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Garbage truck/bike collision at SE 50th and Hawthorne - UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 24th, 2010 at 9:35 am

View of SE 50th and Hawthorne.
Truck was pointed west and coming
out of eastern most intersection.

There was a crash at around 7:00 am this morning at SE Hawthorne and 50th involving a woman on a bike and a garbage truck. The truck operator was headed west on Hawthorne when the collision occurred. This is the portion of Hawthorne where there's a bend in the road and most eastbound traffic is diverted south onto 50th.

The extent of the women's injuries are unknown. I'm awaiting more details from the Police Bureau Trafffic Division. Here's what KATU TV is reporting:

"The driver of the truck, which belonged to Gruettner Sanitary Service, said he he stopped at a traffic light but realized he was too far into the intersection and backed up.

When the light changed and he accelerated through the intersection, he collided with the cyclist."

KATU also has a short video which shows the crash scene:

I don't know this intersection very well, so perhaps others can chime in. I'll update this post when I hear more from the PPB.

UPDATE, 12:56: Here are more details from the PPB:

"This morning at 6:39 a.m., Portland Police Officers responded to Southeast 50th and Hawthorne Boulevard on the report of a bicyclist hit by a garbage truck. Officers arrived and contacted the bicyclist, 28-year-old Alexsandra Dorokhova of Milwaukie, who had been hit. The bicyclist was transported to O.H.S.U. with non-life threatening minor injuries. A witness described the bicyclist crossing the street against a red light as the garbage truck was turning on a green light. Traffic Division officers conducted an investigation and did not issue any citation.

The bicyclist was wearing a helmet."

UPDATE, 8/25 at 3:11 pm: Here's a more detailed description of what happened that happened, courtesy of PPB Traffic Division Sgt. Todd Davis:

"The garbage truck was eastbound on Hawthorne and had stopped for a red light at SE 50th Ave. The driver said he had stopped over the line of the crosswalk so he backed up a little to make room in the crosswalk for the bicyclist who was waiting to cross. Once the driver backed up, his light had turned green, and he started moving forward. The bicyclist was now in the crosswalk in front of his truck. He struck her at low speed [5mph] knocking her to the ground.

The bicyclist was transported to OHSU, but apparently did not have serious injuries. A witness told the officer that the bicyclist rode in front of the garbage truck against a red [DONT WALK] light. I imagine she was confused when the truck initially backed up to let her cross. No cites were issued to either party. The 28 yo cyclist was wearing a helmet."

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Comments
  • Shetha August 24, 2010 at 9:44 am

    This very nearly happened to me about a year ago. I had even made eye contact with the driver right before I got squeezed out of the bike lane (and quickly up onto the curb) at a red light. Often times these trucks are driving along with hazards on and at an intersection there is no clear indication of which way they are going or what their plan is. I called the sanitation company and requested that they send their drivers through better training or adopt better policies. Not sure if it actually happened. Now, I am just very cautious when I'm around them. I assume they have no idea I'm there and proceed accordingly.

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  • Zaphod August 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

    First, I hope she is ok and has a full recovery.

    It seems as though there have been more bicycle-related accidents lately. It seems that this should/could be a catalyst to demand the changes that would improve safety for all users. There are inexpensive solutions and more involved infrastructure changes but the time is unambiguously *now* to get this done.

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  • Elliot August 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I'm familiar with the intersection. It was redesigned about 5 years ago to the current configuration. Even this long after the changes went in I notice that road users are still confused about the geometry of the intersection. The angles are such that people are confused whether the movement they want to make is "straight" or turning right, so the "no turn on red" signs are sometimes ignored. It doesn't look like that dynamic was involved in this crash, though. I can't figure out from the KATU video what movement the cyclist might have been making through the intersection. Looks like the garbage truck was turning left onto 50th.

    Albina Press II is about 100 feet east of the intersection, on the south side of Hawthorne. They are the primary source of bike traffic in the immediate area. I believe they have an on-street bike parking area there now.

    I hope the cyclist isn't badly injured and makes a speedy recovery.

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  • jeff August 24, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Not nearly enough information yet. Just stop the speculation and blame game and public calls to action to build entire new infrastructures just for cyclists until more is known. These half stories don't serve anyone well.

    Hope she'll be OK.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 24, 2010 at 10:28 am

      Jeff wrote:

      "...These half stories don't serve anyone well."

      thanks for your input, but I disagree. In just the few comments I've read I already have more information about the intersection than I had before. I put these crash reports up like this so that people can weigh in with their input about the location and perhaps share if they saw what happened.

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  • jeff August 24, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Oh, and I live about 3 blocks from that site. The only difficultly there is leaving 50th southbound to cross Hawthorne in front of Albina Press, and even that's not difficult if you stop and look both directions and are PATIENT.

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  • yarrrrum August 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I don't know if this has anything to do with the accident, but I drive the stop light and bike it daily. I will sit and wait for the light to change while on my bike and get passed by 3 bikes while I wait. Bikes blow the stop light constantly. It makes me feel stupid to see the other bikes whizz past the stopped cars and little nerdy me waiting for the change, Sigh...

    Bike rarely keep the lane when going thru this intersection. It's tuff too.

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  • jeff August 24, 2010 at 10:37 am

    More referring to KATU then you, Jonathan, since you story only links the KATU one. How can people accurately put in "their input" if they don't have the facts?

    Yarrruum don't feel nerdy, you're not the one under the garbage truck.

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  • Peter Smith August 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

    These half stories don't serve anyone well.

    Disagree. I want to know about walk/bike collisions the moment they happen, with as much or as little information as is available. It's a bit frustrating to not have full knowledge, but that's no reason to keep incidents secret, and even after months of investigation, we may still end up without full knowledge -- it's just a fact of life.

    Yarrruum don't feel nerdy, you're not the one under the garbage truck.

    OK, I've had my fill of despicable sentiments for the day - all before 11 am. Thanks for that, 'jeff'.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Jeff complaints about stories being published with incomplete facts, but then implies that the bicyclist in this collision was at fault with his reply to the comment about bicyclists often not stopping at the intersection. That's pretty ironic (or another adjective that Jonathan wouldn't appreciate me using here).

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  • Tourbiker August 24, 2010 at 11:30 am

    dunno what happened here, but i can make a generalization based on how i see garbage trucks drive nearly every morning @ 3-5am.
    blow stops (& lights)...run wrong way on streets generally impatient behavior.

    I live downtown 20 years & know what I talking about

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  • random_rider August 24, 2010 at 11:34 am

    KATU uses the phrase that the cyclist ran into the garbage truck. Considering the lack of information regarding the accident, it's hard to know if this is based on fact or just poor writing on their website. It certainly implies fault on the part of the cyclist.

    They also included the usual "it was not known if the cyclist was wearing a helmet" as if that has any relevance than stating "it was not known if the driver of the truck was talking on the radio or wearing a seatbelt".

    There is absolutely no way of knowing who was at fault here, but that isn't going to get in the way of rampant speculation by anonymous posters here and at the KATU site. At least the story hasn't hit Oregonlive yet. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than the majority of posters who haunt that board.

    Let's all just hope that the rider's injuries are not too serious and that she makes a quick and full recovery.

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  • peejay August 24, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I live very near this intersection, also. I don't know what happened, but I do know that KATU, like almost all other news sources, feels obligated to ask the "helmet" question. Did the helmet (or lack of) CAUSE the crash? Does every story about a shooting ask whether the victim was wearing a kevlar vest? What great journalists we have!

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  • Nick V August 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I do hope the woman recovers quickly. Like some people have said, it's too early to speculate. KATU says the accident occurred at 5:45am when it's still fairly dark outside. Can't point blame one way or the other, but I know from experience that anyone cycling at that hour should have lights and reflective clothing on.

