Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 12th, 2011 at 10:26 pm
47-year old Michael Bret Lewis died in the hospital this evening at after he was struck from behind by a motor vehicle while riding his bicycle on SW Tualatin Valley Highway in Beaverton at around 6:30pm.
Police say Lewis was hit by a 48-year old man driving a Toyota Prius who was also headed westbound. The collision happened near the intersection of SW Tualaway Ave (in front an auto dealership - Google Map here).
"It was dark and windy and raining heavily at the time of the accident. The lighting and weather conditions are believed to be a factor in the inability to see the bicyclist stopped in the traffic lane. It is not anticipated that the driver of the vehicle will be cited."
Witnesses at the scene said Lewis was stopped in the westbound lane closest to the curb. The Beaverton PD statement says,
"There was no traffic backed up or any other impediments that would cause the bicyclist to be stopped in the middle of the lane. There is a bike lane to the right and along the curb of the traffic lane. The bicyclist had a functioning red light on the rear of the bike but was not wearing a helmet.
The motor vehicle operator who struck Lewis told Police that he, "did not see the bicyclist until it was too late." Here's more from the Beaverton PD:
"He stated that the bicyclist was stopped on his bike in the middle of the traffic lane. The driver stated he tried to swerve to the left to avoid striking the bicyclist but it was too late and he struck the bicyclist with the right side of his car."
Police say the darkness, heavy winds and rain "are believed to be a factor in the inability to see the bicyclist stopped in the traffic lane. It is not anticipated that the driver of the vehicle will be cited."
Editorial note: The above story was written with only the Beaverton PD press release (download it here - PDF). I have more follow-up work to do on Monday when everyone is back at their offices; but at the moment, I am very puzzled by the police statement. The language seems to be very geared toward absolving the motor vehicle operator for any responsibility in the crash whatsoever. There are a lot of unanswered questions here.
UPDATE: See how KATU shared the news with their TV audience: