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Bicycle rider hospitalized after northeast Portland collision

Posted by on December 19th, 2013 at 11:13 am

View northbound on Mallory at Skidmore.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Just before 9:00 pm last night a person riding a bicycle was involved in a collision in northeast Portland that resulted in what the Portland Police Bureau say are “non-life-threatening” injuries.

The bicycle rider (we’re awaiting confirmation of the gender) was taken to a local hospital for treatment. An early news alert about the collision stated that the person on the bicycle was knocked unconscious.

According to police, the collision took place at the intersection of NE Mallory and NE Skidmore. In a statement, the PPB say their preliminary investigation shows that the person in the car was driving eastbound on Skidmore “and struck the bicyclist” who was heading northbound on Mallory while attempting to cross Skidmore. The PPB statement also stated that, “There is a stop sign on Mallory at Skidmore.” Despite mentioning the stop sign, we haven’t yet heard if the PPB suspect that the person riding the bike failed to stop prior to the collision.

Eastbound on Skidmore with Mallory in the distance.

The driver isn’t suspected of being under the influence of intoxicants and no citations have been issued at this time.

In this location, NE Skidmore is a neighborhood collector street with a speed limit of 25 mph. It’s a two-way street with one standard travel lane and on-street auto parking on both sides. Mallory is a residential street just one block west of the main neighborhood arterial, NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

We’re awaiting more information from the PPB about this collision and will update this story when we hear back.

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  • grumpcyclist December 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    “Despite mentioning the stop sign, we haven’t yet heard if the PPB suspect that the person riding the bike failed to stop prior to the collision.”

    Do the math. The car was traveling eastbound on Skidmore (which doesn’t have the stop sign), the bike was traveling northbound on Mallory (which does have the stop sign). in order for the car to hit the bike the bike would either a) have to be stopped in the center of the intersection until a car came along and plowed into them (unlikely) or b) blown the stop sign and got hit by the car that had the right of way.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for encouraging me to brush up my math. I hear what you’re saying. I just found it odd to include that information in the statement without any other clarifying information.

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      • rainbike December 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

        Why is that odd? It’s a physical fact of the scene, like the street name. I’m not at all surprised that it went into the report. Clarifying information comes as the investigation unfolds, but the stop sign will always be there.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 11:46 am

          It’s odd because the context of that sentence makes it seem like the person on the bike did something wrong when there isn’t any clear evidence (at least not publicly known) that that’s the case. Therefore, local media who read this statement and report it verbatim will have readers that will immediately jump to the conclusion that the person on the bike was at fault because they ran a red light.

          There are lots of facts that could have been included. But they weren’t. The PPB could have also stated: “The speed limit at this location is 25 mph.” Or they could have said. “It was dark and visibility was low when this collision occured.”

          This is another reason why I’ve advocated that PPB traffic collision statements follow a bare-bones template and don’t release any extended information beyond absolute basics until a full investigation is completed and all the reports are read by the PIO.

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          • rainbike December 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

            Interesting idea about bare-bones template statements. I think that I understand your point. At any rate, I wish the cyclist a speedy recovery (regardless of the outcome of the investigation).

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          • Carl December 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

            From ORS 811.260: “After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.” I don’t know what happened here but if the person on a bike had a stop sign and the person driving didn’t it doesn’t particularly matter whether the rider stopped or not. It’s pretty clear that the car constituted an immediate hazard and the rider failed to yield. The stop sign seems like a pertinent detail.

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          • Sho December 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm

            Even if the cyclist did not run the stop sign they are still at fault since they would need to stay stopped until the coast is clear. Sounds like it is quite obvious it was the cyclist’s fault say unless the car swerved into them or something of that sort.
            How is stating there is a stop sign not following bare bones reporting? That should be included no matter, it shows which street yeilds to the other. Why don’t you start looking at the bare bone facts Maus, instead trying to twist it into the cyclist is always right no matter? You are doing a disservice to helping us cyclists receive more transportation respect if you are looking at situations one-sided and unfairly.

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          • Aaronf December 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm

            On the other hand, PPB could have been even more bare-bones by reporting a headline like “Collision involving Cyclist and Vehicle in Northeast Pdx neighborhood.” I mean, someone who just reads the headline might assume the driver was at fault. The stop sign detail is “buried” in the press release. So I call the bias, or potential bias, in this one to be a mixed bag at best.

            More importantly, how has PPB responded to your advocacy re: how they ought to write reports?