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  • Misanthrope August 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Traffic heading in each direction has a light. If the garbage truck driver had a green light to turn, then the biker had a red light, assuming the biker was heading in a different direction. If the biker was heading in the same direction, to be hit, she would have had to cut in front of the garbage truck. The bus I was on this morning was right behind the ambulance and based on the direction of the bike, it appeared that she was heading north on 50th and ran the light to turn west on Hawthorne. I see bikers do this all the time. I base my comments on what I saw. I'd bet my lunch it's what happened, but not my life. I look forward to the day when Portland bikers who have it, lose their sense of entitlement. Plenty of times, it seems that drivers care more about the lives of bikers than the bikers do, or they wouldn't ride without care.

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  • Spiffy August 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I'm familiar with the intersection and it sucks... I understand they wanted to design the road with the majority flow of traffic in mind, but it's still not a good corner...

    going with what Shetha #1 and yarrrrum #6 are stating I can see how this possibly could have happened... jeff #4, sorry for the speculation...

    SPECULATION ON: truck pointing west turning south, bike pointing east turning east... flashers on truck make bike think it's turning right because it can't see that the left side is also flashing... bike pushes the yellow (or blows the red light altogether) thinking truck is going the other way but instead gets a grill sandwich... END SPECULATION

    we'll be waiting again to hear from any witnesses to find out who was in the intersection first and legally...

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  • shirtsoff August 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

    It'd be nice if cyclists had a small path that cut through the northern end of the intersection (i.e. the green space or park if you will) so that they could continue westbound from upper Hawthorne to lower. Granted, it would require a yield sign so that cyclists don't put them in harm's way of cars coming from 50th Ave to the south. As it is now, the traffic lane approaching from upper, eastern Hawthorne slims down to barely accommodate one motorized vehicle. This is probably to prevent a cyclist from getting pinched, but in practice it feels very uncomfortable and not the best designed intersection with cyclists in mind.

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  • wsbob August 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    "...Bikes blow the stop light constantly. It makes me feel stupid to see the other bikes whizz past the stopped cars and little nerdy me waiting for the change, Sigh... " yarrrrum #6

    People on bikes blowing the stop light are the stupid ones. Many people no doubt respect you for stopping at the stop lights. More power to you if you're stopping at the stop signs too.

    I appreciate what Tourbiker #11 says about the hours between 3am and 5am (though, as Nicky V says in comment #13, KATU reports this collision occurring around 5:45am). Activity on the street is zilch at that time. I can imagine some road users taking liberties with the regulations, particularly during those hours.

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  • jeff August 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Velophile, sorry to hurt your sensibilities.

    KOIN is reporting it was the woman's fault (she ran red), but that she'll be OK (non-life threatening injuries).

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  • jeff August 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    While KGW said neither party was at fault. Confusing.

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  • trail abuser August 24, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    The garbage truck was backing up, and from a distance, the cyclist may have thought the truck was reversing to pick up garbage and it was clear to proceed. Judging by the short distance the truck is nosed in to the intersection, this is plausible.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    People who troll on blogs criticizing bicyclists for running lights are the stupid ones. Motorists kill 42,000 people a year. Got a clue yet?

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    $ #19: No need to apologize.

    Does "crossing the street against a red light" mean that the bicyclist was in the crosswalk?

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  • h August 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    many time traffic light did not turn when I stopped for left at front of the intersection. So...

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  • anthony August 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    While I'm one of those cyclists that gets annoyed about fellow cyclists blowing through red lights, if I remember correctly, this is one of the traffic lights that doesn't trigger for bikes unless a car is behind them (on the west side of Hawthorne going east). Of course, that's no excuse for not exercising caution, looking all ways, even moving to the crosswalk and pushing the walk signal if necessary.

    As for what might've happened, it seems clear the truck was turning south onto 50th. Either the cyclist was travelling east on Hawthorne or north to make a left turn onto Hawthorne going west. If the truck had both blinkers on, which seems quite possible if it had just been backing up, and maybe even why the driver mentioned that in his statement, the cyclist could've assumed it would be stationary or maybe even continue to back up, and went through the light.

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  • Nick V August 24, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Speculation again, but the truck couldn't have been moving very quickly when turning which means that the cyclist must have been riding fast which would also meaning that she didn't even think about stopping or looking.

    I feel bad for her but these are the kinds of incidents that make many drivers think cyclists are jerks.

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  • yarrrrum August 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    @ Elliot #3

    There are no 'No right turn on Red' signs at this intersection. Just checked during my lunch break.

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  • wsbob August 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    "While I'm one of those cyclists that gets annoyed about fellow cyclists blowing through red lights, if I remember correctly, this is one of the traffic lights that doesn't trigger for bikes unless a car is behind them (on the west side of Hawthorne going east). Of course, that's no excuse for not exercising caution, looking all ways, even moving to the crosswalk and pushing the walk signal if necessary. ..." anthony #25

    Exactly. Sometimes the sensor doesn't work, or seems to take so long to work that people naturally would rather not wait for the light to cycle through at 5:45 in the morning when there's probably hardly any cars on the road.

    People that don't want to wait could go over and push the crosswalk button, or ride the sidewalk (it would be legal to do so there)until they're through the intersection, then re-enter the street.

    Blowing a stop light even at 5:45am with few or no cars on the street is not too bright, especially when a huge garbage truck is visible at a nearby crossing, positioned where it could possibly be preparing to enter the same intersection as the road user blowing a light is entering.

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  • trail abuser August 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Garbage truck drivers sit on the right "passenger" seat like mail trucks. The accident doesn't appear as though the two collided head on, which would involve a higher energy impact. The higher end equipment of the bike and the fact it's equipped with Look pedals suggest the cyclist was not inexperienced. Throwing the truck into reverse, especially on a large garbage truck with limited rearward visibility, is troubling. This is why insurance company attorneys demand that their clients STFU when interviewed by police.

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  • Kim August 24, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    yarrrrum - please don't feel stupid or nerdy and it appears, as the facts come out, that this accident confirms you are the smart one. I have commented on here MANY times about how I feel that bad biking makes a bad impression on non-bikers and hence, makes them, as the majority of the taxpayers, less willing to help and support cycling. But until your post, I never considered how bad cycling might influence other cyclists to do the same.

    Two weeks ago my husband and I had to drive across town on two consecutive weeknights (after dark) to pick up appliances. Both nights we noticed some very unsafe cycling (can't think of the last time I didn't) and for a small portion of out trip kept track of just lighting and ignored everything else that we saw like the running of stop lights and stop signs.

    We noticed that 60% of the cyclists we saw had NO lights whatsoever and many had no visible reflectors and only 15% had a light in both the front and back. Most of these cyclists were dressed in dark clothing, many with no helmets and were all observed on public streets. For example, some of the riders we saw were E/N bound on Barbur coming onto Naito, but not together and many had taken the lane. Even though I have observed this, actually counting and seeing how many there were the first night, is what made us do it again a second night, imagining that what we found must be an anomaly. But, night #2 was basically the same.

    I can't wait to see my bicyclist hating father-in-law (he knows I am a cyclist and that is likely what makes cycling such a common topic of conversation for him) next time. He will tell me how he thinks bicyclist are ruining his life and how they should not be allowed on the road. He will cite examples of how this is the case and sadly, they will all be bad behavior by cyclists that I have witnessed myself. It makes it pretty tough to argue his points.

    Come on fellow cyclists! Behave in a way that helps the non-cycling taxpayers love us. Set a good example for other cyclists. Help me prove to my FIL that cyclists deserve his support and dollars. Quit trying to use motor vehicles for your suicide.

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  • cyclist August 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Jonathan #7: "In just the few comments I've read I already have more information about the intersection than I had before."

    The design of the intersection had nothing to do with the reason for the accident (according to your update), so any conversation about the intersection really detracts from the actual story, which is essentially "Cyclists blow red light, gets hit by garbage truck."

    I'd appreciate it if just ONE time you'd try to hold off on publishing one of these stories until you have all of the facts, just as an experiment to see how it shapes the conversation. I believe that the conversation will be much more productive if it's stripped from all of the speculation that dominates the early part of these threads before you do your update.

