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Woman walking near Tilikum Bridge suffers serious injuries in collision with bicycle rider

Posted by on October 21st, 2015 at 11:37 am

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Carole Barkley (before the collision).
(Photo: David Loftus)

It has happened. And I hate to say that I’m not surprised.

On Sunday October 11th, Carole Barkley was hit by a man riding a bike near the Tilikum Bridge. The woman was walking her dog (the dog was not injured) near the west end of the new bridge when the collision occurred.

We received the email below last week from David Loftus, Carol’s husband (emphases mine):

“My wife was hit, hard, by a cyclist near the west end of Tilikum Crossing bridge on Sunday morning about 9 a.m. The collision knocked her down and put her in the hospital for more than two days with four broken ribs, a separated shoulder, a chipped vertebra, lots of cuts and abrasions, and attacks of vertigo.

She was walking our six-pound dog (who was fortunately unhurt), and specifically waited for the pedestrian crossing signal at the east end of the Orange Line MAX platform. Presumably the cyclist had a red light, but my suspicion is that he wasn’t looking for a signal under the presumption that he’d passed the big intersection at Moody and Meade and was free to climb the bridge heading east.

I don’t wish to demonize him; he stayed at the scene, gave us his name and contact info, and seemed very upset and apologetic. What puzzles me is that Portland Police did not respond to the 911 call, and they would not take a police report when I called a few days later. (As a side note, two of the Police Bureau employees I worked my way through on the phone had no idea what Tilikum Crossing was.)

There are plenty of other issues with regard to the signaling at both ends of the bridge (I work part-time for the Portland Streetcar and have observed other red flags with regard to cross traffic and signaling), but I was wondering whether you’d be interested in using my wife’s story as a jumping-off place to discuss them.

Here’s a closer look at the exact intersection where this happened. It’s east of Moody at the future location of SW Bond:

My first walk across Tilikum Bridge-4

As I said above, this story doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had concerns about the routing, signals, and path design on the west end of the bridge for weeks now. Compared to the transit lines, the bikeways often seem like they were mere afterthoughts. We have also received several emails and comments (especially in response to our open thread the day the bridge opened) from readers who share these concerns. Our News Editor Michael Andersen and I plan to cover the issues in more detail soon.

As David says in his email, perhaps this collision could help highlight the issues and start another discussion about how best to address them going forward.

Now that the bridge has been open for a few weeks and some of you have ridden it many times already, do you have any concerns about the west end near SW Moody and the MAX platform?

UPDATE: We’ve just received the photos below of the location where the collision occurred from David Loftus:

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Comments about the photos from David:

The first photo is from the cyclist’s perspective approaching the accident site. The tiny signal on the big silver light pole is the only bicycle signal at that intersection, with no prior warning that there is a pedestrian crossing coming up, and that pole as well as the power boxes in front of it neatly hide a waiting pedestrian as well as the normal-sized bicycle signal that’s 40 or 50 feet BEYOND the intersection. (So what is it for?)

The second photo, much closer to the pedestrian crossing, shows how near you have to get before the larger, main signal comes out from behind the items that obscure it. And, being so far beyond the intersection, where is a cyclist supposed to know where to stop?

UPDATE, 4:30 pm: TriMet has released video of the collision.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

169 Comments
  • Paul Manson October 21, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I am curious about the PPB response – did you ask them for a comment on the claim that they did not respond? I assume medics arrived based on a 911 call.

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    • B. Carfree October 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      I was initially doubting that the incident even happened. I’ve never heard of a police department that won’t respond to an injury collision that involves transport in an ambulance.

      I guess it’s official. We really are second-class citizens.

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      • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm

        Dude what are you even talking about?

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        • Jennifer October 22, 2015 at 10:11 am

          hahaahaaaaaa

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley October 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I am sorry a serious injury crash had to come so soon on our wonderful car-free bridge. I wanted to believe that Tri-Met and the City could start fixing obvious problems before someone got hurt, but now we’ll never know.

    I’m glad the bike-rider stopped, helped, etc. He did the right thing. I don’t want to demonize him either – infrastructure probably didn’t help the situation. But as with car-on-bike and car-on-pedestrian crashes, it would seem that the faster vehicle operator here was careless. “I didn’t see the red light” might be a partial excuse if the red light was unexpected, badly placed, or whatever. But “I didn’t see the human being who was in plain sight” means “I wasn’t looking.”

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    • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Agreed – the infrastructure and signaling are partially to blame, but in the end, we all just need to slow down when riding in an area that sees a lot of foot traffic.

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    • Ben October 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      It’s interesting that even the brutal speed bumps at either end of the bridge haven’t slowed down the fast commuters. I like to keep a fast pace, but I slow down to 5 mph at either end of the bridge to avoid the hard jostle.

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    • AIC October 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Hopefully he brought her flowers too.

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    • John Lascurettes October 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Those power boxes are of particular concern. They block the line-of sight to the area where a pedestrian will cross the bike path. They should have been placed further downstream so they don’t block the view of cyclists heading that direction. Also note, the pedestrian about to cross a path would also like clear line of sight of the traffic headed their direction. Eye contact is everything (both for riders and walkers).

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      • redtech116 October 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        I agree, why not have then all the way to the left next to outter gardrail?
        why even have them ..this is a new bridge, why not have everything in a room someplace next to the bridge?

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      • Mike Reams October 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        This is a concern at the 53rd and SE stark bike/ped crossing. For both directions of travel (on Stark) there are signs and street trees that obscure both the driver and the pedestrian ability to see each other.

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        • lop October 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm

          It’s an issue at a lot of crosswalks, especially when a cyclist is riding right on the curb. Ride on the left side of the lane, closer to where a car driver would be, and visibility is often improved noticeably.

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    • wsbob October 21, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      “…But “I didn’t see the human being who was in plain sight” means “I wasn’t looking.” …” hawley

      With the photos he took, and his comments in regards to them, David Loftus emphasizes the possibility that due to the location of the bike lane signal, and the alignment of the poles and the power boxes relative to each other, even people biking and looking for pedestrians preparing to cross the bike lane, may not see them.

      Just on my impression looking at the pictures, the bike lane lights look kind of small. Also, their positioning on the poles allowing view of them to be blocked at distance by poles and power boxes, suggests maybe the lights should be mounted overhead, on wires or poles with long arms as many street signal lights are.

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      • KristenT October 22, 2015 at 11:17 am

        That bike signal is very difficult to see, as well, contributing to the incident. I would have expected something bigger and easier to see, especially as the sightlines for seeing pedestrians are so terrible.

        I caught this on last night’s news and was appalled at how terribly engineered this intersection is; the pedestrians cannot see if someone is coming down the way, the cyclists can’t see if someone is waiting at the crossing, and the light is so small as to be nonexistent. Hopefully the city and TriMet will fix all these things so it doesn’t happen again.