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

              They’ve responded well in the past. Years back, in the dark days of fall 2007 when we had a spate of serious injury and fatal collisions, I had meetings with the PIO at the time and I pitched him my idea. He was receptive. I also got good feedback from other PPB staffers on this idea over the years. The big problem at the PPB traffic division is that there is so much turnover that I build relationships with one officer, then they leave and i have to start all over again.

              Perhaps the more effective way for me to approach this through Mayor Hales’ office (he’s in charge of police). I should present it to them and see if they can move it forward. I still think it has merit and it would help with civic dialogue and police communications/relations.

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              • Aaronf December 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

                Good. I think the antidote to turnover would be a modification of the internal policies and procedures regarding reports. So, whatever level that happens on might be worth investigating. I bet you’re right that the Mayor’s office would be a good start. but even if they agree with you, if they just send out a memo, everyone will forget in 6 months, and you will be reminding them again. Lol

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              • Sho December 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm

                Why should they listen to you if everything you say is bias showing you are only there to support one party even when they are in the wrong instead of you simply taking a step back and assessing the situation as a whole? I dont want you trying to represent the bicycling community in which i am part of if you are unable to do that.

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                • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

                  Sho,

                  I am not “only there to support one party.” That’s your opinion; but I disagree and I feel my actions/words over the years prove that. And why would they listen to me? Maybe because many at PPB know me and trust me and know that I have a tricky job to balance and that I am honestly doing the best I can and am committed to progress — not to modal warfare.

                  Do I have a personal bias toward bicycling? Yes. We all have biases, the important thing is that I am aware of mine and I consciously try to keep an open mind and make sure my bias doesn’t cloud my decision-making to a detrimental degree.

                  And most importantly, I don’t “try to represent the bicycling community.” I represent myself and I have a perspective on this stuff formed from over 8 years of thinking about it and listening to people — including you — on all sides of the issues.

                  Thanks for the comment.

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            • rainbike December 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

              Watch for the new template language: “The cyclist neither confirmed nor denied that he had just blown a stop sign”.

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          • wsbob December 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

            “It’s odd because the context of that sentence makes it seem like the person on the bike did something wrong when there isn’t any clear evidence (at least not publicly known) that that’s the case. …” maus/bikeportland

            Not “…did…”, but ‘…may have done…’ something wrong.

            With regards to any collision before the details are all in, people naturally will wonder as to the causes, and whether human error was at fault. That they wonder about the causes does not mean they all jump to conclusions based rather simply on differences in mode of transportation being used.

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          • esther c December 22, 2013 at 11:55 am

            Its not the reporting that makes the cyclist seem to be at fault. Its the facts of what occurred.

            A cyclist was injured at an intersection where the car had the right of way and the cyclist didn’t.

            Those are the facts as reported. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but there is only one set of facts.

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            • John Lascurettes December 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

              Facts that are unknown from this report:
              - was this pre-dawn and did were the headlights on on the car?
              - did by bicycle have an operating front light?
              - was the car speeding?

              These are just a tiny sampling of other things that could affect fault in this case. You don’t have all the facts, don’t presume you know who’s at at fault.

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      • paikikala December 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

        Description of the existing traffic control should be part of any crash report.

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    • rain panther December 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

      or C) The driver of car was going excessively fast.
      or, come to think of it… D) The driver of the car had just pulled out of a parking space or driveway.

      And I’m sure there are even more possibilities that I’m missing. The point is, the math is not necessarily as simple as you’re making it out to be. There are lots of variables at work when it comes to real-life traffic interactions.

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      • davemess December 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        What about the possibility that the driver said that to cover their butt and in reality the cyclist was riding Skidmore and they were rear-ended by the car? Were the other witnesses?

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        • Adron @ Transit Sleuth December 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

          Valid point. The cyclist wasn’t conscious. The motorist could easily have just made up anything. People in wrecks do that all the time.

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          • davemess December 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm

            To me that almost seems more plausible than a cyclist knowingly riding out in front of a car that has no stop sign.

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            • Aaronf December 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm

              I disagree. Cyclists running stop signs aren’t that uncommon, and Skidmore has low enough traffic that it could be tempting to run the stop.

              When was the last time a driver was convicted of dragging an unconscious victim around to manipulate a collision investigation? That seems like a big, pointless risk for a driver to make when all they would have to say is “I didn’t see that cyclist.”

              So how do you come to your conclusion?

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              • davemess December 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

                unfortunately neither is it that uncommon for motorists to lie about a one on one collision with a bike. And when they’re the only one conscious who do you think the police are going to believe?

