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Man on a bike struck by TriMet bus operator on transit mall – Updated (Photos)

Posted by on August 12th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Photo from the scene.
(Photo: Bill Jackson)

At about 7:30 this evening, a TriMet bus operator collided with a man biking on 6th Avenue in downtown Portland. According to TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch, the bus was traveling north on 6th and was taking a left turn onto SW Morrison when the collision occurred. The person on the bike was also on 6th and traveling north.

Here are photos taken from the scene by readers Nate Gibson and Bill Jackson:

This is the left front wheel of the TriMet bus. The rails in the photo are on SW Morrison.
(Photo: Nate Gibson)

SW 6th on the transit mall is one way going north and three lanes: one of them is rail only, the other is bus-only, and the third is shared by buses, cars, and bikes (don’t even get me started). SW Morrison is one-way to the west. Please keep in mind that, as you can see from the photo above, this area of downtown is very crowded.

I received several phone calls and emails about the collision. One reader called to say the person on the bike remained conscious and was taken away by an ambulance. “His leg is toast,” wrote someone on Twitter. Here’s more from TriMet:

The cyclist was alert and is being transported. The bus was part of the shuttle bus rotation providing alternative service because of the incident below the Vista Bridge [a suicide attempt].

I’ll keep you posted if there are any further developments. If you saw the crash please get in touch or leave a comment below.

UPDATES:
Bill Jackson, who provided two of the photos above, wrote via email that, “The scene looked to me like the bike either passed the bus while it was turning, or was in the crosswalk crossing the opposite direction.”

8/13, 9:15 am: KOIN reports that the man who was hit has been identified. His name is Richard Krebs.

8/13: Video report from KGW includes witness account and more:

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Comments
  • BikerinNE August 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Oh My God! That is a horrible image. I pray that the rider is going to be okay.

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  • Roma August 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Judging by the headline, I thought someone got in a fight with a bus operator. Turns put they were actually struck by a bus. Sucks either way.

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  • Roma August 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Please forgive the misspelling. That’s what I get for posting from a phone…

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  • wsbob August 12, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    The O has a short story on this incident, and another picture. Rough night, it seems. At least one survived. Further details about how this collision could have occurred the way it appears it may have, according to brief descriptions so far, should be very interesting.

    Bicyclist struck by shuttle bus activated after fatal fall/Oregonian/Michael Russel/
    Published: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 7:47 PM Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 8:54 PM

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  • suburban August 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    “Toast?” rude

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  • dan August 12, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Left hook?

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  • trail abuser August 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Apt description if his leg was caught under the bus tire or dragged along the tracks. Gruesome. I don’t see blood stains so maybe it’s just broken bones. Re-constructive surgery should take care of that. Either way, he’s off his bike for a while. Shouldn’t pass turning buses.

    My friend’s grandpa lives a hundred feet from the Vista Bridge where the suicide happened. Apparently it’s a favored suicide spot. He was a psychiatrist at OHSU before retiring and has treated many patients for depression.

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  • old&slow August 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I can’t comment on this but I had a close call (2 feet) today on Barbur, no traffic, 7 in the morning, I was in the bike lane and no one else on a 4 lane highway.
    I can only think it was intentional.
    Tri-met drivers hate cyclists it is clear and is a big problem which the city (are pathetic phony cyclist mayor) does not and has never addressed.
    Again, this is not a comment on todays “incident”, I don’t know the facts, but in general, as a commuting cyclist in this city, bus drivers seem to want to kill me.
    I have no other explanation for all the close calls I get from tri-met buses.

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  • spare_wheel August 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    6th is an abomination. I turn left onto 4th as soon as possible after bombing down the hill. Why T. F. do we not have bike lanes/cycle tracks going north down town?

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  • spare_wheel August 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    should be turn right (my other left).

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  • Cascadiance August 12, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Was on the corner there when this happened. Didn’t see it directly but heard the crash and saw authorities dealing with it from a distance. Someone else told me that the route this bus was traveling was being affected by the earlier suicide incident, and that perhaps that affected whether the driver or the bicyclist wasn’t used to the bus making this turn that it normally wouldn’t have. Don’t know the routes that well enough to know this is so or not, but that might explain why an incident like this was more likely. Someone else who saw the victim said there was a lot of flesh and blood exposed of his leg, so he’s got a long road of recovery ahead of him. The bus was kept there on that corner for about an hour afterward.

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  • MIndful Cyclist August 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Looking at the picture, it looks very plausible that he was walking his bike across the street. Looking at how the bike ended up though, make me think he was walking the same direction.

    Regardless, I hope the guy has a quick recovery and very happy to hear he was conscious.

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  • Hart August 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Gotta love those comments at the O.

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  • Julie August 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Like Cascadence I was there but didn’t see the crash itself. I did see the poor cyclist while he was still literally under the tire of the bus. I’m pretty sure that he was on his bike at the time of the crash. From what I saw, I couldn’t say who had the right of way.

    What concerns me is that I understood that after the last pedestrian fatality, Tri-Met was discontinuing most left turns. Even if it was a temporary shuttle, I believe MAX shuttle / bus bridge routes are pre-planned. It seems like with the quantity of pedestrians and cyclists in that area, this is a prime intersection where left turns should be avoided.

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  • Cascadiance August 12, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Also someone else told me that they put a tourniquet on his leg pretty quickly, so the bleeding had to be pretty heavy.

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  • John Lascurettes August 12, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    @cascadiance, if that’s true, I feel really bad for the guy. A tourniquet is not normally used unless paramedics consider the leg lost.

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  • trail abuser August 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    #16

    Wrong, it’s only used to stem blood loss. If the tissue dies before operation then the limb is lost, but can only be determined on the operating table.

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  • Alan August 13, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Tourniquets are back in vogue and are used much more frequently than just a few years back. Their use does not indicate imminent loss of limb, particularly for short transport times as in this case. Biennial reminder: Update your first aid skills, everyone!

    Best wishes to the injured man.

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  • cyclist August 13, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Jonathan: SW 6th on the transit mall is one way going north and three lanes: one of them is rail only, the other is bus-only, and the third is shared by buses, cars, and bikes (don’t even get me started). SW Morrison is one-way to the west.

    I ride this section of 6th every day on my way to work. It is downhill and the lights are timed at somewhere around 12 mph, there is no reason, NONE, why a person on a bicycle can’t be safe so long as THEY ACT LIKE NORMAL TRAFFIC. That means not passing, that means not riding on the sidewalks (which is illegal downtown), that means not running reds, that means no illegal right turns.

    If you park your bike right in the middle of the lane you can keep up with traffic and you’ll be directly in front of and behind cars so you don’t have to worry about being left-hooked (no right turns from 6th) and you don’t have to worry about being seen. I have had close calls with cars at various places in town but have never, ever had a close call on any downtown street where I took the lane. I could see being nervous on the uphill streets, especially if you’re not a strong rider, but you barely have to make an effort on the downhill streets.

    So Jonathan, please do explain why this 1 through lane seems to rile you up so much.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 13, 2010 at 7:12 am

      cyclist,

      thanks for your comments.

      the transit mall is a joke. it is a mess and cars should not be allowed to drive on it. if this project was behind done today, I would guarantee that cars would not be allowed in that lane. The decision was made in a different era (Jim Franscesconi was transpo. commish!). the question is, what is the argument for having cars in the bus mall? (other than not wanting to rock the boat of the downtown business community?) And yes, of course it is possible to ride on the transit mall safely, but that’s not the point. I can ride down MLK during rush hour safely. The idea is that we’ll never reach our lofty bike ridership goals until we begin to create more spaces where more people can feel comfortable riding… and the bus mall is certainly not a comfortable place to ride for everyone in large part due to the unnecessary presence of motor vehicles.