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      • dr2chase October 22, 2015 at 7:29 pm

        I’m not surprised at the crash, and plenty of drivers don’t do any better at taking care, and that intersection has a horrible design, but the guy on the bike ought to have taken more care. There’s a light. There’s a crosswalk. One of the things you’re supposed to be trained to see is when you can’t see.

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  • ynn October 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Oh, this poor woman. I am sending her best wishes for healing up. This incident should put paid to the idea that “getting hit by a bike isn’t that bad compared to a car” which is language that seems to come up (see thread about people on bikes/people on foot at Riverplace MUP) when bike/pedestrian collisions are discussed.

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    • LC October 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      It isn’t. Which isn’t to say that bike on ped collisions aren’t and can’t be bad, they just aren’t as bad as car on ped or car on bike collisions.

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    • B. Carfree October 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      No, I don’t think so. Getting hit by a car that runs a red light at full speed is often fatal. This was demonstrated just last summer down in Eugene when two separate incidents resulted in four deaths of pedestrians by motorists either running a red light or failing to yield at a crosswalk.

      Physics cannot be denied; cars have more mass than bikes by a large factor and thus carry more energy and transfer more injury-causing momentum at any given speed.

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    • Chris I October 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      There are dozens of fatal car/pedestrian crashes in Oregon each year. I am not aware of a single deadly incident involving a cyclist and pedestrian. This absolutely does not put it to rest.

      Remember, Force = Mass x Acceleration. The mass and velocity (10 to 20x the weight of a cyclist and 2 to 4x the speed) involved when someone is hit by a car exponentially increases the chance of death.

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    • lop October 21, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Getting hit by a car is much worse than getting hit by a bike. Unfortunately some use that to waive off concerns about pedestrian-cyclist interactions. A crash between two cyclists, or a cyclist and a pedestrian, rarely results in death. Too much focus is placed on that point, as if severe injuries (>24 hours in a hospital), or even mild bruising is acceptable. They should not be. That bikes are dangerous doesn’t make them as dangerous as cars.

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      • davemess October 21, 2015 at 1:09 pm

        I think you left out the “more often” much worse.
        All incidents are different, and cyclists get hit by cars and ride away, while some pedestrians have died after being hit by a cyclist (San Fran, etc.).

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        • Paul Atkinson October 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

          That’s what we call “the exception that proves the rule.”

          Yes, it’s possible to kill a pedestrian with a bicycle, but it’s so rare and difficult that you’re still talking about that one time years ago it happened. Cars kill hundreds every day.

          That said, “safer than a car” is such a low bar I’d hate to apply it. We do need safe infrastructure everyone is comfortable with, and I’d prefer to get there a different way than gradually acclimating everyone to regular death and injury as we did with driving.

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          • Bjorn October 21, 2015 at 2:37 pm

            Deaths are so rare that they really don’t represent the best way to track problem intersections even for collisions involving cars, injuries are actually a much better way to do so. The fact that this particular point has been open for such a short period of time yet has already generated a serious injury is telling. I think that it should be fixed now rather than waiting for more data, because looking at those photos I think it is only a manner of time before someone else is hurt.

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          • gutterbunnybikes October 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

            It’s is rare, but it cyclists killing pedestrians usually happens more than just once a year nation wide.

            I’d have to look to make sure but for 2013 (the last year available from the cdc) there were somewhere around 5 incidents of pedestrian deaths (give or take) from a bicycle accident, and I know for sure (I got a chart on this on my wimpy little blog) that year there 3 cyclist deaths from collisions with pedestrians.

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          • gutterbunnybikes October 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

            And not to really be a downer (I hope nothing but the best for Carole and wish her a speedy and complete recovery) but sever injuries at certain ages can be catastrophic.

            http://www.medpagetoday.com/Orthopedics/Orthopedics/28742

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        • lop October 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm

          Yes, thank you.

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      • Charley October 22, 2015 at 10:19 pm

        I’ve been hit by car and by bike. If I had to choose, I’d choose to be hit by bike again, without a moment’s thought. Both sucked, but, even though I was hit by car in 2010, I’m still hurting from that. Getting hit by bike a year ago? I forget it even happened sometimes.

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  • J_R October 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

    There are obvious problems with the bike signals at the Moody Avenue crossing at the west end. I sent a very detailed message to the City of Portland about the problems I encountered. I did not receive a response. The signals did not respond to the presence of bicycles through two signal cycles so eventually we all went through on the red. A few occurrences like that and people will begin to regularly ignore the signals

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    • Steve B October 21, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      You should keep writing until you get a response, sometimes they are severely backlogged with requests.

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    • Spiffy October 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      I ignore MAX bells due to train drivers abusing them… I only pay attention to the horn…

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  • mw October 21, 2015 at 11:59 am

    One problem down there is the signals are unnecessarily long. For instance, a train will go across Moody, but the bike/ped signals stays red for another 15-20sec. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but it is pretty annoying when you are just sitting there for no reason. I think it makes people more prone to ignoring the signals in general. I think this also annoys drivers, and many will run that red light on Moody. It happens so often, that I never cross Moody immediately when the bike signal goes green… I always check to make sure that cars have stopped in both directions. Which brings me to my next point.

    I always check to make sure cross traffic is stopped when I get a signal to go. Red-light running is a major problem around here, especially around heavily congested intersections with short signal cycles. I’m sure that the day I forget to do this is the day I get nailed.

    So, while it sounds like the cyclist was definitely at fault in this story for not stopping at a signal, there should probably be more signage for pedestrians around there that there is bike cross traffic to be aware of.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) October 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      The Moody crossing issue is separate from the incident above (except to the extent that meaningless red lights undermine respect for all red lights) and I’ve got a post in the works about that in particular. The good news is that the city and TriMet are aware of the long delay problem, which is related to the placement of detectors in the nearby train tracks, and are looking for solutions.

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    • chris October 21, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      I used Car2Go recently when my bike was in the shop, and I had a ten minute red light at that crossing. Two motorists in each direction actually went into full rage mode and ran the light, one narrowly evading a MAX train.

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  • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Sorry to hear this happened. The signals at that intersection need some work. Often, the bike light remains red for an extended period of time, even if there is no cross-traffic or train coming. This leads many people to ignore the signals. Also, what’s up with that flashing red bike signal? Does that mean treat as a stop sign?

    The issue is mainly because TriMet (understandably) designed the intersection to priorize transit vehicles instead of people walking and people riding bikes. Hopefully, the signal timing can be changed to fix this.

    Here’s hoping she recovers soon.

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    • jeff October 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      you should brush up on your understanding of what flashing red means.
      this is operator error on someone’s account. I’ve used the bridge twice a day since it opened and have easily figured out all of the lights. Most of them have terrible timing and there are far too many pedestrian crossings on the west side, but its not that difficult if you simply slow down.

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      • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        Flashing red typically means “signal is broken, treat as a stop sign”. Never seen it used for a bike signal, though. Seems odd to me to use at a crosswalk.

