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Kathryn Rickson

Trucking company settles with Rickson family for $700,000

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Scene of the collision.
(Photo courtesy Rickson's attorneys.)

As we reported this morning, a jury was expected to rule on the Kathryn Rickson case today. Rickson's family was pursuing a $1.78 million lawsuit against the trucking company that owned and operated the truck involved in the collision that claimed her life back in May 2012.

However, just a few hours before the closing arguments were set to be heard at the Multnomah County Courthouse, representatives from Golden State Foods Corp. decided to settle out of court for a sum of $700,000.

According to Charley Gee, an attorney with Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton, the firm representing Rickson's estate, this is a significant settlement that should send a clear message to trucking companies to take driver training more seriously.

(more...)

Jury decision expected today in Kathryn Rickson wrongful death lawsuit

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-1-2
Community advocates Roger Averbeck, Gerik Kransky,
and Cameron Whitten at the rally for
Kathryn Rickson on May 18th, 2012.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This afternoon at the Multnomah County Courthouse, a jury will hear closing arguments in the wrongful death civil trial of Kathryn Rickson. Rickson, a 28-year-old graduate student and aspiring playwright at Portland State University, died following a collision with a semi-truck at the intersection of SW 3rd and Madison on May 16th, 2012.

A representative of Rickson's estate alleges that the trucking company, Delaware-based Golden State Foods Corp., was negligent because one of their drivers, Dawayne Eacret, failed to see Ms. Rickson and yield to her presence prior to the collision. Rickson's family is seeking $1,789,281.93 in damages. Attorney's for Golden State Foods deny the allegations and maintain that the fault of the collision belongs solely to Rickson.

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One year after her death, friends plan memorial event for Kathryn Rickson

Monday, May 13th, 2013
Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-26
Ryan Gaughan at Rickson's ghost
bike on May 18th, 2012.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This coming Thursday will mark one year since the tragic death of 28 year-old Kathryn Rickson. On the night of May 16th, Rickson was riding downhill on SW Madison Ave just one block from City Hall when a man driving a large delivery truck turned right onto SW 3rd and the two vehicles collided.

Now Rickson's friends and family have planned a memorial event to remember her. I asked Ryan to share a few thoughts about Kathryn, the collision, and this past year... (more...)

After Rickson decision, BTA renews push for safety changes

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
BTA: "It's time to act."

With the DA's decision today to not pursue criminal charges against the man operating the truck in the collision that claimed the life of Kathryn Rickson, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance says, "It's time to act."

In a blog post this afternoon, the BTA is renewing a push for a list of specific changes they called for immediately following the tragedy last May. "The investigation is complete," they write, "It is time to implement some changes."

The list of safety measures they are demanding is below: (more...)

DA finds no criminal negligence in Kathryn Rickson fatality

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-32
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Multnomah County District Attorney's office released a memo (PDF) today on their investigation into the death of Kathryn Rickson. They have determined that the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man driving the semi-trailer truck, Dawayne Eacret, could have seen Rickson prior to the collision at SW 3rd and Madison and therefore he cannot be held criminally liable for hitting her.

Rickson suffered fatal injuries in the collision on the evening of May 16th, 2012. Eacret was in the process of turning right (south) onto SW 3rd from Madison when Rickson became pinned under the truck's right front fender. She was transported to OHSU but died shortly after arrival.

The focus of the DA's decision boiled down to whether or not Eacret could have seen Rickson, either on the road prior to the intersection or in his rear-view mirror prior to making his right turn. The case was investigated by Officer Pete Kurronen of the Portland Police Bureau and the lead DA was Deputy DA Glen Banfield. In addition to a detailed investigation of the vehicles and the roadway, they used three main witnesses in the case; the truck's passenger and two people in a car that was following directly behind the truck when the collision happened.
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A freight advocate's perspective on recent fatal collision

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Former chair of the Portland Freight
Committee, Corky Collier.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not surprisingly, the death of Kathryn Rickson while she rode in a bike lane just one block from Portland City Hall has got a lot of people talking. Apart from the grieving we do as a community when something like this happens, many people are turning their feelings toward finding a solution to the problems they feel might have led to the collision.

Two major strains of discussion have emerged: large trucks and the safety issues they pose in tight, urban environments; and how we design bicycle access into our roads. Today I want to focus on the issue of truck safety (I am not dismissing the bikeway design issue; but it's worth noting that we covered that at length following a similar fatality back in October 2007).

To get a better understanding about freight movement and truck safety downtown, I got in touch with Corky Collier. Collier is the former chair of the Portland Freight Committee, which is an advisory group to the Bureau of Transportation (think of it as the Bicycle Advisory Committee, but for freight). Collier is also the executive director of the Columbia Corridor Association, a non-profit business association that represents industries along the Columbia River. (more...)

Friends start donation fund for Kathryn Rickson

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-22
A photo of Kathryn at a makeshift
memorial on the corner of
SW 3rd and Madison.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Friends of Kathryn Rickson, the young woman who was killed while bicycling on SW 3rd and Madison last week, have launched a fundraising effort.

One of Kathryn's friends got in touch with me to share that a page has been created on ChipIn.com to handle the donations. So far, $545 has been raised. Kathryn was a student at Portland State University who was working odd jobs. Her partner, Ryan Gaughan, recently lost his job at New Seasons Market. Ryan also has a seven-year old daughter named Madeline. (more...)

Hundreds gather to remember Kathryn Rickson

Friday, May 18th, 2012
Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-15
The corner of SW 3rd and Madison filled with people who came together to remember Wednesday's tragedy.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

(more...)

BTA, community call for action in light of downtown tragedy

Friday, May 18th, 2012
The BTA wants to make guards like these (installed on
Water Bureau trucks in 2008 in response to
a fatal collision) mandatory.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland

With the death of Kathryn Rickson still fresh on the minds of many (the community will gather at the intersection tonight at 5:30 pm), there is already a strong chorus calling for safety measures to make it less likely this will ever happen again. Citizen activists and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance are calling on the City of Portland to take action.

It's important to remember that these reactions are coming swiftly, not just because of what happened to Kathryn Rickson. Right-hook collisions are in the headlines here on BikePortland far too often it seems. And while most of the ones we report on do not result in fatalities, many of us remember ones that did. Tracey Sparling died from a right turning large truck. So did Brett Jarolimek. Those two fatal collisions happened less than two weeks apart back in October 2007 and their impact is still felt today.

One of Brett's friends co-workers, Kris Schamp, wrote about that in an email to me today. Schamp shared his feelings and his concerns about the road design at SW 3rd and Madison: (more...)

Mayor Adams issues statement on fatal bicycle collision - Updated

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Street Smart campaign launch event-7-6
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Sam Adams just issued a statement about last night's fatal collision on SW 3rd and Madison.

Adams' office has posted the statement on his blog, under the headline: Statement from Mayor Sam Adams on Bicycle Accident at SW 3rd and Madison. Here it is:

Last night, a terrible tragedy occurred downtown: a bicyclist was struck by a motor vehicle and killed. My condolences go out to this young woman’s family and friends; I am deeply sorry for the anguish they are going through. This incident hit me particularly hard given my commitment as mayor to making our city’s streets safer for all users. While we’ve made great strides, losing even one life is too many. This incident is still under investigation and the Portland Police Bureau will work with the District Attorney’s Office to determine appropriate action.

(more...)

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