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Police cite bus operator for unlawful turn in transit mall crash – UPDATED

Posted by on September 10th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Richard Krebs’ bike rests under the
wheel of a TriMet bus after the
collision last Thursday.
(Photos: Bill Jackson)

In a major update to our story from last week, the Portland Police Bureau has issued a citation to TriMet bus operator John Nations in a crash that occurred August 12th at SW 6th and Morrison in downtown Portland.

According to TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch, the bus operator, 39 year-old John Nations from Beaverton, has been cited in violation of ORS 811.335, “Unlawful or unsignaled turn.” Here’s more from Fetsch:

“Police described the turn as unlawful because it was made from the center lane. The operator had moved into the center lane from the travel lane in order to make a wide turn to clear the light rail vehicle at Pioneer Square North station.”

TriMet says that 37 year-old Richard Krebs, who was hit by Nations as he turned left from the transit mall onto SW Morrison, was also given a citation. Krebs, who was on his bicycle, suffered a broken clavicle and required skin graft surgeries on his leg.

Jug handle vs button hook turns.
(ODOT Manual)

TriMet initially told the public that the bus operator had performed a “button hook” turn, which is a recommended maneuver for creating more space during a left turn because it does not lead the bus into the adjacent lane (see graphic at right). However, after being questioned about the incident, TriMet operations spokesperson Josh Collins acknowledged that the type of turn Nations actually made was closer to a “jug-handle” turn. Jug handles are specifically not recommended in the ODOT Commercial Drivers Manual because they result in a swerve into the adjacent lane prior to the turn (the exact type of movement that likely had something to do with this collision).

There are still many unanswered questions about this incident. There is still no word about the on-board video from the incident. With citation decisions made, I expect it would be released soon. The video might be able to answer remaining questions about whether or not Krebs ran a yellow light (which I have finally confirmed he has been cited for), and which lane the bus operator was traveling in prior to the left turn.

Read our full coverage of this story here.


UPDATE, 5:10 pm: A story in The Oregonian says that the bus operator was “assaulted”. Reporter Joseph Rose says TriMet told him John Nations is currently out on worker’s comp due to the alleged “assault”. I asked TriMet’s Mary Fetsch to clarify. She said via email that Nations was assaulted by a bystander at the scene and that there were minor injuries and no arrests. There is no record of assault anywhere in the police report. There are two mentions of what Fetsch might be referring to in the police report.

The first is from Nations’ statement to responding officer Kent Scott. According to the police report, when Nations’ bus came to rest atop Krebs’ leg, people began screaming and telling him to put it in reverse. Here’s what Officer Scott wrote in the report after that: “He [Nations] opened the window and stuck his head out when someone “clobbered” me.”

That “someone” is likely a witness named J. Smith. Here’s an excerpt from Smith’s witness statement: “Smith said the driver seemed confused so he clapped his hands in front of the driver’s face.”

Krebs himself told me he vaguely remembers “someone coming up and putting their hands on his face, but certainly didn’t punch him.”

It’s reasonable to assume that Nations’ memory of being “clobbered” is clouded by the fact that it happened in an extremely tense moment (someone under the wheel of his bus, with crowds of screaming people nearby). It’s also worth remembering that TriMet got their information that Nations was “assaulted” in the same way they got information that Krebs had been given a citation (when he hadn’t), that Nations made a legal turn (when he hadn’t) and that Krebs was riding at a “high rate of speed” (when he wasn’t).

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Comments
  • spare_wheel September 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Waiting for the many posters who ranted about SLBHs (speeding light-blowing bike hipsters) to apologize.

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  • ray September 10, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Interesting. Per ORS 811.260, drivers (including cyclists) have the right to proceed through the intersection if they cannot stop in safety:

    From ORS 811.260, Section 3:
    “Steady circular yellow signal. A driver facing a steady circular yellow signal light is thereby warned that the related right of way is being terminated and that a red or flashing red light will be shown immediately. A driver facing the light shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection.”

    Would be interesting to see in the video how long the light was yellow. If it had just changed, the cyclist may not have had time to safely come to a stop.