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        • lop October 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm

          You know how on a bike or in a car you’re supposed to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk? But a lot of people go too fast approaching crosswalks to be able to stop if someone wants to cross? Bad mix when a person on foot is trying to run to catch a bus or train, or when you’re trying to make a place pleasant for people walking around generally. Flashing red bike signal is a stop sign. Flashing red isn’t only a broken light, sometimes it’s used intentionally to emphasize that you should stop and check for cross traffic (pedestrians count). Yes they could just use a stop sign, but people don’t stop for them. And it would mean the stop sign applies at all times. Isn’t it better for the light to be green sometimes?

          Except maybe for a bit after a crash like this one I doubt any cop would ticket you for rolling through without stopping, just make sure you do it slow enough and with enough care that if someone wants to sprint across that you can stop and yield to them. A lot of people around and you’re not sure if someone is about to cross? Slow down more than when the little plaza there is empty. A bus or train is blocking your view and you can’t see if someone is crossing in front of it? Slow down and go through very slowly because you don’t know if someone is coming. The flashing red was supposed to be a compromise that prioritized pedestrians trying to cross without unduly delaying cyclists when nobody is crossing. That’s how I assume they want the light interpreted anyway. Have a better way to convey to cyclists that that is the expected behavior?

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    • Lester Burnham October 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Wrong. The issue here is light or no light the cyclist should have been looking out for pedestrians.

      You expect motor vehicle operators to have their head on a swivel for you (as they should) and you should expect to do the same as a cyclist regarding other vulnerable road users.

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      • KristenT October 22, 2015 at 11:27 am

        Apparently, both cyclists and pedestrians also need to have X-ray vision to see through the large solid objects blocking their view.

        Yes, the cyclist could have been going slower, but in the absence of any other pedestrians, and not having seen this one approaching the intersection, and having the bike signal sized and placed in such a way as to be easily missed, how could this incident be foreseen? I guess just assume that you’re going to hit or be hit and walk and ride accordingly?

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  • Buzz October 21, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    This could have been done so much better, now it’s just another area to avoid…

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    • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Despite the signal timing issues and somewhat tight turns, it’s actually one of the best-designed bikeways and intersections in the city. Fully protected intersection for people riding bikes, as well as a clearly-defined cycle track, cross-bike striping, and dedicatede bicycle phases. The transit use makes it a bit more complicated, though. We should be copying this design onto Naito and other places around the city.

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      • J_R October 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm

        I disagree about it being well-designed. I think the design is really poor and should NOT be emulated elsewhere. The bike facility is not “protected” if pedestrians can wander into it without noticing, when route-finding is difficult, signals are unresponsive, and when long delays lead to ignoring the traffic control devices that are present.

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        • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

          Agreed that it could use some improvements, but the corner islands separating people riding from people driving (and train and bus) are a key component of a protected intersection. As well as the cross-bike striping and right angle crossings. Anecdotally, I havent seen too many people walking in the cycle track, and I feel the green paint does a good job of separating the space.

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          • rainbike October 21, 2015 at 12:55 pm

            But as Ben points out below, the corner islands are too small for the amount of bike traffic present during peak times. There is only room for a few bikes. Good idea. Bad execution.

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            • SD October 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

              I couldn’t agree more. The cycle paths are built for very low bike traffic and do not accommodate mid-level to peak traffic.

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              • gutterbunnybikes October 22, 2015 at 6:12 am

                Roads aren’t designed for peak auto traffic either. If they were there wouldn’t be any back up at rush hour(s).

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                • SD October 22, 2015 at 5:21 pm

                  Not my field, but from what I have read peak traffic is a prominent consideration in road design. Roads are not designed for peak traffic only, but depending on the type of road, like an arterial, accommodating efficient traffic flow at expected volumes is typically a priority. Here are several examples of designing for one slow moving bike to roll by every 30-60 seconds. This bridge, which has been widely perceived as a potential cycling arterial, barely allows enough space for cyclists to comfortably pass each other, does not allow space after the eastward descent to slow and head north to the esplanade without obstructing faster moving bikes, and does not allow enough space on Moody for bikes heading east to wait for the light without blocking the north south bike lanes.

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        • wsbob October 22, 2015 at 9:57 am

          “…when long delays lead to ignoring the traffic control devices that are present.” J_R

          Self-indulgent, inept and irresponsible road use, in this situation…bike lane use…lead to ignoring traffic control devices.

          In this incident, the person riding was highly responsible for the collision having occurred. It does no good to overlook the fact that wherever people ride, they must look and think ahead, evaluating what’s before them for the presence of possible hazards which they may need to prepare to avoid. Such as something as simple as junk on the road, uneven surface, or in this situation, objects that obstruct view of important points on the way ahead.

          While Trimet seems to have goofed by initially creating the sight line problem, and perhaps a problem with signal lights unnecessarily long duration, after the fact with everything having been in place for some while, it’s the people riding the path in actual use that are responsible for being certain they’re seeing what they need to see…until corrections as needed, are made to the infrastructure.

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      • NC October 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        :Dedicated bicycle phases” just means more lights and more confusion at Moody. The bike phases and ped phases should be the same and use the same lights. It’s nuts there.

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  • Granpa October 21, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    It sounds like the cyclist hit a stationary person. If that is the case, it is not signals or infrastructure, but operator malfunction.

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    • q`Tzal October 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Pedestrians are always relatively stationary. Unless they are small children in which case they move like butterflies on meth.

      But I agree totally.

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  • K'Tesh October 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Praying for a fast and complete recovery.

    I hope that the “powers that be” will immediately begin an investigation to determine how to prevent future collisions… Than quickly act to fix this problem.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu October 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Is this more about the infrastructure, or more about a careless cyclist? There’s not, in my opinion, usually much excuse for hitting a pedestrian in a marked crossing, in broad daylight. Not for drivers, and not for cyclists.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      most likely a bit of both John.

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      • Todd Hudson October 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm

        How odd you’re coming to the defense of the cyclist. Would you do the same if it were an motorist?

        Your entire article seems to give a pass to the person who actually hit Carole, and instead more on “path design”. The person who hit her was negligent.

        The frequency of cyclists disregarding pedestrians is as bad as automobiles disregarding pedestrians/cyclists. Infrastructure is not the primary factor behind this.

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        • Alex Reed October 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm

          Wait, are we talking about the same BikePortland here? The one that is an indefatigable advocate for better bike infrastructure and mentions infrastructural challenges in most articles, regardless of topic?

          Yes, there are plenty of instances where BikePortland has noted that bad driving AND bad infrastructure likely contributed to a car-on-bike crash. Here’s one: http://bikeportland.org/2013/11/20/crash-raises-questions-about-changes-on-hawthorne-bridge-97471

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        • Tony T
          Tony T October 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm

          “Infrastructure is not the primary factor behind this.”

          He didn’t say it was. And there are many articles on this site that blame infrastructure for some car/bike collisions. In fact I would argue that advocating for better infrastructure to lessen the likelihood of car/bike collisions might very well be the PRIMARY focus of this site.