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  • Elliot August 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Re: yarrrrum #26: no turn on red, for traffic on eastbound Hawthorne turning onto 50th southbound.

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  • spare_wheel August 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    "People who troll on blogs criticizing bicyclists for running lights are the stupid ones. Motorists kill 42,000 people a year."

    *ding*

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  • trail abuser August 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    As a former racing driver, I'd say most people are awful at car control and don't have much practice beyond high school driver's ed. In Germany, driver licenses are difficult to get and require years of study and practice. Americans also tend to drive poorly handling cars that don't steer or brake as well as smaller European or Japanese cars. Your father-in-law sucks at driving and my Swedish aunt can out-drive him on snow and ice and a racetrack since she's a race driver too.

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  • Wayne August 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Kim,

    Couldn't agree with you more. Well said.

    Spar_wheel - sorry, cyclists who run lights and blow through stop signs are the stupid ones, ignoring basic laws that apply to cyclists AND drivers alike, and thereby increasing their chances of becoming another statistic. As someone unfortunate enought to have struck and killed a pedestrian on I-84 many years ago (he was in the middle of the freeway at 5:30 am) I can tell you, no driver wants to be the cause of someone else's demise if they can avoid it. Stop running red lights and stop signs, you take away the single most common complaint heard about cyclists' behavior in Portland on a daily basis. And I for one don't take kindly to the fact that, as a responsible and law-abiding cyclist, I get lumped together with those who couldn't care less.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Kim, (#28), I fixed it for ya:

    "Two weeks ago my husband and I had to [bike] across town on two consecutive weeknights (after dark) to pick up appliances. Both nights we noticed some very unsafe [driving] (can't think of the last time I didn't) and for a small portion of ou[r] trip kept track of just [speed]ing and ignored everything else that we saw like [changing lanes without signaling and] the running of stop lights and stop signs.

    We noticed that [10]0% of the [motor]ists we saw [exceeded the speed limit regardless of the road conditions (residential roads or construction zones)] and only 15% [were even going within 5 miles an hour of the posted limit]. Most of these [motor]sts were [driving vehicles weighing well over 2,000 pounds, many while texting or talking on a cell phone] and were all observed on public streets. [This is incredible given that ODOT says speeding is the number one cause of highway fatalities and injuries in Oregon.]

    I can't wait to see my [motor]ist hating father-in-law. He will tell me how he thinks [motor]ist[s] are ruining his life and how they should not be allowed on the road. He will cite examples of how this is the case and sadly, they will all be bad behavior by [motor]ists that I have witnessed myself. It makes it pretty tough to argue his points.

    Come on fellow [motor]ists! Behave in a way that helps the non-[motor]ing taxpayers love us. Set a good example for other [motor]ists. Help me prove to my FIL that [motor]ists deserve his support and dollars. Quit trying to use motor vehicles for your suicide."

    See how dumb that sounds?

    Motorists kill 42,000 people each year. Please get a clue and focus on real roadway safety problems instead of haranguing people who ride bikes.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    @ #32:

    "I can tell you [that] no driver wants to be the cause of someone else's demise if they can avoid it."

    Really, Wayne?

    I can tell you that your statement is complete bullsh!t, because I have personally had drivers use their vehicle as a weapon against me for daring to take the lane when necessary.

    These people were frustrated that I was "slowing them down" and could easily have avoided attempting to hurt or intimidate me.

    That is the mentality of many motorists.

    And if you spend any time reading this blog, you will come across several examples of motorists who intentionally or negligently caused harm to bicyclists with their vehicles (i.e., where they could have avoided it).

    Get a clue, man.

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  • cyclist August 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Velophile in Exile #33: It's kind of funny that you're picking on Kim for the red light thing when the cyclist in this story got hit because they ran a red light. I can't for the life of me understand why so many folks here defend the right to run a red light. Just wait the 45 seconds it takes for the signal to turn, then get back in the saddle and go.

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  • Tom August 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    It's not pleasant to be obeying traffic laws, and have a cyclist who is not, collide with your vehicle.

    Never mind the cyclist, I hope the truck driver wasn't shaken up too much.

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  • WOBG August 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    @cyclist: Here, here---except running a red light isn't a right; it's just amateur-hour folly. Some people ride for years and years, yet never progress past noob level.

    Garbage-truck-colliding woman, get well soon---and then learn and ride better.

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  • yarrrrum August 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Elliot,

    Thanks. Didn't come from that direction. Was really only thinking about where the event took place. May I restate: no 'NTonR' sign where accident occurred.

    You are correct. Nobody obeys that sign.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Cyclist (#35), I am not defending running a red light. Can't you see that?

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  • WOBG August 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    ...assuming the witness account is accurate, of course.

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  • Wayne August 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Velophile in Exile,

    First, I have a clue; in fact, more than just one. Perhaps I should have qualified my comment with (Any sensible driver). I had my own close call last Saturday while on a weekend ride at the coast, and have also had many instances where a driver put my safety at risk while commuting. But I'd like to think most of them aren't considering the possibe outcome of their behavior, intentional or otherwise.

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  • jeff August 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Velophile in Exile, you seem fairly young and defensive. I live near this intersection and travel through it most every single day. From the photos and update, the cyclist ran a red light. There is little room for argument. Not every driver is out to get you, and we can all make it easier for those folks who just want to get home or do their job without injuring or killing someone. Stop with the sterotyping, you're only making yourself look foolish.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    @ #40:

    But that's the point, man: If you qualify your statment with "sensible" then it doesn't mean much.

    Anyone with a pulse can get a driver license, and anyone with or without a license can drive and kill someone without any real repercussions.

    Many of them indeed "aren't considering the possible outcome of their behavior" and that's only slightly less bad than doing it intentionally, because it will almost as often result in someone else (usually someone biking or walking) getting badly hurt or killed.

    42,000 each year.

    Do you go on car blogs and tell people how "stupid" it is to speed?

    Didn't think so.

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  • GawD August 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    @Velophile in Exile I'm not sure what you think you accomplish by demonizing drivers. Hell yes, many of them are a problem, but we are talking about a specific incident here and it appears that the driver had no more or less responsibility for this accident. Ignoring the kinds of behaviors some cyclists display and simply focusing on the behaviors of some drivers does not contribute to this thread. Frankly you come across as a holier-than-thou biker who is just plain annoying.

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  • are August 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    re cyclist 29, yes, the best time to have any conversation about the difficulties of any particular intersection would be after something actually happens. or not.

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  • lucy August 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Velophile, this oughtta blow your mind. I've almost been hit by bicylists... twice... while walking downtown.

    One blew a red light and almost hit me at full speed going down Jefferson, while I was lawfully in a crosswalk.

    The other went screaming down the sidewalk at very nearly the same location.

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  • Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Velophile in Exile,

    "People who troll on blogs criticizing bicyclists for running lights are the stupid ones. Motorists kill 42,000 people a year. Got a clue yet?"

    The number of 2007 MVA deaths from the NHTSA

    Occupants
    Passenger cars 16,520
    Light trucks 12,413
    Large trucks 802
    Buses 37
    Other/Unknown 629
    -----------------------------
    TOTAL Occupants 30,401

    MotorCyclist 5,154

    NonMotorist
    Pedestrian 4,654
    Pedal-Cyclist 698
    Other/Unknown 152
    ----------------------------------
    Total NonMotorist 5,504

    Grand Total 41,059

    % of MVA deaths that are cyclists 1.69%

    If you're going to throw around the numbers they need to be talked about in the proper context.

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  • tony August 24, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    GawD,

    If I had to venture a guess I'd suppose that they are frustrated with the current state of discourse in this city surrounding traffic safety and transportation modes.

    While I thinkt he cycling community certainly can and should continue to educate jerk-ass and dangerous cyclists, the conversation nearly always turns to the actions of these cyclists and how their (generally) minor infractions are "the problem."

