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More details on transit mall crash from TriMet, Richard Krebs, and the police report

Posted by on September 2nd, 2010 at 7:35 pm

What happened?
(Photo: Bill Jackson)

Richard Krebs, the man who was involved in a collision with a TriMet bus on SW Morrison and 6th on August 12th, has come forward with his side of the story. He takes issue with several important parts of TriMet’s official statement and says he was under medication from his injuries when he made incriminating statements to the police. TriMet says they stand by their version of what happened, but they acknowledged today that the bus operator did not perform his left turn correctly prior to the crash.

Krebs is a 36 year old medical student completing his third year of clinical clerkships at OHSU. He spent eight days in the hospital following the crash, which included a broken clavicle and several skin grafts on his leg.

“If you were to freeze the bus in the turn he is in the center lane. He moved too far over… that’s a concern for us and that’s what he’s been re-trained on.”
— Josh Collins, TriMet Operations

According to TriMet, Krebs was behind a bus headed northbound on SW 6th (the transit mall) and both were in the left lane (there are three lanes on 6th, one for light rail only, one for bus only, and one for buses, bikes, and cars). As the bus approached SW Morrison, TriMet says the bus operator, 39 year old John Nations, swung wide to the right to execute a left turn to go west onto Morrison. When the bus turned back to the left, its left front wheel came into contact with Krebs, smashing his bike and running over his leg.

On August 31st, TriMet issued a statement saying that Krebs had been issued a citation for running a yellow light and slamming into the bus “at a high rate of speed.”

Krebs told me today that he remembers things a bit differently.

Krebs said he distinctly recalls the bus being to his right prior to the crash. He recalled riding along at about 10-15 mph with the bus in the lane to his right. “I was by myself in left lane, with a car in front of me. The bus was in middle lane the whole time. This is not at all fuzzy. I completely remember it. And I didn’t see any signals.”

Three of the four witnesses in the police report also said the bus was in the center or “bus only” lane as it made the turn. A TriMet bus operator who witnessed the crash told police Krebs was traveling “at a high rate of speed” which she estimated at about 10-15 mph.

I spoke with Josh Collins of TriMet Operations today to gain more clarity about the lane question (TriMet has watched the on-board video, but they haven’t released it yet — more on that below).

The type of turn Nations made,
as per the ODOT Commercial
Driver’s Manual, is “incorrect.”
Download larger size

Collins said the bus operator, John Nations, was in the center lane prior to making the left turn. Collins added that Nations began in the left-most lane, but he swung further to the right than they recommend and ended up in the center lane. “If you were to freeze the bus in the turn he is in the center lane. He moved too far over… that’s a concern for us and that’s what he’s been re-trained on.”

The movement Nations made, Collins said, “is closer to a jug handle” type turn, which is contrary to statements made by TriMet communications director Mary Fetsch, who said that Nations made a “button hook” turn. It’s important to note that the ODOT Commercial Driver’s Manual labels jug handle turns as “incorrect” (see graphic at right).

Here’s the police reconstruction drawing that shows where both vehicles came to rest:

Drawing by Portland Police Bureau

Collins also said that Nations had his left blinker on the whole time, but acknowledged that, given the wide swing to the right the bus made prior to the turn, if Krebs didn’t see the blinker, “He could assume the bus is going toward the right.”

“I can’t believe I said those things about the brakes. The brake on my bike works fine. What I meant to tell the officer is that once the bus was right in front of me it was difficult to stop.”
— Richard Krebs

TriMet’s media statement on August 31st also claimed that Krebs was given a citation in the crash. However, as of today (9/2) there is no record of a citation ever being written to Krebs. When asked to verify the information, TriMet said “Based on what’s written in the police report, it’s our understanding that he will be cited… they [the police] must still be in process.” The police report TriMet refers to was written on August 13th and Police Bureau Traffic Division Sergeant Todd Davis says the citation should have been processed by now. In a subsequent follow-up with TriMet Operations spokesperson Josh Collins informing him that the citation had not yet been issued, he said, “We should have called and verified they’d written and given it to him. It’s our understanding they still will be citing him.”

This is an unfortunate oversight on TriMet’s part because several local media outlets, including us, KGW and The Oregonian all reported that Krebs has been given a citation when in fact he hasn’t.

In the police report taken on 8/13, Officer Kent Scott writes in a section titled, “Conclusion” that Krebs was to be cited for running a yellow light (ORS 811.265 – failure to obey a traffic control device). Officer Scott came to that conclusion in large part because of incriminating statements Krebs made following the crash. Here are some key excerpts from Krebs’ statement in the police report:

“Krebs watched as the car in front of him drove through the yellow phase…”

“Krebs said that the brake on his bike isn’t working that good.”

“Krebs told me he should have stopped and that he felt bad for the driver.”

I asked Krebs to explain the discrepancy between the statements he made to police on August 12th and what he’s saying now. Krebs said that when he gave his statement to the police, just 1-2 hours after the collision, he was still being treated at OHSU and was “completely drugged and in pain”. “In situations like that,” he said, “I tend to blame myself, for the life of me I don’t know why I say things like that.”

What about your brakes?

“I can’t believe I said those things about the brakes. The brake on my bike works fine. What I meant to tell the officer is that once the bus was right in front of me it was difficult to stop.”

As for whether he ran the yellow light, Krebs says he’s positive the light was green.

“The crosswalk [countdown timer] was on “2”… I was focused on it… Somehow I think the officer made the suggestion it was yellow and I just went along with it.”

The on-board video from the bus would clarify a lot of things, but TriMet has not released it. On August 30th, TriMet said the video, “is currently not releasable at this time because it is material evidence that may be used in court in relation to the citation.” Reached via phone today, TriMet spokesperson Bekki Witt said they can’t release the video because they’re waiting for clearance from the DA. TriMet wouldn’t comment further on any potential court action and they referred me to the DA for questions about a possible criminal investigation (which is the only reason I can think of for the DA having the video). I’m awaiting a call back from the DA to find out why they’re holding the video.

DA John Copic John Copic, reached in his office this morning (9/3), says he hasn’t yet watched the video, but confirms that it is in their possession. Copic says it’s DA policy to not release any videos “until all potential court appearances are resolved.” Copic is waiting to discuss the matter with Kent Scott, the police officer who responded to the incident and who took the initial statements from Nations and Krebs.

Krebs says that when he asked TriMet to see the video (at the urging of his insurance company) a representative for TriMet told him the video is “damaging to their case”. “They said the bus operator improperly executed the left turn and the video showed he turned right in front of me.” Krebs’ insurance agent has now requested the video.

Krebs has plenty of time to think about the crash and figure out all the details of how it happened. He’s still bed-ridden from his injuries and doctors tell him it could be several weeks before he’ll be able to walk normally again.

– Browse our previous coverage of this story here.

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 β€” Jonathan

  • naomi September 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Sounds like both the bicyclist and the driver made a bad decision, the combination of which resulted in this “incident”.

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  • Seager September 2, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Well, that pretty much is exactly as I was guessing. Bus moved right, Krebs assumed bus was making a right turn, and either didn’t see or believe the turn signal on the bus because it was contrary to the bus’s motion.

    The bus driver slowed down to make the turn allowing Krebs to get beside him. Then bus then turned across a lane of traffic, didn’t see Krebs, and hit Krebs with his front tire. Seems pretty cut and dry the fault of the bus driver.

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  • Barney September 2, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    “running a yellow light”

    I was under the impression that as long as you enter the intersection (defined by the limit line or the first line of the crosswalk) while the light is yellow then you are okay. We’ve all heard of running a red light but I’ve never heard of runnig a yellow light.

