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Man on a bike struck by TriMet bus operator on transit mall – Updated (Photos)

Posted by on August 12th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Photo from the scene.
(Photo: Bill Jackson)

At about 7:30 this evening, a TriMet bus operator collided with a man biking on 6th Avenue in downtown Portland. According to TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch, the bus was traveling north on 6th and was taking a left turn onto SW Morrison when the collision occurred. The person on the bike was also on 6th and traveling north.

Here are photos taken from the scene by readers Nate Gibson and Bill Jackson:

This is the left front wheel of the TriMet bus. The rails in the photo are on SW Morrison.
(Photo: Nate Gibson)

SW 6th on the transit mall is one way going north and three lanes: one of them is rail only, the other is bus-only, and the third is shared by buses, cars, and bikes (don’t even get me started). SW Morrison is one-way to the west. Please keep in mind that, as you can see from the photo above, this area of downtown is very crowded.

I received several phone calls and emails about the collision. One reader called to say the person on the bike remained conscious and was taken away by an ambulance. “His leg is toast,” wrote someone on Twitter. Here’s more from TriMet:

The cyclist was alert and is being transported. The bus was part of the shuttle bus rotation providing alternative service because of the incident below the Vista Bridge [a suicide attempt].

I’ll keep you posted if there are any further developments. If you saw the crash please get in touch or leave a comment below.

UPDATES:
Bill Jackson, who provided two of the photos above, wrote via email that, “The scene looked to me like the bike either passed the bus while it was turning, or was in the crosswalk crossing the opposite direction.”

8/13, 9:15 am: KOIN reports that the man who was hit has been identified. His name is Richard Krebs.

8/13: Video report from KGW includes witness account and more:

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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BikerinNE
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BikerinNE

Oh My God! That is a horrible image. I pray that the rider is going to be okay.

Roma
Guest
Roma

Judging by the headline, I thought someone got in a fight with a bus operator. Turns put they were actually struck by a bus. Sucks either way.

Roma
Guest
Roma

Please forgive the misspelling. That’s what I get for posting from a phone…

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

The O has a short story on this incident, and another picture. Rough night, it seems. At least one survived. Further details about how this collision could have occurred the way it appears it may have, according to brief descriptions so far, should be very interesting.

Bicyclist struck by shuttle bus activated after fatal fall/Oregonian/Michael Russel/
Published: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 7:47 PM Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 8:54 PM

suburban
Guest

“Toast?” rude

dan
Guest
dan

Left hook?

trail abuser
Guest
trail abuser

Apt description if his leg was caught under the bus tire or dragged along the tracks. Gruesome. I don’t see blood stains so maybe it’s just broken bones. Re-constructive surgery should take care of that. Either way, he’s off his bike for a while. Shouldn’t pass turning buses.

My friend’s grandpa lives a hundred feet from the Vista Bridge where the suicide happened. Apparently it’s a favored suicide spot. He was a psychiatrist at OHSU before retiring and has treated many patients for depression.

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

I can’t comment on this but I had a close call (2 feet) today on Barbur, no traffic, 7 in the morning, I was in the bike lane and no one else on a 4 lane highway.
I can only think it was intentional.
Tri-met drivers hate cyclists it is clear and is a big problem which the city (are pathetic phony cyclist mayor) does not and has never addressed.
Again, this is not a comment on todays “incident”, I don’t know the facts, but in general, as a commuting cyclist in this city, bus drivers seem to want to kill me.
I have no other explanation for all the close calls I get from tri-met buses.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

6th is an abomination. I turn left onto 4th as soon as possible after bombing down the hill. Why T. F. do we not have bike lanes/cycle tracks going north down town?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

should be turn right (my other left).

Cascadiance
Guest
Cascadiance

Was on the corner there when this happened. Didn’t see it directly but heard the crash and saw authorities dealing with it from a distance. Someone else told me that the route this bus was traveling was being affected by the earlier suicide incident, and that perhaps that affected whether the driver or the bicyclist wasn’t used to the bus making this turn that it normally wouldn’t have. Don’t know the routes that well enough to know this is so or not, but that might explain why an incident like this was more likely. Someone else who saw the victim said there was a lot of flesh and blood exposed of his leg, so he’s got a long road of recovery ahead of him. The bus was kept there on that corner for about an hour afterward.

