Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 8th, 2012 at 11:00 am
"It took losing a couple of teeth for me to definitively decide to ride a different route."
— Karl Zickrick, victim of the Broadway/Flint intersection
Given the media attention around Wednesday's nasty collision on N Broadway between Flint and Wheeler, I thought it'd be worthwhile to highlight the words of the man whose body shattered the window of the SUV.
Karl Zickrick left a comment late last night just after he returned from the hospital. Below is what Karl says about how the incident happened and about his ongoing safety concerns for that intersection (emphasis mine): (After sharing Karl's comment, I too share some opinions about that intersection and about safety in general.)
"Hi- I am the rider from this crash. I just arrived home from the hospital, and It looks like fortunately will only have scars and a couple missing teeth to show for it (and unfortunately my bike frame is destroyed). As mentioned by a couple people, I ride this route 5 days a week to get to work and have become accustomed to vehicles who do not yield at this intersection. On this particular trip I was indeed traveling in the bike lane and noticed a car beginning to turn in front of me, so as I have had to do many times at this intersection I made the judgement call to swerve around the turning vehicle rather than t-Boning it, only to have him apparently notice me at the last minutes and slam on his brakes (though the last few moments are lost). I can't speak to the evidence as seen by the police, as I only know and trust my intuition when biking around cars, and know that it has saved me from ever previously having a serious accident in the last 13 or so years of biking in cities.
I also agree that this particular intersection is one of the worst I have faced in Portland. The absolute worst was the Broadway/ I-5 on-ramp [at Williams Ave] before they added the bike signal; but this next section of Broadway has really taken the cake since then. Live and learn I suppose, but it took losing a couple of teeth for me to definitively decide to ride a different route downtown in the mornings until this intersection is adjusted.
Thanks to all that offered their sympathies, and thanks to my job for the health coverage."
Thanks to Karl for speaking out about what happened. Planners, politicians, and agency staffers can learn a lot from listening to victims of unsafe streets.
Speaking of learning... I have heard from way too many people over the years who have had to sacrifice — either themselves or someone they loved — in order to force agencies to make basic safety changes to our roads.
Look around Portland. Many of the safety improvements that have been made in the past several years — bike boxes, bike signals, signage, pavement markings — are there only because people either died or were seriously hurt and there was public pressure for the City to act.
Like Karl, I often hear about people who adjust their biking route because they are afraid to bike on certain streets. It's one thing to not ride on major arterials; but this is Broadway. This is an extremely important street in our transportation network and it serves many different types of vehicles. Unfortunately, if your vehicle is a bicycle, you are forced to either deal with several very tricky and dangerous intersections or choose another route.
I rarely hear of someone adjusting their driving route because they fear for their safety.
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