Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on August 20th, 2010 at 11:41 am
wheel of a TriMet bus after the
collision last Thursday.
(Photos: Bill Jackson)
Last Thursday, a TriMet bus operator made a left turn from SW 6th Avenue onto Morrison and came into contact with a man’s bicycle (it’s not clear whether he was riding or walking). The wheel of the bus rolled into 36-year old Richard Krebs and he suffered serious injuries. As of yesterday (8/19) Krebs is still at OHSU in fair condition (his nurse didn’t release any other information about him, but couldn’t resist telling me that “He’s the nicest person in the world!”).
As TriMet investigates what happened, I thought it’d be helpful to clarify a few things and bring everyone up to speed with what we know (or think we know) so far.
A witness on the scene of collision told KGW-TV that the “Bus hit him about mid-track, pushed him over on the road. Bus driver was stopping but kinda skid to a halt on his leg.” The investigation into the crash is ongoing, but the Portland Police Bureau has already told KGW that there was “no major fault one way or another.”
TriMet has yet to release on-board video from the bus. Back in June, when a man on a bike collided with a bus on SE Hawthorne, the video — which fully exonerated the bus operator and refuted the bike rider’s version of the story — was released two days after the incident.
I asked TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch why the video of this collision is taking longer to release. “If an incident is still under investigation, no video is released. Video is generally released between 4-7 days. In rare incidents, it’s faster than that, especially if there is no investigation necessary, as in the Hawthorne incident. It all depends on when the incident happens, when the video can be pulled and viewed, and if an investigation is under way, etc.”
As for how this collision occurred, judging from photos taken at the scene (see above), it looks like the bus was in the center of three lanes on the transit mall. To go left on Morrison, the bus operator would have had to turn across the left-most vehicle lane (which is shared by bus, car, and bike traffic) to get onto Morrison.
It’s also important to remember that the bus was on a temporary shuttle route because MAX trains had been stopped due to a suicide jumper on the bridge. A commenter pointed out that there were not any detour signs posted to alert people that buses would be taking an alternate route that day. The commenter wrote, “So, anyone familiar with TriMet bus routes would not have expected this.”
Fetsch says that during a shuttle bus operation, TriMet “typically has pre-determined routes for bus shuttles.” “What can be variable,” she added, “are routes that bus might take to begin shuttle service. They are often pulled from other lines, so getting to the start of the shuttle is often unpredictable.” Fetsch also says that it is not TriMet policy to put out special signage during “short-term bus bridge events.”
I’m waiting for more information from TriMet and will post an update as soon as it’s released. In the meantime, if you saw this collision occur and have more information to add, feel free to leave a comment or call our tipline at (503) 706-8804.