home
Advertise on BikePortland

Collision involving FedEx truck kills man riding on Cornell Road in Cedar Mill

Posted by on November 20th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

washcofatal
Scene of the collision. View is looking northwest from the middle of NW Barnes.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

A man riding a bike died Thursday in a collision with a FedEx truck near the corner of Northwest Barnes Road and Cornell Road (map).

Details from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office are scarce at the moment but according to KGW-TV, “both the truck and bicyclist were eastbound on Cornell Road when the truck driver made a southbound turn onto Barnes Road and hit the bicyclist.”

The location is about 8.5 miles west of downtown, just north of Highway 26 and just beyond Portland city limits.

Cornell in this location has three lanes: one left-turn only lane, one through lane, and one bike lane. Below is an aerial view and graphic showing the path of the truck operator and the point of the collision:

cornellcollision

Based on the photos from the Sheriff’s office, the truck involved in this collision was relatively large and similar to the one in the photo below:

fedextruck

We’ll be working to get more information and will update this post as it comes in.

CORRECTION: This headline of this story initially stated that this collision was in northwest Portland. It wasn’t. It happened just west of the Portland city limits. We regret the error.

UPDATE: The man who died is Kirke Johnson. Please read our follow-up story for more about him..

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

160 Comments
  • Allan November 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    very sad news, I’ve biked through that intersection many times.

    This is a Portland mailing address but not City of Portland proper

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kyle November 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Very sad indeed. I’m always shocked at how so many drivers – especially in trucks – fail to look before turning.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • jeff November 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      rider may have been in their right side blind spot just behind the cabin. always expect the right hook with trucks…sad stuff. I have a friend who rides that route, had to call him to make sure. thoughts go out to the families of course…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Tonyguy November 21, 2014 at 6:09 am

      What cyclists, traffic and engineers need to understand, and truck drivers already know. http://iamtraffic.org/resources/interactive-graphics/what-cyclists-need-to-know-about-trucks/

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Gil November 21, 2014 at 8:15 am

        Excellent link. Very clear graphics.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Paul November 21, 2014 at 10:18 am

        That’s an excellent graphic. Thanks for posting.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

      • geezer November 22, 2014 at 6:46 am

        Missing from this list: watch the front wheels of the truck, you’ll see them turn before you notice the truck turning.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Adam H. November 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Ugh.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Lascurettes November 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I note that the trailer has the side guards under it. They are not the panacea people sometimes think they are.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Paul November 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      I believe those are intended for improved aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption, not to prevent anyone from going under the semi-trailer.
      Appears to be a classic Oregon-style right hook accident.

      Recommended Thumb up 18

      • wsbob November 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        “I believe those are intended for improved aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption, not to prevent anyone from going under the semi-trailer. …” Paul

        Haven’t yet found out for certain, but did do a brief web search on yahoo.com for ‘fedex truck trailer side guards’. Bunch of stuff come up, including images of fedex truck trailers, with and without the guards. One link I clicked on went to a page that had specs for side guards, but didn’t provide a simple statement of what they’re designed to guard against.

        http://www.transportsfriend.org/road/guards.html

        So, still guessing at this point, but I don’t think aerodynamics is the reason the truck trailer pictured above in this story, has them. They don’t really look designed with extensive enough coverage to perform as a fairing.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 5:25 am

          These are most definitely meant to increase aerodynamics and thus decrease fuel consumption.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

          • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 11:09 am

            You’re the truck driver, so I’m inclined to take your word that the side guards are in part, for aerodynamics. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office photo currently at the top of this story showing the side of the trailer towards the back, shows the guards coming to what looks like maybe about 8 inches from the pavement.

            Whether or not officially designed to help keep people from being swept under the trailer during turns, the side guards definitely look as though they would help to keep that from happening. If you happen to locate a link to an fedex page with explanation of their trucks’ side guards, that would be helpful.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 2:08 pm

              These are called “trailer skirts” in the industry and are marked to trailer owners as a way to reduce fuel consumption and be in compliance with California CARB rules.

              See http://www.atdynamics.com/products/trailer-skirts/ for product information from one brand (there are many as are the physical characteristics).
              In particular from the page is the prime motivation for their recent usage increase:
              The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Regulation to improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty tractor and 53′ trailer combinations through fleet implementation of tractor and trailer aerodynamics and low rolling-resistance tires.

              The ATDynamics side skirt provides full compliance with the 2010 CARB regulations as a stand-alone device, tested to deliver 7.4% fuel savings at 65 mph.

              In order to meet the CARB regulation, aerodynamic devices must be verified by the US EPA’s SmartWay group using approved fuel efficiency testing methodologies. Aerodynamic devices are currently verified in either a 1% or 5% fuel savings category.

              ATDynamics side skirts are verified by EPA SmartWay in the “Advanced Trailer Skirt” category, delivering over 5% fuel savings.

              On safety this is a common industry attitude :
              ATDynamics side skirt technology offers significant safety benefits to truck drivers and the driving public. By streamlining the airflow under and around your semi-trailers, side skirts help to stabilize your trailers on the highway, especially in windy conditions, and improve visibility for both truck drivers and surrounding vehicles by reducing road spray off the wheels. Side skirts also act as a protective and potentially life-saving guard, mitigating the occurrence of under-vehicle accidents with vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
              Notice how our concerns are listed as almost an afterthought.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

              • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

                “…”…Side skirts also act as a protective and potentially life-saving guard, mitigating the occurrence of under-vehicle accidents with vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. …” …”

                q`Tzal…nice work, and thank you! I figured the ‘side skirts’, that I was referring to as side guards, were there for more than aerodynamics, but I wasn’t sure. Seems like extending them across the wheels could help improve their ability to protect against under-vehicle accidents.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • KristenT November 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

          My partner works at DTNA (Freightliner) and he says those are only for aerodynamics and better fuel consumption. These “guards” are not to keep people from going underneath.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm

            Okay…I hear you and others here that the “guards” are there for aerodynamics . Nevertheless, looking at them in the pictures, it does appear that they would offer some protection against people going under the trailer, than not having any barrier there at all.

            With a little more design and engineering, the side guards could be extended over the wheels themselves, further reducing potential for the tires to catch vulnerable road users. It could be helpful to hear what fedex thought’s on this are.

            Fedex has a fairly good web page detailing the priority the company places on safety practices. I would think they would be very receptive to questions about the ability of their trucks’ equipment to help prevent any kind of injury to people.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Bob November 21, 2014 at 11:09 am

        Yes

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Todd Boulanger November 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      John, please be aware that if the truck took the exact path of the diagram above, that the cyclist may also have been struck almost head on by the front cab unit of the truck, as its arc swept through the turn versus a more common right hook collision.

      We need more incident information to know how the interaction took place AND what safety measures may have reduced the severity of the injuries, etc.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Todd Boulanger November 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        Bike Portland has modified the “collision diagram” to now have the truck initiating the turn from the thru / left MV lane and not the left turn lane.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Chris I November 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Wrong. Google “European truck side guards” and compare that to the picture above. The aerodynamic panels used in the US do very little to prevent side under-ride incidents.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • DR November 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      I imagine that’s a stock photo, mainly because of the clear blue sky.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • wsbob November 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Seriously bad, treacherous intersection for people riding bikes to navigate it safely.

    These roads and this intersection are classic examples of how forward thinking community members, leaders and planners in the area could have helped avert collisions like this one through design and construction of a cycle track distanced somewhat from the main road.

    People with a first hand familiarity with this area, even going back some years, well know that properties along Barnes and Cornell near the intersection, have seen many changes in recent years, as population and business has grown. With this collision now emphasizing the point, it’s nothing short of tragic that infrastructure sufficient for people in considerable numbers to safely ride bikes through this intersection, was not conceived and built here.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Tom Armstrong November 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Yet quite a bit safer if one stays out of the badly-designed bike lane, per the I Am Traffic interactive video linked elsewhere in this thread.

      It’s time that Portland (and other cities that would emulate Portland) realizes that bike lanes are a significant part of the problem in
      crashes like this.

      While I don’t have all the information available to the law enforcement folks who did the investigation, from what I see in this article, it’s a common crash type–one easily countered by different macro- and micro-strategy.

      Because the cyclist was likely in the bike lane, he was irrelevant to the truck driver, and thus ignored until too late. Had the cyclist been exhibiting driver behavior (i.e. occupying the travel lane as any other vehicle user would), he would have been relevant, and far less likely to be hit.

      This is not to excuse the truck driver for making what appears to have
      been a right hook maneuver that ultimately killed the cyclist. This is
      to recognize that, had the cyclist been more relevant, the truck driver
      would have had more impetus to wait a few seconds before passing and
      initiating the turn.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dan November 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Awful news. I used to commute that way, but changed my route to avoid Cornell for all but 1 block. It generally sucks for riding on.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • PNP November 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I lived near there until about a year ago. That’s an ugly intersection anyway, mostly because the speeds are too high (not a surprise). In the 11 years I lived in the area, more businesses, houses, and apartments were built, so the whole area got a lot busier. The intersection was widened and redesigned a 3-4 years ago (unsure of when), but it’s still too busy with people driving too fast.

    Condolences to all involved, especially the family of the cyclist, but the truck driver will have to live knowing that he killed someone. It’s tough all around.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • El Biciclero November 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Sheesh. I took that turn this morning. It’s weird but I always get a sense of extra right-hook danger here; more so than at most other intersections. No telling whether the cyclist was turning there or intending to go straight, but if turning, there is no bike lane to turn into on that little Barnes hypotenuse. Big trucks + little roads = trouble.

    Is that blue path line accurate? Is this another case of a straight-through cyclist being misled by a large vehicle moving away from them, only to come swinging back into their path after “committing” to a turn?

    RIP and condolences to family and friends; this is another needless death on our roads.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Trek 3900 November 20, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    The fairings under the trailer are for aerodynamics.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/automobiles/stretching-trucks-mileage.html?_r=0

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • wsbob November 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Trek…the NYTimes article you provided the link to, refers to the gadget, the Trailer Tail, on rear of the trailer pictured in that story, as being the aerodynamic accessory. Not the sideguards extending down from the sides of the trailer below floor level, and between front and back outer wheels.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger November 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Michael – a point of clarification…your incident diagram (above) portrays the route of the truck as making a sweeping right turn from the left turn lane…is this true? I did not see any information in the KGW story on the exact path of the truck.