    I agree with ViE and think that until cyclists are (even proportionately) causing the same number of fatalities as motorists (and for that matter, I'd be happy to only count the deaths of non-motorists in that comparison) then I really don't want to hear about how some cyclist ran a stop sign somewhere and someone almost hit them. It's irrelevant, in my opinion.

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  • cyclist August 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Velophile in Exile #38:"I am not defending running a red light. Can't you see that?"

    Earlier in #22 you said: "People who troll on blogs criticizing bicyclists for running lights are the stupid ones."

    Which looks like a defense of running red lights to me. I don't know what else it would be, given the fact that a discussion of cyclists running red lights is entirely pertinent to this incident.

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  • Peter Smith August 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    When a story doesn't add up, a story doesn't add up.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    @ #42: I am not demonizing drivers. I am pointing out that if you (people generally) are going to demonize cyclists, turnabout is fair play.

    You come here complaining about the behavior of cyclists because you want safer roads, right?

    If so, then you need to look at what behaviors -- and by what people -- are causing the vast majority of deaths and injuries on the road.

    Or you can just keep up the endless whining about some cyslists who break the rules. Your choice.

    Frankly you come across as an indignant motorist who is incapable of understanding the larger problem and the endless complaining about cyclists is just plain annoying.

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  • NewRiderInPDX August 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Okay everyone. Take a deep breath and calm down. I'm new to the cycling world and guess what? I also drive a car. Now being on a bike on the streets of Portland, it is a bit scary to me to be around cars. This is why I make SURE I'm following all stop light/sign laws. Only makes sense to me. I opt for life thanks. On the flip side, now that I've been cycling for a while, when I drive my car I really make an effort to be fully aware of cyclists and their potential stupid moves (like running red lights). Everyone (cyclists and motorists alike) just BE AWARE, SAFE AND CAUTIOUS at all times. Simple as that.

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  • random_rider August 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Velophile- I'm sorry, but I don't get your point. I agree with you that motorists who don't follow the basic rules of the road are a continual source of fear and aggravation for me regardless of whether I am on foot, on bike or driving a motor vehicle. I agree that a several thousand pound vehicle is going to do more harm to a bicyclist than the opposite.

    I don't see anyone here disagreeing with those points, which is why I find your comments so puzzling. None of this counters the stance that many here are taking, which is that bicyclists should not blow through red lights. I think that biking in an unsafe manner is a "real roadway safety problem". Believing that both bicyclists and motorists need to be more careful and obey the laws are not mutually exclusive opinions.

    I have been right hooked by a car while on my bike (broke my wrist in the fall). I have been sideswiped by another car while driving (whiplash and months of physical therapy). I have had a friend permanently disabled while riding her bike when she got right hooked. I have a family member seriously hurt when she was walking in a cross-walk and was hit by a car who blew through the blinking pedestrian crossing sign. I get it that motor vehicle drivers who break the law are dangerous.

    I also have been clipped by a bike while walking on a sidewalk downtown (cut on my arm). I have had my bars clipped by another bicyclist while riding up Williams by a bike passing me on the right; I was barely able to maintain control but did wind up swerving into the traffic lane, which was luckily empty. I have come within less than a foot of running into another bicyclist when he blew through a stop sign; we were both going around 15 mph and I'm sure there would have been injuries and damage to both our bikes.

    The bottom line is that people using all modes of transportation are a threat to themselves and to others when they aren't careful and act in a reckless manner. I have no problem calling that out and encouraging everyone to follow the rules.

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  • Bob August 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    KGW reports:
    "Police said both had stopped at the red lights in different lanes and then pulled forward and collided at a slow speed.

    "The light turned green and I started to go. Next thing I know, she was in my windshield," the garbage truck driver told KGW.

    Police said neither party was at fault in the crash."

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  • Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I have to say, I am pretty impressed with cyclists and most car drivers in Portland. Being from Seattle, I notice a huge difference in driver behavior. I also see the majority of cyclists making predictable, rational moves on the road.

    Aside from who was at fault in this accident, drivers should be required extensive training with sharing the road and face MUCH more severe penalties. Should they be at fault for hitting a pedestrian or cyclist.

    I know I'm preaching to the quior on this one...but, just sayin.

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  • Mike August 24, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Hey Velo, your time is up!!! If a cyclist runs into the wall are you going to put the blame on the wall? My guess is yes. Grab a beer and relax dude.

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  • Dillon August 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    @41 Actually, the majority of traffic fatalities are people in vehicles. Only 2% were cyclists and of that 2%, 56% of the fatalities were determined to be the cyclist fault.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    @ #44:

    Well, I'm not defending running red lights, so you can take me at my word or not.

    I'm pretty sure you're more interested in taking my statements out of context than trying to comprehend what I'm saying anyway.

    But let's assume that what appears to be true here is fact: The cyclist ran the red light and caused the collision.

    So, what's the discussion?

    You (generally) contribute blindingly obvious statements to the effect that it's a dangerous thing to do, you could get hurt or perhaps hurt someone else, instead you should "just wait" for the light, etc.

    Great. Why are you saying that? Because you want fewer people to get hurt and more safe roads, right?

    So, do you go on driving blogs and complain about speeding?

    When you complain to cyclists on the streets who run red lights and get told to eff off, do you get the impression that your complaining is producing results?

    Do you really think that posting complaints on a blog is going to help the situation?

    Do you ever actually do anything to improve roadway safety other than following the rules yourself?

    That's a pretty good place to start.

    But the whining is not helpful. And it annoys the other readers.

    We are in agreement that running red lights is a bad idea.

    So, do you have anytthing else to offer here?

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    @ #56: Hey, understood. Maybe reading #61 will help you understand my point.

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  • dan August 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Yeah, running the red light in front of a truck with a green light is a bad decision. Granted the garbage truck driver may have confused the cyclist by backing up, but still. I guess there wasn't time to veer off or stop, which I would assume would be your first instinct when you realized the truck that you thought was stopped was actually coming towards you.

    Good that the cyclist was not hurt badly -- it could have been much worse.

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  • cyclist August 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Velophile in Exile #61: My point is that in this particular case a cyclist ran a light and got hit. Why would you go on a rant about people in autos when it has nothing to do with the matter in hand? As Mike #59 said, the blame should be placed where appropriate in this case.

    Speeding has nothing to do with this particular story. Running a red light does. Stop trying to put the blame where it doesn't belong in this story.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Cyclist, your reading comprehension skills are very poor indeed.

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  • Spencer Boomhower August 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    #57:

    "Police said neither party was at fault in the crash."

    Seemed worth repeating.

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  • cyclist August 24, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Velophile in Exile #65: Discussing cyclists running red lights is germane when this particular news story involves a cyclist who got hit by a car when running a red light. Why do you insist on blame shifting?

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  • are August 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    re comment 67, i have yet to hear a reliable, unambiguous description of what happened here. at this point not even sure what direction the cyclist was traveling. i do wonder whether the truck driver had shifted his lookout to the front before dropping it in gear . . .

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  • Skylor August 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    It seems like maybe we have missed the point... I don't know how much it matters who was at fault and who wasn't, or if that is even any of our business. There are plenty of bikers who fly through red lights and stop signs. There are plenty of drivers who are lacking in their road sharing abilities. Someone in our community was hurt, let's take note of that, send our support in that direction, and all take a lesson in being more careful and aware of our surroundings.

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  • Jayteepee August 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I'm sorry to see anyone on a bike get hurt. That being said, I've had 4 very close calls in the past two weeks, and they were all with other cyclists blowing stop signs. I'm not talking about "rolling stops" either. More like blazing through them with total disregard for their safety or the safety of others. In two of those cases, the cyclists weren't wearing helmets.

    Portland may consider itself to be a bike Mecca, but i can honestly say that I've never seen so many people who have no business being on a bike. This isn't meant to be a troll. It's been my honest observation.

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  • Mike August 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Can we all agree that Mr. Velo needs to shut his trap?

