home

A freight advocate’s perspective on recent fatal collision

Posted by on May 23rd, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Former chair of the Portland Freight
Committee, Corky Collier.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not surprisingly, the death of Kathryn Rickson while she rode in a bike lane just one block from Portland City Hall has got a lot of people talking. Apart from the grieving we do as a community when something like this happens, many people are turning their feelings toward finding a solution to the problems they feel might have led to the collision.

Two major strains of discussion have emerged: large trucks and the safety issues they pose in tight, urban environments; and how we design bicycle access into our roads. Today I want to focus on the issue of truck safety (I am not dismissing the bikeway design issue; but it’s worth noting that we covered that at length following a similar fatality back in October 2007).

To get a better understanding about freight movement and truck safety downtown, I got in touch with Corky Collier. Collier is the former chair of the Portland Freight Committee, which is an advisory group to the Bureau of Transportation (think of it as the Bicycle Advisory Committee, but for freight). Collier is also the executive director of the Columbia Corridor Association, a non-profit business association that represents industries along the Columbia River.

“Eliminating trucks from downtown is no more useful an idea than asking all bike riders to walk through downtown. Both solve the problem, but create others.”
— Corky Collier, former chair of the Portland Freight Committee

I shared with Collier that some people in the community are questioning whether trucks with large, articulated trailers — like the 43-foot long truck that ran over Kathryn Rickson — should even be allowed downtown. Others (including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) have called for making side under-run guards mandatory on all large trucks.

Collier feels that responding to this tragedy by immediately calling for a ban on trucks or mandatory safety equipment is an argument based more on emotion than reality. He’s not against having those conversations; but he feels they are more complicated than most people realize, and that they should be had only after the raw emotion has passed:

“We need to look at the issues as objectively as possible. You mentioned restricting larger trucks. I’ve also discussed the idea of side bumper guards. Neither would have helped in this case. But those discussions should continue with intellectual honesty. Those [issues] get to be much more complicated than most people think about. I prefer to give ourselves a little bit of time after an accident so that we’re approaching these not so much from an emotional perspective. Eliminating trucks from downtown is no more useful an idea than asking all bike riders to walk through downtown. Both solve the problem, but create others.”

This poster was created by a citizen activist
after last week’s collision.
(© Ethan Jewett)

I asked Collier if he feels downtown would be a safer place if only small trucks were allowed. (According to PBOT spokesperson Cheryl Kuck, there are no general restrictions on the sizes of trucks allowed in downtown Portland, although some companies and receivers do night-time and off-peak hour deliveries to reduce congestion and conflict on the road.)

“I’m not sure about that. It’s a really good question to ask, and part of the answer needs to come from the bicyclists since they’re the ones staring at the tires. It’s somewhat complicated. If you’re talking about delivery vans, they’d probably be safer; but there’s only so much you can do with delivery vans… And there are other negative side effects.”

Collier points out that historically, the 43-foot length hasn’t been a problem. “Let’s say that trailer had been half the size, the accident still would have happened.”

The way Collier sees it, even if we did mandate smaller trucks, companies would simply need to put more of them on the roads to deliver the same amount of goods. And more trucks would be worse for the environment and might even be worse from a safety perspective, he says:

“We’re also trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of the best ways to do that is fill a large truck with cargo rather than use a lot of smaller trucks. Why would people be taking large trucks downtown if they’re not full? It’s inefficient. And if you had more trucks on the road, would you increase the dangers? That’s a real question to ask.”

Collier adds that a restriction on large trucks downtown would mean that companies would require some sort of central distribution node somewhere close to downtown. And wherever that was, we’d just be moving the safety concerns to a different location.

And what about the costs required to shift truck fleets to a smaller size? “Who’s going to pay for that?” Collier wonders, “Should that cost be shared? I wouldn’t want to turn to bicyclists and say, ‘You should change the bike you’re riding.’”

So, would local freight stakeholders even entertain a discussion about prohibiting large trucks? “I would enthusiastically jump into that discussion,” Collier said, but then added, “If it’s a conversation that looks at the big picture, and focuses on making Portland a better place to live. Absolutely.”

Same with mandating sidebars. Collier feels that, given what he knows about last week’s collision, they would not have made a difference in Rickson’s death, but nevertheless, he says, “It’s a good time to talk about them.”

Throughout our conversation Collier stressed the importance of education, for both riders and drivers. Back in September of 2008, the Portland Water Bureau hosted a bike/truck safety event. Collier wants to do another event like that somewhere downtown.

“I really wish we’d do a better job here of educating bicyclists, myself included,” Collier shared. He added that freight stakeholders generally prefer complete separation between bikes and trucks; but when that’s not possible, defensive riding and vigilance are paramount. “If you’re in a bike lane and passing a vehicle, going faster than them — warning signs should be going off in your head, you’re making yourself vulnerable to right hooks.”

In the end, Collier seems to just want to make sure the conversation about trucks and freight movement is fair and balanced. “One of the most frustrating things for me,” he said, “Is to talk to people that focus solely on the solution they want.”

Asked if he wanted to share any last thoughts with the community, Collier said, “The best thing we can do to honor Kathryn is to improve the safety for bicycle riders as well as for drivers… a lot of people are affected here… Let’s honor her by coming together, having these discussions, finding the best solutions we can come up with and educating ourselves on how we can drive and ride in a safer fashion.”

Email This Post Email This Post


Gravatars make better comments... Get yours here.
Please notify the publisher about offensive comments.
Comments
  • CaptainKarma May 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    “…improve the safety for …drivers.”??? I’m confused, have drivers been killed downtown?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      CaptainKarma,

      What he was alluding to was the extreme mental toll that the collision has taken on the driver (if you don’t remember, the driver was distraught at the scene). Sometimes in interviews things don’t come out (both from people’s mouths and from my fingers as I scramble to type what they say) exactly as clear as we’d like.

      Recommended Thumb up 14

    • El Biciclero May 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      He may also have meant the safe operational practices of both riders and drivers…

      Being a “safe” driver doesn’t necessarily imply that one never gets hurt, but that such a driver does little or no harm to others. Huh. Interesting that being a “safe” cyclist seems to imply the opposite–that such a cyclist doesn’t end up getting injured. I just realized that.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • ScottG May 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve been thinking about the situation, and one thing that struck me is how vulnerable bicyclists are because of the fact they don’t have horns. Could sounding a horn have gotten the attention of the driver in this situation?

    The main problem I see with this is that there isn’t much on the market for car-equivalent horns for bikes. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Airzounds. Even still, I sometimes contemplate getting one. When drivers do something risky or careless in around me when riding, I think they need to be made aware of it, and a short horn blast now and then would be one way to give bicyclists a “voice” on our roads. I think drivers are primed to react to the sound of a horn more than a person’s yell.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • William May 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      I’ve started hollering at intersections military style: “COMIN UP!!!” Even with windows closed I’ve noted many can hear me. The rest, I’m looking in their mirrors and looking at their “auto language.”

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • GlowBoy May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      I used to ride with an Air Zound, when I was fairly new to bike commuting. Honestly, I didn’t need it often enough to justify carrying it around, and sometimes I ended up using it because someone did something really stupid that irritated me but didn’t actually endanger me. I took it off after about a year.

      I’m capable of yelling pretty loud, and I found I can just as easily get attention from a driver who’s violating my ROW by yelling as by blasting an Air Zound. I don’t end up needing to do that very often either, though SW 3rd/Madison is one of the two places I can recall doing it this spring. (The other is downhill on Hall at Greenway in SE Beaverton — also a green-lane zone widely ignored by right-turning drivers).

      But YMMV. The Air Zound would probably work for a lot of people who don’t know about it, especially those with less-loud voices or who aren’t comfortable yelling/screaming or don’t think to do it in the heat of the moment. It would be good for more people to know about it.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Spiffy May 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      hard to hit a horn button when you have both hands on the brakes trying not to get run over… it’s easier in a car because you brake with your foot and honk with one hand so there’s no stability issues…

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Peter Buck May 25, 2012 at 7:22 am

        I thought about this a lot before I bought my Air Zound. Eventually I realized I needed to modify my approach to intersections. In the midst of an emergency stop is not the best time to use the Air Zound. I use mine to make sure drivers see me before it becomes an emergency. A short tap on the horn causes a driver waiting at a road or driveway intersection to look my direction before I cross their path. In my opinion the only way to avoid a right hook from behind, or a left hook from oncoming traffic, is to make sure I don’t cross an intersection in a spatial relationship with a vehicle where the collision could occur. This means constantly checking my mirror and adjusting my speed either faster or slower to make sure I cross the intersection when the risks are acceptable. Eventually this defensive cycling tactic became second nature to me.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Opus the Poet May 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

        place the horn button on the hood of the left (front) brake handle, where you can reach it with your thumb while applying the front brake.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • are May 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.280 forbids a cyclist to use a “siren or whistle”

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • ScottG May 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        Interesting, I didn’t know about that law. That said, an air horn is neither a siren nor a whistle, and that section of the law seems intended to prevent people from confusing a citizen bicyclist from a police officer on a bike. So I don’t think using a horn on a bicycle would violate the letter or the spirit of that law.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

        • Peter Buck May 25, 2012 at 7:11 am

          ORS 815.230 seems to differentiate between horns (1a) and sirens and whistles (1b) for motor vehicles. Perhaps this implies the same for bicycles.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Nom de Plume May 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        Whistles are mandatory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbZn07rZJ88

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adron May 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Considering that people in cars reduce themselves to pre-neanderthal humans (i.e. reference from the book Traffic) the only way to truly communicate with people in cars is to use a horn or hand signals.

