. I live 1 block from their and ride this intersection everyday. That intersection is bad from both directions. There isn't even a bike lane their going east!

    I think anyone drinking that hits a cyclist should have a minimum prison sentence. Why is it that if you take a hammer and hit someone you can get attempted murder but you take an large metal vehicle hit someone it is just a slap on the wrist.

    Just appalling.

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  • Marion March 2, 2009 at 11:23 am

    My thoughts are with that bicyclist.. I am so worried about her. But I am also angry, that's why I said my observations about the driver. I don't mean to make this worse.. but I am so shaken by this, I bike my daughter to school.. I want people to have good sound judgement behind the wheel or on a bike to keep us ALL safe on the roads. This is NOT us and them, we are ALL in this TOGETHER. This driver was just a mess.. and I seriously don't think it was because he was in shock about what happened, although he has to feel some horror about the whole thing.

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  • Meghan H March 2, 2009 at 11:24 am

    You'd be surprised about how many early AM drunk drivers there are...I seem to remember a SE 21st & Clinton stop-sign-sting a few years ago that netted at least one (and maybe two) drunk car drivers, all before 9 am.

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  • Peejay March 2, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Washington plates? Goes to show that our city can have the most educated road users possible, and we're still not safe. Kinda makes you want to reconsider the 12 lane option, doesn't it, Sam?

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  • dat March 2, 2009 at 11:42 am

    It needs a bike box...

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  • Tall Mike March 2, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I use this intersection alot and this is a situation where you must leave the bike lane. You must take the lane here in order to avoid this type of right hook accident. Cars fly (and so do bikes) down this hill after the bridge inviting trouble. On Burnside Bridge, heading west, similar situation - but the bike lane ends and you end up in the main traffic lane - which in my opinion is safer than some narrow bike lane that invites right hook accidents.

    Bike lanes have there place, but I would reguarly leave them in order to avoid this right hook scenario. Bike lanes leave you in the pathway of open doors and right hooks - take the main traffic lane when there is even a potentail for these types of accidents.

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  • patrick March 2, 2009 at 11:55 am

    how awful. I hope the cyclist recovers well and quickly.

    I tend to take the lane when descending toward this intersection.... I guess I'll continue to do so.

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  • Adam March 2, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I absolutely agree with Mike. Bike lanes have their place but you also have the right to take the lane to avoid danger. In condensed areas like this I see it as a scenario where using the bike lane can be a false sense of security. Take the lane. My thoughts go out to the cyclist, I hope you have a speedy recovery!

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  • frank March 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    dat,

    A bike box would not make any difference in this situation.

    I'm disappointed that Portland has designed their bike lanes this way.

    IT goes against AASHTO standards because they are deadly and have already caused great harm to too many people.

    I'm disappointed that the City of Portland keeps going around the problem by installing bike boxes which make no difference when the light is green.

    Finally I'm disappointed in the powers that be for thinking that bicyclists are too stupid to learn how to signal, scan and take the lane at an intersection.

    Here is a news flash. The bicyclists should never, ever by to the right side of a right turning car....ever. Yet, every bicycle lane in Portland does just that.

    More people will be injured and killed because of this failed policy.

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  • Anonymous March 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    A driver's perspective:

    My observations do not really apply to this exact accident, because it appears that the driver was impaired, but nonetheless I have always found this to be a dangerous intersection.

    I drive this way every morning on my way to work, and it's scary. For me, the problem is all about timing and visibility. I drive a small, compact car. Because this intersection is at the bottom of a hill, and because that hill curves, and because there are generally large trucks behind me, I can't really see more then about 10-15' behind me before visibility is cut off.

    I pay very close attention to when I pass cyclists so I know when to expect them. However, I can't help but shake the feeling that if the timing was just wrong, my visibility is limited enough that if I'm moving slowly turning the corner, I could have a collision with a fast moving cyclist that i was unable to see.

    Anyway, I don't know if my description explains the problem I see well enough, but maybe you can see what I'm saying. A bike box wouldn't help at all - its when the light is green that there is generally a problem, not when it's red.

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  • Anonymous March 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    And also, I agree completely with frank in 22 when he says

    "Here is a news flash. The bicyclists should never, ever by to the right side of a right turning car....ever. Yet, every bicycle lane in Portland does just that."

    Visibility simply isn't good enough. Especially when it is dark, raining, and I have some huge suv or truck with REALLY bright lights drowning out any of the cycling lights.

    Combine that with when I'm somehow supposed to be looking in front of me and behind me at the same time - it doesn't make any sense.

    I am careful - I look for everyone, car, cyclist or pedestrian. I follow all of the rules. I have excellent vision and fantastic reaction time. But I feel like I am also put in a position alot of the time where visibility is so bad that someone could really end up getting hurt.

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  • borgbike March 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Deep sympathies to this bicyclist.

    Again ditto what others stated, when ever reasonable, I try to "take the lane" here. If I'm stuck in the bike lane it's good to be extremely paranoid of the drivers not signaling etc., though in this case I get the sense that the driver was so out of it that there might not have been much to prevent this.

