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Collision in Aloha leads to arrest, raises questions about legal rights - UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 20th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Damage to a Sheriff's patrol car after it
was involved in a collision with another vehicle.
(Photos: Washington County Sheriff's Office)

A collision in Aloha (about 11 miles west of downtown Portland) last night led to minor injuries and the arrest for 44-year-old Christopher Shostak. Shostak was operating his bicycle on a residential street when he became involved in a collision with a patrol car operated by a Washington County Sheriff's Deputy.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Shostak was bicycling eastbound on SW Blanton Road at 7:49 pm (about 30 minutes after sunset). The patrol car was headed in the opposite direction and then turned left into SW Pinewood Place. Here's what the official police statement (titled, "Bicyclist Arrested After Crashing Into Patrol Car") says happened next:

"It was reported that as the Sheriff's Deputy was turning onto SW Pinewood Place, the bicyclist ran into the front of the patrol car."

"Generally at night we expect to see lights... If someone doesn't have lights on they lose their right of way."
— Sgt. David Thompson, Washington County Sheriff's Office

Shostak was thrown over the hood of the car and the impact smashed the windshield and damaged the car's front grill. The statement also says that Shostak wasn't wearing a helmet, didn't have any lights on his bicycle "as required by Oregon law," and that alcohol "may be a factor" in the collision.

After being treated at a local hospital, Shostak was arrested and lodged in County Jail for an outstanding warrant.

Sounds like an open and shut case right?

But what the police statement doesn't mention is whether or not the Sheriff Deputy's car made an illegal left turn prior to colliding with Shostak. As a Google Maps Streetview image shows, there are no stop signs or signals at the intersection. It would also appear that Shostak had the right of way if he was traveling eastbound and the Sheriff's Deputy was turning left.

Even if, as the police allege, Shostak had been drinking and didn't have a front light on his bike (which would put him in clear violation of Oregon Law — you must have a front light visible from 500 feet during "limited visibility conditions"), what about the left turn? If you turn left and hit someone, it seems a charge of unsafe left turn or failure to yield might be warranted.

This incident brought up some questions for me: Did the Deputy make an unsafe left turn? Did he signal his intentions prior to the turn? Was he distracted? Does it matter?

I asked Washington County Sheriff's Department spokesman David Thompson for more information.

Thompson wasn't aware of the details in this collision, but he said that, "Most of the responsibility of the driver is gone if a car or bike didn't have any lights on... Generally at night we expect to see lights... if someone doesn't have lights on they lose their right of way."

That was news to me. I didn't know that a traffic violation by one party in a collision could absolve a violation by the other party.

Bike law expert and lawyer Mark Ginsberg says Thompson is partially right, but it's not quite that black and white. Ginsberg says it's possible for two parties in a crash to share fault. "It's not always all or nothing," he said this morning, "A jury or judge could look at it and say the driver is at fault for hitting the other vehicle, but the bicyclist is also 25% at fault, or whatever the case may be."

I hope to hear back from Sgt. Thompson. He said he'd look further into my questions about the left turn. I'll update this post when I know more.

UPDATE, 9/21 at 8:31: Here's a follow-up statement from Sgt. Thompson after getting clarification from the Beaverton PD Traffic Division:

"The driver of the car has the obligation to yield the right of way on a left hand turn to oncoming traffic. At night, a vehicle/bicycle with no lights is basically invisible and in the left turn drivers mind there is no vehicle to yield to. The left turn driver can not be held responsible for not yielding to an invisible vehicle."

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Comments
  • Jeff September 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    It is important to note that both Thompson and Ginsberg are expressing legal opinions, not fact. This could be confusing for people are their tones indicate otherwise. It is standard practice for both law enforcement and attorney's to use this strategy in communication; this is, assertion of fact via tone in statement. No specific point here, just don't get caught up in pseudo-authoritative statements that might not be...

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    • middle of the road guy September 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      And let's face it...at the end of the day the lawyer is trying to get your business, so of course he will say things you want to hear.

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      • JRB September 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

        What a BS comment. Way to coat an entire class of people with the same tar brush. Stereotype much? Whose business is Ginsberg trying to get? Maus contacted him unsolicited and asked him a question, and Ginsberg answered it, gratis. I've known Mark for 20 years and he has been a dedicated cyclist all that time. I'm sure he was just trying to help out as best he could.

        I have no doubt that Mark was giving his understanding of the law. That's what good lawyers do, they give clients their unvarnished opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of a potential case and let their clients decide whether they want to proceed. Mark is a good lawyer.

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        • Tacoma September 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

          Excellent work calling out that comment. Thank you.

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        • middle of the road guy September 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm

          I doubt he works for free and that he would encourage anyone with concern to hire him. A lawyer makes money defending an interpretation of a law or statute......and if they have a specialty they are going to have a favorable interpretation of that specialty for the person hiring them. And a smart lawyer markets himself as an expert and defender of a specific group of people.

          I wonder how many cases Ginsberg turns down.

          What I find ironic is the broad brush statement....that never happens here regarding 'cagers' or SUV drivers.

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          • JRB September 21, 2011 at 8:13 am

            As a attorney specializing in representing injured cyclists, Mark takes his cases on contingency. He only gets paid if the client prevails. He therefore has no motivation to sugarcoat things in an effort to win clients. As far as board brush statements, you just can't help yourself can you? First you stereotype Ginsberg and now you stereotype me because I post to a bike blog. If you search this website you will not find one post where I stereotyped any group of people as "cagers" or otherwise.

            I encourage you to try contributing something meaningful to the discussion instead of engaging in stereotyping and unsubstantiable character attacks.

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          • sorebore September 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm

            Hey JRB, do not let MOTRG get to you. Seems that is his M.O.. .. Check out his comment today in the article concerning the young cyclist who was killed in California. makes ya wonder?

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  • John Mulvey September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    In the criminal context, it's possible that the biker should be cited and fined for operating a bike without a light AND the officer cited for making an illegal turn, because both could meet the legal requirements for a conviction on those charges.

    Someone else's criminal act isn't a defense to your own.

    The question you're really asking, I think, is who bears the legal liability for the damages. As Mark Ginsberg says, it's entirely possible that they were both negligent, in part, and they would share liability. (See ORS 31.600 et seq.) Figuring that out is what trials and juries are for.

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  • Brad September 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    The cyclist was arrested on an outstanding warrant, not the collision, or am I missing something? He could be cited for not having a light but that is not arrestable and up here in Washington, neither is the alcohol content.

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    • Mindful Cyclist September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      Not only was he arrested for an outstanding warrant, according to the Washington County jail roster, he is a felony/fugative from another state.

