Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Right-hook crash at Broadway/Williams

Posted by on September 26th, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Image of the scene.
(Photo: Carl Larson)

At around 5:00pm yesterday evening, there was a right-hook crash involving a bike and a truck at the intersection of Broadway and Williams in Northeast Portland (Map).

According to the Police Bureau’s assistant PIO Greg Pashley, a woman riding a bicycle was struck by a “short panel truck” and was transported to Emanuel Hospital. Pashley said the woman ended up underneath the truck after she was hit, but luckily, there was no serious trauma involved.

NE Broadway and Williams-4.jpg

NE Broadway looking west across Williams.
(Photo � J. Maus)

Pashley says the bicycle operator was positioned to the side and just to the right of the rear of the truck — which would have put her directly in the blind spot. The truck reportedly made a “legal right turn” (says Pashley) and the bicycle operator would never have seen the blinker (if it was on).

Also according to Pashley, the driver of the truck was not cited for any violations at the scene and it was decided to only exchange information (for insurance purposes) between both parties. Pashley says the officer accompanied the woman to the hospital so I assume he was able to hear her side of the story (I have not been able to get her name yet and ask her myself). *See update below.

Another view of the scene.
(Photo: Carl Larson)

This intersection has been the subject of much thought by PDOT traffic engineers. It was identified as one of 14 dangerous intersections to receive a bike box and/or colored lane treatment, but due to the complex lane configuration and traffic flow issues, no safety improvements have been made. For more information on that, see my story, PDOT ponders fix for dangerous intersection (3/25/08).

When I first heard about this from a witness on the scene just minutes after it happened (thanks Carl L.), I expected the worst. Despite the communities best efforts to increase awareness and education about bike/truck safety, this right-hook scenario is all too common. Let this serve as a reminder to use the utmost caution when riding your bike around trucks, especially in crazy intersections like Broadway/Williams.

*UPDATE, 8:36pm: I want to make it clear that in talking with the PIO, it’s still unconfirmed what exactly took place. When I pressed the PIO on the “legal right turn” question (looking at the photo, how could it be deemed “legal”) he made it seem like we just don’t know exactly what happened yet (as if to make it seem like somehow the woman on the bike could have done something herself that would have absolved the truck driver from legal responsibility).

When I tried to follow-up with another PIO (Pashley was not in the office) in order to get the victim’s name, she couldn’t find the original call and has now left for the weekend.

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  • K'Tesh September 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Sorry to hear about this crash…

    I hope that they can iron out the problems with the configuration before someone gets killed. 🙁

    God Bless You Fellow Rider…
    May your recovery be swift and complete

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  • cyclist September 26, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Please please please remember that if you can’t see the driver’s eyes, they can’t see you. When I’m riding I do everything I can to put myself in front of the lead car at the intersection.

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  • Jessica Roberts September 26, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I hate that intersection! I don’t want to lose a loved one to this deadly intersection. Please, please, PDOT, do something soon! Double-right turn lanes are not a human-friendly configuration, and perhaps livable cities shouldn’t permit them….

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  • brian September 26, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    the truck sees everything upon approach. Therefore, no blindspot.

    let us bring back accountability, and stricter rules for those operating larger vehicles.

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  • Carl September 26, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    It is my understanding that, a “legal right turn” ceases to be “legal” once it fails to yield to a cyclist in a marked (blue!) bike lane (ORS 811.050). I’m surprised you phrased it that way, Jonathan.

    Disappointing that, according to your story, the COP drove her to the hospital and not the AMBULANCE that was there because that would’ve triggered a crash investigation likely to prove the point above.

    -It’s definitely gotta be nerveracking to drive a truck in this town.
    -I do my best to avoid being in blind spots (even though I have some legal right to be there)
    -That intersection is MESSED UP.

    I was so relieved to see that the body under the truck was moving. I hate to think that this intersection might be addressed faster if it wasn’t.

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  • Zaphod September 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Glad she will be OK. Be careful out there.

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  • BURR September 26, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    the facts are that the ONLY reason there is a double right turn lane at this location is to facilitate motor vehicle traffic, and the overlay of the interstate highway on the local street grid once again has potentially deadly consequences for non-motorists.

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  • Andy September 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    If the current traffic laws allow situations where no one did anything wrong and yet bicycle riders are being hit, then clearly the traffic laws need to be changed, not just in dangerous intersections but everywhere.

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  • jami September 26, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I agree with Carl. If a truck ran over a cyclist in a bike lane, it was NOT a legal turn, and there should be a ticket. Automobiles have to yield to bikes in bike lanes. Now, the fact that they don’t look for us passing on the right is an important area of consideration, and education needs to be improved there. But this truck broke the law, no doubt about it, and it’s sickening, frankly, to see the police dithering about that for even one second.

    Glad the cyclist’s okay, and that the driver was worried enough to accompany her to the hospital. I don’t think drivers are all inherently evil. But this one absolutely broke the law.