    I am thankful that I have a very loud front brake right now. It's way louder than any bike bell. I use it here a lot coming down from the bridge on Lovejoy. Short purcusive bursts of "SCREETCH! SCREETCH! SCREETCH!" gets everyone's attention. ;-)

    One other comment while we are on the topic of Lovejoy: It's really strange to me that so much money was spent on traffic/street redevelopment here but yet the lights are still unsyncronized. Some mornings I go from one red light to the next. Perhaps the city is waiting for the new street car line to go in to make this upgrade? As it stands now, this section of Lovejoy is a pollution-creating, time-and-gas wasting length of city street.

    On the whole though, I am very happy to have the Lovejoy and 13th Ave bike lanes. These two corridors make my commute up to the PSU area a lot safer and less hectic than going up Broadway.

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  • j.v March 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I saw the aftermath of this accident this morning at around 9:05 and had that sick feeling in my stomach. I always take the lane and turn left at that intersection, but I have seen numerous close calls. It is especially dangerous as it is downhill, and it is possible for a cyclist to be traveling in the bike lane much faster than car traffic. Especially if car traffic is slow, a driver might not expect a bike coming fast on the right. I have experienced this as a driver as well at that intersection, but am vigilant in checking my mirrors. I don’t think a bike box is enough – that intersection should have “no right turn” marked on it. And I fear even more once the streetcar goes up there…

    On a related note - I think there are a lot of drivers out there who have no business operating a motor vehicle. I have a personal issue too. My brother was right hooked (as a pedestrian crossing a crosswalk) last Monday in the Seattle area by a woman who traveled for at least another 25 feet with him on the hood of her car before she stopped. She appeared to be under the influence of medication, had two kids in the back seat, and was so large she barely fit in the front seat. Luckily my brother is ok other than a broken leg, but clearly she was in no state to be driving. I think there should be more stringent licensing that includes reaction time tests and physical heath requirements as well as the basic traffic laws.

    This is a tragedy, and I fear that the driver might be uninsured if there are so many other personal/substance issues going on.

    Stay safe out there folks.

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  • a.O March 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    This tragedy illustrates a key reform needed in Oregon law. ORS 814.420(3)(c) allows bicycle riders to leave a bike lane "for the purpose of ... [a]voiding debris or other hazardous conditions."

    Does this allow you to take the lane before an intersection for the purpose of avoiding a right-hook? Perhaps, but it is not clear.

    Clarifying this rule is far more important for bicyclists' safety than being able to legally treat a stop sign as a yield sign. As such, it deserves a higher priority from BTA and others.

    The fix should be simple. The law needs to provide a separate exception allowing that a "bicyclist may leave a bicycle lane at a reasonably safe distance before any intersection where the bicyclist will travel straight through the intersection and motor vehicle traffic in the lane adjacent to the bicycle lane to the left may legally turn right."

    Independent of this, frank (#22) is exactly right: Traffic engineers at PBOD, ODOT, and elsewhere ought to know better than to design bike lanes this way.

    There is no reason that a bike lane has to continue through an intersection to the right of lanes from which motor vehicles can turn right.

    The bike lanes should end before such intersections and include markings indicating that bicyclists should merge with other traffic.

    Seriously, these people know that this design contributes to one of the most common and deadliest types of collisions involving bicyclists. Why the hell don't they stop this deadly engineering? Is it going to take a lawsuit to get their attention?

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  • Steven J March 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Take the damn lane folks...take... the... lane

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  • dat March 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Frank, Post 22

    Interesting points.

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  • Stig March 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Drivers simply are not in the habit of checking right before making a right-turn in the right lane. Simple enough problem, but are bike boxes the answer?

    If bike boxes are so expensive to deploy that the city can only implement a handful for the entire city, they're not a viable solution. How many intersections do you ride through? How many times have you nearly been right-hooked?

    Intersections often have extra signage with additional rules - 'do not turn right' or 'left turn yield to oncoming traffic' etc. Why don't we have a standard sign for intersections with bike lanes warning drivers to yield to cyclists when making right turns? Produce a few hundred of them and place them all over the city where you have bike lanes up to the intersection. This will increase driver awareness of the need to check right and yield.

    One other improvement I would like to see would be to add small ridges/bumps along the bike lane stipes so that drivers who stray into the bike lane will hear and feel it. Britain does this with their highways/motorways and I'm sure helps to keep dozy and cell phone using drivers in their lane.

    Bike boxes cannot be the only solution so long as we lack an unlimited budget. If this particular intersection doesn't merit a bike box, it needs some other mitigating factor before someone else gets seriously hurt or killed.

    How many other intersections are like this? Hundreds? We need a better solution.

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  • Jim Labbe March 2, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Yikes. This is along my commute. I had a narrow brush with a motorist this morning while taking the space I needed in the lane to cross the MAX tracks under I-405.

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  • Anonymous March 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    AO -

    As a motorist, I completely agree wtith you when you say the bike lanes should end and traffic should merge.

    What really gets me is this: There is no circumstance where a car would ever have to turn right in front of a lane of cars. So why, WHY would someone think it is a good idea to have a situation where a car would turn right in front of cyclists, who are more vulnerable AND harder to see? It makes ZERO sense.

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  • Marco Pantani March 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Frank, Post 22 is right in my opinion. I have been a cyclist in Portland for over 30 years(before bike lanes) and I naturally aviod being in the bike lane in these types of(very common) situations that PDOT has created. The fact that we were named a Platinum Cycling city is a disgrace...what a fricken joke! It gives new cyclist false sense of security. There are many intersextions like this in Portland(like on Broadway heading West near Wiliams, over I-5- try riding through there during rush hour).