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  • Bob R. September 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    “the video will answer remaining questions [...]“

    The video will *hopefully* answer remaining questions.

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  • Bob R. September 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Or to be precise, “Hopefully, the video will answer remaining questions” or “The video, hopefully, will answer remaining questions.” Grammar flames suck.

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  • trail abuser September 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Which is the bigger of the two evils: running through a lawful yellow or running over innocents while turning from the wrong lane like Trimet driver Day did to pedestrians. You’d think Trimet would learn not to turn left from the rightmost lane.

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  • peejay September 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Bob R:

    “Hopefully” is such an imprecise modifier that I try to avoid it at all costs. Wherever it is placed in a sentence, one struggles to ascertain who or what is being hopeful.

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  • aljee September 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    maybe this has been brought up before, but could the driver have even made a button turn since the light rail vehicle was in the closest lane? according to that diagram, you would have to drive on the sidewalk to make that happen.

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  • matt picio September 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    aljee (#7) – Good point. If not, then the correct response is to use another street that *will* accommodate the turn.

    Drivers (whether on a bike or in a car, bus, truck etc) have a tendency to get into a certain mindset when they intend to go somewhere, and frequently will doggedly pursue what they think is the only way to do it, regardless of the circumstances – like cutting across 4 lanes of traffic to do a left turn, when the same objective could be accomplished with 3 right turns. Or backing up on a one-way street after missing the driveway / alley they intended to pull into.

    On a ridealong with a Clackamas County deputy, we were going 60mph on 82nd Avenue, all lights and sirens blaring. A women in the leftmost lane who intended to make a left turn still cut in front of the police car to perform the manuever. We know she saw us because she started to pull right, then suddenly cut left to be able to make the turn.

    What am I getting at? When you (all of us, no matter what mode we use) are going to miss your turn, or can’t do what you planned to do, take a deep breath, relax, and adapt – let it ride. You can still get there, it’s just going to take a little longer than you planned.

    I hope that Tri-Met takes the time to emphasize this to all its operators.

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  • Whyat September 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    @spare_wheel- last I heard they had not nullified Krebs’ citation. Sounds like both operators screwed up royally.

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  • Vance Longwell September 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Told ya so.

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  • KWW September 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Sounds if they both were cited that 2 wrongs do not right the situation for the cyclist, but I wonder(!), did the bus not run the yellow light as well?

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  • craig September 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Bob R., your pre-emptive self-defence is LOL-awesome.

    If you feel that grammar flames suck, you would do better to brush up on your knowledge of English before attempting to represent “precise” grammar (you probably meant “accurate”).

    Correct formal usage of “hopefully” only occurs when qualifying an active verb, as in this example: “Bob R. shared his insights about grammar optimistically– hopefully, even–confident in the accuracy of his observations.

    Correct:

    “I/we hope the video will answer remaining questions.”

    …or…

    “The video will, I/we hope, answer remaining questions.”

    …among many other possible, grammatically accurate options.

    Flame on, dude.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      folks,
      I love grammar, don’t get me wrong… but the more off-topic back and forth that goes on, the fewer people will read and participate in these comments. Take-away = I like grammar but i like comment readers and participation more better. Please take that to heart and resist the temptation to continue this grammar lesson. Cheers.

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  • El Biciclero September 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    “‘Hopefully’ is such an imprecise modifier that I try to avoid it at all costs. Wherever it is placed in a sentence, one struggles to ascertain who or what is being hopeful.”

    Precisely. It is not the correct modifier to use in 99% of cases where it is used. “Hopefully” is an adverb that describes how something is done, so to say “Hopefully, the video will answer remaining questions” means that the video will be somehow feeling hopeful as it answers remaining questions at some point in the future. The correct way to express the desired sentiment, AFAIK, is to say, “It is to be hoped that the video will answer any remaining questions”, or “I hope the video answers any remaining questions”, or, “I am hopefully awaiting answers that the video may provide”, or “‘The video should answer any remaining questions’, he said hopefully”.

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  • El Biciclero September 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Sorry–I missed the intervening “don’t pick on grammar” post, as well as craig’s explanation.

