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Man killed while bicycling on TV Hwy in Beaverton

Posted by 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:

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  • K'Tesh February 13, 2011 at 12:13 am

    My Thoughts and Prayers go out to his family.

    Rest In Peace.

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    • buglas February 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      R.I.P Michael Lewis

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  • K'Tesh February 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Amazing that this happened nearly 3 years to the day after Austin Miller was killed.

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  • ambrown February 13, 2011 at 12:51 am

    that’s a pretty scary stretch of asphalt. This is terrible news.

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  • wsbob February 13, 2011 at 2:44 am

    “…There is a bike lane to the right and along the curb of the traffic lane. …” Beaverton PD

    That’s not what the Google aerial photo is showing. The bike lane isn’t along the curb. The bike lane is to the right of the right main travel lane, and to the left of the right turn lane (check the google photo: two solid narrow lines close together that turn to broken lines.). I could check this first hand tomorrow, to be sure I’ve got it right.

    I’m thinking from the driver’s description, that the cyclist was stopped in the middle of the right turn lane. If a cyclist was riding along in the bike lane, and suddenly needed to pull over, the right turn lane would have been the logical place to move to. Probably not smart to stay stopped there for long though.

    Maybe the cyclist had business that was accessible only from the highway, at one of the businesses along this stretch of TV Highway. For through travel, just north of TV Highway…maybe a tenth of a mile, is Millikan Way, a much safer, generally great bike route.

    Traffic on TV Highway; there’s lots of it, and it’s very intense. On a bike, it’s highly worth staying away from. The right turn lane can really suck, because sections of it up to Murray Blvd, (which is quite a bit further west past the intersection where the collision occurred.) are very long, inviting certain types of motor vehicle operators to use it as a through travel lane rather than a right turn lane. I’m not suggesting that’s what the driver in this collision did.

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  • Jack February 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Maybe I’m wrong, but when I was driver’s ed, we were taught that the speed limit is intended for ideal conditions (good visibility and traction) and that as either of those conditions diminish, a driver is required to adjust their speed accordingly.

    The driver was quoted saying “did not see the bicyclist until it was too late.” Generally I would interpret this as “I was driving too fast to be able to react to the unexpected.”

    Also:
    “Police say the darkness, heavy winds and rain ‘are believed to be a factor in the inability to see the bicyclist’”. I’ll give you rain, but how does wind reduce visibility?

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    • obankobi February 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

      My thoughts exactly on the speed. You should be able to stop within the distance that you can clearly see. If you can’t, as he couldn’t, you’re speeding and driving recklessly.

      My thoughts to his family. Rest in peace.

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    • RH February 13, 2011 at 8:50 am

      wind can reduce visability if it causes leaves/debris to blow around. Maybe that’s what caused the cyslist to stop…they got something in their eye..it’s happened to me before.

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    • Spiffy February 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

      exactly… and that’s why his insurance will find the motor vehicle driver 100% at-fault for the accident… you’re required to avoid all stationary obstacles, such as a person and bicycle stopped in the road…

      hopefully the driver will eventually be cited for their obvious safety violations…

      and now with the other party dead there’s no way to find out if they had a valid reason for being where they were in the road so we have to assume they did…

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    • kww February 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      The police are wrong, the driver was going too fast for conditions (this is a fundemental part of the vehicle code), if the bicycle had the mandated reflector or light. He should be cited for this unfortunate event.

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  • peejay February 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I am appalled that this is acceptable behavior for drivers. How can you drive beyond what you can see? How do the police not understand? This is fundamental to the entire concept of road safety. Everything else is just details.

    This is why I hate signs (or, the overabundance of them). People feel that if they follow all the signs, they’ll be safe. And that is absolutely not true.

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  • kenny February 13, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Dedicated, lifted, cycle tracks… All that I am sayin’
    How many more lives are worth not investing in becoming the Dutch style city we desire to be?

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    • matt picio February 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      kenny – you’re referring to Portland. This collision didn’t occur in Portland, it occurred in Beaverton. Different conditions, different planning staff, different political climate, different demographics.

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      • kenny February 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

        While you are 100% correct, it is fair to say that even the suburbs should get this kind of attention. Perhaps 3.5 foot tall concrete walls acting as a safe barrier.
        I am always frustrated with 2 parking spots worth of space near a corner being without any bike lane… these suddenly ending lanes need to go. Not worth the mere couple parking spots. Why have a bike lane at all if it is not as constant as humanly possible?

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  • Ellen February 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Horrible news.. I live in the Hillsboro/Beaverton area so I have that “could have been me” feeling from this. TV Highway is one that I have mostly been able to avoid. I wish I knew this man to help him find a different bike route.

    There have to be legal consequences for driving like this.

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  • esther c February 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I thought when you hit someone from behind it was always your fault.

    Was that man in the right hand lane because he was planning on making a right hand turn. And was he really stopped? According to whom was he stopped?

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    • Brian E February 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      I agree how do they know the cyclist was stopped? Are there witnesses besides the car driver that did not see the cyclist.

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  • snolly February 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Excuse for auto operators: “I didn’t see them”.
    Excuse for gun operators: “I didn’t know it was loaded.”

    It’s sad that we consider the second of those statements to be abhorrently careless, yet the first is just a matter of course.

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    • wsbob February 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      It’s generally accepted that the collision occurred on a dark, rainy night. The driver said he saw the cyclist, but not quickly enough to completely avoid having his car strike the cyclist.

      Why didn’t he see the cyclist in time? Multiple reasons could be involved, but obviously, the dark, rainy conditions reduced visibility had something to do with this. The driver’s car has headlights and the street has it’s own lighting. By them, the driver was able to see well enough to keep his car on the road rather than drive off of it.

      Yet, the driver for some reason does not see the cyclist on the road in time to prevent colliding with him. The cyclist has a functioning bike light. Was it directed in such a way that it could be seen by an approaching driver?

      On the conditions of the night of the collision at this intersection on this road, in feet for distance, what would have been the range of visibility motor vehicle operators would have had to a single cyclist on the road equipped with a functioning bike light, dressed in whatever way the cyclist was? How would that compare to the visibility of the motorist to the road ahead and within the car’s headlight coverage?

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  • ecohuman February 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’m not sure which is more sad: the bicyclist losing his life, or the angry, ignorant condemnations based on little more than a quick incident blurb in the Oregonian. Considering all the complexities, split-second decisions, and factors that go into making an accident, wouldn’t *you* want the mob to consider the human part of the equation more than being ready to lynch anybody that doesn’t ride a bicycle?

    These kind of comments are a key part of why the “bicycle culture” of Portland gets ridiculed.

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    • kj February 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Not much different than the vitriol in The O’s comments. People is people. Seem less toxic here actually.

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      • ecohuman February 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        Which has what to do with the responsibility of those posting here, exactly? Pointing to the other kid in the playground and saying “but he did it too” doesn’t really cut it for grownups.

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        • kj February 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

          People commenting on articles of high emotion are going to emote. It’s reactionary. At least to start out, which given the range of human emotions one can expect as much. From what I have seen, things here are not so bad, especially for internet comments. Constructive even. Rather than destructive or trollish. That’s hardy a pot kettle argument.
          It’s natural to speculate, to try to make sense of tragedy.

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        • adam2011 February 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

          wrong. this was not an “accident” this was at a minimum, reckless homicide in my book.

          you are not a human, in my opinion, you are a poor excuse.

          one man is dead, the other person is sorry. facts are facts, eco”human”

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          • Paul Johnson February 20, 2011 at 11:47 am

            Anybody can claim remorse for killing someone. Doesn’t mean they mean it.

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    • matt picio February 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      ecohuman – the “too fast for conditions” argument is perfectly valid. (or were you referring to something else in the above comments?)

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      • ecohuman February 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

        So, you weren’t sure what I was saying, but you chose to tell me I wasn’t correct anyway? Huh?

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    • Rol February 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm

      Answer: the person losing his life, is more sad. Thank you.

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  • EmGee February 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I would like to know whether the lane markings are worn off, and how visible they are at that time of day in the rain. The Google image shows good markings, but it might be quite old.

    The description of the crash does not fit the Google image of the road. But if the left bike lane marker was not visible, the right turn lane might be mistaken for a wide bike lane, and the bicyclist in the actual bike lane would then seem to be in the middle of a wide travel lane. That is consistent with what was reported, but very much wrong.

    @esther c: I agree that whether the bicyclist was truly stopped and who reported him as stopped are good questions that need answers.

