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Update on SW Canyon collision: Citation issued for “dangerous left turn” – UPDATED

Posted by on October 26th, 2011 at 10:47 am

Aftermath of a collision
on SW Canyon Road last week.
(Photo: Beaverton PD)

Howard Hagge, the man who drove his Dodge Caliber into Yulia Shtutman while she rode her bike on SW Canyon Road last week, has been issued a citation for making a dangerous left turn.

According to the Beaverton Police Department, their Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team determined that Hagge made his left turn on a blinking arrow and Shtutman had a green light. Bail for Hagge was set at $472 — $90 more than the standard $382 for that violation because it resulted in a collision and is therefore considered “aggravated”.

The crash caused serious injuries to Shtutman and she spent six days in a hospital. She was released yesterday and is now home with family. I have been in touch with her father Michael Shtutman via email. He shared more information about her injuries:

“Yulia is recovering from Post concussive syndrome and multiple nasal and face bones fractures. It may take 4-8 weeks to recover from PCS and some follow up procedures may required for other damages. According to the doctors, helmet made a real difference and safe Yulia from significantly more serious brain traumas.”

It’s worth noting that the Beaverton PD’s initial statement about the crash stated that Ms. Shtutman was traveling westbound and then, “impacted the passenger side of the car, as it turned.” That language led to local media coverage like this from KGW (emphasis mine):

“Witnesses told police the driver had been turning left onto SW 110th Avenue from SW Canyon Road when the cyclist ran into the passenger side of the car.”

And that type of coverage led to comments like, “This is what happens when a bike rider runs a stop sign.”

With a week since the collision occurred, and the fact that Shtutman is out of the hospital, I don’t expect any follow-ups to this story in the local media.

I hope Beaverton PD takes this as an example to be more sensitive in statements about collisions to not insinuate that one person “impacted” or “collided with” the other. Whether they intend to or not, those type of statements make a subtle judgment about who is at fault. I’d recommend to simply state that two vehicle operators were involved in a collision. That way, nothing about who collided into who is released until a thorough investigation has been concluded.

UPDATE:
Michael Shtutman, Yulia’s father, has shared more about her injuries with me via email:

“Yulia is recovering from Post concussive syndrome and multiple nasal and face bones fractures. It may take 4-8 weeks to recover from PCS and some follow up procedures may required for other damages. According to the doctors, helmet made a real difference and safe Yulia from significantly more serious brain traumas.”

He also shared these thoughts about biking conditions in Beaverton:

“Based on my experience of biking in Europe I think that painting of two lines with bike in between on the roads is not enough to create real bike roads and make city safe for the bikers.”

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Comments
  • Paul in the 'couve October 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I am glad Yulia Shtutman is recovering. I hope Mr. Hagge watches more carefully for cyclists. Too bad the news can’t be bothered to pick up the update. An almost $500 “bail” or is that supposed to be a fine? Anyway, $500 is enough to make a lot of people think more about conscientiously exercising appropriate caution and looking for cyclists and pedestrian.

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    • A.K. October 26, 2011 at 11:07 am

      I’m just happy the police seemed to do a thorough investigation and actually fined the driver. At least he didn’t get away scott free with a “but I didn’t see them!” as per usual.

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      • JRB October 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm

        Not a fine. Bail is to ensure appearance at the court hearing. Depends on whether this guy wants to contest, but most likely he will plead guilty to a traffic violation and pay a fine. Ms. Shutman should have an excellent civil case though. Police issuance of a moving violation citation is strong evidence of negligence on the part of the driver. Hopefully the driver is adequately insured and his insurer is moving quickly to compensate Ms. Shutman.

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  • Mindful Cyclist October 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Wow! Way to go, Beaverton! I actually had a member of the BPD pull up beside me when I was riding home from work and got a flat. Just asked me if I needed any help. I told him I was good and he said okay.

    Likewise, it seems like this rarely happens in Portland. Motorist play that “I didn’t see him/her” card and no fine, no nothing.

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  • cyclist October 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Jonathan,

    Maybe you could agree to follow the same policy you ask the PD to follow: don’t assign blame for collisions until the facts are in.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

      cyclist,

      I absolutely already strive to do that.

      Can you share an example where I’ve assigned blame for collisions based on very little information about what actually happened?

      Also, it’s worth noting that the power of police statements in shaping media coverage and public opinion are much different than a bikeportland post. Many media outlets (including mine on occasion) use police statements verbatim.

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      • JF October 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm

        All they hypotheticals you posted and encouraged about Brett Lewis.
        What was the final police investigation of that fatality?