    Zipping it.

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  • AL M September 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    As I said earlier, they both F***ED up.
    If your riding in a dangerous area, the more vulnerable vehicle has to be extremely wary of their surroundings.

    Being a bus driver is a very hazardous occupation and I would not recommend any sane person undertake such a job these days.

    Everything that happens ends up in the media.

    So how many bicyclists have been hit by cars over the last 10 years?

    And how many by bus?

    Which type of vehicle is the more dangerous?

    Sorry about the following but I am required to say:

    The thoughts, opinions, ideas, and body odor are of me; they do not reflect the thoughts, opinions, ideas, and/or body odor of my company,my union, my friends, my neighbors, my fish, my roses, my dog, or my trash. All rights reserved, all lefts reserved.

    (Is the grammar ok?)

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  • BURR September 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    you know, it occurs to me that if krebs was ‘running the yellow light’, so was the bus operator, since they were both in the same intersection at the same time.

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  • spare_wheel September 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    “As I said earlier, they both F***ED up.”

    Sorry but being in an intersection on a yellow does not count as a f*ck up. Its quite possible that the cyclist could not slow quickly enough to safely stop on a yellow. This would give him legal right of way according to Oregon law.

    The conflicting statements from Trimet once again show that when it comes to accepting responsibility trimet has not learned its lesson.

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  • cyclist September 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Jonathan #13: What’s more productive, conversation about proper grammar or uninformed speculation about a traffic accident? I’d rather continue with the grammar lesson.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    cyclist,

    where’s this “uninformed speculation” you refer to? seriously.

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  • Peter Smith September 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I’m still curious if the bus driver’s signal was on — curious if the video will help answer that question — curious if either/any party says it was or wasn’t.

    It’s kind of a big deal because, if it’s on, it could potentially be enough of a warning to anyone on the (left) side of the bus to think, “Whoa, doggie! What’s this bus driver about to do?? Left-blinker on, but moving right? Errrr — something ain’t right — I best stay away.”

    In my recent days of driving, it seems even fewer people signal turns and lane-changes than I remembered — basically, it seems like, let’s say 35% of the time — as an upper bound.

    I feel like all the people who fail to signal never played sports — there’s so much information that everyone in the area can glean from a simple signal, and it’s so easy to do, that to _not_ do it, seems to me to be the height of laziness, hypocrisy, negligence, and inefficiency even.

    It’s like, “Dude(tte), slide your pinky off the steering wheel and tap the stick up or down to activate your turn signal — it’ll probably even go off for you, automatically, on its own, when you’re done turning. Yeah – it’s technology. Cool, huh?”

    Could we have made it any easier for people? And they still won’t do it.

    Freaks.

    And I’ve been noticing just how close many drivers come to bikers (from the inside of my own car). Wow, man. Insanity. This is in San Jose, CA, mind you, so it wouldn’t be as bad in Portland, but wow (again!) — people just do not. gives. a f*ck. It’s like, they see a biker, and _blam_ — they jam their foot down on the accelerator. I’m convinced that if there were actual consequences for hitting/killing bikers, whether you intended to hit/kill them or not, people would slow down _bigtime_, and our injury and death rates would plummet. We need to get there. Strict liability, baby!

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  • freeman September 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    First – Yellow isn’t red…safer to go than stop in between, you go right?

    Second -Biker light ‘runner’ on a bike is only going to hurt himself, right?

    Lastly – A large bus ‘running’ a light kills. Period. (includes rushing a late, wrong laned turn to ‘clip’ a yellow light).

    I was crossing 6th going up Morrison and a jaywalking (dashing) bus commuter ran into my path where the tracks gave me no room to swerve around her in time…she got hit. (Hard).

    And as i pulled her and myself apart and up from the pavement, my only thought and vocalized response was “what the hell were you thinking?”

    People are flawed thinking beings…only our flawed thinking ends up hurting someone else to some degree ALMOST every time. Nature of the beast….free will and all. Western law only punishes us for our mistakes after they happen, often leaving people dead -(and THEY will never receive the justice they truly deserve.)

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  • Bob R. September 10, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks, grammar queens, for completely missing my point.