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  • carlos March 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    "Steven J
    Take the damn lane folks...take... the... lane"
    This issue is more than your making it out to be. Many cyclists don't have the confidence to get in the middle of a lane and hold up traffic. We all see it everyday, a person probably new to commuting who's a little bit nervous in what they are doing. If we are truly sincere about making this city more bike friendly and want people to get out of their cars and onto bikes, we're going to see a lot more of this. You can't expect everyone to know the right thing to do in this situation. Especially when PDOT has given them a lane that they assume is safe. many of us know this is not a safe lane to ride in but that doesn't mean the novice rider is going to know.

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  • colin March 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Speedy recovery to the lady. I bike commute every morning through downtown and have to deal with a lot of dangerous elements. I ride defensively. I always assume a car is going to turn even if their blinkers are not on. I fear the right hook every day and so I always try to put my bike in front or behind a car when approaching a turn.

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  • beth h March 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Steven J --

    Novice riders, along with the very young and the elderly, CANNOT take the lane and should not be forced to, especially in high-density auto traffic. If the streets belong to all bicyclists then we need to work on making them safer for all bicyclists, and not just the ones who can "keep up" with cars.

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  • Burk March 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Carlos and Frank are right on the money.

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  • Whyat March 2, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    This sucks. Getting right hooked is one of my biggest fears while riding. All I can say from a personal standpoint is that I make an effort to make eye contact with any driver that may be crossing my path. If I am traveling straight through a right turn lane I make sure any driver on the left of me has seen me or I don't travel through the intersection. At least I try to do this. It's easier said than done, but it has saved me several times from being right hooked. It saved me this morning riding by the post office on SE 7th. Hope the biker recovers and rides again.

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  • GG March 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I almost never go straight thru this intersection - on purpose. Going west, I make a right at 9th and jog over to Northrup. Going east, I ride Johnson all the way down to 9th and access the hill by making a right off of 9th. Even tho I live directly on Lovejoy I never ride on it. I frequently go out of my way to avoid poorly designed dangerous intersections like this one. I'm amazed at all the bike traffic on Lovejoy in general, especially going downhill squeezed next to the streetcar tracks. It's madness.

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  • 007 March 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Bike Boxes don't make any difference. Almost everyday, including this morning, I am cut off at one (SW Broadway).

    When will people learn to yield to the bike lane? It's as simple as that.

    You'll have cars drive along next to you and pass each other back and forth for several blocks downtown and they'll still turn in front of you.

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  • Tall Mike March 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Carlos - 34

    The intention of my post (#19) and others is to stress and inform that we as cyclists need to be aware of dangers and tell the cyclist who are not so confident how to improve their cycling abilities. You CANNOT relie on cars, traffic lanes, signs or signals to protect you. We need to get the word out. Taking the lane is a safe and legal thing to do. Too many cyclists stay in bike lanes. Bike lanes do not provide a safe path for cyclist at all times. I hope a few less confident cyclists read these post and learn how to avoid right hooks. Bike boxes don't work when the light is green. Taking the lane almost always works. Have you ever heard of a car rear ending a bike when the bike took the lane? It doesn't happen that much. Wait in line like a car - sneaking up on the right side of car near an intersecction is asking for trouble. It is legal to pass a car on the right, but it can be dangerous.

    I don't put blame on any one thing for this type of unfortunate accident. I think we all hope the cyclist recovers quickly and returns to the way of the bike.

    Ride safe and don't put yourself in a dangerous situation just because you have the "right of way" or might save a few seconds or calories on your ride.

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  • Krampus March 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Jeez, one moron drunk driver hits a cyclist and suddenly everyone is decrying the city of Portland how disgraceful our Platinum status is. Relax.. accidents (or drunken morons) happen, and while I'm hopeful the cyclist makes a full recovery and the driver is penalized to the fullest extent of the law, I'm not about to curse this city because it hasn't catered to every demand I have of it. Come on folks.

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  • Stu March 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I saw the end of the accident, when the car went up the curb with the cyclist underneath. It didn't look like a right-hook accident; judging from where the car went up curb in the intersection, it looked more like he fell asleep at wheel and just drifted to the right.

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  • BURR March 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    "Traffic engineers at PBOD, ODOT, and elsewhere ought to know better than to design bike lanes this way.

    There is no reason that a bike lane has to continue through an intersection to the right of lanes from which motor vehicles can turn right."

    Hear, hear!

    Can someone please smack Rob Burchfield, Mark Lear, Grag Raisman and others at PDOT who continue to allow and worse yet recommend this bike lane design upside the head repeatedly until they finally get it?!?!?!?

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  • Mike March 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I wish the cyclist a speedy recovery and hope she has no permanent damage. That is an awful intersection.

    I got right-hooked in October cycling in the bike lane going West on NE Broadway a couple hundred yards before the bridge. The driver said he saw me, but didn't realize how fast I was going since we were both going down a steep hill.

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  • BURR March 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    JOnathan- Feel free to remove duplicate posts above, I'm not sure what was going on, but I was having trouble posting and was not getting the usual 'duplicate post' messages.