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                • 9watts December 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

                  “unfortunately neither is it that uncommon for motorists to lie about a one on one collision with a bike”

                  I remember the time–I think it was on Barbur a few years back–when a woman in an SUV turned and ran into someone biking. Police came; believed the woman’s story. Bike guy goes home, and only then remembers that he had a GPS thingy on his bike that was recording his position or some other relevant details immediately leading up to the crash. He goes back to the police with that info, and – lo and behold – the woman had lied.

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              • davemess December 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

                You wouldn’t have to drag a victim at all. In either scenario the victim still hits the front of your car. You could maybe tell by damage to the bike, but I doubt PPB is getting their best forensics pros on that.

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              • davemess December 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm

                I come to my conclusion by the fact that the vast majority of people value their lives, and usually won’t pull out directly in front of an oncoming car. Sure there may have been other circumstances as postulated on here already (bike crash in the intersection, broken equipment, car pulling out too soon), but I don’t know why you would dismiss the driver in a car/bike collision fibbing about who was at fault?

                (sorry for the multiple posts)

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                • Aaronf December 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm

                  So you think it’s just as likely that the 1) car overtook the cyclist from behind exactly at the intersection, as it is that 2) a cyclist ran a stop sign and didn’t hear a 25mph car coming in time to correct? or 3) the cyclist had a malfunction in the middle of the road?

                  I’d strongly favor 2) or 3) because they don’t require a pretty unlikely coincidence (overtaking right in the middle of an intersection) and because, I believe, more accidents occur at intersections than in on straight roads.

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                • davemess December 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

                  Coincidence? Portland has really short blocks: a decent percentage of our streets have intersections in them.

                  i am almost more likely to believe that scenario than the cyclist deliberately rode into the car’s path (it’s so much easier to see a car at night with their headlights). But sure there’s the chance that the cyclist just blew the stop sign and didn’t look for the lights (the would have likely seen them out of their peripheral vision). I just don’t see that happen that often (a cyclist blowing a stop sign without even looking at the cross street) (even at Ladd’s circle which is notorious for stop sign-running, people almost always still look for cross traffic.)

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            • Pete December 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

              What’s the plausibility of the bicyclist thinking the car had a stop sign so proceeded across the intersection believing that they were seen and had the right of way? If the driver was doing the speed limit (or lower), than it could have appeared they were going to stop. It was dark, after all, and stop signs are not well illuminated on their own.

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              • davemess December 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

                Definitely sounds plausible.

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        • James Sherbondy December 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

          Doubtful.The injuries and damage to the bike will tell a story, even if the rider can’t. And secondly, I doubt the driver would be willing to take the gamble of the person not remembering what happened.

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          • davemess December 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm

            He said/She said and in the US the person driving the car is usually the one they believe. I would bet that many drivers would take this tact (it’s right up there with “they came out of nowhere” and “I didn’t see them”).

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          • 9watts December 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

            “I doubt the driver would be willing to take the gamble of the person not remembering what happened.”

            Good one.
            What do you think hit and runs are all about? Gambles that they’ll get away with it. And guess what? They almost always do!

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        • middle of the road guy December 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

          What about the possibility that a UFO picked up the cyclist with a tractor beam and dropped him/her in front of the car?

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    • Nik December 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

      I found Jonathan’s writeup very evenhanded and fair to all parties involved given the general lack of conclusive information available at this time.

      Your “math” omits several valid possibilities, and we can’t really jump to conclusions or rely on imagined likelihoods to come to the fact, because reality is much more complicated than our imaginations. I have no more information than anybody else about this incident, but here are some more possibilities:

      c) the car was traveling well over the speed limit, causing the cyclist to misjudge the time s/he had to safely cross.
      d) the car’s headlights were off, making it hard to see the car.
      e) the cyclist lost traction on a slippery surface, or his/her foot fell off the pedal when trying to start from the stop and wobbled out into the intersection much more slowly than intended.

      Most of the likely scenarios suggest that the cyclist failed to yield the right of way, but we don’t know that yet, or what other mitigating factors outside of the cyclists control may have contributed. It’s unfair to ask Jonathan to jump to conclusions and smear anybody involved in the collision when even basic facts still remain unknown.

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    • JV December 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      While it is speculative, this is statistically the most likely scenario- failure to yield to cross traffic at a stop sign. Depending on the exact conditions, it could have also been slippery/icy, as it was in parts last night and this morning. But it is unfortunate, especially considering the name of the street – Skidmore. Glad to hear that the injuries are not life-threatening.

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    • are December 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      the photos accompanying the article do not show this, but visibility for a northbound cyclist at that corner is horrible because the city allows people to park right up to the corner on eastbound skidmore.

