Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Update, new details, on Marine Drive collision

Posted by on October 30th, 2007 at 10:45 am

[*Updated 3:17pm]

Bob Verrinder remains in serious condition.
(Photo courtesy of Bob’s friends)

On Thursday, October 18, Bob Verrinder was seriously injured when he and a motor vehicle collided on NE Marine Drive.

Unfortunately, because a separate tragic event occurred the following Monday, I have been unable to follow-up on this story.

First, I want to share an update on Bob’s condition. Then, I want to share details of the crash that were for some reason left out of the Police Bureau’s media statement.

According to his wife Jan — whom I met several weeks ago when I gave a talk at a meeting of the Vancouver Bicycle Club — Bob’s condition remains very serious.

As of Sunday (10/28), Jan says he is still floating in and out of consciousness, although she reports he has, “had good moments where we are positive he knows us.” The high-speed collision left Bob with swelling in the brain, a leg and arm broken in two places and broken bone in his shoulder and ribs.

bike safety meeting and press conference-9.jpg

Bob’s wife Jan (in yellow jacket) attended the
Bike Safety Press Conference at City Hall.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

I spoke with Jan at the recent Bike Safety Press Conference and I could tell this has been a very trying time for her, the Verrinder family, their close friends, and the entire Vancouver bicycle community.

Members of the Vancouver Bicycle Club have told me they consider Jan and Bob “the backbone of the club.”

Unfortunately, their grief has been made worse because of the community conversation surrounding her husband’s collision.

That conversation, which includes reports on the crash in local media outlets and the coverage and comments on this site, have been based solely on facts presented by the Portland Police Bureau.

Here’s an excerpt from the statement made by the Police following the collision:

“Based on information from the scene and two independent witnesses, investigators believe that…The bicyclist was in a marked crosswalk but failed to stop for a stop sign prior to crossing the street. Prior to the collision, the bicyclist was also westbound next to Northeast Marine Drive on the bike path.

The two witnesses stated that the bicyclist was traveling very quickly and did not appear to slow or hesitate at the stop sign. Because of the incline at the crosswalk, investigators believe the motorist may not have seen the bicyclist until he was directly in front of her. The bicyclist was immediately taken into surgery at Emanuel Hospital with a life-threatening head injury.

The motorist remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation. Speed and impairment do not appear to be factors in the collision.”

The intersection where Bob was hit.
Explore it for yourself on Google Street View.

Based on that report, the community drew the conclusion that Bob Verrinder made a mistake in judgment that nearly cost him his life.

However, I spoke to several people (who requested anonymity) who had conversations with officers on the scene and they shared several key facts that were not included in the initial Police media statement.

I followed-up and have now confirmed with both the Captain and the Lieutenant of the Police Bureau Traffic Division that:

  • The marked crosswalk (shown in photo above) had flashing yellow lights that were activated at the time of the collision.
  • A pedestrian (and dog) headed in the same direction as Bob (from north to south or right to left in photo) had just finished crossing (and had likely been the ones who triggered the flashing lights).
  • A truck headed eastbound was stopped while the pedestrian finished crossing.

These facts, coupled with the knowledge that Bob Verrinder had 55 years of cycling experience, was a daily bike rider/commuter, had logged nearly 6,000 miles on the road in 2007, and according to his wife Jan, rode through this crosswalk frequently and “always crossed it carefully”, made it hard for those who knew him to make sense of what happened.

“I felt the need to defend my husband.”
–Jan Verrinder

Perhaps Bob Verrinder did not come to a complete stop before entering the intersection (there is a stop sign on the bike path). However, if the facts above would have been included in the initial Police statement, I feel it would have changed the community dialogue considerably.

Or, as one of Bob’s friends put it, “It is too bad that this information had not been published and all the stories make Bob out as the person in the wrong.”

If you don’t think the Police Bureau’s initial crash statements matter, think of Jan Verrinder, sitting in the ICU as her husband clings to life.

“Your two main feelings are grief and fear. You come home exhausted and then read judgmental comments about your loved one made by your fellow cyclists even though they don’t know him and acknowledge that they don’t know the facts.”

She told me she, “felt the need to defend my husband,” after reading comments that referred to him as being, “impatient”, “above the law”, “lacking common sense”, and “willing to risk his life.”

___

According to the Police Bureau’s Public Information Officer Sgt. Brian Schmautz, he simply relays information given to him by officers on the scene. When I asked Traffic Division Lt. Mark Kruger why these facts had been left out of the report, he replied that they, “wouldn’t have changed the facts in the case”.

*[Lt. Kruger stressed that these facts will be a part of the full report and investigation. However, my concern is that we live in a culture of quick judgments and that’s why the initial media statements are so important. Several weeks from now, when the report is made public, no one (except the family) will read it, and no media outlets will cover it (hence, the damage has been done).]

