Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on March 6th, 2014 at 9:11 am
As Portland wraps up its first major study of its unusual “yield to bikes” LED sign on Northeast Couch Street at Grand Avenue, a TriMet bus video of a recent collision at the intersection shows that the longstanding right-hook problem at the corner isn’t solved yet.
Lane Werner, a nursing student at Linfield College’s Northwest Portland campus who said he’s chosen not to own a car, has been kept off his bike for three months after the work van in the video above turned in front of him at the light as he was overtaking it. The slow-motion collision was captured by a bus that was immediately behind.
The event happened at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 4. Werner, who had the right of way in this situation because he was going straight and the van was turning, was knocked off his bicycle, which was crushed, and remains in physical therapy for both upper and lower back injuries related to his impact on the pavement.
Werner said the driver of the van has been cooperative, though he’s still waiting for results from an insurance investigation. He said the police officer, Mike Cox, didn’t file a police report, but seemed to give the incident more attention after watching the bus’s video.
“Before they saw the video, it didn’t seem like they were taking it very seriously,” Werner said. “They thought I just ran into the side of his car while he was turning. And once the police officer came back with the video, he was like, ‘Woah!’”
Werner said the van’s driver had been parked in the bike box rather than behind the white line where motor vehicles are intended to park. Here’s Werner’s account of the crash from his perspective, recounted in an interview last week:
It was a perfectly clear, sunny, dry day. I was just pulling up. I noticed that the guy was moving a little bit. At that point, I’m like, OK, carelessness. I’m banging on the side of his car, trying to look in.