    The point was that Jonathan, by originally writing “The video will answer remaining questions”, is predicting the future based on knowledge he does not have.

    Only the people who have seen the video know whether or not it answers remaining questions.

    The rest of us will have to wait, and hope, that the video answers the remaining questions.

    Hopefully, Jonathan will correct the original text of the article to better reflect the reality of the current situation.

    Hey Bob. Thanks. I agree with you. I’ve edited the original story. –Jonathan

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  • Jim F September 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Never try to pass a bus or trash truck in an intersection. Doesn’t matter who is “right” — the bike always loses.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      Never try to pass a bus or trash truck in an intersection. Doesn’t matter who is “right” — the bike always loses.

      Jim,

      with that type of thinking, I guess people on bikes should just never pass any motor vehicle and should just cower on the sidewalk so they don’t get crushed? I hear what you’re saying, but I hear that same comment on almost every crash thread and it just sort of bugs me. no offense. just sharing my thoughts. i realize the bike will always lose, but how about flipping around your sentiment and saying to motor vehicle operators… “never try to move through a space that you cannot see, because you might run over and seriously injure or kill a human being.”

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  • Spiffy September 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I agree that it seems odd for the cyclist to get a citation for running the yellow but not the bus driver… I’m thinking they’re going to nullify the cyclist citation or give another one to the bus…

    I would think that the citation to the cyclist was only issued after reviewing the video from the bus since there was no officer witness to it… not that lack of evidence always stops a citation being issued… but that would be extremely bad form to cite somebody just injured in an accident without any evidence at all…

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  • Joe September 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    BTW how is he doing? hope well.

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  • suburban September 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Glad to see a citation was made.
    Compare this double citation incedent to
    http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2009/11/pedestrian_killed_crossing_sou.html
    when there were none issued.

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  • craig September 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Sorry Jonathan, you’re right. Couldn’t resist replying to the dude who puts himself up as the one who knows, then emits misinformation to prove it.

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  • spare_wheel September 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    “Doesn’t matter who is “right” — the bike always loses.”

    More bike stockholm syndrome tripe. Bike users should not have ride around like timid mice. Its no surprise that nations with the lowest bike accident mortality rate have laws that always assign blame to the vehicle.

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  • Bob R. September 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Craig wrote: “Couldn’t resist replying to the dude who puts himself up as the one who knows, then emits misinformation to prove it.”

    I take it that you are referring to me.

    I never “put myself up” as someone who knows. I made one comment pointing out the problem with Jonathan’s inadvertently-absolute statement, and then a 2nd comment clarifying my use of the word “hopefully”. I then mocked myself by saying “grammar flames suck”.

    At which point others chimed in with actual grammar flames, completely bypassing my actual point.

    Somebody is “emitting” something, but it isn’t me.

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  • jim September 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    serious-
    its just a blog, who cares about gramer or speling?? its not a novel, ever watch your kids text?

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  • Vance Longwell September 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    J #editor – Ding dang Mr. Maus:

    “It’s also worth remembering that TriMet got their information that Nations was “assaulted” in the same way they got information that Krebs had been given a citation (when he hadn’t), that Nations made a legal turn (when he hadn’t) and that Krebs was riding at a “high rate of speed” (when he wasn’t).”

    That’s the strongest rational language I think I’ve observed here. You are to be commended. How is journalism like this NOT advocacy, again?

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  • Vance Longwell September 10, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    spare_change #30 –

    “…always assign blame to the vehicle.”

    Uh, it was that way here for time immemorial, and for peds as well. Right up until the California bike lobby showed up here to make us safe. You all have no one but yourselves to blame. We had a good set up going at one point. Pretty sure that’s why ya’ll moved here.

    Sorry, sorry, spare_wheel. That’s outta line. Teensy bitter here. Perhaps some sourish grapage. Whatterya gonna do, I say.

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  • Pat Malach September 10, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    #26 Jonathan “I guess people on bikes should just never pass any motor vehicle and should just cower on the sidewalk”

    I understand the sentiment, Jonathan, but you’re presenting a false either/or argument that isn’t helpful here. There are plenty of safe and smart places for cyclists to overtake automobiles, an intersection where they can suddenly turn into you is not one of them.