      Unfortunately both are horrible by comparison to verbal speech, as people can use while biking. So I suppose, adding to the noise pollution, would probably be the best win-win for cyclists and motorists since it is basically impossible to communicate with drivers otherwise.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Ethan May 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      The one time I was right hooked, I got on my AirZound when I saw peripherally that the car was turning into me . . . it worked instantly, I could sense the car body diving as brakes were applied almost immediately. I ended up on the ground at the front corner of the sedan looking up at the bumper, but it had stopped and I was not run over. In short, they work.

      As the person who created the sign shown above, I appreciate Mr Collier’s openness to discussion, and call for a look at the broader implications of whatever solutions are proposed. However, what constitutes that view might be much broader even he is alluding to. If the truck that killed Kathryn was truly chock full of single-use service items and other consumables for the likes of Starbucks and Seattles Best, the “big picture” includes people dying so we can have the single-use/disposable lifestyle many enjoy. We can all bring our our own cup, and we have some coffee, pastries and other items delivered all over the city by bike . . . which I’d bet beats ANY truck size’s carbon footprint, does not pollute and is actually a health benefit for the driver/rider (as long as they are not killed by a truck).

      I’d challenge him back to not look at the complex web of the status quo as he understands it, but the possible ways that Portland could do the entire enterprise of delivering/using/disposing of things in a fundamentally different way. Otherwise, Kathryn will really just be the toll for business as usual.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • naomi May 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Collier makes many good and valid points. I agree with him, the length of the truck doesn’t seem to be much of an issue here — even if the truck was smaller (ie the one that killed Tracy Sparling) the same thing would have happened. And I agree with him, the fewer the trucks on downtown roads, the better — so if longer trucks help lower the overall #, so be it.

    I also agree that simply following the law is not enough to be safe as a cyclist – you have to ride defensively and always assume you’re going to be right hooked when riding alongside any vehicle (even a tiny little smartcar).

    The roads for cyclists are not perfect. The goal is that hopefully one day they are, and sites like this definitely help get us there – but now is not the time to simply assume that following the law is all you have to do to be safe out there. Due to the vulnerable nature of riding a bicycle alongside cars and trucks, you have to take extra cautions. It’s annoying to slow down in the bike lane (even though you have the green) to make eye contact with the driver on your left, it’s annoying to have to do many things as a cyclist that we shouldn’t HAVE to do – but until the roads are perfect this is the best way we can ensure we live to see tomorrow.

    Recommended Thumb up 25

    • Opus the Poet May 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      It was not so much the size of the truck as the configuration with the “standard cab” instead of the COE configuration. The engine house on the standard cab makes a blind spot that was big enough to hide a 1978 Honda Civic (back in 1982) and this would be true no matter what the rest of the truck looked like. It’s not the size of the truck, it’s where the driver sits in it that is the real issue here. Stnadard cabs should be illegal in urban areas.

      And I used to drive a delivery truck with a standard cab back in the era I spoke of (my 1978 Civic, and I was driving the truck I looked from).

      Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Fred Lifton May 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I might be mistaken, but I thought that there were European cities that block large trucks from their urban cores. If so, why/how does it work there?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Tom M May 24, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Take a look at the Tour De France or any of the major tours and you will realize why they are banned:

      The city centers are just far too tight. A new driver to the area would completely snarl traffic for the entire day as they couldn’t easily back the truck out and might even need other vehicles to help get them back out.

      Many European cities were designed as fortresses and limited movement was *designed in*. Seriously, would you want an invading horde to have near immediate access to your whole city center? Add to that the very tight allies that are “roads” and you can start to see why mirco-cars are much more practical.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Adron May 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

      It’s simple. They passed laws that ban the big trucks and if any “leak” into the urban core they get fined HEAVILY. :)

      Really, the saddest thing is that there are so many solutions, but they’re just not implemented here yet.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • William May 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Portland Pedal Power and B-Line could easily fill the niche for local downtown delivery for many of the products we assume must be delivered by large trucks. In fact, those two outfits serve that purpose already. It’s now about convincing business owners to utilize the service. Is it more expensive to use B-Line? I dunno. Maybe – does that cost compare to the liability and damage potential – now a reality in this case? But think about it… large trucks wouldn’t have to go downtown. They could stop outside – offload to B-Line or PPP and we save congestion, more flexible hours, save fuel for large rigs, reduce idling, diesel particulates and in this case… the unmeasurable mental toll on the driver and Kathryn’s life. I really hope the folks from B-Line and PPP weigh in on this issue.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Zach May 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      It’d be interesting to know how many tons of goods are delivered downtown and how far away they come from. At the very least, there’d need to be an enormous freight depot somewhere on the edge of town where goods could be transferred from truck to bike.

      My guess is that bike delivery would be logistically impossible, but it’d be interesting to find out for sure.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Annee von Borg May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      My thoughts also turned to deliveries by cycle as soon as I saw the ad for beer delivery by bike beneath the “Designed for Highways” activist poster. resourcesforhealth.org is a grassroots nonprofit launching a CSA delivery by cycle pilot program in Hillsboro. We won’t be taking too many big rigs off the road, but by partnering with a local apartment management company (Holland Residential) to offer CSA share delivery as a community amenity, we’ll reduce the number of vehicle trips to the store, making the apartment complex parking lots and streets safer for children and others, preventing tragic events like this one: http://www.koinlocal6.com/mostpopular/story/Boy-3-dies-after-struck-by-minivan-outside/Oe3e3nXjTUmN6TrD-zguyw.cspx about. The more motor vehicles we can replace with human powered vehicles the better. Let’s be intentional about choosing health, life, and family over convenience and status quo.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Ian June 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      I worked at a retail store on Broadway for a few years. Before Holiday season (obviously the busiest shopping time of year) we would get 5 semi trucks full of goods. That is One store downtown. It would take 10 B-Line cargo bikes a couple of days to move that much stuff into downtown.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • 9watts June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

        “It would take 10 B-Line cargo bikes a couple of days to move that much stuff into downtown.”

        You’re right. And the stuff would cost more too, which is a good thing because the price would be closer to reflecting the real cost to get it to that store.
        But this is no reason not to (anticipate needing to) make the changes toward hauling freight without fossil fuels. We are going to have to make that transition anyway. If people buy less of whatever it is your store was selling, that is going to be the least of our worries.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Rol May 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Strictly speaking, asking people to walk instead of bike through downtown wouldn’t solve anything, it would just mean they’d be on foot when they got run over by a truck.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

    • todd May 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      You missed his point, Rol. Read it again.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    While seeming very articulate, he did what any advocate of anything faced with negativity does, he spoke well in generalities, urged to let the emotions pass, and then stated he would love to open up a discussion on making Portland a better place.

    I am sure he is a pleasant person and a joy to converse with but he offered up nothing more than an extension of status quo so he and his can find time and ways to mire progress. I am not sure about banning trucks downtown or any of that even though my friend Kristine Ann Okins was killed in much the same way as Kathryn Rickson was, but what I do know is how to spot political circle speak.

    It’s “frustrating” for him to speak to speak to people that only focus on what they want? What else do people focus on? Is he constantly fighting battles for things he does not want at all?

    He is “absolutely” into having conversations about making Portland a better place? Who isn’t? The Joker? Dr. Viktor Von Doom? pfft

    I have nothing more againts this gentleman than I have against all the people who are cogs in a system designed to grind to a halt any tangible change.

    If freight companies gave half a crap, they would have installed bumpers long ago (regardless of this specific instance of death) and they would not have their drivers working from super tight and barely attainable schedules. Maybe more smaller trucks is not the answer, but what about more drivers so that those large trucks can really take it easy? Then we have safety and jobs. Two more talking points for political circle speak.

    Recommended Thumb up 26

    • 9watts May 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Agreed, Scott.
      Collier’s “you’re making yourself vulnerable to right hooks” struck me as particularly troubling. The same logic would suggest biking anywhere makes one vulnerable to being hit by cars. How about people crossing the street on foot. They’re making themselves vulnerable to being run over. Where’s the responsibility of the drivers of all these vehicles that are running over our friends and relatives?!

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • zli May 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

        “The same logic would suggest biking anywhere makes one vulnerable to being hit by cars. How about people crossing the street on foot. They’re making themselves vulnerable to being run over.”