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  • Ben October 21, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    The poor design of the signals around the new bridge is conditioning cyclists and pedestrians alike to ignore them. Westbound, the bicycle signal where I think this collision happened remains red even when a train is crossing the bridge and pedestrian cross-traffic is impossible. A similar failure of coordination happens on the east side, where east-west traffic remains stopped even when a freight train is delaying north-south traffic.

    I expect more bike-pedestrian and bike-bike collisions will happen at the westbound exit of the bridge, where bicycle traffic headed downtown twice crosses pedestrian walkways, and along the Moody cycletrack, which is far too small to accommodate the amount of traffic it’s getting already.

    Given the ambitious plans for new housing on the southeast side of the bridge and office buildings at the western landing, why were the facilities for bicycles and pedestrians built too small even for existing use? This area is going to be an even worse mess in five years, when the Zidell properties are finished.

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    • Charley October 22, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      You are SO FREAKING RIGHT ABOUT THIS. I can’t believe how much signalry is going on down there right now. Even worse, most of the time those signals are red, there’s NOTHING GOING ON. I think things might be better in many places if there were simply stop signs or uncontrolled intersections. At least people wouldn’t get in the habit of ignoring useless, stupid signals.

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  • AIC October 21, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I accidentally ran a red “bike” light heading south on the west side. Right over the streetcar tracks (luckily no street cars around). I have ridden the area 20 or so times in the past few months, so I kind of know the area. I am not a rookie. I ride alertly and can’t believe I missed that light. There is a lot of distraction down there for bike signs/lanes/lights/people/fences, poles, sidewalks, etc.
    Not sure what the solution is, that is for someone smarter than me. But it could be better in that area. Trimet used to have people stationed down there to stop bike/peds at the street car track crossing, I thought that was good “training wheels” method.

    Also, some of those bike crossing lights are timed REALLY long, I got caught at one of them for so long, I started to get cold and stiff. Needed to jog in place or something…..

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    • davemess October 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Yes, both ends are so heavily over-designed, that they are still confusing, even if you’ve ridden them multiple times before.

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      • wsbob October 25, 2015 at 11:36 pm

        “…both ends are so heavily over-designed, that they are still confusing, …” davemess

        Before assuming the engineers have “…over-designed…” the infrastructure, the first thing to do is study the situation to understand why the infrastructure was designed to be as it is.

        If there are not good enough reason to have designed the infrastructure as has been done, and there are better, simpler, easy to follow ways of laying the configuration out, then present them. No person, critical of the Tillikum bridge approach infrastructure, has in comments to bikeportland stories, offered well thought out alternative ideas for the configuration Trimet constructed.

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  • q`Tzal October 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    This article could use a clear diagram of this traffic flow fubar for those of us that don’t have the area memorized.

    Or a link to a diagram; lots of disconnected ground level photos aren’t as useful.

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    • oliver October 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      I’d bet you dollars to donuts that a good number of any diagrams supplied by the engineering firm(s) responsible for this are (like so many) not even aligned to the cardinal directions.

      Any civil engineers reading want to weigh in on why this is the case? It always baffles me. And makes me wonder if it’s not at least partially responsible for the difficulty encountered by users in the real world.

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      • Dead Salmon October 21, 2015 at 6:38 pm

        Most plan drawings have a north arrow so you know what you are looking at.

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        • gutterbunnybikes October 22, 2015 at 6:09 am

          Though you gotta be careful about north on drawings too. I’ve been on lots of building sites where north is actually east, or west or south. It often makes for an interesting first couple days on a job site.

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          • q`Tzal October 22, 2015 at 7:27 am

            You mean
            “North is not always ‘UP’ on a drawing”
            NOT
            “North is East, up is down, hot is cold… Welcome to The Twilight Zone.”
            Right?

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            • gutterbunnybikes October 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

              on the drawing north is usually up (but I’ve done a few building where that wasn’t the case), but the north of the site might be any compass point. It usually happens the most on the big chain buildings where the same basic building is being built at multiple sites across the country.

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              • q`Tzal October 25, 2015 at 3:06 pm

                I’ve seen lots of non-up North oriented blueprints. Your explanation makes much more sense than the architect was being prissy and esoteric about the layout on the paper for fung-suei or some equally ridiculous reason.

                Cookie cutter building layout is actually a logical reason.

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  • jeff October 21, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I was going east over the bridge yesterday. Full green bike lights. **word deleted by moderator** new mom with baby in stroller, on her cell phone, stepped right out in front of me crossing the tracks. complete hard stop. she got an earful.

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    • Daniel Costantino October 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      I’m sure she learned her lesson. People on bikes are loud jerks in a hurry, who have no sympathy for the massive hormonal shifts and life-expectations adjustments experienced by new mothers, much less the possibility of impaired judgment due to massive sleep deprivation. Nice work.

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      • jeff October 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

        stepping out in front of traffic can get you killed. I’m sure it had nothing to do with her voluntary cell phone use.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) October 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

          Did she have the right of way? If so, nothing wrong with talking on a cell phone while walking, obviously.

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          • jeff October 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm

            no, she did not. she had a red against walking sign, I had the green. she didn’t even look left.

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          • Dead Salmon October 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm

            MA says: “Did she have the right of way? If so, nothing wrong with talking on a cell phone while walking, obviously.”

            Talking on the phone is OK IF you watch where you are going, look both ways before crossing a traffic lane, etc. You can NEVER depend solely on the actions of others for your safety. As the video of this accident shows, pedestrians can NEVER step into a traffic lane without looking for traffic. NEVER. It’s not safe. Lights and paint do not stop bikes or cars.

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      • Chris I October 21, 2015 at 10:14 pm

        Holy crap. I ride bikes and my wife just had a baby. I better go buy some flowers and apologize for my insensitivity.

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        • Daniel Costantino October 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

          Depends. Do you yell profanity at her while she’s crossing the street? Let me rephrase this situation: “I was just crossing the street with the stroller when this [word that would be deleted by moderator] came at me at full speed and then yelled like a madman.”

          It really doesn’t matter whether or not she should have been on her cell phone or not, or whether she was crossing against the light. I mean, for serious, other than someone in a wheelchair or with a cane, a young mother crossing the street is basically the definition of a vulnerable road user. Don’t even start demanding any respect for cyclists if you can’t even muster up sympathy for her.

          Geez, people.

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  • lahar October 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I am usually a cautious rider, I do not run lights, I strive to be predictable and follow the right of way rules of the road. But last couple of times I accessed the Tillicum, I accidentally ran a red light and another time I missed my bike lane and found myself riding on the sidewalk figuring out where I went wrong. There is far too much going on there for safe travels.

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  • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

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    • mark October 21, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      That is such a cliche. What…cars can’t have nice roads because they ram each other? People can’t have bars because of DUI’s?

      That’s just an insane comment.

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      • Scott H October 21, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        Wow, calm down man, it’s a figure of speech.

