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Update: Police search for hit-and-run suspect

Posted by on September 30th, 2008 at 10:13 am

A 25-year-old man riding a bicycle was struck from behind while riding sounthbound on SE 39th Ave. just north of Powell Blvd. (map) in Southeast Portland at around 2:45 am this morning.

The hit-and-run incident left Cox with non life-threatening injuries but witnesses told KATU-TV that he was “pretty banged up”.

Here’s the latest from the Portland Police Bureau:

“25-year-old Brendan Michael Cox was riding his bicycle southbound on Southeast 39th when a large truck traveling southbound , struck Cox from behind. The truck left the scene. Cox was transported by ambulance to OHSU for non-life threatening injuries. He was not wearing a helmet. The suspect vehicle has been described as a large dark newer Ford F250.

Anyone with information on the collision is asked to call Officer Barry Busse of the Traffic Division, at 503-823-2216.

More details and a video report at KATU.com.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • L September 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Needless to say, this incident should not have happened and I really hope they catch the hit-and-run’r immediately.

    I am in no way blaming the rider here, but why oh why would you choose to ride on 39th in that area? The north/south side streets aren’t that much slower and seem much safer.

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  • bahueh September 30, 2008 at 11:14 am

    L…route choice is important and…42nd is a beautiful alternative…

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  • Lazlo September 30, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I see people riding 39th all the time and really wonder why. Needless to say, I hope the guy’s ok, and that they catch the truck that couldn’t even bother to stop.

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  • mmann September 30, 2008 at 11:27 am

    The helmet comment in the police report is irrelevant if he was hit from behind by a truck. What I WOULD like to see in these police reports about nighttime collisions is whether the bike/cyclist had working lights.

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  • Kt September 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

    MMan, the report on KATU said that his bike was equiped with working lights… and didn’t mention helmet-wearing.

    Re: Route: maybe that was the most direct way to the cyclist’s destination, and given the late hour, maybe he thought it would be the best way to go. I don’t know.

    I hope they find the truck driver, and that the cyclist is ok!

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  • Ergo September 30, 2008 at 11:34 am

    39th is a public road and bikes can be on it as much as they want. There’s no reason anybody should ride on a back street.

    And who cares if the cyclist had a working light? Those puny little things don’t help much. A F250 has huge headlamps and should have seen the bike no matter what!

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  • Gabriel McGovern September 30, 2008 at 11:35 am

    @L, @bahueh and @Lazlo,
    39th is a bit of a nightmare, but it is the most direct route. 41/42/43rd is not a great alternative because it constantly switches between roads and has a lack of lights at major intersections.

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  • K'Tesh September 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Hope the cyclist heals fast and completly…

    Hope the motorist rots in HELL!

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  • Justa September 30, 2008 at 11:40 am

    i don’t like to ride 39th, but i often ride stretches of it when my destination is located on it (like, right now, for instance!).

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  • AustinBikeBlog September 30, 2008 at 11:52 am

    wow… police are actually searching for someone who hit a cyclist, and the cyclist isn’t even seriously injured or dead?

    AND there was a television story?

    That’s amazing. Would never happen in Austin, never ever. The police here would yawn nonchalantly as they went to get some donuts, and then half and hour later call an ambulance to cart off your dead body…

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  • Craig September 30, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Also, keep in mind that this was at 2:45 am and there is hardly any traffic on 39th then.

    I’d never ride 39th during the day, but I’ve ridden it a lot of times during the wee hours of the morning.

    At 2am, 39th is well lit by streetlights and you can go a long time without seeing a car. Once I went from I-84 to Clinton without a car ever passing me.

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  • Adam September 30, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I agree with Ergo that the cyclist had every right to ride on 39th.

    I disagree about the lights. A good set of lights makes a big difference in how far away you are visible to drivers. Lights obviously won’t prevent every accident, but cyclists have to take some responsibility for their own safety.

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  • toddistic September 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Adam @ 12, blame the victim, good idea (sarcasm included)

    or… more likely the person driving the truck was drunk.

    dude had lights, what more do you want?