      Now, back to the story at hand.

      Please point out one thing in my story that is anti-TriMet. I have posted the facts I have. When there is a crash I prefer to put something up quickly so that there’s a better chance of capturing information from eyewitnesses, etc…

      There is absolutely nothing in my story that I feel could be considered a “hatchet job” and I resent you inferring that there is.

      All the facts of this incident will likely not be known for weeks… do you really think I should wait until then?

      Again, please point out something in the story that you feel is an example of me being unfair to TriMet. thank you.

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  • 151 August 13, 2010 at 12:48 am

    The picture of the bike crushed under the front wheel of the bus is chilling. I hope this was just a freak accident, and not gross negligence on the part of the cyclist or bus driver. Here’s to wishing this cyclist a swift recovery.

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  • cyclist August 13, 2010 at 12:55 am

    BTW, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, SW 6th and SW Morrison is where Pioneer Square is, the block between Morrison and Yamhill is a MAX stop (which the bus wouldn’t have stopped at) which means that the bus was almost certainly in the left lane when it was attempting its turn (as the picture seems to back up). This means that the cyclist either tried to pass the bus on the left, was riding on the sidewalk, or was on foot and the driver didn’t see the person at all. Before we start railing against TriMet *AGAIN* I’d like to point out that it’s quite likely that the cyclist was at fault.

    Jonathan: Just once I wish you’d gather all of the facts for one of these stories before you post them. You’ve done several hatchet jobs on TriMet accidents, only to have to correct them later (the incident on Hawthorne springs immediately to mind).

    Let’s put it this way, would you have posted this story if it was immediately known that the biker got run over by the bus because he tried to pass the bus on the left as the bus was making a legal left turn? In my opinion that’s not newsworthy, it’s an accident due to a very stupid decision on the part of the cyclist. Assuming you agree it makes 0 sense to post a story like this until you have the actual facts on the case.

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  • wsbob August 13, 2010 at 1:34 am

    cyclist #19 …note my comment #4 with the link to the Oregonian story that includes in the link text, the time at which the O published its story: “…7:47 PM …”. That’s 40 minutes before maus posted his story.

    The O’s story has been updated, but it was short(is still short at the time I’m writing this), and also did not provide information indicating what factors may have or did contribute to the collision. It could be some time before it’s known how this collision came to be.

    Meanwhile, people would most likely want to at least know what information is known and available now; for example, the cyclists condition. Fortunately, this one sounds as though he’s alive and will possibly ride again.

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  • Red Five August 13, 2010 at 5:59 am

    the latest news is that rider will get one of those cool carbon fiber legs so he will be able to run and everything!

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  • sharky August 13, 2010 at 7:12 am

    First I ride this street every day all day long.For Cyclist: You can’t turn that bus in one lane of traffic. The best it could have done was turn from the train tracks. Buse’s never turn up Morrison as well. It was stated it was a shuttle bus that had been detoured so it was more the bus did not see him, and not so much the cyclist passing on the left.

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  • Spiffy August 13, 2010 at 7:22 am

    will be interesting to hear what happened in this one…

    just looking at the intersection and angle of the bus it looks like the bus was turning from the left lane so I’m not sure where that bike came from if it wasn’t the curb ramp from Courthouse Square…

    as others said it’s unlikely the bike and bus were sharing the left lane so one of them must have been ahead of the other going up 6th… it’s a shuttle bus so it shouldn’t have been making any stops on the right curb and then cutting across the make the left, and as somebody else mentioned TriMet stopped doing those anyway…

    at least the guy should be alright except for the mangled leg… he’ll probably be out in a recumbent in no time…

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  • Vance Longwell August 13, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Hey the, “toast”, comment in the article was a quote, and Maus has never written a, “hatchet job”, in his life – Let alone with Tri-Met as the target. There’s not one shred of evidence to support such a cock-eyed allegation. I also appreciate expedient coverage, and have personally witnessed this site meticulously update stories like this as facts become available. Perhaps if some coverage’s timing doesn’t suit one’s personal taste, then perhaps one could wait a sufficient period prior to reading.

    I wanna say that the whole DT remodel blows, but that’s just resentment talking – I don’t like all of the anti-car features. However, there are several components, features, designs, you pick, that are really a problem down here. In my opinion this is the outcome when agendas get served, and not the safe transport of goods and people.

    It’s an accident, I know, but for Pete’s sake, due to an attempt to impede auto traffic, I’ve lost all northbound access to the core from the area where I live. In order to visit the grocery store I now have to walk my bike part of the way. Have to by law. Walk. My. Bike.

    I ride where cars drive. When you jam them up, you jam me up right along with them. If you all simply MUST get some cars off the road, is there any way to do it besides monkeying with the infrastructure? If it’s CO2, couldn’t you go after Union Pacific, big airlines, shipping, trucking, anything but the dang road? If you’re changing attitudes, can’t that be done in living rooms, and not the street? Maybe later, I don’t know, but right now we’re coming off a century of doing things one way, and just doing them another, all of a sudden, is a recipe for disaster.

    None of which should be construed as an opinion about what caused this accident. I just wonder sometimes, aloud apparently, what the cumulative effect is of so many dramatic changes, essentially made to impede auto-traffic, and their impact on bikes. Would be pretty ironic if out of an attempt to make Portland more bike-friendly, you actually make it less so.

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  • Jack August 13, 2010 at 7:41 am

    @cyclist and Jonathan:

    I would absolutely expect to see an article about such a severe bike accident on bikeportland.org, regardless of who might be at fault. Additionally, the article makes no claim of fault.

    Whether fault falls on the cyclist, bus driver, or some yet unknown factor, hearing about such an injury ensures that I’ll now be extra careful when riding in this area.

    Keep up the good work Jonathan. Cyclist: read before flaming.

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  • Karl Han August 13, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I don’t know… as a commuter to OHSU on Pill Hill, I have to say that I kind of like the downtown renovations. It may be true that we have to share some streets with motor vehicles, but hey — at least car traffic is significantly cut down, and all we have to do is watch the buses, Maxes, and the occasional car. The again, I commute early in the morning, or really late at night (residency is hell…).

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  • Vance Longwell August 13, 2010 at 7:55 am

    J #25 – I can lend some historical perspective here that strengthens the, “no cars on 5th and 6th”, position. The remodel ADDED motor-vehicle lanes to the design it replaced. Folks forget that, or don’t know. Call it a transit-mall, or bus-mall, or whatever you like, those two streets have been dedicated to it for the 41 years of my life here. With the exception of about 3 blocks within the relevant area.

    There is a long history of banning motor-vehicle traffic from those two streets. That’s without all you bike-nazis making a fuss!! I think Mr. Maus, is spot-on being upset about the current treatment, one of the FEW things I’m in total agreement with. It blows my mind that there’s even car-lanes on them. Especially considering, and I’m sure this is what raises eye-brows, that the remodel happened right in the middle/peak of this active-transportation-thingy uproar.

