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Serious injury crash near Ladds Circle (photos) – Updated

Posted by on June 29th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

There was a serious injury crash just north of Ladds Circle yesterday during the evening commute. At about 5:15, I started getting reports from witnesses about someone on a bike that was being tended to by emergency medical personnel. Here are photos taken at the scene by reader Robby Russell:

The crash occurred just before 5:00 pm about midway between the traffic circle/roundabout at SE Palm Street and Ladds Circle south of Hawthorne Blvd on Ladd Ave (location on Google Maps). This is a very popular bikeway and the City’s most recent counts show over 1,100 bike trips are made near this location (at SE Clay and 12th) each day.

Initially, the PPB informed me that the injuries sustained in this crash were not serious. But, in a follow up email asking for more details I have learned that they are. Police Bureau spokesperson Mary Wheat says the person that collided with the car is recovering from his injuries at a local hospital. The injuries are not life-threatening, but Wheat says “I would consider them serious.” (*see update on injuries below.)

Wheat also says the crash happened after the person on the bike attempted to pass other riders. Here’s how she explains it:

“The man riding the bike attempted to pass other bicyclists and his handlebars began shaking. He veered into a car and was hit by the car.”

The person in the car was traveling in the opposite direction (heading northwest on Ladd). I am still trying to get more precise details from the PPB about what exactly happened and I will update this story when I know more.

Several witnesses have emailed and called me about what they saw…

Rebecca C

“I chatted for a minute with one of the folks who lives on the street and they said that this is the second time in a week that they’ve seen a collision on the street.”

Reader Mike Q. came up on the crash about 30 seconds after it happened:

“Cyclist is a male late 40s to mid 50s, he did not regain consciousness at the scene and seemed pretty severely injured. The driver is a male in 20s or 30s, remained on scene and was being interviewed by police. It must have been a pretty hard impact, it knocked the cyclist helmet and both shoes clean off. Pretty horrifying. I certainly hope he can make a full recovery.”

We have discussed and reported on the need for safe passing many times on this site (it’s actually one of the subjects of my most recent radio spots) and this crash serves as yet another reminder.

[UPDATE, 7/1: According to a comment below, the injured rider is in a coma with a fractured skull, jaw, and pelvis along with a brain injury.]

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Bjorn
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Bjorn

saw an update that the injuries are not serious, I guess that is what tends to happen when a car hits a bike on a properly calmed street. Slow speeds = significantly lower chances of injury.

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

For people not intimately familar with Ladd’s Addition streets, Palm is here. There’s a traffic circle at the intersection, and bus stops. I wonder what movements by the car/bike caused the crash… anyone know?

One behavior I see a lot with people driving on Ladd is to try and pass right before a traffic circle, sometimes cutting back over without giving the bicyclist enough room. No idea if that was the case here, though.

bearcub
Guest
bearcub

wait…was this someone passing on the right? or just thinking he could make the pass before the tailing car took their pass?

OuterToob
Guest
OuterToob

I’m having difficulty understanding what happened here, it sounds from Wheats quote above like the cyclist was at fault (operator error or mechanical failure.) He tried to pass, handlebars started shanking and he “veered into the car” at which point he was “hit by the car”. Sounds like he hit the car and not the other way around to me. Was he hit from behind or was it head on? Can anyone out there paint more of a clear picture of what happened?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

“The man riding the bike attempted to pass other bicyclists and his handlebars began shaking. He veered into a car and was hit by the car.”

So was the car going the same direction as the cyclists or coming from the other direction?

Did the cyclist veer into oncoming traffic or did he veer into the path of the car that was moving in the same direction?

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

sounds like they were going opposite directions…if so, his injuries are anything but non-serious as that would probably be a 45mph impact (cyclist moving around 20mph, car around 25mph).

tighten your headsets folks.

Anon
Guest
Anon

I spoke with a cyclist who was heading SE on Ladd in the same direction as the cyclist that was hit. The car was heading NW on Ladd in the opposite direction when the cyclist veered into its path. This occurred in the middle of the block, not right by the circle.