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  • matchu September 26, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    I’ve had cars push into me while operating my bicycle at that intersection. Only a shout seemed to have stopped them or quick braking on my part when they suddenly accelerated and turned in front of my lane. Why can’t PDOT just put the through lanes to the left of right turn lanes? Isn’t that the obvious solution? I may not be considering some factor here.

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  • fuchsia September 26, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    The “obvious solution” is not to ride in that bike lane or in any bike lane that puts you in a dangerous position…like so many of the bike lanes all over this town. If you’re going to ride on that part of Broadway, GET OUT OF THE BIKE LANE and ride right down the middle of the through/right turn lane. You have a right under Oregon law to leave the bike lane to avoid hazardous situations.

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  • G.A.R. September 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Don’t use that bike lane.

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  • Lisa G September 26, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Defensive cycling. Always give a truck plenty of room and observe what the driver is doing. Trucks and busses always get a wide berth from me. The only safe assumption is the one that assumes they WILL NOT see you and they will do something illegal and/or without looking.

    After the Tracy Sparling tragedy I actually had a dump truck wait for me before making a right turn but, seeing his signal, I hung back and waved him on from where he could see me in his right side mirror.

    How soon they forget.

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  • Russell September 26, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Until PDOT fixes this area, I will never ride that bike lane. I hope that the cyclist is alright and if she needs any help over the next few weeks perhaps the community can reach out to her.

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  • SYK September 27, 2008 at 12:01 am

    “Pashley says the bicycle operator was positioned to the side and just to the right of the rear of the truck which would have put her directly in the blind spot.”

    I find this statement very puzzling.
    I attended the Water Bureau traffic safety event on the 16th. I participated in the bike visibility experiment they set up and sat in the truck . There were 10 bicycles placed around the truck. Of the 10, there were 3 empty bicycles that were not visible from the driver’s seat. The bike immediately behind the truck and to my surprise, the bike immediately in front and a bike in bike lane territory, next to the right front tire, in front of the right side view mirror.
    Initially I was shocked to miss the bicycles in frontbut realized the empty bikes were much lower profile than someone sitting on the bike seat or standing over the top tube. (I could see the person, not the bike when a person was on the bike.)
    The entire left side of the truck and the right side from the mirrors on back were visible with the flat side mirror and domed mirror so you have to be pretty far off to the right to be in domed mirrors blind spot.
    If both parties were stationary before the turn, a driver consciously looking over the right headlight and catching the right mirror while turning would be able to see a cyclist moving along the right in the bike lane. If both parties were in motion prior to the turn, the cyclist would be placing themselves in harms way if they unfortunately attempted to pass to the right of a moving vehicle signaling for a right turn, BUT, the cyclist would still be visible in the right side mirror until they passed it.

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  • BURR September 27, 2008 at 1:20 am

    looking at the photo, the bike is under the front right wheel of the truck, so how could the cyclist have been positioned to the right rear of the truck as the PPD is claiming?

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  • BURR September 27, 2008 at 1:22 am

    riding in the bike lane there is suicide, you should take the lane to the left of the bike lane for your own safety.

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  • 99th Monkey September 27, 2008 at 4:08 am

    From the picture showing the truck, it does not appear that the trucking company has installed the blind-spot mirror on the right front fender, as has been required for most trucks since January 1st this year. If this is the case, why was the trucking company not cited for the equipment violation? I observed only one company install them before the Jan 1 deadline, Coastal Paving, and pulled up beside the driver of the truck at a stoplight to talk to him. He told me that the owners of the company thought the new requirement was so important for the safety of bicyclists that they installed them as soon as they were notified of the new equipment requirement last year. With very few exceptions, the only other trucks I have seen since then with the blind-spot mirror are UPS and US Mail. I estimate that only 2-3% of trucks are in compliance. Has BTA or any other organizations confronted local and state law enforcement to demand equipment violation enforcement of something that is so clearly needing attention?

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  • Steven J September 27, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Pro Logistics drivers are terrible for rushing around not paying attention.
    I am nervous around both Pro logistics
    & Trad trucking rigs.
    driving like they’re always late,
    NW St Helens Rd & Yeon area where they Camp is especially dangerous in the early morning.

    My hopes for a speedy recovery to the young lady.

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  • Aaron September 27, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Many are quick to complain that drivers don’t know what it is like to be a cyclist and wish they would “ride a mile” in our shoes. I appreciate the recent the Water Bureau’s recent event but having worked construction and driven these types of trucks

    I can tell you that it is not easy. You have to rely on your mirrors, which is not particularly comforting at times.

    You think riding down Hawthorne is scary on a bike? So is driving one of these trucks. The street is narrow there are lots of cars and these trucks are wider than they appear from the cab which puts you on guard. I know, I know your safely enclosed in a steel box but it is still tough.