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  • carlos March 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Tall Mike
    Informed cyclists and motorists are key.But we can't underestimate the usefulness of caution signs and well planned bike lanes. Like you say we can't put blame on any one thing (except maybe drunk motorists), but we also can't expect any one thing to fix this problem.

    My thoughts and best wishes go out to this cyclist. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

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  • KWW March 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    So how much did PDOT save, and how much will this woman's medical bills be?

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  • frank March 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Mia Burke, who is nearly worshipped in Portland, will tell you that bicyclists cannot learn how to signal, scan and take the lane.

    I've had this conversation with her and she became instantly angry. She also could not tell me how a bike box works when the light is green.

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  • Jaime March 2, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I live right on the corner of this intersection and was woken up this morning to car horns and a woman screaming loudly. I ran onto my balcony to see what happened, and it appeared as if the victim was seriously injured. She didn't seem to be moving at all. A firetruck and police came immediately onto the scene. I hope the woman recovers and is OK.

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  • BURR March 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    @ beth h #36: taking the lane does not require that you be able to "keep up with cars", nor are right hook bike lanes an acceptable alternative to properly designed bike lanes that do not put cyclists in a right hook situation.

    Ironically, it's exactly the same novice cyclists who you say these bike lanes are designed for who will fail to recognize or take action to avoid the danger they are in when using these substandard bike lanes.

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  • Kris March 2, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    frank #49:

    The bike box itself might not have much of a function when the light is green, but the green paint leading up to and through the intersection still serves as a visual reminder for right-turning cars to watch for cyclists. That's why I think Portland's bike box design is superior to the no-color designs used in most European cities.

    That said, I think a bike box (with or without green-colored lane) has its limitations when applied at the bottom of a steep downhill. These type of intersections are dangerous because right-turning drivers don't expect cyclists to approach that fast and cyclists get a false sense of safety while they're coasting downhill in their "protected" bike lane. For these types of intersections, I would vote for either sacrificing the bike lane or - as suggested by j.v (#26) - a "no right turn" sign, similar to what was done at the Greeley/Interstate intersection where Brett Jarolimek was killed in a right-hook crash.

    My choice

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  • r March 2, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I never use the bike lane here, and a bike box would not help. Take the lane. Similarly if you make the other choice and head down Broadway. These striped bike lanes are doing no one any favors. Ignore them. Get into the travel lane. As the Yoda says: you cannot get right hooked if there is no one to your left.

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  • Opus the Poet March 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Bike lanes belong on the centerline, not the shoulders. Priorities are seriously misplaced when bike lanes are placed next to the curb. Vulnerable users should be where they can be easily seen, in the middle of the road.

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  • r March 2, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    also, I disagree with the argument that a novice cannot be expected to take the lane here. this is a steep downhill, leading to a stoplight. you will have no difficulty keeping up with the cars, and if there is a motorist who thinks you are going too slow, (a) the motorist is wrong and should slow down, and (b) there is another lane the motorist could use to overtake. the one time I tried using the striped lane on this hill, I felt crowded into a dangerously small space by the cars alongside. incidentally, for the novice who really cannot stomach taking the lane, there is a perfectly safe alternative here: stay on the sidewalk coming down the hill, and then cross as a pedestrian at the bottom. you will be protected by a jersey barrier the whole way down.

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  • Steve March 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    The MBL law in Oregon needs to be revised. One should be able to leave the bike if they're going the normal speed of traffic or if they can be right hooked.

    From CA VC:

    21208. (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:

    (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

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  • Steve March 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Doh. I meant leave the bikeLANE. Leaving the bike might be painful. :)

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  • Rixtir March 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    People are assuming that cyclists get right-hooked because they are approaching from behind, and the driver either can't see them, or misjudges their speed.

    While that is sometimes the case, it is also sometimes the case that a driver will race just past the cyclist and turn, or even pull even with the cyclist and turn. In both of those instances, the problem isn't poor visibility, or the cyclist's deceptive speed, it's a driver who doesn't have the intelligence requisite to safely operating a motor vehicle.

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  • dr2chase March 2, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I don't live in Portland, I don't know the design of the lane, but rather than trying to innovate, why aren't we simply copying standards from Europe? My understanding is that their system is much safer than ours.

    As to "leave the bike lane and take the car lane, that is safer" -- if that is true (sounds like it is), then the bike lane design is badly busted. Telling novices to take the lane is an inadequate stop-gap; they are intimidated, "surely the lane is the safe place to be", etc. Yes, they will be safer leaving the busted bike lanes, but it is unreasonable to expect many people to do it. Think of how it makes the novice feel -- "sure, there are these bike lanes, but actually you need to know secret rules to be safe".

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  • beth h March 2, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Opus (#54):

    Bike lanes in the middle of the road seem even scarier than a bike lane on the right hand side. Questions:

    1. How to undo DECADES of bicycle education that teaches people to stay to the right? We've been learning this lesson so long it's ingrained in generations of bicyclists, car drivers, AND law enforcement.

    2. Do you envision any sort of physical divider or barrier to protect the bicyclist in a middle-of-the-road bike path?

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  • r March 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    re comment 58. if you assert the traffic lane, a motorist who wants to overtake and then cut right will have an entirely different project to execute than if you are hugging the edge in the striped lane. I am not "assuming" anything.