Head of the Traffic Division Vince Jarmer also confirmed these facts were left out of the initial statement. He says due to the seriousness of this collision, they initially treated it as a fatality and therefore only released a “certain amount of information…the basic facts, nothing more.”

I appreciate Jarmer’s point, however the problem is that in this situation, as well as the two fatalities this month, much more than “just the basic facts” are being communicated to the media. Police Bureau personnel, primarily Lt. Kruger, have made many quotes to local media outlets this month that go beyond what is appropriate given the nature of the crashes and the status of the investigations.

His quotes routinely go beyond “just the basic facts” and they have had a significant impact on how the community copes with and tries to make sense of these tragedies.

The Police Bureau defends their policy of not issuing citations because these investigations are ongoing. I would like to see them use the same reasoning and sensitivity with their public statements.

As a journalist, I would much rather have just the absolute most basic facts of a crash (where it happened, who was involved, etc..), instead of having Police investigators pick and choose which facts they release.

Perhaps it’s time for the City of Portland to take a closer at the communications policies of the Police Bureau.

What do you think?

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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a.O
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a.O

Having relevant facts \”wouldn\’t have changed the facts in the case\”? I think something stinks in Portland, and it\’s Kruger. We Portlanders cannot tolerate that level of anti-bike bias by our public officials. FIRE KRUGER!

BURR
Guest
BURR

I\’ve always wondered why a progressive city like Portland has such a reactionary police force.

hickeymad
Guest
hickeymad

Thanks again Jonathon for summarizing so eloquently exactly how many of us in the bike community feel about the double-standard used by the PDX Police force. It sometimes feels like Lt. Kruger is on the payroll of the automobile and freight industries instead of performing his proper role as a public servant and protector of public safety.

Kruger\’s public statements DO lead to false conclusions as to who is at fault for these sorts of \”accidents\”. We in the bike community owe it to ourselves and our families to put a stop to this sort of deception by the police bureau. We deserve better than this!!!

JT
Guest
JT

I think think flashing yellow would imply decreased speed and at least looking both ways before proceeding..cars are not mandated to stop at flashing yellow lights and according to a law I believe passed two or three years ago, only have to give pedestrians 6 feet of space before entering a cross walk..
trusting that a car will stop on marine drive is still like gambling with your personal health and safety..

its hard to tell what this article is about…police omissions with their reporting in regards to bicycle related collisions/fatalities, bikeportland.org\’s difficulty with reporting the \”facts\” as relayed by the PPD, or an anti-Kruger campaign?
who knows…maybe all three…

we all feel badly for Jan Verrinder, her husband, and the medical situation at hand…

but slowing down and looking both directions could have avoided all of it..
yellow light or not. I personally will not be made to feel badly because I advocate for cyclists making better decisions while on the saddle. life is not without risk on a bike…I\’ve git the ground at high speed enough to realize this…most have not.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I\’ve always wondered why a progressive city like Portland has such a reactionary police force.

I\’ve wondered the same thing, ever since I arrived.

In my hometown, a large city, there were two police shooting incidents in my entire lifetime prior to arriving here. When I arrived here, there was at least one per year, and there have been numerous other \”in custody\” deaths in this city beyond those shootings.

Very bizarre dichotomy between City Hall, and the police department it oversees.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

When I asked Traffic Division Lt. Mark Kruger why these facts had been left out of the report, he replied that they, “wouldn’t have changed the facts in the case”.

I disagree.

If a warning light is flashing at a crosswalk, and a vehicle is stopped at that crosswalk, it may be negligence for another vehicle to proceed through the crosswalk. In some states, it\’s explicitly against the law. Not sure without checking if it\’s against the law here, but regardless, it may constitute negligence.

To say that \”it wouldn\’t change the facts in the case\” illustrates a profound ignorance of the law, which, coupled with other recent misstatements of the law, indicate professional incompetence in the upper levels of the Traffic Division.

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

Kruger overstepping bounds? Wow what a thought. This type if misinformation he is spreading is coming to the point of needing direct action against Portland.

We need a day of protest against Kruger!

BURR
Guest
BURR

It is illegal in Oregon for another vehicle to enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is already stopped at the crosswalk, but this only applies to same direction traffic (ORS 811.020). The cross walk laws are in ORS 811.050 through 811.060. One thing I note is that they appear to offer slightly more protection to pedestrians than cyclists.

pushkin
Guest
pushkin

It\’s like night and day.

Mr. Jarmer left out the three most important facts of this whole accident. How convenient for the PPB and the motorist who didn\’t think it was important to stop at a flashing cross-walk when another vehicle in the opposite direction did so.