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      • cyclist October 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

        I absolutely can, and it’s not even hard:

        http://bikeportland.org/2010/06/15/trimet-bus-squeezes-man-on-a-bike-into-parked-car-on-hawthorne-35003

        “TriMet bus squeezes man on a bike into parked car on Hawthorne.”

        I took you to task for reporting before the facts were in (in a subsequent story on the case) and you defended your reporting.

        There have been other examples, but that’s the one that springs immediately to mind.

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    • q`Tzal October 26, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Can’t blame that all on JM; we have a fast knee jerk reaction here. Especially those of us that have had direct “contact” with moronic drivers.

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  • wsbob October 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

    “…It’s worth noting that the Beaverton PD’s initial statement about the crash stated that Ms. Shtutman was traveling westbound and then, “impacted the passenger side of the car, as it turned.” That language led to local media coverage like this from KGW (emphasis mine):

    “Witnesses told police the driver had been turning left onto SW 110th Avenue from SW Canyon Road when the cyclist ran into the passenger side of the car.”

    And that type of coverage led to comments like, “This is what happens when a bike rider runs a stop sign.” …

    I hope Beaverton PD takes this as an example to be more sensitive in statements about collisions to not insinuate that one person “impacted” or “collided with” the other.”maus/bikepportland

    The Beav PD’s statement in no way insinuated which of two parties was at fault in this collision. Actually, the example comment you cited to establish your claim that somebody was insinuating something, did not insinuate fault either.

    Both are simple statements of fact, on the part of the PD…reporting accurate details of the collision. Will you, even now after the police have issued their citation to the person driving the motor vehicle for making a dangerous left turn, claim the woman on the bike ran into “…the side of the car.”? Shtutman, the woman riding the bike, ran into the vehicle driven by Hagge, the person driving the motor vehicle. Simple, statement of fact.

    The example comment you cited is also a simple statement of fact, though it should be considered whether or not you’ve included the entire comment from where it was drawn if it was an actual comment written by a person to this weblog, or simply an example comment that you improvised.

    Even though it’s a simple statement of fact on the part of the person posting that comment to the bikeportland story, assuming that’s where it came from, behind the comment, there may have been an assumption…even though at the time there were no facts to support such and assumption…on the part of the person writing the comment, that Shtutman ran a stop sign.

    Shtutman couldn’t have run a stop sign because the intersection doesn’t have stop signs; it has traffic light signals.

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    • wsbob October 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Correction to:

      “…Both are simple statements of fact, on the part of the PD…reporting accurate details of the collision. …”

      Actually, the PD’s statement reported an accurate detail of the collision. The example comment was accurate statement about what can happen when people run stop signs, but it didn’t accurately pertain to this collision given the fact that the intersection in question doesn’t have stop signs.

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      • wsbob October 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

        Bad day for me on making errors. Another correction…disregard the following statement:

        “…Will you, even now after the police have issued their citation to the person driving the motor vehicle for making a dangerous left turn, claim the woman on the bike ran into “…the side of the car.”? …” wsbob

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

        wsbob,

        the point isn’t what type of traffic control the intersection had (obviously I know it has signals), the point is that the way the police statement was written and the way it was reported by the media leads some people in the public to reach the conclusion that the person on the bike was at fault.

        statements of fact, yes, but as with many things in communications, it’s about tone and subtle cues and how those things are understood by readers.

        I remain convinced that the way police should describe collisions when it’s unclear how exactly it happened is to say, for example, “a person operating a car and a person operating a bicycle were involved in a collision….” When stated like that, there’s no chance of jumping to conclusions about who hit who.

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        • Schrauf October 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

          wsbob is missing the point. Obviously it is a fact that one object (the bike) collided with another object (the car), based on their physical positions and directions immediately before and during the collision. And of course there is no way to assign fault to the operators of the two objects without knowing further details.

          However, the vast majority of people tend to assume and assign fault to the object described as doing the colliding, as many examples have shown. Do the police know that? They should if they are intelligent. Assuming they are intelligent, as professionals in the position they are in with the power they have to influence opinion, should they make every effort possible to avoid using language they know most people will misinterpret? Absolutely. Or they are not being professional. THAT is the point.

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          • Pete October 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm

            KGW said witnesses said the cyclist collided with the car. At least that’s how I read it as quoted. To me that’s a factual statement, regardless of whether I want to hear it worded that way. Bob’s point was that people interpret facts with their biases, and I agree. They could have written “negligent driver critically injures cyclist” and someone on KGW would say the biker must have run a red light, guaranteed, and of course followed by “bikers don’t pay taxes”, etc.

            Regardless, I’m pleased to hear about a positive recovery. Get fully well soon Yulia!