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  • Rixtir March 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I didn't realize I was referring to you.

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  • BURR March 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    The bike lanes we are building today suffer from the same design flaws that bike lanes have suffered from for at least the last four decades: no matter what the engineers and the 'bicycle advocates' tell you, they are not designed for the safety of the cyclists using them, they are designed for the convenience of the motorists who dislike being delayed by cyclists. It's the same attitude that allows motorists to do the things rixtir describes in post 58 above.

    MOTORIST REEDUCATION is the answer, not more substandard bike lanes or cycle tracks, which are just repackaged side paths, another flawed and discredited design from the 70s.

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  • Paulo March 2, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    This is brilliant. Not sure about the legalities, but a neat concept: http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/03/02/diy-bike-route/

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  • Lisa March 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I was riding right behind the woman who was hit this morning, I sat with her and stabilized her neck until the paramedics arrived. She was in a lot of pain but was aware and didn't lose consciousness. If anyone hears how she is doing, I would really like to know.

    I think the conversation about this intersection is a good one to have- I too worry about that intersection- but I want to say that it isn't relevant to this accident. This was about the guy who was driving that car. End of pathetic, horrible story.

    I'm trying to be careful here even though I witnessed it- but I wouldn't necessarily call this a right-hook accident either. I feel that it is very possible that this was an "about to plow right in to the Subway restaurant without even braking if the cyclist hadn't been there accident". And yes, he reeked of urine and alcohol and no, he didn't even seem to be aware of what he just did. But I do hope he remembers it.

    Pieces of her helmet came apart in my lap. Please wear your helmets and please be mindful everyone- biking and driving.

    I'm thinking good thoughts for her.

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  • bobcycle March 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    just watched the news... no mention of accident... however big presentation on 5th avenue changes... cars are prohibited from turning right, i assume because this would be dangerous. Cars are not allowed to turn right because there is a MAX "lane" to the right and even if the law were to say yield to MAX before turning right, cars would not look... sounds similar to cars being allowed to turn right through a bike lane.. but in Platinum city USA bikers don't have the clout that MAX does. So bike carefully and EXTREMELY defensively.

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  • Tim March 2, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I go through that intersection several times a week, and have been right behind a rider who was hooked in this very intersection. Always take the lane at this intersection!

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  • Alicia Crain March 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Regardless of bicycle lane design, presence or absence of a bike box or a bike lane, or any exercising of extreme caution on the part of the cyclist, the fact remains that drivers simply do not yield the right of way to cyclists.

    While this situation seems complicated by the apparent impairment on the part of the driver, similar incidents happen to me on a daily basis. In fact, just this morning a mini-van sped by me on N. Vancouver just north of Killingsworth, only to stop - in the bike lane - at the red light at Killingsworth, in preparation for a right turn.

    Now, I was only at 4 or 5 of the Share the Road Safety Classes as a volunteer, but I'm pretty sure Judge Larson said 10 or 20 times that drivers should think of bike lanes as they do train tracks - you wouldn't cross a train track without slowing down or even stopping to make sure a train is not coming, would you? Doubtful. If bicyclists were thought of as trains, maybe drivers would change their behavior and just use the brakes and WAIT 30 seconds for that biker YOU JUST PASSED to go by you, safely.

    Remember, in hurrying to make a turn in front of a bicyclist, a driver could very well end up killing or maiming their neighbor: you just never know who is on the bike or behind the wheel.

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  • Opus the Poet March 2, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Placing bike lanes in the center of the roads places bicycles at the top of the road hierarchy, but does require some re-orienting of perceptions and prejudice. For those that cower in the gutter or on the sidewalk it will be terrifying at first to actually take the center stage. But after a few miles of riding in the center of the street with protected bike lanes even the most timid cyclist will feel like a rock star or like they are on the red carpet at the Oscars. There will still be a slight risk of left crosses, but placing cyclists in the center will require drivers to look across the bike lane to check oncoming traffic, reducing the likelihood of missing oncoming cyclists. When you stop and think about it placing protected bicycle lanes in the center of the street makes much more sense than hiding them in the gutters. They can use curbs with cutouts for drainage and to allow cyclists access to businesses and attractions on the side of the road to protect bike lanes from motor vehicles and plastic stanchions to make the bike lane and the curb cuts more visible to both riders and motor vehicles.

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  • beth h March 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Opus -- what you suggest (#69) would indeed require a shifting of perceptions and prejudices, both long ingrained in American drivers who are used to going their way and getting their way on freeways AND on city streets; and doing both at higher rates of speed than drivers in most European city centers travel.

    I understand your explanation, but I have little faith in the ability of American drivers to change their perceptions and prejudices in a generation or less -- even if required by dint of law or redesign (witness the inconsistent effectiveness of the green boxes as one example).

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  • jim March 2, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I drive a truck around that corner dailey. I saw that bike this morning under that car and it was just sad. I really have to take my time and look really good before I take that right. I don't think a bike box is the ultimate answer as the vehicle is still going to turn at some time and may still take out a bike. there should be some way to re-engineer that turn though so bicyclists won't be put in harms way. This is still a relatively new intersection that is used for any trucks that cross the river and need to get to front ave.. Maybe a dedicated right turn lane would work? But then where do the bikes go? It seems like this intersection is just designed for crashes. At least they could put up some reminder signs for drivers to check on their right side for bikes when turning as the odds of this happening again are there

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  • John Lascurettes March 2, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    @bobcycle:

    I also noted the news did not cover the accident today, but did cover the mall "no right turns" issue. And as someone that does three blocks of the mall on my way home, it's been pretty amazing to watch the general cluelessness of the cars on the mall.