MIndful Cyclist
Guest
MIndful Cyclist

Looking at the picture, it looks very plausible that he was walking his bike across the street. Looking at how the bike ended up though, make me think he was walking the same direction.

Regardless, I hope the guy has a quick recovery and very happy to hear he was conscious.

Hart
Guest

Gotta love those comments at the O.

Julie
Guest
Julie

Like Cascadence I was there but didn’t see the crash itself. I did see the poor cyclist while he was still literally under the tire of the bus. I’m pretty sure that he was on his bike at the time of the crash. From what I saw, I couldn’t say who had the right of way.

What concerns me is that I understood that after the last pedestrian fatality, Tri-Met was discontinuing most left turns. Even if it was a temporary shuttle, I believe MAX shuttle / bus bridge routes are pre-planned. It seems like with the quantity of pedestrians and cyclists in that area, this is a prime intersection where left turns should be avoided.

Cascadiance
Guest
Cascadiance

Also someone else told me that they put a tourniquet on his leg pretty quickly, so the bleeding had to be pretty heavy.

John Lascurettes
Guest

@cascadiance, if that’s true, I feel really bad for the guy. A tourniquet is not normally used unless paramedics consider the leg lost.

trail abuser
Guest
trail abuser

#16

Wrong, it’s only used to stem blood loss. If the tissue dies before operation then the limb is lost, but can only be determined on the operating table.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Tourniquets are back in vogue and are used much more frequently than just a few years back. Their use does not indicate imminent loss of limb, particularly for short transport times as in this case. Biennial reminder: Update your first aid skills, everyone!

Best wishes to the injured man.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Jonathan: SW 6th on the transit mall is one way going north and three lanes: one of them is rail only, the other is bus-only, and the third is shared by buses, cars, and bikes (don’t even get me started). SW Morrison is one-way to the west.

I ride this section of 6th every day on my way to work. It is downhill and the lights are timed at somewhere around 12 mph, there is no reason, NONE, why a person on a bicycle can’t be safe so long as THEY ACT LIKE NORMAL TRAFFIC. That means not passing, that means not riding on the sidewalks (which is illegal downtown), that means not running reds, that means no illegal right turns.

If you park your bike right in the middle of the lane you can keep up with traffic and you’ll be directly in front of and behind cars so you don’t have to worry about being left-hooked (no right turns from 6th) and you don’t have to worry about being seen. I have had close calls with cars at various places in town but have never, ever had a close call on any downtown street where I took the lane. I could see being nervous on the uphill streets, especially if you’re not a strong rider, but you barely have to make an effort on the downhill streets.

So Jonathan, please do explain why this 1 through lane seems to rile you up so much.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

cyclist,

thanks for your comments.

the transit mall is a joke. it is a mess and cars should not be allowed to drive on it. if this project was behind done today, I would guarantee that cars would not be allowed in that lane. The decision was made in a different era (Jim Franscesconi was transpo. commish!). the question is, what is the argument for having cars in the bus mall? (other than not wanting to rock the boat of the downtown business community?) And yes, of course it is possible to ride on the transit mall safely, but that’s not the point. I can ride down MLK during rush hour safely. The idea is that we’ll never reach our lofty bike ridership goals until we begin to create more spaces where more people can feel comfortable riding… and the bus mall is certainly not a comfortable place to ride for everyone in large part due to the unnecessary presence of motor vehicles.

Now, back to the story at hand.

Please point out one thing in my story that is anti-TriMet. I have posted the facts I have. When there is a crash I prefer to put something up quickly so that there’s a better chance of capturing information from eyewitnesses, etc…

There is absolutely nothing in my story that I feel could be considered a “hatchet job” and I resent you inferring that there is.

All the facts of this incident will likely not be known for weeks… do you really think I should wait until then?

Again, please point out something in the story that you feel is an example of me being unfair to TriMet. thank you.