    If that is what happened then the bicyclist never had a chance with what I would term a “boomerrang right hook” collision.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Joe Adamski November 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      frequently, a tractor/trailer will move to the left to make a right turn because the size of a combo truck trailer simply requires a lot more room to turn. A 32′ trailer with a single axle tractor will be around 45 to 48′ long. These are ‘city delivery’ vehicles. Years ago, a city delivery truck was often a truck with a cargo box, not a combo vehicle. Total length typically around 30′ total. This change was made to improve economy of delivery companies, not for any other reason.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Chris I November 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm

        This sounds like a great law to start with now that Portland is pushing for vision zero: no articulating trucks on surface streets.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Bob November 21, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        28′ trailer used by all LTL freight companies, not 32′ or 53′.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Psyfalcon November 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      I believe the driver’s manual strictly forbids moving left due to the danger of not only hooking cyclists, but people driving their cars around on the right.

      So I hope the diagram is overly general.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      Todd. I made the diagram.

      I’ve just uploaded a different version. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been with the original one. Sorry about that.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Paul November 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

        It appears from the photo that the distance the left rear trailer tires are from the double-yellow line on Barnes that the tractor-trailer “cut” the corner rather than making a sweeping 90° turn. The right rear tires would have been extremely close to or over the curb.
        However, I think the “key” finding will be whether the truck driver “noticed” the bicyclist if and when he passed him.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Todd Boulanger November 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

        Thanks, yep the devil is in the details: text AND diagrams. T

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • rick November 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    SW Barnes Road needs more bike lanes.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Joe November 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    🙁

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe November 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    walker is a nightmare BTW.. lets get real! and make it safe for all modes of transport…. oregonlive BS!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Pat Franz November 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I knew the cyclist. Kirke was very experienced, very visible, and very careful. He lived not far from there and was quite familiar with the intersection. Kirke always rode with daytime lights front and rear, and usually a bright yellow body sock on his long wheelbase recumbent. Very visible. He routinely rode over 10,000 miles a year on his bike, in all conditions. He knew about lane positioning, blind spots, and how to stay safe. That this still happened to him is a real shock.

    The bike lane forces you into a bad position, but If the truck had given any indication it was doing anything other than going straight, Kirke would not have let himself be anywhere near the danger zone, I am sure of that. It is sobering and beyond sad that he was struck anyway.

    Recommended Thumb up 22

    • 9watts November 20, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks for all that info, Pat. I’m very sorry this happened.
      When will our leaders start singing in the Vision Zero choir?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • El Biciclero November 21, 2014 at 9:28 am

      I’ve seen that bike on several occasions on my way home from work. It is sad condemnation of our street environment, as built and as used, that an experienced cyclist who knows what’s what still gets run over like this. What’s wrong with our roads?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • hemp22 November 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

      damn. this was already really hitting close to home, since I live near there and ride that stretch frequently. But now that you mention who it was, it hits me even harder. I definitely rode by him on several occasions, or followed behind his recumbent on my commute home. Definitely one of the most visible & safety-conscious riders that I would see.
      this has me pretty shaken up – since I know that’s a tough/dangerous intersection for right-hook potential, but I guess I pride myself on being aware of what vehicles are doing next to me as i approach the intersection. This sort of forces you to re-evaluate that sort of confidence.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • El Biciclero November 21, 2014 at 10:13 am

        “This sort of forces you to re-evaluate that sort of confidence.”

        Exactly. I like to think of it as “confidence with awareness”, the awareness being that regardless of how much you think you know, or how great your skills are, events exist that are completely outside your control or ability to mitigate.

        This doesn’t mean we should give up and go home, but always be increasing in awareness and fine-tuning protocols and personal policies that improve our chances out there.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

  • q`Tzal November 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Truck driver’s view of what likely happened here: [1]
    (1) 1st off a Jug-handle turn is illegal specifically because of the unsafety of blinding yourself (the truck driver) to the right side as you are turning right. It is imperative that a driver is able to maintain continuous visual contact with the lane that is being crossed. We don’t know if a Jug-handle turn was done in this instance but it was likely part of the problem. [2]
    (2) This is not a downhill direction so excessive bike speed should not have been an issue
    (3) As I examined this intersection in aerial view I noticed 2 critical things:
    ..(a) it is a little tight if I can’t complete the turn by traveling through the left turn only lane from NW Barnes Rd. This is the legal method as described by ODOT.
    ..(b) just before the intersection on NW Cornell Rd (approximately 50′ prior; right around where the on street parking ends) Cornell itself jogs to the left like a Jug-handle turn. Not early enough for a truck to straighten out to restore visibility before the right turn and just subtle enough that you might not see it coming. [3]
    (4) the right turn is closer to 60° than a 90° right angle; this often leads people who are overly familiar with the tun to take it faster than they would if it was a 90°. I’ve observed this in ALL vehicular users making this turn here and others like it.

    So… If I “had to” make that turn…
    () I’d stick as far to the left as possible while not exiting the lane
    () have my turn signal on as far in advance as I thought I could get away with[4]
    () in that last 10′-30′ I’m slowing down to about 5mph
    () I’m gonna sacrifice some of distance from the curb to my right to ensure that my right side mirrors have full view if they didn’t at some point
    () all you can do then is execute the maneuver when safe; this includes the bike lane, crosswalk and the Barnes left turn lane that I’ll likely have to drive through. If any of these are not clear or I can’t see them I’m gonna be safe and anger traffic behind me being slow but safe.

    What I “think” happened is that a driver too familiar with the area approached the turn a little too fast, got distracted while not noticing the slight left jog, never noticed the person in the bike lane and made the turn. Because the intersection is so tight you need to pull as far forward as possible and then turn sharp right. As the cab turns there is only the briefest flash of the bike lane. Even then, if you have sharp vision and are traveling slow enough you can stop hard to avoid killing someone. Annoying people inconvenienced behind you is a small price for a clean conscious and driving record.
    .
    .
    [1] (and I’m basing this on my frequent cycling and car driving through this intersection BUT not a truck AND assuming I was taking this right turn with a 53′ trailer)
    [2] comparatively the left side mirror is like looking through a toilet paper roll tube and the right side mirror is like looking through a drinking straw. Any misalignment is easy and occurs quickly.
    [3] (I thought I might be imagining it until I pulled it up in Google Earth, zoomed in on the driving path and tilted the perspective to get as close a view as possible)
    [4] (turn signals on trucks aren’t just an indication of where I’d like to go, they also can act as a deterrent and alarm clock for drowsy drivers who are about to pull a Clark W. Griswold)

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 12:20 am

      q`Tzal…your effort sounds like a fair evaluation of the turn from the perspective of a truck driver’s experience, even if you haven’t personally driven that particular turn with a truck.

      I’ve never driven truck, but my dad has. So I hear about truck driving challenges second hand from him. With that experience and more to reflect on, he and my mom are scared about me riding a bike on the road. They’d rather I didn’t, but, I love it, and so I try to avoid obvious bad road situations like this particular intersection.

      Reading people’s thoughts expressed about Kirke Johnson, the person run over at this intersection is heart breaking. This is a tip of the iceberg tragic event. Kirke Johnson is now gone, but for people that haven’t lived here long enough to have experienced it personally, or to have learned about it, so is the former human scale usability and charm of these roads’ intersection.

      It just hasn’t been many years since these roads and that intersection was a fairly quiet, relatively bucolic setting where people could walk along the side of the road without taking their life in their hands. Abominably poor planning has all but destroyed enjoyment without a motor vehicle that this intersection, Barnes and Cornell roads could otherwise still offer.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Paul November 21, 2014 at 9:52 am

      “assuming I was taking this right turn with a 53′ trailer”
      To get a 53′ semi-trailer around that corner would probably require starting in Cornell’s left turn lane, and finishing in Barnes’ opposing right through lane, a very illegal maneuver.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

        I am 99% certain that a 53′ trailer could safely make this turn without leaving the correct lane AND without dragging the trailer tandems over the sidewalk IF both lanes of Barnes were empty.

        Beyond that, this right turn is better executed at NW Saltzman Rd just a couple hundred feet away. The angle is ~110° but the sidewalk geometry is MUCH more truck friendly.

        This is why I believe that there is almost no legitimate reason ANY commercial truck to be repeating this inherently dangerous right turn.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Bob November 21, 2014 at 11:39 am

        esther2
        I’d like to know what was in that truck that was so large that it needed to be transported in a tractor trailer on surface streets.
        Why isn’t our freight moved from these killers to smaller trucks to be taken from the warehouse for delivery. It is not necessary to risk the lives of our citizens to deliver boxes.
        If the driver passed the bike “blind spot” is irrelevant. And why are vehicles allowed on our roads that have deadly blind spots?
        Recommended 0

        This was a 28′ trailer and a “city” truck. A very easy turn with that setup

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm

          “pup trailer” pulled by a “day cab”.
          Day cab trucks are the shorter tractors that don’t have a sleeping area for the long distance driver.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Paul November 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

            “Day” cabs generally also have a rear window, but the view is often obstructed by a vertical muffler/exhaust stack.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • q`Tzal November 22, 2014 at 7:04 pm

              About ¼ of the time I’ve noticed that this rear window is blocked by a sheet of cardboard, fabric or a towel.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

    • hemp22 November 21, 2014 at 10:35 am

      this turn is tight enough that i’ve frequently seen trucks with trailers hopping the curb with their rear axle(s). I’d be concerned that it’s totally possible here that the rider was not even moving, and could have actually come to a complete stop at the intersection waiting for the truck to turn in front of him – but still gotten hit as the rear end of the trailer cuts the corner much closer.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Psyfalcon November 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

      I think you need to write some columns. Sure, we’ve heard about blind spots, but I don’t really know how big they are, especially when trucks are turning.

      Most of us have some understanding of how cars perform, but the trucks are a different matter.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • q`Tzal November 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    PS: expect more amateur drivers of big vehicles.
    Stung Last Year, Retailers and Shippers Retool for the Holiday …

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Tom November 20, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I also knew this cyclist, Kirk. He was a daily bike commuter, very experienced, very safe; he was our workplace leader for the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge. I’m almost certain he rode a recumbent.
    This is very disturbing. When will we have real protections for vulnerable road users??