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  • pdx2wheeler October 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Tri-met spent 6 months habituating people on bikes to ignore the signals in this area. For months they made you stop and wait on the cycle track for literally nothing, no pedestrians, no trains, no buses, no emergency vehicles, just the breeze and a stop light… The Tri-met crossing guards helped keep everyone in line, but they’re gone now, and so seemingly is signal compliance. Anyone who didn’t see this coming wasn’t paying attention.

    BTW – People on bikes are constantly cutting directly across my path as I ride North on the cycle track and they’re riding South but turn East to cross Moody… Their turn puts us on a head-on collision course. The signals seem oddly give us both a green light at the same time.

    You definitely need to ride super careful through this area, it’s a busy place.

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    • davemess October 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      All the more reason they need rail crossing gates. Then people don’t have a choice but to stop.

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      • pdx2wheeler October 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        That’s probably where we’re heading…

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        • davemess October 21, 2015 at 4:54 pm

          We should have headed there before this thing opened. I still don’t understand why they’re okay for cars, but not for peds or bikes.

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  • Tony T
    Tony T October 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    This brings up something that I encountered when I first used the bridge. On the West side, heading east, there is a bike signal right at the beginning of the climb. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the point of it was. I had just crossed the tracks and turned left to climb and there was this weird signal telling me to stop. As I recall (I could be wrong) there was no place for any crossing traffic of any kind, bikes, peds, or anything else. Granted this was the weekend after it had opened, so something might have changed to make the signal useful, but I sat there and looked at it for the longest time and couldn’t figure it out. I was baffled.

    I wonder if this was the signal where this collision occurred and I just missed something. To me it was a classic example of excessive and pointless controls which end up just training people to ignore them.

    I even took a picture of it. I still don’t see the purpose. There is a gap in the railing to the left, but it sure didn’t seem that that is where people would be coming from. I had just crossed the rails myself. Why would you get a green signal, cross, start to turn left and be commanded to stop? To keep you from hitting the very crossing traffic you were part of? There is SO much going on on both sides of the bridge. It’s nuts.

    I can email the pic to you if you’d like, Jonathan.

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    • rainbike October 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      That signal is still there and has no discernible use.

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    • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      That bike signal is for the future extension of Bond Avenue. It should probably be turned off though, since there’s really not enough foot traffic in that spot to warrent the signals existence.

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      • Tony T
        Tony T October 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        Well, it’s on and it is adding to the visual noise that makes it a LESS safe area.

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    • lop October 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      There are crosswalks at both ends of the transit platforms. Is that what you mean?

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      • rainbike October 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

        I was talking about the second one that is further east. Not the signal at the crosswalk.

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      • Tony T
        Tony T October 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm

        There are crosswalks BEFORE this signal. I had just crossed on the green at the crosswalk, took a left and there was the signal, right where you would not expect a signal, and it was red, signalling me to stop, for nothing.

        Adam commented above, “That bike signal is for the future extension of Bond Avenue.”

        It gets people in the habit of second guessing signals and concluding that it’s meaningless. That’s a pretty hazardous thing to encourage.

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        • Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm

          All of these bike signals have been meaningless since they were turned on months ago. (A year ago?) At least the crosswalk ones have sometimes been flashing red, which is about the most accommodating and logical any of these signals has ever been to me (except that one time they were all green unless you count the jug-handle at the tram, which I don’t anymore because I skip it.) IMO, flashing yellow when the crosswalk is lit would be more appropriate: green when the bus/train has a green and flash yellow when you need to yield to the crosswalk.

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  • mark October 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, one bike/ped accident when the bike actually stayed at the scene…and it’s big news. With a car, how often would the car stay? Half the time? Most of the time? Who knows these days?

    Sounds to me like a positive story. Crap happens, people get hit, fall over, trip…etc…that’s apart of being outside one’s house. However, this cyclist (not a person on a bike which is different) stayed..gave info..and will probably be rewarded with a threat of lawsuit or a lawsuit at some point…as we all are when driving a car. That’s just life.

    How long before someone get impaled on the spikes on this bridge?

    Anyway, what would be cool is if the bike community rallied and helped defray some of this person’s expenses while they sort out their next steps.

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  • Ted G October 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    There are five modes of transportation (MAX, street car, bus, bike, pedestrian) all converging at one spot on the west end of that bridge. the only way to move through that area safely is with your head up and on a swivel.

    Of those five modes, bikes are most effected by gravity coming down off the bridge and it is very easy to get up a lot of speed. I definitely agree there is a lot of stuff (green paint, crossings, tracks, lights, bike signals, people) to be looking at. More than anywhere else I can think of a posted speed limit for bikes, with regular enforcement, would be very beneficial. including one of those signs that shows a riders speed would encourage better compliance as well. Any attempt to incorporate infrastructure to slow bikes down would only add to the confusion.

    This is not an easy-breezy route into and out of the city for bikes. It is a transit bridge that accommodates bikes and peds.

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    • lop October 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      >including one of those signs that shows a riders speed would encourage better compliance as well

      Would it? I’d find it very tempting to see how fast I can go. I’d worry others would too.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu October 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        I think most cyclists who like to see how fast they can go already have bike computers, which are as cheap as $20.

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      • Pete October 22, 2015 at 9:16 pm

        They do make radar signs that simply say “Slow Down” when you exceed a preset speed.

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  • SD October 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    There is a learning curve for this area. I see confused pedestrians and cyclists there routinely making mistakes. For a first time user there is a lot to take in. I could easily see someone crossing Moody on the green bike light, thinking they were free to go, not expecting pedestrians, not seeing or understanding the second red, looking over at the bus/ train area to the left to understand how it all works instead of focusing on path in front.

    I have seen cyclists presuming that the green lights they see as they approach Moody indicate that it is safe to cross Moody only to have to slam on the breaks when they make a right turn and see a red light in a split second.

    This area has more complexity than a motorist would ever have to deal with.

    Based on what I have read, there is no way to know what happened between the cyclist and the pedestrian or the level of carelessness or distraction from confusing infrastructure that contributed to the collision.

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    • Tony T
      Tony T October 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      “This area has more complexity than a motorist would ever have to deal with.”

      Yup!

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    • B. Carfree October 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      “There is a learning curve for this area.”

      Therein lies the problem with implementing “other than standard” things, aka substandard. The segregation movement ignores this issue. Almost every segregated implementation is unique and “has a learning curve”. However, people change locations and modes of travel enough that we will always have people using an implementation who are on the early portion of that curve. That’s a recipe for constant problems.

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  • mark October 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    One other thought, I have cable brakes with one cantilever and one V brake for the front. My cantilever, though well adjusted is ok. The V brake will put the rear wheel in the air under full lock.

    Seems like something good to check for commuters. Make sure you brakes are well adjusted.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    UPDATE: We’ve just received the photos below of the location where the collision occurred from David Loftus:

    0-22

    0-23

    Comments about the photos from David:

    The first photo is from the cyclist’s perspective approaching the accident site. The tiny signal on the big silver light pole is the only bicycle signal at that intersection, with no prior warning that there is a pedestrian crossing coming up, and that pole as well as the power boxes in front of it neatly hide a waiting pedestrian as well as the normal-sized bicycle signal that’s 40 or 50 feet BEYOND the intersection. (So what is it for?)