    And yes, it would be nice if every driver turned around and checked through their blind spots or through their tiny 4″ sideview mirror to see a cyclist who is about to overtake them while making a turn. And if that happens nine out of ten times, it’s great. But that 10th time when the driver isn’t paying attention spells disaster because the cyclist — the person in the best position to avoid “hook’ collisions because everything they need to know to avoid the crash is literally right in front of them — have been told to put their lives in the hands of sight-restricted motorists.

    That’s not good policy, and it’s not a good message to send, especially to less-experienced cyclists who haven’t yet learned some of the hard lessons of the road.

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  • spare_wheel September 11, 2010 at 1:13 am

    ” And if that happens nine out of ten times, it’s great. But that 10th time when the driver isn’t paying attention spells disaster”

    nine out of ten?!?

    lol!

    please post any additional ridiculous and imaginary scenarios you use to justify riding like a second-class mouse.

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  • sabernar September 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Yes, cars are responsible for checking to see if turning is safe and there are no bikes around, but bikes are also responsible for not passing a car when he is clearly going to turn (i.e., put turn signal on 50+ft in advance, is slowing for a turn, etc.).

    [NOTE: I am *not* saying that's what happened with the bus, but I'm just trying to point out that bikes have responsibility, too.]

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  • Machu Picchu September 11, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Hey Matt Picio,

    I always enjoy your thoughtful comments, but wanted to add that, as a former bus driver for a couple different organiztions (not Trimet), bus drivers are regularly discouraged from departing from designated routes on their own authority. I’m not sure how Trimet trains its drivers, but where I worked there were huge liability concerns with leaving your route in other than a marked detour or an emergency. Saying “I went around a couple of blocks because a train was blocking my proper turn,” would not have been acceptable. Much harder to explain would be choosing your own route to avoid a difficult turn and then hitting something or someone.

    I get your point, that the decision-making process of many road users is flawed. Not sure about the possibility of making bus drivers feel comfortable with leaving routes, without having that freedom abused in ways that promote other risks.

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  • Alan September 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Is it even physically possible for a TriMet bus to make the 6th-to-Morrison turn from within the left lane with a train at that stop?

    If not, and heeding what Machu Picchu says about who decides where a bus route turns, that seems to me to point back to TriMet’s emergency route plans as being a big contributor to this collision.

    Jonathon, BTW, thanks for adding the full coverage link, and I wonder if you might want to include some of the images referred to by Cascadiance’ that show the position of the bus more clearly:
    http://www.rosecitytransit.org/more/0812102014a.jpg
    http://www.rosecitytransit.org/more/0812102016a.jpg
    http://www.rosecitytransit.org/more/0812102018a.jpg

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  • beth h September 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    For the sake of expanding the discussion I’ll toss out a “devil’s advocate” view:

    Being a Bus Driver these days is hard. In Portland, with the added heat, it’s insanely hard.

    Imagine sitting at the front of a heavy, VERY long vehicle with limited maneuverability, one which cannot turn “on a dime” even the driver wanted it to.

    Add in the larger-than-life blind spots because of the vehicle’s size in relation to other vehicles.

    Then add in the numbers of people who RIDE on the bus, who are impatient because the bus is slow or late; or who are angry because of yet another fare increase, this time combined with across-the-board service cuts.

    Then add in the other road users (car drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians) who do not always know how to proceed in the presence of a bus (or frankly, who don’t remember the rules of the road at all some days).

    Add hyped-up media and blogger scrutiny, mostly from people who have never driven a bus.

    Add in hue and cry of hundreds of bicyclists, most of whom have also never driven a bus.

    Finally, add in the peripheral — but not irrelevant — realities of (a) a transit operators’ union that is slowly losing political power; (b) elected officials who are pondering reducing and someday eliminating subsidized pensions for retired bus drivers; and (c) a transit company that is trying to gradually move more service to electric rail (which would reduce the number of transit operators for sure), and you have bus drivers who feel nervous and threatened by an entire system that seems lined up against them.