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  • A-dub September 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    20:1 odds the driver was impaired. Lights, reflective vests, etc. don’t matter much at that point. Sad, but true.

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  • L September 30, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I NEVER EVER EVER said or implied the rider didn’t have the right to ride on 39th. I said “why did he CHOOSE to ride on 39th”. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

    Please don’t be so quick to make some sort of grand point or knockdown a strawman when it flies in the face the given statement.

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  • naess September 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    @13: way to not read the other posts, good idea (yes, sarcasm has also been included.)

    #12 was responding to another post’s (#6) assertion it was irrelevent whether or not the bike had lights at 0245.

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  • joel domreis September 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    42nd is an awesome bike route, there are long stretches with no stops and almost no traffic lights- i wish more people knew it was there.

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  • Robert Dobbs September 30, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I agree that a good set of lights are important for safety.

    Did it save this guys ass? No.

    After the bars get out it’s suicide to ride on major thoroughfares. The same reason you think it’s convenient is the same reason it’s dangerous – wide open spaces, light traffic and direct routes = high speed.

    Every year or so you hear about someone getting creamed at night while riding on streets like MLK or 39th. People drive very aggressively on these streets, and its even worse at night.

    Am I blaming the victim? You betcha.

    Until cars are gone from our streets for good, you are subjecting yourself to a huge risk by choosing arterials over less-traveled streets. No amount of policy changes, critical mass rides, or bumper stickers are going to change this fact. The price of willful ignorance in this case is extremely high.

    And for those of you who are so quick quick to blubber “but but but he had the RIGHT” need to take off your black bandannas and get over yourselves already. Putting extremist ideology over low-cost pragmatic solutions is precisely why cyclists have a public image problem.

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  • Dave September 30, 2008 at 2:29 pm


    The law states a cyclist can take the lane when travelling the speed of traffic. I say, “cars are bigger and faster than I am on my bike”.

    Who cares what my rights are if I’m DEAD? Use common sense and live another day. …That’s the bottom line.

    I sincerely hope the cyclist involved is OK.

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  • KWW September 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I would like the news media to say:
    “He was not wearing a helmet, which is fully compliant with the law”

    Again the media presupposes guilt because he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

    When a helmet can fully defeat a barreling Ford F250 behemoth, I’ll look into it…

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  • Andrew September 30, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Having lived in SE (and Portland in general) for a litte while now I would like to ask the general biking community why so many people don’t use the bike blvds? I see many people riding down Division, Hawthorne, & 39th all the time. And not just on the roadways, but on sidewalks (sometimes the wrong way)as well.
    I understand that every cyclist has the right to occupy any roadway the same as a car and that in this case the traffic was probably much lighter that early in the morning. And some people who can keep pace and are willing to be riskier bicyiclists take to the heavier traffiked roads. Good for them, I’m not there yet.
    But I just don’t understand why people would choose to take these risks (or take up sidewalk space) when the city and the biking community has worked hard to give us a alternative roadway that is usually 1 block away!
    Sure if the place you’re going is mid block on Hawthorne riding is cool, but to watch people cussing at cars and riding until they are out of my view, all I can do is shake my head.
    Not saying this rider has anything to do with what I have just said, but reading the article and the comments has brought this thought to mind.

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  • Nik C September 30, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    In the end we have person who was a victim of a hit and run. He did everything legally, and the bickering about helmet, light and street laws are irrelevent.

    We should be happy that he’s alive and that the police are looking into the matter.

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  • a.O September 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    As long as I get to drive on all the roads, I also get to ride on all the roads. Don’t like it? Too bad. We’re not going anywhere.

    To argue that you shouldn’t exercise rights because of a risk is to argue that you shouldn’t have those rights. People driving cars are killed every day on busy streets – should they stop doing that?

    Do those of you who only want people to ride on the back roads never had any business on a busy street? Is it OK to ride on those streets then, or do you want the government to decide when it’s ok and not ok to to ride on busy streets? Why don’t you just go ahead and admit you want to restrict the rights of bicyclists to use the road?