Amy
Guest
Amy

These traffic circles are one way with pretty much two lanes, usually bikes are in the outer area and cars in the middle. So, it sounds like the biker road into the car or into the car’s lane and the car hit the bike.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Aww man, that losing consciousness thing is a no-messing-around affair. My sincerest wish will be to hear that this fellow is a-okay. I’ve had 3 of the most serious bicycle crashes I’ve ever heard of, and when I hear of the loss of consciousness it sends a chill down my spine, to this day.

I’d join in the, “Not enough/unclear…”, facts chorus in this report, but understand such may yet be unavailable. So, if I criticize the report, specifically Wheat’s comment, I seriously don’t mean to be a jerk. But what the heck is, “shaking handlebars”? Handlebars can’t shake. Presumably because they’re fastened to the bicycle. I wish a professional spokesman would avoid making a statement like that. “Shake”, implies rapid movement, at least. “Head shake”, is what motorcyclists call the condition where the steering device, in this case the aptly named hanldebars, begin to oscillate rapidly from side to side. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel and feel this is a fair description of a similar condition produced by a bicycle. I hear this referred to more as, “wobbling”, in bikey-type parlance, but that’s usually qualified somehow.

Anyway, see how distracting this statement is? Since I know handlebars can’t shake, Wheat has inadvertently created questions where none were before. Given the nature of this site, clearly, we all want to learn about fault, and the conditions which produced the, I presume, accident. Also, if a clear statement can’t be made, sheesh, I would so rather none were made at all. You know, how is, “shaking handlebars”, more relevant than whether this crash was head-on, or from behind?

Oh, and finally, mention of a helmet in a report that’s not hyperbolic, or rhetorical. Nice. Helmet use is clearly part of the story here. This time.

Thanks Mr. Maus for reporting this. I want to be crystal clear that I am convinced you put out what you had on hand at the time. I absolutely understand your info is incomplete at this point, and would reiterate that I’m not wishing to parse the circumstance. I really only wanted to impugn Wheat for saying such crazy things.

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

I hope this rider recovers fully and quickly.

Under inflated tires, loose steering head bearings or warped wheels can cause the “head shake”

Bicycles need maintenance.

t.a. barnhart
Guest

as someone who rides this route almost daily, the problem is that cars will use Ladds rather than 11/12 or 20th – and then they try to pass the bikes so they can zoom to the red light & sit. there is rarely room to pass during commute hours but cars will attempt to do so anyway. when a bike tries to pass other bikes at the same time… anyone who commutes that route knows the danger.

it’s a great route for bikes, an unnecessary one for non-local cars, and in desperate need of sharrows to indicate bikes cannot ride elsewhere but in the “regular” lanes of traffic (swerving into the parking lane and back out again is dangerous and a terrible practice bicyclists need to abandon – see the Oregon Bicyclists Manual, produced by ODOT).

i hope he recovers quickly. getting hit by a car & sent to hospital is not fun. (the pain sucks, in case you’re wondering.) if he has to stay several days, please, those who love him: make sure he has his charger for his iPhone or other sanity-saving gadgets!

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

t.a. #11: The car was heading in the opposite direction as the car, it was not trying to pass the bicyclist in question.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

As an everyday rider and occasional driver who lives in Ladd’s, close calls are becoming far too regular occurrence. I think both cars and bikes need to realize that the road needs to be shared entirely with only one lane in each direction.

When I am in my car, I do not try and pass bikes on this stretch because it is far to tight and not needed for such a short distance. Often times though, as I slow down behind a bike, other bikes will pass my car just as they pass other bikes. This creates such a danger for all parties involved.

It’s such a nice neighborhood, take the extra minute to enjoy it and not worry about getting around everyone else.

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

I’ve ridden through Ladd’s many times. It’s safe enough for a cyclist to pass another cyclist if there are no cars around, but you do need to check for oncoming traffic.

Kim
Guest
Kim

bahueh & Bob_M – you are right! Bicycles need maintenance and I feel that some cyclist aren’t as conscientious about it as they should be, but are maybe not thinking about how a small bike failure can send you into traffic in front of a car.

But also, please everyone make sure your helmet is tight enough. Every strap should be tight and you should be only able to open your mouth enough to fit 2 fingers in it.

It sounds like his helmet may have saved him form a more serious head injury, but if it had stayed on, he probably would have remained conscious.