    Between 2002 and 2004 the City sold the Chamber of Commerce, and the American Alliance of Cities formed the Portland Business Alliance to essentially create a private-sector takeover of what I consider to be City municipalities. I blame the PBA, directly, for the poor design of SW 5th, and SW 6th, in the downtown core. I blame them for a lot more things too, but the point is that if one will bother looking, you’ll notice some crazy things at the management level of our fair city.

    I’m all for freedom of speech, and freedom of association, but something must be down about the amount of power focused within the PBA. They were bad enough before, but now that they basically own everything but City Hall, they are down-right sinister.

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  • John Lascurettes August 13, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I’ve been schooled on the first aid rethinking on tourniquets. Thanks.

    Still hoping for the best for this guy. It’s a horrible frightening situation, no matter what.

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  • Seth D. Alford August 13, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I hope that the bicycle rider makes a fully, speedy, recovery.

    I try to avoid going between the curb and a want-to-be-turning car. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. When I’m between the curb and the want-to-be-right turning car, I like to say, LOUDLY, “CAR ON THE LEFT!” In the case of a one-way street like this, I would say “CAR ON THE RIGHT!” Or, with a bus, “BUS ON THE LEFT/RIGHT!”

    I don’t know that yelling that warning really helps, other than provide an illusion of safety for me. But I like to think that the driver can hear me and know that I’m there.

    Also, the worst anyone can say is that I’m stating the obvious. I’m not trying to make an already tense situation worse by insulting the motor vehicle driver. After all, there is a bus or car on my left or right.

    We don’t know what happened with this collision, or whether, what, and when the bicyclist might have yelled or tried to alert the bus driver of his presence. And we probably won’t know for several weeks. Again, I wish the bicyclist a full and speedy recovery.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 13, 2010 at 8:04 am

    So, was this TriMet driver just responding to his colleague Dan Christensen’s exhortation to “kill” a cyclist, or was this an “accident”?

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  • Peter Noone August 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Why do so many people feel the need to speculate when these things happen?

    For example, @cyclist/#21 seems to think it’s “quite likely” the guy on the bike is at fault. I’m sure other people assume the bus driver is at fault.

    An infinite number of scenarios are quite possible, but how can anyone who wasn’t there say what’s likely. Heck, even people who were there and saw the aftermath can’t say for sure.

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  • Peter Noone August 13, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Seth/32

    That’s some good common sense thinking about not squeezing in between another vehicle and the curb, but what does that have to do with this incident? We don’t know what happened, so why not enumerate all the other things the cyclist or the bus driver maybe should or shouldn’t have done?

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  • Elliot August 13, 2010 at 8:30 am

    KGW has a story up about the crash: Bicyclist stuck by TriMet bus.

    Anchor says “Witnesses say the bus turned into the bicyclist at the intersection.”

    Video helps give a better perspective of where the crash happened in the intersection and the position of the bus. I can’t be certain, but to me, by the angle of the bus and placement of its tail, the bus might not have been completely within the left lane before starting the turn.

    A witness statement in the video also says the bus “kinda skid to a halt on his leg”. Again, its not authoritative, but use of the word “skid” would seem to imply that the bus might have been moving faster than was appropriate while making the turn.

    Clearly, no certainty yet on who was to blame for the crash. But I haven’t seen anything from reports yet that would indicate the cyclist was at fault.

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  • h August 13, 2010 at 8:31 am

    he is luck to be alive… his bike is toasted. hope he gets better fast.

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  • Josh Collins August 13, 2010 at 8:38 am

    #14

    Just to clarify, TriMet has not banned left turns throughout the system. That suggestion was one of many that we are looking at during our top to bottom safety review. In fact, the topic was discussed Wednesday evening at our Safety & Service Excellence Task Force meeting, which is open to the public and includes a rep from the BTA, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and others.

    We are in the process of line-by-line hazard analysis to ensure that turns on routes are both safe and legal. But no bans.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • Joe August 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

    careful out there, hope he heals well.

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  • GLV August 13, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Jim Franscesconi was mayor!

    Jim Franscesconi was not, nor has he ever been, mayor.

    I meant transportation commissioner. thanks for catching that. — Jonathan

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  • are August 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

    not speculating on what happened here. would be a better design if private autos were not permitted on the transit malls, 5th and 6th. i do generally take 4th going north, but have no real problem on 6th, simply taking the lane. re comment 19, yes, i sort of expect to see anything bike-related to show up here, regardless who might have been “at fault.” this kind of thing can be educational, y’know: don’t try to split lanes with a bus, etc. (or with anyone in a situation where they might turn) — again not assuming that is what happened here. heads up, kids, it’s tricky out there. red five, i hope nothing even slightly unfortunate ever happens to your pretty little head.

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  • John August 13, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I’m in total agreement with Peter Noone regarding not speculating. I had the awful experience of seeing a good friend get side swiped by a low speed truck blowing a stop sign. Nothing about the position of the bike under the wheel of the truck would’ve indicated what had happened. A bike is simply too light to remain at the same position or angle following impact. Road design probably contributed but we have no idea if either vehicle operator was at fault.

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  • trail abuser August 13, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Plenty of eyewitnesses on that busy corner and plenty of security cameras on the bus or surrounding buildings.

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  • benschon August 13, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Photo of the victim.

    http://bojack.org/images/bikebusrider.jpg

    Anyone know him? He’ll live, obviously. Don’t know about his leg.

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  • Steve August 13, 2010 at 10:18 am

    There is no way a bus can make a left from 6th ave onto Morrison while being in the left lane. Unless of course the driver decided to drive up on the sidewalk. From the pictures posted here its pretty obvious the bus is still not fully in the left lane. Even after it “dragged” the cyclist. Sorry “Cyclist”, In 20 years of riding around DT I have NEVER seen a bus use one lane to turn.

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  • Spiffy August 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

    looking at the video taken from in front of the bus looking back I can now see there is more space between the bus and the curb so it does look like the bus was turning across the left lane rather than from the left lane…

    I’m sure video from the bus and other sources will be available soon…

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  • Tony Fuentes August 13, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Jon @ 25 –

    “the transit mall is a joke. it is a mess and cars should not be allowed to drive on it. if this project was behind done today, I would guarantee that cars would not be allowed in that lane.”

    With all due respect, I have to disagree with you on this one.

    Without a doubt non-auto centric choices have advanced since the original transit mall was opened in Portland in 1978. However, any review of your own archives, blogtown, oregonlive, etc. shows that decision making by PBOT is often defined by serving cars/trucks and trying to accommodate other modes, not the other way around.

    Are things changing? Sure.

    Still, parking and auto access for private passenger vehicles remain very hot potatoes politically. Moreover, parking = revenue in this town for PBOT and in these austere times PBOT often advocates to keep paid parking spaces rather than lose one to better serve bikes, transit, etc.

    Finally, as has been reported many times, a lot of businesses view easy auto access as the key to their success (to be clear for anyone unfamiliar with my position on this, my business neighbors and I have actively advocated for more bike parking and better pedestrian facilities in our area).

    “The decision was made in a different era (Jim Franscesconi was transpo. commish!)”

    With regard to decision-making on the redeveloped transit mall, they didn’t break ground until 2006 and making it car free was potentially an option that could’ve been accommodated any point during the construction (or even now) mostly through changes in striping and signage.

    As such, I don’t think placing onus for the decision solely on a commissioner that left office in 2004 is completely fair.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 13, 2010 at 10:30 am

    good points tony. and i agree with all of them. i definitely am not placing blame solely on francesconi and should be more careful with stuff like that.

    obviously, if City Hall had any backbone, they would start finding more places downtown where people have priority over private motor vehicles… and the bus mall would be an excellent place to start.