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • DR November 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      He was my main competitor in miles on Bike Journal. He didn’t know it, of course. We crossed paths a few times on the road and he always seemed really friendly. How sobering. This is a terrible loss for all of us, especially his family. Beyond horrible.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • HJ November 20, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        Actually he probably did know. He was obsessed with his Bike Journal rankings and would regularly ride a few extra miles just to try and stay ahead of the next guy!

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Ryan francesconi November 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    America’s addiction to consumerism and assumption that dying on roads is normal.

    Fkn hell. The insanity continues.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Marc Rose November 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    According to a PCC email:

    I am very sad to report that Kirke Johnson, a long-time PCC employee and recently retired staff member of Technology Solution Services, was killed Thursday in a collision with a semi-truck that turned in front of Kirke as he was riding his bike through the intersection of NW Cornell and NW Barnes roads. Kirke was a gentle, peaceful, thoughtful, and intellectually curious man who be greatly missed. He was a careful cyclist who had been commuting by bike to work for the past 10 years, and had been planning a cross-country bicycle trip with his wife this winter. Our thoughts are with his family and many PCC friends as we struggle through this difficult time.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • GreggB November 20, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      …recently? I believe he just cleaned out his desk last week…

      I knew Kirk personally, and he was one of the safest, most experienced, and risk-aware commuter and long-distance cyclist I ever had the pleasure of sharing journeys with. He died doing what he loved…but what a sad way to go 🙁 RIP Kirke.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Brian November 21, 2014 at 6:38 am

        My condolences for all who knew this man, especially his family. I’m sorry for your loss and can only hope this leads to some kind of a positive change.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • John Liu
    John Liu November 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I’m really sad and sorry to read this. The cyclist could have been any of us.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • greg November 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    So sad to hear such an unnecessary tragedy. We’ll miss seeing him frequently on his recumbent. I couldn’t believe it when I saw his yellow bike. Condolences to his family.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • The Odd Duck November 20, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I was thinking back to my motorcycling day and if really anything different could have been done. Judging by the age of the driver he seems to have a lot of experiences, hoping he has a clean record, the one thing they should check for cataracts, they can seek up on you before you know it. Looking at that turn is a bad turn that something should have been done years before. Was this the first time this driver was on the route? I think this is one of those Irresistible accident just happen from time to time.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • The Odd Duck November 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Here is a question I should have ask. What was the weather like that time of day? was it foggy, was it clear. Dose anyone know.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Trek 3900 November 20, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    My condolences to the family.

    The way the wheelchair ramps stick out into the lanes at that intersection makes that a very tight right turn – I’m surprised a tractor-trailer would even attempt it. If you look at the photo at the top of this story, how far would you say the rear truck tire is from the double yellow line? I’m guessing 4-5 feet. How wide is the truck and how wide is the lane from wheelchair ramp to double yellow? I’ll bet the trailers right-side wheels had to roll over the wheelchair ramp to make the turn. Looks like the intersection could have some design issues, but I’m not an expert.

    Lots we don’t know yet: speeds of bike and truck, did the truck pass the bike or not, etc, etc.

    I’d think recumbent bikes would be harder to see because they are so low – don’t know if that was a factor here or not.

    From accounts above the cyclist was safe – maybe that’s why he rode to the mature age of 70. There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but not there aren’t many old, bold pilots; maybe it works for cyclists too.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Laura November 21, 2014 at 12:43 am

    I also knew Kirke, he was an extremely cautious and visibility was always a top concern, I even think he rode with a brightly colored flag. Kirke was a thoughtful person, and will truly be missed. I feel so sad.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 1:51 am

    Just to reiterate outside my TL;DR above:
    NW Cornell Rd turns to slightly to the left before this intersection with NW Barnes. Because of this any big articulated truck trailer combination vehicle is almost guaranteed to have zero ability to see anything on its right side.
    The point where the truck driver loses their ability to see the bike lane is where it is needed most.

    Perhaps this intersection was realigned when there was a major reconstruction in this area a few years back. I expect that the Cornell Rd path was not curved here but an angle. In combination with the curb extension for the crosswalk and bus stop and we have a right turn designed to fail for right turning combination vehicles.
    By all rights it should be illegal for trucks to make this turn but it is the DOT’s fault for not being aware that this realignment would cause this hazard and not proactively signing prohibition against combination vehicle right turns at this intersection.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Bicyclist Belong in the Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 6:29 am

    My condolences to family and friends. Absolutely heart breaking.

    But I’m also puzzled by all the commentary about Kirk’s knowledge, experience and level of care. What is a cyclist like that doing riding in that bike lane?

    The simple explanation for these types of crashes, and how to avoid them, was published in 2008.

    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2008/11/30/what-cyclists-need-to-know-about-trucks/

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Dan November 21, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Beaverton drivers are intolerant of OTHER CARS being in the lane in front of them, much less bikes trying to take the lane.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • spare_wheel November 21, 2014 at 10:29 am

        And I’m intolerant of road bullies. The mandatory sidepath law kills. Repeal this awful law!

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

        “Beaverton drivers are intolerant of OTHER CARS being in the lane in front of them, much less bikes trying to take the lane.” Dan

        My experience in Beaverton, either driving or riding, is that people driving in Beaverton are very tolerant and considerate to each other, whether biking or driving. That’s riding on the big thoroughfares in town such as Canyon Rd and Beaverton Hillsdale. I don’t like riding on the thoroughfares since the traffic on them is so intense, so I stay away from them as much as I can. Though when I do have to ride them, I hustle, signal boldly, make clean, sure movements, and get the heck out soon as I can. Not recommended for other than the strongest, surest city riders.

        No horn honking, temper tantrums from people driving, in response to my presence there. They brake, slow down, back off, make room for me to slip into the lane. Even so, not a place for a vulnerable road user to be.

        The Barnes-Cornell intersection, has undeniably become a problem. Too much activity at too fast allowed speeds, in too small a space. About as bad, or similar to the monster Murray-Farmington road intersection several miles south. Everybody’s nerves are frazzled having to concentrate on dealing with complexities of these kinds of intersections. The potential for road user mistakes with these type of intersections is inherently high.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Dan November 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm

          Would you take the lane there on Cornell and expect cars to be courteous to you there? I wouldn’t.

          I can’t even take the lane in my own neighborhood when riding towards a stop sign at 25mph without cars coming up and driving just a few feet behind me. That’s an intimidation tactic to get me to move over, even though I’m going the speed limit.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

            “Would you take the lane there on Cornell and expect cars to be courteous to you there? I wouldn’t. …” Dan

            Dan, like I said, I avoid Barnes and Cornell at that intersection if at all possible, but I have ridden it. If on the bike, I was eastbound on Barnes and needed to turn north at the intersection, yes I would signal, transition from the bike lane to the main lane, then to the left turn lane.

            That’s if the traffic was low and slow enough at a given time that I could make the transition without creating a lot of congestion. I’ve done it, but I don’t like it, and I’ve already said here a few times that the conditions for biking in this intersection, are terrible. People driving there are o.k., but there’s just too much commotion in this intersection that I think exhausts their ability to serenely keep track of it all. I know traffic engineers and planners probably don’t like reading that the intersection is poor design, but poor design is what my experience of it has been.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Dan November 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

              It sounds like BBITTL is asking us all to take over the traffic lane whenever we pass through any sort of intersection in Beaverton. Good luck with that.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm

                Let me put it this way. Please take a Cycling Savvy course. Nothing local is available yet, but it’s worth taking a vacation out of town to take the course. It could save your life.

                http://cyclingsavvy.org/

                I’ll add this. When many cyclists decide to try taking over the traffic lane they first try riding in the right tire track, and find the harassment level to be higher than when riding at the curb. Well, right tire track is not taking over the lane – it’s neither here nor there. We have a slide explaining this:

                https://www.facebook.com/BicyclistsBelongInTheTrafficLane/photos/a.428890147219444.1073741839.281417585300035/428862330555559/?type=3&theater

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • wsbob November 23, 2014 at 12:26 am

                Dan, I haven’t looked at bb’s cyclingsavvy site yet, so I don’t know for certain what you’re suggesting is what it says. Probably not though.

                I think that biking in traffic, especially heavy traffic, calls for far more developed riding skills than many people have, or are even aware they need. Some roads are just too hopelessly congested with intense motor vehicle use to really be safe for riding. Question of whether that’s the case for a given situation, right there, can be a critical judgment for anyone riding to be able to make well.

                If in Beaverton, Portland, and other places locally, taking bike traffic instruction was more common and popular, that could be a great opportunity to show people, first hand, on the road, how to navigate with a bike, some of the messy traffic situations that major routes in the area, dole out.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

  • B. Daniel November 21, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I drove by the scene of the accident right after it happened. The truck was much smaller than the one shown in the picture of this article. The poor man was lying face down and a woman was gently patting his arm. I feel awful for this man and for the driver of the truck. A tragic accident.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 10:53 am

      That almost completely rules out everything other than the most likely causes: inattention and speed.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • John Liu
        John Liu November 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        The photo that shows the actual truck involved in the accident, with the police vehicles, tells you (1) it was a tractor-trailer of some sort (since a trailer is visible), (2) the driver did not go over the centerline into the left turn pocket to make the turn (since the trailer is not over the centerline as shown). So, on that particular road a tractor-trailer takes that turn tightly enough to stay on the right of the centerline – I think that implies a tighter turning radius than I’d think a tractor-trailer can do, OR a “jug-handle” maneuver. Sound right?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Paul November 23, 2014 at 9:22 am

          If the truck driver had done a “jug handle” approach I would have expected the trailer tires to be more in line with the double-yellow lines because the tractor-trailer would have had more space to “straighten out”.
          Looks to me like the driver “cut” the corner pretty sharply.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Zeppo November 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Was it an accident? The word “accident” seems to imply it was no one’s fault, when it was clearly the truck driver who killed the cyclist.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • John Liu
        John Liu November 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

        “Accident” does not imply no fault. It simply means the collision was not deliberately, intentionally caused. Which seems reasonable.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Todd Boulanger November 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

          The transportation safety, design and planning field has long moved away from the use of the term “accident” starting in the late 1990s and has picked up pace now that “Vision Zero” has been embraced by more agencies, police departments and jurisdictions. Though the term is still too often misused by the media (press and TV) for incidents involving traffic crash / collisions.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Deborah November 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I’ve known Kirke for over 30 years. He was my good neighbor and a wonderful person and accomplished, devoted cyclist. I am at a loss for words. Over the years Kirke was very involved in community action involving improving bicycle safety on NW Cornell Rd. He went to numerous meetings involving the county and other groups concerned with Cornell Rd. infrastructure. This is simply tragic. He worked all his life to live his dream of cycling in his retirement. This accident sounds very similar to the one that claimed a young woman downtown several years ago. Big trucks and cyclists are a bad mix. I am heartbroken.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Paul November 21, 2014 at 8:39 am

    The “sample” photo shows a tractor with a “fender” mirror. Having driven tractor-trailers 40 accident-free years, I can attest that those make a huge difference, and should be mandatory.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • esther2 November 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I’d like to know what was in that truck that was so large that it needed to be transported in a tractor trailer on surface streets.