      And, I am with you. I have no idea what the question is here. I am missing where the guy was arrested or even cited for not having a light or possibly being drunk. I am just seeing he was arrested on the warrant.

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    • Spiffy September 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      the story didn't associate the alcohol to the bike rider so it could be the cop that may have been drinking...

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  • Mindful Cyclist September 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Do we know what his BAL was when he left the hospital? That could explain a lot of it. Sure, the cop may have made an illegal left turn, but blow a 1.8 and have no light on your bike, you just made yourself a difficult case.

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    • Spiffy September 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      who said it was the bike rider that made alcohol be involved?

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      • Kevin September 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

        Do you ever just stop and consider just how dumb you are sounding here? An on duty officer is guily in your oppinion simply because he is driving a car, a worse offense than obviously being a wanted fugitive riding a bicile in wanton violation of the law, and you side with the scumbag.

        Fricken crazy.

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        • Hugh Johnson September 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm

          Yeah he's out of line.

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      • naess September 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm

        "Even if, as the police allege, Shostak had been drinking and didn't have a front light on his bike..."

        perhaps reading, and not just skimming, the story might help?

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      • naess September 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

        "The statement also says that Shostak wasn't wearing a helmet, didn't have any lights on his bicycle "as required by Oregon law," and that alcohol "may be a factor" in the collision."

        "Even if, as the police allege, Shostak had been drinking and didn't have a front light on his bike..."

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  • Marcus Griffith September 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Did the officer driving the car write the report? If so, the report us vulnerable to the accusation the officer is simply writing the report to cover his own fault in the collision. As for if the cyclist not having a light, how does the officer know the light simple wasn't knocked off during the collision?

    As for the speculative "alcohol may have been involved in the collision" statement it bears no more weight than saying the officer "may have been caring child porn in the squad care." May merely implies the possibility and doesn't state if there are any grounds for the insertion.

    But don't expect justice in this case, the police and the city have their butss to protect because of the officer involvement.

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  • Jack September 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Simply asking who is at fault for the collision is a targeted question that does not reflect all of the events and/or laws that are at play here.

    It is possible that officer failed to signal before turning (not implying this was the case) AND that Christopher Shostak is completely at fault for the collision due to not having a front light. They are not mutually exclusive. The officer could be cited for failure to signal and Christopher Shostak could be held responsible for damages resulting from the collision as well as cited for failing to have a front light. Similarly, if there had been no collision, both Christopher Shostak and the officer could/should still be cited for respectively not having a light and failing to signal.

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  • Brian September 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Jonathon asks "Did the Deputy make an unsafe left turn? Did he signal his intentions prior to the turn? Was he distracted? Does it matter?" They are all reasonable questions, but there is nothing in the report to suggest any of this occurred. This strikes me as trying hard to find a reason not to blame the cyclist. Riding after sundown without lights is a bad idea. I don't have much sympathy for the cyclist.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Brian,

      I realize that's how this post might come off; but my intention isn't to find a reason to not blame Shostak. Seriously. I've been doing this for far too long to do something so petty and one-sided.

      My concern is that the police might be glossing over what I consider an important factor in the case. I'm also intrigued by the legal question of when/if does one violation erase another violation.

      Thanks for your comment.

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      • tonyt September 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm

        Jonathan, If the officer had done something that would have been illegal regardless of whether or not there was anyone there (like taking a left where it was posted "No left turn") I would agree that there would be shared responsibility. But it seems to me that if a bike rider hasn't taken their legal obligation to light their bike, how can the driver be considered negligent.

        I drive VERY cautiously. I would hope that if I collide with a cyclist and I simply can't see them because they don't have lights (when conditions dictate that they should), they would be found at fault. I think this would/should be the case with a car as well.

        I do realize that you are simply intending to question the official response, which is usually the best tactic, but it does seem that in this case, the cops got it right and it does feel that you're digging for an excuse. You know me, I'm hardly a fan of the cops. But at some point, the buck does stop with the cyclist.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

          thanks tonyt,

          Part of why I posted this story the way I did was because I get concerned sometimes with incidents like this that the police are too quick to shut the book on the case and we may never know if the officer involved was indeed doing something unsafe/illegal.

          You'll also notice that I don't assume the man on the bike didn't have a light simply because that's what was written in the police statement. I try to assume nothing in these situations and I also try to stand up for fairness and justice — which I think is especially important to do when a guy with priors is involved in a collision w/ an official patrol car.

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          • JF September 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm

            Speaking of which, any update on Brett Lewis?

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          • JF September 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm

            By Brett Lewis I meant in regards to the quick response by police and not the guy with priors. Sorry.

            Has the final invenstigation report come out yet? Especially after all the hypotheticals posted about why he may have been hit.

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          • wsbob September 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm

            "...If you turn left and hit someone, it seems a charge of unsafe left turn or failure to yield might be warranted. ..." Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

            Which, in the instance of this particular collision, brings up the question of 'who hit who?'. Did the county deputy drive his car into the guy on the bike, or did the guy ride his bike into the police car?

            In the pic above, car obviously has windshield damage. Reports have been that the grill was damaged. Where on the grill was damage sustained? Was there damage to the bike? What kind of damage? Where did the impact of the collision bring the bike to be, relative to where the car came to a stop (in other words...did forward travel of the car project the bike some distance from the car?)?

            By the way, closely not the picture of the county patrol car: Is this a black/dark grey car, or has there been some photoshopping going on? Look at the tires...they seem to be white, rather than black. Also, note the small coppertone colored dots on the hood of the car and on the upper part of the windshield. I believe those dots are possibly the reflection from the overhead street lights. I'm not well familiar with this stretch of Blanton, and though I think it does have street lights, the illumination they provide may be meager.

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      • wsbob September 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

        "...Did the Deputy make an unsafe left turn? Did he signal his intentions prior to the turn? Was he distracted? Does it matter? ..." Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

        Jonathan...some more questions for you:

        'Was Shostak watching the road ahead of him? At what point did he see the patrol car prior to it turning?

        Is it possible, that the Washington County Sheriff's Deputy did make a safe turn, and Shostak, the guy on the bike, neglected being sufficiently aware of traffic approaching him from the opposite direction he was traveling, and made an unsafe stop?'.

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  • GlowBoy September 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Seems to me you shouldn't be held liable (or found guility of making an unsafe left turn) for a collision with a vehicle that isn't properly VISIBLE.

    You aren't visible as required by law, you lose your right of way. End o story.

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    • John Lascurettes September 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      So would you say the same if he had been a pedestrian in the crosswalk? I'm not absolving the rider for lacking a light, but a pedestrian is not required to use a light to cross the street. Had the officer hit a pedestrian, what would have been his excuse for not yielding then?