    If anyone deserves scrutiny here it’s:

    1. Trimet leadership;
    2. Transit union leadership;
    3. City and regional government as relates to transit growth and management;
    4. Various media and bloggers coverage of the stories; and
    5. The blind spot so many of us seem to continue to nurse when it comes to the car culture in general. It’s as if so many of us have already decided we can’t fight car culture — or even car owners — so let’s go after something easier, like buses and bus drivers.

    I’m just saying that the scrutiny could be spread around a little more, rather than focused like a laser beam on bus drivers (collectively or individually).

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  • Peter Smith September 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Bus drivers need to be held accountable like all drivers. All we’re asking of all of them is that they don’t run anyone over, nor kill anyone — that’s it. If that is too much to ask, then we simply cannot tolerate buses on our streets anymore.

    Bus drivers have gotten a free pass for too long — we tend to only hear about them when they run someone over or threaten them publicly, but they’ve long been able to operate with impunity because us bikers saw buses are relatively benign compared tongue scourge that is cars. Now we’ve realized that we need to rein ALL drivers in — including bus drivers.

    Expect much less condemnation of poor, illegal, dangerous, injurious, and deadly bus driver behavior when there is much less of it.

    That said, driving a bus safely while triMet and others focus on time performance instead of safety is an impossible task — we should not tolerate it any longer.

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  • spare_wheel September 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    “All we’re asking of all of them is that they don’t run anyone over, nor kill anyone — that’s it.”

    This is why we need to reinstate automatic liability for all collisions with vulnerable road users.

    I would like to add that the only reason we allow bikes and cars in the transit mall is due to bribery of our public officials by corporations, rich businessmen and their lobbying associations.

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  • slowneasy September 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I’m a school bus driver, I also drive charters and I drive downtown regularly. I belong to the same union that Tri-Met drivers do, but our jobs have different expectations. I liked Beth’s answer about who needs to take responsibility for the operations of the buses. The bus driver carries the most responsibility of all the people involved on the street and behind the scenes, yet we are almost always the persons who have to bear the brunt of the criticism, cost cutting measures, loss of jobs, health issues and stress and if someone is hurt, the guilt and legal consequences of our actions. And buses, no matter what there purpose, seem to be a pariah in our society. They are slow, always in the way, hard to see around and impeding the flow of traffic. Yet, when one applies a wider perspective to the picture, the bus is contributing a more positive experience to the traffic flow patterns than our more common motor vehicles that carry fewer people. I have gained the most valuable knowledge from safety and defensive driving courses, but no amount of training will save a life if it falls on deaf ears. Like many other drivers, I have the ability to stay teachable, to adapt and adjust to situations without taking it as a personal insult that I have to share the road with others. There will always be people who know better, but who are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions to save their asses. When I remember to error on the side of safety, that each person out there is just like me, vulnerable to momentum of an object, then I have armed myself with tools that will help me negotiate the streets and roads of the Metro Area.

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  • Spiffy September 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    UPDATE: wow, that’s quite an update…

    Nations is out on workman’s comp on what you assume is a clap in front of his face? that’s not what I’d assume… I’d assume he got hit and nobody came forward as witness to it…

    and now we know that Krebs wasn’t cited, which is good to know… where do people make these things up? are bystanders just making up these facts?

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  • Anonymous September 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Spiffy:

    “Richard Krebs, who was hit by Nations as he turned left from the transit mall onto SW Morrison, was also given a citation.

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  • wsbob September 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    “… Would be interesting to see in the video how long the light was yellow. …” ray #2

    The overhead light at 6th and Morrison stays yellow for approximately 3 seconds.

    “you know, it occurs to me that if krebs was ‘running the yellow light’, so was the bus operator, since they were both in the same intersection at the same time.” Burr #17

    Everything reported on bikeportland stories about this collision suggests the bus entered the intersection before Krebs on his bike did. In other words, the bus driver could have entered the intersection towards the end of the green cycle and have been just about to complete the left hand turn (waiting for people in crosswalk?)as the yellow came on.

