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76-year old racer Clark Henry seriously injured in Beaverton collision – Updated

Posted by on August 20th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Clark Henry at the 2010 OBRA
Awards Banquet.
(Photo © J. Maus)

76-year old Clark Henry, a member of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and the oldest active racer in the state, was hit and seriously injured while bicycling in a bike lane in Beaverton this morning at around 8:00 am.

According to the Beaverton Police Department, Henry was riding westbound through the intersection of SW Allen and and SW Western (map) when a person driving a mini-van eastbound turned left in front of him. Henry suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung and is still in the hospital in stable condition.

View looking east (from the mini-van driver’s perspective. Henry’s bike is in the upper left corner.
(Photo: Beaverton PD)

The mini-van operator said she could not see Henry because the sun was in her eyes. She was not given a citation at the scene but the BPD say that, “The issuance of any citations is pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Henry’s bike.
(Photo: Beaverton PD)

Henry is a veteran racer and is a member of the Beaverton Bicycle Club. Last year he earned the “Best All-Around Rider – Masters 70+ Category” award from OBRA. I met Clark at the banquet where he was given that award. He’s been racing in Oregon since the 1960s. With ailing knees, Clark has trouble walking; but he told me, on a bike “I feel like I’m in my 30s.”

Get well soon Clark. We’re all pulling for you.

UPDATE, 9:50pm 8/22: This message about Clark’s condition was just posted by his friend Darrell Provencher to the OBRA email list:

“Here’s the latest update on Clark. Just got off the phone with his wife. Clark is currently in the ICU at OHSU. He has several broken ribs on his left side and they may be separated at the back. No surgery planned. He has 2 punctures in his left lung. He also has a bruised heart. Clark is taking O2 by mask, is fully conscious and eating food regularly. His first words to his wife when she got to the ER was “Where’s my bike?” Another FYI, Clark had an emergency appendectomy the previous weekend and was back on his bike again this past Tues! On Saturday he was on his way to the Team Rose City ride at Liberty HS when he was hit at the intersection of SW Allen Blvd and Western Ave in Beaverton. He’s been training hard since last year for Masters Road Nationals in Bend. Clark is 76 years young. What a bummer.”

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Comments
  • Kenji August 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

    From the entire OBRA community heal up quick Clark. You are one of our heroes. Stay strong.

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  • Joseph E August 21, 2011 at 12:19 am

    “The mini-van operator said she could not see Henry because the sun was in her eyes”

    When you turn left, you need to look for traffic (cars, bikes or people walking) coming the other way. If you can’t see because of the glare, you shouldn’t go. By admitting she was not able to see, the driver is admitting culpability.

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    • Dabby August 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

      So true.
      Admission that you cannot see, could not see, knew you could not see, is an admission of guilt, as if you cannot see, you should stop.

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      • middle of the road guy August 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

        One could also make the argument that the cyclist should have been aware that the driver had sun in her eyes given the time of day that it was.

        Same logic as a driver’s right hook responsibilities.

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        • El Biciclero August 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm

          What? One could also make the argument that everyone should stay home during the hours of 7 to 9 if the sun is out. The legal point is that left turning drivers must yield right-of-way to oncoming through traffic, regardless of what kind of traffic it is. This is a clear case of failure to yield, irrespective of the excuse for it.

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        • Racer X August 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

          What defensive action are you proposing they take?

          …Are you expecting a cyclist (or motorcyclist) to pull over for each actively turning or potentially turning vehicle…at all intersections and driveways? This would make traveling many east or west routes basically impossible during the hour before dusk.

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        • esther c August 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

          Yes, perhaps cyclists should give all drivers sunglasses and clean their windshields so they can see us. Its our responsibility.

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        • Schrauf August 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

          MOTRG occasionally has a good comments, but this one wins SCOTY (Stupid Comment Of The Year).

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          • middle of the road guy August 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm

            It was meant to elicit comments, which it did.

            My point is that the cyclists on this site state that drivers should always be aware of those around them and assume that the rider ‘may’ do such and such (like turn without a hand signal). Surely, one could make the same suggestion that a cyclist should apply such predictive behavior to a driver as well.

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        • sore bore August 22, 2011 at 12:17 am

          With all due respect, you are way off on that one! I bet 20 bucks the car was somewhat stationary or slowing , the cyclist ( who seems to have years of safe riding on his side) read the seen as a go, was shaded to the drivers vision and turn was began in front of him. Did Mr.Henry make a bad call? Maybe, but this is clearly the motorists fault. IMO. I hope Mr. Henry recovers quickly and returns to his life long passion with us.