    I’m not placing blame anywhere here. If the driver is at fault he should be punished. If the company did not install the proper equipment…well,I sure hope they have real good insurance because that sounds like an easy lawsuit.

    Finally, before you dismiss me out of hand, I commute from Tigard (yeah we ride bikes in the burbs or “over the hill” as I’ve seen it referenced here from time to time) to Lewis & Clark everyday.

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  • Tom H September 27, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I had to yell at one trucker in that very intersection this summer. I think the easiest fix is to semaphore that as an on ramp, stopping bicyles when the motors are going and stopping motors when bikes are rolling. That would enable us to stay entirely to the right until we get to go out all alone either down Broadway or right on Williams.

    Yes, truckers have it scary, but not for their own safety. You cannot compare a financial and emotional threat to a mortal threat.

    May our biking victim be back in the saddle and healed soon…

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  • Joe September 27, 2008 at 8:20 am

    I’ve ridden and driven through this intersection many times. There’s a simple fix.. remove the second right turn lane.. No one will die if there’s only one right-turn lane.

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  • Coyote September 27, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I am surprised the blue painted bike lane did not stop this crash. Oh right, it is only paint and most of it has washed into the river.

    If PDOT wants to keep the 2nd turn lane and make it safe, they are going to have to get a little creative. Paint ain’t gonna doit.

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  • Stripes September 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

    When you described the vehicle as a “short panel truck”, it makes it sound so tiny.

    That truck is enormous! And it looks like the kind of truck that was probably driven by somebody in a hurry, not paying much attention to their surroundings (other examples of these kinds of truck drivers… FedEx, UPS)

    It would be nice to see more done to protect cyclists at intersections like this. When I say “intersections like this”, I mean, near freeway onramps.

    Drivers are already in “freeway mode”, on autopilot, cup of coffee in one hand, wand of mascara in the other, gripping the steering wheel with their knees, and not paying a whole lot of attention to their surroundings.

    We’ve seen a temporary fix at N Flint. Now let’s see one here too.

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  • Stripes September 27, 2008 at 9:01 am

    PS – I second Joe (# 22)

    Has there ever been an evaluation of how necessary that left-hand right turn lane actually is?

    Surely, eliminate it, and you eliminate the problem.

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  • Eric September 27, 2008 at 10:23 am

    As someone who uses broadway to williams to get home, i often turn a block early. Now that the ford dealer is gone, those side streets are quiet, and easy, and you don’t have to deal with the drivers who seem to have the phone interlock enabled (if the phone is not in use, the car won’t roll).

    Also just signal and take the lane when you use that bike lane: The traffic is already slow, and at least the freeway commuters can see you easier.

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  • AJ September 27, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Not sure how this plays out with two right turning lanes as it causes some issues… Solution might be to eliminate turns from the left lane of the two right turn lanes.


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  • bobcycle September 27, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    #11 and #22 YES
    Never ride the bike lane here…
    Lobby for the EZ fix. Two right hand turns are not necessary! EZ fix should have been implemented years ago. Are we a Platinum BIKE town or platinum CAR town?

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  • David M September 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I happened upon this just as the paramedics arrived. I was riding home down Williams coming from the Rose Quarter area. I didn’t want to hang around because the whole scene was rather chaotic, but I really don’t see how the cyclist could have been in the wrong. I know it’s tough driving a truck in this down and drivers have my sympathy but the simple fact is he crossed into the bike lane without being absolutely sure. I agree with many others here, however, visibility is survival for a cyclist. At a insane intersection like this cyclists need to put themselves in front of traffic so they see you. Legal or not, inconvenient or not to motorists, I’d rather have a ticket and an angry motorist than be run over by a truck. Unfortunately, nothing will solve every situation. I am relieved that the girl is okay. After seeing the size of the truck and the girl laying underneath, I feared the worst.

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  • Dennis September 27, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    a few simple rules would prevent this.

    1) Bicyclists, assume that Anyone, at anytime wants to kill you, and you have no idea who it is.

    2) Drivers, Assume that that every bike is highly explosive, and that any one of them wants you dead.

    keep those mentalities when traveling, and you’ll never have an accident.

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  • SD September 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    “Blind spots” are somewhat acceptable in car to car interaction because the driver can look to the right and see what may be in their “blind spot.” On the interstate the truck “blind spot” is rectified by multiple turn signals to alert cars and modified mirrors. Most importantly, blind spots are an issue primarily in changing lanes not turning.

    However, it is not justifiable for a vehicle to have a “blind spot” for bicycles, pedestrians or other vehicles when turning and creating high risk situation for other road users. This is especially inexcusable in that these “blind spots” can be eliminated by wide angle mirrors. If a vehicle is flawed by “blind spots” it should be illegal to drive that vehicle.

    The reasoning that a driver cannot yield because they cannot see another road user is ridiculous but appears to be accepted by some. Cyclists should be cautious, but laws and vehicle requirements should decrease the risks of injury for everyone on the road.