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        • wsbob October 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

          Maus, and this goes for Schrauf and ME 2 as well…people have to be allowed to think for themselves. In fact they have to be encouraged to think for themselves, to consider for example, that a statement such as the one you provided as an example comment, presumably from one of your readers:

          “This is what happens when a bike rider runs a stop sign.”

          …does not necessarily mean that a person on a bike that runs into the side of a motor vehicle was the faulty party.

          Face it…some people don’t like to think anything through. Some of those people are going to jump to conclusions that have no relation to fact, despite the availability of incident related details provided in the most factual manner possible.

          If, in what’s likely to be a vain effort to avert that tendency on their part to draw false conclusions, details about what happen are withheld, the rest of us are left uninformed.

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    • mark kenseth October 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      So I didn’t fall down the stairs; rather, the stairs ran into me.

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      • middle of the road guy October 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        Stairs don’t make decisions. Bikers and drivers do.

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  • ME 2 October 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for emphasizing the point about how framing the incident matters Jonathan. Imagine the type of reaction the cops would get if they issued a report on a fistfight and noted that ” The individual fell to the ground after his cheek impacted the other individuals fist?”

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  • steve pappert October 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Jonathan,

    I think you are dead on here. Recently, a friend of mine was seriously hurt in an incident (not bike) and a poorly written account was made before they really knew the facts and all other articles have more or less been a parroting of the original.

    When there is an accident, the people who love the injured person want to know whatever they can find out, but it is better to actually wait and know than to print what you have and never correct it later.

    I also strongly believe there is no need for a comment section on a story about an accident. It risks exposing worried friends and family to vile comments speculating on everything from the injured person’s fault, to race, status, and citizenship. I know you do a great job monitoring your boards, but what is the real benefit of taking comments?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks steve,

      I’ve been dealing with this issue (insensitive police comments and statements and their impact on media coverage and public perception) for several years and I’m very confident in my opinion about it.

      As for the benefit of open comments on collision stories… I think they have some major benefits to the community. However, if they are not monitored carefully they can quickly devolve.

      Benefits of comments in these situations include:
      -bringing new information to light, such as witnesses
      - learning that a location is notoriously problematic and that others have had similar experiences
      - advice can be shared from people in the community
      - support and sympathy from the community that helps make family and friends of victims feel better
      - policy makers can get a sense of how the community feels about a particular incident

      and much more.

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      • steve pappert October 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

        Just to note: My thoughts were less about your work and more about the big papers that neither update “small” stories they got wrong or monitor the comments. I am still reeling from the anger of checking the comments on a news story, hoping for meaningful corrections or info from someone involved, and only finding anti-illegal immigration rants based only on my friends name. (not that it would be okay regardless)

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  • RonC October 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Maybe words like “The driver of the car made a LH turn across the westbound traffic lanes, resulting in the person riding a bike impacting the passenger side of the car” might have been better? I see wsbob’s point, but I did get a bit of a car-centric vibe off of the report wording as well. By pairing the drivers action to the resultant collision I think it would have come off a bit more neutral in tone.

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  • Ellen October 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Right on, Jonathan. With so many blinking yellow left signals out here in Washington County, I feel very at risk for collisions with cars. I’ve had many close calls at night due to cars proceeding left without checking for oncoming bikes (even bikes with really bright front lights!).

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  • are October 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    have to side with wsbob here. the police report stated the facts in neutral terms. idiots and bigots will misinterpret objective data almost not matter what you do.

    also, are the quoted numbers for “bail,” or are they the proposed fines?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      we’ll have to agree to disagree then. I know you’d see a lot less misinterpretation if more care was given in police statements.

      As for the fines… the Beaverton PD statement said they are “bail amounts”

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      • Doug Smart October 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm

        Going out on a little bit of a limb here, working from memory. I believe if you receive a traffic citation it has a bail amount and a time and date for a hearing. You can post and forfeit that bail amount and be done with it – that’s a guilty plea and the bail becomes your fine. You can show up for the hearing and enter a guilty plea and the judge will assess a fine, perhaps less than the bail amount. Or you can plead innocent and request a trial for a judge to consider the evidence.
        So, “bail amount” often equals “fine” once all the paperwork is done. It’s just at this point the person cited still has an opportunity to mount a defense.

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  • Alexis October 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Good wishes to Yulia in her recovery. I had a mild case of PCS a few years ago (was walking, was hit by a left-turning bicyclist — much like this collision except with different modes) and even in mild form it was very unpleasant.

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  • q`Tzal October 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    wsbob, for example, “a person operating a car and a person operating a bicycle were involved in a collision….” When stated like that, there’s no chance of jumping to conclusions about who hit who.