    Confused in the Pearl.

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  • trail abuser September 2, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    WOW! Good reporting.

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  • Giant Hogweed September 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm


    The police pulled me and my partner over on SE Hawthorne about a year ago when we entered the intersection at 39th on a yellow light (on bikes). No ticket, just informing us it is illegal and that the police were concerned for our safety.

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  • Stig10 September 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    So the bus was really making the left turn from the center lane- enough over that a car got past that was ahead of Krebs. That’s egregiously bad driving from the bus operator if that’s true. Release the darn video already.

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  • Vance Longwell September 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Barney #3 – The entire area lost it’s mind here a few years ago, and changed the laws relevant to yellow lights. Now it’s one of these, “They’re a Jew if I say they are a Jew.”, deals now. Ain’t safety grand!!

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  • Barney September 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Okay after a very small amount of research I have found the following:

    Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices:
    (3) Steady circular yellow signal. A driver facing a steady circular yellow signal light is thereby warned that the related right of way is being terminated and that a red or flashing red light will be shown immediately. A driver facing the light shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection.


    Sooooo, it appears to me that this is a judgement call on the part of the vehicle operator. If you can’t stop by the stop line, then you may continue through the intersection. Since bikes often move slower than motorized vehicles, this lag time may have contributed to the accident. A citiation couldn’t then be issued without a law enforcement officer actually witnessing the supposed infraction. The video from the bus will probably settle the issue. Pardon me for assuming that the video may well clear the cyclist here and that is why it is being with-held.

    Vance: I agree that sanity is a rare commodity these days in PDX as well as in other places!

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  • Peter Smith September 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Yep – good reporting.

    To all the bike-haters, apology accepted. Don’t be so quick to blame the victim next time. Instead, try a little skepticism of the official story.

    I think it’s getting to the point where we need to have lawyers present with pedestrians and cyclists who’ve been hit _after_ the event to protect them from police looking to draw out false confessions. False confessions are way too common — when someone is in a position of authority, they can get even a non-drugged user to say (or do) just about anything.

    The self-blame, the suggestion from police that the victim was really to blame — it’s like a typical rape case from 50 years ago. The victim is essentially still in shock, and all the authorities are in CYA mode.

    I hope the DA’s office and Mayor’s office get some phone calls from Portland cyclists who are tired of this type of reckless driver behavior.

    Now is a good time to start talking about some ‘strict liability’ laws. New York has some fun laws — where is Oregon?

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  • Spiffy September 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    now that was an attention grabbing story! I couldn’t stop reading, as much as the wife was trying to get my attention (or so she says)…

    a sad ending for both parties but justice will be done…

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  • rich chodron September 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    The turn Mr. Collins refers to is commonly called a ‘button hook’. It is a turn Trimet Operators are
    specifically trained for and MUST use at certain intersections such as 6th and Morrison in order to safely navigate the Bus around corners.

    No offense intended towards Mr. Krebs but for him to have gotten that close to a vehicle that large is either idiotic or suicidal. Bicyclists MUST take responsibility for their own lives by NOT using the Bus Mall. Mr. Krebs is also responsible for the pain and suffering of the Operator and should and hopefully will be sued.

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  • Bob R. September 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    “Bicyclists MUST take responsibility for their own lives by NOT using the Bus Mall”

    Well that’s all fine and dandy for you to say, but bicyclists are specifically invited to use the “multi-modal lane”, there are small portions of actual bike lanes on the uphill portions of the mall on 5th, and bicyclists were represented during the transit mall planning process.

    So please forgive those cyclists who just happen to, you know, as a matter of official policy, feel like they might want to take a ride on the mall.

    I want to see the video (and all other available evidence) before judging any fault here, but I’m concerned that the shuttle route _contributed_ to the risk in this accident. TriMet’s safety review process have been elimination left turns in crowded areas from a number of routes, but this temporary shuttle route (coupled with the presence of a parked train on Morrison) seems to have created the necessity of a very wide left turn for the bus which probably would not have happened otherwise.

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  • Bob R. September 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    “elimination” = “eliminating”. Sorry for the typo.

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  • Tacoma September 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    This situation made me think of the following essay by Bruce Mol:

    The Social and Emotional Aspects of Transportation Cycling

    Interesting discussion of cyclist and motorist behavior.

    Get well soon, Mr. Krebs.

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  • pat h September 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    A medical resident or fellow is a physician, not a medical student.

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  • are September 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    ten to fifteen a high rate of speed

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  • cyclist September 2, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    rich chodron #11:

    No offense intended towards Mr. Krebs but for him to have gotten that close to a vehicle that large is either idiotic or suicidal. Bicyclists MUST take responsibility for their own lives by NOT using the Bus Mall.

    I’ve ridden the bus mall every Monday-Friday since the remodel was completed, if you ride your bike as if it was a car (center of the lane, no passing on the left or right, no moving into the bus/MAX-only lane) then it’s 100% safe. I’ve never even had a close call. I’d say the bus mall is safer than SW Broadway (w/ the hotel zone and the dooring potential).

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  • David September 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Great update. Things are becoming more clear in this case but, at the same time, not.

    We need the video.

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  • wsbob September 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    “… Collins said the bus operator, John Nations, was in the center lane prior to making the left turn. Collins added that Nations began in the left-most lane, but he swung further to the right than they recommend and ended up in the center lane. …”maus/bikeportland

    At what point in the block, was the operator’s bus last in the left lane prior to making the left turn? I’m trying to figure out the first point in the block where Krebs on his bike, and a car ahead of him could be in the left lane, if the bus was there before swinging to the right in preparation to swinging again left to make his left turn onto Morrison.

    “… As for whether he ran the yellow light, Krebs says he’s positive the light was green.

    “The crosswalk [countdown timer] was on “2”… I was focused on it… Somehow I think the officer made the suggestion it was yellow and I just went along with it.” …”maus/bikeportland

    At what point in the block or the intersection was Krebs at when he saw the crosswalk countdown timer on “2”? Reading what Krebs says, it occurs to me that I’m not certain how the crosswalk signals work together with the overhead traffic lights.

    I assumed that at least part of the crosswalk countdown cycle ran simultaneously with the yellow caution lights of the overhead traffic lights. In other words, a road user or pedestrian seeing a ‘2’ on the crosswalk light would mean vehicle operators in travel lanes would be seeing the last seconds of the yellow caution light, rather than a green light. Maybe this isn’t the way they work. Should be easy to confirm one way or another.

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  • Mike September 2, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Hey,Peter Smith, Here is your chance to shart out some of you logic. Consider this a preemptive foot in you arse!!!!!!

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  • voline September 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    To refute something means to disprove it. As compelling as it is, Mr Krebs’ account contradicts (repudiates, disputes, challenges or denies) that of Tri-Met, but it doesn’t refute or disprove it.

    thanks for that insight voline. i think i’ll swap “refute” with “contradicts”. i like that word better anyways. -Jonathan

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  • Seager September 2, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Rich #11,

    I know I should ignore you since you are obviously trying to inflame feelings, so I’ll just say this:

    The bus did a “Jug Handle” turn, not a “Button Hook.” Jug Handles are never recommended, and if the bus HAD done a button hook it would never have swerved right and never have hit Krebs.

    As for sueing Krebs for being hit by a bus and causing the bus driver pain and suffering – I think that flame bait can go without being bitten.

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  • Mke September 2, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Thank God the blame was shifted towards the bus. Now we can all sleep at night!!