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  • Peter Smith August 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Can we all agree that Mr. Velo needs to shut his trap?

    First, please use your full name if you're going to issue these cowardly types of comments.

    Second, I'm not sure if The Internet has agreed on The Rules of Blog Commenting, but it probably doesn't approve of one of the central doctrines of Nazism -- aka 'shut up'.

    Third, please try to add something to the conversation. You don't have to be right -- you don't even have to make sense -- but you should at least try to contribute. Treat this place with the respect it deserves, and value the time of everyone who contributes here.

    FWIW, I happened to think Velo's contribution was excellent. That only 5,000+ walkers/bikers were killed by motor vehicles last year is not something to sneeze at. The number of people killed by walkers and bikers is probably somewhere south of 10. That's ten, as in, one less than eleven. Not 10,000, mind you -- just 10.

    These motor vehicle death numbers say nothing of the widespread devastation and misery this has meant for tens of thousands of people across the US -- including many thousands of children. And this says nothing of the widespread maiming and terror spread by cars throughout the country each year -- which surely affects and devastates millions of Americans.

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  • Mike August 24, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Toot Toot Peter, I drive a car therefore I am the evil one. Toot Toot( since you seem simple, the toot toot is a car horn

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  • matt picio August 25, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Zaphod (#2) - We're starting to get a lot more inexperienced cyclists out there now, and I think that may be part of it. I think it would be really beneficial if the city (or the state) started a bicycle training program. The last time we had a 7% bicycle mode share (as high as 30% in some inner PDX neighborhoods), cars weren't capable of traveling more than 30mph and there were a lot fewer of them. At some point, training may become necessary to reduce incidents like this.

    anthony (#25) - I'm a big believer in returning all traffic lights to timed signals for that very reason. "Smart" signals frequently aren't.

    Nick V (#26) - That depends on whether it was loaded or not. An empty garbage truck (or a cement truck, for that matter) can accelerate pretty fast in its lowest gear when empty.

    Anonymous (#50) - Great stats, thanks! To be fair to Velophile in Exile, though, taking the numbers in context doesn't mean we should view cars as not a problem - the 30,000 motorist deaths were in large part due to speed. If speeds on non-limited-access roads (i.e. everything other than freeways) were reduced to 35mph, there would likely be FAR fewer road deaths.

    Of course, motorists would scream about having their 45 and 50mph roads reduced to 35, and while I'd love to see it, it's certainly not tenable in the current political climate.

    Velophile in Exile (#54) - "look at what behaviors... are causing the vast majority of deaths and injuries" - Ok, let's look. In 2007, car-bike collisions caused 698 cyclist deaths. The real question is, how many of those were judged to be "no-fault", how many "cyclist fault", how many "shared fault", and how many "motorist fault"? Until we know WHY and HOW those deaths and injuries occurred, we can't address the specific conditions that cause them.

    That said, there is obviously an issue regarding cars, because they're killing 41,000 people. Since 30,000 of them are other people in cars, society should probably be looking at A: speed, B: driver inattentiveness, and C: licensing and training requirements - the vehicles are about as safe as humans can make them.

    Peter Smith (#72) - Well said, and thanks for using your full name.

    "Mike" (#73) - I think you've proven Peter's point. Is there a reason why we shouldn't address 41,000 deaths per year? "Accidents" are the #5 cause of death, with motor vehicle collisions counting for 1/3 of that number. Cars kill more people annually than chronic liver disease does, more than suicide, more than influenza, more than Parkinson's disease. Shouldn't we take the matter at least as seriously as we take those?

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  • wsbob August 25, 2010 at 9:58 am

    "...Of course, motorists would scream about having their 45 and 50mph roads reduced to 35, and while I'd love to see it, it's certainly not tenable in the current political climate. ..." picio #74

    Neither the person riding the bike or the garbage truck involved in the collision being discussed were reportedly going anywhere close to those speeds.

    One of the operators of the two vehicles involved in this collision claims they passed through the intersection in question on a green light. That would be the driver of the garbage truck. No word reported yet from the rider of the bike on what conditions they passed through the signal control (definitely a stop light? or was it a stop sign?) on the street they were riding.

    One of the two, or both of the vehicle operators involved in this collision either caused or contributed to its happening.

    Quote from garbage truck driver on KGW's story on its website:

    "The light turned green and I started to go. Next thing I know, she was in my windshield," the garbage truck driver told KGW."

    Cyclist & Portland garbage truck collide/KGW staff

    Quote from the PPB, posted above in maus's story:

    "... A witness described the bicyclist crossing the street against a red light as the garbage truck was turning on a green light. ..."

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  • PD August 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

    To the cyclist on the Sellwood bridge this morning who took the lane doing 5 mph flipping off honking motorists, you are the type of entitled piss-ant that gives cyclists a bad name.

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  • spare_wheel August 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    "...you take away the single most common complain...t"

    IMO, most of those complainers are just bike-hating hypocrites who routinely violate the law in more dangerous ways (e.g. speeding in 1-3 ton death mobiles).

    @wayne
    you know what they say about assuming.

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  • Wayne August 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    spare_wheel @ 77

    "IMO, most of those complainers are just bike-hating hypocrites who routinely violate the law in more dangerous ways . . )

    Is this not also an assumption on your part?

    As long as we polarize the debate, how do we expect to achieve common ground that promotes better understanding and awareness? And reading through the comments, many cyclists seem to agree about running red lights and stop signs. Do you also stereotype them (and me)?

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  • spare_wheel August 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    "To the cyclist on the Sellwood bridge this morning who took the lane doing 5 mph flipping off honking motorists"

    yet another off topic bike rant.

    do *you* really think some hipster is going to read your outburst and reform their behavior.

    whats the purpose of these anecdotal rants? (other than the obvious trolling)

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  • Whyat August 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Velophile- the overwhelming majority of car accidents are caused by distracted or impaired drivers- not speeding. If you're going to post on car boards you should probably start there.

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  • spare_wheel August 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    "And reading through the comments, many cyclists seem to agree about running red"

    @wayne
    nice try but my statement clearly refers to all those who complain (not bike portland commentators in particular).

    imo, anyone who routinely breaks the speed limit and criticizes the idaho stop is like a drunk chastising someone for smoking.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm

      Just updated the post with a more detailed description of what happened. This is from PPB Traffic Division Sgt. Todd Davis:

      The garbage truck was eastbound on Hawthorne and had stopped for a red light at SE 50th Ave. The driver said he had stopped over the line of the crosswalk so he backed up a little to make room in the crosswalk for the bicyclist who was waiting to cross. Once the driver backed up, his light had turned green, and he started moving forward. The bicyclist was now in the crosswalk in front of his truck. He struck her at low speed [5mph] knocking her to the ground.

      The bicyclist was transported to OHSU, but apparently did not have serious injuries. A witness told the officer that the bicyclist rode in front of the garbage truck against a red [DONT WALK] light. I imagine she was confused when the truck initially backed up to let her cross. No cites were issued to either party. The 28 yo cyclist was wearing a helmet."

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  • Peter Smith August 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I knew this story didn't add up.

    Listen drivers, stop hitting, injuring, maiming, terrorizing, and killing people. It's pretty simple.

    You can call this case 'ambiguous' if you like, but in my mind -- and this might sound crazy -- you should not be able to drive into someone if they are in front of you, in a crosswalk, even if you are crossing against the light -- and drivers should have to, you know, look out their front windshield to see what is in front of them before they start driving -- but maybe that's just me.

    @#$@#@#$@@!!!!!

    Why wasn't the garbage truck driver arrested?

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  • are August 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    enough with the helmet already.

    hey, maybe it's just me, but this seems to place the entire situation in a somewhat different light.

    big truck rolls into the crosswalk just as i am about to cross. i hesitate. my attention is now on the truck, and not on the crosswalk signal, which is about to change. the truck backs up.

    the fact that i personally would not ride in a crosswalk, or that i would like to imagine that i personally would never lose track of the signal phase because of distractions caused by wayward motorists (though i can certainly remember situations in which this did occur), or that i try never to accept a proferred yield . . .

    or that i personally would be reported as dutifully wearing the helmet (and as being considerably older than 28) . . .

    does not alter the math here. he admits he knew she was there, for pete's sake.