    Why isn’t our freight moved from these killers to smaller trucks to be taken from the warehouse for delivery. It is not necessary to risk the lives of our citizens to deliver boxes.

    If the driver passed the bike “blind spot” is irrelevant. And why are vehicles allowed on our roads that have deadly blind spots?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      UPS, USPS & FedEx loads consist mainly of small expensive items (like iPhones) that are over-packaged for attractive retail display (like iPhones) then further bulked up in shipping boxes. While I relish poking at Apple’s products ALL sellers of expensive goods do the same. This leads to truck loads with an average density only slightly more than styrofoam.

      From a 53′ trailer to a triple trailer weight is capped at 80,000lbs so bulky parcel loads will be cheapest to move with the highest freight volume to driver ratio.

      Once the truck gets to an urban DC it could be broken down to its individual “pup trailers” which may be sent to neighborhood transfer facilities for offload to small residential delivery trucks.

      The thing to remember is that all this commerce used to require everybody to drive to every store. 50 personal automobiles are much more dangerous, polluting and inefficient than a grocery store delivery truck to the neighborhood where those 50 came from. Trains and trucks act as a mass transit system for freight keeping more smaller delivery vehicles out of the way of everyone.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • 9watts November 21, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        “This leads to truck loads with an average density only slightly more than styrofoam.”

        All the more reason to switch to hauling this stuff by bike and trailer or cargobike. Ridiculous that in 2014 we’re still killing people by hauling overpackaged consumer garbage around town in semi trucks.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • q`Tzal November 21, 2014 at 2:16 pm

          Money rules this equation as it does so many others.
          I don’t get paid as much as you think. If I’m moving 20 cargo bike loads worth of goods by truck how meager will the pay have to be for 20 cargo bike operators for the business to be profitable versus a truck service?

          Remember, this is Murica; shareholders right to more money trumps everything. Clean air, water, food, environmental conditions, honest governance and basic human rights.

          The attack path you are aiming for is a bit higher, QUITE a bit higher.
          And when you come up with a promising strategy that doesn’t involve bloody revolution count me in.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Mike November 22, 2014 at 3:40 am

          Wouldn’t that scenario end up like the bike movers on portlandia?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Bob November 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        Your facts are off on this one. This was not UPS, or FedEx package delivery truck. This is an LTL freight truck that delivers large crates and pallets of all kinds of stuff, not your little iPhone junk. Your local bike shop probably get their unassembled bikes by a truck just like this. This is what is called a “pup” trailer, 28′ long, the same as what you see in sets of doubles or triples. The legal limit in Oregon is 105,500lbs not 80,000lbs like California. I’ve actually seen a 28′ trailer loaded with bags of packaging “peanuts”, that was less than 1,000lbs of freight completely stuffed. A 28′ trailer can handle about 25,000lbs of freight and still be legal. I did not know this driver, but, knew of him. He had OVER 25 years of accident free driving before this day. YRC, UPS Freight, FedEx Freight, ABF, Old Dominion and all the other large LTL companies all have safety training programs that constantly try to improve the safety of their drivers and the public we encounter everyday. NO DRIVER WANTS THIS TO HAPPEN, EVER. Get your facts correct before you spew. Trees and rocks can’t run me over, that’s why my skins don’t see the street.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Paul November 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm

          You’re exactly right on your sizes and capacities. LTL companies like “pup” trailers because they don’t tie up a power unit. An identical trailer can be parked at the DC/terminal being loaded or unloaded. These aren’t just used for bulky items that wouldn’t fit in a smaller truck, but are used to provide the capacity to make multiple deliveries during a work shift. A company like Sysco, for example, might make 50 stops in a day, hand-trucking everything off the back of the trailer. I’ve also delivered as little as a single hand-truck stack to as many as 24 pallets to a single location off a 48′ trailer.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • The Odd Duck November 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm

          Back in the days of my motorcycle riding, I love to be around the big rigs as I knew that 90% were safe drivers and I always knew what they were up to. I respected them they respected me and it was safe riding round them.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • pbgbpf November 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

        FedEx Freight isn’t moving I phones. They’re a over the road load hauler. Express is for smaller packages.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • 9watts November 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm

          “FedEx Freight isn’t moving I phones. ”

          That’s a good one. How do the I-phones get to where what you are calling Express takes over?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Dan
    Beaverton drivers are intolerant of OTHER CARS being in the lane in front of them, much less bikes trying to take the lane.
    Recommended 1

    Define “intolerant”. Any cases of bicyclists being run over from behind intentionally? Any at all?

    Are you saying behaving like the “Savvy Cyclist” in this animation is not possible in Beaverton? This comes out of Florida, by the way, where motorists are not particularly known for their tolerance of cyclists.

    http://iamtraffic.org/resources/interactive-graphics/what-cyclists-need-to-know-about-trucks/

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Dan November 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      How about specifically on 119th, right near there where the speed limit is 10mph lower. Every time I take the lane on that road (where there is NO shoulder), even for just 10 seconds while I climb the hill in a dead sprint to the first available turn, I have to watch out for cars coming up right behind me and revving their engines, or swerving around me on the left as I’m trying to make a left turn off the road. I have had NUMEROUS incidents there. Do I need to be physically run down from behind to prove the intolerance?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • El Biciclero November 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        I can attest to this as well; I’ve been riding the center line with my left arm fully extended, and I’ve gotten the engine rev and tailgate treatment. I’ve seen at least one driver in recent memory actually move into the oncoming lane to start passing me on the left as I started making my left turn. I swerved back, and the driver thought better of it, so I still made my left turn—just with a slight stutter.

        I’ve been exceeding the speed limit by a couple MPH, taking the full lane (no shoulder, no bike lane), and had multiple drivers move completely into the oncoming lane to pass a vehicle (my bike) that is already speeding.

        I’ve stopped at red lights after moving from the bike lane to the center of The Lane (because I’m going straight) and been yelled at by the truck driver who stopped behind me and wanted to remind me that “THERE’S A BIKE LANE!”

        So, there probably aren’t many drivers, even in Beaverton, that would intentionally run down a bicyclist in the middle of the lane, but aggressive yelling and foolhardy maneuvers around cyclists who dare to move away from the far right aren’t as rare as I’d like.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm

          I don’t doubt your experiences. All that separated infrastructure reinforces the notion that bicyclists belong at the road edge margins, are doing something wrong if they are in the traffic lane. The only fix I know of is to lobby for sharrows and Bikes May Use Full Lane signs, and advocate in your cycling community for more bicyclists to use the full lane habitually. Only then will they get accustomed to it, and accepting of it. If one cyclist can “train” the motorists on his regular commute (and many have), a whole community can be trained as well.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Daniel November 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Bike lanes should always be protected by bollards in busy intersections. Just a 20 foot strip of bollards right up to the intersection. Is that crazy? This is an unacceptable death. How many times will it happen until we push for better safety infrastructure? This reminds me of Kathryn: http://bikeportland.org/2012/05/16/collision-at-sw-3rd-and-madison-leaves-woman-with-life-threatening-injuries-71838

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • spare_wheel November 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

      “protection” often exacerbates right hook risk.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Prattle On, Boyo November 21, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I wonder if this would have happened had the cyclist not been in the bike lane? Bike lanes at intersections are death traps.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 21, 2014 at 10:33 am

    The man killed in this collision was Kirke Johnson. Please read our follow-up story to learn more about him and read remembrances from his friends and colleagues.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Zeppo November 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Does anyone know what’s going on inside the cab of a truck like that? Is the driver bombarded with directions from company HQ to go here or go there? I see lots of drives of commercial trucks with cell phones in their hands, but do companies like FedEx and UPS contribute to driver inattentiveness to the road? Thanks.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Bob November 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      No, routes are set up before the driver leaves the yard. Information regarding pick-ups will come to an onboard computer, but, those CANNOT be used while driving. Once the truck is in motion, they lockup until the truck is shut off with the parking brake set. Most all LTL freight companies use some type of system like this for the city delivery drivers, and most have policies against cell use while moving as well.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Daniel
    Bike lanes should always be protected by bollards in busy intersections. Just a 20 foot strip of bollards right up to the intersection. Is that crazy? This is an unacceptable death. How many times will it happen until we push for better safety infrastructure? This reminds me of Kathryn: http://bikeportland.org/2012/05/16/collision-at-sw-3rd-and-madison-leaves-woman-with-life-threatening-injuries-71838
    Recommended 1

    Bollards or any other kind of pseudo “protection” would make such crashes even more likely. The crash occurs in the intersection, not before it.

    It’s absolutely tragic how so many bicyclists don’t seem to understand the simple geometric and human factors that ultimately cause these crashes, much less how to avoid them.

    Please, please, please read this carefully and study all of the animations.

    http://iamtraffic.org/resources/interactive-graphics/what-cyclists-need-to-know-about-trucks/

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • El Biciclero November 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Are you from Oregon? In Oregon, where this crash happened, the maneuver suggested in the animation (leaving a bike lane to go straight through an intersection), while safer, is illegal. Many cyclists here are more afraid to anger motorists—and being technically (legally) in the wrong while doing it—than they are of right hook risks.

      The above makes no assumption about the standard practices that Mr. Johnson may have followed; I’m just saying that what is almost more tragic than cyclists not understanding the dynamics that cause crashes like this is the passing of laws written in such a way as to prohibit prudent application of such understanding.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        First, that law only applies with bike lanes about which there was a public hearing that found that the bike lane is safe at bicycling speeds. That applies to almost no bike lanes. See 814.420 (2):

        —————-
        2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.
        —————-

        But even if there was such a finding and subsequent hearing, leaving the bike lane to avoid a right hook is not against the law in Oregon.