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  • tony September 2, 2010 at 11:31 pm


    in my experience, the light turns yellow after the countdown has reached 0.

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  • AL M September 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Damn good piece of investigative work Jonathan!

    However, I personally stand by my statement made on your previous entry.

    Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists ultimately are responsible for their own safety and must exercise extra vigilance when riding in hazardous areas.

    This bicyclist obviously did not do that.

    Button hook jug hook, whatever, a turn is a turn.

    I hope the bicyclist recovers completely and quickly for his injuries.

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  • wsbob September 2, 2010 at 11:37 pm


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  • John Lascurettes September 2, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Tony and wsbob,

    Right Tony, lights turn yellow after the countdown reaches zero. I’ve seen most lights change immediately after, while some turn yellow several seconds after zero (e.g., NE Knott @ NE 15th). I’ve never seen one that turns yellow before the counter reaches zero. It would make no sense to engineer it that way.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 3, 2010 at 12:00 am

    AL M,

    thanks for the compliment.

    i have to say though, the rest of your comment is a bit strange. yes, of course people biking and walking need to be responsible… but aren’t you forgetting something… like perhaps people operating very large vehicles that can easily kill and maim with just the slightest lack of attention also need to be responsible?

    Mr. Nations, the bus driver in this case, told the police he was “focused on the people on the corner” and he did not see Mr. Krebs at all. in fact, Mr. Nations had Mr. Krebs under his wheel and he got out of his bus, only to be hounded by bystanders to get back in his bus and put it in reverse to get off Krebs’ body. … which thankfully he did right away.

    yes… “a turn is a turn”… but turns by massive, multi-ton vehicles can seriously injure and kill people. please don’t forget that.

    thanks for the comment. it’s good to know you’re still around.

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  • Mike September 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Jonathan, could us cyclists use extra caution while riding downtown? Could you imagine how difficult it is driving a “large vehicle”? I wish you would stop laying so much blame on the people who’s job it is to navigate these multi ton vehicles around town. We should all give them extra room assuming they don’t see us. It seems common sense to me but then again, this is your blog.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 3, 2010 at 12:17 am


    please point out where I’m “laying so much blame” on bus operators. I have not done that. I am just pointing out something that I felt Mr. Al M — who operates a TriMet bus for a living — was not including in his comment.

    I absolutely agree with you that people on bikes and on foot need to be extra-super-hyper careful when a bus is present near them.

    thanks for your comment.

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  • Jerrylikesbikes September 3, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Why do things like this keep happening? Don’t TriMet buses have mirrors to prevent this? Aren’t cyclists educated on how traffic-lights work and how NOT to overtake a giant vehicle?

    IMO both parties were at fault and I’m not sure who should take more blame.

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  • peejay September 3, 2010 at 5:54 am

    In some countries (Netherlands, Denmark, maybe more), the larger vehicle is legally at fault in any collision unless there is overwhelming evidence otherwise. I wish we had such a law.

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  • Laura September 3, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Jonathan, Thank you for reporting more of the facts and letting Rick tell his side of the story. It is about time trimet came clean. They should have clarified this much sooner to save us all some grief.

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  • Seth D. Alford September 3, 2010 at 6:37 am

    A purpose of bikeportland’s close call database is to highlight locations which create close call situations. I think it would be useful to try to search that database for references to bicycles moving around Tri-Met buses, particularly on the left side of the bus. It might help to show a pattern of bus driver mis-behavior. Mr. Krebs could use that in his possible lawsuit against Tri-Met. Or, as has been suggested above, if Tri-Met or the bus driver were to sue Mr. Krebs, he could use that pattern of mis-behavior in his defense.

    My left-side-of-the-bus close call was at Capitol and Terwilliger. Bus and I were both eastbound on Capitol. This was before Jonathan initiated the close call reporting tool. Here’s a quote from that posting:

    “I was the first vehicle at the red light. The bus pulled up to the stop after the light turned red. So, the bus was behind me on my right.

    The light turned green. I started to go. Then I could not help but notice an enormous bus coming up on my right, about to cut me off. So, I stopped, mid-intersection. Having no choice in the matter, I allowed the bus to pass. Only _after_ the bus got in front of me did I see the yield sign blinking.

    Buses with their yield signs blinking are entitled to the right of way. However, I have to be able to see that yield sign in order to know to yield to it. Since I was unable to see the blinking yield sign, I should not have had to yield to the bus. The bus driver should have waited for me.”

    In the google-maps based close call database, I found another close call at the same location that sounds similar to what happened to me. That close call happened at 6/24/10 at 7:58AM. I asked the close call tool for a spreadsheet for everything from 1/1/2000 and that incident was referenced with Id 623. Searching that database for “bus”, “Tri-Met”, or similar strings might yield more left-side-of-bus incidents. If I get a chance I might do that search myself.

    Jonathan, whoever does that search, are the Id numbers unique? That is, for example, if I ask for a spreadsheet for just the last 3 months, and someone asks for a spreadsheet for the last 3 years, will an incident show up in both spreadsheets with the same Id?

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  • Dan Christensen September 3, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Great reporting.

    As a bus operator I would say most cyclist have gotten the word on the bus mall and stay well clear of the bus lane and the train tracks.

    The type of turn that was used by the bus operator does send mixed messages to the followers. That is why it is important to watch signals and lights.

    The operator may have selected that turn because if you turn the way they want you to turn you come very close to the pedestrians on your left standing on the corner. Many drivers just want more space between them and the pedestrians.

    I wish the injured cyclist a speed recovery. That has got to be painful.

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  • malka September 3, 2010 at 7:09 am

    #25: “Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists ultimately are responsible for their own safety and must exercise extra vigilance when riding in hazardous areas.”

    What a world it would be if vigilance and caution guaranteed safety. Having said that, how many of us can state unequivocally that our actions while riding are beyond reproach? That if, God forbid, we were involved in a collision, we could say, “I did everything humanly possible to avoid this”? A little food for thought.

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  • Brad September 3, 2010 at 7:24 am


    Yes – Tri-Met busses have mirrors to help the driver see the area surrounding his bus and prevent accidents.

    No – cyclists are not trained at all. They know how to stay upright and may have some knowledge of roadway law from the driver’s ed and auto licensing training but there is no formal training or certification for bike riders.

    I’ve stated time and again that this is going to lead to trouble. The more we encourage people to give up cars and switch to bikes then the more unskilled and uneducated roadway users we put into contact with auto traffic. This goes beyond the scofflaw rider who willfully flaunts the law. Too often, I see riders trying to make left turns across multiple lanes from a bike lane, riding against the flow of traffic, or passing on the left because they assume that is proper, legal, and that drivers will yield to them.

    It is time that we require cyclists to roll down to the DMV, take a written test, and earn a “V” (for velo) class endorsement on their license. I know that will arouse some ire here but with more conventional bikes and a wave of e-bikes coming, it seems a practical thing to do in the name of safety.

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  • Sigma September 3, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I’m with cyclist #11: I love riding on the transit mall…it’s the widest bike lane in the City.

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  • John September 3, 2010 at 7:36 am

    This is a well written piece. Not putting blame on either party but stating what happened. Well done!

    IMO…bus should always check their blind spot (hence why 2 mirrors). This is just another case of Tri-Met being the bigger guy with more money. They should do the right thing and own up to the fact that they made an error.

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  • al m September 3, 2010 at 7:47 am

    “i have to say though, the rest of your comment is a bit strange.”

    Jonathan, The “blame game” is most likely a draw, as was stated at the very start of this incident. They were both guilty, equally inattentive.

    And I have my own theories about Bus operators working hours and hours of overtime and how that reduces attentiveness.