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        • ron August 22, 2011 at 8:49 am

          One could make that argument, but it is a ridiculous one.

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          • middle of the road guy August 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

            yes it is….just like many that cyclists make regarding drivers.

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          • noah August 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

            MOTRG, I’m a regular reader of this site and its comments. I’ve only ever seen the converse argument made: that we as cyclists should be more cautious than the law would demand, because motorists are unpredictable, and we’ll be the ones hurt no matter who is wrong. Even then, it’s not given as a moral or legal argument, just a practical one of self-preservation.

            However, assuming the argument you’re parodying has been made here, I don’t think the parody is on target. As intrinsically more dangerous, less vulnerable road users, motorists *do* carry extra moral responsibility to be predictable and legal. It’s with this understanding that we give them the legal responsibility of licensing.

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  • wsbob August 21, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Great to get info about the person riding the bike and their riding experience.

    The O had this story earlier in the day, but names weren’t available at the time, and hasn’t been updated.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/index.ssf/2011/08/beaverton_crash_injures_73-year-old_bicyclist_police_investigating.html

    From my own experience, riding and driving through the intersection, I recall a traffic light being there….and look at the Beav PD pic illustrating this story, which seems to show a traffic light on green. This suggests that one of the two road users may have failed to stop for a red light.

    It would seem that the person driving the vehicle was traveling south on Western prior to their left turn to the east.

    I just rode through that intersection last week from south to north on Western. It’s a fairly well marked but complicated intersection.

    The section of Allen where Clark Henry was coming from as it meets Western, is part of a big sweeping radius, keeping cars moving swiftly on the green light, which they do. The streets and main travel lanes are generously wide here, further aiding motor vehicle speed. Even with bike lanes, they are uncomfortable roads to ride.

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    • K'Tesh August 21, 2011 at 8:09 am

      What really sucks for cyclists is that there is a abandoned private MUP at that intersection… roots have damaged it beyond riding, unless you have serious bunny hopping skills

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157621779071519/with/3752644516/

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      • Paul Johnson August 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

        I’d rather see DOT handle it than THPRD, given THPRD’s rather poor quality paving and inability to maintain MUPs. Though, that particular MUP has never been ridable as long as I’ve been aware of it. I’m 29, and I’ve known about it since I was in grade 7 at Whitford.

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    • wsbob August 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      I’m adding to my earlier comment, having visited the collision scene today. First of all, I think…disregard what I wrote here:

      “…It would seem that the person driving the vehicle was traveling south on Western prior to their left turn to the east. …”.

      Instead, this is probably what happened: It seems the person driving the vehicle was east bound on Allen, making a left turn onto Western, to the north. The green light we’re seeing in the PD photo is probably the one the person driving saw, indicating to them the way was clear. I understand the PD photo and caption better having been out there today.

      Photo isn’t very sharp, but as ‘are’ says, it does look to be not just a green light, but a green arrow, which doesn’t necessarily mean the person in the vehicle was turning on the green arrow rather than just a basic green light, which this signal also probably has.

      The person driving the vehicle did probably have the sun in their eyes as they proceeded into the left turn. How completely the sun would have obscured visibility of a person on a bike in that situation, I wouldn’t want to and couldn’t say.

      When something like this happens, the advisability of running daytime bike lights comes to mind. Rode up and around Fairmount Blvd today (low traffic, scenic, relaxing, lots of joggers, dog walkers, others on bikes.). I was surprised to see four or five people on this road…today…with all this bright sunshine…running daytime front and back blinkies (white/front/red/back).

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      • wsbob August 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        Re; traffic lights at the intersection:

        A comment from the Oregonian story about this collision reports: “…It was reported on KGW or KATU that this woman had a flashing yellow light, …” BadMayo

        A yellow flashing light may be there. I believe Beaverton has been installing them within the last couple years at some intersections. Not exactly sure how these lights work, but from what I can tell, they’re very clever. If I understand correctly, only the yellow flashes during what’s determined to be off-peak traffic hours. During heavier traffic periods, the green arrow is actuated. There’s one of these lights on Cedar Hills Bld right across from the big mall.

        I make a turn regularly at the one on CHB. It can really help to not leave someone sitting at an intersection waiting for a light to change when there’s no other cars on the road (for example, early am.). Of course, the person proceeding on the flashing yellow also doesn’t have the protection a green arrow provides in stopping traffic from the opposite direction.