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      • Spiffy September 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

        no, because pedestrians aren't usually moving that fast... you aren't looking that far back for unlit vehicles... you are looking slightly ahead for unlit pedestrians...

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      • GlowBoy September 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

        No! Pedestrians are not vehicles. The rules are completely different.

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  • Jim September 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    This is silly. The collision occurred because the cyclist was INVISIBLE.
    I've many near bike on bike crashes due to lightless riders. Some serious common sense here please.

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    • Pete September 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      So is your pure speculation more valid than everyone else's, or were you actually there?

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  • deborah September 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for looking into this incindent! When it was reported on the Tribune site I also wondered about the delicately worded statement by the police department. Sounded like they were trying to remove any questions of culpability by giving sparce details and running with the normal 'no lights or helmet' montra.

    Though I DO see their point about visibility being a factor in not yielding to the bicyclist. Tough to yield to someone you can't see. But at the same time I also really take offense to people constantly using the 'I didn't see you line'. I just don't think that should excuse bad driving.

    The issue was further clouded by the standing warrent for Shostak. It gives the impression to readers that he did something wrong in this collision that resulted in the arrest. Riding a bike at night without a light isn't smart, but it also won't get you arrested. This incident had nothing to do with his being arrested - other than the fact that the police officer that hit him wouldn't have known about his warrent otherwise.

    I hope the Aloha police department clarifies their portion of blame in this collision instead of letting it all fall on Shostak. It seems like a cop out. Lame pun intended.

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  • Racer X September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    ...and was the squad car wearing black?

    (Many police and emergency vehicles in other countries use much higher contrast paint colours and retrofreflective coatings.)

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    • Spiffy September 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      other countries want you to be able to see the police in case you need help...

      in this country the police don't want you to see them so that they can catch you doing something they don't like...

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  • Keith September 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I hate the lame-assed (but all too commonly used) "I never saw the cyclist!" excuse, but I think it's appropriate in this case. A cyclist biking at night without lights can be practically invisible.

    I cannot answer the "does one violation erase another" legal question, but consider the following thought experiment:

    1. Cars A and B approach a four-way stop intersection from different directions. There is no other traffic.
    2. Car A reaches the intersection first, comes to a complete stop, then proceeds straight.
    3. Car B (approaching from Car A's left) blows through the stop sign and t-bones Car A.

    Is Car A guilty of "failure to yield" (or some other violation)?

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  • 9watts September 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Lights, reflective strips, heck there are a lot of ways to be visible half an hour after sunset. I was outside yesterday at 7:49 and it was not what you might call dark. I think we used to call that twilight.
    Saying he didn't have a light (turned on) may well be true, but I don't think we can immediately conclude from that that 'he was not visible to someone under those light conditions.'

    As for this: "Most of the responsibility of the driver is gone if a car or bike didn't have any lights on... Generally at night we expect to see lights... if someone doesn't have lights on they lose their right of way."

    I too would like to see that spelled out a bit more. I can be covered head to foot in reflective tape and be a whole lot more visible than someone with a dim headlight the batteries of which are dying.
    Pedestrians aren't required to be illuminated. Does their right to life also evaporate at dusk?

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  • q`Tzal September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    From my days of car crashing I know that a vehicle's ROW is lost when the intended travel path takes the vehicle operator out of their current travel lane and into any other ROW path.
    The police officer gave up his ROW when he signaled a left turn; this much is an indisputable fact. The cyclist was in the lane, with FULL ROW, being crossed by a driver with a requirement to yield.
    The WACo sheriff rep says "no lights, no right of way". I'm willing to conceed shared blame but at what point does the one part in a collision hold no blame when the other party has not followed a rule?

    Do we expect that all courts will fairly apply specific absolution (in this case the officer could not legally be expected to yield to that which he canot see)

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    • q`Tzal September 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Or do should we expect retaliatory from authorities like "your bicycle was run over by Angry Hummer Guy in broad daylight from behind but I see your front reflector is missing. You are at fault for this crash."

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    • middle of the road guy September 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      what rule did they not follow? If the officer assumed that there was nobody in the lane, perhaps because the cyclist was not visible, then who's right of way was impeded?

      When I take a left turn at a left turn signal, I DO have the right of way when crossing a lane.

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      • q`Tzal September 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

        At a signalized turn ROW goes in the direction mandated by the state:
        () if it is a LEFT TURN ONLY signal then the mandated, and thus a legally fashioned ROW, is stright and then left at the signal.
        () If this hypothetical left turn takes place at ANY LOCATION that signals, signage or other official instructions fails to exist then this left turn is made by YIELDING (giving up one's ROW) and crossing the other ROW.

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  • Spiffy September 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I thought you were required to have your light on within 30 minutes after sunset... this collision was 5 minutes after that 30 minute limit... or was it? only a dash cam or call records will show for sure...

    I just think the lighting issue is very unclear here... a dash cam video would help a lot...

    sure seems like the cyclist could easily be at fault though...

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  • Bjorn September 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    My dad once made a left turn on a highway and a police car tried to pass him as he was turning and slammed into him. The cop of course blamed my dad and issued him a ticket. In court my dad was able to get the cop to admit he had not honked before passing (obscure california law at the time required honking before passing) and so the cop ended up being found at fault. Whenever a cop hits someone it is always going to be on that person to try to prove it wasn't their fault.

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  • Spiffy September 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    oh no, I just saw Christopher's booking photo and already have made my verdict... sad but true... it's that easy...

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  • BURR September 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Apparently, the laws don't apply to cops.

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    • Pete September 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      What law did the cop break here?

      We don't know that he didn't signal, but if cops there are anything like most cops and drivers I see here in California they don't seem to believe turn signals are required. So much for enforcement. :(

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      • q`Tzal September 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

        Basic "common law" Right Of Way.

        In the last automotive total loss crash I was reponsible for (1995) I changed lanes on a major road similar to Sandy to avoid a sonambulant driver who puleed out from a stop sign controlled miner road directly in to my path.

        In a total of 8 different states I have questioned traffic officers, in friendly social situations, about what I could have done to a liability and legal blame.
        In all cases I have been assured that if I am 100% certain that I could not stop in time I would have been legally protected if I had simply plowed in to the other car.
        The simple act of changing lanes eliminates your right of way, as do turning actions and many others.

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        • middle of the road guy September 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm

          But there was someone in the other lane and you saw them...therefore the responsibility (as ill placed as it may have been) was on you.

          If the other person was invisible, would you still be liable? I doubt it.

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          • q`Tzal September 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm

            This was a dicey car crash ... I learned that even in an 1985 Buick Century (american heavy cruiser) people will not see you.