    However, a closer abstract look into this sort of incident should in all reality find the CITY OF PORTLAND guilty in promoting and building a extremely flawed design which mixes far too many types of vehicle traffic in a far too dense an area.

    Trains, buses, pedestrians,and auto’s, all packed into this “multi-modal” design is a design for disaster.

    We are talking about human beings, and when you have human beings operating vehicles in a densely packed area such as the transit mall you know for sure there will be human error.

    This design, and I have heard you say this yourself Jonathan, is a recipe for disaster.

    (The blogger known as β€œAl M” does not now, nor has he ever, represented Trimet, Trimet bus drivers, or ATU 757.
    The thoughts, opinions, ideas, and body odor are of myself; they do not reflect the thoughts, opinions, ideas, and/or body odor of my company, my friends, my neighbors, my fish, my roses, my dog, or my trash. All rights reserved, all lefts reserved.)

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  • NecroPsyChroNauTron September 3, 2010 at 7:52 am

    All I can say is this is exactly why I do not try to pass buses, nor do I ride alongside them in any way.
    They’re simply too long, making escape should a dangerous circumstance arise entirely too difficult to evade. What if something/someone falls/runs in front of the bus and it HAS to maneuver to avoid it?
    I’ve never had any trouble keeping myself from riding next to buses personally. Hard to understand why people do it.

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  • slowneasy September 3, 2010 at 8:00 am

    The kind of reporting and follow up is what I like about this blog. It is likely very difficult for Jonathan to answer all opinions, but when other facts or questions are presented it seems he is more than capable of following up. Just like Trail Abuser in #4 said I add, Great Reporting. it is this detail that keeps me coming back because finding the truth of a situation can help to keep us all from repeating the mistakes made by both operators involved in this crash. Thank you Jonathan for brining your excellent fact gathering to us the public!

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  • Jon September 3, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Brake or brakes? The story says:

    “What about your brakes?

    “I can’t believe I said those things about the brakes. The brake on my bike works fine.”

    Did the bike have a single brake like a fixie or two caliper brakes?
    It is good to hear both sides of this story. -Jon

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  • Anthony September 3, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I dont know who was right or wrong in this situation, the video would answer all questions, but when a bus clobbered my mom on my wedding day 25 years ago, even back then, tri-met was evasive and tried to wiggle out of it. Tri-met needs to be held accountable.

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  • S September 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

    While it sounds to me like both were at fault, the biker can’t have things both ways; he can’t claim to have been drugged up AND remember, now, every detail in complete clarity. Even when not medicated, crash victims (and witnesses) are notoriously bad at remembering details, as sure as they may think they are.

    The video will be a help but may not answer all questions.

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  • Joe B. September 3, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Seth (#34),

    Yep, the id’s in the close calls database are unique. Neat use of the reporting tool! You might want to check the “limit search to map view box” before downloading the Excel file to ignore reports outside the region. Let me know if you have other questions. -Joe

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  • spare_wheel September 3, 2010 at 8:40 am

    “was traveling “at a high rate of speed” which she estimated at about 10-15 mph.”

    10 mph is not a high rate of speed.


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  • JK12 September 3, 2010 at 9:03 am

    @cyclist (#17)

    “for him to have gotten that close to a vehicle that large is either idiotic or suicidal.”

    Then I guess you consider the design of the entire city of Portland to be idiotic. Have you noticed we have bike lanes to the left of the bus stops, so that buses must drive through them to get to their stops? I am regularly this close to buses, since they often don’t seem to worried about pulling in front of me or driving with the tires on the line dividing our lanes. I hate it and I try to avoid it, but it happens.

    @spare_wheel (#47)

    In the course of a lawsuit over a traffic accident, I was told NEVER to estimate speed or distance because people are notoriously bad at that, and as soon as you guess something, it becomes “fact”.

    I’m glad Mr. Krebs is going to be OK. It sounded pretty bad at first.

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  • 9watts September 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I’d like to add my appreciation for your careful and impressive reporting. Thanks!

    Brad @ 37
    “It is time that we require cyclists to roll down to the DMV, take a written test, and earn a “V” (for velo) class endorsement on their license.”
    While I am all for better training for all road users, I don’t think piggybacking onto the DMV-license is promising. Fewer folks are getting licenses from the DMV anymore, and from discussions here my sense is that the DMV isn’t the right address for *drivers* to learn about how to operate in the presence of bikes. Until the details/procedures/dangers of car/bike interactions are understood and spelled out better for drivers I don’t think sending cyclists to that address is going to be very fruitful. But someday we may have a better system that instructs all traffic participants more comprehensively.

    peejay @ 32
    “In some countries (Netherlands, Denmark, maybe more), the larger vehicle is legally at fault in any collision unless there is overwhelming evidence otherwise.”
    can you give an example? Provide some details?

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  • 151 September 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I’ll believe Trimet’s version of what happened when they release the video. Until then, I think their story smells.

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  • adam September 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Great Story, JM. It’s as if you actually care about getting information out there – I appreciate it. I can imagine that you will be even more thorough in the future before reporting half truths – whether or not they come from official spokespeople.

    a couple of questions:
    1. Can you ask the TriMet folks about the ReRouting decision process? I can’t emphasize enough the consequence of irregularities in these sorts of incidents. If no one expects something to happen or if they are unpracticed(your TriMet bus driver readers might be able to describe how difficult this turn would have been to the driver) then you hike the rates of incidents immensely. While this is conjecture, seems to me that the bus driver was put in a position to fail with this reroute design.

    2. Was the Bus Driver interviewed at the scene? Is it standard procedure for the police to interview people while their leg is mangled and they are in intense pain?

    3. How do we allow our District Attorneys to sit on this tape(Copic says it’s DA policy to not release any videos “until all potential court appearances are resolved.”) without so much as watching it? what, its a 5 minute video? Is there no public ownership of this video? I want my nickel back.

    4. Lastly, if 10-15mph is a “high rate of speed”, then how fast are we supposed to ride? If the witness meant to say – “at a rate of speed consistent with the rest of the traffic” then fine. Its a tough speed window to fit into between(a citable offense) blocking the flow of traffic and a high rate of speed. Yet, this idea quickly became part of the Trimet narrative – his brakes did not work, he was going too fast, he ran a yellow light, etc. Its unfortunate that Trimet works so hard to avoid facts coming out.

    Best wishes for a full recovery to Krebs and I hope the bus driver is not made a scapegoat in this situation.

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  • jeff September 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

    unless you’re in the courtroom folks, none of you will ever see that video.
    it doesn’t matter. it happened. learn from it.
    time to move on.

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  • Joe September 3, 2010 at 9:50 am

    high rate of speed 10-15 mph.. LOL
    glad BikePortland is staying on this story


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  • John September 3, 2010 at 10:18 am

    rich chodron & anyone else judging the bicyclist for being on the mall: note that the bicyclist was coming from OHSU. The bus mall is, unfortunately, the only route from OHSU’s Marquam campus into downtown. The only way to avoid the mall is to bike several blocks out of one’s way through fast moving intersections. The mall is the lesser of two unsafe options and the most direct route home.
    I don’t know any bicyclist that rides the mall out of personal preference.

    OHSU has a huge body of students & employee bicyclists that spend most of their times tending to, what is usually, other people’s injuries. The mall needs to be a safe place for bike commuters.