        Unfortunately, the logic is correct–when biking anywhere (near cars), or crossing the street on foot–we are vulnerable to being hit. Not having a steel box around us, defensive (riding & walking) skills are extremely important. I’d like to see more defensive riding courses for cyclists made available (through the city?). I remember when my husband, who had owned and ridden motorcycles in the past, took a rider safety course and was blown away by how much he learned. It’s been a long time since I needed to renew my driver’s license…so I can’t speak to what kind of information/instruction is required for auto drivers and maybe that should be looked at. But regardless, by being around moving cars without a steel box and airbags protecting us means we are vulnerable.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Matt G May 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Why not make the trucks BIGGER rather than smaller? If we’d need more small trucks to solve the problem, why can’t we use colossally large trucks? AND TRAIN THE DRIVERS!! You’d only have to train a half-dozen people if you only had a half-dozen ginormous trucks. They could all drive at 5 mph and have a flagger that would be a second set of eyes with a sole priority of safety. Also possible, and just as impractical. But way safer.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Brian E May 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      Bigger Trucks are called Trains.

      Recommended Thumb up 13

  • Granpa May 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    As the “bike guy” at my office I write a few line about bicycling every other week for the office newsletter. Most cyclists do not know what a “right hook is. Cyclists who know are in the position to educate cyclists who don’t know. Below is next weeks article

    An aspect of cycling that can not be overstated is safety. Among the most critical perils when vehicles and bicycles share the road is the “Right Hook”. This is the situation where the cyclist is to the right of motor vehicle traffic and the driver makes a right turn. It happens at both intersections and driveways. Drivers often underestimate the speed at which cyclists travel, and it is common for a driver to pass a cyclist, then dismiss him/her from their mind as if the cyclist were a stationary object, when in fact the cyclist may be traveling just a few miles per hour slower than the car and remains just behind the car. If this is the case and the driver hooks right, the cyclist is trapped between the curb and the car and a tragic result is hard to avoid. Another variation of the “Right Hook” involves large vehicles. Busses and trucks have a large turning radius and therefore drive deep into an intersection before initiating their right turn. A cyclist may misinterpret this to mean that the vehicle is driving straight through the intersection and put him/her self in harm’s way by riding alongside the vehicle through the intersection. This is likely the cause of the horrible fatality collision on May 16th, down town, between a semi and a cyclist.

    A good rule of thumb is to never ride alongside a vehicle through an intersection. Be extra alert if a driver accelerates hard past you. This may be a precursor to a right turn. It matters not if a driver performs an illegal maneuver, if the cyclist is hit. The cyclist will get the worst of the collision.

    Cycling is fun, convenient, inexpensive and an environmentally benevolent mode of transportation. It is also very serious. Ride safe my friends.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • JNE May 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      I was knocked over by a right hook 25 years ago. Now I commute downtown every day and . . . because the gun always wins in a knife fight, I never ride alongside any vehicle through an intersection. (Granted, I make living by that rule a little more feasible by keeping no more than about a mile of my commute on busy streets.)

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Schrauf May 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    “And what about the costs required to shift truck fleets to a smaller size? “Who’s going to pay for that?” Collier wonders, “Should that cost be shared? I wouldn’t want to turn to bicyclists and say, ‘You should change the bike you’re riding.’”

    Umm, people on bikes are not killing others to the extent people driving trucks are killing others.

    And besides, any costs related to mandated safety improvments should be passed on down the line to customers. If not, either their business model is flawed, or they are dinosaurs unable to compete with more efficient competitors.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • are May 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      this was certainly the weak center of his argument. if starbucks cannot afford to bring paper cups in on smaller trucks, they need to increase the price at which they sell paper cups. the city or the county or whoever the hell operates the landfills might consider imposing a surtax on paper cups, sort of like the plastic bag fee. etc., etc., etc.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • wsbob May 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      “…And besides, any costs related to mandated safety improvments should be passed on down the line to customers. If not, either their business model is flawed, or they are dinosaurs unable to compete with more efficient competitors.”

      All costs get passed down to the customers. Keeping overhead costs down helps meet the objective of the most affordable service or product to the customer. That’s the argument favoring larger trucks that hold more goods, which involves fewer miles and time back to the distribution center for reloading.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • are May 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

        no, it is the argument for not externalizing these costs and instead making them transparent to the customer, who can then choose not to keep throwing paper cups in the landfill

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Zach May 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

          They should have an MBA in every downtown business breaking down the costs of every single product sold?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • are May 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm

            if you impose a surcharge on disposable food containers, the retailers will quickly incorporate the surcharge into the price without any need for an MBA to work the four-function calculator

            Recommended Thumb up 3

        • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 12:47 am

          It would be great if more people used personal cups and glasses for their drinks, but that’s really beside the question of how much of a contributing factor longer trucks in town are to collisions.

          Collier makes a good point in saying that people traveling on bikes being better educated in the skills needed to travel by bike would be very helpful towards reducing the risk of traveling in traffic. How to get that education to people is a big challenge. Figuring out how to get the education out is a big challenge.

          I’ll wax whimsical here by saying that if people took the skill necessary to ride bikes in traffic as serious as they do learning to use their electronics, we’d be a long way down the biking in traffic education road.

          The external sides and backs of semi-trailers are often used for big, bold advertising schemes. Tri-met makes extraordinary use of advertising on the sides of light rail trains…and get’s paid for it. I recall seeing some kind of signs or placards on truck trailers saying things like ‘This truck makes wide turns’, but not in the visually arresting style of the light rail train message graphics.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • JAT in Seattle May 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I agree with all the criticisms offered here of Corky Collier’s statements (as of 4:15pm – It’s still only a little over an hour since this was posted, and I expect he’ll be savaged as the time goes by) but i want to come out in support of him (and of BikePortland) for engaging on the topic.

    I haven’t yet seen a definitive statement of how exactly the collision came to pass (pending completion of the police investigation?); I’ve suspected that a Ms Rickson proceeded in the tight side bike lane and bike box past the big truck which then turned out to be in the process of turning. If she was stopped in the bike box and then killed that’s a different matter entirely – but on the face of it it looks like relying on infrastructure and not riding defensively (changing lanes to be behind or to the left of the turning truck) played a role. What could the driver have done in that circumstance?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Joe May 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    GlowBoy
    I used to ride with an Air Zound, when I was fairly new to bike commuting. Honestly, I didn’t need it often enough to justify carrying it around, and sometimes I ended up using it because someone did something really stupid that irritated me but didn’t actually endanger me. I took it off after about a year.
    I’m capable of yelling pretty loud, and I found I can just as easily get attention from a driver who’s violating my ROW by yelling as by blasting an Air Zound. I don’t end up needing to do that very often either, though SW 3rd/Madison is one of the two places I can recall doing it this spring. (The other is downhill on Hall at Greenway in SE Beaverton — also a green-lane zone widely ignored by right-turning drivers).
    But YMMV. The Air Zound would probably work for a lot of people who don’t know about it, especially those with less-loud voices or who aren’t comfortable yelling/screaming or don’t think to do it in the heat of the moment. It would be good for more people to know about it.
    Recommended 0

    I ride that area and hear what your saying, in some burb areas cars feel they have more rights to the road, I don’t have a seat belt or airbag. I yell if in danger

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Fred Lifton May 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    This is pure speculation on my part, but… Longer trucks generally have to drive straight for a little ways, or even jog to the left before they can turn right (otherwise, the trailer will track up onto the sidewalk). This can lead a cyclist (or ped, for that matter) to think the truck is going straight. So, it is entirely possible to make an argument that a smaller truck would conceivably have made a difference here.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

      As a current driver of a 53 footer the setup for the right turn in a dense urban area like this is harrowing even with ZERO traffic. In an intersection that doesn’t have curb chamfers for wide truck turns the steps are like this when NO TRAFFIC is around:
      1) turn signal on
      2) move over as far as legal to the left in the outer most right turn lane
      3) check all mirrors to assure the path of travel is clear
      4) proceed as far forward in to the intersection as possible before turning sharply to the right
      5a) observe trailer to ensure that light poles and signs are avoided on the inside of the turn
      5b) observe tractor to ensure that oncomming road users are avoided.

      When there is traffic some steps are altered or added:
      2.0.1) move over to the outside of the turn only as far as allows the truck to prevent trafic behind from passing on the right.
      3.5) ensuring signal on and rear traffic blocked swing tractor to the left as far as legal (see 3.6 for variants)
      3.6) if a vehicle is stopped in the oncoming traffic lane opposite intended destination lane AND current travel lanes to your left are empty, swing left to get wider trailer clearance. This is called a “jug handle turn” in the ODOT class A drivers manual and is patently illegal. It also is very frequently done and is often the only safe way through an intersection that was not designed for long articulated trailers.

      Steps 2 & 2.0.1 are manageable with auto width vehicles but block cyclists is near impossible.
      Steps 3, 3.5 & 3.6 present the biggest problem. In a nutshel: even with the best side mirrors the area in which a cyclist is recognizable as a moving object is very limited and constrained by the angle of the truck. As soon as the truck is at any location further than 3′ from the bicycle travel path or the truck is in angle of turn the mirrors can not see cyclists; the more turn angle, the worse it gets.
      Step 4 always looks like the truck is not turning. Then SUDDENLY – the truck turns.
      Step 5: once the turn is started the amount of potential hazards and impact points skyrockets. Honestly the safeest thing to do would be to stop the truck, block the intersection, get out and physically make sure that there are no hazards you can’t see. Get Out And Look is the common mantra of most safety minded trucking companies – for backing. In an intersection the unspoked rule is just get the heck out. Once a large truck starts turning they will almost never stop. If they do but cause no damage and violate no other laws the driver still gets ticketed.