    I expect to see some cars still right hooking a train when they first go in (and losing). Same thing happened in San Jose, CA in the early nineties. Drivers learned pretty quick.

    I hope the bike rider makes a speedy recovery. Damn same.

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  • John Lascurettes March 2, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Ugh. Sorry for the typo. That's "damn shame" not "damn same."

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  • Fergus March 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

    According to Marion Rice, who was on the scene just minutes after the collision took place, the woman was pinned under the car and drug across the intersection.

    My sympathies go out to the woman.

    It is a dangerous intersection.

    Also:

    She was not drug across the intersection.
    She was dragged.

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  • Kt March 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Alicia, #68, thanks for making sweeping generalizations. All drivers are not the same. Until you have actually witnessed ALL DRIVERS exhibiting the behavior you have described, you should come up with different phrasing.

    For instance, how would you feel if I said, "All bicyclists blow through stop signs and red lights without stopping, looking, or even slowing"?

    Thanks for stereotyping.

    On topic: I really hope the woman recovers quickly!!

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  • Vance March 3, 2009 at 10:29 am

    "Taking the lane", is illegal. If there is a bike-lane you have to use it, per ORS. Oregon law requires cyclists to ride as far right/left of a lane as is practicable. There is an exemption provision for detritus on the road surface, but not for randomly deciding you'd like to ride where ever you want.

    Blocking roads for motorists is rude, divisive, illegal, and wholeheartedly ill-advised. It is impossible to block any motorist while operating a bicycle anyway. Just exactly what are you, "blocking"? Illegal use of a lane as advice? Ya, that's helping. The problem lies with bike-lanes in general, but specifically the asinine policy of forcing forward traveling cyclists by the right-side of right-turning vehicles. This last because it can set up a cyclist for a right-hook. Oh, wait...

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  • John Lascurettes March 3, 2009 at 10:47 am

    @Vance

    Check the law again Vance. The bike lane must be used except when necessary to safely: turn, pass, or avoid debris or a hazard. "Hazard" is undefined in the statute. If the hazard is a dangerous situation, so be it.

    Also, it is not illegal for a bike to take the lane and "block" the road. A bike must ride to the right as much as practical and safe or use the bike lane if there is one – unless as stated above, doing so would create a hazardous condition (in which case the safest thing to do is take the lane legally.

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  • a.O March 3, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Vance (# 76), you are wrong. There are several situations when Oregon bicyclists are not required to use a bike lane. They are found in ORS 814.420(3).

    You will note that (c) allows bicycle riders to leave a bike lane "for the purpose of ... [a]voiding debris or other hazardous conditions." So the exception is not, as you stated, limited to avoiding "detritus."

    Given that the right-hook is one of the most hazardous conditions a bicyclist can face -- a hazard that is needlessly inherent in the design of many bike lanes -- arguably Oregon law allows taking the lane to avoid the right hook. I know I'm personally certain that I'd rather risk fighting over a citation from an overzealous cop than exposing myself to this hazard.

    ORS 814.420(3): A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

    (a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.

    (b) Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.

    (d) Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized.

    (e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.

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  • Aaron March 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    How about a speed hump, rumble strips or some textured pavement to slow down drivers as they approach this intersection?

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  • El Biciclero March 3, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    We need a simple change of concept:

    "bike lane" -> "bike refuge lane"

    or something similar. Cyclists should be able to retreat to the bike lane as a "slow-moving vehicle lane" when necessary--or travel in it if desired, but should not be legally bound to ride in it under questionable circumstances. Sure, there are all kinds of exceptions to the Mandatory Use law, but as has been pointed out, some of those are open to interpretation. The biggest "open-to-interpretation" exception I deal with is "preparing to make a left turn". I like to prepare early at some points on my commute, which means I am out of the bike lane for a few blocks ahead of my turn. That is because I have several lanes to cross and prefer to time my lane change to be between "waves" of autos. I travel at the speed of traffic and don't hold up anybody, yet I am riding illegally under some interpretations of the law.

    From descriptions of the driver presented here, it almost seems like taking the lane in front of this guy would have turned a right hook into a rear end. Best wishes for the cyclist involved and prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.

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  • Asha March 3, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Hello, I am the woman who was the victim of this insane accident.

    First of all, thank you all for your kind remarks and wishes of fast recovery, I really appreciate it. I am miraculously fine. I spent last night at the hospital but I am now at home with no broken bones, just a broken tooth, some stitches on my lip, and a scraped up face and leg, which I can't put too much weight on. I believe my helmet saved my life. It was an insane and traumatic experience but it could have been so much worse.

    It is interesting to hear about the driver, I had no idea what was up with him but I could not for the life of me figure out why he would not have stopped when he hit me, why he continued to drive on top of me. His condition makes this a lot clearer for me. I just pray that he has insurance and that I don't have to deal financially with the mistakes of some idiot drunk.

