“Dramatic” rescue and cell phone save commuter

Posted by on January 23rd, 2008 at 7:46 pm

“Had she not had that cell phone she’d still be down there…”
–Fireman in a video by the Oregonian (watch below)

KOIN and the Oregonian are reporting a story about a woman who was coming home from Lewis and Clark College tonight when she fell down a steep bank while riding through the bike path in Riverview Cemetery (a popular shortcut to the Sellwood Bridge).

From KOIN’s story:

“She lost control of her 10-speed bike on a hill, rounded a corner and crossed the shoulder… She fell down a steep hill about 30 feet, hit and rolled another 10 feet, airborne for most of the fall. Her bike landed 20 feet downhill.

She was stranded for about two hours. Finally, she was able to reach her roommate on her cell phone, who called police.”

Luckily her injuries were not serious.

Check out this Oregonian video footage of the “dramatic” rescue:

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D
Guest
D

It\’s great to hear that there was a happy ending. This could have been much worse.

The possibility of injury or death, and the potential for litigation as a result, must seriously frighten the owners of Riverview. One can only assume that an incident such as this only heightens those fears. But being as it is the only viable connection between Sellwood and the Lewis and Clark area, it would be a major loss to commuters in the area if the cemetery was closed to public access. Beyond just riding responsibly, which I hope we\’re all doing anyway (and I certainly don\’t want to imply that this incident resulted from any irresponsible behavior), what can be done to ensure that this vital connection is not lost? Emails of thanks, maybe? Signs funded by the cycling community clearly stating that liability is waived by entering the property?

I don\’t want to ride my bike up Taylor\’s Ferry!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

They hauled the cyclist off on a stretcher. I hope she doesn\’t have a spinal cord injury or something like that.

I wonder if we\’ll ever hear how this person happened to have \’…lost control..\’ of the bike and take a dumper off that bank. The vid seems to show a shoulder with quite a breadth…maybe \’15-\’20.

Matt Picio
Guest

Glad to hear she\’s alive – hope the injuries are not serious. (when the firefighters say \”not serious\”, it sometimes means something different from what Joe Public would consider \”serious\”)

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I will start by saying that I hope she is doing well. That said….

It has never been a good idea to ride through the cemetery for many reasons.

As sad as any accident may be, the repercussions of a little fall may now close a loved bicycling short cut.

For starters, it is mentioned by a fireman in the video something about being her first time riding, whether meaning in the cemetery, or in general we do not know. But the fireman was seemingly repeating what the girl had told him, so…

This is not really a place to learn to ride if that is the case. I have had a couple of pretty good wrecks in that cemetery. Some of them may have been during the process of a nice jump, but still.

I haven\’t been up there in quite a while, but I do recall that there are tight turns on a wide path that, if you do not know they are coming, can cause you problems as shown in this instance.

We used to point it straight on our Mt. bikes and bomb down the grass, something I quite doing for respect of the dead, and the families that pay for, and visit, the graves.

Also, it is private property. This amounts to trespassing technically. I have had run in\’s with employees/ in charge types at the cemetery, and they do not want cyclists riding through. I really don\’t blame them.

I wouldn\’t be surprised if this results in a trespassing fine for the lady cyclist, more signage against cyclists, more effective gates, and another nice run of news articles pointing out how cyclists are doing things that are illegal, and paying the price for it.

Once again, I hope she is recovering well.

coral
Guest
coral

She spent two hours trying to get ahold of her roommate from her cell phone, but didn\’t call the police herself? Seems a little weird. Hopefully she is okay though!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Great News, cell phones do help, always
make sure the battery has life also..

stay warm, brrrrrrrr.

Joe

a.O
Guest
a.O

I have thought about the possibility of something like this quite frequently while riding through the cemetary, which I also do quite frequently. You\’ve really got to keep everything clamped down while going downhill.

I typically ride uphill through the cemetary, and (as is typical of Portland riders) I often see people who are not looking (often you simply cannot see) downhill for riders coming up. So I\’m a little surprised there hasn\’t yet been a head-on bike collision.

Another serious hazard is the graves themselves. If you lose control and go over a hill, the last thing you want is large, pointy rocks stuck solidly in the ground.

You gotta keep it clamped down. I\’m sure she\’ll remember that next time, and glad she\’s OK. Don\’t leave home without that phone!

And once again, Dabby gets it WRONG. It\’s NOT \”technically trespassing.\” The owners allow cyclists to use their private roads. That\’s permission, so no trespassing. And no technicality.