    What is reported suggests a driver who was going too fast for conditions of visibility and was mistakenly driving down the bike lane when he thought he was hugging the right margin of the travel lane.

    I think the cops need to do a bit more follow-up before deciding that no citations need to be issued here. It is a disturbing thought that in Beaverton it is considered to be normal to drive faster than is safe when visibility is poor. I would expect that the Beaverton PD will be critically reviewing this accident report.

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    • wsbob February 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      EmGee…I just rode over to the general area west of Tualaway Ave and TV Highway. The markings that can be seen in the google aerial photo of the bike lane on TV Hwy are just as strong and bold, probably more visible than they are in the photo.

      Before going on, I should note that somebody’s information about the description of where this collision is said to have taken place is in error; there is no Toyota dealer near Tualaway Ave and TV Hwy. The dealership located here is Audi. The much larger Toyota dealership is a couple tenths of a mile further west at Murray. From the Beaverton PD statement, can we even be sure where this collision actually took place?

      At Tualaway Ave and TV Hwy, something occurring to me as somewhat odd, is that there was not the slightest indication that investigation of the collision of any kind had taken place; no pavement markings on the street or adjacent curb that I was expecting, to indicate an effort to determine point of impact, final resting point, and so forth. There’s just nothing but a few bits of gravel. The street is very clean.

      Today, there isn’t anything that would indicate that a fatal collision took place on TV Hwy near Tualaway Ave in front of the car dealership. Just on the off chance the police statement got the cross streets wrong, I also rode down to Tv Hwy in front of Toyota’s dealership to look for any trace of a collision or investigation of one. Not a trace.

      Even if the driver was completely not at fault, it seems to me that for future reference, the police or the city would have wanted to have some basic knowledge of where car and bike were on the street; information that could possibly help the city in its efforts to make its streets design safer in future.

      For an accurate description of the street layout, read my earlier comment: wsbob February 13, 2011 at 2:44 am

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      • q`Tzal February 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

        I can’t speak to the specific auto dealer here: there has been some turnover here since late 2008, no great loss, but this is where it happened.

        As I saw the aftermath of this incident at 7:30pm the night of and promptly sent the flag up to JM with the link to that GMap.
        I can say that the map indicates where the bicycle came to rest within 25 feet. By that time the scene was mostly cleared.
        What was interesting to me was the position bike at rest: 33%~50% in the right most through traffic lane and the remainder in the left side of the bike lane.

        The right most through traffic lane was cordoned off, with flares, from a short distance east of Tualaway Ave and at least 3/4 of the way to the next street SW 139 Way. I saw the Prius at the time but didn’t think much of its presence in the cordoned area bring concerned with the cyclist.

        The rain had recently slacked off but it was still rather heavy, for Oregon. Of course it was completely dark at the time but as a frequent commuter of this stretch, at around this same, the road-scape is well lit by dozens of vehicular headlights.

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        • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 1:12 am

          “…I can say that the map indicates where the bicycle came to rest within 25 feet. By that time the scene was mostly cleared.
          What was interesting to me was the position bike at rest: 33%~50% in the right most through traffic lane and the remainder in the left side of the bike lane. …” q`Tzal

          q`Tzal…I just now noticed this comment of yours a little earlier. Re; map indicating where the bike came to rest, I gather you’re suggesting from the green arrow? Your observation of where you saw the bike lying in relation to the lanes, is, as you said, interesting. More precisely would help. I hope the police investigation involved some measuring and mapping to document exactly where the bike came to rest.

          From the Beaverton Police Media Release:

          “… The 48 year old driver of the vehicle that struck the bicyclist stated that he was westbound on TV Hwy in the curb lane and did not see the bicyclist until it was too late. …”

          Notice the Media Release uses the phrase ‘curb lane’, instead or right turn lane or lane nearest the curb.

          As I recall, the lighting at this location is better than average, because of it being in front of a car dealership, which has its own high intensity lot lights in addition to the street lights. Wouldn’t want to say for sure though, without re-checking.

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  • Matt February 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Tragedy, for sure. My thoughts and prayers are with this individual’s family and friends.

    However, in the scope of this incident, let us not lose sight of common sense. If you are in a lane of any sort of traffic (bike lane, turn lane or otherwise) and you are stopped or significantly slowed beyond that which may be normal; remove yourself from the flow or traffic within a reasonable amount of time or expect other users of the lane to have difficulty determining how to best deal with the anomaly of your behavior.

    It is the responsibility for all users of the road to act in a manner which is safe and predictable to other users – conditions aside. Rights to use traffic lanes do not super-cede the safe use of said lane.

    I would love to assume that the rider was acting safely. But I feel we don’t have the details in place yet to make that assertion.

    Let us all ride in such a way that we are responsible, predictable users of the roads and not over assert our rights. Our riding does not occur in a vacuum – we are surrounded by 2-ton users who must receive respect; not because they are due it – but because they will win the battle when car meets bike.

    Ride safely above all else my two-wheeled compatriots.

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    • matt picio February 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      Even if the rider was stopped, the driver of the Prius has a responsibility to not overdrive their headlights. If instead of a cyclist there was a 6′ diameter rock in the middle of TV Highway, whose fault would it be if the Prius struck it? The rock’s?

      That’s exactly what the basic speed law means – it means that regardless of the conditions, if you can’t see and avoid in time a stationary object, then you are driving too fast for conditions. If it’s a large black rock at night in the middle of the road (or a pedestrian in a black hoodie walking in the middle of the road at night with headphones on), the driver of any vehicle should be driving/riding slowly enough to be able to spot, identify and avoid the obstacle in question.

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      • rigormrtis February 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

        Neither the rock nor the cyclist should be in the lane motionless.

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        • kj February 14, 2011 at 11:34 am

          And if it was a car? with no lights on, a body? a downed motorcycle? a downed tree? It’s not supposed to be there, but…it IS there. Many dangers that end up in roads, like Matt’s rock, are exactly why you don’t drive or bike for that matter faster than you can see and react to your environment. The responsibility of driving on a road, especially in bad weather is to be driving at a speed you will be able to see obstacles and react to them. Not going the speed limit and assuming nothing will be in your way because you can’t predict today will be different.
          (Which is kind of exactly what we do…especially on routes we take a lot.)

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  • Will February 13, 2011 at 10:44 am

    From ODOT’s drivers manual:

    “The basic rule states you must drive at a speed that is reasonable and cautious for existing conditions. The basic rule applies on all streets and highways at all times.
    To obey the basic rule, you need to think about your speed in relation to other traffic, pedestrians, bicycles, the surface and width of the road, hazards at intersections, weather, visibility, and any other conditions that could affect safety…”
    (Page 33)

    “There may be a good reason for the bicyclist to be riding in the travel lane, such as roadway hazards not visible to motorists.”
    (Page 81)

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    • buglas February 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      I find it appalling that the Media Release from the Beaverton PD can state that, “The lighting and weather conditions are believed to be a factor” and in the very next sentence state that, “It is not anticipated that the driver of the vehicle will be cited” when that same driver failed to account for those conditions as required by the Basic Rule.

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  • unotache February 13, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Just a hunch based on the google map photo and the conditions at the time of the incident.. The bike rider was traveling at a slow speed *in* the bike lane, and the driver of car simply mowed him down from behind.

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    • Joe Rowe February 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

      I agree. It is very possible the driver is lying about the location of the cyclist. If he is not lying, then it is possible he was in shock after mowing the guy down. It is extremely unlikely this cyclist was stopped in the left traffic lane. The damage to the car is on the right side. That means the car had to get up on the cement median AND hit the cyclist with the right side of his car. Does the car show any damage from jumping the left curb? Does the curb show any damage? It seems clear the police did not mark the pavement and just took the word of the car driver. The press are playing the same tune.

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  • chickeee in Canada February 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

    the witnesses could see the cyclist but the driver couldn’t ?

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  • Psyfalcon February 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    A lot of people cross TV there. Sometimes kids, usually people who live in the apartments on the south side of TV there. Most people going E-W will use Millikan to the north (though that gets a bit dicey after Murray too).

    Westbound lane closest to the curb. I.e. the “turn lane?” A lot of people wont use that bike lane, and instead use the right lane (or sidewalk).

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  • Steve B February 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    :( My heart goes out to the friends and family of Michael. No one deserves to die like this, riding a bicycle.

