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TriMet releases video of Hawthorne ‘squeeze’ incident

Posted by on June 17th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

This frame from onboard camera
shows Sebastian Case on the sidewalk.
-Watch video below-

TriMet has released the onboard video from a collision between a bus and a bike that happened on SE Hawthorne earlier this week.

The video clearly shows Sebastian Case — who was featured in an Oregonian story about the incident — riding his bike on the sidewalk east of SE 12th about four seconds prior to the collision. Case then enters the roadway after the bus had already begun passing him. He then tries, unsuccessfully, to squeeze between the bus and a parked van.

The footage contradicts what Case told The Oregonian about the crash:

“As he continued east along Hawthorne, Case said he could hear the bus approaching behind him.

“I knew the bus was close behind me,” he said. “But not that close.'”

TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch says two witnesses who filled out comment cards after the incident confirm what is seen in the video. One witness, Barry T. said Case, “came off sidewalk fast tried to fit in between cars and bus” and another, Tami A., said, “I saw bicyclist go off sidewalk and try to maneuver between bus and vehicle.”

Watch the video below (it begins at corner of SE Hawthorne and 12th next to Burgerville (At :27 you see the case riding on the sidewalk. Watch for a blue van at about :33, that’s the van Case tried to squeeze by.)

Unless I’m seeing this wrong, it looks like a clear case where the person on the bike made a very poor decision. As we noted on our original story, the lanes on SE Hawthorne in this location are narrower than a TriMet bus. Please use caution when riding there. As this video shows, taking the full lane is more advisable than trying to squeeze by.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Loving the Bike
Guest

What incredible research and analysis…..you should be starting up BSI (Bike Scene Investigation)…hahahaha. Seriously, though…very nice work on putting this together. We have to stand up for our fellow cyclists unless they are in fact in the wrong.

Darryl

trail user
Guest
trail user

Well this changes everything.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Glad everyone was OK as this could have been a pretty serious situation.

Good example for all of us of how we need to wait to see the evidence before jumping to conclusions! (and good example of why the mob should take a breath before running to get the pitchforks.)

Ely
Guest
Ely

fail.
Can’t blame Trimet for everything I guess. Tip: When reporting a traffic incident, don’t lie.

A-dub
Guest
A-dub

He was awfully conciliatory which made me suspicious. If there was a police report filed and he lied on that too he should be charged accordingly.

For some, this will just reinforce the stereotype that people on bikes are reckless.

fredlf
Guest
fredlf

A good example of why those “kind” folk who like to gently remind us to “get on the sidewalk” don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Kimo’s Kauai Rule:

Always tell the truth (there’s less to remember)

peejay
Guest
peejay

Ely:

Seriously!

sq
Guest
sq

It’s jerks like this that add to the deterioration of the relationship between bikes and others. Dick move, Case. Learn to ride a bike, learn to do it safely, don’t ride like an ass, and don’t blame others for your own recklessness and mistakes.

Allison
Guest
Allison

This makes me feel so much better. It’s unfortunate when ever a bicyclist is in a traffic incident of any kind — but a bad decision on the part of a cyclist is less of a threat to me than a bad decision on the part of a TriMet operator (who is well trained and drives a huge vehicle).

Let’s hope Mr. Case is more careful next time and thank TriMet for being the professional and responsible agency they are.

trail user
Guest
trail user

As a side note, quality wide angle sports proven helmet cameras are on sale at Costco for $99.99 with an almost unlimited warranty. I just bought one. Double edged sword so better be on your best behavior when someone runs into you. Could be beneficial for insurance purposes or for law enforcement when someone harasses you. I also notice drivers giving me a wider berth when passing. Go figure.

ecohuman
Guest
ecohuman

This *is* one of the drivers that you called “aggressive” in the previous article–isn’t it, Jonathan?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

ecohuman,

no. It is not…but thanks for asking.

jim
Guest
jim

Cyclist should have to go to mandatory bike safety school 9at his own expense)

ecohuman
Guest
ecohuman

Jonathan,

In your 6/15 story, you described three incidents and labeled the drivers as “aggressive”. In that story, you described this incident as “very similar” to one of the incidents involving an “aggressive driver”.

So no–you didn’t call this driver out specifically as aggressive. You only inferred it. I wonder if you waited to learn any details of the other three incidents before labeling those drivers as “aggressive”?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

ecohuman,

I regret inferring that one of those aggressive incidents I mentioned in my post on 6/15 was “very similar” to this Hawthorne one. I have edited the story to reflect this.

And no, I did not wait to learn details of those three that I clearly labeled as “aggressive.” I do not always wait for details of everything before I post it. I use my gut and my instincts and I live with my decisions — wrong or right.

