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A bike-on-bike hit-and-run and a call for civility (updated)

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The bike signal near where
the collision took place.
(Photo: PBOT)

I got an email from reader and BTA Board Member Mary Roberts yesterday that I thought should be shared with others. It has to do with topics we’ve covered several times on this site — increasing bike traffic and riding with courtesy for others.

Congested bikeways, and how people on bikes handle them, could very well define the oncoming summer biking season. Here’s the email (emphasis mine):

“I was riding with a group of five friends yesterday and as we rode to the top of the bike/ped trail junction at NE Lloyd Blvd [near the bike-only signal], one of my group collided with a cyclist coming down onto the path from the intersection of the Steel Bridge.

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My friend was riding in the middle of the path and angling to the right to get out of the way of the cyclist coming down. The faster-moving cyclist rounded the corner wide and aimed to his left, rather than his right, and collided. She fell from her bike and was unable to rise. The other cyclist did not fall or stop.

My friend is now in the hospital and will have surgery today for a broken bone in her leg. Needless to say, her summer plans have suddenly been altered.”

[Update] Roberts just emailed more precise details on where this happened:

“She was climbing eastward from the railroad overpass bridge and still on the cement pathway rising to the sidewalk. He was headed south from the intersection and rounding the corner coming down. The collision took place about 6′ from the sidewalk.

She also added that, “It is a treacherous area – where there are steps to avoid, a narrow passage, and lots of traffic. Poorly designed for the level of use it gets.”

Back in November, PBOT installed
these yield markings to help with bike
traffic in this location.
(Photo © J. Maus)

This collision raises a lot of issues.

One I’d like to put forward is how our busy bikeways are not treated to the same level of engineering as roadways. For instance, the area where this collision took place is a major bike intersection, however it is essentially a wide sidewalk with a standard width curb ramp leading up to it from the roadway.

It is unheard of for a roadway that sees two-way traffic to not even have a yellow, dotted line through the middle. Perhaps it’s time for PBOT the Parks Bureau to look at doing more pavement markings and on off-street paths? Would that help?

At the end of Mary’s email, she had a question that I’d like to pose to you:

“What can we cyclists do to make Portland’s bike culture even better through riding defensively and with civility (stopping when we crash)? And, what suggestions are there for communicating more dangerous areas as this one surely is?

NOTE: Back in November, PBOT installed signage and pavement markings to help tame bike traffic near where this collision took place. I’m still trying to confirm whether or not the crash happened directly at this location.

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