        ———————
        (3) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:

        (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.
        ———————

        The potential of a right hook is a hazardous (deadly in this case) condition.

        http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Dan November 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          Many of our bike-laned arterials in Beaverton are 45mph (actual speed: 55mph).

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

            Likewise in southern California. You seem to be imagining moving out right in front of 45 mph traffic. Not at all. If there is a gap, then move out. If there is traffic, you have to negotiate to move out. Use your left arm to signal. Look back. If you use a clear straight arm signal, they will let you in. Be confident. Be assertive. Once they slow for you, you move in. You never move in front of 45 mph traffic that way.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Dan November 21, 2014 at 5:04 pm

              So, a cyclist should ride in the middle of the right traffic lane through every intersection when proceeding on, say, 185th, is that right? I know you’re not from around here, but I think the folks who are familiar with 185th would find that sentiment a bit far-fetched.

              I’m not imagining pulling out directly in front of traffic at all. I’m imagining sitting in the lane while hordes of cars honk and swerve around me at 55mph. Awesome.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

              • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 6:48 pm

                “So, a cyclist should ride in the middle of the right traffic lane through every intersection when proceeding on, say, 185th, is that right? …” Dan

                Not exactly sure of the street configuration, but I believe 185th even through the very intense traffic area past Tanasbourne, has bike lanes. The bike lanes are generally what people riding bikes would use, unless they need to transition left for turns, etc.

                Use of the main lanes of 185th is far from easy riding, but is doable in a pinch. Again, I couldn’t recommend riding them unless absolutely necessary.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

                • Dan November 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm

                  I *think* you’re agreeing with me here.

                  I’m responding to this question from BBITBL:

                  “What is a cyclist like that doing riding in that bike lane?”

                  I think there are many roads where the bike lane is your only practical travel lane.

                  I’m trying to understand his/her suggestions for when I should be in the main lane. Is it all the time? Is it on every road? Is it just when passing through EVERY intersection? He/she has not clarified, just made some sweeping statements.

                  So what rules of behavior must we follow to ensure that BBITBL won’t pop up to victim blame when one of us is run down?

                  Recommended Thumb up 2

                • Bicyclist Belong in the Traffic Lane November 22, 2014 at 3:47 am

                  It appears they’ve been serving the “roads are for cars not bikes” Kool-Aid by the barrel in Oregon for years, and Oregon bicyclists have been gulping it down voraciously. At least that seems to go for the posters here. The sentiment that the only solution is more segregation is pervasive. Nobody seems to recognize the crucial role cyclist behavior plays in cycling safety, and anyone who brings it up (me) is criticized for victim-blaming.

                  I’m not saying bicyclists should use the full lane before and through every intersection, but it’s very helpful if that’s the cyclist’s default. The presence of a bike lane makes it more challenging, but not insurmountable.

                  In any case, if you are in a bike lane as you approach an intersection you should at least look back and assess the situation. Doing that should be an in-grained habit. If you’re being passed by an unbroken stream of 45mph traffic that cannot possibly slow in time to turn right, then there is little reason to start negotiating for right of way to exit the bike lane. But otherwise it’s probably your best bet to get out of the kill zone.

                  Recommended Thumb up 2

                • wsbob November 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

                  bb@: http://bikeportland.org/2014/11/20/collision-involving-fedex-truck-kills-person-bike-nw-portland-113735#comment-5866776

                  “…The sentiment that the only solution is more segregation is pervasive. …” bb

                  If infrastructure for bikes, such as cycle tracks, are what in saying “…more segregation…”, you’re referring to, that type of infrastructure is a possible solution to some of traffic related obstacles to biking for a wide range of types of riding.

                  Infrastructure for biking, distanced away from main lanes of the road, isn’t the ‘only solution’, but it is one that probably ought to be considered to accompany some of the major travel routes on which motor vehicle traffic is often very heavy.

                  Not to be disrespectful, but for example, old grannies and aunties that wouldn’t mind occasionally pedaling their ladies’ cruiser bike a couple miles to their girlfriend’s house for cards, or maybe pick up a few groceries, church, etc aren’t likely going to want to deal with the traffic situation on either Barnes or Cornell.

                  Because of the situation on some of the areas’ roads more heavily used by motor vehicle traffic, they, and even some people that ride quicker and stronger, are effectively locked out of being able to use those roads by means other than a motor vehicle. That’s not a healthy circumstance for the neighborhood, or for efforts to meet area transportation needs.

                  Recommended Thumb up 3

                • Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane November 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm

                  wsbob
                  bb@: http://bikeportland.org/2014/11/20/collision-involving-fedex-truck-kills-person-bike-nw-portland-113735#comment-5866776
                  “…The sentiment that the only solution is more segregation is pervasive. …” bb
                  If infrastructure for bikes, such as cycle tracks, are what in saying “…more segregation…”, you’re referring to, that type of infrastructure is a possible solution to some of traffic related obstacles to biking for a wide range of types of riding.
                  Infrastructure for biking, distanced away from main lanes of the road, isn’t the ‘only solution’, but it is one that probably ought to be considered to accompany some of the major travel routes on which motor vehicle traffic is often very heavy.
                  Not to be disrespectful, but for example, old grannies and aunties that wouldn’t mind occasionally pedaling their ladies’ cruiser bike a couple miles to their girlfriend’s house for cards, or maybe pick up a few groceries, church, etc aren’t likely going to want to deal with the traffic situation on either Barnes or Cornell.
                  Because of the situation on some of the areas’ roads more heavily used by motor vehicle traffic, they, and even some people that ride quicker and stronger, are effectively locked out of being able to use those roads by means other than a motor vehicle. That’s not a healthy circumstance for the neighborhood, or for efforts to meet area transportation needs.
                  Recommended 0

                  Let’s not kid ourselves. Creating a few cycle tracks here and there is not going to turn the US, Oregon or even Portland into some kind of Amsterdamian Nirvana where old grannies and aunties pedal along cycle tracks next to high speed arterials, carefree, on their way to buy their daily bread and fresh greens. Cycle tracks do nothing to improve safety at the intersections (I’m including driveway intersections too) where most cyclists are slaughtered. In fact, they make it worse for a number of reasons, not the least of which is making the cyclists even harder to notice and thus more likely to be hit.

                  100% of the motorists in the Netherlands cycle themselves, or have cycled, and all know and care about many who cycle. They get it. They don’t merely accept it, they respect it. They understand the dangers carefree cyclists face, and compensate for it. Their liability laws are different. Their traffic laws are different. They impose huge taxes on every aspect of motoring, from the purchase price to gas prices, parking and other fees. They’ve created an environment in which cycling is often the fastest way to get from A to B. They’ve created an environment geared towards utility cycling. They shop more often in smaller quantities, for example, at stores closer to their homes. The culture there supports carefree utility cycling and is willing to pay for it. The idea that we create something like that here, or that creating a few slipshod cycle tracks is going to move us in that direction, is worse than pure folly – it sets up the uninitiated, and even the experienced, to fail, where failure is reimbursed with maiming and even death, as it was in this tragedy.

                  So all this effort trying to get motorists to care more, to “look for cyclists” in places where traffic is not normally expected, and to build some more discontinuous piece of junk bikeways here or there, is not only a complete waste, but it distracts us from initiatives they really could improve bicycling, its safety, and its popularity. Initiatives that focus on getting bicyclists to use the full lane by default, and increasing acceptance of bicyclists in the traffic lanes in our society. That’s why we have our Facebook page. Please visit us and check out our Timeline posts and Photo Albums.

                  Recommended Thumb up 1

                • wsbob November 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm

                  bb@ http://bikeportland.org/2014/11/20/collision-involving-fedex-truck-kills-person-bike-nw-portland-113735#comment-5870099

                  No expectation on my part, that Amsterdam, Copenhagen biking conditions will become common here in Washington County.

                  Though, a basic cycle track system, as I’ve earlier written, accompanying some of the major thoroughfares, could help to open biking up to many people that have an interest in using that mode of travel, but don’t, out of an unwillingness to ride directly next to very intense motor vehicle traffic.

                  While instruction for biking in traffic can help people to be more skilled in dealing with traffic, it doesn’t change the proximity. Well conceived, designed and built cycle tracks can do that. Safe intersections for cycle tracks onto roadways can be built too, not that all necessarily have been.

                  I recognize you’re passionate about biking smart, though some words it seems you use occasionally for extreme effect, probably aren’t going to help people reading, keep a cool head on the subjects at hand.

                  Recommended Thumb up 2

            • El Biciclero November 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm

              And often, by the time a gap appears or you could have successfully negotiated a merge, you have either had to stop due to whatever hazard was blocking the bike lane and now have to get going from a dead stop to merge into 55 mph traffic, or a momentary hazard has already cleared.

              When I know I have to merge over (often across two lanes) for a left turn, I will do it early if a gap presents itself, and am then subject to dramatic, jerky swerving of cars around me, if not angry revving and honking when the platoon catches up to me. It’s a toss-up for what’s preferable between this and just pulling to the right and waiting for five lanes to clear (or hauling my bike onto the sidewalk to use a beg button, which I think is the behavior drivers expect of a bicyclist) so I can go straight across. I usually take the “vehicular” option because it’s more efficient for me, and so drivers can see what it’s like and maybe expect it more in the future.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • El Biciclero November 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm

          First, the officer that doesn’t like how I’m riding couldn’t give two shakes about whether a hearing has been had to determine the safety of a bike lane, and even if a hearing were held, “reasonable rates of speed” could well be determined to be 5 MPH by the non-cycling hearers, in which case I might as well walk.

          Second, the definition of “Hazardous Conditions” is what is at issue here. Until there is something actually impeding the bike lane—pile of broken glass, open car door, parked car, etc., there are no “Hazardous Conditions”. Potential hazards are not covered in the exceptions to the law. If an officer wants to cite me for riding outside the bike lane because the bike lane is in a door zone, he will, and the conversation will go like this:

          Officer: “Is there some reason you were riding outside the bike lane?” (most likely, this question would not be asked, I would be *told* I was riding outside the bike lane)
          Me: “Well, there are a lot of parked cars here, and I don’t want to get hit by someone opening a door.”
          O: “I don’t see any open doors.”
          Me: “Well, one could open at any time, I’ve seen it happen.”
          O: “And a car could hit you from behind, is that what you want—to get rear-ended?”
          Me: “I think drivers would be able to see me and go around.”
          O: “So you think you have the right to impede traffic because a door might open in front of you? I don’t think so.”

