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Woman killed while riding her bicycle at W. Burnside and 14th

Posted by on October 11th, 2007 at 1:53 pm

[Updated 2:33 pm, 2:50 pm, 3:19 pm]


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Photos below

A cyclist was killed around 1:30 pm today in downtown Portland.

According to Portland Police Bureau Lieutenant Mark Kruger, 19 year-old PNCA student Tracey Sparling collided with a cement mixing truck at the corner of W Burnside and 14th (photos below – Google Map of location).

Here is what Lt. Kruger can report after an initial investigation:

The truck was headed northbound on SW 14th Ave. and it came to a stop at a red light on W. Burnside. When the truck’s light turned green, the truck began to turn right (eastbound) onto W. Burnside. At that point, somehow a bicycle collided with the truck.

Kruger said they cannot tell what type of movement (if any) the bicyclist was making before the collision. He said there were no skid marks from the bicycle tire.

Oregonian reporter Stuart Tomlinson used to ride through that same intersection. He reports that witnesses in the restaurant directly adjacent to the corner say both the truck and the cyclist were stopped, but when the light turned green the cyclist went straight and the truck turned right.

[*Warning: The photo of the crash scene (below) might be unsettling for some viewers.]

Lt. Kruger described the bicycle as a green singlespeed Nishiki “Citysport” road bike with front and rear brakes. The victim was reportedly a female. The Oregonian is also reporting that a witness said “she was very young and carrying books in a shoulder bag.”

Lt. Kruger and his team will continue their investigation and I will share more details as they come in.

Here is a photo of the scene taken about 30 minutes after the collision:

This view is looking south on SW 14th. 14th is one-way and has a bike lane.

It’s hard to tell what happened from this photo alone and we should reserve coming to any conclusions until we know more from Police investigators.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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max adders

Just walked past the scene. Streets are shut down in all directions. The victim is covered in a tarp in the street on the corner by Crystal Ballroom / Ringler\’s. The Truck itself appears to have been making a right hand turn (northbound) down the hill from 14th to Burnside (eastbound) when the accident occurred.

Be careful out there, folks, and ride defensively.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

That\’s what it looks like to me. Cyclist heading straight in the bike lane, truck turning right through the bike lane.

ugh.

Elicia, Vice-Chair of the committee
Guest
Elicia, Vice-Chair of the committee

Do we know who it was yet?

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

It looks like a classic right hook, driver failure to yield to a bike in the bike lane.

If that\’s what happened, I hope that the driver feel the full force of the law. I am willing to take action to demand justice if necessary.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim.

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

I hate stories like this espically considering I have friends that ride over there. Now I\’m going go text them all.

destin
Guest

my wife just went down there, she works near by, and someone almost hit her with a group crossing the street on a walk sign, my wife spoke to the driver his rolled down window that they had the right of way and someone was just killed ( pointing toward the incident ) through driver inattention , and the guy told her to fuck off and stormed around the corner at high speed.

be careful out there guys and girls.
some drivers just do not care.

my condolences to the family of the victim,
i hope this diver, if guilty, is punished as he should be.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Rest in peace.

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

This is so horrible! I bike this way every day that I bike. It is really touch and go when cars are making right hand turns. I\’ve had some close calls all along NW and SW 14th, going to Lovejoy and 14th. I feel like crying. Many many condolences to family and friends.

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

This is devastating, absolutely devastating. Especially as a young female cyclist, this breaks my heart. It reinforces the notion that we MUST ride defensively.

Condolences to her family, friends, and all that knew her.

Please let this be a somewhat of flag to motorists that cyclists exist and you NEED to be aware of us as much as we are of you.

Qwendolyn
Guest
Qwendolyn

This is very sad.

I would also just like to offer heartfelt condolences to friends and family

Dave J.
Guest
Dave J.

I dunno, not sure I agree with the editorial decision to post the photo showing the poor girl lying under a tarp. I mean, I realize that sometimes you need photos to communicate the horror of the situation, but still… not sure I would have done that.

nick
Guest
nick

NW 14th, between the approach to Burnside north to Lovejoy, is one of the most dangerous areas I have ever ridden.

How indescribably sad.

me no likey
Guest
me no likey

i don\’t like the photo either, but i\’m glad it\’s there. it really drives home the reality of this. that photo should be on a billboard.

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

The picture is as powerful as you can get. I sure see that in my mind when I am sitting at an intersection. Be defensive.

Take care everyone.

Antonio Gramsci
Guest

Folks:
For Goddess\’s sake, when proceeding straight through a light (or an exit) don\’t EVER let motorists execute right hand turns from the lane to your left! Get in the through traffic lane and either pass them on their left or wait behind them.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

I feel sick to my stomach.

This is just a nightmare for her poor family.

I agree with the other posters that the full force of the law needs to fall on this driver. Certainly he/she is probably devastated, but remorse should not be a mitigating factor.

If the facts are as they seem, the driver is at fault.

It is only when there are consistent consequences, regardless of intent, will drivers operate as if their lives at stake.

Don\’t let anyone call this an accident. This is a collision.