    It is inevitable that the -right turn- I can’t see you if you don’t see me- oops, I feel bad that you are dead or disabled- blind spots will be eliminated now that bicycles are consistently on the road. More importantly is how quickly it happens and drivers are fully accountable for yielding.

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  • Paul Tay September 27, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Ride “right” is WRONG. Gotta git in front of the truck, people.

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  • JP September 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I’m so glad you’re okay!

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  • ChipSeal September 27, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Why isn’t the city of Portland not being sued for creating a hazard? If safe negotiation of that intersection requires the cyclist to leave the bike lane and control the through lane, how has the addition of the bike lane produced a safer intersection?

    The city ought to defend it’s actions in court!

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  • Tont Columbo September 27, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    When will bikers learn.

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  • BURR September 27, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    juries are inevitably pro-motorist, a sad fact of life in the US of A


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  • Justa September 27, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    yeah. that intersection SUCKS.

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  • zilfondel September 28, 2008 at 12:45 am

    “Why isn’t the city of Portland not being sued for creating a hazard?”

    Bite the hand that feeds you? Although, in this case, it may be a good strategy. Except nobody has agreed on how to fix this intersection.

    I think that this road does need a road diet, however. And a nicely expanded separated cycle-track on the right (7-8′ width), next to the curb, with bicycle phasing in the traffic lights.

    The western section of Broadway + Weidler is just scary as hell, and I’m pretty experienced at vehicular riding.

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  • jimbo September 28, 2008 at 1:21 am

    stupidest piece of engineering I have ever seen. definately needs to be changed. a very foolish lane to ride in, but is the people who go by the law are going to ride there. hate to think of children riding through there. something should be imediately (remember after the tragedy on Interstate they closed the right turn until a decision could be made) City hall should be down there now with a temp solution until they can decide what to do permanently. yes the bike has the right of way but those rights don’t do you any good if your dead. how bad does an accident have to be before it is considered bad enough to warrent a change?

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  • John Russell September 28, 2008 at 2:41 am

    “How many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?”

    Hopefully the answer is zero. I think that PDOT needs to analyze how exactly traffic is moving through this intersection. If they were to just go down to one turn lane, I have a feeling that motorists would somehow find a way to creep their way into our bike lane.

    Do this and then change things around accordingly, but not first without looking at ways to improve the intersection immediately. I know that the compliance with the “No turn on red” sign could use a little work.

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  • Loren September 28, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Pashley’s statements reek of laziness. This is the third time this year I’ve witnessed such laziness and unprofessionalism by the PPB. And the best part is, you can’t call them on it. All you can do is write your mayor/senator, and hope enough people do the same. I’m so sick of it.

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  • Steven J September 28, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Think this is one case where “less is more”.

    1)Adjust speed limit through area to 20mph.

    2)Move bike lane farther to center of road.
    (both turn lanes must turn right)

    Bike lane = solid white line through intersection on “turning” side.
    Broken white line on through traffic side. Giving the impression that Bikes and cars are encouraged to mingle.
    Blue (if you must) extends to outside edge of white.
    Another option is to use pylons to separate the RH turn lanes from the through lanes..you just know some dolt on a cell phone is going to try and turn right from all the way on the other side of the road.

    Really folks…most of the time I would argue cars and bikes should not ride in same lanes.
    Intersections under 20mph is the exception.
    You can’t get right hooked if you don’t put yourself in the position.

    I feel PDOT is making a serious effort.
    But don’t get sucked into a false sense of security simply because of blue paint.

    Like someone mentioned earlier, anyone can run you over.

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  • jimbo September 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Don’t jump all over Portland Police. They are not the problem, it is an engineering problem that needs fixed. No blame to rider or driver. Is an accident by design, if you want to be mad- be mad at the city for allowing this to wait for someone to get killed so they might eventually fix it

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  • Jesse Cornett September 28, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    We really need to do something with that intersection. I ride through it every day and it scares the hell out of me.

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  • Kernal Loose Nut September 28, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    The problem here is the concept of bike lanes, period.

    Paint is good for awareness . . . but does NOTHING for safety, i don’t care what color you use.

    Only fully separated travelways will give real safety.

    In the meantime, boycott Vancouver/Williams & Broadway/Weidler. N Flint via NE Thompson is waaaaaaay better

    Speedy recovery to rider.

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  • Snacky September 28, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Wow — so many great points in this thread. I see so many sides to this, and reasonable people can find many different issues. It occured to me:

    * A good reason to move the bike lane out of there is because that 2nd right turn is ONLY for cars going to the freeway. No bike will ever take that right. So that situation is just set up to fail.

    * Personally, when driving a car or bike, I *always* make sure not to drive in someone’s blind spot. If you learn motorcycle riding, this is a big part of it.