      These all can be mitigated HOWEVER it is very easy for a cyclist or pedestrian to slip in to the many blindspots unnoticed. The easiest solution would be a daylight hours truck restriction in dense areas like this.

      Recommended Thumb up 15

      • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        q`Tzal…excellent and informative post from the perspective of someone with direct knowledge of the complexities of driving truck and trailer combo’s in urban settings, through actually haven driven them in that situation.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

        “…Step 5: once the turn is started the amount of potential hazards and impact points skyrockets. Honestly the safeest thing to do would be to stop the truck, block the intersection, get out and physically make sure that there are no hazards you can’t see. Get Out And Look is the common mantra of most safety minded trucking companies – for backing. In an intersection the unspoked rule is just get the heck out. Once a large truck starts turning they will almost never stop. If they do but cause no damage and violate no other laws the driver still gets ticketed. …” q`Tzal

        I meant to mention, the above was one of the most important points made in your comment. I seem to recall people getting out to temporarily hold traffic from proceeding past a truck that was having to make a particularly difficult turn until the truck could safely make the turn, eliminating the possibility of endangering someone. In fact, if what I was unofficially told, was true, that the person driving in the 3rd and Madison collision had a helper, they could have done exactly this.

        By the way…I didn’t understand your last sentence. You might explain what you mean more clearly.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm

          my ramblings
          The easiest solution would be a daylight hours truck restriction in dense areas like this.

          Avoiding my general rant about the overall freight technology/infrastructure paradigm that we’ve painted ourselves into corner with … my thought process is this:
          we are stuck with this (large inherently unsafe trucks) for now and while should strive to destroy/replace this shipping mode we can ALSO put effort in to simutaneously making it safer or at least less deadly.

          If we can all agree that these trucks need extra clearance above and beyond what is used by average vehicles then it isn’t much of a stretch to legally infer that they are not safe for use in normal traffic flows or around streets not specifically designed with 53 foot trailer turning radii in mind
          Increasing the safety of articulated truck turns in aggregate involves factors that are easier to say than implement: remove traffic, remove obstructions, reduce truck size, increase driver education, increase driver useable field of view and increase situational awareness of other road users in such a scenario.

          ()Education and awareness together should be enough to not require anything else. It’s not just my cynicism of the general public’s collective unwillingness to learn but that of US and state road designers everywhere who engineer on the assumption that we are mindless sheep – in tons of metal.

          Cont…

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm

          … Part 2

          () The convex mirrors are great for close up wide angle viewing but have a very short practical use range. Beyond a certain distance inversely proportional to the convexity of the mirror even a $500 strobing bike headlight loses all locational referant as it squishes in to a compressed viewing image blending quickly with the background. I have intentionally slowed to watch cyclists with decent lighting pass through my right side mirrors and even with 20/15 vision and all the mirrors that a 2011 model truck bring I can say that if I am not stopped the cyclist can easily be lost from the field of view but still be in danger from my truck. The field of view in my current truck is better than those from previous decades but there is vast room for increased “tactical awareness of threats in your battlespace”.
          () Educational quality of class A drivers is a market driven force that can only reasonably be affected by laws; some of which exacerbate the problem by monetarily incentivizing large trucking companies to expedite training for new drivers of unverified skill.
          () Reducing truck size is a realistic option with heavy costs in new vehicle acquisition, driver training, land for cargo transfer terminals and extra freight handling. Side effects are increased truck traffic with an overall lowering of driver skill as truck size passes down to class C size and anyone can drive. This includes any driver with normal driver’s license. No prior large vehicle experience required. Teenagers and adults who have no business driving any automobile can be hired and put in to situations they are ill equipped for with no required training. If we were to implement a “Small Truck Zone” in Portland it would be wise to legislate that authorized truck drivers have some BOLI license above and beyond a class C so that some minimal extra training occurs. I was this statistic and I did crash a deliver truck in an … ill advised … maneuver while being a typical teenaged driver.
          ()Removing obstructions to me means signs, poles, newspaper boxes – what ever there is that take damage when the wheels of a trailer ride the curb mere inches in because it was placed as far out to the edge of the sidewalk corner as possible. Curb extensions used to increase pedestrian safety are the exact opposite of what an articulated truck driver wants to turn at: the very improvement designed to help pedestrianss puts them in the prime target for being run over.

          (Read on for the stunning finale)

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

          (And now the conclusion :) )

          () Removing traffic is the easiest. This is most effectively done with police escort. In lieu of that night time maneuvers are much easier. 95% of the time I can swing wide a bit in to the unoccupied lanes to the left as I make my right. As there is minimal traffic to monitor I can dedicate almost my complete attention to the inside of my right turn because there are no autos waiting to turn left in my wide turning path and take my sweet time doing so because there are few to complain.

          Overall I think the simplest solution has many parts:
          1) implent a large truck toll for dense areas in Portland similar to London tolling. Schedule it so that that truck access during desired time slots is free and peak congestion times become prohibitively expensive.
          2) require full sets of functional mirrors that are configured to allow the driver to see a high speed cyclist overtaking them.
          3) setup a local license program for box truck delivery drivers in Portland. It would be best administered by BOLI as they handle other laborer standards issues in Oregon. The local drivers would get extra training and the license allows their employer to pay from 0%~5% of the large truck toll for operating on downtown streets during peak hours.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Tony May 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t want to go off too far afield here, but reading his argument for larger trucks over smaller ones in the core struck me as a bit off.

    These very large trucks do an enormous amount of damage to the roads. They also cause congestion by blocking lanes when unloading or maneuvering. These costs aren’t passed on to consumers, but we certainly pay for them (or pay the price for not dealing with the pot holes). These costs could be applied directly to the businesses in the form of higher per/mile taxes or permitting for inner city use.

    Adjusting for the actual costs of these large trucks may make the smaller truck idea more plausible. I say build a transfer station and let truck trikes deliver to the city center!

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Allan L. May 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Trucks in town? Maybe o.k. But why Madison? Madison comes from nowhere and, except for the Hawthorne Bridge, goes nowhere. The truck’s turn onto Third indicates it really had no reason to be on Madison, as far as I can tell. Was it lost?

    As a cyclist, I don’t think the right hook problem can be solved except by requiring (and, while we are at it, allowing) bicycles and motor vehicles to merge and occupy the same lane as they approach intersections where either could go straight or turn right. Having bikes in a lane going straight to the right of motor vehicles turning right doesn’t work so well.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Spiffy May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Corky CollierIf you’re in a bike lane and passing a vehicle, going faster than them — warning signs should be going off in your head, you’re making yourself vulnerable to right hooks.

    what?! no! there are no warning signs… unless maybe they have their turn signal on, then I’ll pay attention to them…

    what’s going through my head is usually “being on a bike is awesome, look at all this lame traffic I’m passing!

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • JAT in Seattle May 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I disagree – whether driving or biking, the vehicle which is flying past all the slower vehicles is adding tremendously to the risks.

      The jackass in the Dodge Charger weaving for lane to lane on I-5 is also thinking “being in a powerful car is awesome, look at all this lame traffic I’m passing!”

      I advocate a balance between awesome and prudence…

      Recommended Thumb up 14

    • are May 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      i think it is a mistake to rely on a motorist signaling

      Recommended Thumb up 8

    • John Lascurettes May 24, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Not to mention, IT IS THE LAW to yield to traffic in the bicycle lane (if there is one) before making your turn. Period. Doesn’t matter if the indicator is on. If you can’t check that the lane is clear because of a “car sized blind spot” don’t be making a right turn. Go make three lefts. There are no left-hand bike lanes downtown that I know of.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Ian May 24, 2012 at 8:42 am

        This is very true, but in my experience motorists can’t be trusted to adhere to it, either out of ignorance or obliviousness. There’s just too much at stake for me.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • John Lascurettes May 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

          My point is that there is a general implication that it is the responsibility of cyclists to “be aware” of not riding alongside vehicles that may or may not turn. Yes, it is our personal responsibility to do that to save our own skin. But the REAL responsibility, as in duty to law, is that the truck should not turn right until they yield to the lane first. If they cannot assess if the lane is clear because of a car-sized blind spot, they SHOULD NEVER TURN RIGHT ACROSS THE LANE.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • JNE May 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

            . . . but the laws of physics always trump the laws of humans . . . it’s simply irrational to insure your life with a traffic regulation that is consciously and unconsciously (e.g., blind spot) violated by drivers all the time.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • John Lascurettes May 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

              JNE, you miss my point entirely. Yes, it is MY responsibility to care for my own safety. I will and do respect the laws of physics in that regard.

              However, it is ILLEGAL for the truck to turn across the lane without yielding to the traffic in it. If there is such a huge blind spot on these trucks, then they can never properly yield to the traffic in the lane. Therefore they should be completely banned from making right turns if it means turning right across a bicycle lane.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • El Biciclero May 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm

              The “Laws of Physics” argument is used effectively by bullies to say “get out of my way, or else!” The way auto-on-bike collisions are usually handled tends to assume the cyclist did something “wrong” by failing to be “aware”, or otherwise slipping up and getting themselves run over.