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      • esther c December 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

        visibility at just about every street corner in Portland is atrocious because of this. I fail to understand why Portland does not require setbacks from corners for parking. It is impossible to not pull out into the bike lane, past the sidewalk to see if traffic is clear in many locations.

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  • SJE December 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

    If the cyclist is seriously injured, it suggests that the car was speeding.

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    • tony tapay December 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      25mph hurts.

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    • Sho December 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Not really, you have 2000+lbs traveiling at 25mph against 200+lbs possibly standing still. You saying you feel safe being in front of a car traveling at 25 hitting you to where you will be all good? I take it you never passed physics in school? It also doesnt state the cyclist was seriously injured, moreso the opposite with non-life threatening injuries.

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    • Pete December 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      I broke my collarbone and disfigured my right hand in a <10 MPH skid on a bicycle. Another time I had to get several stitches when my non-drive-side crank sheared while I was starting out in traffic from a red light. (As an aside, I'm now engaged to the ER nurse at the local hospital… ;).

      I think you're off base suggesting this without actually having been there to witness the collision. Heck, it may have even been an accident!

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      • spare_wheel December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

        and i’ve hit the ground at 25+ multiple times and continued biking with only minor road rash. anecdotes do not make a rule.

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        • Pete December 22, 2013 at 8:26 am

          My point is you can’t judge the driver’s speed by the bicyclist’s injuries; both my anecdotes and yours support that.

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  • Dave W December 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

    “The driver isn’t suspected of being under the influence of intoxicants and no citations have been issued at this time.”

    Is the cyclist suspected of being under the influence of intoxicants? Why would there be a mention of the driver of the auto being suspected of being under the influence and not the cyclist? Just asking…

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Good question Dave W. See my comment above about why I have thought for years that PPB statements should follow a set template with only a very basic set of facts.

      But to answer your question… The reason they include that sentence is because such a high number of collisions involve DUI (which is also why they include “driver remained at the scene” because there are so many hit-runs) that the media will always ask about it. Same thing with citations. They include that because we all ask about it.

      But I see your point.

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      • Dave W December 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

        Thank you Jonathan for the prompt reply. Thanks for all your work on this site.

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    • esther c December 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Because even if the driver clearly had the right of way, if he was under the influence of intoxicants he would be charged. The law assumes that if you’re intoxicated you may not be able to avoid an accident that you might have otherwise been able to avoid.

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  • Dave W December 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Sorry, let me rephrase the second question-Why would there be a mention of the driver of the auto either being suspected or NOT being suspected of being under the influence and not the cyclist?

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  • Todd Hudson December 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I have a great idea! Let’s wait for the actual details to come out before parsing the the context of the article and complaining about obeying/not obeying traffic signals.

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    • davemess December 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      No joke! Jonathan I do wonder if it might be better for you to wait on publishing some of these stories until there are more details. Might prevent all the assuming conclusions that are posted in the comments so frequently.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        Thanks for the suggestion davemess and I see the value in that. One big reason I post these quickly is because often the post will bring possible witnesses to the forefront who can tell us more about what happened. Also, many times — especially when there isn’t a life-threatening injury or fatality — there aren’t further details released unless I request the police report or do a lot of leg-work to get it.

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        • davemess December 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

          Thanks for the reply. In some cases that has worked great in the past (ie. the Barbur hit and run earlier this year), so I see the validity in that.

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    • 9watts December 21, 2013 at 9:13 am

      now that wouldn’t be any fun at all.

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  • q`Tzal December 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Wow
    Did the police statement leave out the helmet bais blaming tradition or was that edited out just for this blog post?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      they didn’t mention helmets. I just added a link to their full statement. Check it out here http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=4649&ec=1

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      • q`Tzal December 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        Again, just wow

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      • Sho December 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        Seems like a straight forward report without added bias or assumptions.

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        • Bill Walters December 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

          Actually, no; the stop-sign info is conspicuous. To see that, you need only invest a few moments in reading some other collision reports on that same PPB feed. The ones I read lacked description of traffic controls in the vicinity.

          Really what you’re admitting is that the report’s bias and assumptions closely align with your own.

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          • Sho December 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

            No and in those other reports they should be adding in that information. It may be a bias of them not adding the info, but adding it should always be done. Adding straight forward info and necessary facts wouldn’t be the bias. With ones they have not added such info that could be perceived as bias.

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      • are December 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

        does not mention whether the car’s headlights were on

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  • Dwaine Dibbly December 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Was the automobile wearing brightly colored clothing?

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    • Alan 1.0 December 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Was it arrogant?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Hi everyone.

