fatal collisions

Is Portland ready to start building streets for smaller trucks?

Monday, December 1st, 2014
truck on right
Big trucks in busy American cities are often seen as a necessary evil. But maybe that’s only half true.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Cities can’t exist without cargo. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that cities can exist with fewer big trucks.

Two weeks ago, the day after local man Kirke Johnson was killed in a collision with a right-turning semi-trailer truck that apparently failed to yield as he passed it going straight, urbanist website CityLab published an interesting bit of news.

After years of selling 15-foot cargo vans as delivery vehicles in Europe and Japan, Nissan has found a market for them in the United States, too:


TriMet bus kills man who had been walking bike in bike lane (UPDATED)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
bus stop
The bus stop on 82nd Avenue near Clackamas Town Center where the incident reportedly took place.
(Image from 2011: Google Street View)

A man who had been walking his bike in the bike lane down 82nd Avenue at SE Causey Wednesday night was killed beneath the back wheel of a TriMet bus, Oregon State Police said.

The man, a 60-year-old whose name has not yet been released, had apparently been passed by the bus while walking in the lane, caught up with it, and was beating on the back of the bus before his death.


Friends remember Kirke Johnson, identified as man killed in Cedar Mill collision

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Kirke Johnson.
(Photos: Portland Community College)

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man who was killed yesterday while bicycling on NW Cornell Road in Cedar Mill (just west of the Portland city boundary).

The victim is Kirke Johnson, a 70-year old former employee at Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus. He worked in the school’s IT department for over 20 years and just retired last week. People who knew Johnson remember him as being a prolific and very experienced rider who logged thousands of miles a year on his recumbent (which he was riding at the time of the collision).

He was also a regular commenter here on BikePortland. Under the screen name “bikesalot” he published about 100 comments dating back to early 2009.

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

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Scene of the collision. View is looking northwest from the middle of NW Barnes.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

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

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


Ryan Egge, injured in March bike-car crash in Cully, has died

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Scene of Ryan Egge collision-5
A memorial of spray-paint, a skateboard, flowers and candles remains at the scene of the collision.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Multnomah County District Attorney is reviewing a police investigation of a man who had been riding a bike in Northeast Portland, was involved in a collision with a car and later died of his injuries.

After the March 28 collision, police had said that Ryan Egge, 24, was expected to survive his injuries. He entered a coma after the incident, in which he and a car collided on Northeast Killingsworth Street just west of Cully Boulevard. Police said Wednesday afternoon that they’d just learned that Egge died April 28.


Careless driving to blame for death of woman in SE Division crosswalk

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
The bus operator was in this lane prior to collision.

The Portland Police Bureau have given the driver of a school bus two citations for her role in a collision that killed a 43-year-old woman who was walking across a southeast Portland street.

Renee Bates was walking on SE Division with her husband Shawn Bates on Tuesday afternoon when they attempted to walk eastbound across SE 148th (from the northwest corner). At the same time, 55-year-old Billie Jean Neel was attempting to make a right turn onto Division from 148th. Neel failed to operate her bus safely and ran over the Bates couple. Shawn was not seriously hurt but Renee died from her injuries later that day in the hospital.

East Portland fatality puts heat on City’s paving priority – UPDATED

Friday, March 1st, 2013
Streetview of where a girl was struck and killed last night by someone driving a car as she tried to cross the street.

Mayor Hales and his interim PBOT Director Toby Widmer are on the hot seat this morning for their decision to make paving a higher priority than safety. The City’s budget plan to “realign” $7.15 million in PBOT funds — $1.2 million of which would come from an already planned sidewalk project on SE 136th Ave — was immediately controversial when it was announced last week. And that was before last night when a five-year-old girl was tragically killed just blocks away from where that new sidewalk was slated to go.

“Repaving streets is absolutely important for this city, but let’s not fix potholes at the expense of children’s safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.”
— Stephanie Routh, Oregon Walks

According to the Portland Police, around 7:00 pm last night Morgan Maynard-Cook was visiting a friend across the street from her home on SE 136th. She was on the east side of 136th. Her home is on the west side of the street at the corner of 136th and Harold (map). When ready to come home, she went to cross 136th after a northbound car slowed to let her cross. She then left the grasp of the person she was walking with, ran out and was struck by a 69-year old woman driving a car in the opposite lane. Maynard-Cook died on the way to the hospital.

There are no sidewalks on either side of 136th in this location. The posted speed limit is 35 mph (a speed that results in a fatality in 65% of collisions, whereas a speed of 20 mph comes with 0% chance of fatality).

This summer, PBOT was planning to build a sidewalk on the east side of 136th between SE Powell and Holgate, just 0.4 miles north of where Maynard-Cook was hit. While technically, the money PBOT — under the direction of Mayor Hales — is proposing to “realign” for paving would not have built a sidewalk in the location of this tragedy, last night’s news will weigh heavily on Hales’ mind as he ponders the budget. Especially since, according a police spokesman I spoke with this morning, Hales visited the scene last night just minutes after police arrived.

Not surprisingly, the mayor is already hearing from the public about the lack of sidewalks in this area.