Neighbor
Guest
Neighbor

The accident happened right in front of my house, and I’m relieved to hear that the cyclist is alive. The injuries looked very serious. My husband and I appreciate the fact that so many cyclists use Ladd Avenue and I agree with T.A. Barnhart that drivers who don’t need local access should use 11th, 12th or 20th or just accept the fact that it’s going to be a slow drive on Ladd. Thanks to all you cyclists for using a non-polluting form of transportation.

BURR
Guest
BURR

My twice daily route through Ladd’s Addition no longer includes SE Ladd due to too many close calls with both cyclists and motorists.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I pray that he makes a full and speedy recovery.

Ride Safe People!

Opus the Poet
Guest

From the description of the wreck it sounds like shimmy, which is an oscillation caused by a number of factors, one of which may be a headset that doesn’t have enough friction. Yes it is possible to have bearings that turn too freely, keep those headsets tight and full of grease (thick heavy grease). Having tires that are either over or under inflated can also cause or encourage shimmy, depending on what initial force sets the shimmy off.

Whyat
Guest
Whyat

It kills me that so many people are trying to find fault with the driver, who based on what I understand did NOTHING wrong (including driving on the street that he was driving on. He’s ALLOWED to be there!). ‘Share the road’ means that bikers need to share the road with cars too. Unsafe passing maneuvers DON’T count (and happen all day long in Ladd’s).

I hope the best for this cyclist. With that said, I’m tired of the almost daily collisions from other cyclists who don’t have the courtesy to slow down for one second to make safe passing or merging maneuvers. Take a chill pill people and be safe. Your families will thank you for it.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

As I was crossing Clinton at 26th this morning, leaving Bella Selva coffee to catch the No. 10 bus, I nearly was picked off by two idiot arrogant imbeciles, bombing down the hill of Clinton and across 26th at 20 miles per hour, totally unaware of anything but their own narcissistic egos.

The blinking red “STOP” is there for a reason, dudes, and I was in the crosswalk to boot. Try obeying the law, for a change.

But not to worry! Surely they will encounter a 6,000 pound SUV bombing north on 26th and running the “STOP” at 30 miles per hour!

sparewheel
Guest
sparewheel

“…other cyclists who don’t have the courtesy to slow down for one second to make safe passing…”

I believe OR law requires a 3 feet passing distance. There is no requirement to slow down. I routinely hear shocked exclamations when I pass riders outside of the bike lane. Personally I think there is a lot of projection going on from newbies (e.g. since I putter along at 10 mph its clearly dangerous for you to pass me at 25 mph).

sparewheel
Guest
sparewheel

feet=foot

sparewheel
Guest
sparewheel

“Surely they will encounter a 6,000 pound SUV bombing north on 26th and running the “STOP” at 30 miles per hour!”

Troll.

matthew vilhauer
Guest
matthew vilhauer

i hope the rider makes a full and speedy recovery. a man is in the hospital with severe injuries while some folks here are playing the blame game. seriously???

MIndful Cyclist
Guest
MIndful Cyclist

Another possibility with the “shaking handlebars”: Did the cyclist possibly have a blowout on his front tire? Or is there a rough patch on the street where he was riding? I know I get plenty of vibrations going over the Burnside Bridge on the section where it lifts.

No matter what the situation was, it’s not a good idea to cut into the other lane to pass someone if it is not clear. Hope the guy makes a speedy recovery.

Dillon
Guest
Dillon

Maybe he has a medical condition, seizure or something to that nature. As for the 3ft passing law, I’m pretty sure that only applies if your going +35mph.

A friend
Guest
A friend

As someone who knows this cyclist, I appreciate all the eye witness accounts and the updates from the police. We are all sending positive thoughts his way!!!

t.a. barnhart
Guest

cyclist (comment 12) – that’s the scary part of that route: not the cars passing behind me; it’s the ones who pass coming at me — they get to you so fast. same problem as on 2-lane country roads. i’ve had to break & pull off into a ditch numerous times to avoid head-ons with people passing stupidly.

and it’s really pointless: how many seconds will a driver gain passing some bikes on that street? at either end, there’s a long light. it’s one reason i rarely drive anymore: the ability for a lapse in judgment to cause great harm. too stressful. being on my bike lets me enjoy the journey a lot more.