              I remember the time I was walking along the sidewalk, crossing a driveway, and a couple of gals in their black Mercedes drove right into me. I did a little pommel horse vault move to avoid getting knocked over and my only injury was to my finger where it went in between two of the prongs of their hood ornament. The driver’s first words? “Didn’t you see me?” Same thing happened to my dad in L.A. a long time ago. We were tourists on vacation, about to cross the street on a WALK signal. My dad hadn’t taken two steps into the crosswalk when some guy running the red screeched to a stop, missing my dad by inches. The driver, in his anger, yelled, “Didn’t you see me coming?!”

              This is the attitude and state of affairs that using the “Physics” argument leads to. The first words of both of the above drivers should have been “I’m so sorry I almost ran over you. I should follow the law more closely!” Instead, we tend to have a societal attitude that says, “get shot on the street? Well, you should have known better than to wander into that neighborhood.” Your car got stolen? Well, you shouldn’t have bought such a nice car. Got run over by a distracted driver? Well, you should have seen them coming.

              Doesn’t that sound a little backwards?

              Recommended Thumb up 3

            • She May 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

              Maybe true but we don’t seem to recognize the law of physics that make the automobile a lethal weapon and treat it as such. Cars/trucks kill bikers, walkers and other vehicle operators. We need to teach new drivers that when they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle a small distraction can lead to a death! Maybe morose but true.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

      • are May 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

        no, but there are plenty of one-way streets on which i will be in the left lane

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Spiffy May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    more safety guards, more small trucks instead of less big trucks, whatever… it all sounds like money…

    how about people just pay attention when they’re on the road?

    I don’t want people to pay money to “make things safer”… I want people to pay attention and accept what they’ve done when they don’t…

    I know you don’t want to send somebody to jail on a manslaughter charge just because they ran over and killed somebody they didn’t mean to… but they did and you’re not helping anybody by being easy on them…

    how much do these people let their kids get away with? what kind of brats are they raising? maybe it’s ok that Johnny hit somebody with the rock he threw, since he didn’t mean to hit anybody… no! take away the kid’s rocks!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Opus the Poet May 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      I can answer this one. Because in this case the cyclist was hit from behind by a right-turning vehicle that had faded left to make sure he trailer cleared the curb. Also I don’t knoiw if anyone has been paying attention, but conventional cabs have huge blind spots to the right front, big enough that a compact car (actually you could also lose a mid-size sedan from the late 1970s or a small pickup truck from the 1990s) could be completely hidden. In bike terms you could lose half the TdF peloton in the right-side blind spots on a conventional cab truck. And everyone please mentally go back and replace “standard cab” with “conventional cab” in all those other posts I made about truck cabs and blind spots. I think i may have mentioned a time or two that I have brain damage, we just saw it at “work”.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • John Lascurettes May 24, 2012 at 12:12 am

        I just typed this, but I’ll type is again in response to you as well:

        IT IS THE LAW to yield to traffic in the bicycle lane (if there is a bike lane) before making your turn. Period. Doesn’t matter if the indicator is on. If you can’t check that the lane is clear and will be for the duration it takes for you to make the turn because of a “car sized blind spot” – don’t make a right turn. Go make three lefts. There are no left-hand bike lanes downtown that I know of.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jonathan May 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I don’t understand why large trucks can’t be restricted to evening deliveries downtown (10PM- 5AM). It would make the drivers job a lot easier. Mr. Collier’s comment about the safety of large vs. small trucks seems preposterous. Having driven trucks and motor homes I know that bigger vehicles are harder to see out of, more difficult to maneuver, more difficult to stop, and less safe for those around them.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • DoubleB May 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      So it’s easier at NIGHT when there are still bikes on the road?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • wsbob May 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    “…”We need to look at the issues as objectively as possible. You mentioned restricting larger trucks. I’ve also discussed the idea of side bumper guards. Neither would have helped in this case. …

    Collier points out that historically, the 43-foot length hasn’t been a problem. “Let’s say that trailer had been half the size, the accident still would have happened.”

    ” corky collier/bikeportland interview

    Of particular importance in regards to the idea of restricting larger trucks, he doesn’t explain ‘the why’…why he’s apparently of the opinion that a shorter truck making the right turn at 3rd and Madison wouldn’t have have helped to avoid the collision that occurred there.

    In comments to previous bikeportland stories about this collision, people have mentioned a number of reasons they believe the truck or truck and trailer’s 43′ length may have been a factor in this collision.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Travis May 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Big stores = Big Trucks. Trucks should maybe come off 405, unload to distributors off HW 30, and small eco/city friendly vans deliver goods. Freight is only part of the equation. Macy’s (all the big retailers), Office Depot, REI, Fred Meyer, Safeway, the beer distributors, any crap restaurant ordering from Sysco, etc… is where the issues begin. Surely there would be savings in insurance. A more diverse and integrated system means more jobs and money spread to more pockets. Granted, our 401ks do suffer.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Randy May 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    This is why I feel bike lanes are more dangerous than riding in the road. Bike lanes make sense to me on streets like Barbur, when you have high speed traffic (arterial routes if you will) but downtown or on slower residential roads, I feel they create problems. If there had been no bike lane, she would have been behind the truck and not hit. I take the lane A LOT. I get honked at for it because since there is a bike lane,cars ASSUME that I shouldn’t be in the road. I am not trying to shift the blame to the victim here, so please don’t assume that is my point.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Donna May 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    ScottG
    Interesting, I didn’t know about that law. That said, an air horn is neither a siren nor a whistle, and that section of the law seems intended to prevent people from confusing a citizen bicyclist from a police officer on a bike. So I don’t think using a horn on a bicycle would violate the letter or the spirit of that law.
    Recommended 0

    I have had quite a few PPB officers check out my Airzound air horn. They thought it was a great idea, did not feel it was illegal, and expressed the wish that more cyclists had one on their bikes. Then they asked me where they could get one for their own bikes.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • dwainedibbly May 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Target has pledged to use smaller trucks to deliver to their new downtown store, so big stores do not necessarily equal big trucks.

    Night time deliveries are a PITA for people who live downtown. Mrs Dibbly & I lived at the Essex House apartments on SW 3rd between Jefferson & Columbia for 6 months when we first got to town. The Starbucks on the 1st floor used to get delivers at 11pm and at 5am and they always woke us up. We were on the 9th floor.

    I agree with not relying on a motorist to signal. My rule is to not get alongside a motor vehicle when I’m approaching an intersection or driveway where someone may turn right.

    Take the lane if you’re going downhill & are fast enough to keep up.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • lavie.lama May 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    As a former receiver for both a big box store and two grocery stores, I can tell you that trucks come in all the time -more than not- with tiny loads that hardly fill their trailer. So that aspect of his argument is terribly silly.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • wsbob May 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      “As a former receiver for both a big box store and two grocery stores, I can tell you that trucks come in all the time -more than not- with tiny loads that hardly fill their trailer. …” lavie.lama

      Explanation for that may be that the stores you worked at were at the end of truck’s route. A lot of goods loaded onto the trailer before leaving the distribution center may have been unloaded to other stops before arriving at the stores you worked.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Opus the Poet May 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Allan L.
    Trucks in town? Maybe o.k. But why Madison? Madison comes from nowhere and, except for the Hawthorne Bridge, goes nowhere. The truck’s turn onto Third indicates it really had no reason to be on Madison, as far as I can tell. Was it lost?
    As a cyclist, I don’t think the right hook problem can be solved except by requiring (and, while we are at it, allowing) bicycles and motor vehicles to merge and occupy the same lane as they approach intersections where either could go straight or turn right. Having bikes in a lane going straight to the right of motor vehicles turning right doesn’t work so well.
    Recommended 0

    The reason the truck was on Madison was the same reason huge trucks go anywhere in towns (all towns, not just PDX), because they are making deliveries to several places and that street was the most direct from wherever the last delivery was to wherever the next delivery is.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dude May 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    One thing I keep hear people saying is “don’t ride next to trucks at an intersection”. Doesn’t that tell you right there that there should not even be a bike lane there? It is insane to have a through bike lane to the right of a lane that can turn. It would be much safer to have a shared lane at the intersection, then there won’t be any “right hooks”.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • El Biciclero May 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      You’re right–then we would have “Right Smears”, where a driver, wanting to make a right turn ahead, merges into the bike lane without looking and sideswipes a cyclist. I guess that’s preferable.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Opus the Poet May 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Also, on the more trucks being worse for the roads/environment, there are studies that show the damages to the roads are related to the 4th power of the heaviest axle, so by making 2 runs in a truck half the soze and weight you actually only do 1/8 the damage of delivering in the bigger truck.