    Of the many questions still to be answered, I’d like to know what the posted speed limit is on this road, and at what speed the driver was going based on what crash investigators determine. Is this road owned by ODOT, or Beaverton?

    Thanks for the important follow-up work, Jonathan.

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  • Allan February 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    RIP sir. Another tragic loss.

    There are very legitamite reasons the biker might have been in the car lane, however I tend to think that this is the sort of thing where you take a number of factors and they add up to a super-dangerous situation.

    a) darkness
    b) rain
    (these two alone may have been enough for the driver to completely miss the lane markings)
    c) speed differential. On TV highway I think it tends to be 40-45mph the whole way. Bikes are probably going 12-16 through there, less if its uphill.
    d) Drivers that aren’t used to seeing bikes around

    Having biked on this sort of road a decent amount, I defintley try to avoid one or two of these factors but sometimes you are just putting your life into drivers hands

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    • K'Tesh February 14, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      e) crosswinds could have been pushing him into the adjacent lane.

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  • Ted Buehler February 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Sometimes I hear bicycle professionals say that even though getting hit from behind is cyclists’ biggest fear, it’s not something you really need to worry about because only 5% of all car-bike crashes happen this way.

    I point out that these are usually the worst kinds of crashes for injuries and fatalities.

    Sorry to hear of this fatality, and I hope the police department cleans up their report. My understanding is that if you’re driving a motor vehicle you need to be aware that there may be stopped things (debris, humans, etc.) in your lane and you should be ready to make the appropriate evasive maneuvers…

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler February 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Note also that the “continuous right turn lane” in the aerial photo posted by Jonathan at the top of this article is not an approved design in the Oregon Bicycle Plan.

    See http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/planproc.shtml , click on “Second Part: Facility Design Standards” and scroll down to page 72, C.5 Continuous Right Turn Lanes.

    The reason for this is obvious — it’s not safe to have a bike lane sandwiched between driving lanes — way too many opportunities for tailgating motorists to make lane changes to occur and kill a bicyclist.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Paul Johnson February 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Right turn lane? Last time I went through there it was a parking strip…

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      • q`Tzal February 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm

        Oh this lane is definitely used as a travel lane.
        Whether or not it is not being used for parking.
        The lane is slightly wider than the regular traffic lane so unless a auto transport trailer is unloading in the rightmost lane drivers will drive down the lane, at full TV Hwy speeds, and merge partially in to the bike lane to avoid parked cars.

        The big problem is that people driving autos merge in to an and out of that lane, through the bike lane, with little regard as to where they are relative to where the lane markings indicate where autos area allowed to merge through the bike lane.

        This is compounded by the fact that this area is very over lit. Added to this is the many dozens of headlights and taillights that cluster the view of the road ahead relatively obscuring the observation of a normal bicycle light.

        Not that any of this is justification for running down a cyclist, it simply helps to define how slow a safe speed for conditions must be.

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      • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 11:40 am

        “Right turn lane? Last time I went through there it was a parking strip… ” Paul Johnson February 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        Notice that the Beaverton PD Media Release for this collision, does not refer to the area of the road nearest the curb as a parking strip or a parking area. It refers to it as a “…curb lane…”.

        I take that to mean that this area of the road is for driving, not parking. On an impulse to suddenly stop and check out cars, drivers occasionally may be parking in this lane in front of the in front of the Audi dealership, so as to run directly across the sidewalk into the display lot. (I don’t recall seeing any ‘no parking’ signs ), but I haven’t been under the impression that this is what the nearest the curb, or right turn lane at this location is for.

        On the other hand, I also don’t recall pavement arrows or signs indicating this lane is officially a right turn lane; So..maybe you’re correct that this lane is a parking strip, which, if so…the city should be able to confirm one way or another.

        In re-reading the Beaverton PD Media Release, it’s clear that the police at this point definitely seem to be of the mind that both bike and car were in the lane closest to the curb at the point of collision:

        “…Officers arrived and learned that a 47 year old male on a bicycle in the westbound curb lane of TV Hwy had been struck from behind by a vehicle, also traveling westbound in the curb lane. …” Beaverton PD Media Release

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      • El Biciclero February 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        There has never been parking along this 45mph stretch of a state highway. At least not in the 12 years I have lived in this area.

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        • q`Tzal February 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

          And I can say definitively that I have seen this area used for parking but more specifically for unloading one of those large auto carrier trucks.

          Often: no but often enough to confuse drivers that aren’t paying attention anyways.

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  • Ted Buehler February 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Jonathan — can you post the entire police press release, or a link to it?

    Thanks,
    Ted Buehler

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  • bikesalot February 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @Psyfalcon : ” Most people going E-W will use Millikan to the north (though that gets a bit dicey after Murray too). ”

    Millikan gets real dicey BEFORE Murray when you are westbound. The bike lane ends a block before Murray. There is no place to go: the street is really narrow, there is NO sidewalk, and cars are squeezing to accommodate the traffic queueing to turn left onto Murray.

    This one of the worst parts of my commute each day. When you get stuck behind a car that has stopped close to the curb (some seem to delight in doing this), you block the traffic for most of the cars behind when you are able to get moving again. Decidedly a trouble spot, one that raises plenty of hard feelings among both motorists and cyclists.

    Improvements are badly needed here if this is to be an acceptable alternative to TV Highway in the eyes of many riders. I wonder if the rider who was killed held that opinion?

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    • Psyfalcon February 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      True. Though, the light is usually red, so I never found it particularly difficult. People trying to block the curb would though. I only rode through there occasionally because I turned off Millikan before there on my commute. The accident scene and Millikan/Murray were on my dog walking route though.

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    • Paul Johnson February 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      What’s with the “us versus them” attitude here? You’re part of traffic, when the lane is narrow such as at that location, you shouldn’t be trying to squeeze past anyway. Just chill out, take the lane and share the road: It cuts both ways. This was part of my daily commute as well, when I was working for Polyvision before the company moved their Beaverton operations from the Millikan Business Center to Okmulgee, OK.

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  • Joe February 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    R.I.P Michael Lewis

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  • Joe February 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    btw the story on KATU was lame today. why do they need to point blame at the cyclist everytime, he was not wearing a helmet.. come on people the guy in the car was not paying attn, to hit someone in a bike lane..

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    • Brian E February 14, 2011 at 8:11 am

      With no mention in regards to whether the driver was texting or on the cell phone.

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      • rigormrtis February 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

        Or if the cyclist was.

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    • rigormrtis February 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

      Why does everyone here need to point blame at the cyclist when all the facts are not yet know?

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  • h February 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    i dare not to bike on TV highway… A few times i had to go across the highway. Kinda dicey… my deep sympathy to his family…

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  • John February 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Jonathan, thanks for posting the police report. The report says “The 48 year old driver of the vehicle that struck the bicyclist stated that he was westbound on TV Hwy in the curb lane and did not see the bicyclist until it was too late. He stated that the bicyclist was stopped on his bike in the middle of the traffic lane.” This is ambiguous wording. The curb lane is the right turn lane, not a through traffic lane. The curb lane is to the right of the bike lane. Unless the Prius was turning right, it had no business in this lane. No matter what, the Prius was driving overly fast for conditions. Additionally, if the Prius was driving down the right turn lane thinking it was a through lane, there’s fault there too. Also, it’s not an Toyota dealer at this intersection, it is the old Herzog Meier VW dealership. Is the reported location of this accident correct?

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    • Psyfalcon February 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      VW is at 141th. Tullaway was the Saturn dealer before the brand ended. Its listed as a Toyota dealer on google maps now.

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      • wsbob February 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm

        It’s now an Audi dealership.

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        • q`Tzal February 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm

          Sorry, my bad.
          I trusted Google Maps listing of what car dealership is there when I alerted JM.

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    • wsbob February 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      “…The curb lane is the right turn lane, not a through traffic lane. The curb lane is to the right of the bike lane. Unless the Prius was turning right, it had no business in this lane. …” John

      That’s correct.

      The Beav PD media release says there were “…numerous witness accounts…”. I wonder, exactly what things they saw. Where exactly was the cyclist stopped? How long had he been stopped there? How heavy was traffic, and if any, how many cars approached him from behind while he was stopped, and had to drive around him?

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  • Paul Johnson February 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    This could be easily prosecuted successfully as vehicular manslaughter. I think it speaks volumes to the incompetence of the City of Beaverton as a whole, and the Beaverton Police specifically, that it’s not being prosecuted under any charge at all.