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  • Jim O'Horo August 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

    First, I hope the cyclist comes out of this OK. Another big danger in cases like this is shock – It can kill too. From the descriptions here it sounds to me like the leg can be saved, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some permanent damage and impairment. Some further input on tourniquet use: Many years ago I worked as a volunteer on a first aid & rescue squad and was within a few hours of EMT certification. I have applied tourniquets – not often, but occasionally. It’s been a long time since I updated my 1st aid training. Current thinking may have changed, but back then we were told to loosen the tourniquet every 20 minutes to allow some circulation to the limb, avoiding tissue death. I don’t remember it ever taking that long to get victims to the ER, so the tourniquets stayed in place.

    I also frequently travel north from OHSU and fully agree with the statement that the best place to be on 6th Av. is in the center of the lane. I’ve also learned to allow extra room from the car in front of me. Many drivers on 6th are not sure of where they want to make a left turn. They’re watching street addresses and often slam on their brakes just as they get to an intersection. If I’m planning on riding all the way home to Vancouver I turn to 4th at the earliest opportunity. The only reason I’d stay on 6th is if I were planning on stopping at Pioneer Sq. for a cup of coffee before getting on MAX.

    I agree with the sentiment that we should hear about these incidents regardless of who is at fault. How else will we learn – by making the mistakes & suffering the consequences ourselves??

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  • Tony Fuentes August 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

    That’s all good Jon.

    One thing I didn’t put in my comment that I should have is that I agree that the Portland Mall should be car-free.

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  • Peter Smith August 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’d like to make the case that a bus should never hit a cyclist. or pedestrian. ever.

    there has never been a valid excuse for a bus-against-bike collision, and there never will be.

    if a cyclist wants to commit suicide and throw himself/herself under a bus, then we _might_ be able to excuse the bus driver for not being able to stop in time, but even that is only a ‘might’.

    if a bus or car driver even suspects that a human being might get in front of their bus, intentionally or otherwise, then it is the bus driver’s responsibility to slow down to the appropriate/safe speed — and that includes the speed of zero (i.e. stopping). in at least one Euro country, drivers are responsible for driving safely around children who may do unexpected, even illegal, things — like darting out into traffic. it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure everyone stays safe, because it is the driver who is wielding the deadly weapon.

    while the laws here in America catch up with the civilized world, we need to explicitly change the goals of TriMet so that they prioritize safety — no deaths and no injuries to any road users or passengers — above all else.

    this collision is most likely the bus driver’s fault, by definition. drivers of all vehicles, including cars, bikes, etc., need to be held accountable for the damage they do. and this collision has not only severely injured one person, but has a big deterrent effect.

    the end goal is to do away with all vehicles that cannot live harmoniously with human beings — buses and cars should be the first to go.

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  • Biker August 13, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Having just seen a friends photo taken at the scene, I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. The bus was turning left from the center lane. I determined this from the fact that the rear wheels were still in the center lane on 6th.
    2. The rider had to have been coming from the same direction as the bus (on left side of bus, hard to get to that side riding the other direction), and the rider was not coming from the sidewalk based on the position of the bike being located at the left of the street edge.

    What I don’t know is if the bus has a protected turn signal, which I doubt. If not and the rider was in the street, the rider had the right-of-way. If the rider was walking his bike he still had the right of way.

    I know that bicyclists don’t always follow the law, and many of us do very stupid things, but so do motorized vehicles. As a bicyclist I want to find out what happened and why, and figure out a way to prevent this from happening in the future. If that means education and licensing, I am for it. But I also want to see testing for drivers licenses on a regular basis, and testing for the laws connected with bicycles. So many of us are ignorant of the laws and proper riding, and so many drivers are clueless and think we have no rights, or shouldn’t. But that is a rant!

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  • Philistine August 13, 2010 at 11:51 am

    The anti-TriMet tone of the article is in the headline:
    “Man on a Bike Struck by Tri-Met Bus Operator on Transit Mall”
    This headline makes a few assumptions:
    (some of which have been cleared up, AFTER it was written)
    We didn’t know if he was on the bike at first.
    And isn’t it possible that the man on the bike struck the bus? Just what would it look like if you rode your bike into the wheel well of a moving bus?

    Yes language is subtle. Headlines should never speculate or be subtle, unless you have an agenda.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    philistine,

    thanks for bringing up my favorite subject — the subtle power of language.

    But in response, I disagree with your allegation that I have an “agenda”. It’s simply not the case in this instance.

    This headline was very difficult to figure out how to write and i changed it several times both before and after publishing it.

    What I have been trying to do for years now is to write in a way that puts the humans operating the vehicles first. That’s why I said “bus operator” instead of just “bus”. The bus is an inanimate object. It is someone behind the wheel that performs the actions that lead to a collision.

    The bike was struck by the person operating the bus. That doesn’t necessarily imply that the person operating the bus ran purposely into the man with the bike, it is just a statement that a strike did occur. that being said, i agree with you that the wording does assign fault to the striker. i’ll take another look at the headline and see if i can tweak it a bit more.

    I added “on a bike” after the fact so that readers seeing the headline would now right away that a bicycle was involved in this collision.

    Again, my only agenda is to have the most fair and accurate coverage of these events. Also, I think very carefully about the words I use (ask anyone who has heard me blather on and on about language!) and I am still learning how to do it right.

    thanks for your comment.

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  • Philistine August 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Well, you are welcome.

    I don’t mind if you have an agenda. We all do.

    Safety is a good thing. I just bristle at end-justifying-means type thinking that most people these days seem prone to. Your megaphone here should not add to that particular human “quality”, and now I can see that you are cognizant of this.

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  • Brad August 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE:

    Bike rider got hit by motor vehicle.

    Not many details are known at this time.

    BikePortland.org automatically presumes that motor vehicle operator or poorly designed infrastructure is to blame.

    All secondary and tertiary scapegoats are named to “validate” editorial assumptions.

    If cyclist is found to be at fault, the story dies without correction or said article is corrected days later but buried under subsequent stories and off the front page.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    philistine,

    i should have clarified. yes, i have an agenda, but not the specific agenda you allege in your comment. i really appreciate your feedback. thanks.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Brad,

    Please point out something in my article above that “automatically presumes” the m/v operator is to blame. Thanks.

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  • h August 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    i think buses need turning lights on the middle of bus side panels. If a cyclist is passing by the middle of bus, s/he has no way of knowing bus going to turn… I try to watch out for buses in downtown. I try to give buses enough space. Bus operators are supposed to watch out for cyclists/cars/etc going by. Hats to bus operators for doing that.

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  • toddistic August 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    if the dude was passing the bus in a single lane of traffic then he deserved what he got. the victim is Trimet.

    the collective stupidity of cyclists in Portland always peak around this time each year as more and more fair weather commuters decide to “go green” and embrace their inner fred or fakenger. remember, as a cyclist in portland it is your responsibility to flaunt traffic laws and carry a passive agressive self righteous attitude. in the meantime, those of us who have no problem year round commuting to and from work can be the targets of misplaced aggression of drivers.

    heads up, you blow a light, ride like an idiot, i’m going to call you out on it. i’m sick of your fair weather bullsh!t.

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  • spare_wheel August 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Toddistic,
    I interrupt your fair-weather bike hipster rant with this image:

    http://bojack.org/images/trimetleftturn.jpg

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  • Jim O'Horo August 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    It seems to me that in WA other traffic is required to yield to a bus when it has its turn signal on for changing lanes. Is this the case in OR?