Andre
Guest
Andre

I went through undergrad at Lewis and Clark and the cemetery really is the only good way between Sellwood and the school. The only time I ever crashed was going uphill during broad daylight. What I thought was wet pavement was really a thick sheet of ice. Anyways, it\’s dangerous in there but no more so than any other unlit back road of which there are plenty in SW.

It would be a serious blow a lot of commuters if they really cracked down on riding through at night. It\’s not just Lewis and Clark associated folks who use the cemetery either.

vanessa
Guest

I thought it was strange she did not call 911 as well, but sometimes lack of insurance makes folks do questionable things. I am guilty in the past of putting off emergency services when I should have called for them as well, due to no insurance.

Liz
Guest
Liz

You don\’t get charged by 911 for assessment on site, they only charge once they transport you to the hospital. That\’s what the 911 operator told me a few months ago. He also said once you\’ve called 911 and the ambulance is dispatched you can\’t cancel it.

Joe
Guest
Joe

wow charged right off the bat for 911.
That ride can cost alot trust me, but if
you need it not much you can do.

lyle
Guest
lyle

wow, so sad. you\’re sitting on the side of a cliff, you\’ve just been knocked out, you can\’t move… and you\’re first reaction is to think about how many medical bills you\’re gonna have… so you don\’t call 911.

and who can blame her… she\’s probably gonna have at least $10,000 in debt from this… and make no mistake, the debt collectors will start calling in short order, making her feel like a deadbeat, broke, irresponsible bum.

greatest country in the world!!!

Joe
Guest
Joe

I am joe public.. lol
WELL i sure hope health care makes the ballot in 2008..we all could use a break
from the 8 year slumber..

* sorry for the tangent *

Drew
Guest
Drew

I have been riding thru the cemetery for a few years now on my way to work in Tualatin. It\’s not a place for the inexperienced or department store bikes on the downhill. Am grateful that the owners allows us to do so. The only other option is (ugh) Taylors ferry. Trying to commute on Taylors ferry would increase the chance of me ending up in a cemetery sooner than later.

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

The cemetery is truly the only reasonable way to get from Sellwood to Lewis and Clark. Taylors Ferry, Hwy 43, and Palatine Hill Rd are suicide routes. If this route had not existed I would never have started riding a bicycle. It is also very beautiful.

I constantly worry that the cemetery management will ban bicyclists, and this major crash might be the last straw…they have threatened it before. It would be within their rights, but it would be such a loss. Has anyone at the City tried to negotiate a formal easement that would protect them from liability suits?

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

a.o,

Perhaps you missed my point.
It is private property that over the years has had many, many problems with cyclists.

If they wanted to, they could charge trespassing. Fact.

If they wanted to, they could cut off all bicycling through the cemetery. Fact.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

And by the way, there are some sweeter downhills that will put you in the same place at the bottom. Nice, smooth , paved roads, public property. This idea that the cemetery is a needed route is silly.

Hell, there are paved downhills, with dirt jumps off to the sides if that is what you want.

It is a shortcut, not a needed arterial.

Big difference.

Sean
Guest
Sean

To post #2

I can\’t tell from the video exactly where this happened, but there\’s a semi-blind left hand turn that IMO lots of people take too fast. If you can\’t hold your line and end up in the grass, it wouldn\’t be too hard to slide 40ft or more. I saw a good friend and experienced rider do just that when an uphill rider spooked him on that turn last year.

a.O
Guest
a.O

No, Dabby, I got your point. But perhaps you missed mine: None of those facts mean that riding through the cemetary \”amounts to trespassing technically.\” Fact.

To charge trespassing, they would first have to first revoke their general permission to the public to use the roads, then post a sign somewhere. Even then, they likely could not exclude people by charging trespassing because the public now has pass-through rights by virtue of a prescriptive easement. I suspect they understand that and just want to emphasize that people be careful.

But you don\’t know what any of that means. Or care. You just make stuff up, write it down, and call it a fact. That doesn\’t make any of it reality. Simply put, you don\’t know what you\’re talking about. As usual.

You stick to being a messenger, or misunderstood, or whatever it is you do and leave the practice of law to the professionals.

a.O
Guest
a.O

And by the way, there are some sweeter downhills that will put you in the same place at the bottom. Nice, smooth , paved roads, public property. This idea that the cemetery is a needed route is silly.

Well, here\’s your chance to do some simple public service to your community: Tell us where those routes are.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”You stick to being a messenger, or misunderstood, or whatever it is you do and leave the practice of law to the professionals.\”

WTF a.O?! Regardless of your obvious dislike for messengers, that really does nothing at all for improving the quality of dialogue on this site. I am losing patience for the personal attacks folks… please let\’s keep things above the belt.