    * Someone mentioned that it’s unconscionable for one vehicle (the truck) to have blind spots which prevent it from seeing other traffic participants. There should be a technological+regulatory solution here.

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  • Kt September 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

    My first thought when I saw that picture, at the top, is “get rid of the left-hand right-turn lane”. I don’t ride down there, but it looks like a stupid design, a collision just waiting to happen.

    The bike lane needs to be to the left of the turn lanes, or not there all. Make the bikes to take the lane. Make the cars to slow down by a slower speed limit.

    Hopefully she got a ride in an ambulance and the police either followed behind or rode with; hopefully she’ll be okay!!!

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  • Lenny Anderson September 29, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Broadway/Weidler needs to be put on a “Diet;” its two lanes each way on the bridge and two lanes each way east of 24th. Why not two lanes in between? or three at most between MLK and the bridge.
    Freed up pavement can be used for angled parking east of 7th Avenue, for Streetcar ONLY from the bridge to 7th Avenue and, last but not least, for a real “Cycle track” between 7th and the Bridge. Right turns on to I-5 should be from a single lane, not two.
    PDOT created an LA type street here…its time to put it on a “diet.”

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  • Carice September 29, 2008 at 9:00 am

    I look at that photo and am amazed that the biker walked away! My thoughts go out to her- and wish her luck getting through what must be incredible emotional trauma!

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  • Zaphod September 29, 2008 at 10:24 am

    My usual stance regarding what infrastructure is appropriate or realistic tends to err on the side of “give me anything and I’ll be happy.”

    Here’s a situation where cyclists are very much justified in demanding a solution that isn’t just a marginal improvement in safety but a truly safe route down Broadway. The mode share is impressive. The number of bikes queued up on the West side of the bridge in the morning per light cycle is around two dozen when I roll across.

    I’d like to see studies done to measure the impact of the following:
    1) Removing one lane from the I-5 entrance
    2) Removing both lanes that service the I-5 entrance.

    Armed with this knowledge, I can envision several permutations of lane structures that would work really well.

    I take this route with my kid on board. And the only reason that I feel safe doing it is because I enter the gauntlet with a hyper level of focus and awareness. I make lane changes and moves early and deliberate. In the end, I take the 2nd turn lane so cars cannot cross my path. This requires a pretty confident and aggressive riding style. Here’s the thing, I *shouldn’t* have to do this. Cyclists shouldn’t have to play a game of high stakes frogger just to get to work, or their kids to school.

    What’s more important? A livable city or yet more freeway access? That seems to be the crux of the design choices.

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  • Tim September 29, 2008 at 10:24 am

    In my City of Columbia Missouri we have decided to end the bike lane about 100 feet before the intersection. That way the government is not mandating that bicycles stay in the crunch zone.

    I find the bike boxes a silly cosmetic fix that will do nothing to prevent more people from getting killed/injured in Portland.

    When I was in Portland I could not figure out how they were supposed to work during a green light and the one time I had a chance to use one there was a car sitting in it.

    I love Portland but there are a few things I do not understand about that City. If I were a cyclist in Portland I would sue for such poor design.

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  • Citizen Cyclist September 29, 2008 at 10:59 am

    The solution for the City is to remove the bike lane and put sharrows down the middle (if not left side) of the straight/right combo lane.

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  • RyNO Dan September 29, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Protest !!!

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  • John Mulvey September 29, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I’m shocked at the pains Officer Pashley takes to absolve the driver of any fault. I hope the driver and his employer get sued in civil court, because that’s the only protection she has left. The Police Bureau continues to be unwilling to protect bikers from bad drivers.

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  • Tim September 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm


    I’m not trying to be argumentative but I think if you drove a truck and had to deal with a straight thru lane being to your right all the time you would find that very scary.

    They cant see what is in that lane and they eventually have to turn right.

    Its VERY difficult when the truck is stopped and the biker is filtering.

    I’m a car-free bicycle commuter and I feel sorry for anyone who has to drive a big truck in that situation.

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  • bahueh September 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Tim…don’t bother. Too many on this forum immediately pass judgement on the driver simply because they are a driver, without knowing the limitations of visibility, maneuverability of those extremely large vehicles on narrow city streets…
    some of the folks on this forum don’t even have licenses so they can’t even begin to imagine what’s the realities of the situation are like. don’t waste your time.

    accidents happen…if the cyclist positioned herself in a trucks blind spot…the truck signaled with appropriate distance and was driving the speed limit…sorry…there is not much the driver can do to avoid hitting something they cannot see.

    Most folks are right on here…its an inherently dangerous street design and needs to be addressed immediately. Coyote is even more correct in that paint isn’t going to solve the problem…

    the exact same kind of accident has happend with numerous cars at an intersection near my old house..people proceeding straight in the left lane through a two lane left turn signal…

    a single turn lane would be the most immediate cure for this situation…

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  • chuck September 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I’m going to have to agree with everyone else who’s asking how the cyclist was in the truck driver’s rear blind spot when the bike is clearly lodged under the front right tire of that truck.