    John Landolfe
    Multimodal Outreach
    Oregon Health & Science University

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  • Pete September 3, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Having recently been in the ER with a broken clavicle, I can attest that 1-2 hours after is not the time for the police to be taking the injured party’s word as fact. My crash was not nearly as traumatic, but I did indeed go into shock. I don’t know what they injected into me (morphine maybe?) but I’m told I was pretty entertaining. If I am ever in this situation where an officer is asking me what happened, I hope I remember to tell the officer that I refuse testimony under medication!

    Best wishes for a fast and full recovery Richard.

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  • Pete September 3, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Oh, and yeah, I’ll third the notion that 10-15 is NOT a high rate of speed. It’s a generally expected rate of speed for an average bicyclist. I hate when media sensationalizes ignorance. It’s irresponsible journalism.

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  • Mindful Cyclist September 3, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Great reporting on this, Jonathan.

    I have a question that perhaps one of the trimet people on here could answer: Is the video going to give us any more insight to what happened? I know there is a camera that faces the door and a camera that faces to the rear of the bus. Is there a camera that faces outside the driver’s side windows? Being that Richard got hit on the driver’s side, I am just wondering.

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  • Babygorilla September 3, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Great reporting Jonathan! The few times that I’ve comment on some of your reports over the years, it is usually in a more cynical tone (although I only think I was cynical to your reporting style once – the recent Hanna story – the other times it was the subject matter that brought out my cynicism), but this report and the previous reports on this incident are excellent.

    Although the video will be telling and perhaps conclusive of blame, I’m sure a civil suit by Mr. Krebbs will be forthcoming, although it will likely reach a confidential settlement unless Mr. Krebbs and whatever attorney he chooses are willing to gamble and go forward with a trial with the risk of taking nothing. There is something called comparative fault in these types of cases where a judge / jury assigns a percentage of fault against each party. If Mr. Krebbs were assigned more than 50% at fault, he would take nothing. If assigned less, his recovery would be reduced by his percentage fault. Although its far fetched to believe that it could be this forward thinking or nefarious, it sounds like Tri-Met is almost setting up this defense through their press statements.

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  • wsbob September 3, 2010 at 10:34 am

    “… I asked Krebs to explain the discrepancy between the statements he made to police on August 12th and what he’s saying now. Krebs said that when he gave his statement to the police, just 1-2 hours after the collision, he was still being treated at OHSU and was “completely drugged and in pain”. …” maus/bikeportland

    Seems like a good enough reason for the police officer to have allowed Krebs to defer answering questions to a later date, if Krebs had asked, or if the officer had offered.

    “… Mr. Nations, the bus driver in this case, told the police he was “focused on the people on the corner” and he did not see Mr. Krebs at all. in fact, Mr. Nations had Mr. Krebs under his wheel …” maus/bikeportland

    There were two crosswalks the bus operators bus had to cross in order for him to make the left turn. Makes sense that he would have been focused on the people on the corner that could potentially have stepped out into the street. in front of his bus. Doesn’t seem likely that Krebs leg was under the wheel of the bus the entire time the operator would have been looking out for people poised at those two crosswalks.

    During the time the bus operator was focused on the people on the corner, what was Krebs doing? What was Krebs focused on? Krebs statement to Maus in story above:”… “The crosswalk [countdown timer] was on “2”… I was focused on it …”.

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  • WOBG September 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Congrats to Jonathan; great job.

    Boo/hiss to TriMet, my former employer.

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  • Peter Smith September 3, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Five things:

    1) Krebs Cycle!

    2) It’s possible to focus on something (the crosswalk countdown timers) and use your peripheral vision to see just about everything else within your 180 or so field of vision. if you swivel your eyes and/or turn your head, you get an even more-expanded field of vision. i’m guessing Krebs was aware of the bus, just as cyclists who are right-hooked are aware of the vehicles that right-hook them. the difference is that there is some expectation of drivers breaking the law in the right-hook scenario, which keeps us cyclists extra wary/scared, but this bus driver’s turn was across a lane of traffic, an even more egregious and dangerous violation of the law.

    3) How WIN are crosswalk countdown timers for bikers? For all the FAIL we bikers have to deal with, those countdown clocks are just the best — and they weren’t even intended for our use! Maybe they should be.

    4) Details on the ‘drivers always at fault’ concept? Here’s a video I pointed to in the previous post. Here’s the wiki entry on the legal concept. My previous comment points to NY-based laws that are a step in the right direction. The rest can be found at http://www.google.com. πŸ™‚

    5) No offense intended towards Mr. Krebs but… now i’m going to offend both him and the rest of humanity. smart.

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  • Andrew September 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Is TriMet ever going to be held accountable for anything?

    “It hurts our case” is not sufficient reasoning to shield evidence.

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  • BURR September 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

    TriMet: RELEASE THE VIDEO!!!!!!

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  • BURR September 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

    10 to 15 MPH is not ‘a high rate of speed’, it is within the speed limit / signal timing for downtown streets.

    I witness TriMet busses exceed the speed limit and run lights all the time downtown, and they are never ticketed.

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  • h September 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I remember the cop came and interview 1-2 hours after the accident. I got hit by a car while I was walking across the intersection with walking signal being on. I refused any shots for pain on the way to hospital in ambulance. So I was not high on drugs but I was kinda spaced out due to shock. By the way the driver got ticket for failure to yield a pedestrian. I suspect cops just want to finish paperwork asap.

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  • BURR September 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

    for those of you unfamiliar with the crosswalk countdown timers, the light doesn’t turn yellow until the timer reaches ‘0’.

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  • wsbob September 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    “…”…And I didn’t see any signals.” …” Krebs statement to Maus in his above story

    Why didn’t Krebs see any signals? At least a couple different reasons could account for that, the most obvious possibility…that they weren’t on. If the turn signals were on (One way or another, can Trimet prove this?),other possibilities for not having seen them, might include that Krebs didn’t see any signals, because he wasn’t being aware of them, being focused instead on the crosswalk countdown signal he remembers being on ‘2’.

    What speed was the bike traveling relative to that of the bus? 10mph isn’t very fast. 15mph is starting to get up there, especially if the bus was traveling at a much slower speed. According to maus’s story: “…A TriMet bus operator who witnessed the crash told police Krebs was traveling “at a high rate of speed” which she estimated at about 10-15 mph. …”

    Does this bus driver witness, or other witnesses have an estimate of the speed the bus was traveling?

    “… It’s possible to focus on something (the crosswalk countdown timers) and use your peripheral vision to see just about everything else within your 180 or so field of vision. …” Peter Smith #61

    Of course it is. Road users and vehicle operators scan the area around them using peripheral vision, turning their heads, and a mirror or mirrors when equipped with them. They scan, but focus particularly on areas that to them for various reasons, rate priority status. Just based on content in maus’s story and in his comments, we have statements alluding to where the bus driver’s attention was focused, and where the guy on the bike Krebs attention was focused.

    According to that info, the bus driver was focused on the people on the corner. Krebs was focused on the 2 seconds remaining on the crosswalk countdown signal.

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  • Kt September 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    10-15 mph looks faster when a bike’s doing it than when a car’s doing it. But it isn’t any faster– It’s a perception thing.

    And 10-15mph? That’s not very fast, and not very hard to get up to and maintain on a bike.

    How fast would the Tri-Met bus driver/witness have estimated the bus was traveling at? Dollars to donuts she says “fairly slow– 10 to 15mph, max”.

    Peter #61: Ha! I love it– Krebs cycle. And I liked the rest of your post, very informative with the links.

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  • freeman September 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Great reporting!
    (mike – “Could you imagine how difficult it is driving a “large vehicle”? I wish you would stop laying so much blame on the people who’s job it is to navigate these multi ton vehicles around town.”)