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  • toddistic August 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    spare_wheel @61: yes, a left turn. what is your point? two news articles in the same day about collisions where cyclists are behaving dangerously and violating the law.

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  • Jim F August 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Seriously folks. This is a blog. The fact that Jonathan has a perspective on things is what makes it interesting. If he didn’t have an opinion or an agenda, the blog would be boring as hell.

    If you don’t agree with his opinion or agenda, don’t read this blog.

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  • dan August 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    @Toddistic #63

    You don’t know the exact circumstances of either collision. At least, so I assume. If you were an eyewitness to both, please tell us what happened.

    Re: “violating the law”, I suspect you’re wrong on that count as well, but it’s all just so much online hot air until we know exactly what happened.

    Finally, I also commute year-round, and I would like to request that you not make us year-round commuters look like a bunch of self-righteous jerks.

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  • spare_wheel August 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    The picture indicates that the bus turned from the middle lane so your rant does not apply.

    “where cyclists are behaving dangerously and violating the law”

    troll.

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  • Cascadiance August 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Hmm… Someone’s now claiming that bus driver was punched in the face after this incident… Hadn’t heard that one yet, and I don’t recall seeing anything like that. But I might have missed it.

    http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/2010/08/operator-john-nations-gets-punched-out.html

    Maybe its time to tone down the blame game, and let us find out the facts before we make any party a “bad person”. Most likely it was a bunch of mistakes made by different parties that all contributed to this. Something that if we look objectively at, hopefully we can fix the rules to work better for all int he future and not have these sort of incidents get repeated.

    Some more pics and links of the incident here…

    http://busemergencynewsarchive.blogspot.com/2010/08/trimet-bus-and-bike-collide.html

    Like others have noted, I do hope that the rider is able to gain a full recovery and not pay too heavy a price.

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  • Brad August 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS RISE FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT MONTH

    OBAMA’S CONTINUED INCOMPETENCE CAUSES MORE JOB LOSSES

    Which is the dispassionate factual headline and which sounds like FoxNews’ biased hyperbole?

    I agree with Cyclist@21 and Philistine @53 that the headline speculates that the bus “struck” the rider. That implies that the bus operator did something wrong. Considering the current climate of relations between Tri-Met and local riders, it is a poor choice of words. “Bike Rider Seriously Injured in Collision on Bus Mall” or “Man Seriously Injured in Bike / Bus Collision” would be less inflammatory.

    My beef has more to do with the way you defend yourself in the comments. As I see it, your commentary in the article’s thread is an extension of your coverage. At post 25, you start ranting about all that is wrong with the bus mall, its design, a former commissioner, etc. You seem to be looking for someone to blame that isn’t the rider involved. That’s why many feel that you are doing a hatchet job.

    Don’t like the bus mall design and its dangers? Write a separate story/editorial about it! That’s the fair journalistic approach.

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  • tim August 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Cars AND bikes should NOT be allowed on the mall.

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  • Peter Smith August 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    regarding ‘the middle lane’ — i suspect it’s not possible for a bus to make a left turn from ‘the left lane’ because the buses rear left/driver-side tires would run up and into or over the curb (and whatever is standing/planted there).

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  • Doc August 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I know this guy. He is kind, sweet, and soft-spoken. He is a highly intelligent professional graduate student and he rides his bike regularly throughout the year. He knows and obeys the rules of the road.

    He’s busted up, but he’s in a pretty good mood about it. His family is with him. He’s going to be okay after rehab.

    On 6th, the buses move in the center lane and bikes/cars are in the far left lane. Bus operators try really hard to be aware of what’s going on all around them, but this one did not see my friend coming down the road in the left lane. Bus drivers are forced to make wide turns due to the size of their vehicles. This was an entirely unintentional collision, but to avoid these in the future, we need a better system. Bus operators need to be able to see their blind spots, and they need to be absolutely certain that there’s nobody there before they make a move. Buses should not have to turn across a travel lane in a dedicated transit mall. The two transit mall streets should be ONLY for mass transit. We need to design and establish SAFE bike routes through downtown going north-south, and improve the safety of the east-west ones. Exactly zero of the current north-south bike routes are acceptable for a variety of reasons (slow, lots of stops, pedestrian density, and worst of all most of them are unsafe).

    This collision was the “fault” of the bus driver failing to see and yield to a cyclist with the right of way. This “fault” occurred as a direct result of low driving test standards, a culture of inadequate driver responsibility, and poor street design. Until we fix these things, we all shoulder the blame.

    But most importantly, Rick’s gonna be okay.

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  • Paul Johnson August 13, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    This was the cyclists fault for operating on the sidewalk. If I were doing something that dumb, especially in the blind spot of a large vehicle, I’d expect to get run over.

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  • Paul Johnson August 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    @h: The busses do have midboard turn signals as required for all vehicles that size… they’re pretty hard to miss as they are a glowing, blinking protrusion on the side of the vehicle.

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  • Doc August 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    To clarify for PJ:
    The bicyclist was in the left lane of the road, traveling straight. He had the right of way.
    The bus was in the center lane turning left. He did not see the bicyclist, turned across the cyclist’s path, and hit him.
    This happened because the bus was on a detour route. This left turn was unexpected and unusual.
    You can’t get out of the way of a bus that is suddenly turning across your lane, no matter if you’re a cyclist, car driver, or another bus driver. If you’re already traveling in that lane next to the bus, there’s nowhere to go when the bus driver flicks on his directional and moves into your way.

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  • naess August 13, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    have i missed something, or has it actually been proven that the bus was in the center lane? other then the assumptions that are flying around in the comments here?

    the picture that spare_wheel posted doesn’t necessarily show that the bus was origionaly turning from the center lane, it could have been travelling in the left (shared) lane, and then swung out wide so as to make the left turn onto 6th. many large vehicles have to do this all the time, i’ve had to do it many times while driving an 18 wheeler, and believe me more then once some idiotic four wheeler tried to skim past me on the right, even though i wasn’t even out of the lane completely.

    naess

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  • naess August 13, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Jim O’Horo #62: several years ago there was a reg on the books about always ceding the right of way to busses as long as their “yield” sign was on. this got dropped though as there were busses swerving quickly over four lane roads, or turning their signal on as they pulled out into passing cars, and as long as they had their turn signal on and the yield sign was flashing you were at fault.

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  • wsbob August 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    “…The bicyclist was in the left lane of the road, traveling straight. He had the right of way.
    The bus was in the center lane turning left. He did not see the bicyclist, turned across the cyclist’s path, and hit him. …” Doc #71

    Doc…so the injured cyclist, Richard Krebs, is your friend? Is the above excerpt from your comment an accounting of details related to this collision as your friend has related them to you, or is this simply your personal hypothesis?

    No way, has there been enough details supplied here in the bikeportland stories and comments and those of the Oregonian, about the collision, to be able to really understand how this collision took place. Might as well just wait until details of official investigations are in before drawing conclusions.

    One of the questions I would have about this collision, is whether the bus driver did signal intention to turn before beginning to turn, and if so, at what distance, or how much time in seconds before beginning to turn. If the driver signaled for a turn, what might Krebs’ awareness of that signal have been? To find out, I’m prepared to wait for the investigation report.

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  • Paul Johnson August 14, 2010 at 12:58 am

    @naess: It wasn’t overturned or repealed, that’s still the state law. It’s still ORS 811.167.