            Moron stopped at side street,
            Looked both ways,
            pulled slowly out in front of 45MPH traffic.
            Once she was half way through the 1st lane (right lane, mine) she stopped DEAD, I had about half the stopping distance I needed so changed lanes WHILE braking.
            Then she gunned her car in to a kamizaze attack.

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  • was carless September 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Its so much simpler in the Netherlands: if you are on a bike, its always the motorists' fault.

    ;)

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    • middle of the road guy September 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      That's just about as fair as if there was a law that said "if you are on a bicycle, it's your fault".

      It may be expedient, but that does not make it appropriate all the time.

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      • 9watts September 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        "That's just about as fair as if there was a law that said 'if you are on a bicycle, it's your fault.'"

        motrg:
        Um, I don't think you're remembering the little detail that suggests that very nearly all of the people killed and maimed on our roads got that way because of cars, not bikes. This is probably true in the Netherlands too. There they took note of this basic fact and made a law that reflects that insight. Here people that argue like you often do here are in charge so we're not there yet.

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    • El Biciclero September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

      I don't think that's quite the case. Unless I am mistaken, Dutch law makes it so that the burden is on the driver to prove it wasn't their fault. Here, we sort of have the opposite situation due to bias on many sides: oftentimes, a cyclist involved in a collision with an auto must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not their fault. Stories from drivers are believed more often than accounts from cyclists.

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  • lothar September 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    non-story

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  • Mike Fish September 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I think it's pretty clear that the police will use the law to their advantage in situations like these. They're a lot better at it than the general public. They deal with legal issues almost every day. They fill out all the reports. Judges and and juries trust them more than the rest of us simply because they are police officers. There are good and bad ones, just like every other profession. My point: Beware! If you're ever in conflict with a cop you're at a big disadvantage, regardless of whose fault it is.

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  • Ted Buehler September 20, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Story.

    If you don't stand up for felons on bikes hit by cops in cars, how will you stand up for your neighbors hit on bikes by cops?

    Cops often drive recklessly for no reason.

    I was in a city park once, and sirens started going off all over town. I saw a cop car speed up to about 50 mph on a quiet residential street along the park, then, a half a block further slam on his brakes because he had caught up to another cop car who had slowed for a stop sign. If Cop A had been paying attention to who was on the road, he/she would have known that there wasn't any point in making a moving hazard of himself if he was going to wait for another cop to clear in half a block anyhow.

    Lots of people ride without lights. Unless the cops are going to enforce the law and get them off the streets, they need to be careful not to run them down.

    Ted Buehler

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    • wsbob September 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      "...Lots of people ride without lights. Unless the cops are going to enforce the law and get them off the streets, ..." Ted Buehler

      Do you believe the public is willing to pay more taxes to hire additional officers necessary to spend more time than they're able to now, for stopping and citing people that are riding bikes without lights?

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      • Ted Buehler September 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm

        I don't have the foggiest idea whether the public is willing to pay more taxes. All I said was that if the cops aren't going to enforce the light law, they should be careful not to run over unlit bicyclists.

        I'm sure Mr. Officer was none to pleased to have Mr. Felon's head come through his windshield. But apparently Mr. Office wasn't willing or able to drive carefully enough to prevent it.

        Ted Buehler

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        • wsbob September 20, 2011 at 10:56 pm

          "...All I said was that if the cops aren't going to enforce the light law, they should be careful not to run over unlit bicyclists. ..." Ted Buehler

          Where does your idea that police aren't going to enforce the bike requirement for bikes come from? The police are enforcing that law, I expect according to priority, budget constraints and resources to enforce it. Would you have suggestions for other enforcement areas police should take their time away from to create more time to patrol for and cite people riding bikes without lights?

          With information reported to date, it's not all apparent that the county deputy didn't drive carefully enough to prevent Christopher Shostak from colliding with the deputy's patrol car, assuming Shostak did his part in riding his bike carefully enough to slow to avoid colliding with a car making a left turn across Shostk's direction of travel on Blanton St.

          There haven't been any reports of investigation into whether Shostak on his bike without a light (assuming reports that the bike didn't have one are true.) could have been seen on that section of the street at that time of night with the light that existed then, by the county deputy.

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          • wsbob September 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm

            Correction....change: "Where does your idea that police aren't going to enforce the bike requirement for bikes come from? ..."

            To:

            "Where does your idea that police aren't going to enforce the bike light requirement for bikes come from? ..."

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          • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 1:21 am

            ""Where does your idea that police aren't going to enforce the bike light requirement for bikes come from? ...""

            It's what I observe in the parts of Portland I bike in.

            I see bikes on the road with no lights, and cops driving around and not citing them.

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          • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 1:36 am

            "Where does your idea that police aren't going to enforce the bike light requirement for bikes come from?"

            It's an observation. I see bikes with no lights. I see cop cars. I don't see any effort to enforce.

            This is in Portland. Maybe Aloha is different.

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          • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

            "...I see bikes on the road with no lights, and cops driving around and not citing them. ...Ted Buehler

            Ted...cops do cite people for violating the law requiring bikes to be equipped with lights. Just because you don't personally see people being cited for riding their bikes at night without lights, doesn't mean cops aren't citing people for that violation. Search the bikeportland archives for Reverend Phil and his getting stopped on...I think it was Powell Blvd...for not having a working bike light.

            I don't know much about what police departments' priority on citing people for not having bike lights is. It's probably less of a priority than citing people that drive cars without lights is. It's common to hear all types of people saying that police should be spending more time stopping murderers, rapists and thieves. It's kind of common knowledge that cops use violations such 'riding bike with no lights' to stop people and run their I.D.

            The weird thing is, the strongest type of complaint in comments to bikeportland, is often that cops spend too much time citing people on bikes for things like not having bike lights.

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  • wsbob September 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    What I think is worth hoping for, is that maus will continue following this story so that, if he chooses to offer one and if it becomes available to the public, we'll learn what the guy on the bike, 44-year-old Christopher Shostak's account of the circumstances of the collision are.

    Will his comeback to the brief police account reported so far, resemble the alternative scenario maus ponders in his story? Will he say things on the order of:

    'The police officer didn't have his turn signal on. He turned abruptly across my direction of travel. The police officer didn't give me sufficient advance notice of his intention to turn, allowing me reasonable opportunity to slow down and safely stop to avoid colliding with his car.'.

    It would also be helpful to know whether Christopher Shostak's blood alcohol level was tested upon his arrival at the hospital for treatment of the minor injuries he's reported to have sustained in the collision.

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    • Mindful Cyclist September 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      "What I think is worth hoping for, is that maus will continue following this story so that, if he chooses to offer one and if it becomes available to the public, we'll learn what the guy on the bike, 44-year-old Christopher Shostak's account of the circumstances of the collision are."