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  • Paul February 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    It never seems to amaze me how cyclists in the Portland region are quick to accuse. Is this situation even worth speculating on with the simple facts that have been posted by this point? To err is human, and yes, drivers are human too. Really tragic this is, but come on folks, lets let the facts dictate your opinions, not vice versa. I love this blog, but I hate most of those so quick to blame, so high on their two wheel horse to remember that most cyclists are drivers too.

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    • Paul Johnson February 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Rear end collisions are always at-fault accidents for the person doing the rear-ending.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      Paul,

      Did you read the statement issued by the Police department? They are the ones who have been quick to blame here. They are already willing to absolve the motor vehicle operator even before their investigation is completed.

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      • kww February 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

        That’s total police report is inconsistent, how about an interview once someone gets the cites exact code?

        I am sure their tune will change real fast, just like the Trimet Bus pedestrian fiasco, once the inconsistencies are questioned.

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    • are February 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      a cyclist who is also a driver should not drive faster than conditions safely permit

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    • dan February 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      If it “never seems to amaze” you, then you always find cyclists’ concerns well-founded and reasonable, right?

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  • GlowBoy February 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Scary situation there on TV highway. I occasionally ride it when I’m in a hurry, but usually take Millikan. That said, I agree with the above comment that Millikan gets dicey to the west of Murray. At the actual intersection with Murray I’ve never had the slightest problem: I just take the lane. But beyond the old RR crossing just a little further down it can get scary. That stretch is a cut-through for drivers trying to avoid TV Highway congestion, and people go VERY fast. The pavement is wide enough to be striped for a bike lane at least as far as 153rd, and honestly beyond that it doesn’t carry enough traffic volume to justify being 4 lanes, but I don’t see Beaverton in any hurry to change things.

    Maybe we’ll never find out why the cyclist was “stopped” in the bike lane (if that was indeed the case). I know that when if I have to stop I get the heck out of the roadway in a hurry, yet there but for the grace of God go I.

    I’ll be plenty quick to point fingers at the driver though. Yes, conditions may indeed have been poor, but as a driver I’ve always taken the Basic Speed Law seriously, and I’ve always interpreted it to mean that I should NEVER travel at a speed that prevents me from stopping should I encounter an obstruction in the roadway. I always assume that a pile of cement blocks might be lying in wait around the next curve, or just beyond my headlights’ range, and I drive accordingly.

    That does mean I drive slower than a lot of other people (especially in parking lots, where I keep it down to about 10, much to the consternation of your average idiot). But I think we cyclists have a little more awareness of the damage our deadly weapons (motor vehicles) can do.

    Oh, do I sound sanctimonious? TFB. Another cyclist is dead. Cyclist and pedestrian fatalities are up, while fatalities of motorists (whose vehicles now carry literally hundreds more pounds of safety gear than 20 years ago) are down.

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    • wsbob February 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      “…But beyond the old RR crossing just a little further down it can get scary. …” GlowBoy

      I don’t want to see the discussion go off topic, but yes, Millikan Way has a couple short but difficult transitions for cyclists, including the one near the old railroad crossing.

      During rush hour, the one bikesalot (February 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm) notes is also a drag. Cars back up a couple hundred feet, waiting for the signal changes. It’s a bit unpleasant being sandwiched amongst all those idling motors for several signal cycles.

      Generally though, I’d still say Millikan Way is a great through route for cyclists.

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  • Hot Rod February 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Tragic: ” didn’t see him until it was too late”.

    If you don’t look like a Christmas tree/neon sign then they may be saying the same thing about you one day. It’s basic safety: use multiple lights and many pieces of reflective tape on your bike. If the drive can see you they will probably not hit you.

    Lights on cars do a poor job when the pavement is wet – unless you have them on high beam, which most of the time is illegal, then about 40 or 50 mph is as fast as you can go without “overdriving” your headlights. I will drive with my high beams if it is nasty dark – even if it is illegal – better illegal than to hit someone.

    This driver, in a small car could have been blinded by the lights of a SUV or pickup – the higher vehicle lights shine down into the small car drivers eyes, blinding them. I know – happens to me every time I meet one while driving my Honda car. If the people who make car manufacturing rules gave a sheeeeeeit about safety they would require that lights for all vehicles be at the same height as those of a Civic. Then, you would be blinded less by cars on the other side of the concrete barrier on freeways and by oncoming traffic in general. BUT they don’t give a sheeeeeeit about safety – the craporations have bought off the politicians to eliminate safety rules. In Oregon it is illegal to have “running lights” on as you approach a vehcile – if you are required to dim your high beams you are required to turn off the running lights – but MANY new cars have them now and they do blind people – do the powers that be give a sheeeeeeeit? Nope.

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  • Joe Rowe February 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Does “multiple witnesses” mean a passenger(s) in the car that ran down the cyclist. If the “multiple witnesses” were in other cars, it seems that the dark and rainy conditions prevent that story from having much accuracy.

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  • rigormrtis February 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

    oops. at the driver.

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    • Paul Johnson February 14, 2011 at 9:14 am

      Probably because, by the driver’s own admission, they rear-ended the victim. All road users have a legal and moral obligation not to mow people down.

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  • Deborah February 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

    buglas
    I find it appalling that the Media Release from the Beaverton PD can state that, “The lighting and weather conditions are believed to be a factor” and in the very next sentence state that, “It is not anticipated that the driver of the vehicle will be cited” when that same driver failed to account for those conditions as required by the Basic Rule.

    Really agree with this statement.
    Jaw-droopingly horrible for biking.
    My thoughts are with the victim and his family.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

    It will be interesting to hear about the final crash reconstruction based on witnesses and the scene…do any of these scenarios best describe the case:

    1) Did the driver merge through the bike lane (and the bike rider in a bike lane?);
    2) was there debris in the bike lane (the cyclist was avoiding it and riding as far right?);
    3) did the bike rider have a mechanical breakdown (and had pulled over to what may typically be a parking lane?);
    4) was the driver ‘distracted’ (and did not really know where they were vs. other traffic?);
    5) etc.

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    • adamdoug2011 February 21, 2011 at 7:15 am

      I remember almost getting hit several times but Prius drivers back in 06. then, I realized why – they are super quiet.

      Perhaps the family could initiate a lawsuit against toyota for putting such dangerour cars on the road?

      as pointed out, we are all Michael Lewis.

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      • Paul Johnson February 21, 2011 at 6:57 pm

        The sound of passing traffic is no substitute for keeping an eye on your mirror. You know what else is super quiet and goes fast? Bicycles.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

    And again…the press/ PD reports the ‘helmet issue’.

    This is not a cause of the crash nor an illegal operation by the cyclist. It would be like reporting that the driver’s car was ‘black’ and thus not as visible to other traffic.

    And why does not the the press/ report instead state…the crash would not have been as severe had the driver been driving much slower given the weather/ multimodal traffic conditions?!

    [Yes - a helmet may have improved the post crash condition of the cyclist...but not if the cyclist had not been struck.]

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    • rigormrtis February 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Not wearing a helmet is indicative of a disregard for personal safety. Just like if a driver was not wearing a seatbelt or had several previous tickets for poor driving.

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  • q`Tzal February 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    What are the proper lane designations for this area going westbound on TV Hwy?

    From left (nearest the double yellow line) to right I would have called these lanes:
    > left lane
    > right lane
    > bike lane
    > undesignated anarchy lane (curb lane? It is nearest the curb) or inattentive car shopper lane.

    Perhaps someone could explain which lane the impact was supposed to have occured?

    If the police report’s “curb lane” was the actual lane adjacent to the curb odds are that the auto driver was pulling out from a side road and using the curb lane to get up to speed (like an on ramp) on TV and didn’t even think that a cyclist would be there.

    If the police report’s “curb lane” was the lane with a bike lane to the right then the point of impact was in the “right lane”.

    Given the lack of an accurate description in the police report you’d think they were in a hurry to get out of the rain.

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    • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      “…Perhaps someone could explain which lane the impact was supposed to have occured?…” q`Tzal February 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      A little earlier, I posted the following in a different comment, but to possibly answer your question…from the Beaverton Police Department Media Release:

      “…Officers arrived and learned that a 47 year old male on a bicycle in the westbound curb lane of TV Hwy had been struck from behind by a vehicle, also traveling westbound in the curb lane. …” Beaverton Police Department Media Release

      Doesn’t directly say the collision occurred in the lane closest to the curb, but this suggests the PD thinks it’s likely that’s where it occurred.

