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  #1  
Old 01-30-2007, 10:02 AM
Matt P. Matt P. is offline
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Default Springwater Trail Accident

This morning I had my first ever collision with another cyclist, on the Springwater Trail just east of the bridge over McLoughlin.

Details:

Crash Location: 45 degrees, 27 minutes, 34.6 seconds N latitude, 122 degrees, 38 seconds, 30.8 seconds W longitude. Roughly near the intersection of SE Clatsop and McLoughlin, about 10m east of the east end of the Springwater bridge over McLoughlin.

Crash Time and Direction: Approximately 7am, January 30th, 2007. I was overtaking the other rider, both of us were westbound on the trail.

Conditions: Dark but not full night. Visibility clear to about 20', diffuse out to about 100'. No clouds, dry pavement, no precipitation. Roadway was a paved chipseal path approximately 8' across, with about 2-3' of grassy shoulder on each side, flanked by a steep (45 degree or more) embankment dropping more than 20' to either side.

Safety Equipment: He had operating lights and a helmet, but no rear mirror. I had operating lights, helmet, bell and mirror. I used the bell as audible warning of my impending pass.

Cause(s) of Crash: There were 4 factors that caused the crash. First, I was riding very fast - closure speed was approximately 20mph. Second, the other rider crossed the centerline and moved all the way to the left of the lane without checking behind him for other cyclists. Third, the other rider did not signal his intent to turn right, nor that he was slowing down. (At this point there was enough light for me to make out hand signals) Fourth, and the immediate cause of the crash, I passed on the right.

Notes: By the time I realized that the other rider was going to continue drifting all the way left and leave me with no room to pass, my options had narrowed to A: Maximum braking (unsafe), B: Continue left onto the grassy shoulder (unsafe, and likely to put me over and down the embankment), or C: Pass on the right. I chose C, and had I reached him 1 second earlier, I would have passed him without contact, though I would have scared the heck out of him. He and I both broke cardinal rules of cycling, which is the real cause of the crash, but it would have been better had I been riding slower.
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Old 01-30-2007, 12:22 PM
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Jonathan Maus Jonathan Maus is offline
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dang Matt,
sorry to hear about that. thanks for the detailed report.
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2007, 10:18 PM
Matt P. Matt P. is offline
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Actually, this crash has inspired me - I may start cataloguing the various safety issues on the Springwater Trail and write something up to send the Parks Department. This accident also would not have happened if the ramp from the trail to McLoughlin was properly designed. It's much harder to approach the ramp from the east than from the west, and you have to slow down so much that balance becomes an issue. Bad balance on a narrow trail with no guardrails and a tight switchback on the side of a steep embankment with a fence in the ravine at the bottom is not my idea of a safe ramp.

There's also the sinkhole at the east end of the bridge over Johnson Creek at Tideman Johnson nature area, the lack of reflective paint on the railing for the new path into the nature area, the deteriorating reflective paint on the anti-car posts at the trail/road junctions, the lack of consistent signage and markings, the use of chipseal rather than "real" asphalt, the degraded road surface east of 82nd, the lack of warning signs for cars that enter and leave the parking lots for Precision Cast (and the shrunken and less visible stop signs), and the lack of a pedestrian signal at Johnson Creek Blvd.

I'm sure there's more I haven't thought of yet, or have forgotten.

Thanks for the concern re: the crash. I'm okay, just minorly dinged up. And the bike is virtually unmarked. (though I had to spend 5 minutes finding my GPS, which flew out of its holder and tried unsuccessfully to sail over the little bluff down to McLoughlin)

Last edited by Matt P.; 01-30-2007 at 10:19 PM. Reason: Forgot additional dangers on the ramp - added "no guardrails"
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:26 AM
mike_khad1 mike_khad1 is offline
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Default Crash on Springwater

Just my two cents. I ride the springwater most every day - Sunnyside road to Lloyd Center. Re- "20 mph closure". Assuming the cyclist ahead was doing 10 mph and you were doing 30 mph. I don't think that is a safe speed on a multiuse path. There are families walking with toddlers (some with reflectors, most without), people walking unleashed dogs, and on occasion, my 8 year old daughter on her bicycle. 30 mph on a streetside bike lane is one thing but on the multiuse path it is another.
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:16 AM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_khad1 View Post
Just my two cents. I ride the springwater most every day - Sunnyside road to Lloyd Center. Re- "20 mph closure". Assuming the cyclist ahead was doing 10 mph and you were doing 30 mph. I don't think that is a safe speed on a multiuse path. There are families walking with toddlers (some with reflectors, most without), people walking unleashed dogs, and on occasion, my 8 year old daughter on her bicycle. 30 mph on a streetside bike lane is one thing but on the multiuse path it is another.
Also unsafe is people walking without reflectors after dark, people walking unleashed dogs, parents not providing appropriate supervision of children, and pedestrians generally being unaware of the fact that they are not the only people on the trail.