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      • wsbob August 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

        Earlier today, I couldn’t get the KATU story to load up to make certain it was the station that reported the flashing yellow light. Loads up tonight…it did report that…here’s the link. By the way…three very vivid pics of the bike, street and van, accompanying this story. :

        http://beaverton.katu.com/news/transportation/442533-man-hit-while-riding-bike-thrown-windshield#idc-cover

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    • Kristen August 22, 2011 at 8:49 am

      WSBob, the yellow flashing arrow happens during any point of the day or night, generally speaking, not just during peak hours.

      The vehicle operator still has the responsibility to make sure the oncoming traffic lanes are clear– including the bike lane, and that there are no pedestrians crossing.

      From my admittedly not scientific observation, a lot of people waiting to turn will take the smallest gap in traffic to turn… which usually means the person turning is severely underestimating the speed of oncoming traffic, or disregards oncoming traffic and steals the ROW.

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      • wsbob August 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

        “WSBob, the yellow flashing arrow happens during any point of the day or night, generally speaking, not just during peak hours. …”

        hey Kristen…I expect you’re probably right on that. I just came back from Western/Allen, having closely watched the four-light left turn traffic signal. Time was 12:45pm.

        The flashing yellow arrow stays on a long time. It turns to green arrow…I think perhaps only if there’s a car waiting in the left turn lane (went over to Cedar Hills Blvd and Fairfield today too…that signal never went to the green arrow, because through two cycles I observed, a car never turned into the left turn lane.)…then reverts to solid yellow, and then red arrows.

        Also…some people might be wondering what traffic signal was facing Clark Henry the person on the bike. I fought my way over to the other side of the intersection to look at that signal light too. A standard R-Y-G light faces west bound traffic, his direction of travel. So if the lady driving the mini-van had a flashing yellow arrow, Henry would most likely have had a green light.

        The traffic here, is tough. When on Clark Henry’s side of the intersection facing west on Allen, I stood at the entrance to a trucking outfit, watching the signal. Away in the distance to the east on Allen, comes someone on a basic bike in the bike lane. At a point where the person is approx 30-40 feet away from me, they look back over their shoulder and then abruptly veer across the two main lanes of traffic, across the two lanes of opposing traffic, and into the driveway of some business suites…saw a sign ‘Epiqe’. No signaling whatsoever. The person made it safely. No screeching tires, but there were cars behind and to the side of this person.

        The traffic wasn’t overly heavy at this hour, but as I said in earlier post, because of the sweeping curve design and nature of the road, it’s fast. A lot of big semi trucks frequent the area too.

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  • Paul Johnson August 21, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Now taking bets that Henry gets cited for riding a bicycle in Beaverton and the motorist walks? That’s how Beaverton rolls.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Barry Munro August 21, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Best of luck in the recovery phase, Clark. Cheers.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • BicycleDave August 21, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Never much liked that intersection when I lived out that way. Get well soon.

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    • Perry Hunter August 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      Making an assumption that the goal was to get to the Fanno Creek Trail, there’s a better way – take 5th to Western (insted of Allen), cross Western at the light and take the MUP that runs behind the apartments at the end of 5th to Chestnut. Take Chestnut to Scholls Ferry and then turn left on 92nd to the end of the Fanno Creek Trail. Much, much safer than Allen or Western.

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      • Paul Johnson August 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

        For simplicity sake, how about we assume the destination was on Allen itself. Used to live in that neighborhood in high school and again shortly after I moved out after graduation. Allen is the only option to get through that part of town east-west for destination within Allen’s vicinity. Though given the amazing crime rate and the (sarcasm)wonderful police department(/sarcasm), never again. Back in ’98, a man was shot at 141st and Allen, but BPD was more concerned with who slashed the tires of the photo radar at Wilson and Allen to even bother investigating the murder. Living at 141st and Spirea at the time, it forever tainted my view of South Beaverton.

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  • kittens August 21, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Drivers need to be just as scared and sanctioned for hitting a cyclist as they are at getting a DUI. This is life and death.

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    • middle of the road guy August 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Let’s hope the same thing applies for cyclists who hit pedestrians.

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      • noah August 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm

        MOTRG, as I think you’re pretending not to understand, if the law doesn’t punish a cyclist as harshly as a motorist for the same outcome, it’s because that outcome is much less likely to happen when a cyclist takes a risk.