It wouldn\’t be surprising if Mr. Verrinder had a flashing walk sign in his favor at the time he was hit. The timing sequence of the yellow flasher and pedestrian walk signal are most likely public information. a.O could let us in on the relevance of the recent disclosure.

I thought that a flashing yellow, whether it be an overhead crosswalk sign or a yellow traffic light, means that perpendicular traffic must proceed with caution and does not have the right of way.

Read the three missing facts over and over. This is starting to sound like a real snow job and bias in reporting by the Portland Police Bureau.

As for the presumption of fault on the part of the cyclist in PPB media statements, before a thorough investigation has been done and in light of these conveniently neglected facts, a.O. is right and a serious review of PPB procedures and bias needs to be undertaken.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Jonathan,

I appreciate the stand you\’re taking here. I know that it\’s incredibly important to you and this site to keep your lines of communication open with the powers that be at the PPB, and calling them, and specifically Kruger, out on this is not without its risks.

I\’m sure though, that you\’ve probably had an \”enough is enough\” moment, as most of us have had over the last 3 weeks.

Since his promotion to his current position, Kruger has acted as if it were his very intention to alienate himself and the PPB from the cycling community. His paternalistic attitude and amaturish grasp of the law and issues at hand have again and again driven a wedge between the PPB and most of us.

Now, it seems that he won\’t be satisfied until he has driven that wedge between us and the general community.

This really is beyond the PPB taking a closer look at their communications policies.

Kruger has long been a liability. His ties to Nazi sympathies, while \”alleged,\” should cause any thinking person to be concerned. A few minutes with Google should provide your readers with most of what they need to know.

One would think that those allegations, compounded with his actions, such as pepper spraying members of the media during peaceful protests, would render him obviously unfit for a leadership position.

To those who might reasonably doubt these stories, or assume that Kruger must have \”had his reasons,\” I ask you a simple question. Are you saying that Kruger is the best that the PPB has to offer for a sensitive position such as this? Part of his job is his ability to cultivate and maintain a public image of respect. Kruger and his history is simply not up to this task.

At risk of sounding overly dramatic, it seems that the PPB has somehow wrested control away from City Coucil, and are now a power unto themselves. It is high time that someone in a true position of authority call the PPB onto the carpet and demand that someone with even a modicum of common sense, and maybe even half of a diplomatic bone in their body be assigned to replace this embarrassment known as Lt. Kruger. This city deserves so much better.

pat h
Guest
pat h

Despite the stop sign, the cyclist in this case was in a very visible and marked crosswalk. In a crosswalk, a bike is a ped, and therefore had the right of way. (Or, so I believe. Can any one find a statute stating such?)

If I were a family member if any of the people injured or killed in recent months, I would be thinking about lawsuits. Cyclist need to assert their legal rights not just on the road (and crosswalks), but in court even if the police wont.

See below for ORS:

\”ORS 811.028 (1) The driver of a vehicle commits the offense of failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian if the driver does not stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian when the pedestrian is: (a) Proceeding in accordance with a traffic control device as provided under ORS 814.010 or crossing the roadway in a crosswalk, as defined in ORS 801.220; and (b) In any of the following locations: (A) Inthe lane in which the driver’svehicle is traveling; (B) Inalane adjacent to the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling; (C) In the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning; (D) In a lane adjacent to the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning, if the driver is making a turn at an intersection that does not have a traffic control device under which apedestrian may proceed as provided under ORS 814.010; or (E) Less than six feet from the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning, if the driver is making a turn at an intersection that does not have a traffic control device under which a pedestrian may proceed as provided under ORS 814.010. …\”

\”811.055. Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk. (1) The driver of a motor vehicle commits the offense of failure to yield the right of way to a bicyclist on a sidewalk if the driver does not yield the right of way to any bicyclist on a sidewalk. (2) The driver of a motor vehicle is not in violation of this section when a bicyclist is operating in violation of ORS 814.410. Nothing in this subsection relieves the driver of a motor vehicle from the duty to exercise due care. (3) The offense described in this section, failure to yield the right of way to a bicyclist on a sidewalk, is a Class B traffic infraction.\”

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

One thing I note is that they appear to offer slightly more protection to pedestrians than cyclists.

BURR, the law treats a cyclist the same as a pedestrian when in the crosswalk:

ORS 811.028 Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian; penalty. (1) The driver of a vehicle commits the offense of failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian if the driver does not stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian when the pedestrian is:(a) Proceeding in accordance with a traffic control device as provided under ORS 814.010 or crossing the roadway in a crosswalk, as defined in ORS 801.220; and (b) In any of the following locations: (A) In the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling; (B) In a lane adjacent to the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling***

ORS 814.410 *** (2) Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

Note, however, that a cyclist must enter a crosswalk at a walking speed:

ORS 814.410 Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following: *** (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk.