t.a. barnhart
Guest

Dillon, Oregon does not have a 3-foot law. we have a “safe distance” law. 801.608 “Vulnerable user of a public way.” “Vulnerable user of a public way” means a pedestrian, a highway worker, a person riding an animal or a person operating any of the following on a public way, crosswalk or shoulder of the highway:
(1) A farm tractor or implement of husbandry;
(2) A skateboard;
(3) Roller skates;
(4) In-line skates;
(5) A scooter; or
(6) A bicycle. [2007 c.784 §2; 2009 c.301 §1]

here’s the safe passing law language:

The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a ‘safe distance’ means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic.

this is ORS 811.065 (http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/811.html)

and with the driver of the car on the opposite side of the car from the bicycle, the guess work involved is pretty damn scary. not that specifying 3 feet makes that easier, but at least it’s a specific distance that can be used in the event of an accident.

matt picio
Guest

t.a. barnhart is right, and for practical purposes, that means “safe passing distance” when passing most cyclists is about 6 feet. (and sometimes more)

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

Safe passing of one of those “tall” bikes would have to be about 10-15 feet.

One other feature that different bicyclers approach differently are the traffic circles at Palm and Lavender.

I tend to hold my straight line, which means I come close to the edge of the circle planters. But others do the veer around the circle like cars have to do. I’ve had bicyclers pass me on the right at these points, and I’m not that slow a cyclist.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

t.a.: Any of us who have ridden this stretch of road know that there’s plenty of room for a bike on one side of the street and a car on the other. If you have to head off into a ditch in order to avoid an oncoming car mid-block in the Ladd area, it means either the driver is drunk or distracted, or you’re biking in an unsafe manner. The eyewitness accounts above make it clear that the cyclist swerved into the car, not vice versa, as such you have nothing to worry about, so long as you think you can bike safely.

David guettler
Guest
David guettler

I was the first person to call 911 after I heard the sounds of a bike crash, looked up to see the guy under the car, and the car rolling over him. He looked seriously injured, very relieved to hear he should survive and recover. The driver was extremely concerned, but I did not see how the accident happened. That vision will haunt me.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

@dillon and @t.a. barnhart also remember that the safe distance law does not apply if the driver is going less than 35, or if there is a bike lane so basically the safe passing law only applies on rural farm roads.

From the ORS the law does not apply when the driver is:

(A) In a lane that is separate from and adjacent to a designated bicycle lane;
(B) At a speed not greater than 35 miles per hour; or
(C) When the driver is passing a person operating a bicycle on the person’s right side and the person operating the bicycle is turning left.

EmGee
Guest
EmGee

Vance #9, Bob_M #10–

Possible causes of the shaking handlebars and also the loss of control or loss of good judgment that seem to have occurred are a number of medical conditions. The cyclist may not have been awake and alert when he hit the car.

Remember that General Petraeus’ judgment was so severely affected by dehydration that he passed out during a congressional hearing. Riding hard in the first heat of Summer can so screw up a person’s fluid and glucose levels that they do stupid things– like continuing to push themselves until they lose it and crash.

I’m not saying that this is what happened. I’m only saying that this is a good time for cyclists to remind each other to take proper care of their bodies: drink before you are thirsty; eat something before you get lightheaded with hunger.

I hope the cyclist recovers fully and speedily.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I’m going with riding like a jerk compounded by either a loose headset or loose cones in the front wheel.

Red Five
Guest

Another reason why fixies should be banned.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Whyat (#20): “It kills me that so many people are trying to find fault with the driver”

I didn’t read that in the first 19 comments; maybe you’re seeing something that I’m not.

EmGee (#36): great point about dehydration. Not just water and glucose, but electrolyte balance is important. I rode 55 flat miles on Saturday after a month off with a broken clavicle. I watched my HRM closely and stayed in an easy zone, but the mild cramping after should have informed me I needed Endurolytes. I thought I was hydrating properly (and I’m seasoned enough to know better), but long story short I wound up in atrial fibrillation in the ER on Sunday with “electrical conversion” to get my heartbeat back to regularity. I know from experience that it doesn’t take much to overexert, or that riding too hard can cause impaired judgement on the road. Not that you or I are implying overexertion caused this, but you make a good cautionary message.