      Correct! Shostak can still contest this. There are way too many unknowns at this point.

      It was reported that he didn't have a light. Okay, clear violation of Oregon law. The officer could not have signaled. Another violation of Oregon law. Suddenly, it is a "shared fault" case as Ginsburg points out. And, this of course is nothing more than speculation.

      Also, when someone goes to the ER, a blood draw is more than likely going to be done to determine the BAL (I work in the medical field, I know) if there is any suspicion of alcohol. Why? Because they want to make sure the person will not go into withdrawals because it can be deadly. And, again this is speculation.

      The only cast-iron fact we really have in this case is that Shostak did have a warrant out for his arrest and that is why he is in custody now. Looking at all the news stories, I am not even seeing anything that Shostak was even ticketed for not having a light.

      I am not necessarily a fan of the cops and they do often drive distracted. And, yes, cops will lie to cover their butts. And, we need to contest things that police do and not take their words for it all the time.

      But, as of now we have a guy arrested on a felony warrant that is in custody. We don't know much else. And, if one is on the run from the law, it is a good idea not do do things that will draw attention to the cops like riding a bicycle at night without a light.

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      • sorebore September 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

        Thanks Mindful! If I had my way your comment would be the last on this one for now . Back to he Home page for me! have a good day everyone!

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  • sterling September 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I know this individual personally. He has been religious about having a light on his bike and as for the warrant it is merely another example of an unemployed American looking for work who hasn't been able to meet child support bills. He's an honest dude who swears he was sober, which I believe and had a horrible wrong place at the wrong time moment. Let's not forget the picture. It's a little unrealistic to put it all on Chris and say he ran in to the cruiser. The damage to the windshield clearly shows plenty of speed on the part of the cop car. Since when do the police not have the ability to give a breathalizer on scene. Should there be any question about his BAL. He got hit by a cop and taken to a hospital for a broken leg and other injuries. There should be no doubt about his BAL and I feel like they're are leaving that open ended to cover their ass if need be.

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  • Jacob September 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    The cyclist didn't have a light, he is wrong and should be held to the same standards we cyclists would hold an auto driver to for not having a light. I don't get why you're trying to put fault on the police officer, how in gods name could he see a lightless cyclist... Ever hear of a "ninja cyclist"?

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  • esther c September 20, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I'm not sure where the officer signaling or not has any relevance in this case. The cyclist had the right of way even if the car had signaled.

    The only question is was it reasonable to expect the driver/officer to see the cyclist under the conditions. There's lots we don't know, lighting of the intersection, what the cyclist was wearing, etc.

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    • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 1:12 am

      "I'm not sure where the officer signaling or not has any relevance in this case. The cyclist had the right of way even if the car had signaled. ..." esther c

      The following is part of my general understanding of using the road:

      'If a road user making a turn across another road user's direction of travel, signals in advance sufficiently to allow the through traveling road user to safely slow down and allow the turn to be made, the through traveling road user has to offer some yield.'

      Even assuming the officer saw Shostak on his bike sufficient distance away from his car to make a safe left turn, allowing for the likelihood that Shostak could see the approaching car with its turn signals on (assuming the officer did have them turned on.)...and slow down accordingly, as needed, Shostak wouldn't absolutely have the right of way over the officer.

      Road users traveling a given speed, and seeing another road user ahead preparing for and beginning to make a left turn, do not have a right to sustain their speed if doing so is going to lead to a collision. If they safely can, they've got to use their brakes and slow down. This is part of sharing the road.

      Of course, beyond the bike not having a light, the speed a bike can travel, is part of the equation here. Setting aside for the moment, possible distraction on his part or failure to signal the intention to turn, did the circumstances of the situation allow the officer to sufficiently see Shostak on his bike in advance, to make a safe left turn, or didn't they?

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 1:34 am

    From the Oregon Drivers Manual p. 39

    Left Turns
    ...
    On a two-way road, approach the turn with your vehicle in the lane just to the right of the center line. Just before entering the intersection, look to the left, front, and right for cross traffic on the intersecting street and oncoming traffic that may also be turning. Be especially alert for bicycles because they are harder to see than most other vehicles...

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/forms/manuals.shtml#C

    Ted Buehler

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    • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Well and good words to remember, read and go by. Does that Driver's Manual's very basic warning to be especially alert for bicycles, imply being alert for bicycles without lights, being ridden in the dark? Sure. Have reports about this collision so far, confirmed that the county deputy was not being especially alert for bikes as he was driving west on Blanton? No they haven't.

      When he's ready to offer his account, let's hear what the guy on the bike, Christopher Shostak has to say about the county deputy's driving relative to the collision.

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  • sterling September 21, 2011 at 4:33 am

    Would have been nice to have some witnesses because although the story says he had no light, the light he has always used is nowhere to be found at his house. Probably because it was on his bike. Sounds sketchy to me and since it's the officers word against his with the officer trying to clear himself of any wrong doing I really doubt we are going to get the full story. Like I said before, they keep bringing up the BAL issue like they don't know what it was but between the officer and the hospital I'm sure they would have known his BAL which according to Chris should be 0.

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  • Evan September 21, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Just a thought-
    Would this situation be any different if the person on a bike was walking? No requirement for a light.

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    • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Evan
      Just a thought-
      Would this situation be any different if the person on a bike was walking? No requirement for a light.
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      Difference in speed traveled by people on foot, and people riding bikes, could be a difference. Possibly, the guy on the bike, Christopher Shostak, was riding his bike at a walking speed...about three and half mph; very likely, he was traveling faster than walking speed.

      While people aren't capable of walking 15-25 mph on flat terrain (I believe that section of Blanton is flat terrain.), bikes can easily travel speeds of 15-25 mph on flat terrain.

      If Shostak was traveling say 20mph on his bike, he would cover a lot more distance in a period of 3-4 seconds, than a person on foot could. In the dark, without a light on the bike, the difference in available reaction time for road users struggling to see unlit bikes, could be critical.

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    • Tacoma September 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

      REALLY good question. Totally applies here. If the pedestrian is crossing the street when the driver is making a left hand turn and collides with the pedestrian, which laws apply? There is no requirement for a light, not even a requirement for bright clothing.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 21, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Here's the latest statement from WashCo Sheriff's Office Sgt. David Thompson:

    "The driver of the car has the obligation to yield the right of way on a left hand turn to oncoming traffic. At night, a vehicle/bicycle with no lights is basically invisible and in the left turn drivers mind there is no vehicle to yield to. The left turn driver can not be held responsible for not yielding to an invisible vehicle."