    Just to clarify, I have never said the PPB is biased or doing anything malicious or wrong in this statement. I merely pointed out that I was curious why they included the fact about the stop sign. That’s it.

    This is a good discussion, I just know that whenever I bring things up for debate and share certain thoughts, some people immediately think I’m pushing some pro-bike agenda at all costs and that I think “the other” side is some big bad hairy villain. That’s not the case at all, I simply like thinking about these things and I reach out to the community to enlighten me and help me understand them better.

    thanks

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    • rainbike December 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      I think that you have a very good point that the language in preliminary statements is less, uh, policed than the language in final reports. And unfortunately, loco news media don’t wait for the final reports. They take the preliminaries and tee them up for the viewer. It does matter which facts and observations are included or excluded. It seems that less might be better, as another poster said. Thanks for making me think.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

        rainbike,

        and what I think is really messed up is that most local news outlets simply post the PPB statements verbatim but they don’t make it clear that’s what they’re doing. So, the public is reading statements from a PPB staffer who’s operating w/ their own internal bias (which we all have) and with very scant preliminary information. Then the public makes their decisions about the cases based on these tiny news “reports” and the narrative is set. 99% of the time the news outlet won’t follow up with more information or do any further original reporting.

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    • q`Tzal December 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Now you know how god feels ;P

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    • Sho December 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      You should reread your own comments on here in that case and its interesting yours are receiving the fewest “likes”. If you really think not mentioning a stop sign is the best way to go in a traffic incident you have an issue, its a standard traffic control device that all vehicles are to obey by. If there was no stop sign here then the situation is completely different right off the bat.

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      • Bill Walters December 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

        Then why doesn’t PPB include such information routinely? (If you take a moment to read similar items on PPB’s feed, you will see the absence of such info.) Why include it only when someone on a bike will be impugned, and not someone in a car — even when that someone in a car took a life?

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        • Sho December 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm

          They should always include it. Are you stating you are for them never including such info? They need to step up their game on the reports such critical facts are not implemented.

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  • Opus the Poet December 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    There is a way the cyclist did not run the stop and still got hit, and it was even mentioned up-thread. The cyclist could have pulled out when it was clear and then had a one-vehicle wreck (for a number of reasons) in the intersection and not recovered before the motor vehicle arrived on the scene. Back when I was younger (and poorer) I had a problem of breaking pedal axles at the point the wrench flats necked down to the part that went inside the pedal body. I used to have this habit of not downshifting when I would hit a short incline and instead use the handlebars to keep connected to the bike while putting out a tremendous amount of pressure for a few seconds. I have broken several sets of (cheap) pedals and more than a few chains in the past before I figured out this was a Bad Idea (with capital letters). Just a reminder a strong rider can put out more torque than a big-block V8 ICE, just at a very low RPM.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

      A stock Iron Duke 2.5l 4-cyl puts out 123-135 lb·ft according to wikipedia. A 1970 LT1 350 small block had 380 lb·ft and the LS5 454 big block spec’d at 595 lb·ft. My bike has 185mm (7.25″) cranks and let’s say my foot can exert 250 pounds of downward force when I pull up hard on the handlebars. That’s ~151 lb-ft. Not that that can’t snap a (maybe worn?) pedal axle, but just sayin’… 600 lb·ft is just the beginning of a healthy bbICE, and pretty much beyond superman on bikes.

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      • Opus the Poet December 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

        Only 250 pounds of force? I said a strong rider, I used to be able to leg press 400 pounds with one leg. ;) The chart I was looking at listed the standard 454 at 290 ft-lbs of torque. The LS5 was a quasi race engine homologated for Super Stock drag racing.

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        • Alan 1.0 December 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

          I don’t claim to be a strong rider, for sure, but if two legs can press twice one leg, our heydays would be a match. One study (Eur J Appl Physiol) measured elite sprint cyclists at 266 Nm (196 lb·ft), so that’s still only two-thirds the torque of a hay-hauler rat.

          I thought of two other factors which might have contributed to your pedal mangling. Were you clipped in? That would contribute flex load in opposite directions, effectively bending the axle back and forth with obvious consequences.

          Were you on a ‘bent, then? That position, as with leg-lift weights, lets your hips oppose the thrust of your legs, far exceeding DF thrust dynamics.

          Anyway, yeah, you did open my eyes to the comparative torques of bike cranks and gas engines. I’m just happy I can hang with the Duke! :o) (it has a bigger gas tank, though)

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  • jim December 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    What difference does it make if he stopped or not?He still pulled out in front of a car. Stopping first still doesn’t give you that right.