Tiago
Guest
Tiago

This is so, so sad.
No matter what \”conclusions\” are taken, it\’s almost certain that nobody was doing anything extraordinary. I am crying because I know that, as long as we accept these horrible machines as a normal part of our lives, we have to expect fatalities just like these. The fact that it could be someone that I know infuriates and scares me.
Is this a war?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Breaks my heart too, Jenn. I think everybody here probably feels pretty much the same about this.

Agent Bunny G
Guest
Agent Bunny G

I almost collided with a small car turning right in front of me today. It wouldn\’t be the first time it had happened, either. I wonder if the driver even had their turn signal on…? It\’s bad enough when a vehicle turns into the bike lane when there\’s a cyclist there, but I bet the turn signal wasn\’t on. I think most of us have learned to look for turn signals and anticipate wether they are going to try and turn. This is really sad, my condolences to the friends and family.

morgan
Guest
morgan

The same thing apparently happened to a couple of kids up here in Seattle about a month ago.
A dump truck driver didn\’t look/didn\’t see/didn\’t care, made a right turn in front of the kids and suddenly there was one less young mind in our world.
I feel horrible.

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

Guys,

Please, before people get going, wait for the investigation.

With a truck that big and that high up, a bike can easily be in a blind spot. If you can\’t look at a driver in the eyes, they certainly can\’t see you.

Please take a lesson from this, pray for the family and save your rebuke until the driver is found to be negligent.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”I am crying because I know that, as long as we accept these horrible machines as a normal part of our lives, we have to expect fatalities just like these.\”

I know. An Oregonian reporter just called me to get a comment. What can I say about something like this?! What is there to say?

I basically said, \”the truck was so big there\’s a chance the driver never saw the cyclist…we try to share the road with vastly different sized vehicles…\”

I agree with Tiago in that as long as we share space with huge, heavy vehicles this is something that can (and will) happen.

Is there anything we can do about it? (besides have a complete system of bike-only streets and physically separated lanes?)

Zach
Guest
Zach

The photo\’s not uplifting, and it didn\’t feel that great seeing it for real a few minutes ago either…

Amy
Guest
Amy

My condolences to the victim\’s family and friends.

I was hit by a car on NW 14th and Everett. Very nearby, and the same scenario–car making a right turn into the bike lane.

There are loads of bikes on 14th–let\’s be careful out there!

Dave J.
Guest
Dave J.

Trucks are even more of a danger in these situations because the driver is up high and thus less likely to see a cyclist parked alongside him near the curb. (Not that they bother to look.) I\’ve nearly been hit in the exact same circumstances several times, and it\’s always a truck. Nowadays I just always assume that trucks can\’t/don\’t see me, and give them a very wide berth.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”I bet the turn signal wasn\’t on..\”

The photo on the Oregonian\’s report shows that the truck\’s signal is on…when it was turned on we don\’t know… but in the photo it is on.

max adders
Guest
max adders

\”I am crying because I know that, as long as we accept these horrible machines as a normal part of our lives, we have to expect fatalities just like these. The fact that it could be someone that I know infuriates and scares me.\”

Welcome to life as a human being.

\”Is this a war?\”

No, I think it was a cement truck.

b
Guest
b

it wasn\’t too long ago that a similar situation happened up in seattle….and the victim was also blamed. gotta love how Lt. Kruger is quoted saying: \”SOMEHOW a BICYCLE collided with the truck.\”

bicycle travels straight, truck doesn\’t heed right of way, turns right, and runs over girl and kills her. don\’t say that \”SOMEHOW a BICYCLE collided with the truck\”….the driver ran her over and killed her! he even said there were no skid marks from the bicycle.
seriously, stop blaming the victim!

\”Oregonian reporter Stuart Tomlinson used to ride through that same intersection. He reports that witnesses in the restaurant directly adjacent to the corner say both the truck and the cyclist were stopped, but when the light turned green the cyclist went straight and the truck turned right.\”

see, even the oregonian realizes who had the right of way.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

A lot of semis have a convex mirror mounted on the hood so they can see in that blind spot where the cyclist may have been. In the one photo of the truck involved in today\’s collision it appears as if that mirror is turned in.

Dave J.
Guest
Dave J.

Just a note, b–Kruger HAS to say that because if he makes a public statement as to fault before the investigation is completed, the driver\’s attorney could claim bias at the trial.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

The Oregonian is currently calling this a \”fatal bicycle accident.\”

Accident. That word does not apply. This is not a tree falling on someone.

Doug
Guest
Doug
waimin
Guest
waimin

Sadly, even if the dump truck driver did look he may not have been able to see her. (A witness said they started at the same time, so the cyclist may have been directly next to the front right wheel.) I sent this story to many of my driving friends as a reminder to ALWAYS look for cyclists before turning right. As cyclists, we also have to remember to ride defensively. Not everyone will look and even some who do may not be able to say you. Such a tragedy. It just shakes my world.