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  • naess August 14, 2010 at 9:07 am

    paul #77: really? wow, then that’s scary. i have friends that were forced into the car free lifestyle by tri-met, for not magically ceding the R.o.W. whilest both of the examples i cited above were happening, and both times the bus driver was found to be not at fault.

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  • spare_wheel August 14, 2010 at 9:31 am

    “Buses should not have to turn across a travel lane in a dedicated transit mall. The two transit mall streets should be ONLY for mass transit.”

    I vehemently agree. The transit mall is a complete fail.

    I am sick of seeing cyclists riding sidewalks because they are afraid of fighting for space with angry commuters at rush hour. We need a north bound bike lane! And for my fellow vehicularists — I choose to think about bike lanes as *optional* (statute be damned) bike-only HOV lanes.

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  • Josh Collins August 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    #76 #78

    The statute pertaining to buses having right of way when the flashing yield light is on only pertains to buses entering a travel lane from a stop. It does not apply to changing lanes at any location.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • ecohuman August 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I’m confused. Wasn’t the public transit mall (mainly considered parts of 5th and 6th avenues) designed primarily for public transit (that is, buses, shuttles and light rail)?

    If it was, why is it a “fail” because it doesn’t excel at accomodating every other mode of wheeled transport?

    Isn’t that a bit like calling sidewalks a “fail” because they’re not designed to excel at accomodating bicycles and Segways?

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  • Paul Johnson August 14, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    @naess: That’s not scary, sounds like they were forced into a car free lifestyle by not understanding the rules of the road or driving defensively. I mean, if you’re approaching a vehicle that can magically change the order of right of way and you don’t have the room to clear it, do you a) find another lane to clear the vehicle’s potential right of way, b) wait behind the vehicle’s potential right of way, or c) box it in, then complain when you get hit for your own stupidity?

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  • Paul Johnson August 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    @ecohuman, yeah, kind of. Though the difference being you can operate a vehicle on the transit mall, but not on a sidewalk. I generally prefer the transit mall when I’m on my bike because I don’t have to worry about getting cut off, since you’re in the left lane, nobody can turn right, and buses rarely have to turn left. Then again, I tend to also go out of my way to make myself visible, riding with lights on day or night, usually wearing an OSHA-approved high visibility vest, and have an air horn on my bars…

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  • Bob R. August 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I’m not going to add to the speculation about what happened, hopefully a full and accurate investigative report will come out soon.

    However, I would like to point out that this incident was in the forefront of my mind as I drove down the transit mall yesterday. (I’ve utilized all modes, bike/ped/bus/train/car on the transit mall, for those who care.)

    In the space of 120 seconds I saw major forms of idiocy demonstrated by persons traveling by various modes near the scene of this incident.

    First, on 6th, heading southbound (the wrong direction), a guy was bicycling IN THE MAX TRACKS. There was an oncoming Yellow Line Train. The guy made a turn onto Yamhill, at least going the correct direction now, but still in the MAX tracks, about 30 seconds before the train arrived. At least he was wearing a helmet.

    One way to look at it, I suppose, is that he was young, had the train in his line of site (and vice versa), and got out of the way with plenty of time to spare. (Illegality notwithstanding.) However, we all know that that the tracks can be a hazard — if he had managed to get a tire caught and go down, and the train didn’t apply emergency brakes in time or was distracted by some other idiocy, who knows what terrible event might have happened?

    I’m sympathetic to the idea that the operator of the larger, much more massive vehicle has a heightened responsibility to be alert, safe, and proactive, but can anyone seriously tell me that the cyclist would not have been at least partially at fault? Really?

    Seconds after that, I saw two pedestrians crossing 6th, along Morrison, against the light. The operator of a #8 bus had to slam on its brakes and halted just within a few feet of those pedestrians and blared its horn. The pedestrians sort of glanced at it, then proceeded across at the same slow pace.

    By now, the Yellow Line train had caught up to the traffic light cycle (so did all of us, thanks to the pedestrian idiocy), and when the signal turned green again, some cars proceeded down 6th, and the train was just a few car lengths behind.

    The driver of one of those cars, the one immediately in front of me, couldn’t seem to maintain a straight line, and spent most of its time with the right tires on the bump strip — oblivious to both the bumps and the fact that an oncoming train was in the next lane over. I can imagine that this made the MAX operator much more nervous than it made me.

    At this point I turned off of the transit mall, so no more idiocy to witness there. But I did thoroughly enjoy the next idiocy: An Earth2O bottled water truck, with its lovely earth-friendly graphics and logos, spewing black diesel exhaust and making such a low-frequency racket that it set off car alarms as it crept along. Just lovely.

    So, what’s my point? My point is that there is plenty of bad behavior exhibited in a subset of all travel modes, and those of us who may favor one mode over another shouldn’t be quick to judge and speculate when a tragic incident occurs.

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  • Paul Johnson August 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    regarding the cyclist riding the wrong way, yeah, if he caused an accident, there would have been no “partial” fault involved, it would have been his fault entirely.

    As for delivery trucks setting off car alarms, that seems like it’s more the car owner’s fault than the trucks…who the hell uses shock sensitive alarms turned up that sensitive and doesn’t expect them to false-alarm all the time? That’d be an easy nuisance ticket for a cop, for sure.

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  • Bob R. August 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Paul -

    I totally agree about car alarms which are too sensitive to shocks, there’s been one or two in my neighborhood. But in this case, the truck was the nuisance, it was setting off half the cars in every block as it traveled. Not very “eco” if you ask me.

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  • Paul Johnson August 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Since when is bottled water “eco” to start with? I think it should tell you something that Portland bottles it’s tap water and sells it in other cities.

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  • spare_wheel August 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    ecohuman,
    i happen to believe that the fail was that they allowed access to motor-vehicles and bikes in the first place. i also personally believe that dedicated bus systems make far more sense than the max or streetcars. but as bojack regular you would not know this because i get banned every time i post a dissenting view there.

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  • Jim O'Horo August 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Naess @ 76, Paul Johnson @ 78 and Josh Collins @ 81:

    Thanks for clearing up my confusion about busses & when to yield.

    Josh, for a bus to make a left off 6th, the driver has to effectively turn across a lane of traffic. This is uncommon and in this case wasn’t even a regular route. When a bus needs to go west from 6th would it be better to go one block past the desired St. and then make 3 rights, much as UPS commonly does with their delivery trucks? In this case the driver would have gone 1 block past Morrison to turn right onto Alder then right on 5th and finally right onto Morrison. This adds only 4 blocks and gets the driver away from having to make such a difficult left turn, often in heavy traffic.

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  • ecohuman August 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    ecohuman, i happen to believe that the fail was that they allowed access to motor-vehicles and bikes in the first place. i also personally believe that dedicated bus systems make far more sense than the max or streetcars. but as bojack regular you would not know this because i get banned every time i post a dissenting view there.

    I’d be much more likely to take you seriously if you posted about the topic here, rather than some tangential, weak-hearted attempt at somehow connecting *me* to your complaint about some other blog.

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  • Seager August 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I’m surprised that so many BikePortland readers are so anti-cyclist. I agree that we shouldn’t be quick to judge and blame the trimet driver, but many, if not most, of these comments have been quick to judge the biker.