My thoughts are with both the driver and the cyclist; praying for a full recovery.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

The malfunction could’ve been any random thing. I was on a pedalpalooza ride when the ride leader’s front rack bungee gave it up, snapped into his front wheel, and caused an end-over-end, luckily not on a street, nor fatal. The dude hadn’t been in a bike wreck for 25 years previously. Spokes break, brake cables snap, wheels fold up, random animals do stoopid sh@t in front of your wheel. When it comes down to it, that’s why I wear helmets, gloves, even clothes (heheh).

martin
Guest
martin

I’ve lived in Ladd’s Addition for almost 11 years now. Both car and bike traffic has increased tremendously in the last few years, but probably for different reasons. I think the reason that more non-resident cars use Ladd Ave these days is because of the timing change of the 20th/21st/Division/Ladd intersection that occurred about 5 years ago. Used to be, if you were traveling SE on Ladd, the light at division would let 3 cars through at best (usually only 2). Nowadays, 5-8 cars can get through before the yellow. Truth be told it was kind of a blessing for me at first because if I’m going that way through that intersection I’m usually in a car. But my theory is that more and more car drivers have figured out that it’s a shortcut so obviously more and more car drivers are using that street instead of 11th and Division. Not sure why they ever changed it, but I figure it was either because of the New Seasons Market going in or maybe because of the #10 bus not getting through the light on the first cycle. Since the change, I’ve also seen an increase of what I call “Park-N-Riders.” Those are the people that get free Tri-Met passes from their work and drive into Ladd’s from wherever they live and park on the street near the bus stop every morning (I’m talking about the 14 now). If you’re ever sitting at Thai Spoon around 5:20pm you can see them get off the bus and get into their cars. It’s like clockwork.

Did I miss it? Again?
Guest
Did I miss it? Again?

Sparewheel-
What is your definition of a “troll”?

I have seen it used as a degrading response in so many situations; I am curious about your useage (#24).

Thank you.

are
Guest

let me help you out, comment 43. the reference is to comment 21, which has absolutely zero to do with the subject at hand, and gratuitously spews about something else entirely, simply for the purpose of provoking bitterness back and forth. same definition in general use.

Grey
Guest
Grey

It sounds to me like the main thing that led to this accident was bad bike maintenance. Cars do have a right to be on this road, and they should realize that it’s not a fast road to drive on, however that is unrelated to this accident. As far as I can tell the driver didn’t do anything other than be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

sparewheel
Guest
sparewheel

“I have seen it used as a degrading response in so many situations; I am curious about your useage (#24).”

Fantasizing about a bicycle motorvehicle crash on a bike blog is trolling. The thing that was degraded was the commenters valid point about cyclists blowing stop signs.

Did I miss it? Again?
Guest
Did I miss it? Again?

After reading your responses (44 and 46) I had to re-read 21. Yeah – it was pretty off topic. But here are my follow up q’s:

are: So is he a troll for posting to the wrong forum? Would he be considered a troll if he had posted this to B.P. topics page? Direct him to the correct forum for this topic.

SpareWheel: You use the word fantasizing; interesting choice. Just this week, many people on this blog were “fantasizing” about Al M using a 15-ton bus to injure cyclists and pedestrians, yet they were not called trolls. Many people use examples to get their point across.

Unless I am misunderstanding: Visualization used against non-cyclists is ok if it helps to further a point or argument.
Visualization used against cyclists is “fantasizing” and earns the post-er a label of “Troll”.

If all the commenter did was degrade his own valid point, you could direct to the proper forum rather than start name calling.

Anonomous
Guest
Anonomous

Actually the rider’s injuries are quite serious and he is in a coma at this time. He has a fractured skull, jaw, and pelvis along with a brain injury. I believe he had a problem with the chain on his bike.

Did I miss it? Again?
Guest
Did I miss it? Again?

Ouch. And PPB initially said this wasn’t serious?!!
I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Staci
Guest
Staci

I am the cyclist’s wife. His injuries are indeed life-threatening and we do not know if he will survive. He has a traumatic brain injury, is comatose, has skull, neck, and pelvic fractures. We do not know if he will regain brain function. He is an expert cyclist who has always maintained his bikes impeccably. Most importantly, he is a loving and fervently devoted father to three very young children who adore him and whose lives will be shattered if recovery does not happen. This is tragedy for our family in it’s most raw and excruciating form.

Paul Tay
Guest
Paul Tay

Condolences to the family. THIS is SERIOUS.