          I will be out the fine or the time to fight it regardless of whose interpretation of “hazardous conditions” is correct. I often make the point that if your interpretation of the law is correct, then a bicyclist may operate outside the bike lane at almost any time for any reason, and if that is true, then having a law that compels bike lane use is pointless. Even so, tickets are issued at an officer’s discretion, and it is the officer’s interpretation of the law that will prevail unless I incur the expense of a lawyer to take a traffic infraction case to court. Even in court, judges often fail to understand the intent of a bike lane. You may have heard of the case we had in Portland a few years ago where a driver, in clear violation of the law, right-hooked a bicycle rider, yet the judge deemed that since it was in an intersection (the only place a right hook can happen), and the bike lane stripe ended at the intersection (even though it continued on the other side), the cyclist was therefore not in a bike lane at the point of the collision and the driver could not be blamed. No matter what, I would lose as long as this law is in effect, interpretations aside.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am a flagrant scofflaw when it comes to remaining in the bike lane if I know hazardous conditions exist. If it is not possible to merge into traffic, I will hang back of a long truck until I know what it is doing, otherwise, I move out of the bike lane. If there is a driveway or cross street, I move out of the bike lane for visibility. If I am going the speed of other traffic, I move out of the bike lane. If I am stopping at an intersection and I want to go straight, I might move out of the bike lane prior to stopping. There may well be nuanced interpretations of Oregon’s “mandatory sidepath” law that allow safe operation as a cyclist, but it adds enough fear and confusion about what is legal and what isn’t to pose an impediment to truly safe riding.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • wsbob November 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

            “…There may well be nuanced interpretations of Oregon’s “mandatory sidepath” law that allow safe operation as a cyclist, but it adds enough fear and confusion about what is legal and what isn’t to pose an impediment to truly safe riding.” bic

            Hey everyone, getting a bit off topic, but click on the link, read and study the law’s language yourself:

            http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420

            Except for people that want to be afraid and confused about what it provides for, the law’s language is fairly straight forward and open ended, as is needed to encompass the vast range of road and street conditions road users in Oregon may encounter. The law allows people riding bikes to leave the bike lane and transition to the main lane, for virtually any hazardous condition encountered.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Bicyclist Belong in the Traffic Lane November 22, 2014 at 4:10 am

              In the end, for a truly safety-conscious cyclist, safety should always trump legal compliance.

              Remaining at the road edge, including in a bike lane, in the presence of a vehicle that can and might turn right, is simply not prudent. Most cyclists, even experienced and supposedly safety-conscious ones, don’t seem to realize this. There is very little understanding of this basic concept expressed in these comments, for example.

              Recommended Thumb up 3

              • wsbob November 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

                It is possible, within the provision of the law related to use of bikes on the road, for people riding to mostly avoid circumstances that would place them in for example, right hooks. Positioning, either fore or aft of a motor vehicle at an intersection, is strategy that can help avoid a right hook collision.

                What exactly took place in this particular incident, leading to this collision, I don’t know, can’t really know beyond speculation, so it’s better to refrain from guessing here about what all brought it to happen.

                Even with bike lanes available, people with a mind to ride safely, do need to have some knowledge and experience specific to riding bikes in traffic, to be able to do that. There are effective procedures and strategies for doing this that probably can’t in a practical manner, be spelled out in black and white in the language of for example, the language of ORS 814.420 relating to use of the bike lane by people riding.

                Bike in traffic instruction, readily and easily available for people that are going to be riding in traffic, could be a good idea, but so far, that doesn’t seem to be an idea that’s gathered widespread interest.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

            • El Biciclero November 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm

              “The law allows people riding bikes to leave the bike lane and transition to the main lane, for virtually any hazardous condition encountered.”

              I wasn’t going to respond to this, but if your statement is true, then why is 814.420 even a law?

              Could you provide a specific example of when you feel a cyclist would be in violation of 814.420? Then please explain how that specific example wouldn’t be covered by 814.430? Please don’t continue to explain how confused I am about the law, provide specific clarification to dispel my confusion.

              I would love to get an actual lawyer’s opinion on how 814.420 would apply in the following situations where a bicyclist is riding outside the bike lane:

              — When the left edge (stripe) of the bike lane is less than 5 feet from parked cars (door zone).
              — When a cyclist is passing a driveway and a car is approaching to exit the driveway.
              — When approaching an intersection where the bike lane is to the right of a lane from which a right turn is authorized, not required.
              — On a bright, sunny day, when the bike lane is shadowed.
              — When a bike lane is going to end, but has not yet ended.

              My layperson’s interpretation of the current law is that all of the above are technically illegal, but subject to any officer’s discretion in whether to stop and cite a bicyclist. Traffic laws should not be “open-ended”, however, and an officer should not be required to determine what the law is before deciding that someone has broken it.

              Recommended Thumb up 2

              • wsbob November 23, 2014 at 12:10 am

                “The law allows people riding bikes to leave the bike lane and transition to the main lane, for virtually any hazardous condition encountered.” wsbob http://bikeportland.org/2014/11/20/collision-involving-fedex-truck-kills-person-bike-nw-portland-113735#comment-5864771

                “…I wasn’t going to respond to this, but if your statement is true, then why is 814.420 even a law? …” bic

                I think there are likely a number of reasons this particular Oregon law was created. My feeling, is that it gives a basic outline of general circumstances in which people riding bikes should ride in the bike lane, or out of the bike lane.

                This law emphasizes there are circumstances in which people riding bikes should be riding in the bike lane, and that determining need to ride outside the bike lane isn’t something persons riding should decide on a whim. Use of the road is serious business.

                This law is for the benefit of all road users, not just people that ride.

                Probably without it costing you anything, you could ask for an “…actual lawyer’s opinion…” about this law. I don’t claim to be a lawyer. bikeportland has regularly consulted with Ray Thomas, who apparently is a lawyer with a particular interest in bike law. The guy occasionally writes articles for bikeportland.

                While not a lawyer, I think I do know how to ride safely in traffic, and I do think I understand this law well enough to know that it was not written to make it illegal for people riding bikes, to avoid hazardous conditions in the bike lanes. Nor do I believe this law has that effect.

                Standardized, readily accessible ‘bike in traffic’ instruction for people riding in traffic, or preparing to ride in traffic, could probably help people get a better sense of what the provisions of this law mean to them, while actually on the road, riding. As things are, learning to ride a bike in traffic, is almost entirely a ‘learn as you go’ proposition. That’s not good.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Judy November 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm
  • The Odd Duck November 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    In Marin County CA, where I use to live, I seen a dare to be stupid car driver behind a car that was getting ready to stop for a yellow light. The DTBS car got in the left hand turning lane and proceeded to pass the car that was stopping thought the light.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • clbpdx November 23, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Wow – very sad… I’ve commuted this Cornell->Barnes route for 6 years, and start going on my highest alert East of Murray: during heavy backlog you also have to deal with cross-traffic invited to jump into you through the gaps, and cars blocking bike lane entering Cornell. I call this Barnes/Cornell/Saltzman area the “Devil’s Triangle”. The scariest part to me is at the bottom of the triangle where Barnes intersects Saltzman, where cars turning into Westlake Village condos abruptly after the light create a very nasty Left-cross setup.

    I am a diligent student of bike safety, consistently take the lane to avoid Right-cross, but this loss of Kirke sure has me reflecting/re-thinking about my procedures around trucks.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Paul November 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

    KOIN TV has an excellent photo of the scene that shows the actual size of the tractor-trailer combination, and its position at the scene. The fact that the truck stopped barely past the crosswalk would seem to indicate the driver was taking the corner very slowly, and the point of impact was probably pretty far forward. I also note that the tractor is a SWB city tractor, with a rear window in the cab.
    http://koin.com/2014/11/20/recumbent-bicyclist-hit-by-delivery-truck-dies/

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Psyfalcon November 24, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Wasn’t there just a study that said we’re underestimating the number of rear end collisions?

    All of the stay in the traffic lane stuff can work if the number of rear end collisions is actually low. Or even caused by people not paying attention to the bike lane. People are however rear ending bikes with their cars, and even running over a wide variety of things in the road.

    Because of that, I don’t think we can categorically say that taking the lane is better, when the data its based off of may be flawed.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

      A central theme of the “old school” vehicular cycling philosophy was that rear-end collisions were so rare compared to right hooks and cross-traffic collisions that the middle of the lane was statistically much safer. That conclusion relies on the assumption that drivers won’t hit something that is right in front of them, because they are paying attention. Today’s growing threat on roads is distracted driving, which seems to mean that more and more drivers aren’t paying attention, even to objects that are right in front of them on the road.

      As much as wsbob and I disagree on the legal nuances of safe cycling, I thing we do agree that a combination of somewhat complex skills are necessary to navigate traffic safely. An awareness of what can happen at intersections and other areas gives cyclists a choice of whether to move into a safer road position, or at least be hyper-vigilant for the possibilities of adverse outcomes and employ some second-tier strategies, such as fore-aft positioning relative to other vehicles, etc.

      I wish we could train drivers as ‘Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane’ suggests, to expect bicyclists in the traffic lane. Oregon has been serving up the bikes belong on the edge of the road Kool-Aid ™ alright, but cyclists aren’t the only ones who’ve been swallowing it—drivers have, too. If a couple of cyclists start claiming the lane as is their (dubious) legal right every time safety might demand it for other reasons, then those few are putting themselves at much higher risk of being an unexpected “obstacle” in the road and being subjected to harassment or worse. How many such brave cyclists would it take to re-train Oregon drivers? How many would have to be victims of road rage before motorists would accept such cycling behavior?

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 9:56 am

        I’ve been riding with a mirror for over ten years and thus able to observe motorist behavior in reaction to my position. They are incredibly predictable in terms of what they’ll do if you ride at the edge, in the right tire tire track, or near lane center, biased towards the left tire track. The differences in their behavior are truly remarkable. There are many excellent reasons to use a mirror, and learning how motorists react to varying positions is one of those reasons that alone makes it worth it.