    Krebs, the person riding the bike, has spoken to the effect he didn’t ride on a yellow caution light.

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  • Joe Rowe September 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    It seems that some buses have a variety of different cameras. Some have cameras that take external shots on the side and/or front. It seems they all have at least one that takes internal pictures.

    Can someone help with what they know?

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  • Peter Smith September 12, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    yet we (bus drivers) are almost always the persons who have to bear the brunt of the criticism, cost cutting measures, loss of jobs, health issues and stress

    what does this mean? what criticism of bus drivers, here or anywhere, has been unfair?

    and tens of millions of Americans are suffering cost cutting measures, loss of jobs, health issues, and stress. i don’t think any of us deserve to be treated this way, but should bus drivers be treated better than the rest of us?

    i think that driving a bus could be a horrible job to have to do, but there are tens of millions of Americans suffering a similar fate, if not quite as horrific (debatable). still, even regular non-bus-driving Americans don’t have large public transit agencies with close ties to various city leaders and institutions, and a large, relatively-powerful worker union, to defend them when they run someone over. There are a whole bunch of reasons to support reform of TriMet, of bus driving rules/regulations/responsibilities, of police forces, etc., and some of it is selfish — if we reform these organizations, they might harm us a bit less often — a worthy goal.

    and if someone is hurt, the guilt and legal consequences of our actions.

    if a bus driver actually feels guilty about harming someone, then they probably should feel guilty — it’s a useful emotion up to a point, but i’d prefer they act in a way that does not hurt anyone in the first place (this is where ‘feeling guilty’ comes in — it teaches) — let’s have no guilt, and no pain/disfigurement/death, for anyone.

    if you feel that _anything_ is compromising your ability to operate a bus safely on the streets, then it’s on you to speak up, to tell the union, to tell the public, to tell elected officials, including the Mayor and City Council, to tell BikePortland.org, to tell your co-workers — and demand that it gets fixed. at least some of this you can even do anonymously.

    as for legal consequences, are you saying that bus drivers are punished too harshly under the law? an example, please? or are you saying that bus drivers should be above the law?

    And buses, no matter what there purpose, seem to be a pariah in our society.

    word to that. the sooner we get rid of them, the better. mere existence is not a justification for continued existence.

    that said, lots of rich people love to put poor people on buses, and many of those rich people swear that bus travel is ‘Teh Awesome’ in various other parts of the world, so maybe it is possible to make bus travel dignified and acceptable to society somehow? if buses are going to stick around, i think we have an obligation to make them as tolerable as possible — ideally dignified and pleasant — but I don’t see how intracity bus travel could ever be dignified, for either the riders, or for people subjected to a bus’s presence [Stealing/reappropriating a line from JHK, 'On the side of each bus, we should put mosaic portraits of Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and all the other great despots of the 20th century, because then we'd honestly be saying what the bus is really communicating to us. You know, that it's a despotic vehicle; it wants us to feel like termites.'].

    also, who cares what car drivers think about buses slowing them down? car drivers are leading extraordinarily-privileged lifestyles comparatively, even if not by choice — there _are_ people suffering, but it’s not car drivers — these suffering people (pedestrians/cyclists/bus riders/transit riders) are the people with the real grievances, and therefore the people we should pay attention to.

    They are slow, always in the way, hard to see around and impeding the flow of traffic.

    Not sure I agree that these are necessarily bad things, but there are, in fact, myriad deleterious effects of buses on society — starting with the fact that they keep people off of bikes by scaring the you-know-what out of us. The noise, the smog, the wear and tear on the roads, etc. — it’s not worth it — we need a better way.

    Yet, when one applies a wider perspective to the picture, the bus is contributing a more positive experience to the traffic flow patterns than our more common motor vehicles that carry fewer people.

    If you confine the study to just ‘traffic flow patterns’, then I guess that’d be true, but I think we should apply ‘a wider perspective to the picture’ of buses on our streets.

    That said, saying that buses are better for traffic flow patterns than cars, one would hope, _should_ be an easy case to make — I mean, we have in the car what just might be the most grotesquely inefficient form of motor transport ever devised.