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  • wsbob August 25, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    "...he admits he knew she was there, for pete's sake. ..." are #84

    Presumably, the woman on the bike knew the guy in his garbage truck, towering over her on her bike, was there too. Her crosswalk light turns red, meaning she's not supposed to start making her way across the street in front of the garbage truck that's just about to get the green light. Getting the green light, the garbage truck driver has good reason to expect the pedestrian/cyclist is going to stay where they're at.

    Hypothetically, some confusion may have occurred due to the garbage truck's front bumper initially being over the crosswalk line, and his backing up to have it be properly behind the crosswalk line.

    If a pedestrian seeking to cross the street in the crosswalk sees such an action on the part of another road user...in this case, a motor vehicle driver, and suspects that by this action, the driver may be encouraging the pedestrian to go ahead and make the crossing in front of the vehicle, even though the crosswalk light has turned red...they might do so, if...they clearly have sustained eye contact with that vehicle operator, and if...the vehicle operator is signaling with their hands to pass in front of the the vehicle even though the crosswalk light has turned red.

    Even then, the pedestrian would have to be on the alert for other traffic besides the vehicle operator signaling them to cross against the light. In this instance at 5:45am-6:30am, the likelihood that there would be any is less, but still something to be aware of.

    Unless the person in the crosswalk gets definite confirmation that the motor vehicle operator sees them and is signaling them to cross in front of their vehicle, the safer bet is to wait for the walk signal. Even then...be careful crossing.

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  • spare_wheel August 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    "Getting the green light, the garbage truck driver has good reason to expect the pedestrian/cyclist is going to stay where they're at."

    Unfortunately PDX drivers often idiotically give right of way to cyclists and pedestrians. Its one of my biggest pet peaves -- I've seen many near misses and one serious accident because of this "politeness".

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  • spare_wheel August 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    (peeves)

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  • jim August 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I am often criticized on this site because I want cyclists to follow the laws. Many cyclists scoff at that. even the city has said that cyclists are just a bunch of happy go lucky people- and to just disregard their behaviour if they are breaking a few laws.....
    I still say the same things, Stop at signals, stop signs...
    Have a headlight and rear light.
    Don't ride off a sidewalk into a crosswalk- it'll get you killed.
    Don't go wrong way on one way streets- it'll get you killed
    Stay away from really big vehicles- you might get killed
    Be aware of what is going on around you, pay attention.
    Don't be flipin me off when I honk my horn at you when you are doing stupid stuff in front of me. I really don't want to be involved with a bicycle accident, don't do stupid stuff.
    If your over 16 you make your own decision if you want a helmet, hopefully parents will enforce this to 18.

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  • spare_wheel August 25, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    "Don't be flipin me off when I honk my horn at you when you are doing stupid stuff in front of me."

    roflmao!

    now we get to the root of stop sign nazi false concern.

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  • wsbob August 26, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Yeah, in addition to jim's frustrated remonstration of cyclist's response to him when he honks his horn at them for doing stupid stuff in front of him, blowing stop signs also seems to be a barrel of laughs for some people as expressed in comments to this thread; A "...false concern...", as spare_wheel chooses to describe that particular traffic violation.

    I wonder if that source of laughter for these people also includes running stop lights, and relative to the collision being discussed, crossing a street against a 'Don't Walk' light,

    I would tend to think that the person that rode their bike in the crosswalk, against the 'Don't Walk' light and collided with a big garbage truck, is not laughing quite so hard as these people may be, about having done that.

    Maybe when she gets a moment, she'll post a comment here, giving some of the people laughing at jim for his comment, a chance to ask her whether she thinks people's objections to road users blowing stop signs is a "...nazi false concern."

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  • Mindful Cyclist August 26, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Any chance we can take it easy on Nazi comparisons?

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  • are August 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

    tell ya what, wsbob, i don't know this "jim" fellow personally, but i have had occasion now and again to express my dissatisfaction with some motorist sounding his horn at me because i was (stupidly, in his mistaken estimation) asserting my place on the road.

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  • spare_wheel August 26, 2010 at 8:18 am

    "Any chance we can take it easy on Nazi comparisons?"

    someone doth protest too much. think seinfeld vs godwin's law.

    wsbob, in my view much of this stop-sign fundamentalism is rooted in a car-centric interpretation of traffic laws and road behavior. although i personally go out of my way to be respectful like most bicycle-riding human beings i occasionally roll through a stop sign. on several occasions i have even mistakenly run a light (quelle horreur!!!).

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  • Peter Smith August 26, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I would tend to think that the person that rode their bike in the crosswalk, against the 'Don't Walk' light and collided with a big garbage truck, is not laughing quite so hard as these people may be, about having done that.

    1) please put me on record as having condemned this comment as 'monstrous'.

    also, i consider all similarly-themed 'good - the pedestrian/cyclist-victim got what the victim deserved' comments to be similarly distasteful, and in extreme cases like this, monstrous.

    thanks.

    2) the garbage truck did not 'collide with' Ms. Dorokhova -- the garbage truck hit Ms. Dorokhova. we can only hope the driver did not do so intentionally, though it is difficult to see how that is possible under the known circumstances.

    3) there is no evidence that Ms. Dorokhova was walking/riding across the crosswalk against the light, in this case, in theory, against the "Don't Walk" light. we know that many times, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, we get caught in the middle of the road when a traffic signal changes -- this is often, if not always, poor, car-centric road engineering. when this happens, we continue to have the right of way -- that is not in dispute -- it is the responsibility of all other road users to not hit/injure/maim/terrorize/kill us. this is the law. if you violate the law in such an egregious manner, you should go to jail.

    4) the truck driver should have been at least cited for several offenses, and should probably have been arrested. it's hard to know for sure without more details, but the truck driver clearly violated several written laws, and a few moral laws, which resulted in at least minor injuries to the victim, with the victim being transported to the hospital.

    5) this story still does not add up. i was right the first time, and i'll be right this time, too.

    6) my supposition for what happened, and this is giving the truck driver the benefit of the doubt, which s/he does not deserve, is that the truck driver drives into the intersection the first time around. decides to break the law and reverse their vehicle instead of proceeding as quickly as possible through the intersection. the driver sees Ms. Dorokhova on the side of the street, about to cross. the truck driver's light turns green at some point and the driver jams his/her foot on the truck's accelerator without having made eye contact, or even spotted, Ms. Dorokhova. the reason is that Ms. Dorokhova is now in the truck driver's blind spot, in front of the truck, and is about to be hit, and possibly horrifically injured and crushed to death. luckily, Ms. Dorokhova 'escapes' with allegedly 'minor injuries'.

    7) the laws need to change, and they need to change quickly. we can start this process by putting together a simple document called 'The Responsibility of Drivers'. In it, we will detail exactly how it is the responsibility of drivers to not harass, injure, maim, terrorize, or kill any other road user, including other motorists, and including and especially non-motorists. once we've articulated our vision on paper, then we can push for specific legislation that will better protect all of us, and ultimately, provide all of us with more freedom, opportunity, and a higher quality of life.

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  • wsbob August 26, 2010 at 10:47 am

    "...3) there is no evidence that Ms. Dorokhova was walking/riding across the crosswalk against the light ..." p smith #94

    There are witness accounts suggesting the cyclist disregarded a traffic control.

    The info on details of this collision vary. At first, the suggestion was that the cyclist was on the street approaching an overhead signal light. Later, info changed to suggest the cyclist was on a sidewalk, approaching a crosswalk light. That's what PPB's Traffic Division Sgt. Todd Davis says in maus's latter update to his above story.

    The truck driver is a witness to this collision. He claims he had the green light. At least one other witness is reported to have said the cyclist ran a red light.