Thanks.

poncho
Guest
poncho

trail user, I agree helmet cams are definitely the way to go.

IMO bus drivers are the only group of professional motor vehicle drivers on the road who drive carefully. Everyone else drives like reckless maniacs.

I think its a product of our auto centric planning that we lump bikes and buses together to share a lane. Bikes and buses dont mix any better than bikes and cars or buses and cars. If you are on a bike you dont want to ride behind a bus that keeps pulling over to stop or breathe its exhaust, likewise if you are on a bus to dont want to be behind a bike. They simply dont mix, we need seperated bike lanes and seperated bus lanes, especially in such a major bike and bus corridor as Hawthorne.

Has anyone seen the new Dunsmuir Two-way Cycle Track in Downtown Vancouver, BC? Quite impressive if you ask me…

Planetizen: Vancouver Debuts Two-Way Bicycle Lane
http://www.planetizen.com/node/44684

City of Vancouver (BC): Separated bike lane on Dunsmuir Street now open
http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/separated/index.htm

Evan
Guest
Evan

Why the hell would anyone ride their bike on Hawthorne? The lanes are really narrow, and everyone speeds. Meanwhile, Madison (one block north) is designated as a bike route. Some better signage pointing people toward it would probably help.

Of course, in the long term, Hawthorne should be a 2 lane street. It should carry a streetcar in the traffic lane, and the street parking should move over into the current outside lane, and the curb lane should be a cycle track. And I should have a pony.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

You still might want to change the heading on the previous article.

“Three days, three stories of aggressive TriMet bus operators”

Maybe “Three days, Three UNCONFIRMED Stories of Aggressive TriMet Bus Operators”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

anonymous,

thanks for that suggestion. i’ll consider doing that and I’ll definitely remember all this so that I’m even more careful with future stories.

OK, I did go back and re-do that headline. It now reads, Three days, three stories of alleged aggression by TriMet bus operators. It’s unfortunate because I am usually careful with using “alleged” and “suspected” in cases like this but I’m more used to dealing with this issue on police-related stories so I’ve got to remember to take similar caution with TriMet stories.

And Ecohuman,

I do pause and reflect quite often on most stories… but sometimes, due to a number of factors, things slip through. Thanks.

Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

I can’t read Mr. Case’s mind, but sometimes people are wrong about things without lying. If I recall correctly, I may have even made a few mistakes in my time.

JAT in Seattle
Guest
JAT in Seattle

imply / infer – whatever.

Is trail user at 11 making a backhanded helmet comment?…

ecohuman
Guest
ecohuman

I use my gut and my instincts and I live with my decisions — wrong or right.

I think that’s good, thank you. I also think it’s good to pause and reflect before dealing out quick condemnations–that is, if you’re acting as a reporter, or at least trying to give a fair and thoughtful picture of things.

trail user
Guest
trail user

#21

What? Paranoid much?

You could also get the head-strap for the camera if you don’t like helmets. I go pretty fast and don’t want to know what happens to my head at 30+ mph without a helmet.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Notice how quickly Trimet came out with this video to exonerate their driver in the public opinion: 2 days.
Good for Trimet for responding quickly and decisively to bad spin.

From now on, though, every time one of these incidents occurs I’m going to be comparing the PR response and video release time to this case where the bus driver was obviously not at fault. Any delay longer than a week in the future would seem to be a tacit admission guilt.

Go Trimet!

Josh Collins
Guest
Josh Collins

q`Tzal,

This incident did not involve police investigation, which is why the video was available so quickly. When police are involved the datapacks are taken from TriMet’s possession, usually before we even see the footage ourselves.

Josh Collins
TriMet Operations

trail user
Guest
trail user

http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2010/06/trimet_video_appears_to_contra.html
Case remembers every detail of the crash but not riding on the sidewalk? LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!

Heading to his lawyer’s office? What so he can cover his ass for slander against Trimet? What an ass!

tony
Guest
tony

#20 Jason Skelton : it’s also possible Mr. Case actually did suffer a head injury clouding his memory… here’s another choice response from him on the OregonLive thread from yesterday:

“i strongly disagree. My type of riding is not compatible with the inconsistency of a city side walk. And hitting a ped would suck.”

Yeah, that inconsistency, like between the sidewalk and the street, I think they call it a curb.

It’s really sad this guy had to make up a story and we all fell for it. Makes us look like fools and that’s a shame because I don’t think we are.

trimet chick
Guest
trimet chick

Absolutely agree with echoman. Jonathan Maus, your writing was irresponsible in light that the investigative process at TM wasn’t complete.