    Lisa: Thank you so much for being there and holding my head steady, I felt so well protected and taken care of as soon as the accident happened. I really appreciate your love for a perfect stranger.

    I want to mention that I go to PNCA, which is the community that Brett and Tracey were a part of when they had their bike accidents last year. Thank god I am still here to tell my story.

    Thank you everyone else for your support. Please, please where your helmet, it will save your life.

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  • jim March 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Aaron #79
    Speed bumps arn't going to make any difference. Cars that are completely stopped are going to right hook too. They are watching many things going on in front of them waiting for the moment when they can go and they are completely unaware that a cyclist has just zoomed up next to them from the rear. Do you know that right side mirrors are still an option and many drivers are at a dissadvantage without them.
    Don't get me wrong- I'm not making excuses for anybody. What that driver did was wrong and they deserverve to be punished. I am just opening the discusion to a different POV

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  • Marion March 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Does anyone know who the victim was and how she is doing?
    Please let us know.
    Thanks

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  • April March 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Marion! She posted two comments above you. :^)

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  • jim March 3, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Asha-
    I am relieved to hear that you are going to be ok. Hope to see you on the road soon

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  • John Lascurettes March 4, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Asha, so very happy that you are doing so well.

    My helmet surely saved me a hospital trip about a year ago. Totally validated the attitude to never ride without one.

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  • Darshan March 4, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Hi. I'm Asha's partner. I bought her the bike in that photograph two years ago, but for over a year she never rode it because she was intimidated by the busy Portland roads.

    Last summer, I finally convinced her that she could manage it. After many small trips to Laurelhurst Park together, she gained enough confidence to start biking to school (PNCA, as she mentioned above) and give up her bus pass. I taught her everything I knew about biking safely (I've been biking around Portland for two years now -- I got both of our bikes at the same time), and especially to be really, really careful when going through an intersection, because some drivers don't signal, and some drivers don't see you even when you think they do.

    She always tells me about her close calls, and I know she's really careful in these situations. I feel like an idiot because it never occurred to me that these scary situations (I didn't even know the term "right-hook"...) could be avoided by "taking the lane" at intersections like this. I read the little pamphlet on biking in Portland that I got when I bought the bikes, and I even attended the safety class that that awesome cyclist-judge puts on. But this is a new idea to me, and it seems obvious in retrospect.

    I know Asha and I must not be the only ones who never thought of this. So while this situation seems to be a matter of a drunk driver, let's get the word out to other bicyclists about this method of improving our safety.

    Anyway, as Asha mentioned, she was discharged from the hospital this afternoon with no broken bones, and she's now sleeping peacefully in our bed. She still has a lot of nasty wounds to heal, but it's a relief to have her home in one piece. It's been a really intense couple of days, and I think we're going to be processing it emotionally for a while, but it helps to have so many people wishing us well. Thank you.

    Also: does anyone know what happened to her bike? From the photo, it looks like it might actually be salvageable...

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  • Ted Buehler March 4, 2009 at 1:18 am

    In Oregon, the one "unique" state code that frightens me most is the right hook situation. In most states, cars merge into the bike lane before making a right turn. While this slows down bicyclists, it limits the types of deadly crashes that can occur. You can get run off the road, you can get cut off, but you're much less likely to get right hooked when you're traveling faster than car traffic.

    I'm always on high-alert whenever going through an intersection when moving faster than traffic.

    For a diagram, see
    http://www.sfbike.org/?bikelane_right_turns

    Asha --
    Keep a careful medical journal, make a daily or weekly record all of your aches and pains. Long term chronic problems may not be apparent at first. You want to make sure you have all of your history properly recorded in case you ever need to go after the driver/his insurance for long-term medical care (I'm getting PT for an injury that occurred 3-1/2 years ago, and at the time the Doctors assured me I'd have a 100% recovery)

    Ted Buehler

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  • Marion March 4, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Wow, Asha.. so GREAT to hear you are good.. Such a relief and clearly a huge miracle given how far you were drug under that car. Take care of yourself!

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  • Marion March 4, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Asha, do you know much about the driver. Do you know for a fact that he was arrested. Was he DUII? What his mental capacity diminished because of something else?

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  • John Lascurettes March 4, 2009 at 7:51 am

    @Darshan

    If you want to learn more about what legal protection, rights and practices you can exercise in every day riding, I highly recommend to you (and everyone) one of the BTA's free legal clinics.

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  • a.O March 4, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Asha, I'm so glad to hear your injuries weren't worse! My question for you is: will you keep riding? I sure hope so...

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  • sarah March 4, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Hello, I was a witness to Asha's accident. I was leaving the 9th Ave. minimart on my way to work and watched that man hit Asha and continue riding through the block. After witnessing such a horrible thing I am endlessly relieved to hear you are ok, Asha. I am also really happy to know this blog is a great place and resource for cyclists to come together and talk about the accident and what can be done in the future at that spot and countless others around town. My M.O. has always been to assume that drivers don't see me, so I hang back until they have turned right, but I'm so sorry that "normal" bike commuting rules didn't apply to this case, since that man was so clearly out of control of his actions.
    Again, thank you Asha for posting your condition, I have been thinking about you constantly and hoping you were ok. And thank you, Lisa, for helping Asha.
    After I gave a statement to the police and rode to work I was shaking like a leaf. I didn't want to be on my bike because I felt so vulnerable. I know that it would be pretty tough to get back on your bike after an experience like that, but I myself am making a renewed effort to be more vigilant and aware on my daily commute.