151
Guest
151

The picture of the bike crushed under the front wheel of the bus is chilling. I hope this was just a freak accident, and not gross negligence on the part of the cyclist or bus driver. Here’s to wishing this cyclist a swift recovery.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

BTW, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, SW 6th and SW Morrison is where Pioneer Square is, the block between Morrison and Yamhill is a MAX stop (which the bus wouldn’t have stopped at) which means that the bus was almost certainly in the left lane when it was attempting its turn (as the picture seems to back up). This means that the cyclist either tried to pass the bus on the left, was riding on the sidewalk, or was on foot and the driver didn’t see the person at all. Before we start railing against TriMet *AGAIN* I’d like to point out that it’s quite likely that the cyclist was at fault.

Jonathan: Just once I wish you’d gather all of the facts for one of these stories before you post them. You’ve done several hatchet jobs on TriMet accidents, only to have to correct them later (the incident on Hawthorne springs immediately to mind).

Let’s put it this way, would you have posted this story if it was immediately known that the biker got run over by the bus because he tried to pass the bus on the left as the bus was making a legal left turn? In my opinion that’s not newsworthy, it’s an accident due to a very stupid decision on the part of the cyclist. Assuming you agree it makes 0 sense to post a story like this until you have the actual facts on the case.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

cyclist #19 …note my comment #4 with the link to the Oregonian story that includes in the link text, the time at which the O published its story: “…7:47 PM …”. That’s 40 minutes before maus posted his story.

The O’s story has been updated, but it was short(is still short at the time I’m writing this), and also did not provide information indicating what factors may have or did contribute to the collision. It could be some time before it’s known how this collision came to be.

Meanwhile, people would most likely want to at least know what information is known and available now; for example, the cyclists condition. Fortunately, this one sounds as though he’s alive and will possibly ride again.

Red Five
Guest
Red Five

the latest news is that rider will get one of those cool carbon fiber legs so he will be able to run and everything!

sharky
Guest
sharky

First I ride this street every day all day long.For Cyclist: You can’t turn that bus in one lane of traffic. The best it could have done was turn from the train tracks. Buse’s never turn up Morrison as well. It was stated it was a shuttle bus that had been detoured so it was more the bus did not see him, and not so much the cyclist passing on the left.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

will be interesting to hear what happened in this one…

just looking at the intersection and angle of the bus it looks like the bus was turning from the left lane so I’m not sure where that bike came from if it wasn’t the curb ramp from Courthouse Square…

as others said it’s unlikely the bike and bus were sharing the left lane so one of them must have been ahead of the other going up 6th… it’s a shuttle bus so it shouldn’t have been making any stops on the right curb and then cutting across the make the left, and as somebody else mentioned TriMet stopped doing those anyway…

at least the guy should be alright except for the mangled leg… he’ll probably be out in a recumbent in no time…

Vance Longwell
Guest

Hey the, “toast”, comment in the article was a quote, and Maus has never written a, “hatchet job”, in his life – Let alone with Tri-Met as the target. There’s not one shred of evidence to support such a cock-eyed allegation. I also appreciate expedient coverage, and have personally witnessed this site meticulously update stories like this as facts become available. Perhaps if some coverage’s timing doesn’t suit one’s personal taste, then perhaps one could wait a sufficient period prior to reading.

I wanna say that the whole DT remodel blows, but that’s just resentment talking – I don’t like all of the anti-car features. However, there are several components, features, designs, you pick, that are really a problem down here. In my opinion this is the outcome when agendas get served, and not the safe transport of goods and people.

It’s an accident, I know, but for Pete’s sake, due to an attempt to impede auto traffic, I’ve lost all northbound access to the core from the area where I live. In order to visit the grocery store I now have to walk my bike part of the way. Have to by law. Walk. My. Bike.

I ride where cars drive. When you jam them up, you jam me up right along with them. If you all simply MUST get some cars off the road, is there any way to do it besides monkeying with the infrastructure? If it’s CO2, couldn’t you go after Union Pacific, big airlines, shipping, trucking, anything but the dang road? If you’re changing attitudes, can’t that be done in living rooms, and not the street? Maybe later, I don’t know, but right now we’re coming off a century of doing things one way, and just doing them another, all of a sudden, is a recipe for disaster.