      The earlier part of your comment attempting to define the various lanes seems about right. Maybe ‘anarchy’ is an apt description for the lane next to the curb.

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    • Alan February 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      (Also in reply to wsbob Feb 14, 2011 at 11:40 am)

      Bearing in mind Ted’s suggestion that the markings on that stretch of road are non-standard, I imagine three general possible ways to view those stripes and respective lanes:

      a) How the city of Beaverton intended the lanes to be used;

      2) How the stripes, as applied, intend the lanes to be used;

      iii) How the lanes are used by actual traffic.

      The police report may or may not reflect any of those.

      When I look through that stretch of TV Hwy on Google maps satellite view, moving west from SW Hocken Ave, I see a wide white stripe (indicating bike lane according to Oregon Facility Design Standards) beginning just west of Hocken, but no bike symbol marked in the lane. In the middle of that block, a bit over half way to SW Tualaway Ave, as that right-most “lane” widens, it picks up a narrow white stripe to the right (N) of the first stripe and a bike symbol between the two stripes. As a narrow white stripe is a fog line, I take that to mean the curb “lane” (curb to narrow stripe) is parking, certainly non-traffic.

      At Tualaway both stripes stop completely for a bit more than the width of that street, then resume on the west side with another bike symbol between them, again wide stripe on the left (S) of the bike lane, narrow on the right. About one-third of the way from Tualaway to SW 139 Ave, and west of the green arrow where q`Tzal marked Lewis’ bike, the bike lane markings become dashed for a car crossover merge zone. At that point, both bike lane stripes become wide stripes, indicating the right (curb, N) lane has become a traffic right-turn lane. The dashed lines last about one-third of the block, then become two wide solid white lanes, and at that point there is a right-turn arrow painted in the curb lane.

      While it’s beyond the collision scene, continue west a bit further to see the inconsistency of those lane markings. At SW 139 Ave the bike lane stripes stop for the intersecting street (and a bit more). When they resume on the west of 139 there is a wide stripe on the left, a narrow stripe on the right, and a bike stencil in the bike lane. Again, I presume the curb “lane” with such markings is for parking. The wide left line and narrow right line of the bike lane go about one-third of the block, again. Then another car crossover merge begins, but this time there is only a dashed left line and the right bike-lane line disappears completely. Evidently bikes must share that right-turn lane with cars but there is no signage indicating the end of the bike lane, and the solid wide stripe which begins after the dashed wide stripe should (but clearly does not!) mean that everything right of it is a bike lane.

      The striping stops again for 141st and when it resumes on the west side of that intersection the bike lane is up against the curb, no right-side stripe. There are plenty more irregularities and unpredictable changes including some quite narrow sections as it runs west, with the inevitable gutter joint to catch tires forced to be near the curb.

      The hazards of a bike lane between two car lanes, in the door zone adjacent to car parking, or doing a crossover merge with cars, are self-evident.

      Anyway, that’s what/how I see it, fwiw.

      My condolences to Mr Lewis’ family and friends.

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      • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

        Alan…you seem to have done some excellent study towards helping understand the various uses to which the area of the road nearest the curb along this section of TV Hwy is intended to serve.

        So then, it could be that the lane nearest the curb at the point along TV in front of the Audi dealership where Q`Tzal observed the fallen bike, and indicated so on the Google map with a green arrow, is intended to be a parking area, rather than a long, continuous right turn lane.

        Doesn’t seem as though drivers should be using the parking area of the street to informally create a continuous right turn lane. Of course, if there aren’t signs or other clear indication that people aren’t supposed to be driving there, coupled with other confusing and misleading indications that perhaps they are entitled to drive there…? This makes it much more difficult to expect road users to clearly understand what they can and cannot do in such a situation.

        If the point on TV Hwy where the driver and witnesses observed the cyclist stopped on the road is actually intended to be a parking area, that would mean the cyclist was not, as the driver is reported in the Media Release, to have stated….stopped in the middle of the traffic lane:

        “…He stated that the bicyclist was stopped on his bike in the middle of the traffic lane. …” Beaverton Police Department Media Release

        The cyclist may actually have been exactly where he should have been if for some reason, he had to pull over.

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      • Paul Johnson February 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm

        Alan

        a) How the city of Beaverton intended the lanes to be used;

        That doesn’t matter, Beaverton doesn’t have jurisdiction on a state highway such as the case at the location one this happened on.

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        • Alan February 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm

          Yeah, thanks, s/Beaverton/ODOT on that.

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  • q`Tzal February 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    This area would do well with a westbound rumble strip applied ONLY to the 6 inch bike lane stripe adjacent to the through travel lane to the left of the bike lane.

    Also, given that TV Hwy is a STATE highway, we can assume that it was designed to the usual ODOT Auto First standards that we’ve all come to know and love. How then shall we characterize the intended purpose of the lane adjacent the curb?
    From what I’ve seen of safe road design it seems as if the bike lane was simply wedged in there due to legal requirements and given little thought or engineering other than compliance with the law.

    All that said: the lane adjacent the curb in design most resembles a combined on and off ramp. One feature of this type of road is a lower speed limit. I commute here regularly and observe no reduction in speed in this lane other than is necessary to safely complete a turn; even less than that as some drivers seem to be test driving autos for Le Mans.

    I propose that some physical design feature needs to applied here to force drivers to slow down.

    Unrelated: while scanning the area with Google Earth I noticed that the strip of undeveloped land between the railroad ballast the start of pavement averages between 16-22 feet wide not including the bike lane. Adjacent bus pullouts the area narrows to around 12 feet. Behind the 185th ave gas station their fence narrows that to around 6 feet.
    Considering the reduced street crossings that occur due to the parallel rail line a separated cycle track would be optimal here. Include concrete barriers on the road side and some HAWK signals at the major traffic crossings and this could make me stop riding my bike on TV Hwy.

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  • davemess February 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I rode this way all summer to get to work. The right lane (closest to curb) is a right turn lane, you can see the arrow just after the dotted bike lane markers end. There is not parking along this road (not that I have ever seen). I really don’t see how this is confusing road marking? you would only bee in that right lane to turn, and the bike lane stays a consist width (way to skinny for a car) the whole way (even while being dotted).

    This stretch of road was actually one of the safest parts of my commute (going from Hwy 10 in Portland to 185th in Hillsboro). There is a dedicated bike lane, there are lots of right turn lanes on the right side of the bike lane (Something people on here are always advocating on to prevent a right hook collision with bikes), and while the speed limit and traffic volume is high, the bike lane is wide in most spots.

    I think this is another example of Beaverton just not really putting much importance on cycling. Top to bottom (from bike infrastructure to sidewalks to the police force) the city just doesn’t seem to care about bikes and pedestrians the way Portland does.

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    • Alan February 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      davemess
      …There is not parking along this road (not that I have ever seen). I really don’t see how this is confusing road marking? you would only be in that right lane to turn…

      Look at Google streetviews of that area. See how the right stripe of the bike lane is narrow (4″)? That means it delineates the shoulder of the road. Cars aren’t supposed to use the shoulder as a traffic lane. It gets wide at the dashed merge zone. At that point the curb lane becomes a right-turn car-traffic lane, but before that, where the “fog line” is narrow, the markings indicate it is not a traffic lane.

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      • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        Alan…I can follow your reasoning based on noting the differences in line width bordering the bike lane, that some of the road area next to the curb may be up for use as parking…but I think it’s more likely that road users would see that entire linear area as a continuous turn lane/travel lane. And that’s exactly how drivers seem to use it.

        If Beaverton, the county, or whoever it is that’s responsible for maintaining this section of TV Hwy, wants to make the area of the road next to the curb, an on again/off again multi-purpose parking area, right turn lane, it’s probably time for them to take measures to more clearly indicate what use is permitted in each segment of this section of the road.

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        • Alan February 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm

          davemess asked “how this is confusing” and that’s all I was trying to explain. We can’t know what ODOT’s (or B’ton…whoever designs that road) intention was unless they tell us (unlikely). We can know what various road markers mean, including different stripes, and we can also know how prevailing traffic uses the road, and there may be overlap or not among all three of those points-of-view. That’s where the confusion lies. It’s that confusion that makes the police report (and news reports) so frustrating. When it’s obvious that there is confusion and probably a discrepancy between the meaning of the stripes and the actual use of the street by motor vehicles, I would appreciate a police report that spelled that out. Instead, the one we’ve seen so far is built on assumptions which I can’t reconcile with what I see in the photos (including K’Tesh’ series). I’m afraid it’s past time to clarify and improve those lane markings. :(

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          • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm

            Alan…what you wrote seems fine to me.