Note also what the law requires of vehicles approaching a flashing yellow signal:

811.260 Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices. This section establishes appropriate driver responses to specific traffic control devices for purposes of ORS 811.265. Authority to place traffic control devices is established under ORS 810.210. Except when acting under the direction of a police officer that contradicts this section, a driver is in violation of ORS 811.265 if the driver makes a response to traffic control devices that is not permitted under the following: *** (9) Flashing yellow signal. When a driver approaches a flashing yellow light used as a signal in a traffic control device or with a traffic sign, the driver may proceed through the intersection or past the signal only with caution.***
811.265 Failure to obey traffic control device; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of driver failure to obey traffic control device if the person drives a vehicle and the person does any of the following: (a) Fails to obey the directions of any traffic control device. (b) Fails to obey any specific traffic control device described in ORS 811.260 in the manner required by that section. ***

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

I for one am tired of Lt. Lt. Mark \”**\” Kruger. Not change the facts of the case??? Irrelevant to the crash?? These seem to his favorite statements.

I just don\’t understand how important information like those in this and other crashes can go by without even a second thought.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”I just don’t understand how important information like those in this and other crashes can go by without even a second thought.\”

It\’s important to remember that these facts, while not in the initial media statements, are indeed part of the full investigation. My concern is with how the Police choose to speak about the crashes immediately after they happen.

The problem is that we live in a culture where folks make quick judgments and then move on. When the full report becomes public, no one will read it (except the family) and no media stations will cover it.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Well,
I hate to be the one to say this, but we all know that when you take the risk of running a stop sign, no matter how safe the intersection may look, that is exactly what it is.
A risk.

There is a stop sign there, which of course takes precedence over the flashing yellow lights of the crosswalk.
You stop, you look, then you cross, especially if you are a regular rider along that horrible stretch. Perhaps prior experience there has educated you?
\”and according to his wife Jan, rode through this crosswalk frequently and “always crossed it carefully”\”

We were all taught as children to stop before crossing, then look left, right, then left again. While this may be slightly outdated,(or not) applied in this instance, it would have changed the outcome.

As in the 14th and Burnside incident, others occupying the same piece of crosswalk does not guarantee your safety
in crossing.(I read that others were in the crosswalk on the other side of the Burnside when Tracy was hit, which alone \”should\” be a citation to the cement truck driver) Cars are allowed to proceed when they have, I think it is 5-8 feet of clearance between them and someone in the crosswalk. I also believe that rule was recently manipulated in some manner. (This of course should not be the case, as I think a crosswalk should be 100 percent clear before any car proceeds across it) Just today, I was cut off by three cars in Cascade Park, and bitched out by one, when walking through a crosswalk.

While of course whoever went through the flashing yellows and hit Bob should be held accountable for that, the simple act of stopping at that bicycle/ ped stop sign, and looking both ways would have certainly prevented this from happening at all.

I am glad he is doing better. I am glad that his wife, as she should, feels the need to defend him in such a manner.

Yet, as the cycling public, we are forced to take all the bits of information, some of which seem, and may be erroneous, and some, which put together, add up.

The information on this tragedy seems to point to a great opportunity for the VCC and the rest of us to learn from, and to further education about, how even small errors, made by cyclists and driver\’s alike, can have grave results.

While the Portland Police Dept. should indeed be more careful with, and held more accountable for, the info it releases, we CAN NOT let bad feelings towards them cloud the fact that as cyclists, we need to be very aware of our surroundings.

It has been proven that the Police here are not going to be ticketing, cracking down on, or doing much at all to improve the safety of cyclists.

It is up to us.
We must use the facts at hand, analyze them, and make the results known to all, so that education can save lives.

I will close by adding that I have ridden with the VCC and with Bob, in the past. I was also friends with Brett.

It is very difficult for me to make statements either way regarding these tragedies.

But, like Bob and many of us, I have a great amount of on the road experience, and I feel it my responsibility to the cycling public to make my thoughts known.

Thank you for sticking with my long winded post.
Please refrain from slaying me for my honest answer to Jonathan\’s posed question.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Despite the stop sign…I would be thinking about lawsuits. Cyclist need to assert their legal rights not just on the road (and crosswalks), but in court even if the police wont.

As a cyclist concerned about asserting your legal rights, you should know a couple of things about your legal rights.

First, you have legal rights AND duties, and they are inseparable. Without one, you don\’t have the other.