    As I suspected, the concept is that if a vehicle cannot be seen by another vehicle operator, the duty to yield no longer exists. This is the same conclusion reached by the DA in the case of Tracey Sparling, who was run over by a truck and killed while she sat legally in a bike lane. The argument was that since there was no way the truck driver could have known Ms. Sparling was there, he cannot be held liable for failing to yield. Not sure how I feel about this.

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    • Mindful Cyclist September 21, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Any potential for dashcam video, Jonathan?

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    • 9watts September 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

      "Not sure how I feel about this."
      I'm pretty sure that I feel this 'he didn't have a light' assertion is increasing in importance. Of course it also matters that the light was on/working, something that will be much more difficult to ascertain after the fact. But given that the statement by the police officer isn't just about this case but about all such potential situations, I think the matter of reflective clothing bears scrutiny/inclusion.
      When the batteries on my headlight are starting to go I know I pay extra special attention at intersections and whenever I am aware of others who need to but may not see me. This seems a grey area (no pun intended), and language from the police such as you quote don't seem (to me) to acknowledge this.
      A car with no headlights (something brought up earlier) poses a vastly different risk to others than does a bike. The risk of a bike with no headlights is going to be disproportionately to him/herself.

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      • Tacoma September 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

        So would the same basic principle apply in a "pedestrian" situation (as asked by Evan above)? If they are not visible, the driver would not be responsible?

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    • John Mulvey September 21, 2011 at 9:28 am

      The officers statement reads like advocacy, not a legal analysis. There's no rule in statute or common law that says if a driver claims oncoming traffic was "basically invisible" then there's no duty to yield. It's made up to justify the outcome they want.

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    • esther c September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

      I don't understand the Tracy Sparling case at all. Tracy had the right of way and was creamed by the truck turning right. Perhaps it was true that the driver couldn't see her because of the height of the truck etc, but why is it legal to drive a truck with obstructed views of a legal traffic lane like that. Isn't that tantamount to legal manslaughter then?

      Bascially allowing someone to drive a truck so large that they can't see other traffic to just barge through and you have to get out of their way or get killed, is that really the way our traffic laws work.

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      • 9watts September 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

        "is that really the way our traffic laws work."
        pretty much, as far as I've understood.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

        I am still troubled by the Sparling case. Obviously those large trucks shouldn't be operating on city streets if they cannot see the road around them. IMO if you move through a space w/ your vehicle you must know beyond a doubt that no one occupies the space. Otherwise it's like driving blind and the result can be fatal.

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  • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

    sterling
    Would have been nice to have some witnesses because although the story says he had no light, the light he has always used is nowhere to be found at his house. Probably because it was on his bike. Sounds sketchy to me and since it's the officers word against his with the officer trying to clear himself of any wrong doing I really doubt we are going to get the full story. Like I said before, they keep bringing up the BAL issue like they don't know what it was but between the officer and the hospital I'm sure they would have known his BAL which according to Chris should be 0.
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    Do you personally know this guy? If you do, then support him in presenting his own account of the collision, if it matters to him. If he wasn't drinking...had a '0' BAL, and proof of it, and a light on his bike that mysteriously disappeared post collision, people would want to know this.

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  • was carless September 21, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Bike ninja strikes again!

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  • Babygorilla September 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    ORS 801.440: “Right of way” means the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian approaching under such circumstances of direction, speed and proximity as to give rise to danger of collision unless one grants precedence to the other. [1983 c.338 §81]

    Assuming the driver signaled the turn, the cyclist without lights was not operating his vehicle in a lawful manner and lost his preference. Caveat: this is just from the definition section, there is likely a specific statute addressing offenses related to turning vehicles and right of way, but I leave that to others to find and discuss in connection with the basic definition. But I gather this would be sufficient to beat any penal citation for a lawfully operating turning vehicle turning into an "invisible vehicle" whether bike or stealth car.

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  • Kristen September 21, 2011 at 10:30 am

    John Mulvey's comment bears repeating:

    "The officers statement reads like advocacy, not a legal analysis. There's no rule in statute or common law that says if a driver claims oncoming traffic was "basically invisible" then there's no duty to yield. It's made up to justify the outcome they want."

    Nothing I've read in the ORS or Driver's Manual or Bicycle Manual says anything at all like what the sheriff's rep is saying. I'm leery about people in positions of law enforcement essentially making things up in order to support a position they hold.

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  • GlowBoy September 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    If you don't have required lighting, you are not legal on the road and you do not have any right of way. Anywhere. And that means no one has the responsibility to yield to you.

    How else could it be? When I'm driving my car, and it's dark and rainy, I'm supposed to magically see and yield to cyclists without lights? Should I buy night-vision goggles?

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  • El Biciclero September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    The "Invisible" vehicle principle is a very dangerous one to propagate. Not to excuse riding at night without lights, but a cyclist can be "invisible" for numerous reasons: riding (forced to ride by law) too far to the right, windshield glare, window pillar blocking view, side mirror blocking view, cyclist in driver's "blind spot", vehicle ridiculously too large to possibly have visibility of the surrounding roadway, driver has eyes closed, etc. What standard could possibly be applied to "prove" that a driver "should" have seen another road user?

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    • q`Tzal September 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      It does seem that the "I didn't seem `im" defense is over used.
      I'd like be able to expect police to be better than that; guess we're all just folk.

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    "Here's the latest statement from WashCo Sheriff's Office Sgt. David Thompson:

    "The driver of the car..."

    If Sgt. Thompson would offer up dashcam footage I'd have more confidence that his statement is valid.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Tacoma asked: (September 21, 2011 at 10:49 am)
    So would the same basic principle apply in a "pedestrian" situation...

    Back to the Oregon Drivers Manual --
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/forms/manuals.shtml#C

    *************
    "Left Turns
    "On a two-way road, approach the turn with your vehicle in the lane just to the right of the center line. Just before entering the intersection, look to the left, front, and right for cross traffic on the intersecting street and oncoming traffic that may also be turning. Be especially alert for bicycles because they are harder to see than most other vehicles. Pay special attention to the crosswalk on your left. Check and stop for pedestrians before crossing the oncoming travel lanes.

    ************
    It doesn't go into detail as to whether you need to look especially hard after dark, and whether you need to look for pedestrians dressed in black or bicyclists without headlights.

    It just says to be careful and don't run people over.

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    • tacoma September 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you, sir. If a pedestrian were hit, it is certainly possible that the driver would have been inattentive or driving faster that conditions would dictate.

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  • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    wsbob (September 21, 2011 at 8:52 am) wrote

    "When he's ready to offer his account, let's hear what the guy on the bike, Christopher Shostak has to say about the county deputy's driving relative to the collision."