            Maus probably has got something good out of the interview with the Beaverton police officer that wrote the Media Release. Hopefully, the officer will be able to shed some light on what exactly is an allowed use for this particular “…curb lane…”, in front of the Audi dealership.

            I’d like to know why Prius driver was driving in this area of the road next to the curb…where he came from…where he was heading to. How fast he was going at point of collision.

            I’d like to why, if the driver was driving in the lane next to the curb, the cyclists bike winds up lying partway in the bike lane and the right main travel lane, if, as the driver related to the police, he swerved to the left, but the right side of his car still hit the cyclist.

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  • q`Tzal February 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    wsbob
    I hope the police investigation involved some measuring and mapping to document exactly where the bike came to rest.

    In the 1-2 seconds that I could observe the scene safely I’m mostly certain that there were about 2 or 3 crime scene evidence markers (http://goo.gl/UQXKX) within arms reach of the bike itself and there were other similarly sized and colored items on the road in the same area that I didn’t examine due to concerns for safe driving in hazardous conditions.
    Suffice to say there was almost certainly a police officer in the rain for upwards of 45 minutes (collision at 6:43pm, I passed around 7:35 pm) measuring and collecting evidence.

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    • wsbob February 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      q`Tzal…I’m really glad to read that you saw the investigation being conducted with markers for measurements noting the location of the bike and most likely, other important information relating to the collision. I would have been disappointed if Beaverton hadn’t done this.

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  • El Biciclero February 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    If the driver was “traveling” in the curb lane before he hit the cyclist, he must have really been eager to get into the right turn lane, since it practically doesn’t exist prior to Tualaway WB on TV Hwy. Here is a scenario that I could easily imagine:

    Cyclist turning right from Tualaway onto TV Hwy. and pausing for a minute to make sure the way is clear to move over (across the so-called “curb lane”) into the bike lane. At that same time, the driver has drifted over into the newly-formed “curb lane”, which is really a right turn lane, but technically not a lane until well past Tualaway (as indicated by stripe width, and the intended merge zone identified by the dashed bike lane stripes). I can imagine the cyclist looking left prior to turning, and seeing that the notorious “curb lane” is empty (mostly because it only comes into existence a short distance before), makes the turn onto TV Hwy. I can also imagine the driver, seeing a new lane begin to emerge, drifting over into that new lane, only to realize there is a cyclist there who wasn’t there a second ago. The cyclist may have heard the Prius at the last second and paused to turn around before completing his turn across the “curb lane”, only to be nailed at that instant by the car he thought he heard.

    Of course, the descriptions of lanes and their positions in the “official” report are extremely unsatisfactory; they are ambiguous and seemingly contradictory.

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  • K'Tesh February 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    When I first moved to Beaverton, I lived across the Hwy from the crash site. (The Farmington Apts). I’ve seen car carriers (semis loaded with cars) parked in the curbside lane loading and unloading in the past. I don’t know if they still do that.

    I just spoke with ODOT about the location of the bike lane. The person I spoke to looked up the area on aerial photos, and was surprised to see the location of the bike lane.

    I explained to him about a number of reasons might have stopped me there (mechanical problems, way finding issues, etc). I explained why I wouldn’t want to be in the bike lane as it is marked (traffic on both sides can be unnerving, the winds that night could caused the bike to drift into traffic, etc).

    I asked why the bike lane is located there, and not up against the curb. He’s looking into it.

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    • Paul Johnson February 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      I kind of like having the bike lane seperated from the carriage curb a bit, means debris doesn’t build in the bike lane, and you don’t have the right-hook problem at corners (since you can get over to the shoulder to make your turn), and the positioning further out makes continuity and intersection sightlines better.

      If it were up to me, though, I’d eliminate left turns for motorists on TV Highway and put a Pennsylvania Avenue style track down the middle.

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      • q`Tzal February 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        A little more realistic would be a separated cycle track adjacent the rail line.

        While scanning the area with Google Earth I noticed that the strip of undeveloped land between the railroad ballast the start of pavement averages between 16-22 feet wide not including the bike lane.
        It narrows to around 12 feet near bus pullouts and very few other areas.

        What is most realistic about it is that the strip of unused land runs continually, excepting road crossings of the rail line, from TV Hwy splits of to Broadway in downtown Beaverton just west of Cedar Hills Blvd all the way out to Hillsboro at SE 11th Ave near Shute Park just after TV Hwy veers due north just prior to entering Hillsboro proper.

        The lack of road crossings and opportunities for autos to cross such a path would make it highly useful for bike travel and one of the safest in the area for the distance covered.

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  • cyclist February 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Is there an update on this story yet?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      cyclist,

      I just got off the phone with Beaverton PD. I should know the exact location of the collision tomorrow morning. I spoke at length with the officer who wrote the press release on the crash. My follow-up story will share more form that conversation. Stay tuned…will likely publish tomorrow (Tues) AM.

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  • Sal February 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    First off, my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the person who lost their life.

    As someone who is a cyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, and automobile driver, I’d like to say this about driving a car: it’s hard. Even in the best of conditions, it’s hard to see out of, it’s hard to hear anything outside of the car, and there are a lot of distractions and blind spots. There is glare on the windshield, you can hide a pedestrian, cyclist, or an entire car behind the rear view mirror or A pillars. So we’re out there cycling, walking, motorbiking, and assuming that the drivers can see us and should/will/must act appropriately, and that said drivers are perfectly healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally, are perfectly rational, are completely familiar with every rule, law, and custom regarding road use AND interpret all of that exactly the same way we do.

    Get real. We have to assume that drivers don’t see us and act accordingly if we want to survive out there. And this is about survival. When I motorbike, I assume that cars are going to do the absolutely worst thing from my perspective, and I act accordingly (“he’s not really stupid enough to…yes, yes he is”). Physics are physics, and getting hit by a car is going to seriously hurt or kill you. Doesn’t matter what the traffic laws are or should be or might be, if you’re gone it’s over.

    And know what? People make mistakes. Happens all the time. Last time you checked the brightness and aim of your head and tail lights? Took the reflectors off your bike because they aren’t cool enough? Wearing all black? Blew a stop sign or red light? Yeah.

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    • Paul Johnson February 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Get real. Part of being a good motorist is knowing your limits and not driving if you can’t see at night in the rain when you live in Oregon.

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      • dan February 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        Part of being a good cyclist is taking responsibility for your personal safety. That’s pretty universal to any roadway user.

        This is not in response to the original story, since I certainly don’t know enough about what happened to make a judgement.

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        • rigormrtis February 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

          If the weather was as bad as people were saying/assuming, I would think that the normal lighting/reflectors would not be sufficient for those conditions, either.

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    • El Biciclero February 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      I think you sum it up nicely here:

      “[Driving a car is] hard. Even in the best of conditions, it’s hard to see out of, it’s hard to hear anything outside of the car, and there are a lot of distractions and blind spots. There is glare on the windshield, you can hide a pedestrian, cyclist, or an entire car behind the rear view mirror or A pillars.”

      So there are two ways of dealing with this fact:
      1. Restrict driving privileges to those that know how to actually do it safely. Increase the amount of knowledge required to get an initial license. Re-test every time a license is renewed–including a road test. Augment the test to check for things like night vision, decision-making skills, and driving attitude. Reinforce the fact that driving is dangerous and a privilege, not a right, as some seem to believe. Driving is hard; make it hard to get a license.
      2. Grant driving privileges to everybody and their mentally challenged brother, and clear the decks– because you never know what kind of idiot stunts people are going to pull.

      Making the “physics” argument indicates a bully/victim mentality, not a cooperative society mentality. Granted, pragmatically speaking, it might be wise to consider all drivers bullies and all peds and cyclists as potential victims–just like on the grade-school playground where the smaller ones stay away from the “Big Kids” for fear of being picked on. Says something about how much we really ever grow up…and proves that power corrupts.

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      • rigormrtis February 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

        Physics is unemotional. It’s just a reality of the situation. The bully/victim comparison is laughable and a really poor attempt of a straw man. Might as well call all drivers “potential murderers”.

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        • El Biciclero February 19, 2011 at 11:51 am

          Probably too late now, but I disagree. Yes, physics is an unemotional law of the universe. Gravity, mass, inertia, friction, momentum, kinetic energy, none of those things care one way or the other how I get around or whether I am a safe driver. I’m not saying physics is a bully.