    I concur this can be a difficult task, but didn’t these people WANT this job? Granted there’s not much work out there right now…but do you or don’t you want to “drive” for a living….?

    I bike to earn my living within a group of 60 or so drivers who do the same exact job with their motorized vehicles. I could “join ’em” if i so chose…but taking a stand for the cause and leading by example is the only way so far that seems to make any differance – (ie, little or none, regardless).

    We’ve all been trained by every outlet of mass media from a very early age to relinqush those “childish ways” and join the mass of American citizenry who opt into the car owner-‘ship’. Mutiny of any kind is seen as anti-‘get alongism’…as if by choosing cycling we’re against all things American.

    I mean really – when’s the last time you saw a “ZOOM – ZOOM” ad for any type of cycling? (road, mountain, commuting?)

    What are the lessons we’re passing on to the next generations? Don’t worry? Resources will always abound for any novel want or need in your self-absorbed nehilistic lives? Drive, Drive, Drive…life is short…time is of the essence….

    “the need for speed is just another form of greed.” – 311 (the band)

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  • Velophile in Exile September 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    This sort of story, where TriMet personnel are incompetent and TriMet leadership is malovalent, local corporate media does a crappy job, and Jonathan finds out the actual facts is all-too-common here in Portland. Makes you appreciate all Jonathan does, huh?

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  • matt picio September 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Peter Smith (#9) – We still don’t know. Right now we have two different stories, no released video, and no citation from police. Everything is STILL speculative. It’s likely the insurance company will force the release of the video, at which time we may or may not know which story most closely resembles the truth.

    Good point, though on “confessions” – the injured party frequently is emotional and has endorphins, adrenaline and possibly painkillers running through them at the time of an initial statement. If you are the injured party, your best course of action is not to speculate on the causes, stick to simple facts as you remember them, and do not admit guilt.

    rich chodron (#11) – Unfortunately the “Bus Mall” is now legal for bikes and cars, so as easy as it may be to say individuals must take responsibility, Trimet operators are going to have to continue to be more aware and more careful on the “new & improved” Transit Mall than they have been in the past.

    I’ve said previously that integrating the other modes into Transit Mall streets was a bad idea – while it doesn’t appear to be as dangerous as I originally thought, I think this incident would seem to indicate it’s more hazardous than it was before the remodel.

    AL M (#25) – I agree in general with your comments, but to be fair, there was no reason whatsoever for Mr. Krebs to expect the bus to turn left. If the bus was indeed in the transit lane as 3 of 4 eyewitnesses claim, then it was not only an unexpected turn but an improper one. Like most incidents, this one could have been prevented if one of a large number of factors had not been present at the time of the crash.

    Jerrylikesbikes (#31) – Actually, the question is why don’t these things happen more often? And the answers are awareness, skill, and dumb luck. There were a lot of factors contributing to this – expectations of the rider, the driver’s maneuver, the width of Morrison, the presence of the MAX train, the driver distractions inside and outside the bus, the inherent poor visibility and awareness issues around large vehicles, the fact that it was an unscheduled route and rush hour traffic in one of the most traffic-dense areas of town. Also, the “mood” on the bus may have been a factor – people pick up on the emotional states of others, and it’s far more difficult to operate a bus when the bus is filled with pissed-off people who’ve just left MAX.

    Oh, and cyclists aren’t educated on riding techniques for the most part, despite excellent books on the subject (both VC and anti-VC) and a number of local nonprofits who provide free or low-cost education. That’s a major argument for cyclist licensing.

    wsbob – In a previous thread, you asked if the driver could have waited for MAX to move before turning. No, and now I can say why – MAX was frozen waiting for a “go” signal that wouldn’t come for another hour because of the closure at the Vista bridge death.

    Trimet folk – BTW, I played leapfrog for about 6 stops with either the #4 or #44 on Williams the other day, and the operator in question was courteous, professional, and very skilled. Whoever you are, thanks for driving well and keep up the awesome work!

    Richard Krebs – I hope you heal quickly and have full use of your arm, and if Trimet was at fault, then I wish you the best of luck in any future litigation.

    al m (#40) – Two words, and I suspect you’ll agree with me: cognitive overload. Regardless of the individual blame for this specific instance, the combination of bus length, road width, traffic volume, and the downtown rush hour environment is creating circumstances where a reasonable human cannot process all of the sensory inputs as fast as they come in.

    spare_wheel (#47) – 15mph is a high rate of speed according to Ivan Illich, and in the downtown environment it could be fast enough in some circumstances to cause loss of situational awareness.

    This is easily proven, BTW. Go downtown and ride one block. Go back and walk the same block and see how much more you are aware of.

    I agree in general, though – 15mph is a typical speed for a bike in downtown traffic. It’s interesting how 15mph on a bike is viewed by observers as “too fast” whereas 20mph by a car is not. I suspect it has to do with motion vs. vehicle size. A freighter on the Columbia at 20mph looks like it’s barely moving to most people.

    John (#54) – I agree that we shouldn’t judge anyone for riding a particular road that they have a legal right to be on, but there are a number of routes from OHSU to or through downtown that completely avoid the transit mall without having to go out of one’s way.

    Pete (#56) – It can be, it all depends on the circumstances and surroundings. Obviously it’s not a high speed in this instance, but on very narrow streets 15mph could be quite hazardous (e.g. SE 37th north of Hawthorne)

    Peter Smith (#61) – regarding point 2 – false. You can use your peripheral vision to see less than half of what’s going on around you. Check out some info on vision, its limitations, and how the brain processes visual information – you actually notice a lot less than one would think. Love the pun on point 1, agree 100% on #3 – we should have those everywhere.

    BURR (#66) – Normally, yes, but those lights can be overriden by MAX, can’t they? Someone (Jonathan?) should check with the city to find out how those systems interact and possible failure modes.

    Great story, Jonathan! Thanks for the continued updates.

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  • jim September 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    this is a whole different story than the last one. maybe we should wait for the next story before we can start making conclusions. The cyclist changed his whole story, the bus was completely out of the lane…. If part of the bus was still in the lane then the bus still owns the lane. Hopefully the video can provide enough info to make this all clear.

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  • Tacoma September 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    @Matt #72, don’t mean to gush but it is indeed a pleasure to read your replies. Good spacing, individualized replies, and even labels. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

    Regarding your comment about educating riders on cycling techniques, the essay by Bruce Mol discusses this very topic.

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  • Tacoma September 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Sorry, meant Matt#71. In regards to the comment about “confessions”, I remember feeling “regret” when I was left-hooked that I wasn’t able to avoid the collision. I was thinking that I should have been able to do “something” to not be hit, yet I had obeyed the law in all respects.

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  • Tim September 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Better drivers, law enforcement, laws, and roads are needed to improve road safety. But, influencing the behavior of others is slow and difficult. What can we learn from this situation to be safer cyclists?
    1) Never pass in an intersection. We do not know if this was the situation, but it is still a good reminder of a basic drivers ed principle.
    2) Maintain speed and space so that you can stop for the unexpected. Again we do not know if this applies in this situation, but maintaining space and speed so you can avoid other vehicles is always a good idea

    Cycling is still safer than driving and that is before you consider the risk of automobile associated conditions like obesity, stress, and pollution.

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  • Joe R. September 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I’ll reserve judgement til I see the video.

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  • matt picio September 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Tacoma (#73) – There are some people who don’t appreciate my comments, I try to make it easier for them to skip what I have to say. The downside is on some of them, you have to scroll a ways to get by it. Thanks for the compliment.

    and (#74) – I read a number of books, and learned a few things from them. I learned a bit more from people on the road enlightening me – but most people I think are going to learn from being out on the road riding. What makes me nervous, is that with so many new cyclists on the road, we have a lot of people who are at the start of the learning curve, unintentionally making it more hazardous for everyone.