    Based on those two bits of, I'm more inclined to suspect it's the cyclist that may have...may...have...disregarded a traffic control and put herself and her bike in front of the moving garbage truck. Maybe more conclusive details about the collision will be determined, and maybe not.

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  • Joe August 26, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Hope she is healing well.

    Ride Safe!
    Joe

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  • spare_wheel August 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    " I'm more inclined to suspect it's the cyclist that may have...may...have...disregarded a traffic control"

    Its interesting that bob is inclined to believe the driver even though the cyclist version of the incident was not presented.

    bias much, bob?

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  • wsbob August 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    "...Its interesting that bob is inclined to believe the driver even though the cyclist version of the incident was not presented. ..." spare_wheel #97

    Based on information about the collision offered by the driver, but also, the witness, and the police that investigated the collision, at this point, I'm inclined to suspect that the person riding the bike went against a traffic signal.

    And I'm sure other people in addition to myself, would be more that willing to listen and consider the injured cyclist's version of the situation. What that person has to say or offer as their explanation of what occurred that contributed to this collision may or may not alter the explanation of how it happened.

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  • Velophile in Exile August 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Independently of what happened here, Bob's anti-bike bias is well-known. His fake attempts at appearing even-handed are reminiscent of Faux News.

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  • NewRiderInPDX August 26, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I'm a new bike rider here in Portland (obviously...hence the name) and these posts make me scared to even TRY riding on the streets or come into contact with cyclists who have been riding for years. Or cars. So many rude people out there who probably wouldn't have any idea that I've literally rode under a dozen times.

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  • wsbob August 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    NewRiderInPDX #100 ...depending upon where you intend to ride, it can take time, physical conditioning and experience to hold your own on a bike out in the street with traffic.

    Summon the courage and start slow. Follow the traffic regulations, develop the ability to have an awareness of what's going on around you while you're pushing the pedals, and work to have good exchanges between yourself and other road users. It can work out for you.

    Treat people on the road well and with respect, and many of them will help you out to get you where you need to go. Not all the people on the road are rude.

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  • Kt August 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Regarding WSBob's #85:

    I was involved in an accident similar to this once-- except mine involved my vehicle, sitting at a stop sign; a large local delivery truck (day-cab semi with trailer); and a bicycle rider.

    I was leaving my office one morning, sitting at the stop sign at the end of our road which T's into a major road. To see to the left around some large bushes one must pull through the bike lane. I was looking left, crept forward, noticed a bike coming down the road toward the intersection, and reversed to clear the bike lane.

    The semi coming from the right, seeking to turn left off the main road onto our road, thought I was clearing the way for him, and proceeded to make his turn as the cyclist entered the intersection.

    Luckily for the cyclist, the semi saw him at the last second-- literally-- and stopped before running the cyclist over. Unluckily for me, the cyclist swerved, locked his brakes, and ran into the side of my car, shattering the back side window and denting the sheet metal of the door.

    The first thing the truck driver said, naturally, was "it's not my fault"-- even before asking if everyone was all right. Jerk.

    The driver of the car behind me witnessed the whole thing, and we both urged the cyclist to call the police and seek medical attention. He refused both, and headed off to work.

    I went back to me office and wrote down everything that happened in case it was needed in the future.

    Long story longer, several years after that I got calls from both the shipping company's lawyers and the cyclist's lawyer looking for info on what happened. Turns out he had torn meniscuses (sp?) and couldn't work as a result.

    Moral of the story: the truck driver thought I was backing up to clear the intersection for his turn, so he started to make it without yielding to oncoming traffic. Because he was not expecting the cyclist to be able to keep up with the rest of the traffic, and was expecting to make the turn before the cyclist got there.

    This current incident sounds a lot the same-- the cyclist in this instance thought the truck driver was backing up to clear the intersection for her, so she started to cross.

    Since she was in a crosswalk, legally, the truck driver should have remained stationary until she was at least 6 feet away or in the next lane. He didn't.

    His statement makes it clear he saw her there.

    Any reasonable jury would probably think as I do, that since he backed up to specifically clear the crosswalk and intersection, he was expecting the cyclist/pedestrian to cross and didn't want to block it.

    My story and this one seems to be all about people's expectations.

    I hope she gets better soon... and I hope the personal attacks here stop (I'm looking at you, Velophile) so we can continue to have a good discussion about this.

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  • spare_wheel August 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    "So many rude people out there who probably wouldn't have any idea that I've literally rode under a dozen times."

    IMO, riding in PDX is easier than in just about any other city in North America -- and I've ridden in many of them. Because cycling represents such a large fraction of mode share there are more conflict with motorists and other cyclists. Don't let these debates intimidate you. 99% of my interactions with motorists or cyclists are courteous.

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  • are August 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    based on the same info available to wsbob, i am inclined to believe that the cyclist was interrupted in her effort to cross legally by the truck rolling into the crosswalk, and that when he backed up, she proceeded without noticing that the light was changing. and that he then proceeded to knock her down even though he had clear info she was there and intended to cross. i would like to believe that in a similar situation (i would not be in the identical situation, as i do not ride crosswalks) i might think to check the light after the motorist had backed off, but i can readily remember situations in which i myself did lose track of the signal cycle when something else was going on. what i absolutely cannot wrap my brain around is the truck driver lurching forward after having backed away to let this person cross.

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  • NewRiderInPDX August 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Isn't the general consensus here that everyone (cyclists and motorists alike) just be aware and cautious? Done and done?

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  • Mindful Cyclist August 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    NewRiderInPDX: I agree with other that cycling here in Portland is not all that dangerous. I can understand how reading this site it may seem that way. However, think of it like watching the news. The news reports (typically) the bad stuff that happens and (rarely) focuses on the positive things. Bike accidents are news on this site (and should be), but we often will not hear about the guy that popped out of his car to help a cyclist change a tire. That is just not "news" nor could this site keep up with all of that kind of stuff.

    Be cautious and alert. I can say as well that 99% of my interactions are courteous.

    Along with the other posters' advice, learn the skill of making eye contact with cyclists and motorists. Even if you have the right of way, if you cannot make eye contact, just remember that they do not see you. Yes, it can be irritating when others don't follow the rules of the road, but crashing is not a better alternative.

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  • wsbob August 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    "... Since she was in a crosswalk, legally, the truck driver should have remained stationary until she was at least 6 feet away or in the next lane. He didn't.

    His statement makes it clear he saw her there.

    Any reasonable jury would probably think as I do, that since he backed up to specifically clear the crosswalk and intersection, he was expecting the cyclist/pedestrian to cross and didn't want to block it. ..." Kt #102

    It is possible that when the truck driver had the red, he looked over and saw the cyclist on the sidewalk either some distance away from entering the street, or stationary at the curb, waiting for the truck driver to back his truck up behind the crosswalk line.

    What's not clear is whether the cyclist already had started across the street while the truck driver had the red and was backing up, qualifying the cyclist as a pedestrian that the truck driver had an obligation to wait for.

    It's possible that between the time the driver busied himself with backing the truck up, he didn't have his eyes straight ahead or in the direction of the cyclist to keep track of where that person was. I figure we may be talking about seconds here...10 or less.

    So after completing the backup maneuver, the truck driver might naturally have looked straight ahead and up to check on the light's progress, saw the green and started accelerating before looking again to see if the person on the bike was still waiting at the curb.

    If the cyclist was rolling in approach to the crosswalk at a speed that would bring them to the crosswalk just as the truck driver's light turns green, (if I understand traffic lights and crosswalk lights, many, but not all crosswalk lights flash yellow or at least turn red before street traffic gets the green) the truck driver may have had reason to anticipate that the cyclist would be stopping, even though the cyclist could actually have been rolling fast enough to find theirselves going into the street in front of the truck.

    I think what I've just written also responds to are #104's idea of how the collision might have happened. Definitely, if the cyclist was already in the crosswalk and crossing when the truck driver looked over and saw her, whether he had started moving forward or not, whether the crosswalk signal was red or green, the truck driver had an obligation to stop for her.