None of which should be construed as an opinion about what caused this accident. I just wonder sometimes, aloud apparently, what the cumulative effect is of so many dramatic changes, essentially made to impede auto-traffic, and their impact on bikes. Would be pretty ironic if out of an attempt to make Portland more bike-friendly, you actually make it less so.

Jack
Guest
Jack

@cyclist and Jonathan:

I would absolutely expect to see an article about such a severe bike accident on bikeportland.org, regardless of who might be at fault. Additionally, the article makes no claim of fault.

Whether fault falls on the cyclist, bus driver, or some yet unknown factor, hearing about such an injury ensures that I’ll now be extra careful when riding in this area.

Keep up the good work Jonathan. Cyclist: read before flaming.

Karl Han
Guest
Karl Han

I don’t know… as a commuter to OHSU on Pill Hill, I have to say that I kind of like the downtown renovations. It may be true that we have to share some streets with motor vehicles, but hey — at least car traffic is significantly cut down, and all we have to do is watch the buses, Maxes, and the occasional car. The again, I commute early in the morning, or really late at night (residency is hell…).

Vance Longwell
Guest

J #25 – I can lend some historical perspective here that strengthens the, “no cars on 5th and 6th”, position. The remodel ADDED motor-vehicle lanes to the design it replaced. Folks forget that, or don’t know. Call it a transit-mall, or bus-mall, or whatever you like, those two streets have been dedicated to it for the 41 years of my life here. With the exception of about 3 blocks within the relevant area.

There is a long history of banning motor-vehicle traffic from those two streets. That’s without all you bike-nazis making a fuss!! I think Mr. Maus, is spot-on being upset about the current treatment, one of the FEW things I’m in total agreement with. It blows my mind that there’s even car-lanes on them. Especially considering, and I’m sure this is what raises eye-brows, that the remodel happened right in the middle/peak of this active-transportation-thingy uproar.

Between 2002 and 2004 the City sold the Chamber of Commerce, and the American Alliance of Cities formed the Portland Business Alliance to essentially create a private-sector takeover of what I consider to be City municipalities. I blame the PBA, directly, for the poor design of SW 5th, and SW 6th, in the downtown core. I blame them for a lot more things too, but the point is that if one will bother looking, you’ll notice some crazy things at the management level of our fair city.

I’m all for freedom of speech, and freedom of association, but something must be down about the amount of power focused within the PBA. They were bad enough before, but now that they basically own everything but City Hall, they are down-right sinister.

John Lascurettes
Guest

I’ve been schooled on the first aid rethinking on tourniquets. Thanks.

Still hoping for the best for this guy. It’s a horrible frightening situation, no matter what.

Seth D. Alford
Guest
Seth D. Alford

I hope that the bicycle rider makes a fully, speedy, recovery.

I try to avoid going between the curb and a want-to-be-turning car. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. When I’m between the curb and the want-to-be-right turning car, I like to say, LOUDLY, “CAR ON THE LEFT!” In the case of a one-way street like this, I would say “CAR ON THE RIGHT!” Or, with a bus, “BUS ON THE LEFT/RIGHT!”

I don’t know that yelling that warning really helps, other than provide an illusion of safety for me. But I like to think that the driver can hear me and know that I’m there.

Also, the worst anyone can say is that I’m stating the obvious. I’m not trying to make an already tense situation worse by insulting the motor vehicle driver. After all, there is a bus or car on my left or right.

We don’t know what happened with this collision, or whether, what, and when the bicyclist might have yelled or tried to alert the bus driver of his presence. And we probably won’t know for several weeks. Again, I wish the bicyclist a full and speedy recovery.

Velophile in Exile
Guest
Velophile in Exile

So, was this TriMet driver just responding to his colleague Dan Christensen’s exhortation to “kill” a cyclist, or was this an “accident”?

Peter Noone
Guest
Peter Noone

Why do so many people feel the need to speculate when these things happen?

For example, @cyclist/#21 seems to think it’s “quite likely” the guy on the bike is at fault. I’m sure other people assume the bus driver is at fault.