    The second photo, much closer to the pedestrian crossing, shows how near you have to get before the larger, main signal comes out from behind the items that obscure it. And, being so far beyond the intersection, where is a cyclist supposed to know where to stop?

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    • Tony T
      Tony T October 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Terrible. Just absolutely terrible design.

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    • Tony T
      Tony T October 21, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      “as well as the normal-sized bicycle signal that’s 40 or 50 feet BEYOND the intersection. (So what is it for?)”

      That’s the signal that I commented about above. Apparently a signal for a future extension. But it’s on now and . . . wow, the whole thing is just a mess.

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    • J_R October 21, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      I’ll make the same comment I always make when someone uses the same words with regard to a motor vehicle: “It’s a collision, not an accident.”

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    • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Don’t call it an “accident”.

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  • Mark October 21, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    That’s horrible. That would never pass for a car signal.

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    • paikiala October 21, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Mark,
      Take a look at signals again. The far side install is what most look like, without the pole mounted side signal head. Few auto intersections have the extra nearside signal to the right.

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  • Todd Hudson October 21, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    “but my suspicion is that he wasn’t looking for a signal”

    I’m guessing he disregarded it and said “oh my gosh I didn’t see you!” when he hit her.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Now that I’ve heard from David where the collision happened… I just realized I took a photo of the intersection. Here it is:

    My first walk across Tilikum Bridge-4

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    • George H. October 21, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      This all but screams that there’s a pedestrian crossing here. Perhaps Mr. Magoo would miss how obvious it is.

      If a person cannot figure out there’s a pedestrian crossing and they should stop at the red light, they are not fit to be on a bike.

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      • Buzz October 21, 2015 at 3:31 pm

        Except that Jonathan’s photo doesn’t show the additional electrical equipment in front of the pole that help obscure a cyclists view of pedestrians there.

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      • B. Carfree October 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        Go look at the other pictures showing the approach. The signal is tiny and the control boxes block everyone’s sight lines. I could see reasonable people other than Mr. Magoo (my favorite cartoon, by the way) missing the tiny signal and not seeing a pedestrian waiting behind the boxes to cross.

        I’m trying to think of a way of describing my contempt for this design in a way that won’t cause half the words to be deleted. Just insert sailor talk here.

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    • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      That crossing should be a zebra crossing instead of the two-line design. Other than that, the utility boxes block sign lines and the far signal really has no purpose other to mirror the near one before the crossing. Really awful design. I know this was built in anticipation for the exension of Bond Avenue, but without the street crossing, all the signals just add to the confusion. As well as the light frequently being red for no reason encourages people to ignore the signal.

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      • lop October 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        If you stop right at the crosswalk you’re past the bike light, how are you going to know if it turns green if there isn’t another one up ahead?

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        • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 11:33 pm

          Good point. Maybe move it a bit closer then so it’s obvious it’s for the same crosswalk?

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      • Lester Luallin October 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

        +1 on the zebra ped crossing. And considering the low contrast of white lines on fresh concrete, maybe zebra it up with black paint to make it stand out. Or maybe red colored fake brick molded concrete in that crosswalk.

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    • mark October 21, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Here is what is doubly amazing…when the wind hits…a lot of those lights are going to be swinging in the breeze. If they had used stationary beams..they wouldn’t. Like the 1920’s up there!

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  • Dawn October 21, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    I’m sorry to say that we need to see aggressive enforcement action against both cyclists and pedestrians at these crossings. Maybe start with a sign indicating the penalty for crossing against a light or running a red light.

    I work at the CLSB and experience this area as both a pedestrian and a daily bike commuter. The bike signals pictured above ARE hard to see. As a pedestrian or bike trying to cross with the walk sign at this second crosswalk (near the beginning of the bridge ascent) I have never once had a cyclist heading eastbound from Moody stop for this light.

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    • Adam Herstein October 21, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Ticketing people crossing the street sets a BAD precident and I’d rather we not go down that route as a city.

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      • Dawn October 21, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        “Ticketing people crossing the street sets a BAD precedent and I’d rather we not go down that route as a city”

        It’s only a matter of time before a pedestrian is killed by a train or streetcar. Although this pedestrian had the right of way with the crosswalk light, I consistently see pedestrians crossing during a don’t walk phase usually right after a Max train arrives or departs. What many pedestrians don’t recognize is the frequency of trains, buses and streetcars through this intersection combined with bikes coming down off the bridge.

        I’m not a fan of enforcing jaywalking laws, but in this case I do think it’s necessary.

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      • rainbike October 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        Yea, because if existing laws are enforced, before you know it, they’ll start ticketing people for driving too fast. Bad precedent indeed.

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    • mark October 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      So ticket people aggressively due to a bad design? That seems counterproductive.

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      • Dawn October 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm

        How would you suggest fixing the design at this point? Short of a pedestrian bridge or tunnel under or over the tracks at Moody, I don’t see a fix. You can play with signal timing all you want, but people are still going to cross against this light.

        Note: This is not the same type of signal issue that is present further up the line at Division/8th and Clinton/11th & 12th. Those intersections CAN be fixed with better signal timing. The behaviors I’m generally seeing from peds and cyclists there aren’t presenting the safety hazards that are present on the Moody side.

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Taking my kid 1.5mi to school on a bike this morning, I counted 5 cars rolling the stop bar/crosswalk, 2 running stop signs, 1 blocking a bike lane waiting to turn right, 1 following our bike too closely, and at least a dozen speeding, several speeding in a school zone. This happens every single day. Close calls at least weekly.

      I think we could use some aggressive enforcement everywhere else long before we need to worry quite so much about people bumping into each other. Maybe it would be safer to take down the bike signal in favor of better marking the crosswalk and getting people to look around? I’m sorry Carole got hurt, but heavy-handed enforcement here is just going to put more people in cars where they’ll kill someone.

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      • eddie October 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm

        I once got a 242 for rolling the tiny stop sign on N Flint and Broadway. The cop was cool about it and told me why he was posted up there ticketing cyclists, it’s a deadly area. Definitely scared me into always stopping there during my daily commute downtown. Will this incident lead to similar law enforcement response? Is there a policy to do this kind of thing after an accident?

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  • Psyfalcon October 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    If you hit a stationary object or pedestrian, its obviously some sort of rider error. Its just not something you do no matter how bad the signals are. I mean assuming the rider was near the center, it takes a second or two to get there.

    On the other hand, this place is such a mess that it makes it difficult to ride responsibly. Signal timing, hidden signals, and the 5 modes (+the dog). I have no idea how something can be so engineered and signalized and still be so confusing to use.

    Name the actual engineers and policy people that planned and approved this so they wont work again. They have shown they can not design people sized spaces. (but they did make a decent train bridge). The 100 year old Hawthorne is STILL the better route for anything not on the south waterfront.