    Tim (#75) – I think we could also add 3) Keep your head out of your a$$ (i.e. pay attention) Not saying Richard Krebs or John Nations were failing to do so – but in a lot of cases, paying attention so one can quickly react is what saves one’s life.

    Have a good weekend everyone – be aware, be safe – this is one of the most dangerous weekends on the road in terms of collisions.

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  • wsbob September 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    “…there was no reason whatsoever for Mr. Krebs to expect the bus to turn left. …” matt picio #71

    Mr. Krebs is quoted in Maus’s interview as saying: “…And I didn’t see any signals.” Krebs saying he didn’t see any signals doesn’t mean the signals weren’t on the required distance from the intersection, and through the entire turning sequence up to the point it was interrupted. There could be a number of reasons Krebs didn’t see the signal.

    As important as the speed of the bike, is the speed the bus was traveling during the seconds and, say…100′ of distance both proceeded to the collision point. Were they both traveling the same speed? Was one traveling faster than the other? How much faster?

    It would seem the bike was likely traveling faster than the bus, though, since the bus turned left and the bike didn’t, that might not have had to be the case for the two vehicles to collide.

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  • common sense September 4, 2010 at 7:26 am

    When a Tri Met bus plowed into five people killing two Tri Met didn’t describe the buses progress as a “High rate of speed”. Their repeated use of this terminology reveals that they are not after the truth. Tri Met cannot and should not be trusted. How does five to ten miles under the posted speed limit become a high rate of speed? I hope the Sales attorneys are paying attention to Tri Mets language, if 10 to 15 is a high rate of speed for a bicycle going straight then it must be absolutely screaming for a Bus making an illegal turn across several lanes of traffic.

    “The bus was traveling 12 to 14 mph when it hit the five people walking across Broadway. They had the walk signal and were in the crosswalk. The bus had a green light, but was required to yield.”

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  • driveabus September 4, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Lets all hang the bus driver. It just had to be his fault. Never any fault or responsibility on the part of the cyclist. More of the same from this blog…”Everyone is responsible for my safety but me.”

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  • spare_wheel September 4, 2010 at 9:11 am


    its simply incorrect to state that there are easy ways to avoid the transit mall. the many hundreds of bikes commuting from ohsu (and psu) are funneled into 6th with no easy egress to cross river bridges. in fact, after crossing 405 there is only 1 legal right turn off 6th prior to the transit mall. this right also requires a long signal wait and a sharp turn across max tracks. its also extremely dangerous because many unfamiliear drivers will attempt right hooks by using the max track lane. after almost being hit twice at this intersection i no longer use it and simply illegally use a crosswalk signal to turn right (and continue to 4th).

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  • wsbob September 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

    common sense #79…from maus’s story:

    “… A TriMet bus operator who witnessed the crash told police Krebs was traveling “at a high rate of speed” which she estimated at about 10-15 mph. …”

    Characterization of the speed Krebs wasn’t an official Trimet, but instead, that of a a witness to collision that happened to be a A TriMet bus operator.

    There are other peculiar aspects to the story though, such as the apparent uncertainty on the part of the police and Trimet over whether Krebs was being issued a citation for disregarding a yellow traffic signal…or not…and whether the traffic signal was even yellow when he entered the intersection.

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  • common sense September 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

    From an earlier version of this story:

    According to an update I just received from TriMet, I can now offer a better answer to those questions.

    * Both vehicles were in the left-most lane of SW 6th headed north.
    * Krebs was behind the bus “traveling at a high rate of speed” (according to TriMet). (Krebs has also allegedly stated that his brakes malfunctioned).” …

    The driver said it and Tri Met adopted the language and now it will be used against them.

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  • common sense September 4, 2010 at 9:54 am

    driveabus: No body here is saying “Portland KILL this Bus Driver”. That is reserved for TriMet drivers who have been spooked by someone passing them not for people killed or put in the hospital by TriMet drivers.

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  • Roland September 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    You just know the local TV news is going to air a lavish and detailed update/correction to this story once all the facts are out.

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  • Roland September 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm


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  • Joe Rowe September 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    My question to fellow readers, what should we do with this freaking awesome new standard:
    12.5 MPH is a high rate of speed

    I’ll start off the responses:

    20MPH is plenty, far above a high rate of speed, thus we can reduce the speed of most streets in Portland to 15MPH. Thank you Trimess!

    I’m selling t-shirts with “High rate of speed”

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  • wsbob September 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Dyslexia and lack of concentration seem to be happily cruising along with me today. Despite that, what I was trying to say in comment #82 seemed to have gotten across. At any rate, Correction:

    “… Characterization of Krebs’ rate of speed wasn’t an official Trimet estimation, but instead, that of a witness to the collision that happened to be a TriMet bus operator. …”

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  • New Biker Grrl September 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    As an avid walker before switching to biking, I know for a fact that the traffic light does not turn yellow until AFTER the crosswalk countdown is finished. If it can be proven that the countdown was at 2 at the time Krebs made his move, I hope that this will help his case.

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  • adam September 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Joe Rowe – if make it a yellow shirt with “CAUTION – High rate of speed” in a Large, I will take one.

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  • Anonymous September 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Should we tell runners to slow down?

    Intermediate level runner 10mph = 6 minute miles

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  • esther September 5, 2010 at 8:55 am

    The guy said his brakes didn’t work. Seems to me what he meant was he applied his brakes but it was too late after the bus turned in front of him. One of those oh shit moments, apply brakes, not enough time.

    The brakes did not miraculously save him.

    Doesn’t mean he didn’t have the right of way, just that when the bus turned in front of him he had a split second to try to brake but it wasn’t long enough.

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  • esther September 5, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Please everyone protect yourself. Yesterday on a short 1 mile round trip to the grocery store I had to yield my legal right of way three times or I would have gotten creamed.

    Once to a trimet bus that was stopped on the corner as I was making a left onto the same street, unaware of me so I pulled up behind him since he was blocking the bike lane and he immediately pulled away from the curb. I realized that the driver couldn’t see me. Then again as I returned home, once to a car at a light making a right turn. I was pulling up beside it at a light and I sense they would right hook me so I braked. 100ft ahead a car pulled out of the Fred Meyers parking lot in front of me as if I didn’t have the right of way because I’m a mere bike.

    Things you learn, people pulling out of Freddy’s often will not yield to bikes, people coming out of New Seasons will.

    Trimet buses don’t see you and are very unpredictable. Approach with caution, be ready to yield at anytime. Assume that it is up to you to avoid a collision because the driver may not be able to or may not be willing to take on the responsibility. The only thing worse is school buses.

    No, we shouldn’t have to ride like grannies but having the right of way doesn’t do you much good if you’re squished. Man, some days it just seems like they’re out to get you.

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  • jim September 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    his airbags didnt go off either

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  • wsbob September 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    “…If it can be proven that the countdown was at 2 at the time Krebs made his move…” New Biker Grrl #89

    When the crosswalk light was on 2, where exactly was the bus, and if it was already in the intersection, at what point of the actual turning sequence was it in? Where exactly was Krebs when the signal was on 2?

    It logically figures that the bus driver wouldn’t have wanted to be entering the intersection on a caution light either, but if there were people using the crosswalk, and he’d already entered the intersection on the green…the bus at a either a standstill, or very slowly moving forward as he waited for the countdown to reach 0 and the pedestrians to clear the crosswalk, the overhead could have turned yellow as he started forward to clear the bus from the intersection.