An infinite number of scenarios are quite possible, but how can anyone who wasn’t there say what’s likely. Heck, even people who were there and saw the aftermath can’t say for sure.

Peter Noone
Guest
Peter Noone

Seth/32

That’s some good common sense thinking about not squeezing in between another vehicle and the curb, but what does that have to do with this incident? We don’t know what happened, so why not enumerate all the other things the cyclist or the bus driver maybe should or shouldn’t have done?

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

KGW has a story up about the crash: Bicyclist stuck by TriMet bus.

Anchor says “Witnesses say the bus turned into the bicyclist at the intersection.”

Video helps give a better perspective of where the crash happened in the intersection and the position of the bus. I can’t be certain, but to me, by the angle of the bus and placement of its tail, the bus might not have been completely within the left lane before starting the turn.

A witness statement in the video also says the bus “kinda skid to a halt on his leg”. Again, its not authoritative, but use of the word “skid” would seem to imply that the bus might have been moving faster than was appropriate while making the turn.

Clearly, no certainty yet on who was to blame for the crash. But I haven’t seen anything from reports yet that would indicate the cyclist was at fault.

h
Guest
h

he is luck to be alive… his bike is toasted. hope he gets better fast.

Josh Collins
Guest
Josh Collins

#14

Just to clarify, TriMet has not banned left turns throughout the system. That suggestion was one of many that we are looking at during our top to bottom safety review. In fact, the topic was discussed Wednesday evening at our Safety & Service Excellence Task Force meeting, which is open to the public and includes a rep from the BTA, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and others.

We are in the process of line-by-line hazard analysis to ensure that turns on routes are both safe and legal. But no bans.

Josh Collins
TriMet Operations

Joe
Guest
Joe

careful out there, hope he heals well.

GLV
Guest
GLV

Jim Franscesconi was mayor!

Jim Franscesconi was not, nor has he ever been, mayor.

I meant transportation commissioner. thanks for catching that. — Jonathan

are
Guest

not speculating on what happened here. would be a better design if private autos were not permitted on the transit malls, 5th and 6th. i do generally take 4th going north, but have no real problem on 6th, simply taking the lane. re comment 19, yes, i sort of expect to see anything bike-related to show up here, regardless who might have been “at fault.” this kind of thing can be educational, y’know: don’t try to split lanes with a bus, etc. (or with anyone in a situation where they might turn) — again not assuming that is what happened here. heads up, kids, it’s tricky out there. red five, i hope nothing even slightly unfortunate ever happens to your pretty little head.

John
Guest
John

I’m in total agreement with Peter Noone regarding not speculating. I had the awful experience of seeing a good friend get side swiped by a low speed truck blowing a stop sign. Nothing about the position of the bike under the wheel of the truck would’ve indicated what had happened. A bike is simply too light to remain at the same position or angle following impact. Road design probably contributed but we have no idea if either vehicle operator was at fault.

trail abuser
Guest
trail abuser

Plenty of eyewitnesses on that busy corner and plenty of security cameras on the bus or surrounding buildings.

benschon
Guest
benschon

Photo of the victim.

http://bojack.org/images/bikebusrider.jpg

Anyone know him? He’ll live, obviously. Don’t know about his leg.

Steve
Guest
Steve

There is no way a bus can make a left from 6th ave onto Morrison while being in the left lane. Unless of course the driver decided to drive up on the sidewalk. From the pictures posted here its pretty obvious the bus is still not fully in the left lane. Even after it “dragged” the cyclist. Sorry “Cyclist”, In 20 years of riding around DT I have NEVER seen a bus use one lane to turn.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

looking at the video taken from in front of the bus looking back I can now see there is more space between the bus and the curb so it does look like the bus was turning across the left lane rather than from the left lane…

I’m sure video from the bus and other sources will be available soon…

Tony Fuentes
Guest

Jon @ 25 –

“the transit mall is a joke. it is a mess and cars should not be allowed to drive on it. if this project was behind done today, I would guarantee that cars would not be allowed in that lane.”

With all due respect, I have to disagree with you on this one.