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    • B. Carfree October 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Naming the culprits would be fabulous.

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  • Champs October 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I want to chalk this up to our human resistance to change, but it does seem like engineers went out of their way to confuse. With time I may get used to some things like the omnidirectional intersection at SE 11th/Milwaukie and Rube Goldbergian, Interstate Bridge caliber routing. Other things, especially the interaction with trains and tracks seem like a genuine effort to rustle your jimmies.

    The site of the collision isn’t surprising. That moonscape puts my brain in “WHAT IS GOING ON” mode.

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    • Jim and Becky October 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Which is right! Your brain went into WTF mode which would caution most riders to slow down and pay attention.

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      • Champs October 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm

        That’s how I react to WTF situations but with that said, the bike signal barely registers as noise in an open field of off-white.

        I’m primarily putting a frame on “…concerns about the west end near SW Moody and the MAX platform” because we have a primal urge to be confused by and angry with change. A single incident could crystallize this feeling before we learn to adapt.

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    • Granpa October 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Our car free bridge will be a big draw for tourists and clients of the upcoming bikeshare program. For frequent users getting used to the design will not end the hazard and confusion this site engenders.

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  • Jim and Becky October 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    In the first pic, I can clearly see the first signal, and a change in the sidewalk which should make any cyclist go heads up. I agree it needs to be improved, but if you can’t detect at least what I did in the first pic, hang up your bike, dust off your shoes, and get an eye check.

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    • Dawn October 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      It’s obvious in these pictures because you are looking for it as a result of the article. I’m telling you, it is not obvious in person and everyone is ignoring and/or not seeing this signal. That’s bad design.

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      • lop October 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm

        Bad design or bad rider culture?

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  • A.C. Greiss October 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    It is true that this is not OK infrastructure. What is even worse is that the west side of the bridge is so many times better than the east side. On the west side the way pedestrians get shifted up instead of crossing at the intersection is confusing and the lights can be long at Moody, but after that it is good. A nice set aside cycle track on Moody and a multi path off Sheridan that gets downtown well.
    But go the other way and cross the bridge east and what do you do? Where are you meant to go? The road just ends. I turned right and ended up on the Springwater somehow (not where I was going).
    And do not ask me about trying to get onto the bridge the other way from Clinton St. I heard they were going to extend Clinton to the bridge but I was wrong I guess? It is a mess and some sort of a maze. It looks like they started to build a cycle track for a couple blocks and then quit. People are using the bridge, so maybe its just me who can not find a way there without all the weird crossings and lights and delivery trucks. Is it still under construction?

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  • Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Hope she heals well and quickly. This is a sad way to design cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, but nobody is surprised of course. We need all police to do routine bike patrols — not having heard of a bridge is ridiculous.

    I’ve ridden through that light 5 times when I was facing a bike green and four times there was somebody in the crosswalk, usually entering, once a field trip of kids. Makes me wonder if the signals are matched-up.

    I’

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      I’m not convinced that we need a red light for bikes there, though I can see where it makes some sense in the context of the overall poor design. More visibility would help, maybe a yield bar at the crosswalk. Really should have more space for peds to cross the bikeway and wait for a crossing of the busway, or possibly swap the bikeway/sidewalk. We’ll probably just write “bikes slow” on something, at least until we can fund the study to fund the plan.

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  • mark October 21, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    John Lascurettes
    Those power boxes are of particular concern. They block the line-of sight to the area where a pedestrian will cross the bike path. They should have been placed further downstream so they don’t block the view of cyclists heading that direction. Also note, the pedestrian about to cross a path would also like clear line of sight of the traffic headed their direction. Eye contact is everything (both for riders and walkers).Recommended 1

    I agree. Those boxes either got to go. That’s just dumb.

    What would help is these:
    http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/engine/traffic/rrfb/

    They use them on car lanes to get driver’s attention.

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  • SD October 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I am on board with everyone who says slow down when conditions are uncertain or complicated. However, it appears that much of the cycling infrastructure that is being created presumes and requires that cyclists travel at very low speeds. The TCx is a prime example of this. This bridge should have been considered a commuting route first and a recreational route second. The design should have included expectations of cyclists at 15+ mph with sight lines, stopping space and signaling to allow for this and to accommodate peak commuter traffic.

    Instead, we have a bridge and a template for cycling infrastructure that creates one conflict after another as if modal conflict were the preferred method of traffic calming.

    Cycling at a reasonable commuting speed shouldn’t be taboo and it shouldn’t be engineered out of infrastructure.

    In this case, a design built for a higher rate of cycling speed would eliminate sight-line obstruction, made cross-walks visibly distinct, simplify traffic signals and provide more space.

    I also admire and appreciate Mr. and Mrs. Loftus for approaching this with the goal of improving conditions on the bridge and preventing more injuries.

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    • jd October 21, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      I was surprised that I felt like I was on the Hawthorne bridge the first time I went over this new bridge — a faster cyclist passing me could make me get way too close to a pedestrian. Still stressful and a bummer.

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      • soren October 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm

        The Hawthorne bridge does not have a fuster cluck of confusing signals and crosswalks. This facility is a step backwards relative to the Hawthorne bridge mup…and that is not saying much.

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        • jd October 21, 2015 at 10:02 pm

          Agreed. Given both not enough room and confusing infrastructure on the new bridge, I prefer the Hawthorne by far. There, the giant word SLOW on the pavement is hard to miss in areas where one might hit a pedestrian. It’s weird that the elk statue pinch and the constant threat of right hooks seem almost comfy and familiar by comparison to weird lights and turns everywhere.

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  • Ann October 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    So far, every time I’ve ridden this bridge it’s been for recreation, so I ride east to west, then turn around the east end of the MAX stop and head back over. The current set up basically has you stop in the bike line to cross over, while people are coming down the hill behind you. I’m generally there when traffic is light, so I haven’t caused an accident, but it’s still a problematic spot.

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  • daisy October 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Guys! I’ve ridden my bike through the intersection at SE Clinton/Milwaukie/Tilikum/12th a handful of times now, and I still have NO IDEA what I’m supposed to be doing there! I’ve even looked for directions to follow and can’t find them!

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  • Todd Boulanger October 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Other minor design tweaks to consider:
    1) outline the white on white ped crosswalk striping with a black outline (similar to what was done for bikeway striping on the same project);
    2) stripe in a high vis “piano key” style crosswalk bars;
    3) add a pronounced stop bar for the cyclist movement;
    4) add a short arm for the far side bike signal (to pull it out into view);
    5) develop internal policy for placement of traffic signal / utility cabinets on bikeway facilities to keep the sight lines open (perhaps require them to be underground or on the far side of the intersection leg); and
    6) adopt designs that reflect higher speed cyclists on commuter facilities (ebikes, etc.) where appropriate.

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 22, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Ask a traffic engineer about the design speed for bike facilities sometime. Barrel of laughs.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 21, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    UPDATE, 4:30 pm: TriMet has released video of the collision.