        There is a lot of hand-wringing about distracted driving due to texting and what-not, but the crash statistics don’t bear this out. I believe this is because drivers have always been far more distracted than anyone realized. Being distracted by texting doesn’t matter if without texting the driver would have been distracted by something else, like thinking about her next appointment, anyway. I think people overestimate the significance of eyes-off-the-road-distraction (e.g., eyes on their smart phone) and underestimate the significance of eyes-apparently-on-the-road but mind wandering distraction. The latter probably makes the driver just as blind due to inattentional blindness (Google it). I think the difference between those two types of distraction is negligible, and the second has always been much more prevalent. Nobody realizes when they are so distracted, because they distracted! But everyone knows the experience of arriving at their destination and not remembering the trip. At all. I can think of no other reason for crash statistics not increasing, much less skyrocketing, since the advent of cell phones and smart phones.

        And I doubt there is much correlation between car-car rear-enders and car-bike rear-enders, for a number of reasons. First, drivers naturally focus when there a bicyclist in the lane ahead. A car in front of them in “their” lane is mundane, and so doesn’t necessarily G R A B their attention the way a bicyclist does. The reaction to the bicyclist might be to back off or they might get angry, but either way they NOTICE the bicyclist, which is the goal. Second, the situations in which car-car rear-enders occur are usually in stop and go traffic – when the traffic in front of a car starts move, then unexpectedly stops. That’s just not a situation in which a bicyclist is likely to find himself, and, if he is, a car driver behind a bicyclist is going to naturally be much more cautious.

        It’s sad, tragic really, that the fears of getting hit from behind is what keeps so many bicyclists from even seriously trying to ride where they are much safer, using the full lane (safer not only from rear-enders, counter-intuitively, due to inadvertent drifts into unnoticed cyclists at the road edge, but from the more likely crossing conflicts ahead of them).

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

          I ride with a mirror—and a forward-mounted camera. I can’t show you what drivers behind me do, but I have already related a few of my experiences with driver behavior when to take any more of my lane would be to cross into the oncoming one, which is what some drivers will do, at speed, while I’m signaling a left turn. Thank goodness I had my mirror.

          I know all about inattention blindness and eye-scanning deficiencies (Google “saccade”). This is why I think allowing hands-free cell use while driving is ridiculous and does nothing to improve driver attention or ability to react—another reason why “eyes-off-the-road” inattention is not the only kind on the rise, disembodied cell conversations have increased the amount of inattention blindness on the road. There is also the phenomenon of “target fixation” that makes it more likely a driver who sees you but doesn’t register you as a threat will unintentionally aim for you.

          I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that more bicyclists are rear-ended while riding AFRAP, but it isn’t just the threat of being killed that influences cyclist decisions about where to ride. It takes an incredible amount of willpower to overcome the sometimes overwhelming “need” we have to get out of the way. Rationally, we may tell ourselves that the dragon breathing fire down our necks isn’t really going to eat us, but holy cow is it intimidating. We all want to be “nice” and not “hog” the road, especially on high-speed (>35 mph) roadways. Oh, and the dragon.

          I’d love to see your hit-from-behind statistics.

          Recommended Thumb up 6

          • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm

            El Biciclero

            I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that more bicyclists are rear-ended while riding AFRAP, but it isn’t just the threat of being killed that influences cyclist decisions about where to ride. It takes an incredible amount of willpower to overcome the sometimes overwhelming “need” we have to get out of the way. Rationally, we may tell ourselves that the dragon breathing fire down our necks isn’t really going to eat us, but holy cow is it intimidating. We all want to be “nice” and not “hog” the road, especially on high-speed (>35 mph) roadways. Oh, and the dragon.

            Yes, that must be overcome. CyclingSavvy does it in two classes with just about anyone. I think self-teaching takes longer. But, again, that mirror is so helpful. It allows you to see how respectful and cooperative they are. There are exceptions, of course. But by and large, it works out great, especially if you employ “control and release” when appropriate.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew Holtz November 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Evasive action to avoid right hooks is the norm… but it shouldn’t need to be. http://youtu.be/Y0pjbhs9uxo

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Zeppo November 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Awesome video! And unfortunately it’s also what I see every day. I’ve started counting cars that wait vs cars that don’t, and right now the count is 12 to 19. That’s 39% – and Portland is “bike friendly”! Imagine how bad it is in other parts of the US. Thanks for sharing the video.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Andrew Holtz
      Evasive action to avoid right hooks is the norm… but it shouldn’t need to be. http://youtu.be/Y0pjbhs9uxo

      Yes. Great video! Totally makes my point.

      First case: Bus is stopped at an intersection, necessarily away from the curb. The cyclist approaches the bus at :19, but instead of slowing, signaling and getting behind it, he proceeds to pass on the right!!! The bus of course beings to move forward and turn right. Classic case. Totally preventable, by the cyclist.

      Second case: Right-turning white sedan is driven into the bike lane. This is what the law in California requires, but this is in Oregon where they encourage right hooks. So technically the driver of the white sedan was wrong, but the move might have saved the cyclist’s life, because it forced him to stay behind instead of dangerously pass on the right. Preventable, by the cyclist, even if the motorist hadn’t moved into the bike lane first, had the cyclist properly held off passing on the right as he did in the third case.

      Third case: Instead of passing on the right, he wisely holds back. The black MB SUV indeed is turned right, as he (for once) anticipated it might, but then he gets mad at the driver. This should be an ingrained habit that you do reflexively, not something you do with reluctance and anger. Obviously preventable by the cyclist.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Zeppo November 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm

        No, this video does NOT make your point. The point the video makes really well is that motor vehicles regularly endanger cyclists who are riding in what is supposed to be a segregated lane. Cyclists are supposed to ride in the bike lane where one is provided – that’s the law in Oregon. When the cyclist is in the lane – even in the intersection – then the motor vehicle is not supposed to be there. Kirke died when a truck turned into his lane. He was the safest cyclist I’ve ever known.

        If the point you are making is, “The law is unenforceable and therefore null and void, so the cyclist must do whatever s/he can to save him/herself, including acting in ways that are unpredictable,” then I suppose you could say the video makes your point. But that’s a stretch.

        Safety on the road depends in large measure on all users acting in predictable ways. That’s what the law is predicated upon and seeks to create. I wouldn’t want to ride, drive, or walk in the world you advocate, where anybody can do anything at any time – and it’s everyone’s job to be on the lookout for it. The fact is that cars and trucks behave in ways that are unpredictable for cyclists all the time. But that shouldn’t be the norm. We need better driver training, better road designs, and better law enforcement.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • wsbob November 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm

          “..Cyclists are supposed to ride in the bike lane where one is provided – that’s the law in Oregon. …Zeppo

          With a wide range of exceptions provided for in the language of ORS814.420, if that’s the law you’re referring to.

          As to whether Kirke Johnson somehow felt constrained by the provisions of this law to stay in the bike lane at hazard to himself, I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it.

          Comments of some other people to stories about Johnson and the collision, express that he was very experienced with riding in traffic and with Oregon law relating to bike use on the road, not to have understood that this law allows people biking to leave the bike lane to avoid a wide range of hazardous conditions.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm

          “The law is unenforceable and therefore null and void, …”

          Not quite. For the most part, traffic laws follow common sense and reasonable. That’s why nobody has to memorize the vehicle code in order to comply with the laws. But the rules government bicyclist behavior are inherently contrary to normal traffic rules. Most notably, they direct through cyclists to the right of right turning traffic. It’s not just that they’re unenforceable, it’s that they’re overly complicated and unnatural. Heck, two bordering states, CA and OR, different fundamentally on how right turning motorists are supposed to deal with bike lanes. It’s a huge mess trying to make bicyclists different from other traffic. That’s my point. That, and treating us the same works remarkably well.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • spare_wheel November 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

            “It’s a huge mess trying to make pedestrians different from other traffic. That’s my point.”

            Ooops that paraphrase does not work…does it? Equating a vulnerable human being balancing on a wheeled ~30 lb metal frame to a person riding inside multi-ton motorized cage is nonsense. Active transport is not motorized transport and I am a bicycle cyclist, not a vehicular cyclist.

            “For the most part, traffic laws follow common sense”

            For motorists.

            The reason so many choose to routinely violate irrelevant-to-safety motorist-centric traffic laws is precisely because they are not “common sense” for cyclists of pedestrians.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

            • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm

              The law disagrees with you, and rightfully so. Bicyclists have had the rights and duties of drivers since before motor cars were invented. The line was drawn, and bicyclists, along with horse riders by the way, are on the driver side. The rules you despise were created for bicyclists and other drivers, to make travel more safe and efficient for them. And it’s only because others largely obey the rules you dismiss with aplomb that you are even able to survive as you “move through space efficiently and safely” without regard to those rules.

              By the way, there are running lanes, bicycle lanes, swimming lanes – these were created for motorists too? Or was the idea to aid humans with the task of guiding their lateral position?

              Please read this important article on this and related topics.

              http://iamtraffic.org/equality/the-marginalization-of-bicyclists

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Zeppo November 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

            No, it doesn’t work remarkably well, and yes, bicycles, with their 0.01 HP “engines” ARE fundamentally different from motor vehicles, many with 200+ HP. An entire infrastructure has been developed in Oregon, California, and other states to account for these differences, and most of the time, it works very well. But when inattentive, unlawful motorists break the rules, it doesn’t work. You seem to be trying to draw some universal truth, from the fact that Kirke was run down and killed, about how bike lanes are useless and even dangerous. They are NOT useless, and I’ll continue to advocate for them at every opportunity – and I must add, your tone-deaf lobbying for your position in this arena only alienates me further from your position.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

            • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm

              Alan 1.0

              Anyway, whether or not any minds are changed or lives saved by this discussion, I appreciate the civil and positive tone, BBITTL.

              Zeppo
              No, it doesn’t work remarkably well, and yes, bicycles, with their 0.01 HP “engines” ARE fundamentally different from motor vehicles, many with 200+ HP. An entire infrastructure has been developed in Oregon, California, and other states to account for these differences, and most of the time, it works very well. But when inattentive, unlawful motorists [because they’re human] break the [special and contradictory-to-normal] rules, it doesn’t work. You seem to be trying to draw some universal truth, from the fact that Kirke was run down and killed, about how bike lanes are useless and even dangerous. They are NOT useless, and I’ll continue to advocate for them at every opportunity – and I must add, your tone-deaf lobbying for your position in this arena only alienates me further from your position.