    Firstly, he wasn’t riding on the sidewalk, Paul. Did you even see the picture? It seems clear from all the photos that the bus made a left turn from a center lane, and that the cyclist was in the left lane next to the bus, as is there legal right. If this is case then it is certainly the bus driver’s fault. I don’t believe in “no-fault” crashes like the video said. Someone screwed up, and if one vehicle was going straight, and another vehicle turned in to them, then it’s the turning vehicles fault.

    If you are going to change the location of your gigantic vehicle, it is your responsibility to make sure that the proposed future location of your gigantic vehicle is not already occupied by something or someone else.

    I don’t care how hard it is to drive a bus, that is no excuse for make a left turn into a cyclist who is legally riding in a separate lane next to you. If you aren’t skilled enough to not hit people, you shouldn’t have the job. If busses are too hard to drive, they should be redesigned.

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  • CaptainKarma August 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I have been left-hooked by tri-met for no apparent reason in wide open spaces, across multiple lanes, on 82nd while in my *car*.
    I go out of my way whether driving or riding to allow service vehicles (buses, delivery guys, cops, whatever) priority. But damn, tri-met just TAKES it sometimes for no apparent reason other than they CAN. Every time it has happened to me, I have to scratch my head and wonder, probbly because I assume tri-met drivers are:

    a)competent;
    b)not mean;
    c)not blind.

    I don’t get it…….

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  • Cascadiance August 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Perhaps one other thing to consider is some sort of “warning light” system which would along Tri-Met routes get turned on when there are problems with Tri-Met when bus service is substituted for train service, or other similar notable changes, which might force changes in routes, etc. so that both bike riders and motorists riding along these routes will know that they should take extra caution during these times as things might not operate the way they expect them to.

    And as a recent transplant here to Portland, part of me resists even my own suggestion here, as I think what should also be kept in mind (especially for auto motorists, who are probably the most likely to be from out of town and not familiar with Portland traffic) that not everyone knows all of these routes and idiosyncrasies of the way the way the rules and pathways are set up for these different modes of transportation going through are.

    The KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) principle is needed here. The simpler and closer to national standards we can be, so that it is obvious even to those who aren’t familiar with Portland, what the “right thing” they should be doing as motorists is when they get on a certain street, the more apt we are to have less problems.

    I still have problems going through many parts of Portland that I’m less familiar with making sure that I’m on the right side of the street, and not in a tri-met lane or a bike lane. And I’m not a passing through tourist like many are that would have less knowledge than myself. I think most of us want to drive/ride responsibly here and not be antagonistic towards other modes of transportation either. If we can all feel empowered to drive/ride responsibly and not be confused, I think the streets here would be a LOT safer.

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  • teepee August 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I am really happy that Rick is going to be OK – I was there and really concerned for him because of how bad his leg appeared to be.
    Do accidents happen anymore? Isn’t it human to have accidents? Certainly the city, transit operators and bike riders can learn from this and try and improve transportation, however, no matter how much time, money and energy we spend on it, we’ll still have accidents. There are many reasons why I can chalk this up to an accident:
    The first problem is the amount of traffic in the bus mall that day due to the blockage of MAX from the earlier suicide off of Vista Bridge. No one could have predicted that would happen and that, consequently, the bus mall had more traffic than it could handle that day.
    Additionally, the bus turning from 6th is going from a rather wide street (6th) to a very narrow street (Morrison), made even narrower by Max tracks, definitely the bus would have to swing out right before turning left, which might have been deceiving from a biker’s perspective. Also, if the bus was looking in his right mirror to make sure he was not hitting traffic or causing trouble in the right lane (because of his swing), he may have missed someone coming up on his left side.
    Last, a blind spot is a blind spot is a blind spot.
    I’m glad to hear that Rick is on the mend, I hope the operator is as well (I know he wasn’t physically injured, but in a trauma like this, he is likely battling his own head). No one deserves to be punched in the face (I don’t think this really happened, but if it did, that’s awful) and it sounds like it was an accident.

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  • Paul Johnson August 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Perhaps one other thing to consider is some sort of “warning light” system which would along Tri-Met routes get turned on when there are problems with Tri-Met when bus service is substituted for train service, or other similar notable changes, which might force changes in routes, etc. so that both bike riders and motorists riding along these routes will know that they should take extra caution during these times as things might not operate the way they expect them to.

    Why should we spend more TriMet money on something that’s only going to help idiots who need to be weeded out of the gene pool already? Honestly, it’s really not that hard to pay attention and drive defensively, whether you’re driving a car or a bicycle. Expecting the unexpected and leaving yourself an out is part of that.

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  • naess August 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Paul Johnson #83: actually, yes it is scary, since they had no reason to think the bus was going to careen across three lanes of traffic and into them, nor should one just expect a bus to suddenly pull out and t-bone your car when you pass them while they have no turn signals on.

    these instances did not occur due to the car drivers “stupidity” as you put it, but to tri-met drivers feeling like they are god’s gift to portland.

    either way, it’s obvious you have your own small minded view of things so i’ll leave it at that.

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  • naess August 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    josh #81: thank you for clarifying that. the instances that i mentioned happened over eight years ago, and at that time i saw things like this happen quite regularly while i was out riding around town. i must assume that training has improved as i haven’t seen anything like this happen in several years.

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  • Paul Johnson August 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    @naess: You’re welcome to your opinion, even if you’re wrong.

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  • ecohuman August 16, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Why should we spend more TriMet money on something that’s only going to help idiots who need to be weeded out of the gene pool already? Honestly, it’s really not that hard to pay attention and drive defensively, whether you’re driving a car or a bicycle. Expecting the unexpected and leaving yourself an out is part of that.

    That was a stunning, Paul; you managed to be both buddhist (expect the unexpected) and aryan (weed out the gene pool) in the same paragraph.

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  • matt picio August 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Peter Smith (#51) – A bus is not always de facto at fault. Also, some problems in bike/bus collisions are due to the design of the bus or the design of the system rather than the fault of the driver.

    Be careful of absolutes, there are nearly always exceptions.

    Biker (#52) – We also don’t know if the bus had its yield light on. If it did, then the cyclist was required by law to yield.
    ***update *** Just looked this up, and this doesn’t apply because it fails ORS811.167(1)(c).

    Philistine (#53) makes some good points. Anti-cyclist tones are present in many headlines by the Oregonian and the Tribune, and in stories on KPTV, KOIN, KGW and KATU. Jonathan has pointed out many of them here on bikeportland. A better headline might have been “Man on Bike Injured in Bike on Bus Collision on Transit Mall” (and Jonathan, I see you have addressed that)

    Doc (#71) has it right on – the first thing Tri-Met should be doing is eliminating as many blind spots on the buses as they can. After that, they should be adding the “Yield blinker” to the side of the bus so cyclists can see it if they are alongside. If the bus already doesn’t have a “wide turn” sticker on the left side, it needs one. Finally, follow-up training for all operators on turn signal use and yield signal use. (I’m not saying that Tri-Met operators aren’t doing this – I honestly don’t know. I’ve witnessed individual drivers failing to use signals on rare occasions. Refresher training is a standard response for issues like this)

    It would be great if we could also train cyclists about the dangers of Tri-Met buses, and specifically how to escape that kind of situation (and to obey the yield light), but I can’t think of a practical way to do so.

    Paul (#73) – Do we know for a fact that the midboard signal was in operation at the time?