Trimet Operators have been getting a bad rap by the press who just want to assume that all Operators are bad apples. Please understand that if the woman driving this bus hadn’t been doing what over 1300 of us do everyday the bicyclist would be in far worse shape. We are constantly being cut off by bikes, people, traffic, etc. Our eyes, heads, necks, shoulders, body’s are in constant motion. We do one hell of a job maneuvering the buses and just like everything else in life, sometimes mistakes happen.

We have an amazing record when it comes to accidents in Portland so if you want to write an article about Trimet and bicyclists I suggest you stay on the positive, factual side and write something about what we go through in a day so you and everyone else in town can get home. Go for some ride alongs, Jonathan. Ride a bus during the afternoon rush hour and ride another one like the 72 after dark.

Thanks,

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

trimet chick,

thanks for the comment and I hear you. I know TriMet operators have one hell of a difficult job and I do not want to simply give them bad press unless they deserve it. I take being fair very seriously and I am usually very vigilant about not assessing blame without facts. In this case I could have been more careful and I admit it.

That being said, not all TriMet drivers are angels around bikes — as the many comments and stories and my personal experiences would attest. I believe there’s still a need for very clear policy around how to deal with bike traffic and that policy must be more directly communicated to bus operators and more forcefully expected by management. (And yes, I am aware people on bikes could stand to behave more safely around buses as well).

Thanks for your comment and I hope you will judge my work and this site by the totality of my coverage of these and other issues and not by a single headline or story.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Crow – The other white-meat!

Michael M.
Guest

I wasn’t aware that Case had accused the bus driver of anything, though it’s clear his immediate understanding of how things transpired was inaccurate. That’s pretty common, though, among people involved in traffic incidents. Very often, these kinds of things happen because people aren’t paying sufficient attention, even when they think they are, and wildly misjudge circumstances; thus, phrases like “came out of nowhere,” “didn’t see her,” “I thought there was plenty of room,” etc.

That, among other reasons, is why it is important to attempt, at least, a good faith effort in observing traffic control devices. (I’m looking at you, cycling guy who blew through the bike signal on the west end of the Broadway Bridge yesterday afternoon, and 2nd cycling guy shortly thereafter who couldn’t be bothered to wait for the light to turn green at NE Tillamook and MLK.) Errors in judgement like Case made are going to happen, but we can at least try to exhibit some courteous and common sense behavior when it is in our power to do so, instead of pretending that flagrant lawlessness really isn’t hurting anyone. There’s a reason why so many out there take such a dim view of people on bikes — we earn it, everyday all over town, every time we decide our “momentum” is more important than that upcoming stop sign.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

Thanks for nothing Sebastian. You don’t help any of us with your fictional account of what happened.

Is that an aerospoke I see in that video? Alternative headline for you.

Fashionista falls flat from folly, fabricates fracas.

AL M
Guest
trimet chick
Guest
trimet chick

Re: 28
Accidents happen and I just made one when I used the word MISTAKE. Please take that word out and insert the word ACCIDENT.

Mistakes kill, accidents happen.

Thanks.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Oh c’mon folks. Why compound a crappy situation? I’m inclined to cut Mr. Case a ton of slack here. Mostly because he was faced with an extraordinary series of decisions to make. I’m speculating, of course, but I’d wager he’s feelin’ it about right now. I seriously implore all to allow the guy to make a mistake, maybe learn from it, and be right back in the fold. At the very least he’s owed for being an unwilling guinea-pig in this little impromptu human-experiment.

Besides, let ye without sin…and whatnot.

Picking and choosing between bicycle-riders, and deciding who’s friend and foe is as counter-productive as the car v. bike thing, right? This is the ‘work’ part of the deal, right? Nobody said biking is an easy thing. And sticking by one of us who’s ass is hanging out all over the place is our burden to bear, not duder.

And finally. Here we are again, and I’m just as guilty as anybody now, here we are again, with a limited set of facts, neither of the involved parties at hand, speculating about a bunch of junk. Apparently, some lessons just take time.

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

I have yet to hear of a collision where both parties are in prefect agreement over what happened. Difference in perspectives, selective memory, human error and willful deceit all play a role.

Lets not jump to conclusions about why the cyclist was in error with his account of what happened. The cyclist could have simply not have been paying attention before the collision and therefore would not have remembered the bus after the collision.

Anyways, the lesson to take from this is to maintain situational awareness.

AL M
Guest

And how does it feel to be lumped all together for the actions of one?

HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Not so freaking high and mighty those of you who target all trimet bus drivers as some sort of plague on society?