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    • Pete December 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

      He (or she) likely didn’t pull out in front of the car on purpose, just like drivers tend not to hit bicyclists on purpose. (As I mentioned above, it was dark, and it’s possible the cyclist thought the driver also had a stop sign and was slowing to stop). That you’re blaming the bicyclist for the collision based solely on the description that there was a stop sign in their direction lends full credibility to Maus’ point.

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  • bikefrog December 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Sho said:

    “Even if the cyclist did not run the stop sign they are still at fault since they would need to stay stopped until the coast is clear.”

    Read ORS 811.260 again, the law doesn’t say the coast has to be clear. The biker may or may not be at fault here, we don’t know, although some suspect strongly they do know.

    Anyways, what I’ve found during this time of year in low light is that it’s easy to stop at a stop sign and misjudge the speed of cross traffic. If traffic is speeding, it makes it worse. I notice this while driving and biking.

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    • wsbob December 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

      “…Read ORS 811.260 again, the law doesn’t say the coast has to be clear. …” bikefrog

      bikefrog…the law you cite effectively says that before proceeding from a stop sign into and across an intersection, the intersection has to be sufficiently clear to avoid an immediate hazard:

      “…(15) Stop signs. A driver approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no marked crosswalk, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection. …” http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.260

      I suppose someone wanting to be picky, could say this particular law doesn’t mention estimation of intersection traffic speed as something to be factored into determining whether an ‘immediate hazard’ is posed by vehicles in or approaching the intersection. To what possible constructive end someone would want to make such a point, I’ll leave to someone else to try explain.

      Basic reality for anyone riding a bike in traffic amongst motor vehicles: Relative to the motor vehicle, the person on the bike is the vulnerable road user. Not very carefully estimating approaching traffic speed before deciding to pull out into an intersection, could be a traumatic, even fatal decision.

      Yes it’s true, as you say, that low light can contribute to people not adequately estimating speed of approaching traffic. Other factors besides low light enter into this. That this is so, is why it’s important to take the time afforded by having to stop at stop signs…and very carefully…look for and estimate speed of approaching traffic as a means of determining whether ‘the coast’ is sufficiently clear to allow getting across the intersection, etc, without incident.

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    • Sho December 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Yes it does, well okay you are correct the word for word is not “coast is clear” (granted that was a slight interpretation on my part). However, I strongly recommend you re-read that law and use some common sense when approaching intersections. You walking is a whole different story assuming you are in an unmarked/marked crosswalk. There are also certain attributes that could put the car at fault still – say for instance they stopped then sped up to cause an accident or were driving quite fast without headlights.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate December 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Skidmore between Interstate and MLK sucks. Plain and simple. This is a 25 mph residential street that feels like a damn freeway.

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  • Skid December 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I think it is quite conceivable that a bike could enter an intersection, thinking they had room to cross, and maybe be in too tall of a gear to start off, or just be slow accelerating, and end up the the path of an oncoming car. If the person in the car was speeding or just not paying attention they could hit that slow-moving cyclist.

    I know it’s a crazy concept, but sometimes you can have the right-of-way and still have to slow down for someone crossing in front of you.

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    • wsbob December 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Conceivable, sure…and also an excuse that attempts to relieve vulnerable road users’ responsibility to take extra care necessary to counter their vulnerability relative to the presence of motor vehicles on the road.

      Regardless of whoever is right or wrong in collisions between people in cars and people on bikes, if there’s injury or death occurring, it’s highly likely to be to people on bikes, rather than the reverse.

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  • wsbob December 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

    “What’s the plausibility of the bicyclist thinking the car had a stop sign so proceeded across the intersection believing that they were seen and had the right of way? …” Pete

    I would think, not so likely, given that Mallory, just 3 blocks east of the very busy Williams Ave, and two blocks west of the even busier MLK, is a cross-street to the east-west running Skidmore.

    Without visiting the location, I wouldn’t want to venture with certainty, but unless there’s something about the dynamics of Mallory that suggest it’s kind of a moderate thoroughfare on par with Skidmore…which it’s probably not; the stop sign at Mallory’s intersection with Skidmore suggests that Mallory is secondary to Skidmore.

    …generally, people traveling Mallory would likely tend to realize that Skidmore is a street set up to expedite the flow of traffic…let it travel at a more consistent speed with fewer interruptions…than Mallory may be (leading up to Skidmore, how frequently are the stop signs? Every block? Less?).