    Paul (#78) – it only applies if the bus is re-entering the traffic lane from a stopped position after loading/unloading passengers. ORS811.167(1)(c)

    and Paul (#96) – Because whether or not they need to be “weeded out of the gene pool”, they are human beings, with families, friends, co-workers, etc. Also because there are folks who are alert and skilled who get caught by circumstances due to poor design. We can’t prevent bad behavior, but we can fix bad design.

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  • Marcus Griffith August 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Hope the guy pulls through.

    Practical caution requires giving buses a wide berth. Considering the numerous traffic items a driver has to pay attention to, it’s easy for a cyclist to get overlooked. Presume bus operators can’t and won’t see you.

    I am all for giving bus rapid transit style lanes to mass transit–no cars, no cyclists. But, that is an idea that has not been fully explored for the Portland area

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  • spare_wheel August 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    ecohuman,

    read my earlier post again, slowly:

    “Buses should not have to turn across a travel lane in a dedicated transit mall. The two transit mall streets should be ONLY for mass transit.”

    I vehemently agree. The transit mall is a complete fail.

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  • Josh Collins August 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    @Jim #90

    There are no right turns allowed on the transit mall, so three rights wouldn’t be possible in this case to avoid a left turn. Right turns are prohibited to prevent collisions with MAX trains approaching from behind. Of course, as others have stated, you can regularly find motorists who are violating this.

    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    @ecohuman: I think it says volumes more about your character if you thought that was aryan (ie, racist) and not realist. More people doesn’t ensure our species (as in, all human races) survival at this point, but more people might just serve to ensure it’s total collapse under it’s own weight.

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    @matt pico: I would say it’s safe to say the midboard signal was in operation at the time, as it was shown working in news footage after the incident, and all lights on commercial vehicles are inspected at the start of the service day.

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Because whether or not they need to be “weeded out of the gene pool”, they are human beings, with families, friends, co-workers, etc.

    Non-sequitur. Human life isn’t something special or precious compared to other species, and I don’t see very many people getting bent out of shape over roadkill and rat poison.

    Also because there are folks who are alert and skilled who get caught by circumstances due to poor design. We can’t prevent bad behavior, but we can fix bad design.

    I’m not convinced this is bad design. I’ve ridden the mall, it’s my preferred route through downtown because it makes it difficult for motorists to use it (even if I do have to make three lefts to turn right on a bike).

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    @Marcus Griffith: What about the Vancouver, BC way of handling this? Buses, bikes, taxis and HOVs all share a single, standard-width combined curb lane on most boulevards.

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    @104 Josh Collins:

    Right turns aren’t allowed from the left lane, just like left turns aren’t allowed from the right lane. Buses can only go straight or turn right from the bus lane, just as everyone else can only go straight or turn left from the combined left lane. A bus could enter the general traffic lane, however, since there’s nothing excluding buses from the left lane.

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  • ecohuman August 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    @ecohuman: I think it says volumes more about your character if you thought that was aryan (ie, racist) and not realist.

    I agree with you, Paul–it says something about my character.

    More people doesn’t ensure our species (as in, all human races) survival at this point, but more people might just serve to ensure it’s total collapse under it’s own weight.

    I agree. I’m not clear on how “weeding out the gene pool” equates to population control, though. And the hard is always who gets to decide what’s a weed, isn’t it? Are you a weed? If so, what are you doing about it?

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  • El Biciclero August 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    “…idiots who need to be weeded out of the gene pool already”

    “Human life isn’t something special or precious compared to other species…”
    –Paul J.

    But some humans are more special than others, eh?

    You are entitled to your opinion…

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  • Kt August 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    JM, your headline makes it sound like the bus driver got out of his bus and smacked the bike rider upside the head.

    In fact, that’s just what I thought had happened, until I read the story.

    If the bus driver did, in fact, attempt to turn left from the center lane, then that was an illegal left turn and the bus driver is at fault.

    I also agree that the transit mall should be for TRANSIT ONLY– there should be no private vehicles of any kind allowed there. Taxis, buses, light rail train, streetcar only.

    I hope Rick gets better soon and that TriMet’s insurance pays up.

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    @ecohuman: You’re asking questions mortals can’t answer. If anyone, myself included, manages to put themselves out of the gene pool, that’s their own damn fault. I suppose you don’t find the Darwin Awards amusing, either.

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  • ecohuman August 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    @ecohuman: You’re asking questions mortals can’t answer.

    Then you must not be among us mortals, Paul, because you seemed clear about your idea that the gene pool needs “weeding”. If you think it needs weeding, then you must have some idea of who’s a weed and needs eliminating. And that makes you more than just a prolific poster–it makes you sound like a scary dude, and one or two steps away from something worse.

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  • Paul Johnson August 16, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    @ecohuman, your lack of reading comprehension while responding to comments astounds me.

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  • Bob August 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I’m really sickened by the way some people are discussing this – how would you feel if this was your friend/brother/boyfriend? Nobody deserves to be run over by a bus, particularly just because of simply making a mistake in traffic (if it was his fault – it doesn’t seem like that’s really been determined if it even matters).

    Does anyone have an update on how Rick is doing?

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  • spare_wheel August 17, 2010 at 8:50 am

    “Right turns are prohibited to prevent collisions with MAX trains approaching from behind.”

    And yet hundreds of cyclists who descend pill hill daily make sharp right turns across tracks to exit the transit mall. The way the transit mall channels bike and car traffic without allowing easy (and safe) egress to east-bound bridges was a terrible design decision.

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  • Paul Johnson August 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    It’s only been that way on Yamhill and Morrison forever. It’s not that hard to make three lefts; a traffic cop could and should make a killing at that corner…

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  • J August 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    The Tri-met bus was making a left turn onto Morrison – this is not legal – thus tri-met is at fault here. The cyclist was heading north and was not expecting the tri-met bus to turn left onto Morrison and run him over while he was heading north in the car lane. The bus was making a left turn b/c it was taking a different route due to the suicide that happend earlier that day. Thus, its definitely tri-mets fault. If the bus driver is taking an alternate route then he should have been extremely careful doing something illegal.

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  • wsbob August 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    “…The bus was making a left turn b/c it was taking a different route due to the suicide that happend earlier that day. …” J #119

    If that’s so, then the bus driver likely had official authorization to take the route and the left turn on Morrison involved in it.

    “… The Tri-met bus was making a left turn onto Morrison – this is not legal – …”

    Are you sure about it’s not legal? What info do you have to support your claim?

    Check out the statement the Trimet guy made in #38 comment :

    “…Just to clarify, TriMet has not banned left turns throughout the system. …”
    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

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  • Anonymous August 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Looks like the bus is turning from the buslane (middle lane) and cutting across the car lane (far left) – its not legal to make a turn and cut across a lane of traffic. Also – there were no signs denoting a detour route was in place.

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  • J August 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Looks like the bus turned from the bus lane (middle lane) and cut across the car/bike lane (far left lane) – it is not legal to cut across a lane of traffic while turning. Also there were not detour signs posted to alert cars/pedestrians/cyclists that buses were taking an alternate route that day. So, anyone familiar with tri-met bus routes would not have expected this. Also, I thought tri-met was eliminating left turns b/c of so many accidents being caused by buses taking left turns.
    Also were talking about an entire tri-met public transit system against a single cyclist…hmmm I wonder who can afford a better lawyer or should we say many lawyers. I love how the police said no one is at fault – hmmm I thought that could not be determined until an investigation was done – which has not been done yet. And, BTW “Josh Collins” not a single person from tri-met has checked to see if the cyclist is okay or inquired about his condition at the hospital.

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