Second, and this is related to the first point, when you are injured through negligence, and your own negligence contributed to your injury, your ability to assert your legal rights is compromised by your degree of negligence. if your own negligence is high enough– over 50%– you have no ability to recover from the other party, even if the other party was ALSO negligent.

This means, for example, if you run a stop sign, and the car that hits you is also negligent, you may not be able to recover from the driver, depending upon how much your stop sign running contributed to the collision.

It\’s unclear in this collision who did what, but if you\’re serious about protecting your legal rights in the courts, that\’s something you have to be attentive to every time you ride.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I was noting the fact that ORS 811.005 requires drivers to exercise due care with respect to pedestrians but cyclists are not mentioned.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I\’ll try again.

That section of the ORS applies to cyclists in two ways:

1) Wehn operating as a vehicle, a cyclist owes a duty of due care towards pedestrians.

2) When operating as a pedestrian (i.e., when in a crosswalk or on the sidewalk), a driver owes a duty of due care towards cyclists.

And really, all users of the road owe a duty of due care to all other users of the road, at all times.

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

When my husband first moved here (he\’s from the UK), he was appalled that he couldn\’t just walk out into the \”Zebra crossings\” (crosswalks)without first looking and even then, cars sometimes wouldn\’t stop for you. I had to train him to be extra cautious and not just assume the cars will stop. Similarly, in the time I spent in the UK, I was surprised that cars will stop for you on a dime if you step out (or bike out) into the crosswalk. It is taught in their driver\’s educaton there (which, might I add, it much stricter than here) to STOP for anything that might enter a crosswalk. This morning on Fremont, while I was stopped for a woman and her kids, I saw them almost get run over by another driver coming the opposite direction).
What a shame we can\’t follow their lead, like so many other things about European cities (not to mention Universal Health Care, that belongs on a whole different site).

wsbob
Guest

Figuring out exactly what the cyclist Bob Verrinder\’s route was, has been a little confusing for me. From the police statement posted above:

“Based on information from the scene and two independent witnesses, investigators believe that…The bicyclist was in a marked crosswalk but failed to stop for a stop sign prior to crossing the street. Prior to the collision, the bicyclist was also westbound next to Northeast Marine Drive on the bike path. …\”

That statement would seem to suggest that cyclist Bob Verrinder was traveling west in the bike lane (the same direction of travel of the motorist that hit him, correct?). Needing to cross Marine Drive, he opted to take use the crosswalk with the aid of its yellow flashing lights, rather than take a position in the main flow of traffic and halt it until such time as he could cross left across the the south lanes of Marine Drive and on to where the bike path resumes.

In the photo of the Marine Drive intersection above, I don\’t see the bike path stop sign on the north side of the road that it\’s claimed Bob passed before entering the crosswalk. The one on the south side is visible.

How could the motorist that hit the cyclist, Bob Verrinder, not have seen him if the caution lights were on and two pedestrians just having crossed the road might still have been visible on the south side of Marine Drive to the motorist? When users of the pedestrian/bike path activate the yellow flashing lights, what indicates to them that the lights actually are flashing? Do they have to glance upwards at the road lights? Or are there corresponding lights on the path itself?

To me, it sounds as if the cyclist would have been visible to the motorist some time before the cyclist actually got to the crosswalk on Marine Drive. The question of why the motorist failed to connect the cyclist\’s presence near the intersection with the flashing yellow lights and a truck still stationary in opposing traffic lanes, remains to be satisfactorily answered. Somebody apparently missed something. It seems to be important to keep on trying to get a better idea of what happened there.

I don\’t know what to think about the particular police presentation of incident related details in this situation. The general impression I suppose I get, is that this just isn\’t a very important issue for them.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

Here\’s a graphic I made but didn\’t use in the story. It might help in thinking about how this might have happened.

Mick
Guest

Kruger must be removed from his position. He is endangering us all.

180mm DaN
Guest
180mm DaN

These new facts suggest this scenario:

The motorist, after seeing the pedestrian and dog cross, assumed no other possibility and drove through cross-walk.

Tragically, the motorist could not see the bike approaching(?) (and vice versa for bike(?)) thus a collision.

?= We *still* really don\’t know the full story yet, particularly Bob\’s statement.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Thanks for the added graphic Jonathan.

Wsbob,

The bike path going west takes a left turn right before the crosswalk, which places the stop sign for said crosswalk slightly north of the crosswalk, so as not to have cyclist racing up on it too late. (proper placement if you ask me)

A car would not see the bike coming down the path, nor even turning towards the crosswalk, due to the design of the road, the crosswalk, and the multi use path.