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  • jack September 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    re: #23 ‘Do those of you who only want people to ride on the back roads never had any business on a busy street?’

    This a gross mischaracterization of what has been said a.O., lighten up on your own community. I’ve seen you do this on at least two other threads revolving around the same theme. No one is contesting the right to use ‘busy’ roads, but the wisdom of that choice as a commuting corridor. This choice can make the difference between undesired interaction with a large metal object or not having an undesired interaction with a large metal object. This choice to use ‘back’ roads is also supporting the initiative to develop bike boulevards with the eventual goal to modify these routes to specifically benefit bike commuters.

    That being said, in relation to this article – ditto k’tesh #8

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  • matt picio September 30, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    There are a lot of reasons to ride 39th in that area – riding to the Safeway on the SE corner of that intersection, for example. We don’t know the details – the cyclist may have intended to only ride 1 or 2 blocks on 39th, which is unavoidable if one is trying to access one of the businesses at that intersection.

    I had a similar collision occur this year with a car when I was trying to get to the WAMU at 39th & Hawthorne. Some of these roads are just plain dangerous, and too many people just don’t pay enough attention when operating their vehicles on them.

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  • matt picio September 30, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Andrew (#21) – I’d say mostly because few bike boulevards are 1 block away (Clinton being the exception) – usually they are 3 blocks out of the way, which is 6 blocks if you have to return back to the busy road. Also, Division, Hawthorne, Belmont and Powell follow the easiest grades up the hill – the bike boulevards are on steeper roads (esp. Harrison). There are many cases where it is quicker and easier to take a main street – and it’s almost always perfectly safe. Notice that many posters state that they see people on these roads “all the time”, yet we hear of few actual collisions. Obviously it can’t be THAT dangerous, or we’d hear of more injuries.

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  • jami September 30, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I’m too chicken to bike down 39th, but cyclists have the right to be there. Given that biking requires physical exertion, unlike driving, cyclists of all people shouldn’t have to go out of our way to be safe on the road (42nd is uphill from 39th). I see more and more cyclists on 39th, and that’s great. This accident is not great, though I’m so glad it wasn’t worse.

    39th needs a bike lane.

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  • jami September 30, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    additionally, at this location in particular, how do you cross powell going-north-south? you need a traffic signal to get across, really. is the nearest one at 42nd?

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  • zilfondel September 30, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    DO NOT ride on any major traffic arteries after 12:30am – its just suicide. We’ve seen a couple of cyclists been severely injured over the past few years because of drunk drivers.

    Friday and Saturday nights are even worse. Definitely stick to the bike boulevards as much as you possibly can!

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  • Matthew Denton September 30, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    If you don’t know the area, you might not know that there is a bicycle blvd nearby, and even if you did know that there was one “over there somewhere” I have spent 10 minutes looking for one, only to get lost, give up, and head back to the main street, which at least goes through. Better signage on the bicycle routes is what is needed, plus better signage to get to the bicycle routes: How often do you see signs that say “5” with an interstate logo around it with an arrow on a city street? Quite often. But “40s” with a bicycle logo and an arrow? Never. At best, when you are on the route, you’ll see a sign telling you which way to go, but many times not even that…

    But the other thing: It isn’t every day that I get to ride on MLK, and the pavement on that street is brand new, and I’m a sucker for new pavement, so (besides 2-3am, when I try to stay off all streets,) if there isn’t any traffic, I’ll go ride on main streets because it is fun…

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  • Oh Word? September 30, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    The cyclist should’ve been on 42nd? Maybe the Ford should’ve been on 42nd; The headlights and auxillary lights could easily light up the streets and the speed bumps would keep his/her speed in check. This would give the driver more time to read the bike-friendly bumper stickers (#18).

    So now the well-lit streets would be left open for human-powered vehicles.

    Problem solved, no charge.