    Some people take streets like Mallory…possibly relatively low traveled, as opposed to Williams, because they don’t want to deal with the latter’s heavier traffic. That still leaves the challenge of safely crossing streets like Skidmore. For road users on either street, there’s lots of judgment involved, and lots of room for error. Be cautious…travel safe.

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    • wsbob December 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Posting timed out: comment is response to the one the following link leads to: http://bikeportland.org/2013/12/19/bicycle-rider-hospitalized-after-northeast-portland-collision-98896#comment-4483271

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      • Pete December 24, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Gotcha. My main point is that we can only speculate, as most comments on BP posts are about bike-car collisions, as to why any other cyclist would put him/herself in harms way. Maus brings to point the mention that there was a stop sign in the bicyclist’s direction of travel, so either the cyclist ran the stop sign or believed they could make it across the intersection given the judged speed of the oncoming car. Either way they were wrong, and I don’t know the area but I suspect that not much analysis went into the decision, either consciously or subconsciously.

        Regardless, ride safe, enjoy the holidays, and my best goes out for a speedy and full recovery to the fellow bicycle rider!

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  • esther c December 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Maybe it was a ninja driver and he didn’t have his headlights on and the cyclist didn’t see him?

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  • wsbob December 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    esther c
    Maybe it was a ninja driver and he didn’t have his headlights on and the cyclist didn’t see him?
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    Not impossible. Situations like that, with people riding that use either the minimum, or no visibility gear at all, make for a doubly incident prone combination.

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  • Skid December 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    wsbob I would like you to use that line of thinking applied to an elderly or disabled person. Is it still an “excuse”?

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    • wsbob December 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      It may be an excuse, with examples of people for whom advanced age or disability hasn’t affected their ability to make good judgment with regards to crossing the street, but that go ahead and do so in an unsafe manner anyway.

      Maybe you have an idea the person riding, that was injured in this collision, was riding with judgment impaired by either old age or disability.

      Or perhaps, you’re just trying to contrive another excuse to try place the entire responsibility for the safety of people that are vulnerable road users, onto the shoulders of people that drive…instead of emphasizing to vulnerable road users, the importance of looking out for their own welfare.

      To this situation, where nothing’s been reported that suggests the the person driving was doing anything particularly awry up the collision, that “…crazy concept…” wisecrack stuff doesn’t play well. You may have thought it was somehow funny or smart to say that, but I didn’t think so. That kind of response seems intended to fuel the worn out, nonconstructive, unjustified generalization in the worst way against everyone that has to drive a motor vehicle.

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  • Skid December 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    It’s a shared responsibility. Are you trying to shift the blame entirely to the vulnerable road user? How often is a driver not paying attention? How many times has a driver said “I didn’t see him/her?”

    I drive as well, in fact I have been employed as a driver. It is part of the reason I am so appalled by the way people drive. I know you like to think that everyone that is pro-bike is self-righteous to the point of being unrealistic but it’s simply not true. I see both sides of it. When I drive I see other drivers doing dangerous things in traffic. I also see cyclists doing dangerous things, but unlike most drivers I also see (or acknowledge that I see) people on bicycles obeying the law. Maybe I see the good cyclists because I don’t have an axe to grind when it comes to cyclists.

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    • wsbob December 25, 2013 at 1:24 am

      “It’s a shared responsibility. Are you trying to shift the blame entirely to the vulnerable road user? …” Skid

      I’m emphasizing the importance of vulnerable road users taking responsibility for their own safe travel, rather than their somehow thinking this is something they should be able to rely on from every person that that drives, to do for them.

      That good, self defensive riding people certainly do exist, cannot spare from close calls and collisions with motor vehicles, people riding in ways that don’t reflect an awareness that their avoidance of injury or survival on the street amongst motor vehicles, depends critically on their own efforts to look out for their own safety.

      People biking, that look out for their own safety, can go a long way to create a safety margin between themselves and people that don’t drive responsibly. This is something that should be a salient point in any discussion of use of the road together, by both people on bikes and people driving motor vehicles. Instead, so often in many comments to bikeportland articles, and perhaps on the part of the weblog’s staff as well…speculation, presumption, conclusions, etc, jump right past that point with little or no acknowledgment or consideration, to actions of the person driving the motor vehicle.

      This kind of thinking isn’t likely to help people riding become better equipped with knowledge and skills that will help them to do their part towards achieving a higher level of personal safety as they ride the streets amongst motor vehicles.