    And what’s to say that local delivery vehicles have to be powered by ICE? Ifg you have a known run the truck has to make every day you can buy an electric truck that can go about 10% farther (to account for detours) and come up with a truck that’s not worth taking the time to hijack and also that doesn’t pollute the air…

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • beck May 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    you guys all have a lot of valid points and questions. as a bicycle commuter who rides to work to drive a truck i see both sides of these conversations. as a cyclist the best way for you to protect yourself is make eye contact with that driver. it is 100% true that if you can’t see the driver in the mirror, they CAN NOT see you, but never assume that driver has seen you. you are defenseless unless you are aware of your surroundings. i wish i could take everyone of you to work with me so you would have a better understanding of what its like to be in the cab of a truck wether its in a downtown situation or a highway situation. i would like to assume that every commercial driver out there has had the best of the best training to make it to their destination safely but thats not always the case. i wish every cyclist wore bright clothing and had visible tail and head lights even during daylight hours (i can’t say enough how much more you stand out as a cyclist to a vehicle when you have lights running during the day). also not the case. please. make yourself seen but always assume you haven’t been seen.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Ian May 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Practical advice, but ultimately if a driver can’t be relied upon to see a cyclist who isn’t wearing a safety vest and bright daytime lights, I think the visibility from the vehicle (or the appropriateness of using that vehicle in an area with a lot of bicycle traffic) needs to be reconsidered.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • KYouell May 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      And here I thought I was just being lazy by not figuring out how to move the generator to the off position and, thereby, leaving my lights on all the time. :-)

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Michael May 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    You quote him as follows:

    “I really wish we’d do a better job here of educating bicyclists, myself included,” Collier shared. He added that freight stakeholders generally prefer complete separation between bikes and trucks; but when that’s not possible, defensive riding and vigilance are paramount. “If you’re in a bike lane and passing a vehicle, going faster than them — warning signs should be going off in your head, you’re making yourself vulnerable to right hooks.”

    A few comments:

    1) educating bicyclists seems to be limited to telling us to watch out and to be defensive. I wouldn’t call that an education. What about educating truckers? ;

    2) despite his claim to want to have an open, “fair and balanced” (can’t help but think of Fox news) conversation, he doesn’t really suggest any significant changes that the freight industry could undertake to minimize /lower threat or risk of causing physical injury/deaths;

    3) If freight stakeholders prefer complete separation, then here’s a solution (just brainstorming here): how about no trucks on any streets where there are bike paths? That would provide more separation. Had that regulation existed, Kathryn Rickson would not have been killed;

    4) I want to also second or third some of the earlier posts about the size of the truck – i really don’t buy the claim that size doesn’t matter. it does.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Alan 1.0 May 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Does anyone have actual data about the relative safety of different size trucks? I completely agree that big trucks are scary, and I acknowledge that there are other downsides to big trucks than human safety (e.g. pavement damage), but before calling for replacing one big truck with several smaller trucks, especially in the name of safety, I would want to know what the relative safety stats are for different size commercial trucks. For example, if it took four smaller trucks to deliver the load of one 43′ truck, do each of those smaller trucks have 1/4 the fatality rate of the large truck? 1/4 the injury rate? (If so, the safety tradeoff would be a wash…no net safety saving.)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • are May 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Dude
    Doesn’t that tell you right there that there should not even be a bike lane there?

    that’s what it tells me, but PBoT is heading in a different direction, green boxes and special signals papering over the problem. although the mandatory sidepath law can be interpreted to allow a cyclist to assert the lane rather than cooperate with any paint that is not MUTCD compliant (as the green box is not), there are efforts afoot to bring some of these nonstandard devices into MUTCD. in their 2030 plan, PBoT openly stated they would not oppose an effort to repeal the sidepath law.

    a highly visible campaign to repeal 814.420 could also serve to educate cyclists (and motorists) to these risks.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Paul Manson May 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I used a 28′ UHaul to move a couple of weeks ago. Scared the daylights out of me as I drove that thing. It was impossible to clear the right side blind spot in a turn. Lane changes were fine because you can accelerate into the lane and keep a clear space. But turns with bike lanes were a nightmare. I’m a daily bike commuter, and an unpracticed truck driver. It was a learning experience.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • JAT in Seattle May 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Learning experience indeed – maybe one we should all have. It’s easier to accommodate other road users’ limitations and capabilities if you’ve operated a vehicle like theirs, and how often have we each felt of bonehead drivers: they should ride a mile in my cleats (or Birkenstocks or whatever…)?

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Wookie May 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Corky Collier
    “…a restriction on large trucks downtown would mean that companies would require some sort of central distribution node somewhere close to downtown.”

    Oh, hey Central Eastside Industrial District with your easy access to 99E and plethora of warehouses, where’d you come from?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Tigue May 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Corky is one of the most level headed dudes I know. He understands both sides of an issue and will always look for win-win solutions. He understands the real world. Bicyclists need safety and freight needs to be delivered. Thank you for your insight Corky!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • oskarbaanks May 24, 2012 at 4:17 am

      Corky has an exclusive understanding of the the “real world” that is alien to whom ? I am glad that Johnathan chose to bring his perspective into the fold, but it is apparent that he is a voice for his industry. I am certainly not attacking his intelligence, but even as the progeny of a life long Teamster, I have to agree with others here that his answers to most of the questions are pretty vaugue. All users of the road are entitled to safety by definition of the law ,but that comes at the price of awareness hand in hand with practice of those actions by all that travel, no matter what mode we choose, or are employed to use.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Ted Buehler May 24, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Two relevant excerpts from Oregon’s Drivers Manuals —

    * the driver, evidently, failed to check his right mirror for bicyclists overtaking on the right. This is a failure of situational awareness as directed in the Oregon Driver Manual. You are always required to check for bicyclists overtaking on the right when making a right turn through a bike lane.
    From the Oregon Driver Manual, p. 38-39
    Single page
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11599639@N03/4946027041/
    Whole document
    http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/37.pdf

    * the driver, as per an unofficial PPB statement, veered left before turning right. According to ODOT, this is an improper turn technique that has a family of safety risks, one of which is sending incorrect information to vehicles who may be passing on the right as to your future directional movements.
    From the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual
    Single page:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11599639@N03/7252294246/in/photostream
    Whole document
    http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/36.pdf

    If the driver had followed these directives, he would have seen the bicyclist and stopped before making a right turn.

    FWIW,
    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 11:45 am

      “…If the driver had followed these directives, he would have seen the bicyclist and stopped before making a right turn. …” Ted Buehler

      Not necessarily so, as I’ve mentioned in comments to earlier stories on this collision. I don’t want to go into speculations and scenarios here, but I think the causes of this collision may be far more complicated than some people are wont to think. Waiting for reports on results from official investigations would be wise before making pronouncements.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Bjorn September 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      I fully agree Ted the problem isn’t that the law doesn’t make it clear that the onus is on the driver of the truck to yield when crossing the bike lane, it is that the DA’s won’t press the issue.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • DerMorgen May 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    As a driver (not a bicyclist) I wanted to say that I could accept what Corky was saying. Several people have said that he didn’t mention solutions for the issue at all, only supporting the status quo and not answering the questions. However, I think the question he was addressing was related to this particular accident and the backlash related to it. I’m not sure the general question of the right hook was actually being discussed so much as people’s reaction to this situation. I think another article may prove an excellent place for that discussion.

    Myself, I drive downtown only if all else fails. Traffic downtown makes me uncomfortable with my ability to really be fully in control so I avoid it. Living on the east side I will drive to the west side to visit a particular store rather than a closer location down town. The addition of four times as many trucks, though much smaller, seems like an even larger deterrent. For clarity, this means I actually do not go downtown – not that I switch from auto to a different mode of transportation.

    On the right hook subject, there is one place during my daily driving commute where I turn right across a well traveled bike lane at a major light. When I see bicyclists waiting in the bike lane I stop back from them so that they are no longer beside me but in front of me so I don’t endanger them. Then I wait when the light turns for all the byciclists to pass into the intersection. However, it’s difficult to get an opportunity to actually turn because the bicyclists just keep coming. Unless or until one of them notes that I am waiting to turn and slows down or waves at me so I know they see me I can wait through several light changes while the vehicles waiting on me become more and more agitated. It is trying to turn right from the middle lane with one lane of through traffic still moving on each side.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Ventura May 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Most long-haul truck drivers are paid by the mile. This means that waiting for a safer opportunity to turn, or slowing down for speed limits or weather conditions, reduces the drivers’ effective hourly wage.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Carl May 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

    “Collier adds that a restriction on large trucks downtown would mean that companies would require some sort of central distribution node somewhere close to downtown. And wherever that was, we’d just be moving the safety concerns to a different location.”

    Correct. We’d be moving them to a less congested area, with a fraction of the vulnerable road users.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • 9watts May 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Who belongs on our streets? Who’s responsibility is it to keep folks (any folks) from being run over and killed?
    Collier’s language suggests that the (anticipated) victims need to pay more attention to the risks they are exposing themselves to. I disagree with this framing of the problem.

    Collier’s ‘objectivity’ amounts to an assertion that ‘trucks are/freight transport is essential and is not going away, so the rest of you pay more attention.’ I’m all for everyone paying even better attention, but don’t like the implication that it’s easier/more expedient, and therefore appropriate to get people on bikes to pay more attention than it is to do something about the (inherent) dangers of truck cabs out of which it is hard to see amidst urban traffic.

    “part of the answer needs to come from the bicyclists since they’re the ones staring at the tires.”

    Note how it is the tires (trucks) that are ‘already there/not going away.’