    Also, it bothers me that a police officer drove the cyclist to the hospital AFTER BEING RUN OVER BY A TRUCK. something just doesn’t seem right about this in any way shape or form.

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  • a-dub September 29, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Somethings not right about the picture at all. Almost the entire truck has passed the bike lane and yet the bike is right up against the rear front wheels. I’d like a little more context. Maybe the photographer can provide some insight. As for the police officer driving her to the hospital, if I wasn’t badly hurt, I wouldn’t want to risk getting stuck with the ambulance bill. Just my 2 cents.

    Get out and ride!

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  • a.O September 29, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    “…if the cyclist positioned herself in a trucks blind spot…the truck signaled with appropriate distance and was driving the speed limit…sorry…”

    Here’s the anti-bike bias raising its ugly head again. Note the double-standard — if you are driving a car and in someone’s blind spot and they change lanes and hit you, is it their fault? Yep. Have they violated the traffic code? Yep. Are they negligent? Probably. But apparently not if you’re riding a bike, at least according to those who refuse to acknowledge the rights of bicyclists under Oregon law.

    Conveniently, they ignore the obligation placed on motor vehicle operators to yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane imposed by ORS 811.050. Probably, they don’t even know the law, otherwise they’d offer some explanation for why the driver’s actions did not violate it, other than the half-assed “sorry.”

    Fortunately, ignorant people like this have no say in legislating or adjudicating the traffic code. And equally fortunately, our Legislature has blessed us with a tool to ensure that the driver will receive a citation in situations like this despite the intransigence of the PPB and the callous hatred of the vocal but tiny anti-bike lunatic fringe.

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  • John Mulvey September 29, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    “…Too many on this forum immediately pass judgement on the driver…”

    And some people troll bikeportland.org and make bland generalizations about people they don’t know and don’t have the slightest idea about.

    The law is clear that motor vehicles need to yield to bikes before making a right turn. If this truck doesn’t have the visibility to do that, then it shouldn’t be on the road in this city. And if true, it adds one more thing to the list of violations that could have gotten this driver a ticket but didn’t.

    That’s not an “anti car” pov. It’s a pro public safety pov.

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  • ArC September 29, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    “Fortunately, ignorant people like this have no say in legislating or adjudicating the traffic code.”

    Actually they do, and that’s just the problem. Oregon law requires cyclists and motorists to violate the rules of the road where a bike lane stripe is painted (except for some vague exceptions that probably still need to be interpreted by the courts). Motorists aren’t allowed to merge in preparation for a turn. Cyclists are required (unless they can prove they had good reason) to stay next to the curb and overtake slower traffic on the right. That’s what the law says (expect for…. some stuff). People without any knowledge of traffic engineering and the consequences of this vague and confusing right-of-way principle probably affected this change in law. Then others went ahead and just designed bike lanes however which way they wanted, because the law says that motorists must always yield the right-of-way when crossing a bike lane. That’s why we have this mess and these dangerous intersections.

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  • Anonymous September 29, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    “…And some people troll bikeportland.org and make bland generalizations…”

    Please don’t feed the trolls. There should never be more than 20 comments on these bread and butter bikepo collision stories… unless it involves Reverend Phil.

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  • Eileen September 29, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I have a question, as a driver, about the law for bikes on the sidewalk. 3 times in the past 2 days (I kid you not) I have had bicycles riding on sidewalks who treat it like a bike lane and not stop at intersections like a pedestrian would. I go to turn right and fortunately have seen them in time to stop, but once, there was a row of parked cars and I honestly had to slam on my brakes not to hit the guy because he was hidden behind parked cars until just before I turned into my driveway. I think it gave us both a startle and he waved as if to say he was sorry, but I’m wondering what the protocol is for bikes on teh sidewalk. In my opinion, they should follow the same rules as pedestrians and stop, look both ways before crossing streets, since on the sidewalk they are less visible to cars than on the street. Am I wrong? Don’t get me wrong, I’m super careful and try really hard not to kill anyone.

    I like Dennis #30’s rule of thumb. Although as a driver, I dont’ think of them as explosive, I think of them as somebody’s baby, dad, mom, etc. and no matter how much of a jerk or in the wrong they are, how sad their momma’s going to be. On my bike, all cars are likely going to kill me and I act accordingly. I just can’t imagine surfing through an intersection without paying attention to what the cars approaching the intersection are doing and just assuming that since you have the right of way, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. I’m not saying anyone here does that, but the people who I didn’t hit when I made right turns seemed to have that attitude.

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  • BURR September 29, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    the trouble is, Greg Raisman and others in PDOT expect you to do exactly that, position yourself to the right of a right turning vehicle, which is a suicide maneuver (this is probably the only thing I’ll ever agree with Lt. Kruger on).