        If you insist that only outcomes should determine punishment, and predictability shouldn’t play a role, then it’s only consistent to say that causing any kind of accidental death should be dealt with as harshly as committing (grossly) negligent homicide. Are you prepared to defend that?

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  • Tourbiker August 21, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery Clark.
    the “sun was in my eyes” defense.

    Driving blind & reckless driving…there a difference?

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • K'Tesh August 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Clark, sorry to hear about your crash. I’m praying for you and your rapid recovery.

    God bless!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Duncan August 21, 2011 at 8:25 am

    The other day I had a similar thing happen while I was driving my car- as a cyclist I try and be as aware as possible but as I was driving west on powell in the late evening I was startled to see a bicyclist a head of me directly in the sun- I slammed on the brakes (and nearly rear ended by my tailgater) so I could have enough time to figure out what was going on (was there enough room to pass, was the guy biking straight or weaving… that kind of thing). It gets me thinking-

    My point is this- if the left hand turner hit the bicyclist while said cyclist had the right of way then Of course the car driver is at fault, and being cited would surely help the bicyclist collect insurance money from the accident- but should she be treated as if she was DUI? I dont think so. There is a difference between a moment of poor judgement and path of disregard for the safety of others or acting with malice towards another (as would be the case if the driver intended to hit the cyclist).

    As a bicycle rider (and as a motorcyclist) there is a point that I am putting myself in a position where if an accident happens I will be more seriously injured than if I am in a car. If the driver of the other vehicle behaves responsibly- ie is insured stops and renders aid and waits for the police then I think anything more than a citation is unwarranted. If they leave, arent insured, are intoxicated or were driving recklessly- throw the book at them, but not for a simple error in judgement.

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    • 9watts August 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      “should she be treated as if she was DUI? I dont think so. There is a difference between a moment of poor judgement and path of disregard for the safety of others or acting with malice towards another (as would be the case if the driver intended to hit the cyclist).”
      DUII isn’t for malice, it is for poor judgment under particular circumstances.
      We know that the law treats rather leniently those who drive and have momentary lapses that have serious consequences for people on bikes who were doing everything right (and not engaged in momentary lapses of judgement): Reese Wilson, Bret Lewis, Dustin Finney, Nick Bucher, Tracey Sparling….
      This isn’t going to change overnight, but as has been repeated her for years, the danger someone in a car who isn’t paying full attention can (and with some frequency does) visit upon those not in cars is very real.

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      • Scott August 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

        Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and turning when you have not assessed the situation correctly are both moments of poor judgement.

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  • are August 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

    the photo shows a left turn arrow. who had the light?

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  • Bjorn August 21, 2011 at 9:48 am

    and God’s Flashlight strikes again… The signal has separate phases for green light yield to oncoming traffic and green arrow go. If the light made it impossible to see then she should have waited for the green arrow.

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  • Mindful Cyclist August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Sorry to hear about the crash and hope you get back in the saddle soon, Clark!

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  • Marybeth August 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Mr.& Mrs. Henry are also active in the local AKC Corgi Club. All of us in Columbia River Corgi Club, 2 legged and 4 – wish you a speedy recovery Clark. We will check on you and Mrs. to see if we can help!!! MB

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  • Seth Alford August 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Years ago as a matter of course the gas station attendant would wash your windshield when you got gas. That only takes care of the outside of the windshield, of course. But the outside of the windshield gets most of the dirt. Maybe that should be re-instituted. Or, maybe the “I can’t see because I have a dirty windshield and I’m too lazy to clean it” should not be accepted as an excuse.

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    • Kevin August 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      I can’t find anything in the article that suggests that it is more than just sunlight in your face. You know the sun, its bright, causes loss of vision if looked directly at etc. While I agree whole heatedly if you cant see you shouldn’t turn, you are assuming something there is no evidence for in TFA.

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    • Racer X August 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      And…perhaps future Police reports (and news reports) will also mention the condition of the wipers and windshield (inside and out – as dirt and smokers smoke can make it tough with glare to see at dusk) per visibility. Like how they mention helmets and color of riders clothes.

      When I borrow cars I am always amazed at how poorly maintained many are and often have to clean them myself before I drive…almost like running around with dirty glasses.

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  • Opus the Poet August 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Wrecks like this remind me of the ZZ Top song “Arrested for Driving While Blind”.