My daily commute on the Springwater has taught me that, although there are many less than ideal physical conditions at various points along the trail, the major risk factor for accidents is trail users, both pedestrians and cyclists, being unaware of what's behind them and consequently unaware of the fact that, if they move rapidly laterally in either direction, but generally to the left, there is a distinct possibility of being hit by a cyclist.

This lack of awareness underscores the need for cyclists to use bells when passing, which is something I believe Matt said that he did. Again, my experience has been that, even when you use your bell (and mine is pretty loud), people are still often unaware. In fact, I have had several experiences in which I have repeatedly and constantly rung my bell for ~ 50 yards while approaching people who are obliviously occupying the entire trail only to find that it is not until I am right next to them before they realize that they are blocking my route, and frequently the entire trail.

When I ride into work at 6am, at certain dark points on the trail I am often mere feet from joggers (10-15 feet) before I am able to see them clearly even though I have a fairly strong front light.

Both pedestrians and cyclists need to be more aware of their surroundings on the trail. Even very slow speeds are unsafe if people are oblivious to their surroundings. It stands to reason that, on a multi-use trail, cyclists have a right to actually use the trail by riding at such a speed that allows them to get adequate exercise or to efficiently reach their destination. Let's not slow cyclists down simply because people behave recklessly -- if people observe proper safety precautions, there is no need for a strict speed limit. If people refuse to observe proper safety precautions, cyclists might as well dismount and walk their bikes.
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:44 PM
JayS. JayS. is offline
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Default Bell good enough??

Sorry to hear about your accident. I'm glad everyone is ok.
I have a bell but rarely use it. I find it much more effective to announce "bike (or bicycles) on your left" or some such thing. I get a much more immediate response and convey more info than "ding,ding". I can also warn people from further away because a voice carries better than a bell. Ether way it seems most folks look over there left shoulder to see what is approaching and how fast. This brings them further to the left before they step to the right. Of course sometimes they look over the right shoulder.

How do the rest of you feel about bell or horn instead of voice .

JayS.

Last edited by JayS.; 01-31-2007 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:41 PM
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Jonathan Maus Jonathan Maus is offline
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it's not a matter of what you use, it's simply being courteous.

whatever you use it should be considerate of other people. a loud bell moments before passing doesn't do all that much good...and a quick bark of "on your left" can also be rude.

It's a matter of being tactful and nice as you pass and never speeding closely past someone until you are sure they know you're there.

assumptions can lead to collisions.
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:59 PM
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Haven_kd7yct Haven_kd7yct is offline
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I have a bell, and I use it.

I also use my voice, after giving the ol' bell the ding several times. Most people "get it" after hearing the dinging and verbal warning, and actually thank me for the warning.

However, most casual bike users (read: most of the bike users on the off-street trails) don't a)know what a dinging bell means; b) understand "on your left" (I've had people swerve to their left thinking that's what I mean, I understand this is a European thing); and c) aren't paying any attention to anything outside of their individual experience.

When I ride on the streets, I have less of a problem with the peds/other cyclists. Probably because being on the road one must pay more attention to one's surroundings to avoid injury. Threat of pain appears to be a good motivator in this instance!

Anyway, Matt, hope you are doing better, and I hope your experience continues to motivate you!

Kristen
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:43 PM
jami jami is offline
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Default in defense of walking

matt p., hope you weren't hurt badly. 20 mph seems like a bad speed to fall off one's bike at. sounds like mr. meandering-left misinterpreted your bell as a call to go right in a hurry. whoops.

taking the thread tangent embarked upon by others, i don't think pedestrians and small children owe us anything. they shouldn't have to wear reflectors or listen for bells or even stay right. walking is their right. nature intended it. if we bikes start to get angry with them for exercising basic rights that prevent us riding at top speed, we're not much better than cars that tell us we "belong" on the sidewalk because they need to get to the mcdonalds twenty seconds faster.

it would be nice if there were a place extra-speedy bikers could go that would have neither cars to mow them down nor pedestrians and clueless doot-de-doo bikers (like me) to get mowed down. if any city's gonna do bike freeways, it'll be portland. for now, we share.
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:18 AM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jami View Post
i don't think pedestrians and small children owe us [cyclists] anything. ... for now, we share.
Yes, there is always going to be more than one user on the trail, regardless of whether they're walking, rollerblading, riding, or crawling. That's why both the law and common sense dictate that we all exercise reasonable prudence when using the trail. That's why a reasonable pedestrian would look over his or her shoulder before darting across the trail. He or she would have reason to know that a cyclist may be approaching from behind. Likewise, that's why a reasonable cyclist would use a bell or voice when passing. We all owe each other a duty to exercise reasonable care. You may disagree with that, but you cannot change it. The alternative policies will either increase accidents or spoil everybody's fun.
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