    PDOT’s bad engineering designs are actually meant to enforce this completely unsafe maneuver.

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  • BURR September 29, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    a.O, usually I agree with you, but in this case I don’t care what the law says, going straight on the right side of right turning traffic is just plain dumb. Any bike infrastructure that reinforces this behaviour, including right-hook bike lanes and the green bike boxes, are a huge liability for the city and a huge hazard for cyclists.

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  • BURR September 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    what the city needs to do here is restrict right turns to one lane only and position the bike lane to the left of the right turn lane. If you’ve ever driven here, merging onto the highway is a hazard for motorists, too, because of teh double right turn lane, just check the city’s own crash stats and I’m sure they will confirm this.

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  • matt picio September 29, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    I agree with BURR (#66) – a single right turn lane, and reposition the bike lane to the left of that lane in advance of the intersection, or eliminate the bike lane far enough in advance of the intersection to allow bike traffic to merge with the cars and take the necessary lane. Staying to the right of the right-turn lane is dangerous at best and deadly at worst.

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  • matt picio September 29, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Dennis (#30) – Actually, keep that in mind and you’ll ONLY have accidents, since accidents are by definition, not preventable.

    You can be totally aware of everything around you, and taking the possible behavior of every motorist into account and still get killed by some random set of circumstances. Granted, it’s FAR less likely. (make no mistake, I agree that it’s the best course of action, just pointing out that “accidents” are those events that cannot be predicted or defended against – they are truly unavoidable, as opposed to “crashes”, which in many cases are predictable and/or avoidable)

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  • 007 September 29, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Legal right turn…uh huh…yeah, right. This just makes my blood boil.

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  • atbman September 30, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Does the police officer’s statement about not being able to see the blinker mean that US truck makers can produce a commercial truck which has NO indicators on the side of the vehicle? Not to mention my previously commented-on bugbear of having no protective sidebars under ths side of the truck?

    CAn I recommend that people log on to the International Police MTB Association (IPMBA) and look on the newsletter section for the “investigating bike accidents” article.

    Perhaps someone should introduce your police force to it. There might be fewer instant conclusions on their part

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  • Anonymous September 30, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Did the cyclist just drop into the truck-driver’s blind spot from the sky? Of course not. Most likely (and I speak from personal experience) she was in the bike lane for awhile, following the truck and he never once bothered to look in his side mirror as he drove down the street, so that by the time he slowed to turn and she caught up with him he had no idea she was there.

    This exact same thing happened to me on NW Broadway. I followed behind a truck, in the bike lane, far enough behind that I could see his mirrors so he could see me. I followed him for a few blocks. When we got to Burnside and I caught up to him to stop at the light, he started turning right into me. I yelled out and he stopped and said, “I didn’t see you.” I said, “try looking in your mirror.” He snapped, “you’re in my blind spot.”

    Yet, if he’d hit me the police would have said he made a legal turn. A turn should not be considered legal if a vehicle hits a cyclist in the bike lane nor if the vehicle crosses over the bike lane to make the turn.

    Is “I didn’t see him.” a valid excuse when a motorized vehicle hits another motorized vehicle: No. So why is it valid when someone hits a pedestrian or a cyclist?

    And this morning, so much for the green intersections helping. They are worthless. SW Broadway, when the light turned red two cars drove into the green lane in front of several bikes, clueless. These sections should be painted RED, if we have them at all.

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  • a.O September 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Burr, I don’t think we disagree much. What I said and what you said are both correct, IMHO. I don’t necessarily agree that what the cyclist did was “just plain dumb.” She may be a new bicyclist who reasonably believed that following the law would be the safest course. After all, it’s reasonable to expect that drivers know when they’re required to yield. And it’s not unreasonable to place the burden to yield on the vehicle changing or crossing lanes – that’s where it always is. It’s obvious that the engineering is “just plain dumb.” I think that’s about all we can conclude in that regard based on the information we have.

    One other thing I know is (from #71) the bicyclist did not just drop into the truck driver’s blind spot from the sky. There had to be a point at which she was visible to the driver – just like in the Tracy Sparling case – and so the obligation to yield was as plain as the bicyclist in the lane. And just like in the Tracy Sparling case, this guy is going to get a citation for violating ORS 811.050.

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  • Eileen September 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    “Yet, if he’d hit me the police would have said he made a legal turn. A turn should not be considered legal if a vehicle hits a cyclist in the bike lane nor if the vehicle crosses over the bike lane to make the turn.”

    I have to disagree with this – there are many times when cars have to make right turns and cross the bike lane to do so. For instance, at driveways. I agree it is the driver’s responsibility to see the bike, but if you are BEHIND the vehicle and they slow down to make the right turn but you don’t notice the brake lights OR the blinkers and continue at your pace, you will likely catch up with the vehicle that is slowing down and you could very well be in the driver’s blind spot. If the car passes you and then makes a swift right turn, the driver is clearly at fault. But if you are behind the driver the whole time and you try to pass a vehicle on the right when the vehicle is slowing down, then I think the driver is not at fault. When you are in the bike lane, you should act as though you were in the lane of traffic – in the lane of traffic when traffic in front of you slows, you have to slow down as well.