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  • esther c August 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Yesterday, driving across the B’way bridge and up lovejoy to Cornell at 6:30 pm the visibility was horrible due to glare. I couldn’t figure out if it was worse with or without sunglasses. I had to drive at a literal snail’s pace to keep my speed below my distance vision.

    Glare can make vision bad. The remedy is slowing down.

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    • Tacoma August 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you, esther c, for slowing down. Exactly the right thing to do.

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    • mabsf August 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      I second that! I am amazed that drivers seem to forget that there are this revolutionary invention called a break pedal and that car do not have to go at a constant speed..

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  • Alison Pfeffer August 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve been through this intersection many times on my bike. This is one of the “blinking amber” left turn signal intersections. The person in the van probably had a blinking amber, not a solid green, left turn arrow. With these, oncoming traffic always has the right of way, and the person turning left must yield until it is safe to turn.

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  • rootbeerguy August 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    my wish for speedy recovery to Clark…

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  • rootbeerguy August 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    my opinion Beaverton should stop using blinking yellow lights. It has too many of them. I dont drive in Beaverton regularly. those lights make me nervous.

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    • Paul Johnson August 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      The problem isn’t with the flashing amber arrows. These appear across the country now. The problem is ODOT-DMV is way too lenient in licensing, allowing inadequate drivers to operate motor vehicles. Likewise, the state is equally unwilling to revoke licenses when drivers demonstrate that they haven’t kept their driving skills sharp.

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  • Charley August 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Get well soon!

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  • Mindful Cyclist August 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Couldn’t find a link, but just watching fox 12 now and they reported the driver was ticketed.

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  • Ted Buehler August 21, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Get well soon, Clark.

    Does anyone know if there are legal limits to how dirty a car’s windshield can get before it needs to be cleaned?

    Just curious,
    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • NW Biker August 22, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I live near Beaverton and ride and drive there frequently. I like the flashing yellow arrows. With Washington County’s inability or refusal to coordinate traffic lights, it’s nearly impossible to avoid stopping at every light (whether riding or driving), and this is one time when I don’t have to sit through the entire cycle of light changes in order to make a left turn. It’s at least one thing that helps move traffic instead of hinder it.

    That said, the person turning left always has the obligation to yield. If the sun is too bright, slow down until you can see where you’re going.

    And my pet peeve of the day: “mini”van. If you can’t see around the darn things, they have no business being called mini or compact or anything like that. They’re rolling visual obstructions. Just my opinion.

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    • Paul Johnson August 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

      They’re smaller than fullsize vans, like a sprinter or whatever Metro West uses for ambulances.

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  • Dave August 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

    If you are a RESPONSIBLE car owner or driver, a couple of times a month you’ll hit the inside of your windshield with Windex and a rag–cleaning car windows from the inside is as important as cleaning them from the outside. Particularly, a dusty dirty inside surface of a windshield makes any glare much worse.

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    • Alan 1.0 August 22, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Amen. Between Clark Henry and Kienen Wayrynen both being hit in the past week by drivers using the “I didn’t see him” excuse, and both possibly related to windshield glare, I cleaned mine inside and out, thoroughly, as well as the side glass. Makes a big difference.

      FWIW, the windshield of the vehicle that hit Clark looks fairly clean in the press photo.

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      • Paul Johnson August 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        Am I the only one who thinks that if you use this excuse, that should be an automatic suspension, pending a vision test?

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  • esther c August 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

    When riding as the sun is setting I purposefully avoid heading west as much as possible, or try to use streets with wide bike lanes etc. For example, would never ride down Lombard West at 6pm. But jeez, you have to cross a street every block, no matter how safe you try to be.

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  • Joe August 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    slowing down when the sun is setting is the best option, safe for all. GET WELL

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  • John C. Ratliff August 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Clark, I think I saw you riding at the Velodrome a ways back. We are all rooting for your full recovery, and hoping for the best possible outcome. Best wishes from Beaverton. John

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  • Sandi Burgess Dean August 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks for everyone’s well wishes. Mom and Clark don’t have computer access but I will print all of this out for them. Clark took a little turn for the worse this morning and has to be taken into surgery. He is resting this evening and we will see what tomorrow brings. Your kind thoughts are very appreciated. Thank you again. Clark’s stepdaughter, Sandi

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  • John C. Ratliff August 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Sandi, thank you for the update. We’ll keep Clark in our prayers. Let him know that a lot of us are thinking about him. John

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  • Susan August 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    How is Clark doing, Sandi?

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  • Mark August 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Ditto. Get well Clark

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