(Photo © J. Maus)
In an executive order issued on Monday (2/11), Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer made official what I reported on one month ago — new language has been added to the list of crash investigation criteria that will have a major impact on bike-involved collisions.
At last night’s Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, new Traffic Division Captain Larry O’Dea handed me the order, and in addition to the new crash investigation threshold, he pointed out another new policy that will improve bike-related enforcement practices.
First, here’s the new language that changes when a crash investigation is triggered:
Investigation Criteria (640.50)
c. Accidents involving physical injury to vulnerable road users where the vulnerable road user is transported by ambulance.
Prior to this new directive, an investigation would only be triggered if a crash victim had very serious “trauma-level” injuries.
In addition to this change, the new executive order lists another line item under “Investigation Criteria” that requires responding officers to use a new set of codes when responding to crashes.
Effectively immediately, officers are required to add a code to all traffic crash calls (reports) that more precisely define who and what was involved in the collision. Previously, officers would only reference a generic “R1” to a traffic crash report. Now, officers will use “RV” if only motor vehicles were involved, “RP” if a pedestrian is involved, or “RB” if a bicycle is involved.
Here’s the official wording:
h. Members will disposition the call with the following new codes instead of R1. Use RV if vehicle only involved, RP if pedestrian involved (including wheelchairs), and RB if bicycle involved.
This is a big improvement for non-motor vehicle road users because, as O’Dea explained to me last night, the new codes are specifically meant to provide the Police Bureau, advocates, and the public a better picture of what types of collisions are occurring. “With these new codes,” said O’Dea, “it will be easier to take a quick look at the collision stats and find out what type of vehicles were involved…instead of having to dig into each report, we can quickly see whether a bicycle was involved or not.”
O’Dea, who attended last night’s meeting with new Lieutenant Bryan Parman, also said that he and Parman plan to be more involved with the bike community from here on out.
I plan to meet with O’Dea sometime next week so I can share a closer look at who he is and what his tenure might have in store for the bike community.