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      • 9watts December 25, 2013 at 8:37 am

        We could instead contrast what happens on our streets, the frequency of crashes with automobiles (per bicycle mile), with what happens, for instance, in the Netherlands and ask ourselves how much of the difference is due to
        - people in cars driving slower, paying more attention;
        - people on bikes being more perspicacious, or
        - infrastructure/speed limits/enforcement that reduce chances of calamitous encounters

        You, wsbob, are a reliable proponent of the second of those three options, but stop sign or no stop sign (and we have plenty of intersections thankfully that lack them) not everyone the world over is as quick to exonerate the pilot of the auto. In the world at least some of us hope one day to live in the person on the bike could have been a child, someone who we don’t automatically assume has to be perfectly versed in all the traffic laws. It isn’t unreasonable on a neighborhood street to expect people in cars to pay enough attention to at least minimize the consequences of a crash with someone crossing.

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        • wsbob December 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

          Don’t know that perspicacious much applies here. Safe use of the road as a vulnerable road user amongst motor vehicles is kind of basic, but does involve looking out for one’s own safety when riding, walking, etc. Dreaming about some, ‘one day in the future’, won’t change the reality of the here and now.

          Middle of the Road Guy: http://bikeportland.org/2013/12/19/bicycle-rider-hospitalized-after-northeast-portland-collision-98896#comment-4484251

          Almost as easily possible that’s the case here, as is the notion some people seem to be entranced with, that no way could this collision have been due to anything other than some fault on the part of the person with the right of way on a thoroughfare, the person driving.

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          • 9watts December 28, 2013 at 7:13 am

            wsbob,
            you may be forgetting the statistical fact that where this subject (biker+driver collision) has been studied, the person driving is found to have been at fault in the majority of cases. I am quite willing to assume that this was not one of those cases, but will withhold judgment until we (I hope) learn a bit more about the details.

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            • wsbob December 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

              To date, one of the reported facts relative to this collision(see the google streetview snapshot in the story above.), is that people’s travel along Skidmore is not interrupted by a traffic control such as a stop sign or a traffic light.

              This fundamentally gives them right of way over people traveling cross streets posted with traffic controls such as stop signs, at Skidmore.

              With respect to questions of fault, whatever the person driving did or didn’t do, in traveling the street that didn’t have a traffic control, they still fundamentally had right of way over the person traveling the cross street that did have a traffic control.

              Even if it were determined that the person driving happened to be speeding, the street they’re traveling, not having traffic controls at the intersection, still gives them right of way over people traveling the cross streets that do have traffic controls. Speeding on the part of a person driving, is a form of guilt, separate from right of way given them by absence of traffic controls on the street they’re traveling, over that of people traveling the cross streets that do have traffic controls.

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  • Skid December 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    This is how a car vs. bicycle collision should be reported: without insinuating blame to either party if blame has not been established. I really don’t see how anyone can object to that.

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  • Itgoesbothways December 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Hi everyone.
    Just to clarify, I have never said the PPB is biased or doing anything malicious or wrong in this statement. I merely pointed out that I was curious why they included the fact about the stop sign. That’s it.
    This is a good discussion, I just know that whenever I bring things up for debate and share certain thoughts, some people immediately think I’m pushing some pro-bike agenda at all costs and that I think “the other” side is some big bad hairy villain. That’s not the case at all, I simply like thinking about these things and I reach out to the community to enlighten me and help me understand them better.
    thanks
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    But in this very same comment section you say you are biased towards bikes:

    “Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Sho,

    I am not “only there to support one party.” That’s your opinion; but I disagree and I feel my actions/words over the years prove that. And why would they listen to me? Maybe because many at PPB know me and trust me and know that I have a tricky job to balance and that I am honestly doing the best I can and am committed to progress — not to modal warfare.

    Do I have a personal bias toward bicycling? Yes. We all have biases, the important thing is that I am aware of mine and I consciously try to keep an open mind and make sure my bias doesn’t cloud my decision-making to a detrimental degree.

    And most importantly, I don’t “try to represent the bicycling community.” I represent myself and I have a perspective on this stuff formed from over 8 years of thinking about it and listening to people — including you — on all sides of the issues.

    Thanks for the comment.”

    So you are trying to say PPB is not biased towards bikes, but you say you are. This might be why your credibility is not so good anymore.

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    • Robert Burchett December 28, 2013 at 9:20 am

      and further I.g.b.w. says:

      “So you are trying to say PPB is not biased towards bikes, but you say you are. This might be why your credibility is not so good anymore.”

      –I let this go for a while but now I have to say: Oh please, JM is a real person whose name we know, he does stuff, you can go see him in his office and talk to him about his opinion and his revealed ‘bias’ or whatever. Unknown character with a cryptic handle say his credibility is not good. Jonathan Maus: dissed by most sock puppets.

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