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  • Jennifer March 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Asha's partner, Darshan, is a "he." I'm friends with both of them. :) We're all glad to hear that Asha is okay.

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  • Joe Rowe March 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Darshan and Asha.

    Get well soon. Thanks for the update.

    There are so many good lessons that can come out of this.

    Get a lawyer ASAP. (503) 228-5222 They can help you or help you find another lawyer.
    http://www.stc-law.com/

    I was on a bike path and run down by a Jeep who raced out of a hidden driveway. The teenager got cited and I got screwed. I still can't get my bike fixed or replaced for what I got from the insurance. Furthermore, I had a bit of mental stress that has gone away. For a while I had fear before riding my bike, and when in the saddle. You will have it far worse and should be compensated. The lawyers will know how.

    When you get back on the bike, ride only with friends for as long as you need.

    Lesson 2:

    Had she not been wearing a helmet the helmet haters would be distorting things and saying: "even a helmet would have not saved her in this type of impact" Well guess, what, the helmet saved her life, and it saved us from more bogus anti-helmet propaganda.

    Lesson 3:

    And finally we know what it takes for the Portland cops to detain and do a drug/mental eval of someone who kills or nearly kills a pedestrian or cyclist: a mentally insane car driver with many witnesses to testify he was impaired.

    Remember that in previous "accidents" the drivers just gave their lopsided story and walked away, leaving the Portland police spokesperson to blame cyclists. No drug tests given. The press ate it up and never sought out witnesses.

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  • PoPo March 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I suspect the bicycle was taken by the police to the property evidence division.

    It is is being held as evidence, she probably won't be able to get it back for a while--until after any criminal prosecution.

    If it is simply being held until Asha can pick it up, they should release it to her as soon as she goes to get it.

    Phone number for the property evidence division is 503-823-2179. I would call them first.

    I'm glad Asha is going to be ok, and happy to hear about the people who stopped to help. From stabilizing her neck, to waiting around until the police arrived to be a witness.

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  • B Hicks March 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I am always in a position to get right hooked but I will never, I repeat, Never let that happen. Why??? Because I ride as if every auto can and will KILL me. If more cyclists thought that their life was but a vapor in the wind, less stupid accidents of this type would happen. Drunk or not, right of way or not YOU WILL ALWAYS LOSE!!! My prayers go out to this cyclist. May she have a speedy recovery and ride again soon.

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  • AdamG March 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    California solves the right hook problem three ways; bike lanes are supposed to end 200 feet before major intersections, motorists must to merge to the right before turning right, even if that's into a bike lane, and allowing bicyclists away from the right edge anywhere a right turn is allowed (CVC 21202). This addresses the contributing design, and motorist and cyclist behavior issues.

    Can anyone explain why we have the opposite situation here in Oregon?

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  • Adron March 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Oregon's a little slow sometimes, even amid all the progressive though, it misses the obvious. How would one go about getting something done about the right hook problem here? Do they have to become mayor? Know the mayor?

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  • Keith Morris May 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    This is why I shake my head at "progessive", "bike-friendly" cities like Portland. Bike-lanes are car-oriented with the guise of being bike-friendly when they're not. They push cyclists off to the side of the road which is objectively more dangerous, so that motorists get preferential treatment on "their" lane.

    Here in Columbus, we have no bike lanes, yet when I did choose to ride along the right edge of the lane as though a bike lane where there I nearly got right-hooked and clipped on separate occasions. I was fortunate enough to resolve that I would then on take the lane from then on. Since then, I avoided getting knocked into another lane of vehicular traffic when a pickup pulled out of a parallel parking spot without looking and a car pulling out of a low-visibility intersection. If I had ridden in the same place as a bike lane I may not be alive today, because I would have not had the time to react.

    Sure, I still get honked at every now and then, but I just motion for vehicles to pass around me. Beats the hell out of getting right-hooked.

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  • Donna May 14, 2009 at 7:20 am

    California solves the right hook problem three ways; bike lanes are supposed to end 200 feet before major intersections, motorists must to merge to the right before turning right, even if that's into a bike lane, and allowing bicyclists away from the right edge anywhere a right turn is allowed (CVC 21202).

    Can anyone explain why we have the opposite situation here in Oregon?

    The blocks in the central part of the city are 200 ft. long. If we did have the California-style law, we'd be in constant conflict with motor vehicles.

    Also, when you have the turn law set up the way Oregon does, you have a point of potential conflict in just one location. When you have a California situation, you have 200 feet worth of potential conflict points. It's been a while since I saw the statistics, but I'm pretty sure Oregon has far fewer "right hook" incidents than California, even when you adjust for population size. I believe if someone from PBOT is reading this, they could trot out some numbers.

    I've ridden in California and I personally didn't like cars constantly merging into me (and frequently ignoring my presence) for half of every block. I'm sure it's a matter of personal preference, but I like the Oregon law a great deal better. (although it's not perfect)

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  • Rixtir May 14, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    California hasn't "solved" the right hook problem-- it just moves it further back from the intersection, as Donna has observed.

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