KGW-TV’s story last night mentioned that Maynard-Cook’s mom, “said the neighborhood has no sidewalks, no crosswalks and lots of children trying to walk around in those conditions.” (Incidentally, an ad before the KGW online video was for a new Honda that comes with SMS texting in the dashboard.)

Executive Director of Oregon Walks Stephanie Routh released a statement this morning that said, “Proposing to cut a long-awaited basic sidewalk project in Portland’s poorest neighborhood and severely cutting funding for ADA access [another proposal from Hales/Widmer] is not in keeping with the city’s stated commitment to equity… Repaving streets is absolutely important for this city, but let’s not fix potholes at the expense of children’s safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.”

Former Mayor Sam Adams was not shy about saying his top transportation priority was safety. PBOT staffers had even started calling him “our traffic safety mayor.” And Adams put money where his mouth is by allocating $16 million to sidewalks in east and southwest Portland. Mayor Hales, looking to differentiate himself from Adams (perhaps more for politics than policy), has made it clear paving is Job #1.

Paving and maintenance is important. But it must be funding in a very careful balance with system improvements that will make people safer. No one has ever died because of a pothole or a rough road. (UPDATE That’s not true and it was a mistake to write it.)

Would a sidewalk have prevented last night’s tragedy? Of course we can’t say for sure. But as someone with three young children myself, I can say from experience that the presence of sidewalks and curbs matters. Curbs are an important physical feature that communicates something to kids even before they can speak. When my almost two-year-old comes to a curb, he knows a street with dangers lies ahead.

When I asked Mayor Hales about PBOT’s proposal to “realign” this sidewalk money for paving, he distanced himself from the decision. “It’s a bureau budget. It’s just a starting point.” Asked if the sidewalk funding cut would be adopted into the final budget, Hales said, “I’d say it’s about 50/50.”

After last night, I have no doubt those percentages have changed.

UPDATE 11:52 am: Statement from Mayor Hales just released:

“My heart goes out to the family of Morgan. As a parent, I can find no words that are sufficient to describe this horrible occurrence.

My thoughts also are with the Portland Police officers who responded last night. Each of them has family, too, and each is affected by such tragedies in different ways.

Safety throughout the city has to be our first priority. I have been at work fewer than 60 days, and so far the city of Portland has experienced eight automobile-related fatalities, four of which were pedestrian deaths.

There has been a lot of talk of late about paving streets, and about sidewalks and crosswalks throughout our city. There has been a lot of talk about the backlog of projects, and about how to pay for these core responsibilities. As always, public safety has to be our North Star, guiding all of our decisions in every part of the city.

We will work through these decisions together, as involved citizens, as elected officials, as city employees, as residents of Portland, and as people who are holding our families a little bit tighter today.”

Police release details of fatal collision at SE Mill/148th

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

A man died while bicycling on Sunday night; but the police have been so busy with five other major crashes (including several fatalities), they have only now been able to share more details with us.

According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), at just after 9:00 pm, 48-year-old James Querirolo was riding northbound on the sidewalk on the east side of SE 148th Ave while a person (name not yet released) operating a Hyundai Santa Fe (small SUV) was headed southbound on 148th. She attempted to make a low-speed left turn from 148th on to SE Mill eastbound. “The driver had completed about 90% of her turn when the cyclist rode off the sidewalk and directly in front of her. She could not avoid striking the cyclist,” reads a PPB statement. (more…)

Police investigating fatal collision at SE 148th and Mill – Updated

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

The Portland Police Bureau just reported a fatal collision involving a man riding a bicycle and someone driving a car.

The collision occurred at SE 148th and Mill in the Centennial Neighborhood around 9:00 pm tonight (9/30). The intersection is slated for a traffic signal as per plans by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to create a neighborhood greenway on SE Mill. Currently it’s slated for completion in 2015.

No additional details are available right now; but the PPB has launched an investigation and I’ll update this post as I learn more. If you saw anything or have information to share, please call the Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

UPDATE: KATU News has posted a photo from the scene (not graphic).

UPDATE, 11:30 am 10/2: The PPB still hasn’t released many more details. Below is what I have just heard from Traffic Division Capt. David Hendrie:

“We had five major crash team callouts in 48 hours over the weekend so it has been hectic… the rider was riding on the sidewalk and rode in front of the car that was turning left onto Mill. The investigator is still reviewing the evidence from the crash. The driver of the vehicle was not impaired and there is no indication she could have avoided the collision. It will be some time before we know more.”

UPDATE, 1:45 pm, 10/2: I just posted a full update here.

Man dies from collision on Highway 18 during Reach the Beach ride

Monday, May 21st, 2012
Oregon State Police survey the scene. Dayley’s
bike can be seen in the upper right.

65-year old Camas, Washington resident Steven Dayley was bicycling along the same route as the Reach the Beach ride on Saturday when he was struck from behind by a man driving a pickup. Dayley died from his injuries later that night at Salem Memorial Hospital.

The collision occurred on Highway 18, a few miles east of Grande Ronde, just outside the Fort Hill Restaurant (Google Map link).

While there were hundreds of people on the road in that area due to the Reach the Beach ride, both ride organizers and the Oregon State Police report that Dayley was not an official registrant. (more…)

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