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  • BURR September 30, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I’m with you a.O. so now how do we get PDOT to redesign this and other similar poorly engineered intersections that give cyclists a false sense of security and unnecessarily lead them into high risk situations? Because even though it may be the driver’s responsibility to yield in these situations, I don’t think it should ever be taken for granted, and in fact these are poorly designed, risky intersections for motorists too.

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  • 007 October 1, 2008 at 10:18 am

    #73 When a vehicle turns right there is no need to drive over the bike lane — that is called cutting the corner. The vehicle should turn in the intersection, ESPECIALLY around bike lanes.

    There is no such thing as a blind spot on a car or SUV anymore. Is it too much to ask the driver to turn her head and look over her shoulder?

    Drivers have the responsibility to exercise caution. Too often they are in a hurry, on the phone or on their blackberry. Even when none of those apply they are often mentally absent.

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  • jimbo October 1, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Perhaps this problem would not happen if bikes were not allowed to pass on the right in intersections. Do we know the speed of the truck? it looks like he stopped fairly quickly for a truck? Do we know the speed of the bike? was it cruising fast to try and make the light??

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  • Eileen October 1, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    007 – There are numerous spots where there is a driveway but the bike lane continues. You DO sometimes have to cross the bike lane. And many times when there is a right turn lane, the bicycle lane becomes dashed and a car has to cross that dashed section of the bike lane to enter the right turn lane. And sometimes, there is parking between the sidewalk and the bike lane, so to park you have to cross the bike lane. Basically, bicycles, like ALL vehicles need to be acutely aware of what vehicles in front of them are doing at all times. When you are BEHIND a vehicle and you sneak up to pass, (especially from the right which is much more of a blind spot for a driver), you are playing with fire. The cars behind you have seen you, NEVER assume that the cars in front of or next to you have seen you.

    No one answered my question about bikes on sidewalks. Is that because nobody is really sure?

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  • Eileen October 1, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Oh, I had to mention, if you think there is no such thing as a blind spot on a car, I want you to try this: In a car, get on the west end of the Ross Island bridge at rush hour, especially this time of year when the sun is blindingly low in the sky at that time. First do it from the South (coming from I-5 or Lake Oswego) and then try it from the other side (if you are travelling north on barbur, take the marked exit for Ross Island Bridge.) I usually approach from the South, but every once in a while I come at it from the other side and am always shocked at how apparent my blind spot becomes. Entering the line of traffic feels like a leap of faith. If you believe that there is no such thing as a blind spot in newer cars, you are wrong. If you need to borrow a car to do this, I will gladly lend you mine. And yes, my mirrors are adjusted correctly.

    Drivers DO have the responsibility to exercise caution, but you are crazy if you think the only reason a car doesn’t see you is because they aren’t paying attention.

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  • jimbo October 1, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Bikes in Portland are allowed to ride on sidewalks at “walking speed”, some cities ban it outright and will issue citations, I follow my child around the block on the sidewalk because I know she is not attentive enough to ride in the street.

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  • jimbo October 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I’m not sure but I think downtown only police are allowed to ride on sidewalks?

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  • jimbo October 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    I think maybe downtown only police are allowed to ride on the sidewalk?

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  • Eileen October 2, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I have no problem with bikes on sidewalks. In fact, it’s rarely a problem with pedestrians and in my neighborhood, there are times when bikes just HAVE to use the sidewalk. My problem is that when bikes are on a sidewalk, they are not as visible by cars so I don’t think it should be treated like a bike lane, but many bikes act like it’s a bike lane which is really scary to me.

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  • fuchsia October 4, 2008 at 7:53 pm


    Bicyclists are required to slow down to walking speed when approaching a crosswalk when a motor vehicle is present.

    ORS 814.410

    814.410. (1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following:

    (a) Operates the bicycle so as to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

    (b) Operates a bicycle upon a sidewalk and does not give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and does not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.

    (c) Operates a bicycle on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.

    (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles [either:]

    [(A)] at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic. [; or]

    [(B) When motor vehicles are not present.]

    (e) Operates an electric assisted bicycle on a sidewalk.

    (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.

    (3) The offense described in this section, unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk, is a Class D traffic violation.

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  • Eileen October 4, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks Fuschia, I guess I was right. But even if the law is on my side, I’d rather not kill anyone and so many of the cyclists seem not to be aware of this law. To me, it’s common sense. Where did common sense go????

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  • fuchsia October 5, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Is anyone up for a picket/demonstration at this area of Broadway?

    Magnus Johannessen took direct action to make Last Thursday carfree, and he accomplished something. Any other ideas for trying to force the city to deal with this?

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