              So, my tone is positive but my lobbying is tone-deaf. Okay…

              It didn’t take Kirke’s death to demonstrate the uselessness of bike lanes, though his death and countless others exemplify it, to be sure.

              You assert bike lanes are not useless. Fine. Please explain how bike lanes are useful and not dangerous? And please don’t conflate the pavement on which bike lanes are painted with the bike lane itself, which traditionally consists of painted stripe, painted markings, and maybe occasional signs.

              What utility, besides debris accumulation, does bike lane treatment provide that would not be available otherwise? It provides a channel for bicyclists to pass stopped/congested traffic on the right? Well, on roads with lanes wide enough for bike lanes, but without bike lane treatments, stopped motorists tend to line up in a way that leaves room for cyclists anyway. I mean, who can’t navigate past stopped traffic in a 16 foot wide lane? Anything else?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • El Biciclero November 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

                “I mean, who can’t navigate past stopped traffic in a 16 foot wide lane? Anything else?”

                How about navigating past stopped traffic in two 14-foot wide lanes, in a state where lane-splitting is illegal? I’ve happened upon this situation where the through lane and a right-turn-only lane are both backed up, but thanks to the bike lane striped betweenthem, I’ve been able to legally bypass the exhaust and congestion to get to the light by the next cycle, instead of having to wait for two cycles. In long backups, I see cars staggering themselves all across the width of any size lane trying to gawk at what might be causing their delay; a bike lane stripe delineates the limit of rightward staggering (although it isn’t always observed).

                There is also the message telegraphed by a bike lane, which is “bikes are supposed to be on this road”. Admittedly, that’s a double-edged sword because it could also telegraph “…and nowhere else”, but it still puts drivers on notice that they will likely encounter bicyclists. Also, outside of the confinement issues created by some state laws, there is something confidence-building about having a line there as a distance guide and to suggest that this is as far right as drivers should go. A bike lane line doesn’t just open up a channel for bicyclists to pass stopped cars, it also serves as a guideline (away from intersections) for drivers to pass slower cyclists.

                The problems with bike lanes are caused by ill-conceived laws that govern their use, and the false sense of security they give novice riders at intersections. I often like to think of bike lanes as bike refuge lanes to be used like a passing lane on the highway, for bicyclists to “release” a lane and let cars pass, or to pass stopped car traffic.

                Recommended Thumb up 3

                • wsbob November 26, 2014 at 12:14 am

                  “…I often like to think of bike lanes as bike refuge lanes to be used like a passing lane on the highway, for bicyclists to “release” a lane and let cars pass, or to pass stopped car traffic.” bic

                  A ‘refuge lane’ is one of the functions bike lanes provide to people riding. Oregon law, with a few exceptions, mostly limits people driving, from use of the bike lane with a motor vehicle. For someone riding, if traffic behind is backing up, and if the bike lane isn’t gunked up with some or another thing, it can be a great place to pull into and let faster traffic pass.

                  Otherwise, personally, I have no hesitation to use the main lane of the road rather than the bike lane, if a given stretch of main lane provides safer travel on a bike than does the adjoining bike lane. And as many people that ride, well know, this is often the situation with bike lanes.

                  Recommended Thumb up 0

                • spare_wheel November 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

                  “Otherwise, personally, I have no hesitation to use the main lane of the road rather than the bike lane”

                  You may have no hesitation but others clearly do. This alone is a good reason to repeal or weaken the mandatory sidepath law. I would be OK with a mandatory sidepath law that strengthens the safety exclusion and allows cyclists to exit a bike facility if they are traveling at or near the normal speed of traffic.

                  Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Andrew Holtz November 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm

        By your logic, if you are proceeding straight through an intersection, but you see an oncoming vehicle signalling a turn, you should stop to let the turning vehicle proceed, because you can’t be sure the driver won’t crash into you, even though you have the right of way.
        The law is clear here: people on bicycles going straight have the right of way over vehicles turning right.
        Yes, I will act with caution… but we should all insist that drivers take responsibility for knowing the law and for looking right before turning.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

        Hey, now… Did you see the gap behind the turning bus in the first case? Or rather, the not-much-of-a-gap right in front of that other huge bus (or truck, hard to tell with the video cut). Isn’t there a blind spot that close to the front of large vehicles like that? There wasn’t much space for a cyclist to easily merge into traffic and not go from one blind spot to another; he did about the only thing possible: stop and wait for the bus to get out of the way. Of course, the bicyclist could have chosen to claim the full lane back at the initial turn onto 13th, then gotten off and walked as fast as that traffic was moving. When there is an endless back-up of cars, the major advantage of riding a bike in a bike lane is getting past that traffic jam, otherwise, might as well take the car and sit in it.

        In the second case, the first driver was violating Oregon law, while the second driver in the black sedan was obeying it by signaling a right turn (a rarity around here) but yielding to the bicyclist. What should the bicyclist expect, compliance with the law or violation? What should the cyclist do, comply with the law, or violate it? In this case, since the car was already blocking the bike lane, the cyclist would clearly be allowed by Oregon law to “safely exit” the bike lane to go around this obstruction, but an early exit from the bike lane “just in case” is of dubious legality here, even if there is an aptly-timed gap to merge into.

        The third case is a blatant violation of Oregon law by the driver, so I would say while the cyclist is prudent in avoiding a collision here, any anger at the inattentive driver is not unjustified. If a pedestrian starts crossing in a crosswalk and a driver turns into them, forcing the pedestrian to jump back, would their anger be justified? This is the equivalent situation here in Oregon.

        Not saying your suggestions wouldn’t be safe and doable in some cases, but your comments come off as though you think this bicyclist, even though obviously observant and able to avoid potential collisions, is somehow a poor, dumb schmuck, who due to his tragic ignorance is one intersection away from getting himself killed. I say this is the kind of ambiguity that Oregon law, which admittedly runs counter to common sense and safety, introduces into the traffic mix here.

        Let’s also not forget that within the framework of Oregon law, each of these dangerous situations was also totally preventable by the motorist had they been paying attention and obeying the law, as we saw one out of four drivers doing in this video. Every conflict here was caused by a motorist breaking the law.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Alan 1.0 November 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane
    …then he gets mad at the driver. This should be an ingrained habit that you do reflexively…

    🙂 Sorry, couldn’t help myself, that’s totally out of context and not at all what you meant, but it’s funny when read that way. 🙂

    Anyway, whether or not any minds are changed or lives saved by this discussion, I appreciate the civil and positive tone, BBITTL.

    A minor detail, what mirror(s) do you like for drop bars? Or are you a helmet- or glasses-mirror user?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Bicyclists Belong In The Traffic Lane November 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Take-a-Look mirror on glasses works great for me. I always say to give it a week or two to adjust, but many need less time.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Alan 1.0 November 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        That was my first choice, too, but it didn’t work out for me. Getting used to it was not the problem. Currently using EVT on the helmet (good) and Ultralight on the bars (so-so).

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Pete November 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

          I couldn’t seem to get used to helmet- or eyeglass-mounted mirrors either – I just could not stop turning my head to look at them (dogs stop chasing their tails to laugh at me ;). I’ve since equipped all of my drop-bar bikes with mirrors though some are more clear (better quality glass) than others. I think it’s the CycleAware “Roadie” that I have the best luck with. I clean it often with eyeglass cloth and also treat it with anti-fog. Another brand I’ve tried tended to become pitted over time; don’t recall the name. For the type of riding I do I can’t imagine not using a mirror anymore, as they give you instant situational awareness (though don’t replace turning and looking to verify what you think you see). Still blows my mind when I see product reviews that effectively say $20 is too much to spend on something that could save your life though!

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Alan 1.0 November 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

            Oh, I adjusted fine to the Take-a-Look; like El Biciclero I wore it everywhere for a day. But it didn’t fit my sunglasses arms and needed jury-rigging to stay on at all, I don’t wear vision glasses, and my helmet doesn’t have a visor to clip it to. Then there’s having to move it from sunglasses to clear lenses, if you wear those at night or dull days, or go without. It was a nuisance taking it on and off, and storing it either separately or on sunglasses…no good option for me. (I see that it works fine for people with the right eyewear and I think it might work with a visor. It worked on a ball cap visor.)

            The CycleAware Roadie looks nice but I like bar end shifters so it won’t fit. If I didn’t, I’d probably go with the Mirrycle as El B. mentioned; it works so well on my wife’s trike she wants another for the other side.

            The Ultralight is nicely made but it’s too convex for me. Images in it look *vanishingly* small as distance increases, and it doesn’t have as much horizontal field as I’d like. It’s minorly annoying, sticking out off the bars as I change hand position, and it gets in the way sometimes when parked.

            Which leaves me with the EVT on my helmet. I doubt anything could look dorkier but it works well for me, day or night, I can change eyewear or bikes, can’t lose it or forget it, easy to adjust and use, locally made. So far, so good.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • El Biciclero November 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

        This is my favorite mirror. I wore mine around the house for a weekend; that was all I needed. But you do have to have the right kind of glasses to support it, and if your glasses get fogged, you can look over the top of your frames to the front, but you can’t really see the mirror (assuming your vision is good enough to see anything in it anyway…). Biggest advantage to helmet/glasses mirrors: you can just about see around corners by turning your head. I have a Mirrycle (sp?) handlebar mirror on my cargo bike. It has a slight convex shape to give a wider view, but it can be hard to see what’s going on because it makes things smaller, and you have to lean your head or wiggle your bars to see everything you might want to see; doing a head turn is easier.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • GlowBoy November 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Due to my use of rigid contact lenses (which occasionally slip off center if you blink while looking well off to the side, such as with a helmet/glasses mounted mirror) I’m pretty well limited to handlebar mirrors.

    And I’ve pretty much always ridden with a mirror, going back more than 30 years. I’ve tried a LOT of them — rejected some, lost some and smashed some — but the one I keep coming back to is the 3rd Eye. It is super adjustable, has an expanding-rubber mount that is much less fiddly than most (probably also reducing vibration), and is completely tool-free in both installation and adjustment. It’s round so it doesn’t stick out too far, but just big enough and convex enough to give a wide-enough field of vision without making things too small. It also quick-folds in to avoid damage without screwing up the adjustments. Nothing else I’ve found comes even close to working as well on my drop bars.

    Recommended Thumb up 1