    By the way, I’m wondering if anyone happens to know exactly how that particular crosswalk signal (the signal that aids crossing Morrison on the west side of 6th) functions in co-ordination with the overhead traffic lights. Assuming, as several people have commented, that the overhead lights stay green until the countdown crosswalk hits 0, how many seconds do the overhead lights stay yellow?

    Also, what of the car Krebs said was in the lane ahead of him? What kind of car was it? How far ahead of him does Krebs remember it being? Does the bus driver remember a car passing in front of his bus shortly before the collision?

    esther…good words.

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  • Steve September 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I find it interesting that Tri-Met will immediately release the video if it proves their case. When has Tri-Met ever claimed responsibility? I hear you haters out there complaining about unsafe riding etc.. I have witnessed more blatant traffic violation from these behemoth vehicles than I have ever seen from cyclist. Wake up people. Tri-Met is not interested in bike safety. If they could turn back the clock to when there was only a handful of bikes on the road and it operated with impunity they would…

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  • Mike Fish September 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I hope Krebs recovers soon.

    I’m always very nervous riding around buses. More so now that it seems many have unreasonable anger at the cycling community. I wish TriMet could solve their safety issues and could accept responsibility without blaming victims.

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  • Opus the Poet September 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    wsbob #94

    Countdown timers for ped crossings reach 0 at or before the main traffic control goes to yellow, that’s a federal reg, and the usual timing on the yellow is 4-5 seconds, or what time it would take for someone to be able to see the light change to yellow and pass entirely through the intersection at the speed limit. whichever is longer. Intersections with wide streets at low speed limits have longer yellows.

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  • Marid September 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    It sounds like both sides are now lawyered up. We probably won’t get much until after the lawsuits are finished.

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  • Anonymous September 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Could someone clear up the meaning of the double white line in the transit mall. Cars / Bicycles not supposed to cross, what about buses?

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  • wsbob September 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Opus…thanks. I was downtown today, walked over to 6th and Morrison and checked the signals out. As people have said in earlier comments, the overhead main traffic signals turn yellow only after the crosswalk countdown signals hit 0 (I checked out one of the crosswalk signals at Yamhill and Broadway as well at the one the west side of 6th at Morrison).

    At the 6th and Morrison crosswalk countdown signal, once it hits 0, the overhead signal stays yellow for 3 seconds before turning red. Didn’t use a stopwatch…just did the ol’ ‘one-thousand one’ thing. Seemed like 3 seconds.

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  • KWW September 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Solid reporting Jonathan!

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  • Bob September 9, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Thanks for the story – I hope we get more clarity when the video comes out.

    Also, Rick is a medical student, not a resident. I think he’s in his 3rd year.

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  • spare_wheel September 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

    “I have witnessed more blatant traffic violation from these behemoth vehicles than I have ever seen from cyclist.”

    There is an economic incentive for bus operators and trimet planners to be anti-bike (e.g. more cycling means less revenue for trimet).

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  • Cwherewetku September 10, 2010 at 2:14 am

    I wasn’t going to comment on this story primarily because of the way the majority of readers to this blog hammered me in my last session just because “I’m (work for)TriMet” (in the LED lights thread).

    But then I changed my mind-for two reasons.

    First, because there were also MANY who spoke of waiting for the facts of the case, & were NOT the stereo-typical “hater” I seem to see more of every day; the one(s) who thrives on beating all of us (at TriMet) up without knowing (or caring about) all of the facts, but ENJOYS jumping on the bandwagon nonetheless.

    Second-because I grow increasingly frustrated (don’t worry..it’s just frustration..no hidden motives) at the insistance of the general public to think that we are ALL bad, incompentnent, unpleasant & untrained drivers. All 1200 or so of us.

    The incidents that have taken place in the last 6 years with TriMet in the news involve a relatively SMALL number of us. While I don’t condone poor behavior, statisically we are “below the curve” for other transit agencies of comparable size. We’re not perfect by any sense of the word..but there’s gotta be doing something we’re doin right?

    And be honest-we seem to make the news whenever one of us belches nowadays. (NO disrespect intended to those in recent events)

    As an example from a few months ago-While I agree that the operator who “lifted” the backpack from a seat of a recently departed passenger & then lied about it should have received discipline up to and inculding termination, does that mean it has to make the lead story in the paper & the TV news? Over a $10.00 backpack? If one of your co-workers did the same at Freddy’s or Target, would it be on the front page of the newspaper or the lead story on Channel 2?

    There ARE always some events that would, and likely should, make headlines. The two operators in recent news had records of being safe, accident free operators, loved by their passengers and commended as such all the way up to their individual incidents.

    And yet..once more, judgement has been made..something has to be done about those crazed bus operators. Yup, no stress there. Accidents are tragic, no doubt. So is guilty until proven innocent.

    I am relatively new to Portland; having moved here about 6 years ago. One of the main reasons I moved here was because of Portland’s “bike-friendly” rating in several bike mags & news reports. This included the attitude of the cyling community in general. I couldn’t wait to move up here and take part in that.

    This forum could be considered a fairly-representative cross-section of the cyclists in our area.

    If so, I’m not comfortable becoming a member of an “organized” bike group or club..if word gets out of who my employer is during a ride–before you can say “doors to my right”, I would be tried, convicted & sentenced. (I’ve seen the looks I get sometimes when running an errand off-duty in uniform..)

    As for the bus mall accident: Let me say up front: I DO NOT know all of the facts of the case. That being said-

    -I do know of Operator Nations. He has well over 10 years+ of accident free driving; and from MY prospective is a very competent, courteous operator.

    Was I a witness to this event? NO, I was NOT-so I am only basing my thoughts on previous actions. I am not declaring him guilty or innocent.

    -With a MAX train at the platform, you would have to “swing” out to the right to some degree to make that left turn.

    IF the bus was in the process of swinging right, or turning left..it was doing something that, while legitimate (preparing to turn or already staring the process of a turn), was something that the cyclist may not have been used to seeing happen at this intersection.

    If the bus was initiating an action outside of going straight down the bus malllane..wouldn’t that tell you to prepare for something unusual?

    Could that be a factor as to why the cyclist was where he ended up?

    As I have said before..I am a cyclist who also happens to work for TriMet. I love my job; I enjoy my passengers (for the most part..lol) and love the Portland area. I am not perfect. Never said I was. I am one of those “people” who is accident free and, for the most part, complaint free. I shudder at the thought that tomarrow, unforeseen circumstances could change that in an instant. It makes me a better operator..not getting complacent; but I have to say that being condemed before I walk out of the starting gate doesn’t make it any easier or stress free.

    Yes, I asked for & chose this job. I still want it. I DIDN’T ask for the pre-concieved opinions about how I do it, but I still try to do it 100% each day. I strive to treat everyone fairly, and do my level best to watch for everyone, including cyclists, while on the road.

    Okay..the legal stuff: The preceeding is & was my OPINION ONLY, and not necessarily that of the management of Trimet, it’s officers or anyone else they deem to be in charge. I am in no way endorsing or representing Trimet in any official way or capacity.

    Happy riding!

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  • Kate October 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    @ J Maus “Krebs is a 36 year old medical student,” Bob #103 “Rick is a medical student,” and pat h #15 “A medical resident or fellow is a physician, not a medical student” –
    You’re all correct. Rick is a third-year medical student. He is also a physician. He earned his ND a few years back. References to him should technically be Dr. Krebs, medical student. πŸ™‚

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