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  • r. September 30, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    maybe the guy made a decision to use 39th that made sense to him at the time — gets me where I am going, more direct, fewer stops, better lit . . .

    in fact, the better lit idea appeals to me. what would all these comments look like if the guy had chosen 42nd or whatever instead and got tagged there? shoulda taken 39th?

    you are out there all the time making decisions. roll the stop, trim the roundabout, don’t signal . . . or maybe stop for the late yellow, put your foot down, yield the right of way, signal the lane change . . .

    the guy made a decision, he had his reasons, the f*ckin motorist is at fault. let’s put energy into getting the motorist caught, prosecuted, driving privileges revoked.

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  • Carl October 1, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Blame the victim! There’s blood in the streets! Aaaaagh!

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  • Scott October 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Ergo @6 and Adam @12, I think you need to read this site more often. Jonathan just had a story in the last few days about bike light laws. PPB is going to be running some stings where they will be educating and giving away free lights to people who don’t have them. Lights are the law people, like it or not. Whether or not the cyclist had lights probably would play out in the court of law, even if the driver was drunk. He could then say that he didn’t see him.

    I’m sad that he choose to ride without a helmet, but that is not against the law and I think should not be in any way included in a police report or news story.

    Sure he could’ve ridden a different route, but that is also a sad excuse for anyone to claim that is why he was in danger. Are there better ways for him to get home, sure, but that is the route he choose and none of you know the reasons for that. I feel bad for the cyclist that was hit and hope he heals fast.

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  • Coyote October 1, 2008 at 9:42 am

    2:45 am, hmmm, likely the Ford driver was buzzed, it is also likely the bike rider was buzzed too. Either or both situations could cause a wreck regardless of the street.

    There is no excuse for hit and run. It is a despicable crime, but we need to move away from the idea that one party is 100% responsible for any crash.

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  • Eileen October 1, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Does 42nd even come out on Powell? Don’t you have to ride up to 43rd and then cross back down to 42nd? I’m not 100% sure but I am around there quite a bit and that is my memory. That is a lot of backtracking, whereas if you go just a block or 2 on 39th, north of Powell, you can get to 42nd a little easier. Maybe that’s what the guy was doing. NOT THAT IT MATTERS. I think hit and run is one of the worst crimes. I think I have less respect for the hit and run driver than the guy who drives over someone on purpose in a fit of passion.

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  • Opus the Poet October 1, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    ziffondel #29 So you would create a bicycle curfew then, because drunks driving cars could hit one of us? And I suppose you would tell women that were out at that time of night that they were just asking to be raped, too? If there are going to be curfews, then restrict the perpetrators, not the victims. If you’re going to do something to protect me, then actually protect me don’t “protect” me by restricting my rights.

    And I know I use this analogy too often, but it works for me as a feminist, and a cyclist.

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  • CountUnholy October 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I love all the comments about the helmet. Here are some things to think about:
    * Oregon does not have a helmet law.

    * Most likely everyone on this site has dreams of
    Portland being more like Amsterdam, with all the bicycles and safety. Funny thing is, Amsterdam,
    also doesn’t have a helmet law.

    * Try to find a photo of somebody in Amsterdam wearing a helmet while riding their bicycle. It is nearly impossible.

    It is not the helmet that makes you safer while cycling. It is motorists and cyclists alike using the roadways safely, along with well thought out planning of roadways.

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  • Kernal Loose Nut October 3, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Separate but equal roadways.

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  • peejay October 3, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Separate but equal roadways.

    And tell us how well that worked for race relations and education, please.

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  • Sarah O October 4, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Coyote, #35:

    “There is no excuse for hit and run. It is a despicable crime, but we need to move away from the idea that one party is 100% responsible for any crash.”

    A cyclist with lights was hit from behind. What was his involvement and responsibility? Being made of flesh and taking injury?


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  • Coyote October 4, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Sarah O, we have no idea what actually happened. Is it possible for a cyclist to be hit from behind and still have some responsibility? Yep, you bet. Is there an excuse for hit & run….Nope, hit & run is a total scumbag play.

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  • Kernal Loose Nut October 4, 2008 at 10:12 pm


    race and transpo modes are apples and orang-outangs.

    all ethnicities are equal, but transportation modes are not.

    bikes are superior over petrol powered (death) machines, in most cases. And as superior beings they (bikes) are deserving of elevation and/or separation.

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