BURR
Guest
BURR

my condolences to the victim.

bike lanes and right turns don\’t mix, the city stripes these curb-side bike lanes everywhere and expects the motorists to pay attention/care. It will never work because the lane positions are counterintuitive and bad engineering is just bad engineering, folks, you can\’t turn a sow\’s ear into a silk purse.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

This is horrible. According to a witness on this oregonian article, the cyclist was a young female, carrying books in a shoulder bag.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Jonathan wrote:

Is there anything we can do about it? (besides have a complete system of bike-only streets and physically separated lanes?)

I\’m a biog fan of bike-only streets and physically-separated lanes for this reason.

Absent some equality in our road infrastructure, it is absolutely imperative that cyclists not ride to the right of motorists approaching an intersection, and to be especially careful of trucks, because they can\’t see you when you\’re next to them, and their wide turning radius means there\’s a good chance you will be crushed under their rear wheels if they turn into your path.

Like some said above, be careful out there.

Klixi
Guest
Klixi

SIck to my stomach, I live RIGHT near this intersection and and ride through this same intersection once a day, 3-4 on the weekends. Today I walked (fearing rain) and on my way home I walked right through this mess. Sick to my stomach definitely. As soon as I saw the yellow tarp covering a body I felt faint. What time will the ghost bike be placed?

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

I just talked to MJ and he would rather not have media there for the ghost bike placement, so please do not post the time here.

BURR
Guest
BURR

The driver will probably get off with a $242 failure to yield ticket.

JT
Guest
JT

I hate this \”lets blame Kruger\” thing man of you do on this site..the man is just doing his job in a terrible situation..his wording is canned and WILL NOT CHANGE NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU COMPLAIN….its the legality of the situation. a collision is a collision, it does not infer blame…jesus…
its a sad day, don\’t make it worse by bitching about everthing…

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Maybe it is time for oregon to look at legislation requiring these on any truck registered in Oregon:

http://respect.to/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Issues.TruckSideGuards

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest
muddy c
Guest

The wording (from the Police or writer not sure?) indicates the cyclist ran into the truck. How does a 120 lb cyclist get crushed by a couple of tons of cement truck when first hitting it?

My guess is that the Trucker never saw her. Just like on the freeway, stay in front or behind the big rigs. So, so sad.

Everybody please just keep looking one step ahead.

JT
Guest
JT

you all speak about this driver, whom you do not know, like he or she is not human…I\’d be willing to place $$ on the fact they feel damn right terrible at this very moment and wish they could take back the last few hours…this may very well be something that ruins their life as well.
if their passenger door was not outfitted with a lower window or the trucks mirror (they truck they were given to drive during work today) was not capable of seeing below itself, their turn signal was on….
what more do you want?

Do I blame the driver yet? NO..I won\’t go that far because I wasn\’t there and I don\’t know what happend. Accidents..collisions…whatever you want to call them are a part of life on a bike…its the risk we take for sharing the road with 3000+ pound vehicles at high speed. Blaming another human being who may have very well done everything they knew how to do behind the wheel of a their work truck is asinine…until you all drive a cement truck for a living and deal with the realities of that in an urban area, you all shouldn\’t be quite so quick to judge or persecute from the safety of your afternoon office chair or living rooms or coffee shops.

Does it scare me to share the road with these vehicles? Yes. Is it a reality I have to do with and a danger I have to avoid? absolutely.

JT
Guest
JT

Bjorn…

damn good idea…thanks for bringing some proactive to the forum…that would be worthy of following up on..

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Bjorn…

damn good idea…thanks for bringing some proactive to the forum…that would be worthy of following up on..

Agreed.

specialK
Guest
specialK

I have to agree about bike lanes and intersections not mixing. Personally, I *never* trust cars at intersections like this, turn signal or no. If I\’m in the lane stopped next to them, unless they make eye contact w/ me I\’m just not going near that right-cross area. I\’ll hang back. Usually, I try to never be in this spot.

Take the lane people!

I can\’t get over how many dangers there are riding in bike lanes. 1) right cross, 2) DOORS!, 3) Loading/Unloading parkers… to name a few…

Bicycledave
Guest

If the witness account is correct:

witnesses in the restaurant directly adjacent to the corner say both the truck and the cyclist were stopped, but when the light turned green the cyclist went straight and the truck turned right.

It seems to me like the bike box concept mentioned in this article about bike boulevards would help prevent this sort of thing. In a bike box you would be out in front of cars and trucks instead of in their blind spot.

I remember seeing these in Spain. I thought it was odd to have all the scooters (didn\’t see that many bikes when I was there a dozen years ago) squeezing to the front of the line at the intersections, but it made them visible before the light turned green.

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

This is just awful, but I have to agree with the post above. I always try to move into the middle of the lane as I approach an intersection where I\’m continuing straight for just this reason. In fact, downtown I can usually keep up with traffic so I take and keep the lane.

Whether you\’re on bike or a pedestrian, drivers just don\’t see you. They should, but the cyclist/pedestrian is always going to lose in this situation so we need to be constantly observant.

a.O
Guest
a.O

Not only do we need to be constantly observant, we need to pass laws that severely punish this kind of lethal behavior.