    Bob -- the squad car hit him hard enough that his head almost went through the windshield. There's no guarantee he has any memory of the situation.

    He could just as easily have been killed.

    If Mr. Shostak is willing and able to recount the events, or if he had a gps unit on his bike and we can see where on the road he was riding, how fast he was going, etc., then we will have some data.

    Otherwise we treat it as a fatality, with an obligation to forensically reconstruct the story of the victim who is no longer able to speak for himself.

    If Mr. Deputy fudged any part of the story, the perpetrator goes on unpunished and uncorrected, and next bicyclist Mr. Deputy hits may be your niece.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Chris September 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      How do you know his head almost went through the front windshield? I didn't get that from the story or any accounts.

      I've almost tagged a guy in a similar situation. Person on a bike in all dark clothes, no front light, at about 10pm in the winter (in this case he ran a stop sign, but it was similar in the sense that i didn't even know he was there until he was right in front of me). If what the cop says is true, , I sympathize with his position.

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      • John Lascurettes September 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

        Did you see the photo?

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        • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm

          Yes, look at the photo in Jonathan's post. Top of this page. I'm assuming that that was the man's head that made that nice spiderweb-patterned feature in the windshield.

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    • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      "...Bob -- the squad car hit him..." Ted Buehler

      This isn't what's been reported. What's been reported, is that Shostak crashed his bike into the patrol car. There's been no information reported that suggests the county deputy drove his car into Shostak on his bike. The Washington County Sheriff's Office picture of the patrol car, maus used to accompany his story, shows the car stopped in what appears to be mid-turn, right in the middle of the street.

      Looks like the deputy started to turn, and...wham!...Shostak on the bike, slams into him. Look there at the driver's side mirror: isn't that a baseball cap? Perhaps Shostak's? Shostak could have hit the windshield with his back or shoulders rather than his head.

      The possibility that the patrol car hit Shostak on his bike, isn't completely ruled out by what can be seen from the picture, but what can be seen from the pic tends to bolster credibility of the report that Shostak crashed his bike into the patrol car.

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      • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

        From the description, it was a near head-on collision.

        I said the squad car hit the bicyclists because the bicyclist was had the right of way (lack of light excepted).

        I'd like to see how fast the squad car was going, whether it used its turn signal, and what the bicyclist was wearing.

        I'm perfectly happy to concede the argument if it is shown that the officer was being an attentive driver and the bicyclist was indeed nearly invisible.

        The statement from the Beaverton PD Traffic Division doesn't make either of these claims. So either the PD is sloppy in their language, or their weaseling out of something.

        Ted Buehler

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        • wsbob September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm

          A 'head on' collision is one where two vehicles are traveling parallel but opposite directions, at some point colliding. A 'near head on' collision would be one where areas close to the front of each vehicle were the collision initial collision point.

          Shostak collided with the front of the patrol car, likely at an angle, because the county deputy was in the midst of a left turn. If true, that would make it neither a 'head on' or a 'near head on' collision. The two vehicles were traveling in entirely different directions.

          Reports offered so far, haven't stated that the collision was due to Shostak allegedly not having lights on his bike. There've been no reports of investigations conducted to determine the cause or causes of the collision. No official explanation for the collision occurring has yet been given. There could be a number of causes for the collision having occurred, including the county deputy possibly having made some driver error.

          What's been stated, is that Shostak didn't have lights on his bike, along with reminders that people not having lights on their bike when riding at night, can cause them to be invisible. Suggestion being, that Shostak wasn't helping other road users to see him in the dim light after the sun had set.

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  • Babygorilla September 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Ted Buehler
    wsbob (September 21, 2011 at 8:52 am) wrote
    "When he's ready to offer his account, let's hear what the guy on the bike, Christopher Shostak has to say about the county deputy's driving relative to the collision."
    Bob -- the squad car hit him hard enough that his head almost went through the windshield. There's no guarantee he has any memory of the situation.
    He could just as easily have been killed.
    If Mr. Shostak is willing and able to recount the events, or if he had a gps unit on his bike and we can see where on the road he was riding, how fast he was going, etc., then we will have some data.
    Otherwise we treat it as a fatality, with an obligation to forensically reconstruct the story of the victim who is no longer able to speak for himself.
    If Mr. Deputy fudged any part of the story, the perpetrator goes on unpunished and uncorrected, and next bicyclist Mr. Deputy hits may be your niece.
    Ted Buehler
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    Not to stereotype, and with respect to fundamental fairness and justice, this is a felon (my guess from the most recent mug shot (there's at least one other mug shot I found from 2010 for, wait for it, another felony arrest) would be meth related) probably riding an ill equipped half broken department store special likely stolen while likely intoxicated or under the influence. So, I'm okay taking the cop's word on things without a forensic reconstruction when the "victim" was treated and released with minor injuries. The next vehicle this intoxicated guy runs into without lights might be your niece's.

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    • Ted Buehler September 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      That's a good point.

      But, if your theory is valid, why wouldn't the Beaverton PD statement have included something more than a hypothetical statement?

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    • Cheryl September 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      "not to stereotype" that is exactly is what is being done. A person's past record in this case is totally not relevant to Mr. Shostak being hit on his bike. I am sure when he is able to give his account of the accident he will do that.

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  • Wa_Desert_Rat September 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    If the accident occurred at 7:49pm as the article states, then that was only 9 minutes after the end of "civil twilight" for that date. Because night does not fall with a "bang" most states require headlights from the end of Civil Twilight until the beginning the next morning. This means that it was probably not completely dark at 7:49pm and that a police car, presumably equipped with function headlights that were turned on, should have been able to see a cyclist coming towards them. The cyclist would not have been "invisible" in the dark because it would not be completely dark. (Nautical twilight extends another 30 minutes past civil twilight for that date.) In other words, the cyclist was riding only 9 minutes (according to the report) past the time lights would have been required; not 30 minutes.

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    • captainkarma September 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      I totally agree. It's not that dude couldn't be seen, but that the officer *failed* to see him, in front of his car, with his quality cop headlights (presumably) on. Maybe at midnight in the rain with wipers going, but... Where IS that video footage? I'm sure the officer never thought it would come to that, that his report would be taken on the face of it. I'm pretty sure it'll come out that "the camera wasn't on" or "vehicle not equipped with camera" or "oops we don't know what happened it got erased" or "the vid gets deleted or whatever every 24 hrs". This just all sounds a little shady.

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  • Joseph E September 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    What if the office hit a person walking in the crosswalk? Pedestrians don't have lights. Wouldn't he be at fault, then?

    It seems to me that drivers need to be looking out for unlighted pedestrians at night, which means you could be able to see a bike as well (unless it is going unreasonably fast).