    “a person operating a car and a person operating a bicycle were involved in a collision….”

    add:
    “responding officers are still investigating the details of the collision …”
    Maybe even:
    ” …and urge all road users to more vigilant in their daily commute as this incident yet again shows how easy it is to unintentionally be the cause of the injury or death of another.”

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  • Joe October 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    GET WELL SOON and below is so true:

    “Based on my experience of biking in Europe I think that painting of two lines with bike in between on the roads is not enough to create real bike roads and make city safe for the bikers.”

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    • 9watts October 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      “Based on my experience of biking in Europe I think that painting of two lines with bike in between on the roads is not enough to create real bike roads and make city safe for the bikers.”

      Doesn’t that framing of the problem of bicyclist safety let drivers of cars off the hook a bit too easily? I mean there are rules. I’m not disagreeing that better separation would likely yield safer conditions, but it isn’t clear to me that there are not other more immediate and less expensive ways to crack down on this. Better laws, better enforcement, no?

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  • esther c October 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    A woman runs a red light and kills a motorist and gets 2 years. Someone turns on a blinking arrow, which means yield to oncoming traffic, and mows down a cyclist and its a $500 fine.

    Why is mowing down a cyclist not a serious offense but killing a motorist is? If he’d killed her the fine would have probably been the same.

    Part of the problem with the original story is the lazy journalism standards nowadays. The story had no information about how the intersection was controlled. I had to go to google maps to see what kind of traffic signal was there. Why didn’t the Oregonian report there was a turn arrow there and the investigation would depend on whether the arrow was green or blinking, whether the cyclist had a red or green light etc.

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    • wsbob October 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      “…Someone turns on a blinking arrow, which means yield to oncoming traffic, and mows down a cyclist and its a $500 fine. …” esther c

      Once again: in this particular collision, the person driving a motor vehicle and turning on a blinking arrow, did not ‘mow down a cyclist’. From news reports, what it appears the person driving essentially did, was to turn across the path of and in front of a person on a bike that was traveling straight through the intersection.

      The person driving apparently commenced to turn while so close to the person on the bike that the person on the bike no longer had sufficient distance to stop without colliding with the side of the motor vehicle.

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    • wsbob October 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      “…Part of the problem with the original story is the lazy journalism standards nowadays. The story had no information about how the intersection was controlled. …” esther c

      Forgot to mention that I think the reason details often are so sparse in news stories the O and other newspapers publish, is not laziness, but lack of money in the budget to pay reporters to more thoroughly investigate stories before they’re written.

      I think lack of money is why, instead of maybe driving out to the collision scene, walking around, studying it, asking questions of police, emergency responders, possible witnesses…reporters are oftentimes possibly just taking the PD announcement and using it, (like maus says….parts of it verbatim.) to write up a brief story to post quickly, online.

      In the way of substantial, well researched reporting, it seems the Oregonian is a mere shadow of what it was 10-20 years ago.

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  • K'Tesh October 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I hope that Yulia heals fast and fully. Concussions are not fun, I know (3x).

    I’m glad to see that the BPD got this one right… too bad they didn’t do such a hot job on Brett Lewis’ crash back in Feb. I’ve never heard what their “final decision” was.

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  • q`Tzal October 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    esther c
    Part of the problem with the original story is the lazy journalism standards nowadays.

    Is there any applied journalistic standard these days other than profit?
    Veracity is desired, respectability is needed but the business of free market journalism lives or dies on profit and unfortunately that has proven to require headlines that appeal to the same reptilian part of brain that wants SUVs.
    As long as emotional gut reaction is more valued in our society than logical rational though this will be a losing battle.

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  • sabes October 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    From reading the comments from a previous post, I thought that cyclists didn’t need to wear helmets.

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    • Pete October 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Just snarkiness, or do you have a point I’m missing? If so, please educate me. Do you mean need in the legal sense, or need in the sense that ideally there wouldn’t be any probability of being hit by a car (which they don’t protect against)?

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      • Pete October 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm

        I don’t feel I need my helmet, but I prefer it.

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  • pat h October 27, 2011 at 8:56 am

    “no serious head injuries.” … “recovering from Post concussive syndrome and multiple nasal and face bones fractures.”

    These statements are inconsistent. She suffered significant facial trauma (i.e., “head”) and a neurological injury (PCS). Perhaps rather than using the word “serious”, “devastating” might be better phrasing, or something else like that.

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  • Joe October 27, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I know this might be a bit off topic, but yesterday while riding down Cedar RD in Beaverton, car with 2 teen girls started to yell reallY loud and hookIing the horn, telling me to get on the sidewalk. I was doing 20+ mph and had some of the lane..

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