Michael M.
Guest

As much as anything else, it\’s the rush to judgment that needs to change. Selectively releasing information that makes it sound like one party was almost entirely at fault in an accident when you already know that there are other, mitigating factors is a problem. I agree with you that the PPD needs to be more careful about what it says, or perhaps it shouldn\’t say anything. (But that would make your job much harder). OTOH, even with this new information, I can\’t say that I don\’t think what I thought when I first read about this incident: Mr. Verrinder should have stopped at the stop sign. That doesn\’t mean I think he was at fault, in any legal or ethical sense, nor does it mean that I would attribute any of those characteristics Mrs. Verrinder lists to him. That\’s just my knee-jerk, self-defensive, \”what-can-I-do-so-that-doesn\’t-happen-to-me?\”, gut reaction. On that level, Kruger is right: nothing regarding the way I feel about this tragedy has been changed by this new information. It\’s sad, and I wish Mr. Verriger the best for a complete recovery.

The heart of the problem, I think, is that people do attribute those uglier characteristics to Mr. Verrider before knowing the details, as they do all to often to cyclists or pedestrians or drivers, depending upon their preconceived biases, in any situation they read about where they don\’t really know all the facts about what happened. Bad, sensationalist, slanted reporting, especially of the T.V. variety, often encourages that. I think you, Jonathan, do a great job of generally avoiding that kind of reporting, but that fact doesn\’t seem to discourage many of the commenters here and in the forums from leaping to conclusions anyway, especially when there\’s any possibility that a driver is at fault. The \’hang \’em high\’ mentality gets pretty ugly.

cdb
Guest
cdb

That intersection would be a great location for a bike underpass. I bet it would degrade the dike\’s ability to keep the Columbia flood waters away from the airport side of the road though. Maybe some speedbumps for the driving lanes, or some other \”calming\” measures are in order.

hmm.
Guest
hmm.

There are no circumstances under which a motorist can ignore a stop sign – there should be no circumstances under which a cyclist can ignore it either.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

A car would not see the bike coming down the path, nor even turning towards the crosswalk, due to the design of the road, the crosswalk, and the multi use path.

What is the first point at which a car would see the cyclist?

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Rixtir,
There is also a slight rise there, heading west. Which decreases the motorists sight angle.

Truly the speed limit in that stretch is faster than the ability to see people in the crosswalk, hence the yellow flashing lights, mounted higher than most in town.

Also, the time of day would affect this spot heavily when driving or riding west, as the setting sun is for quite a while at eye level.

This can be complicated by the slight rise, which puts the sun in your eyes earlier than if you were on the flat.

While I mention this, I must say that in NO MANNER is the excuse \”I could not see them\”(of course used by drivers in a couple of our recent deaths) viable, as if you cannot see what is in a crosswalk, you should not be moving through it, in a car, on a bike, or on foot.

If you could not see them, you were not properly looking for them.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Thanks Dabby.

Given the poor sight lines at that location, unless it was unequivocally clear to eyewitnesses that Bob did not stop at the stop sign, I think the fact that sight lines are not good should slow our rush to judgment about whether or not Bob stopped at the stop sign.

Maybe he did, maybe he didn\’t, but based on the photos, it seems to me to be difficult to tell what a cyclist is doing on that trail when you\’re driving west, and that indicates that reports that he didn\’t stop may not be accurate.

While a driver would likely not be negligent if a cyclist just suddenly darted out onto the road into the drivers path, when the crosswalk lights are flashing yellow, the driver has a duty to proceed with caution, even if she can\’t see anything in the crosswalk. Whether she was proceeding with caution remains to be seen…

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

Given the high rate of speed on this road, I would have to advocate the removal of the zebra cross walks and replace them with a crossing signal. This would remove the presumption that a car would stop for anyone in the zebra and replace it with a red (stop) light.

This method would be relatively in-expensive compared to the over/under pass ideas. The police could easily enforce the traffic control, from both perspectives. Bikers might have to wait a minute or so while the light changes, but it would be much more of a sure thing compared to the crosswalk.

My 2 cents

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

ps,

good luck Bob

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Looking at the crosswalk from the streetview function, I just don\’t see how anybody could even see the stop sign as they\’re approaching the crosswalk in the westbound lane. And if they can\’t see the stop sign, then the only people in a position to determine if he stopped at the stop sign or not would be eastbound vehicles, and those in the crosswalk.

bike4fun
Guest
bike4fun

chiefsizer@portlandpolice.org

Send Chief Sizer an email and tell her how you feel about Lt. Kruger. Maybe if enought of us voice our opinion, she might have to take notice…

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I agree that the public rushing to judgement quickly with little information is the big issue, at least in this case. While it doesn\’t seem to say the driver is at fault, it does make me wonder if the driver was being careful enough, even if the rider at least in this situation ran the sign. If he did stop, then maybe he incorrectly assumed traffic was stopped, which would still be a problem. I know a driver is supposed to be cautious at a flashing yellow, but how does one define that? If memory serves me right there is nothing indicating that a driver need slow down for it.