    Still, I think if we got rid of buses in favor of less monstrous forms of motor transport (assuming, that ‘motorized’ is the only choice we’re given in this hypothetical), it could be done, and done better — I could envision a system based on cars, and possibly small passenger vans, which could do a much better job than what most bus systems currently offer (and that means doing it less expensively). And the benefits to society could be substantial.

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  • matt picio September 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Machu Picchu (#38) – That’s understandable. So, it sounds like the problem is with Tri-Met’s management. First, because the agency lacks sufficient transparency (how does a member of the public get a copy of the Tri-Met code, for example? Among others) and also because they are discouraging drivers from taking alternate routes when it’s clearly not safe to take the designated one.

    I understand your point about keeping drivers from abusing that freedom – not sure there’s a good solution to what is apparently a complex issue. Thanks for taking the time to inform those of us who aren’t intimate with the agency’s policies and procedures.

    Peter Smith (#41) – beth h is right, a lot of this is due to organizational factors, not the individual operators. Also realize that to many of these operators, they’re only seeing criticism at every turn – it seems to many of them than no one ever tells them when they’re doing a good job. When a person or an organization is constantly being criticized and rarely praised, it’s difficult to maintain an attitude or culture that promotes responsibility, professionalism and caring.

    My point isn’t that we shouldn’t criticize, especially in cases which clearly warrant it – my point is that when we constantly criticize and rarely laud, we help maintain the very system we despise.

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  • Peter Smith September 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

    My point isn’t that we shouldn’t criticize, especially in cases which clearly warrant it

    i disagree. criticism serves a critical purpose — it gets people to change their behavior.

    second, if we really believe that bus drivers are some kind of persecuted minority who are suffering abuse and terrorism at the hands of the masses, TriMet, and public officials, and are suffering from some type of PTSD because of this persecution, then we need to halt all the buses immediately until we can figure out what is going on out there, and then rectify the situation before we start running buses again — _if_ we start running buses again.

    i think we need to find out if the bus driver was drunk and/or high, on prescription medication, or something else. was he tested at the scene? why or why not? results? did he see a doctor? hospital visit? EMT evaluation? i thought drug/alcohol/impairment testing was standard operating procedure after any crash involving injury. that should go for all drivers, of course, not just TriMet drivers. finally — who runs TriMet? can we please ask this person wtf is going on with their agency? is it a lack of funding? training? too many suicides? what’s going on?

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  • Velophile in Exile September 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    If TriMet ever manages to get the busses running on time without killing people, why would I laud them? That’s what I pay them to do.

    People like me are “constantly” criticizing TriMet because TriMet is constantly doing stupid, careless things.

    The list of stupid things TriMet has done recently is pretty long, but a good example is the falsehoods TriMet told the public about what happened in this case.

    TriMet can start correcting this disturbing pattern of behavior by recognizing that John Nations (much like Dan Christiansen) does not belong behind the wheel of a bus.

    If TriMet does finally figure this out and fires Nations, then maybe I’ll throw ‘em an atta boy.

    It makes no sense to me how anyone can conclude that criticism “help[s] maintain the very system we despise.”

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  • spare_wheel September 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    ” but a good example is the falsehoods TriMet told the public about what happened in this case.”

    i keep coming back to this. why did their spokespeople repeat misinformation and rumor. who the heck does trimet serve — their employees or citizens.

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  • Mike Fish September 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    RE: 16 AL M

    First of all, calculating whether cars or buses are more dangerous would be a little more complicated then simply counting the number of cyclists hit by cars and those hit by buses – think about it a bit and you’ll see why.

    Second of all, yes people need to be careful on the roads whether you’re in a bus, in a car, on a bike, or walking. A question people should be asking is what made this situation dangerous? Was it a cyclist going straight through an intersection or a bus driver making a poor decision?

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  • tonyt September 14, 2010 at 11:34 am

    “It’s also worth remembering that TriMet got their information that Nations was “assaulted” in the same way they got information that Krebs had been given a citation (when he hadn’t), that Nations made a legal turn (when he hadn’t) and that Krebs was riding at a “high rate of speed” (when he wasn’t).”

    Awesome.

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