    “I really wish we’d do a better job here of educating bicyclists, myself included,”

    Many of us here in the comments section of bikeportland think first of how trucks need to be modified, or restricted from downtown (borrowing from Europe, largely). Whereas Collier thinks first of ‘educating bicyclists,’ borrowing I suspect from our cultural predisposition to think of bicyclists as uninvited guests crashing the internal combustion party, as ‘children’ who would benefit from another helping of ‘education.’

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      “…Collier’s language suggests that the (anticipated) victims need to pay more attention to the risks they are exposing themselves to. …” 9watts

      It’s unfair, untruthful…and unhelpful, to summarize Collier’s words the way you have, which here, seems to be that you’re assuming he “…(anticipates)…” everyone traveling on bikes in traffic will be victims. That’s attempting to load something he’s said with an inflammatory bent which isn’t deserved.

      Excerpting Collier’s remarks from maus’s bikeportland story, what Collier said relative to people that bike being aware of conditions in which they ride, is:

      “…”I really wish we’d do a better job here of educating bicyclists, myself included,” …”

      and:

      “…”If you’re in a bike lane and passing a vehicle, going faster than them — warning signs should be going off in your head, you’re making yourself vulnerable to right hooks.” …”

      If Collier is thinking of the many people traveling on bikes that are either inexperienced or have little experience or specific skills in riding bikes in traffic, I’d say he’s absolutely right about that. There’s no question but that many people on bikes in traffic are almost completely unprepared to ride competently in traffic, because absolutely no training whatsoever for riding bikes in traffic is required in exchange for the freedom to do so.

      In the second paragraph of your comment in which you speak of Collier’s objectivity, you seem to be attempting to completely distort the direction Collier is suggesting discussion about possible remedies to the factors that contributed to this collision, might best take. Read together, Maus’s paragraph that introduces Collier’s extended quote to which you seem to refer, in which he uses the word “objectively”, and the extended quote itself.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • 9watts May 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

        “…”I really wish we’d do a better job here of educating bicyclists, myself included,” …”

        I’m not sure what Collier is trying to say exactly. Does he wish he were the one doing a better job educating or being educated? I realize he is wearing a bike helmet in the photo but he is (presumably) a truck driver.
        I (may have mis-)read this sentence as Collier wishing he too did a better job of educating bicyclists.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

          “…I (may have mis-)read this sentence as Collier wishing he too did a better job of educating bicyclists.” 9watts

          It was a less than perfectly clear statement, but that’s the way I read it also. That and other questions I mentioned in my first comment to this story, I wish would have been expanded on, but interviews undoubtedly inevitably have limitations.

          Collier’s statement in the story follows maus’s statement that Collier is interested in doing another (excuse the copy/paste link bad grammar here): hosted a bike/truck safety event Downtown, which, if lots of people were to participate in it with a genuine interest in learning about how to safely travel the streets together, could be an excellent idea.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adron May 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

    A lot of mentions of a “distribution facility, a large one” needs to be somewhere outside of the city to distribute things to downtown.

    The city has several of these, they’re called “rail yards” where they organize and slot the freight trains. They used to provide all the downtown delivery of materials in box cars, that rolled on the rails in the street, it was absurdly simple. Then really small trucks (and at one time, buckboards and small carriages) transported the materials from the end points just north of downtown (what is now the Pearl) from Brooklyn Yard (over where TriMet’s headquarters/big bus barn off of Powell is) and a few other places.

    This system cost zero tax money, provided delivery, was safer than what we have now, and provides a perfect example to work from for something today. Of course, we don’t deliver small and high value item freight with trains today – they’re mostly used for commoditized bulk cargo – but the idea is there for safer delivery.

    Shorter trucks, appropriately placed distribution facilities, even delivery in off hours using the tracks that are no available are all options. Europe also provides a LOT of great examples, as does Japan, on great ways to do it without having people die so we all can get our latest bike sprocket or Apple laptop.

    Glad this conversation has been re-ignited, but I think a little more education about safety isn’t the key, the key is to redesign so that things work better (not that education would hurt though).

    Cheers…

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • mle May 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Because no one seems to have posted them up yet – here is what they are doing in Europe – for years:

    City Cargo: (take that Street Car!)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op7rF7DeXt4&feature=related

    and CargoHopper – electric vehicles in Utrecht, run by a traditional frieght company.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRqKOztzLDs&feature=youtu.be

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Paul Souders May 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Scott: “…they would not have their drivers working from super tight and barely attainable schedules…”

    Ventura: “Most long-haul truck drivers are paid by the mile. This means that waiting for a safer opportunity to turn, or slowing down for speed limits or weather conditions, reduces the drivers’ effective hourly wage.”

    Bingo. Imagine having a job that forces you to balance safety against feeding your kids. This is a fundamental economic flaw that special bumpers, lane designs, or length limits will only affect at the margins.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Unpleasant side effect of banning large trucks driven by class A trained drivers:
    Any ***deleted by moderator – I don’t like the word “idiot”*** can drive a 26′ Ryder rental van around town having passed the same class C (normal) driving test. This van driver has no guarantee of being the least bit skilled, in fact this sort of job was on of my first when I shouldn’t have been driving ANY automobile.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      I keep asking for general BP comment guidelines to keep from honking you off.
      This at least was something rather than being mysteriously deleted.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Guy Blessinger May 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Here is the problem with a designated lane for bikes. Consider that removed, bikes would not zip past a large vehicle turning right. Inconvenient of course but much safer. The law that states the bike lane has the right of way does not save anyone’s life. You should ride with traffic in the same lane, occupy a space the same as a car, and obey the stop lights and every traffic law that applies to cars. Providing a bike lane on the right is providing a place to die. And please remember, the roads and their repairs are funded by fuel taxes. Roads are shared and a few seconds lost braking for safety are a few seconds well spent.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Steve B May 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I really appreciate Corky Collier’s thoughtful sentiments here. He’s open minded, he’s ready to talk and he’s being fair that both drivers and cyclists are affected by safety issues.

    Considering that more advanced cities like Amsterdam are just getting started on using alternatives to delivery trucks, I think we are quite a ways from banning large trucks from the inner city. Also important to remember buses, streetcars and max trains also pose serious dangers to pedestrians and cyclists alike. Better design and training will help prevent future tragedies.

    I’m looking forward to working with truck drivers and freight advocates to continue to build mutual respect and a sense of looking out for each other on the road.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Norco18 May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Would it be possible to provide/require truck drivers use a safe route. One that avoids a right hook situation? Maybe with the use of GPS?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jeff Dubrule May 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Perhaps, for long trucks where imminent right-turns are not obvious, requiring an LED strip that goes the length of the trailer & signaled the turn would make sure nobody could miss it.

    Most times, there’s just a (muddy) red light at the back, which doesn’t help you if you’re past it already.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ted Buehler May 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    wsbob (May 24, 2012 at 11:45 am) wrote:
    “…If the driver had followed these directives, he would have seen the bicyclist and stopped before making a right turn. …” Ted Buehler

    Not necessarily so, as I’ve mentioned in comments to earlier stories on this collision. I don’t want to go into speculations and scenarios here, but I think the causes of this collision may be far more complicated than some people are wont to think. Waiting for reports on results from official investigations would be wise before making pronouncements.

    ****************

    wsbob —

    I think I’m correct on this one.

    If the truck driver would have checked his blind spots as directed in the Oregon Driver Manual, then he wouldn’t have violated the bicyclist’s right of way.

    Now, you may be able to make the case that the conditions at Madison and 3rd at 5pm are so “busy” that it is “impossible” for one driver to thoroughly check the four places he is directed to check in the Oregon Drivers Manual and not sit around blocking traffic, thereby causing more overtaking traffic and making it impossible for him to proceed at all.

    Regardless, my opinion, hands down, is that if a driver is unable to follow the directives in the Oregon Drivers Manual, then they need to stop until they can ascertain that it is safe to proceed. That’s the way the rules of the road are set up — “I didn’t see you” is an admission of guilt. It’s not “whoever is biggest and blindest is awarded the right of way.”

    If the case here was that at that intersection, at that time of day, it was impossible for this driver to adhere to ODOT’s driving instructions, and the driver chose expediency over safety, then it’s a matter for future discussion — how much do we value safety, how much do we value expediency. If it’s impossible for a driver to adhere to the requirements for a safe turn, do we weaken the requirements, and endanger all users? Or do we modify the time and space in which large vehicles are allowed to operate? Or modify the size of vehicles we allow to operate? Or change the infrastructure? Or do nothing and and let people get killed?

    That’s how I see it. If the driver had followed the directives, he would have waited until he could ascertain that it was clear in the bike lane, the crosswalk, and the cross street before proceeding. By not doing this, he knowingly jeapordized the lives of others.

    Next time a truck turns without checking all required conflict points, maybe it will be your neighbor or co-worker it hits? Would you still be keen on absolving the driver of failing to conform to a black-and-white directive in the Drivers Manual?

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Ted Buehler May 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      BTW, there may be material in the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual that gives directives to truck drivers with regards to how to deal with congested urban settings. If anyone wants to look, here is the link.
      http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/36.pdf

      We can discuss “shoulds” and “could haves” and its an important step in :thinking outside of the box”, but it’s also empowering to familiarize yourself with the existing rules for driving a truck, and then express your opinion in reference to the rules. Was the driver following the directives? Was the bicyclist following the directives? And which of these directives would you like to change.