I don\’t like Marine drive because of the way the crossings are set up. It\’s one other area where pedestrian/bicycle safety is seriously compromised.

Dabby seems confused about the situations where the truck drivers did not see the riders. They weren\’t in the crosswalk at the time they were hit, if they were the drivers would have stayed back.

Rixtir, I totally agree with your explanation of asserting rights.

Also, if car drivers have to drive around afraid of pedestrians and bicyclists, it might cause its own set of problems.

wsbob
Guest

Yeah, thanks also from me Dabby. Actually I\’d kind of knew from an earlier article here, that the cyclist Bob was traveling west on the bike path that is not the same as the shoulder of Marine Drive, but then it seems it slipped my mind.

Gee, from a driver\’s perspective, the top picture would seem to look dramatically different from the picture posted in comment #21 by Jonathan Maus. That really sucks. I 2nd rixter\’s question #28…at what point would a driver traveling west be able to see a cyclist approaching Marine Drive from the north on the bike path? And what would the cyclist be able to see, at what point when approaching Marine Drive on the bike path from the north side?

On the matter of the stop sign, Dabby says the stop sign is posted slightly north of the crosswalk, but I sure don\’t see it in either of the two pictures. I\’m guessing it\’s hidden by the light pole as shown in the top photo. So does that make it about 15\’ from the crosswalk? Sounds questionable…maybe it\’d make more sense if I was there.

\”The two witnesses stated that the bicyclist was traveling very quickly and did not appear to slow or hesitate at the stop sign.\”

I wonder who those two witnesses are and from what vantage point they observed him.

I\’m going to guess that the top picture depicts the motorists view down Marine Drive at about 80\’ from the crosswalk and 30\’-40\’ of the bike path on the north (right side). Nothing more at this point. Just thinking.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

wsbob, go to google maps, search for 4300 NE Marine Drive, Portland, Oregon.

Then click on street view. You\’ll get a 360 degree view of that area around the crosswalk (note also that you can \”travel\” east or west on streetview, traveling through the crosswalk from either direction).

Chad
Guest
Chad

Two questions:

1) Does anyone know what kind of political pressure (letter writing, etc) needs to be applied to remove Lt. Kruger from his position?

2) Where has the mayor been through all this?

Thank you again Jonathan for your continued objectivity in an atmosphere (on all sides) that is full of bias, subjectivity, and knee jerk reactions.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Jonathan\’s original article has a link to the Google streetview in it.

9watts
Guest
9watts

creepy

–those google maps \”features.\”

Some day I suppose Lt. Kruger will be able to call up the satellite from his police cruiser laptop and ask for the pictures from 5:00pm on Oct. 18th, sil vous plait?

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

\”2) Where has the mayor been through all this?\”

Chad,

I think the Mayor\’s political problems (defeat of his effort to \”reform\” City Hall, the criticisms of his VisionPDX project, continued Police scandals, and most recently his Interstate renaming/walkout debacle) have created somewhat of a leadership vacuum.

This is unfortunate because as we all know, the Mayor is in charge of the Police Bureau.

I would hope Chief Sizer would step up and show some leadership, but I have not heard, seen or read anything from her office…except for her presence for 20 minutes or so of the 2 hour, closed-door Bike Safety meeting held recently.

a.O
Guest
a.O

Yeah, \”leadership vacuum\” is somewhat of an understatement. Don\’t forget his aborted attempt to cut funding for the bike master plan, for which he was soundly smacked by you and the remainder of the bike community. He is a lame duck and has apparently lost the stomach for dealing with the political process. Given his record, that\’s probably best for all involved. It\’s time for a new, progressive direction for Portland. Sam for Mayor.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I\’m only with Sam for Mayor if he demonstrates that he and his staff are willing to do more for cyclists than continuing with the \’paint and path\’ direction PDOT seems to be taking these days. Cyclists have rights and the City is stepping all over them on many levels these days.

Portland should not be receiving a Platinum bike award until it is safe to ride on EVERY street cyclists are allowed to use. Cycling will only become truly mainstream when the main streets are as safe to cycle on as the side streets and byways are.

jp
Guest
jp

This lack of information through the media/police perpetuates drivers\’ negative perception of cyclists, which to me leads to them encouraging the \”Us Versus Them\”.

Way to go.

stephenup
Guest
Stephen Upchurch

#14: \”The problem is that we live in a culture where folks make quick judgments and then move on. When the full report becomes public, no one will read it (except the family) and no media stations will cover it.\”

That, my friend, is what I call politics or manipulating the message to influence public opinion….Against the cycling community!