          What I find disturbing is the suggestion that, since “the car will always win”, it is the duty of more vulnerable road users to stay out of their way. While this is pragmatic and no, none of us with self-preservation instincts are going to intentionally jump out in front of a moving car any more than we would jump off of a ten-story building and expect to survive–”physics” would get us in either case–it is also backwards.

          The duty should be equally if not more incumbent on those with “physics” on their side to behave in a way that will minimize the damage they do to others. Driving around without paying attention (not that that is what happened in this case–I’m speaking generally), assuming everyone will get out of your way because, after all, physics will dictate thus, is being a bully. Seeing a pedestrian about to step off the curb and giving them the brush-back while pretending not to see them because, after all, they’d be stupid not to understand that physics will rule in my favor if they get in front of my car–is being a bully. Trying to squeeze around a cyclist, cutting them off in a turn, or passing too closely, too fast, because, if they know what’s good for them they’ll make way for me–you know, physics and all that–is being a bully.

          You are confusing physical reality with mental attitude. Yes, the physical reality is that I had better stay the hell out of the way of anything that can kill me if I want to survive. That is pragmatic obedience to the laws of physics, motivated by self-preservation. To have the attitude that everybody better stay out of my way if they understand the physics of the situation, which is that I, in my car, “will always win” is a bully mentality.

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        • adamdoug2011 February 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

          This is correct – momentum will be always be conserved.

          This is why we need to get serious about real bike safety – real, separated, protected bike paths with real law enforcement that acts as if our lives are worth something.

          That strip of paint they give us(usually in the frickin door zone) just is not sufficient.

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      • wsbob February 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

        “…Re-test every time a license is renewed–including a road test. …” El Biciclero

        Looking at that idea from a practical angle, do think there’s even the slightest chance that Oregonians would support such a change to qualifying for a driver’s license? Or be willing to pay for the increase in staffing and facilities necessary to take on the additional workload?

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        • Paul Johnson February 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

          This won’t take an act of congress. The DMV could make it happen. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing if they did. Drivers who can’t regularly pass the driver’s test don’t belong on the road.

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          • wsbob February 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

            “…The DMV could make it happen. …” Paul Johnson

            Not without Oregonians authorizing them to make it happen, through their legislators in the form of laws.

            But say a number of Oregonians really felt strongly enough that Oregonians should, as El Biciclero and no doubt other people as well feel, that Oregonians should be written tested and driver tested each time their license came up for renewal … . How might they be persuaded to support such a change to the driver’s license rules?

            It’s important to keep in mind that this is a chore that most driver’s license holders have never had to repeat once they received their license. It’s a good guess that going through that experience again is something most driver’s license holders would not want to have to go through again unless the reason was very persuasive.

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        • tacoma February 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm

          Duh! Of course there isn’t “the slightest chance that [the majority of] Oregonians would support such a change to qualifying for a driver’s license”, especially since Oregon (and every other state) is firmly entrenched within the “option 2″ range. Just because the majority would not support option 1 in the present age doesn’t mean it was not a valid option at one point in time or will not continue to be an option for the future. IMHO, El Biciclero has a good understanding of the options of dealing with the fact that “driving is hard.” Anything in between is just a variation of either option.

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  • Yvonne Boeckel February 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    The man that was killed was a close friend of mine and he was an experienced rider….all of his friends called him Bret its spelled with one T not two! I still CANNOT believe that I will never see him again. He was an incredibly talented, kind, caring person. He was an awesome artist. IF THAT THE DRIVER IS NOT CITED FOR MY FRIENDS DEATH…..SHIT IS GONNA HIT THE FAN! I will be at the vigil on friday. It warms my heart to know that people care this much!

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    • tacoma February 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      Sorry your loss, Yvonne. For that matter, the loss to our community also.

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    • buglas February 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      Yvonne, thank you for telling us about Michael – Bret. Please share with his family and friends that many of us are thinking of them. – Doug

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      • Yvonne Boeckel February 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

        Your welcome..if you would have known him you would have liked him.

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    • K'Tesh February 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      Sorry to hear about your loss Yvonne. Bret and His family and friends are in my Prayers.

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      • Yvonne Boeckel February 15, 2011 at 8:16 am

        His other friends…there are many…and family appreciate your prayers. At least now Bret is with his son who recently died….It breaks my heart.

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    • MySonsDad February 15, 2011 at 6:53 am

      Hi Yvonne…my name is Marcy and I am Brets ex-wife and mother to his sons, Max and Leo. Max passed away from Leukemia last year and now this. It’s almost too much. Leo has lost a brother and now a dad.

      You’re right about Bret in that he was incredibly talented artist and a good kind person who in NO way deserved this. What if the guy was texting and hid his phone from the cops ? Can the police demand something that isn’t illegal ? Too many unanswered questions… my head is reeling and I’m trying to be strong for my son. We hadn’t been together for a long time, but we had 2 sons and a relationship and I loved him with all my heart at one time. That kind of love never goes away.

      I’m going to do my best to bring Leo to the vigil on friday (we live in Salem). I can’t believe there are so many kind people. Thank you all for your kind words here.

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      • Yvonne Boeckel February 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        Oh Marcy…what horrible circumstances to meet you. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I cannot imagine how you must feel. I hope to see you at the vigil on Friday. If you go on Facebook and friend me I can message you my number so that we can at least meet at the vigil. I cannot believe Bret is gone and that I will never see him again! Pisses me off!

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  • Ted Buehler February 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan. Based on the police description, the motorist appears to be in the wrong, and the police misidentified the shoulder as a travel lane.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler February 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    The above comment was intended to be a response to Jonathan’s posting of the police press release about 40 responses up.

    In reading through the other replies, I see that the police reports of a “curb lane” does not necessarily mean the lane in question was adjacent to the curb. So retract my assessment until more details come in…

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  • RoadShare February 15, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Sal
    As someone who is a cyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, and automobile driver…

    Sal,

    I can relate. I too use multiple modes of transportation, including bicycle and motorcycle, out on the streets.

    So many here want to point to the rules, place blame, etc. before all of the facts are known. Even if the driver of the automobile is found to be at fault, this won’t change the general dangerous tendencies that so many motorists exhibit every single day. Even if the rules of the road change over time to the benefit of cyclists, the rules of physics will not change. If you are out on the street on two wheels you must assume the worst is about to happen at all times. This has been preached to motorcyclists time and again over the years. All it takes is one mistake, either on the part of the person with two wheels or four, and there is the potential for tragedy.

    I feel horrible for the family and friends of the cyclist that was killed in this incident. If nothing else, perhaps this tragedy will serve to heighten the awareness in others such that it will help them to avoid a similar fate in the future. Hopefully other cyclists will at least ask themselves if they were in this same position, how visible would they have been and would they have had a helmet on? We all have to take responsibility for our own safety when we’re out on the streets. Learn what we can from this and share it with others.

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  • q`Tzal February 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

    RoadShare
    Even if the driver of the automobile is found to be at fault, this won’t change the general dangerous tendencies that so many motorists exhibit every single day.

    Important point: this will happen again, perhaps even here.
    We here are mainly concerned with cycle and pedestrian incidents but I’d wager that even autos have problems with this potentially illegal lane configuration.
    It is obvious that rain, wind and darkness contributed to the odds that this incident occurred: headlights reflected off of a very wet road make it near impossible to see white road markings.
    It is logical that auto driver inattention contributed directly to this incident. Failure to obey the “The Basic Rule Law” from the Oregon Driver Manual (Form #735-37 (11-08), page 29)

    The Basic Rule Law
    The basic rule states you must drive at a speed that is reasonable and
    cautious for existing conditions. The basic rule applies on all streets
    and highways at all times.

    What is less obvious is that the road design contributed to this incident in that the purpose of this lane cannot be definitively determined – even in hindsight by a blog full of armchair accident reconstructionists and road use wonks. The fact that we with time to think it over slowly cannot draw a simple conclusive decision is an indictment of a hazardous road design.
    We shouldn’t have to guess: it should be obvious. These things are meant to be determined at speed in less than 2 seconds. Any road feature that has to be pondered and pontificated upon has failed because IT has become the distracting road feature or simply ignored.

    Fix the road.