      (I admit I “cherry picked” out the sections I quoted, without reviewing the entire document).

      Also, for the record, the Oregon Bicycle Manual recommends not passing cars on the right at intersections, even though it acknowledges that bicycles have the right of way. This directive is in conflict with the directive given to drivers, as it creates a “stalement” condition, where the driver is not allowed to proceed because of a bicycle that may or may not be moving, and the bicycle is not advised to proceed until the truck completes the turn.

      http://www.activerightofway.org/p/odots-oregon-bicyclist-manual/
      http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_manual.pdf?ga=t

      FWIW

      Ted Buehler

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • wsbob May 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      “…Would you still be keen on absolving the driver of failing to conform to a black-and-white directive in the Drivers Manual? …” Ted Buehler

      Now hold on just a minute: “…keen on absolving the driver …?” No. That’s not my objective in questioning conclusions various people are inclined to draw about how this collision occurred. I want to know more about what happened leading up to this collision and to the collision itself beyond the simple glaring fact that a guy’s truck and trailer rolled over someone on a bike. If they become available to the public, I’ll be looking to read investigators reports about the collision.

      I don’t know how this collision occurred, and I doubt any but a very few reading here do, if that. I believe a number of possible scenarios need to be considered. I’m saying, do not be rash to draw conclusions that will not necessarily help avoid similar traffic situations in future.

      q`Tzal’s comment here, is worth reading. http://bikeportland.org/2012/05/23/a-freight-advocates-perspective-on-recent-fatal-collision-72177#comment-2933026

      I do appreciate though, that you’ve stuck with to thinking about this collision and trying to understand how it happened.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • q`Tzal May 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      I agree that you are right about the law regarding the responsibilities of truck (ALL) drivers in any lane change or turn maneuver. Like the abysmal basic legal requirements for lighting a bicycle the minimal required mirrors for tractor-trailers are insufficient to fully comply with that law.

      What I’d like to point out is that we; cyclists, pedestrians and even small automobiles; are at the mercy of larger comercial interests that would have to spend a significantly larger portion of money on new tractor-trailer setups to make it so that every driver has full 360 awareness at all times. There are simply too many blindspots and it isn’t consistent from truck to truck.
      Compounding this is the fact that most tractor trailers are independent operators who own their physical truck and don’t have a large corporate purse to pay for safety upgrades to old equipment. This will all likely be grandfathered in to any new law.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Ted Buehler May 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

        Good points, in re-reading my post it comes off pretty “rant-y”, sorry ’bout that, I wrote it in a hurry.

        It’s an interesting conundrum, I hope we discuss it more under more favorable circumstance.

        Ted Buehler

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • wsbob May 25, 2012 at 1:23 am

          Many people are unavoidably tormented by occurrences like this one, and understandably, they want answers….like now… . As a result, some of them, without being prepared to engage in prolonged thinking required to analyze lots of information and material necessary to figure things out, may be inclined to draw conclusions and approve measures that doesn’t arrive at an effective remedy.

          q`Tzal’s detailed explanations of some of the obstacles people driving box trucks and truck-trailers have to deal with, offer valuable insight to people interested in knowing more about this: In addition to the earlier link I posted, here’s another for later posts: http://bikeportland.org/2012/05/23/a-freight-advocates-perspective-on-recent-fatal-collision-72177#comment-2934565

          q`Tzal…very important point about how, when viewed in convex mirrors, people on bikes appear very small and easily ‘disappear’ from view. I notice this even on my pickup’s small passenger side mirror that’s slightly convex.

          “…Also, for the record, the Oregon Bicycle Manual recommends not passing cars on the right at intersections, even though it acknowledges that bicycles have the right of way. This directive is in conflict with the directive given to drivers, as it creates a “stalement” condition, where the driver is not allowed to proceed because of a bicycle that may or may not be moving, and the bicycle is not advised to proceed until the truck completes the turn. …” Ted Buehler

          The above excerpt from one of your more recent comments raises important points, ones that give way to speculation about just how the collision occurred. But more important for the present is probably the question of the conflict you point out the two manuals give their respective road users.

          Education about what the manuals say is an important part of helping to avoid the conflict. People driving big rigs get education regarding how to drive in traffic, from the Oregon Commercial Driver’s Manual. How many people deciding to take a bike on the road into traffic, are not likely to get critically needed education about how to ride in traffic, from either the Oregon Bicycle Manual, the Oregon Driver’s Manual, or anywhere else except for ‘seat o’ the pants’ learning? I couldn’t put a number on it, but I’d guess, many. That can be a serious problem.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q`Tzal May 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

          Oh. That was rant-y?
          I guess my perspective is skewed by too many tin foil hat wearin` conspiracy devotees in my extended family :)

          I shall endeavour to de-rant as well.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • BURR May 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

        those commercial interests are already being required by the feds to replace their older diesel trucks with new cleaner burning diesels, too bad the feds didn’t mandate additional safety requirements at the same time…

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q`Tzal May 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm

          Seems the next clean engine shift is going to be from diesel to natural gas.
          Both CNG and LNG are much cheaper, cleaner and domestic production insulates our economy from “oil shock contraction”. We saw in small part in 2005 as the cost of fuel caused the beginnings of the 2008 home mortgage collapse when super commuters budgets forced them to continue to pay for fuel while the defaulted on distant rural mortgages.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Opus the Poet May 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    OK I think I need to include links to make my admittidly visual point.

    Conventional cab truck: http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201204/2010-kenworth-t700-16_600x0w.jpg

    Flat-front truck: http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/2062/PreviewComp/SuperStock_2062-559220.jpg

    As they are required to be in Japan for urban delivery: http://www.japanese-trucks.com/galleries/data/media/4/2003_Mitsubishi_Fuso_Fighter_Flat_Truck_FK71H_3.jpg

    And i realize this post will be delayed because it has more than one link, that’s life folks and I’m willing to go with the rules.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • She May 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Does anyone else have a problem with Corky’s statement about being “in a bike lane passing a vehicle going faster than them”, is that possible, I think by definition of “faster than” it is NOT. It also seems a statement that lays blame on the cyclist. I agree ALWAYS ride with caution, however it feels like a statement to indicate that someone who gets right hooked is improperly “educated” on how to bike safely in the city.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • El Biciclero May 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

      I think he is emphasizing the description of a cyclist overtaking other vehicles–restating it two different ways–rather than describing the vehicle being passed. What the punctuation indicates to me is that he is saying “…if you are passing a vehicle, you know, going faster than it is…”

      All he means is that if you are riding in a bike lane and you start overtaking a vehicle, ask yourself what conditions are allowing you to go faster than it is? Is traffic backed up ahead so they can’t go any faster? Is there a red light ahead? Are you going downhill and speeding while auto traffic maintains the speed limit (ha!)? Or have they slowed down to prepare for a right turn?

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Michael May 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I know this is a few days late, but now that this thread has lost steam, I’m a little curious: has Corky read these comments? I want to believe at face value his desire to engage in open dialogue, so now that many have aired their views, I think it would be of interest to hear his response to the various issues that have been brought up. Is this something that can be facilitated via bikeportland? Thanks.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Corky Collier June 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      I’ve read them, twice. And I’m humbled by the intellectual level of conversation. Thank you.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Chris May 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Here’s a solution: have some streets downtown be bike/pedestrian only. Like,say, Park Blocks. OR, only allow trucks on certain streets downtown that don’t have bike lanes.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Ethan September 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I am pleased to hear his calls for a fair and comprehensive discussion. However, I believe that urban cores in other places with high biking/walking mode splits do indeed limit delivery vehicle size. I believe there is a city in Europe that even goes so far as to use special cargo streetcars to shuttle freight into downtown. B-Line and Trailhead both deliver to the same type of businesses that QCD (operator of the truck in this collision) does. It may be true that dividing this truck’s cargo of paper cups and napkins into 3 smaller delivery trucks triples the number of intersection passages, increases emissions, and costs more. But seriously, if you put that same light cargo in 7 B-Line trikes . . . is anyone likely to be killed by one of those, are emissions not drastically reduced? Doesn’t a theoretically more expensive cup of coffee worth buying if delivered by a healthier driver/rider who brings no air pollution, noise or tragedy in their wake?

    I say a full hearing of “freight” can be broader than bigger or smaller trucks.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bjorn September 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    If size isn’t important why not start only allowing truck trains that are 6 trailers long downtown, fewer trucks is safer right? I don’t see a lot of dodge sprinters killing people downtown and I don’t see how he can claim to know that if that truck were replaced by a sprinter, or even 2 sprinters that the death would not have been prevented. I think it is far less likely that a person will end up under the tires of a sprinter than a tractor trailer in a right hook collision. When I saw get the semi-s out of downtown I mean all the semis not just the really long ones.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

- Daily bike news since 2005 -
BikePortland.org is a production of
PedalTown Media Inc.
321 SW 4th Ave, Ste. 401
Portland, OR 97204

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Clemens Orth.
Subscribe to RSS feed


Original images and content owned by Pedaltown Media, Inc. - Not to be used without permission.