    Knowing all of that for certain is what seems to be hard to determine here. All of this takes place over a period of seconds, some of the really critical stuff in split seconds. Rather than try make a big deal of it, the cop chose not to issue citations. Everyone involved is probably content counting their blessings that the outcome wasn't worse than it was.

    It's important to be very, very careful crossing the street in front of vehicles. Reading on bikeportland about various collisions over the last few years has brought me to change the way I ride in traffic, cross street on foot, and drive. I've personally known at least one person that was busted up by a car that didn't stop at a crosswalk. Pins in the leg, months of pain and physical therapy.

    After that, I started paying a lot of attention to how people cross the street in front of vehicles. I learned that some people absolutely won't look at approaching vehicles as they begin to cross. They won't even break pace to let a car fully stop before walking in front of it.

    That's not for me. When the crosswalk light says walk, as a pedestrian, I can take as much time as I need to cross the street. I rarely start to cross the street when the car nearest me is still approaching the crosswalk line, however slow it's going, even when I've got the light. Once people are walking and in the crosswalk, the main travel lane road users have to come to a full stop, even if the crosswalk cycle has expired.

    Make them wait if you have to. Look them in the eye as you approach the other side of the intersection and start to see them get antsy, wanting to creep forward over the crosswalk and on their way. Let them feel the full burden of their need to wait for you. Smile. Mouth the words, 'Thank You!'. Many of them will love you for it. You never know...could be the best moment of their day.

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  • are August 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    doesn't the police report say he backed up specifically in order to clear the path for her to cross? i mean, i am not a close reader or anything.

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  • matt picio August 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    wsbob (#75) - It was a general comment, not applicable in this specific instance.

    PD (#76) - I think the honking motorists are giving motorists a bad name. Do you really think it's acceptable to ask the cyclist to use another bridge? Or the sidewalk?

    jim (#88) - Don't honk your horn unless there is an immediate safety threat. Your horn is not a tool for your displeasure. If a cyclist stood behind you and suddenly yelled right into your ear, wouldn't your immediate reaction be similar?

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  • jim August 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Wsbob-
    ("... Since she was in a crosswalk, legally, the truck driver should have remained stationary until she was at least 6 feet away or in the next lane. He didn't.)
    Not true- she was riding a bike in the crosswalk, this is too fast of a speed for crosswalks, also against the light. Its the same as hiting a car that blew a red light

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  • jim August 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Matt-
    If a bike rides out in front of me at night with no headlight and I almost run him over I WILL blow my horn at him. I am very courteous and patient for bicycles, but not when they are idiots.

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  • jim August 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I would tend to call it a painfull learning experience (and embarrasing)
    I hope the rider recovers quickly and can ride again without being traumatised everytime she sees a garbage truck

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  • wsbob August 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    jim #102...that wasn't my statement. That was part of Kt's in comment #102, which I excerpted in #107.

    picio...no problem. Everybody sidetracks from time to time. I was just hoping to bring it back to the central focus.

    This collision is actually a really good example of how closely synchronized individual road users unspoken communication and actions sometimes have to be in order for everything to work well.

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  • Peter Smith August 26, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Not true- she was riding a bike in the crosswalk, this is too fast of a speed for crosswalks, also against the light.

    Just because at least one wrong/crime was committed by each party in the collision, this does not mean that those wrongs 'cancel out'. This _could_ happen, but it did not happen here.

    Regardless of whether or not one or more of the parties involved in a collision or potential collision broke one or more rules of the roads, laws, social norms, etc., the people in/on/driving the bigger, more dangerous vehicles bear primary burden of the responsibility in preventing any collisions/accidents/injuries/deaths from occurring.

    Go ahead and add this elementary moral principle to our new guide, 'The Responsibility of Road Users'.

    One basis for this natural law is that the legal requirements for obtaining a license to drive a truck are much higher/more difficult than those for obtaining a license to ride a bike and/or walk (no license required at all). This is one of the ways society has signaled that driving (inherently-dangerous machines) comes with very serious responsibilities. People who have been licensed in some European countries attest to the more-strenuous driver licensing requirements there -- this probably helps to explain the drastically-lower levels of automobile-caused deaths in those countries.

    If you are a biker, don't run down walkers -- it is your responsibility, first and foremost, to make sure that does not happen.

    If you are a car driver, don't run down walkers or bikers -- it is your responsibility, first and foremost, to make sure that does not happen.

    If you are a truck driver, don't run down walkers, bikers, or car drivers -- it is your responsibility, first and foremost, to make sure that does not happen.

    These natural standards are not sufficiently embodied in transportation law here yet, but they will be -- and we can't afford to wait, so let's get some consensus on this -- these laws will protect us all, and make the world a better place.

    If you recklessly fire your gun across a crowded room, without aiming at anyone in particular, and you end up hurting/killing someone (and even if you don't), you go to jail. As you should.

    If you fire your truck across a crosswalk where you know people are in close proximity, without aiming at anyone in particular, and you end up hurting/killing someone (and even if you don't), you should go to jail.

    Even if that crowded room was crowded with underage teenagers who were not legally allowed to be in the club, the gunman still did not have the right to fire that gun across that crowded room -- that gunman must still go to jail. Even if that 'crowded' room was actually only sparsely-populated, that gunman still did not have the right to fire that gun across that sparsely-populated room -- that gunman must still go to jail.

    This is, as best we know so far, the scenario that played out between this truck driver (the gunman) and Ms. Dorokhova (the underage teenager in the sparsely-populated room). Except this is the transportation world, where 'car-head' and injustice rules, so 'the gunman' did not go to jail.

    That this driver did _not_ go to jail should be disturbing to all of us. Many District Attorneys, including Portlands', I'm sure, are well aware of how weak the laws are when trying to convict drivers of reckless behavior. It needs to change, and it starts with us not accepting the carnage as inevitable or tolerable. Or worse -- acceptable.

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  • jim August 26, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Wsbob-
    Sorry about that- should have known better

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  • wsbob August 27, 2010 at 12:19 am

    are...read the first paragraph of maus's latest update in the story above:

    "... Once the driver backed up, his light had turned green, and he started moving forward. The bicyclist was now in the crosswalk in front of his truck. ..."

    I would tend to think that's saying he backed up because he was over the line and the light was red for him. He's making room for her on the crosswalk, because she presumably has the 'Walk' signal(although,if it's as some crosswalk light are, it could have been flashing yellow, counting down time, etc.). That changes when he gets the green. As he makes the backing up maneuver, is she moving? Or waiting ?

    Once having the green, he accelerates and the two vehicles somehow collide Is that because he does he not wait for her to cross, because he forgets she's there while his mind goes from the backing up maneuver to checking the green light and then accelerating? Does he not wait for her because he believes she's likely decided to continue to stay stopped at the curb, now having been presented with the 'Don't Walk' sign?

    Possible confusion and mixed signals between road users over a period of seconds and split seconds. I will agree that the truck driver, after seeing the green and before accelerating, should have looked once more to be sure of where the cyclist was, regardless of whether he'd seen her waiting at the curb before he started to back up.

    Maybe he didn't look, and that's partly why they collided.

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  • matt picio August 27, 2010 at 10:14 am

    jim (#111) - As well you should, because that is an immediate safety threat. If that's how you use your horn, I have no problem with that and I commend you - my experience has been that few motorists behave in that fashion. I apologize for drawing assumptions from your post.

    Then again, I do ride with lights, and rarely ride like an idiot, so I'll admit my sampling is likely biased.

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  • spare_wheel August 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    "If a bike rides out in front of me at night with no headlight and I almost run him over I WILL blow my horn at him."

    jim comes up with a "perfect" example to even though the original statement did not refer to this particular incident.

    i have a feeling that if one were to plot the amount of time spent driving on one axis and the level of concern over the idaho stop on the other axis the R squared would be pretty close to 1.

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