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  #1  
Old 09-08-2008, 03:23 PM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default Dad Hits Cyclist in Crosswalk

So I get a phone call Friday night... it's Dad. He's pretty shaken up and even more bizarre, he wants to talk to me about cycling and riding the streets.

I think to myself, "No way! I can't even picture him doing this, but how cool!"

Nope not even close. Seems my Dad - a healthy, stocky salt-of-the-earth kind of fella had a run in with a cyclist in Downtown Portland. My heart sank as he caught his breath and in one serious and defeated exhale told me, "Son, I hit a cyclist today downtown."

WHAT!?!? Tell me what happened, Pop...

Corner of Clay and Naito Parkway. You might know that it's two lanes allowed to turn right and a pretty chaotic intersection. If you aren't on it people get kinda intense and either turn right around you from the middle lane or honk if you don't get moving. So Pop was feeling a bit of pressure.

He saw the pedestrians crossing from Waterfront to the sidewalk. Waited for them. Right turn signal is clicking away. Waited for a few cars, kept head checking and just as he's about to get moving...

"Clunk" Hits the brakes. WTF was that!?!?!

Hops out... and there is a young woman sprawled on the ground but apparently uninjured, but her front tire is mangled. Seems she rolled up from the park, didn't notice Dad - he didn't notice her and... crunch time.

The gal is pleasent, my Dad is mortified because well... I'm his son. We talk about riding and cyclist/driver interaction a lot. Some of it is sharing experience, some of it broader - more systemic like we do in this forum. He's thinking how close he came to killing this nice young woman and he can't even talk except to say "Are you OK?"

And he's a stand up guy so he starts to help her up and is about to offer to take her where she needs to go and drop her bike at the bike shop where he'll get her a new tire (that's what they did in my Dad's day) when...

An older couple gets involved. They begin yelling at Dad. He doesn't know what to stay... he's not feeble... just confused, scared and worried. They begin telling the young woman despite her protests that she should stay on the ground.

Dad clams up, remembering what I've told him about accidents - he's hardly ever had one - a couple of fender benders maybe- he's an ex-cabbie from Reno and has driven professionally most of his working life.

Now there's a crowd gathering and people are mad at Dad. Everyone except the cyclist. Both she and Dad would like to leave, but no. They can't. The police have arrived and the fire truck is on it's way - as is the ambulance. Neither my Dad nor the Cyclist called them.

The police take reports. No one is cited. No negligence determined on behalf of either party. Now it's an insurance thing. The cyclist is being checked (and treated we hope!) for injuries through her personal liability insurance until any and all legal stuff is worked out.

Meanwhile my Dad is walking around thinking he nearly killed his son - metaphorically of course, but it's traumatic for him. He really cares about the gal he hit and hates what happened but it's weird. He's in a position now where he can't offer to help, can't really do anything for her because it may be construed as an admission of guilt.

Personally - I know this story is second hand, but I trust Dad. I believe him though I am certainly biased. This cyclist could have done more to prevent the accident. A. Don't try to beat the crosswalk light crossing Naito from the Park. B. Slow down in the crosswalk C. Recognize that the opposing sidewalk across Naito is a NO RIDE ZONE and finally D. Take the couple of seconds to assess the intersection. If she saw my Dad had his signal, wheels turned right and he's not looking directly at her... why pass in front?

Look I had to explain later to Mom why something like this is less likely to happen to me. Mom thinks Dad is the best driver in the world (she may be right) and one of the few she trusts to drive her. If he hit a cyclist... surely I am next! So I went through the checklist for her... it's no guarantee Mom, and no disrespect to the other cyclist, but I think I would have avoided that situation altogether - just based on my natural riding philosophy.

Sigh - dredging up old arguments that until now were simply concepts for me. Thanks to any and all who took the trouble to read this lengthy narrative.

I've posted it and it's fair game. Any and ALL comments are welcome. There's always a "back-story" when these things happen.
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2008, 05:42 PM
Duncan Duncan is offline
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I understand and applaud your dads reaction... BUT

The couple was right- the woman should be checked out by an EMT/paramedic after an accident- it is the best way to determine if she has and head/internal/spinal injuries that need further attention- these are the kind of injuries that are common in blunt force trauma accidents, and they can all be hard to determine without some training. Really.
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:23 PM
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K'Tesh K'Tesh is offline
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Arrow HIT? Go the hospital and get checked out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
I understand and applaud your dads reaction... BUT

The couple was right- the woman should be checked out by an EMT/paramedic after an accident- it is the best way to determine if she has and head/internal/spinal injuries that need further attention- these are the kind of injuries that are common in blunt force trauma accidents, and they can all be hard to determine without some training. Really.
I'm sorry to hear about your dad's crash, and I can understand the concerns raised.

I'd say for those who may someday find themselves in a situation like this, remember, just because you are not bleeding, it doesn't mean things are OK.