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  • Peter O. February 15, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I’ve noticed something that unsettles me a bit. Its very obvious that people do not look that far down the road. Go driving on a highway and watch light traffic as the approach a closed lane. If you are paying attention you can clearly see the signs telling you to move over and slow down. Often the traffic in the to-be-closed lane doesn’t even take any action till they are within 50 yards of the closure. That action is almost always to hit the brakes and jump quickly over to the open lane. This has become predictable behavior.

    If the reports of him being in the middle of the lane are true then he would bear some responsibility here however the driver should have been looking far enough ahead for the conditions. There are street lights here and the person could have been avoided.

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    • El Biciclero February 15, 2011 at 11:25 am

      “If the reports of him being in the middle of the lane are true then he would bear some responsibility here…”

      I think that’s a big “if”, given the ambiguity of the lane markings as discussed above. It may very well have been that the driver was traveling in what was intended to be the shoulder of the road. If Bret interpreted the lane markings to indicate he was on the shoulder of the road, and the driver interpreted them to mean he was in a newly-formed travel lane, well, therein lies the conflict.

      On the theme of ambiguity, I think issues at this location could be mitigated to a great degree through use of paint. If this section of the “curb lane” is intended to be just an expanding shoulder which will eventually become an official travel (right turn) lane, then paint diagonal white stripes in the shoulder area up until the “official” travel lane begins. I think most folks would understand that this meant not to drive drive in that area: it’s not a lane yet.

      BTW: As much as I love discussing the possibilities of what may have caused this crash in nerdy terms of stripe widths and speed limits and who has the duty under law of watching out for things, I can tend to take an engineer’s/investigator’s cold approach to the situation. I apologize to those who knew Bret if any part of my discussion sounds cold and heartless: we all need to remember that regardless of cause or blame, somebody with family, friends, a child, colleagues, etc. is no longer here. Bret isn’t coming back, and that will leave an unfillable hole for a very long time. I want to add my condolences to the family and friends of Bret for their loss and wish them the best as they move forward. Let’s all remember how fragile life is and try not to be cavalier about our actions in the community, remembering that our actions affect others whether we are riding, driving, walking, or shopping for groceries. RIP, Michael Bret Lewis.

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  • Peter W February 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Does it seem to anyone else that, at this point, the readers of BikePortland have done more to reconstruct and explain the crash than the police from the city of Beaverton?

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    • rigormrtis February 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Yes, and with less actual evidence and information.

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  • esther c February 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

    It would be nice if a complete investigation of a death was done before guilt was assigned to the bicyclist by the police.

    That is all I would like to see is a complete investigation.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

      I agree esther, and I have fighting this same crusade with the Portland Police for years. My proposal has been to only issue very basic facts after a serious/fatal crash and then follow-up with more details once the investigation is complete. Both the PPB and the BPD say the same thing in response — that “the media will ask these questions anyways [about helmet use, citations, how they think the crash happened, and so on], so we just try to answer them in the press release.”

      In this case, judging from my conversation with the Beaverton Police officer who wrote the statement, he doesn’t believe his statement assigns any blame. I’m working on my story now. Stay tuned.

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    • rigormrtis February 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Or to the driver by people here.

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  • rigormrtis February 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

    It strikes me as ironic and somewhat hypocritical that many/most people here advocate strict adherence and responsibility for drivers, but then seek to avoid strict adherence and responsibility (stop signs, etc) for themselves.

    Any time you have different behavioral standards for different groups within a single system there will be conflicts.

    It is a tragedy that someone died, and it apparently is quite easy for people to determine where the fault lies (though they were not there).

    There just seems to be a trend on this site to absolve the cyclist no matter what, whether it be blaming the system, the drivers, or anything else. On the flip side, there is also usually an immediate assignment of guilt to the driver.

    As they say, there is your story, my story and the real story.

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    • El Biciclero February 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

      I think what people are really advocating for is strict adherence to principles of safety, not necessarily codified laws. Anyone with any amount of self-preservation instinct is going to take responsibility for their own safety to the extent possible.

      I have to think that the tendency here to “absolve” cyclists and “blame” drivers is partly due to our bias as (mostly) cyclists, but also a defensive reaction to 100% of media stories immediately blaming the cyclist in cases like this one. I think we feel an instinctive need to counteract the blame-the-cyclist mentality of the media and the driving public. I’m sure you are correct in that the real story is somewhere in between.

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    • wsbob February 15, 2011 at 11:50 am

      “It strikes me as ironic and somewhat hypocritical that many/most people here advocate strict adherence and responsibility for drivers, but then seek to avoid strict adherence and responsibility (stop signs, etc) for themselves. …” rigormortis

      You say: “…many/most…”. That’s a very general approximation. Seems to me though, that amongst bikeportland’s readership, there’s plenty people that work hard to study very carefully, the details of reported incidents relating collisions involving cars and bikes, and post their thoughts accordingly.

      The sense I get, is that they seek to objectively arrive at a sense of where the responsibility for the collision lies, and if it’s due to one or the other party in the collision, who then is most responsible. Because the more important issue over quibbling about who drives bad, or rides like a nut, is figuring out ways to make the road and traffic management system work its best.

      It doesn’t bother me that much, that some people…I repeat…’some people’… post comments here, essentially saying ‘people on bikes can do no wrong…blabbedy-blabbedy-blah’. This is basically a bike specific website, so naturally, some people are going to find it appealing to express those kinds of viewpoints here.

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  • EmGee February 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    rigormrtis
    It strikes me as ironic and somewhat hypocritical that many/most people here advocate strict adherence and responsibility for drivers, but then seek to avoid strict adherence and responsibility (stop signs, etc) for themselves.

    Any time you have different behavioral standards for different groups within a single system there will be conflicts.

    That makes no sense. Bicycling and driving are very different activities with very different profiles wrt safety, health, and economic risks. For instance, a bicyclist is not attempting to maintain control of a lethal force.

    The legal standards for drivers and bicyclists need to be as different as the standards for those who carry firearms and those who carry water pistols.

    I don’t see any trend here to absolve the bicyclist. I do see a lot of major disappointment with the way BPD has handled this so far, and an effort to use public opinion to force BPD to do its job properly.

    On the face of it, the experienced operator of one vehicle found conditions on the road at that time to be so bad that he had to stop. Whether because road junk had jammed in his wheel or he could not see or could not control the bike in a gusty wind is immaterial. But another vehicle operator who was experiencing at least most of the same conditions failed to see and react in time to those conditions.

    On the face of it, BPD is grossly negligent in curtailing its investigation. If the driver of the killing vehicle was not in violation of the Oregon Basic Rule, BPD should be quite vocal about what they found actually happened. I’m not hearing anything from them about their reasoning for not citing the driver of the car. And I would think that at a minimum they would want to say something before they get involved in a wrongful death suit.

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  • EmGee February 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Paul Johnson
    This won’t take an act of congress. The DMV could make it happen. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing if they did. Drivers who can’t regularly pass the driver’s test don’t belong on the road.

    For several years my job involved vetting licensed nurses for hire and promotion, or sometimes for recommending discipline or termination. This involved a lot of activity wrt professional licensure, especially the hiring part.

    A licensing exam, no matter how tough or how often re-exam is required, does not assure that the licensee is competent. It only excludes certain kinds of incompetence. But not all kinds, and especially not the kind of incompetence that is associated with stupid, dangerous behaviors.

    I don’t think that agitating for more frequent license exams is going to do much to improve the safety of the streets. I think that would be a waste of money for little gain.

    I do think that stronger initial licensing requirements– as stringent as a private pilot’s license– would help. But what would help the most is more frequent revocation of licenses for behaviors that demonstrate potentially reckless actions, and criminal sanctions like prison time for persons driving without license.

    Those actions would remove from the streets many dangerous drivers before they hurt someone, and would scare many more potentially dangerous drivers into compliance with safer driving practices.

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  • adamdoug2011 February 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

    not to get off topic, but the collective wisdom, knowledge and patience of the bikeportland community is truly impressive.

    we argue so we can get to the truth – and, to me, that is what counts.

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  • wsbob February 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I just realized readers might benefit from this story being updated with a text correction to reflect information learned from the interview with the DS Schumway of the Beaverton Police Dept; information that suggests the point of collision was at the intersection of TV Hwy and Tuallaway Ave, rather than the point on the map above indicated by the green arrow, suggesting, and stating by text less definitively than the later info, that this was the point of collision:

    “…The collision happened near the intersection of SW Tualaway Ave (in front an auto dealership – Google Map here). …” maus/bikeportland

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