We all have different ways of trying to communicate our thoughts online.. Dabby has a certain style and tone for sure…but let\’s all please not make any of this personal.

Thanks!

steve
Guest
steve

A-O,

What ever happened to your love of civility?

You left a big steaming pile of poop in the Gun/Hummer thread, now you are being belligerent over here.

Dabby makes my skin crawl too, but you are better than this. Not to mention that it is getting sort of tiresome.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I refuse to argue with someone like A.O., who, really, just wants to fight.

I do not type my \”opinions\” to please the bubble gum crowd. I do not spout ordinances, or cut and paste conveniently from other\’s thoughts, trying to make them appear my own.

I lay it out, in my own style, to provoke thought and change.

If that causes someone like A.O.\’s blood to boil, well….

It appears I am doing my job well.

specialK
Guest
specialK

Okay, I\’m offerin\’ to buy Dabby and a.O. a beer, but they gotta sit down w/ me and act nice. Or fight in the parking lot. Either should be fun.

SE Lucky Lab? Just let me know when :-).

steve
Guest
steve

Dabby wrote-

\’I refuse to argue with someone like A.O., who, really, just wants to fight.\’

To be fair Dabby, you do no such thing. You in fact appear to insist on arguing with him, every chance you get.

Just sayin.

Andre
Guest
Andre

Dabby,

If the only bike route through SE was going to be closed and they were going to make people take MLK/Grand or the sidewalk along side it, what do you think people would say about that bike route being necessary?

I have certainly bombed taylors ferry a few times but the connection to the bridge is dubious at best, riding on 43 is not a treat. You can also ride along the train tracks or the sidewalk but neither of those seem ideal. Riding up taylor\’s ferry is extremely lame and dangerous.

Palatine hill is also very treacherous on the uphill as there are lots of blind corners and high speed cars. You also need to ride along the train tracks or on 43 to get to the bottom of it.

Please tell me what you think a rider of average skills would do between these choices? Not someone of extreme skill. I\’m pretty sure unless someone is super dedicated, which is not the general population, the option is going to be to take the bus.

In your post you seemed to only comment on going downhill, not the uphills which most people are probably going to be averaging all of an 8 wobbly miles an hour on.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I am over it. Refuse to be sucked back in.

Maybe we can have a memorial ride one day when the cemetery route is closed off, due to abuse of privilege.

Have a good day!

jstern
Guest
jstern

I\’ll just repeat other thoughts already posted: that the loss of the Cemetary as a bike route would be devastating to commuters. I use the Cemetary at least 3 times a week to commute to Lewis & Clark for work. From where I ride, it\’s either that or Barbur Blvd, which is no where near as safe (despite the bike lane) with all the traffic.

As Andre said, Palatine Hill is far more dangerous than the Cemetary given the lack of shoulder and increased traffic.

coral
Guest
coral

This is in response to lyle (#12):

My husband and I were in a similar situation last year. We lived in San Francisco then, and my husband was riding his bike home from a baseball game. He got squeezed out on the road by a car, and his tire slid into a cable car track. He fell while he was still clipped into his pedals and broke his leg (tibial plateau fracture, everything behind the kneecap). We don\’t have health insurance.

A cab stopped to help, and instead of calling 911, he attempted to get his bike and crawl into the cab to take him to the hospital. With a broken leg. That\’s so sad that it\’s the first thing that comes to mind. I had an injury earlier in the year that was about $12000 in hospital bills (luckily, we\’re also broke, and I was able to get most of it written off by hospital grants). Someone called an ambulance and he had them take him to the complete opposite side of the city to the VA hospital (he\’s a veteran). Ten days in the hospital, four surgeries. Know what we ended up paying? $30. For meds to take home. The hospital was definitely a little sketchy, his care was not the best, but it allowed us to not be in debt up to our eyeballs. The bill was close to $750,000 before it was taken care of.

We really need universal health care here. We make too much to qualify for state/government funded care, but not enough to pay every month on our own. We work in the restaurant industry and they do not offer benefits.

(end rant)

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Coral, I\’m glad your husband was able to get healed, and that you both aren\’t buried in debt for the rest of your lives as a result of that one injury. $750,000 is an amazing amount of money to repair something that could so easily happen to many people that ride bikes.

So, we do need universal health care, but the likelihood of such injuries related to the environment we live in underscores just how important the need is for well designed infrastructure that can minimize the likelihood of injuries occurring in the first place. If people really are going to be using the shortcut through the cemetery, and the riding skill it demands from riders are as critical as people have been saying in this thread, improvements should probably be made to the shortcut route ASAP; warning signs, better lighting, straighten out curves if possible, etc.