Without a doubt non-auto centric choices have advanced since the original transit mall was opened in Portland in 1978. However, any review of your own archives, blogtown, oregonlive, etc. shows that decision making by PBOT is often defined by serving cars/trucks and trying to accommodate other modes, not the other way around.

Are things changing? Sure.

Still, parking and auto access for private passenger vehicles remain very hot potatoes politically. Moreover, parking = revenue in this town for PBOT and in these austere times PBOT often advocates to keep paid parking spaces rather than lose one to better serve bikes, transit, etc.

Finally, as has been reported many times, a lot of businesses view easy auto access as the key to their success (to be clear for anyone unfamiliar with my position on this, my business neighbors and I have actively advocated for more bike parking and better pedestrian facilities in our area).

“The decision was made in a different era (Jim Franscesconi was transpo. commish!)”

With regard to decision-making on the redeveloped transit mall, they didn’t break ground until 2006 and making it car free was potentially an option that could’ve been accommodated any point during the construction (or even now) mostly through changes in striping and signage.

As such, I don’t think placing onus for the decision solely on a commissioner that left office in 2004 is completely fair.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

good points tony. and i agree with all of them. i definitely am not placing blame solely on francesconi and should be more careful with stuff like that.

obviously, if City Hall had any backbone, they would start finding more places downtown where people have priority over private motor vehicles… and the bus mall would be an excellent place to start.

Jim O'Horo
Guest
Jim O'Horo

First, I hope the cyclist comes out of this OK. Another big danger in cases like this is shock – It can kill too. From the descriptions here it sounds to me like the leg can be saved, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some permanent damage and impairment. Some further input on tourniquet use: Many years ago I worked as a volunteer on a first aid & rescue squad and was within a few hours of EMT certification. I have applied tourniquets – not often, but occasionally. It’s been a long time since I updated my 1st aid training. Current thinking may have changed, but back then we were told to loosen the tourniquet every 20 minutes to allow some circulation to the limb, avoiding tissue death. I don’t remember it ever taking that long to get victims to the ER, so the tourniquets stayed in place.

I also frequently travel north from OHSU and fully agree with the statement that the best place to be on 6th Av. is in the center of the lane. I’ve also learned to allow extra room from the car in front of me. Many drivers on 6th are not sure of where they want to make a left turn. They’re watching street addresses and often slam on their brakes just as they get to an intersection. If I’m planning on riding all the way home to Vancouver I turn to 4th at the earliest opportunity. The only reason I’d stay on 6th is if I were planning on stopping at Pioneer Sq. for a cup of coffee before getting on MAX.

I agree with the sentiment that we should hear about these incidents regardless of who is at fault. How else will we learn – by making the mistakes & suffering the consequences ourselves??

Tony Fuentes
Guest

That’s all good Jon.

One thing I didn’t put in my comment that I should have is that I agree that the Portland Mall should be car-free.

Peter Smith
Guest
Peter Smith

I’d like to make the case that a bus should never hit a cyclist. or pedestrian. ever.

there has never been a valid excuse for a bus-against-bike collision, and there never will be.

if a cyclist wants to commit suicide and throw himself/herself under a bus, then we _might_ be able to excuse the bus driver for not being able to stop in time, but even that is only a ‘might’.

if a bus or car driver even suspects that a human being might get in front of their bus, intentionally or otherwise, then it is the bus driver’s responsibility to slow down to the appropriate/safe speed — and that includes the speed of zero (i.e. stopping). in at least one Euro country, drivers are responsible for driving safely around children who may do unexpected, even illegal, things — like darting out into traffic. it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure everyone stays safe, because it is the driver who is wielding the deadly weapon.

while the laws here in America catch up with the civilized world, we need to explicitly change the goals of TriMet so that they prioritize safety — no deaths and no injuries to any road users or passengers — above all else.

this collision is most likely the bus driver’s fault, by definition. drivers of all vehicles, including cars, bikes, etc., need to be held accountable for the damage they do. and this collision has not only severely injured one person, but has a big deterrent effect.

the end goal is to do away with all vehicles that cannot live harmoniously with human beings — buses and cars should be the first to go.