When I was hit, I couldn't get the EMT's to transport me to the Emergency Room, I had to rely on my Mom to do it. The Emergency Room faculty did an X-Ray, but didn't detect the breaks (yes plural) in my leg, nor the torn ligament. It is vital to get checked out, because weeks later, upon closer examination by my orthopedic doctor, the breaks were found on the original X-Ray. He had the benefit of knowing where to look for the injuries though.

Getting checked out helps protect the cyclist and driver in determining when an injury occurred (should something happen later, like my falls that occurred when my leg gave out).

Also, if you own a car, or carry car insurance, ask your insurer about maximizing your PIP and UM/UIM coverage, you might be surprised how little more it costs, and how much you'll appreciate the extra coverage should the worst occur.

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Old 09-09-2008, 01:06 AM
Tait Tait is offline
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As Duncan mentioned, the big concern in that kind of an accident (why you'd want to prevent or limit movement) is the potential for spinal injury. However, no EMT or paramedic is going to clear someone of a spine injury at the scene. They just won't (can't) accept the liability. If they have any suspicion of possible spine damage, they'll just strap the victim to a back board and let the hospital (with real doctors and malpractice insurance) figure out the details with a CT scan.

I'll just second K'Tesh's experience, too. After I was in an accident, I really did feel just fine, and even said as much (which in retrospect I probably shouldn't have). I'm not sure if it was the adrenalin or what, but it took a day or two before I came to realize that my ankle was quite unhappy with me. Fortunately, it was just unhappy and fixed itself after a couple weeks of going easy on it. But even knowing what to look and feel for, I'm convinced you're guaranteed to overlook injuries you've sustained just after an accident.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:09 AM
Tait Tait is offline
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Oh... and maybe one of the attorneys can chime in here. Does it really put you at a legal disadvantage if you offer to help someone after an accident? (I've no idea, but it sounds unfortunate if true.)
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2008, 07:15 AM
tonyt tonyt is offline
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Default Isn't it illegal for cyclists to be on the sidewalk in that area?

There is an area in downtown where it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk.

If I understand the scenario correctly, he hit her at the crosswalk, doesn't that mean that she was defacto riding on the sidewalk before she entered the crosswalk?

Not that that would really make him feel any better, I know I would be horrified no matter what, but in discussions with the insurance company, it might help.
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:33 AM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default Thought the Same

Re: Sidewalk riding... Dad thought the same thing - was she in the right place? But then he sorta catches himself because it doesn't matter really. He hit her and I think he's like a lot of folks. It doesn't matter who was right or wrong, he's uninjured but worried he almost killed someone.

Good news though - the EMT's did take the rider up to OHSU. Ironically she is a student there and was headed that way.

Hopefully I didn't infer too much opinion in the piece to start this thread. I'm really reflecting what's going on in Dad's mind perhaps to help some folks understand what I think is most driver's mentality.

My reaction to all this so far - all finer points aside: I think we as cyclists do have a responsibility to ride defensively. It's a duty to our friends and families as well as a larger social duty. If we get ourselves killed - even in a no-fault or bizarre accident - and we could have avoided it we've forced someone to live with that.

By the same token driver's need to take measures to protect the less vulnerable. Someone like my Dad is questioning his ability to do that right now. I think that's normal. I think he's on the cusp of two reactions right now: Anger (out of a feeling of helplessness) and Resignation (a slow burn of powerlessness).
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:37 AM
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This thread is of great interest to me because I too rely on a crosswalk to get to my office which is 1/2 a block from Naito Parkway. I found this interesting article from Ray Thomas where he cites Cyclists as having a right to use crosswalks.

"Oregon law allows bicyclists to have the right-of-way in crosswalks like a pedestrian, the law also sets a speed limit for bicycle riders that conditions the right-of-way on proceeding no faster than a "walking speed". ORS 814.410."

http://www.stc-law.com/crosswalks.html

However, given the location it is still unclear to me whether she had a legal right to cross as a cyclist there. It is right on the border. Can anyone clarify whether a cyclist can legally ride on a cross walk if they are crossing Naito from Waterfront Park?
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:45 AM
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Default Sigh

My heart goes out to your dad. It sounds like his heart is in the right place.

I'm with the other responders who have noted that the cyclist is probably guilty of multiple errors in judgment contributing to the accident. I cannot count the times other people have saved me from my stupidity because they were watching out when I made a mistake. Your dad might have been able to prevent this accident, but we, as cyclists, shouldn't forget that vehicle operation is a human activity and thus mistakes will indeed happen.
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:59 AM
hydrogeek hydrogeek is offline
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Default Angry Mob

Sounds like everything has worked out in the end but what really bothers me is the angry mob mentality that seems to be reported around every bike vs. auto crash recently. People need to help first and reserve their judgment of guilt. You are only making matters worse by being combative.
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