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

\”Dabby seems confused about the situations where the truck drivers did not see the riders. They weren\’t in the crosswalk at the time they were hit, if they were the drivers would have stayed back.\”

Jeremy,

I am far from confused. I was not just speaking of just crosswalks, I was speaking more of using the excuse \”I did not see them\” in any instance. I used the crosswalk as an example there, because that is what we are speaking of in this incident.

It is never an excuse, at least not a legitimate one.

And in both Brett and Tracie\’s deaths, the trucks not only went into the bikelane without looking (properly), but also across crosswalks in the same moment, as this is how intersections are set up.

If a right hook happens in an intersection, the driver will cross at least one crosswalk, if not two.

wsbob
Guest

Thanks rixter, I checked out the 360 degree street view. Sorry I hadn\’t done so earlier, but I tend to give in to impatience with these things with dial-up.

I found an east facing view down Marine Drive that\’s very interesting to me. I thought about posting the view, but I\’m not really sure how to do that. The stop sign for the north side bike path is very hard to make out, but I think I see it just beyond the shoulder of Marine Drive, which appears to make it no more than 6\’-10\’ from the west bound lane of Marine Drive.

In the view I was looking at, there is a west bound car with its headlights on, (guessing here), some 30\’ from the crosswalk. Speculating on view angles for both cyclist and driver, I\’m thinking that the view for both cyclist and motorist should have been pretty good at this intersection; a motorist the same distance or a little more from the intersection as the car in the view would likely have been able to see a bicyclist approaching the stop sign on the north side of Marine Drive. The cyclist in a position back from the stop sign would also likely have been able to see the car approaching the crosswalk.

Bob Verrinder probably saw the yellow lights flashing, the people just crossing Marine Drive south to the bike path, the east bound truck waiting for them, as well as the west bound car approaching the crosswalk. With the yellow lights flashing, he probably felt pretty confident that the west bound motorist approaching the crosswalk that is also marked by a big diagonal cyclist symbol warning sign, would have seen him as he could see the motorist, and defer to the cyclist as all the signs indicated the motorist should.

The motorist likely saw the cyclist, the lights, the sign, the other pedestrians having just finished crossing Marine drive, and the truck still waiting for them but calculated that their car likely had enough time to proceed beyond the crosswalk before the cyclist resumed his travel after having stopped at the stop sign. Tragic miscalculation. Really, it sounds like it was, as some others seem to have said, a tragic miscalculation on the part of both motorist and cyclist. They both should have stopped, but they didn\’t.

Donna
Guest
Donna

So is it going to take another death and/or serious injury before the Mayor and the Police Chief are willing to shut this man up? It\’ll be interesting to see. Already, my motorist coworkers have been asking me about his quotes to the media. When I then inform them of the exceptions to being in the bike lane, even *they* get the impression that Kruger is deliberately trying to give people the wrong impression. I\’ve said it before and I\’ll say it again: Kruger interprets the law the way he *wishes* it were rather than the way it *actually is*. I believe this is called denial. There are some fantastic mental health professionals in this town who could assist him with that problem of his.

Dr. Mark Ross
Guest
Dr. Mark Ross

I find it interesting that we\’ve diverted attention from the simple fact that Bob failed to ride defensively — looking both ways before crossing.

As we attack Lt. Kruger, lets remember that ALL THREE incidents would have NEVER occurred if they had rode defensively.

I, for one, am saving my energy for MORE COMPELLING incidents — for instance, motorists who swerve/drive in the bike lane — no amount of defensive riding could prevent such incidents.

THESE are the kind of incidents we should be enraged with the police about.

Steven J.
Guest
Steven J.

\”Bob Verrinder probably saw the yellow lights flashing, the people just crossing Marine Drive south to the bike path, the east bound truck waiting for them, as well as the west bound car approaching the crosswalk. With the yellow lights flashing, he probably felt pretty confident that the west bound motorist approaching the crosswalk that is also marked by a big diagonal cyclist symbol warning sign, would have seen him as he could see the motorist, and defer to the cyclist as all the signs indicated the motorist should.\”- (# 47)

I agree with this 100 %
what I\’m confused with, is if this is a crosswalk, 1- Bob\’s to be and be treated as a Pedestrian, walk Vs don\’t walk apply?
2- there\’s a stop sign there as well. do we stop?
do peds have to stop at a crosswalk if it says \”walk\”
Being in a crosswalk to me simply means to obey the cross signal, and as long as I\’m following the basic laws of a Pedestrian, I\’m lawful.
seems these issues of \”perception\” vs reality keep getting further blurred by M.Kruger…truly a liability to this city.