    But yeah, use lights, folks.

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  • Harvey September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    When you ride without lights at night, expect to get hit. Period.

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  • James Crawford September 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I would point out that because this accident occurred at dusk, the exact time of the accident is a critical fact. Is the time stated the time at which the officer issued the citation? Is it the time that the officer first called dispatch? If so, the collision might have occurred at a time when there was still ample light.

    Another real issue in this case is hypocrisy. Would the police hesitate to ticket an ordinary citizen for making an illegal left turn if they were involved in a similar accident under similar circumstances. My mother-in-law was ticketed for an accident that occurred in front of Cosco under similar twilight conditions but also in a heavey rain when she failed to see the only car who was driving with his lights off.

    Aside from lighting, there are other factors that can render a vehicle effectively invisible. The typical Perception, Decision, Reaction time for most people is about two seconds. Given limited sight distance and an oncoming car traveling at a very high rate of speed, it simply is not possible to see them in time and react in time to avoid an accident.

    I was cited for an accident in similar twilight conditions when I encountered a car traveling at a very high rate of speed, drifting his car North bound in the South bound lane. I was stopped but protruding into the intersection when the other vehicle grazed my front bumper before taking out a telephone pole. Because I accelerated through the intersection to avoid having the telephone pole and possible live power lines fall on me, the officer presumed that I ran the intersection at such a high rate of speed that I knocked the other car into the pole. The officer was so profoundly arrogant and dishonest that he refused to take note of tire tracks and debris on the road that proved where the initial point of impact occurred. Fortunately; while the judge refused to admit my calculations of momentum exchange that proved that I couldn't have shoved the other car into the pole, exposing the officers fraudulently framed picture of the stop sign that cleverly concealed the "right turn permitted without stopping" sign convinced the judge that the officer was a liar.

    It will be very interesting to see if witnesses and the dash camera confirm that this accident occurred after dark and that the bicyclist was "invisible."

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  • Cheryl September 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I went and checked out where the accident happened. It was marked off where the police car was and bike and point of impact. Where it is marked off by the police, the squad car clearly cut the corner and made a unsafe turn. The area is also very well lit. I was there around 8pm and we could see everything around. There was another bike passing at the time we were there without a light and we could totally see the biker. Mr Shostak has also stated that he had his bike light and the officer picked it up. So now "my question is where is it now?" Mr Shostak was over 3/4 through the crossing area when the officer hit him.

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    • wsbob September 23, 2011 at 12:07 am

      That was great of you to go out and check the collision site. Here's some questions for you to think about:

      Why again, is it clear to you that the patrol car made an unsafe turn? If you're saying it was unsafe because the patrol car cut the corner, what would that have to do with the collision with Shostak?

      Were you recreating the left turn the patrol car was in the process of making when you saw the person riding a bike without a light? Was the person on the bike in about the same location on the road Shostak would have been just prior to the collision?

      You write "...Mr Shostak has also stated that he had his bike light and the officer picked it up. ...". Has he said this in an official report or to a news reporter, and will he swear he's telling the truth?

      There's plenty of interesting questions raised by this collision. One I thought of yesterday or so, is why the county deputy happened to be on Blanton, making a left onto Pinewood at that time of day. Whether true, I don't know, but the map suggests Pinewood to be a kind of quiet neighborhood street with a park nearby. On the map, Pinewood doesn't appear to be a through street. So what was the deputy doing, turning down there?

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      • El Biciclero September 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

        Cutting a corner implies you are encroaching in the oncoming traffic lane on the street you are entering. Corner-cutting itself could be classified and cited as an "improperly executed left turn". It suggests a few possibilities: a) officer was traveling fast enough that cutting the corner was necessary to avoid loss of traction, b) the officer saw the cyclist coming and was attempting to sneak the turn in before the cyclist got there, c) the officer was trying to "stop" the cyclist with his vehicle.

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        • wsbob September 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

          El Biciclero
          Cutting a corner implies you are encroaching in the oncoming traffic lane on the street you are entering. Corner-cutting itself could be classified and cited as an "improperly executed left turn". It suggests a few possibilities: a) officer was traveling fast enough that cutting the corner was necessary to avoid loss of traction, b) the officer saw the cyclist coming and was attempting to sneak the turn in before the cyclist got there, c) the officer was trying to "stop" the cyclist with his vehicle.
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          Good thinking El. ....especially, ' c) '. More info is needed though, from both the county sheriff's office and Shostak himself, to understand how this collision came to be.

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    • Ted Buehler September 23, 2011 at 2:00 am

      Cheryl -- nice sleuthing. Photos?

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  • James Crawford September 23, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Thnx for the observations.

    The officer "cutting the corner" suggests that he made the turn at a high rate of speed. Perhaps he didn't take time to look or having seen the bike tried to rush through the turn. The allegation that the officer picked up the cyclist's light then asserted that the bike had no light is serious. If the oficer's name was Kinsel or Stonebridge then I'd consider the bike rider with the felony record to be more credible.

    Keep in mind that cars have headlights that enable them to see animals, people and unlighted oncoming traffic if they are traveling at a low rate of speed.

    This incident along with the accident on Powell is beginning to reek of casual corruption.

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    • wsbob September 24, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Yesterday, I should have said 'Good thinking El Biciclero and James, because both of you guys were smart to consider why, if he did... the police officer was cutting the corner that was part of the left turn he's reported to have been in the process of making.

      As you also said, if the allegation Shostak has made is true, that he had a light on his bike, and the cop took it and didn't report taking it, that would be serious. Of course, we don't know whether the allegation is true or not.

      There's a number of things needed to be known, even to conclude in the first place, whether the county deputy was even making a left turn down Pinewood, or whether he might have had some other reason for positioning his car across the road as he did, just at the time Shostak seems to have come rolling by.

      So the best thing we may be able to hope for, is that somebody will pursue answers to those questions. Maybe the person posting here by the name of 'Cheryl', will go talk with Shostak...persuade him to offer info in some public statement. Maybe maus will do a follow up story with further comments from the county' sheriff's dept.

      It's not impossible the county sheriff's deputy was driving poorly and made an unsafe left turn, mostly oblivious to Shostak's presence on the bike.

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    • wsbob September 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Just this morning, I noticed a few comments over at Oregonlive by a 'MrsStroebel', worth reading. Sounds a bit like 'Cheryl' posting here, but not sure. See if this links get you close to the page with Stroebel's comments:

      http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2011/09/aloha_bicyclist_arrested_after/2097/comments-5.html

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  • Cheryl September 26, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Actually Bob it was not me that posted to Oregon live. I did not even know until I read your posting that others were making posts on another site.

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