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

marcus..actually the lesson to take from this is OBEY THE FREAKIN TRAFFIC LAWS.

trail user
Guest
trail user

A lot of Trimet drivers have folding bikes tucked behind their seats. How many of us have driven buses? Trimet doesn’t do enough in letting the public try driving buses in giant parking lots with buzzing cyclists all around.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“They simply dont mix, we need seperated bike lanes and seperated bus lanes, especially in such a major bike and bus corridor as Hawthorne.”

The fact that Case lied does not diminish the danger of having buses cross through bike lanes. These two modes of transportation need to be separated. And if that is not feasible, sharrows would be an improvement.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Hi Al M,

you act like being lumped all together for the actions of one is something new to people who ride bikes. it’s not! it’s been happening forever.

“holier than thou” “scofflaws” “lance armstrong wannabees” “critical mass anarchists” “act like they own the road” I’ve heard them all!

I think we can both agree it feels terrible to be labeled because it’s unfair and it makes it more difficult to move forward in creating the kind of city we all want to live in.

thanks for your comment.

Roland
Guest
Roland

Al, any cyclist is WELL FAMILIAR with being lumped in together. For an example, see YOUR OWN BLOG.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

#26 Josh Collins
Thanks for the info on video record procedure.

#38 AL M

Pot to Kettle, come in, Kettle. You are black, repeat, you are black. Over.

Roland
Guest
Roland

Anywhoo. My point from yesterday, that I never ended up typing, still stands: If you’re riding on a street that even has a bus line on it, you probably could’ve chosen your route better. Busy streets are terrible for cycling; they’re full of autos and they reek of exhaust. And yes I’m afraid that includes the ones the city has so valiantly striped with bike lanes, such as Williams & Vancouver, which are (surprise!) riddled with bus/bike conflicts, as previously reported here.

naomi
Guest
naomi

Why on earth would this cyclist lie about Trimet like that? He must feel super embarrassed now that the facts are out. Dumb.

AL M
Guest

I guess I’m gonna make a post to my blog now and call it:

THREE DAYS AND THREE EXAMPLES OF LYING PORTLAND BICYCLISTS!

AL M
Guest

“Pot to Kettle, come in, Kettle. You are black, repeat, you are black. Over.”

Kettle to pot, kettle to pot, I think your communication device is defective as I am unable to decipher your communication.

jeneraldisarray
Guest
jeneraldisarray

I really appreciate the matter-of-fact and level-headed tone of this report.

Thank you for letting the facts speak for themselves and for silently reminding everyone that every story is seen from multiple viewpoints. Further, it’s never true that “Everyone is out to get folks on bikes!”

rigormrtis
Guest
rigormrtis

Man, did that guy ever get served.

Boy who cried wolf, indeed.

AL M
Guest

This is your nice ranting bus driver, who DOES NOT REPRESENT ANYBODY, now going 10-7!

Have a nice day!

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

#48 AL M

Hammering on a chosen stereotype doesn’t make it real.
Yelling and flinging excrement like monkeys doesn’t benefit either side.

The cyclist was obviously wrong in this case; notice the change it tone in this community.

Your tone in dealing with cyclists however serves only to reinforce the false stereotype of all transit drivers as people with attitude problems and anger management issues.
As “trimet chick” states above there many great transit drivers many of whom are quite friendly, conciliatory and cooperative to cyclists and the public in general.
Lets be honest: we both, we all only remember the bad interactions with other people and gloss over the good ones and even the neutral ones.
Notice I used “people”, just because a person gets on a bike does not mean they are giving up their right to life and the person behind the wheel of the bus is not a machine but indeed a person whose judgment may be clouded by the SUV that didn’t yield to let him out, the pedestrian who decides to stop in front of the bus and finish a phone conversation or indeed some cyclist that has done something equally inconsiderate.

We need to all interact as if there was an living, emotional human being driving every vehicle around them because that is pretty much the circumstances as it stands now.

D.R. Miller
Guest
D.R. Miller

ALM,
how does it feel to be a troll on someone else’s blog? (I know, I know, don’t feed the trolls.)
So tell us again: why are you complaining about TriMet drivers being “lumped together as some sort of plague on society”, when your own headline makes the blanket statement “Portland Bicyclists are Liars!”?

Does that include TriMet employees who are also Portland bicyclists? (I used to be one of those myself.)

But back to this issue: clearly a city with pretensions of world-class bike and transportation infrastructure needs to treat bike infrastructure funding and implementation (such as serious cycle track on major streets) with the same energy and seriousness that it has projects like the streetcar expansion. Until then, there will be a continuous and ongoing conflict between inherently different modalities sharing the same right of way, and incidents like this one will keep happening, sometimes with worse (deadlier) outcome than merely embarrasment to one of the parties.