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  • Spiffy October 21, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    the dog is adorable…

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  • Adam October 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    My problem is the bike traffic lights.

    They are not visible enough. Because only the outline of the bike is lit up, I find them hard to see. If I wasn’t actively aware they existed, I would not notice them. Whereas a motor traffic light is very easy to see – the entire circle is lit, and brightly too.

    Another example of this is the “bike only” traffic signal on NE Broadway heading downtown before the freeway entrance. If nobody had told me that bike light existed, I would never have known it was there. It is not super-visible.

    I’m not trying to pass blame from the cyclist, who was likely going too fast, and not looking where he was going.

    But I think poorly designed infrastructure definitely plays a large part in these sorts of incidents too.

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    • eddie October 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      One look at those boxes and I slow down immediately.

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  • jd October 21, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I hope she’s good as new soon, and I’m glad the cyclist and the pedestrian’s husband have been decent (more than decent in the husband’s case) about this.

    I’ve been over that bridge a few times. I get the sense that I could ride it 100 times and still be surprised by some new dangerous possibility I didn’t notice before. From Division to Naito, it’s confusing as hell. Still, I tend to slow down when I don’t totally know what’s going on…

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  • gl. October 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Holy cow. I work there sometimes and had NO idea there even was a pedestrian crossing signal. Yikes!

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    • jeff October 21, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      try paying attention to your surroundings.

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  • K'Tesh October 21, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Just saw the video on TV, and again here. It seems to me like all the electrical boxes and poles served to hide Carole until it was too late to do anything.

    My recommendation, change the layout so that all the boxes and poles are on the *FAR* side of the crosswalk, so that people aren’t hidden.

    How in HELL did this design pass any kind of design review. It’s F*****G AWFUL!!!

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 22, 2015 at 7:56 am

      Nobody in the design team has ever ridden a bike.

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    • Pete October 22, 2015 at 8:30 am

      I’m guessing there are no design guidelines for sight-lines, whereas there are likely proximity requirements for signalling and power conditioning equipment. Different design teams had their say, but it appears to be an oversight. I’m going to go out on a limb and say there was a list of boxes checked, and this wasn’t one of them…

      Time and again people underestimate (and don’t plan for) the speed that a bicyclist can travel at. If this was an auto lane I suspect the sight-line would have been considered, and maybe even mitigated with a bulb-out.

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      • wsbob October 22, 2015 at 9:43 am

        “…Different design teams had their say, but it appears to be an oversight. I’m going to go out on a limb and say there was a list of boxes checked, and this wasn’t one of them…” Pete

        Amazing, isn’t it? I think it’s quite a sturdy limb you’re going out on. No doubt, many people are as curious as I am about Trimet’s explanation for having allow such deplorable sight line obstructions to be located between people using the bike path and people on foot preparing to cross the bike path.

        Strictly on drawn up plans, maybe problems like this one aren’t so readily apparent. I’ve frequently wondered about that when city leaders and planners I’ve heard, wax enthusiastically about bike infrastructure they’re adding, that to people that actually ride first hand the type of situation being planned for, can see right off is barely adequate for safe and enjoyable riding.

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  • Mike October 22, 2015 at 9:58 am

    It doesn’t matter how large you make the red light. You could make the red light 3 feet around. Bicyclist don’t stop for red lights or stops signs. I have pictures of many cyclist blowing through them. Happens all the time. The story is usually they don’t like to start and stop.

    It’d be nice if you stop making excuses for the cyclist and start doing what you claim motorist don’t do. Pay attention to you surroundings and obey the traffic laws!

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    • eddie October 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      The thing is, the whole system is basically designed for the automobile, which has huge blind spots and vast turning radius. Cycles can turn and stop on a dime and have tiny blind spots. So we can bend the rules a little bit, safely. It just isn’t realistic for bikes to follow the same rules as automobiles, to a T.

      But there are those who don’t bend the rules safely, and then this kind of thing happens. And will happen again.

      I think cyclists need to just slow down, period. And at least pause at a red light, stop sign, etc. They’re there for a reason.

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    • TheCat October 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Cars roll through and blow stop signs and red lights all the time too. It’s just that we are conditioned as a culture to ignore it. Try standing near a stop sign at a busy intersection and watching some time. I did it recently and over 1/3 of the cars didn’t legally stop.

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    • Pete October 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      So I have to ask, why do you have pictures of bicyclists “blowing” through stops? I can certainly think of better photography subjects. Are you trying to prove something to someone? If so, you should probably consider video, because if you show me a snapshot of something in motion, you don’t really prove it’s in motion.

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    • El Biciclero October 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Heh. I’ve got a hard drive full of video of drivers rolling stops, making unsignaled turns, speeding, cutting corners into oncoming traffic, blowing red lights from a standing stop, driving the wrong way down one-way streets, turning from the wrong lane, violating pedestrian and bicyclist right-of-way at crosswalks, hitting me in a crosswalk while they were attempting to make a right on red, failing to yield to bicyclists in a bike lane, pulling out from side streets and cutting me off, crossing fully into the oncoming lane to pass me in a 25mph zone—while I’m going 27 (multiple occasions)—tons of that crap.

      Wanna play “quien tiene mas fotos”?

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      • Pete October 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        …and that’s just from Monday. 😉

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  • Dan October 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    KristenT
    Apparently, both cyclists and pedestrians also need to have X-ray vision to see through the large solid objects blocking their view.Yes, the cyclist could have been going slower, but in the absence of any other pedestrians, and not having seen this one approaching the intersection, and having the bike signal sized and placed in such a way as to be easily missed, how could this incident be foreseen? I guess just assume that you’re going to hit or be hit and walk and ride accordingly?Recommended 0

    Isn’t that exactly what we say about cars vs. pedestrians? Drivers should assume they’re going to hit someone and drive accordingly?

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    • Randall S. October 26, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Cyclists don’t have an ever-present risk of causing death, like cars do. I can count the number of pedestrians killed by cyclists IN MY LIFETIME on both hands. The degree of risk isn’t even remotely comparable.

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  • Randall S. October 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Was the pedestrian wearing a helmet?

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  • Ace B. January 4, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Anne Hawley
    “I didn’t see the human being who was in plain sight” means “I wasn’t looking.”

    And when did the pedestrian come into plain sight? To me, it was very clear that she appeared just a second before she was hit. Before that, she was behind a pole. The red light was definitely lit, yes. But it is not easy to see.

    Pedestrians must understand that they cannot step out from behind something and expect someone to react instantly. Always assume that the driver/rider is not seeing the light, not seeing you behind that pole, and not going to stop. Your life or health depends on YOU looking both ways. Don’t rely on the other person looking out for you. After all, it’s the SLOWER MOVING person’s responsibility to make sure they stay safe.

    The guy in or on the faster vehicle has more protection than you–a helmet, for instance. While it’s all well and fine to say, “look out for others,” and it would be nice if everyone did, let’s not forget, it’s stupid to say, “look out for me, would you, because I just don’t have the time to bother doing it myself.” That’s a good way to get dead.

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