Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Updates on two serious injury crashes from Friday

Posted by on February 8th, 2011 at 6:55 am

Screen grab from KATU.com

In case you missed it, there were two very serious crashes involving someone on a bicycle that happened over the weekend. As our minds turn to tonight’s Transportation Safety Summit, I thought some follow-ups were in order.

The first crash happened on Friday afternoon on the 6000 block of SW Multnomah Blvd. The motor vehicle operator, 63 year old Candace Palmer, was driving westbound on SW Multnomah when she struck 20-year old Reese Wilson, who was riding his bicycle in the bike lane in the same direction.

According to Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division Captain Todd Wyatt, Palmer told investigators that she looked to the rear seat of her car to “attend to her dog” prior to the collision. That distraction caused her to drive into the bike lane and off the right shoulder. She struck Wilson, then a parked car, and then careened through a fence before coming to a stop on the side of a house.

Wilson sustained life threatening injuries including head trauma and was brought to OHSU in critical but stable condition (Wyatt noted that no helmet was found at the scene). Palmer showed no signs of intoxication or impairment and she is cooperating with authorities.

Wilson’s lawyer, Elizabeth Welch, says Wilson lives near the scene of the collision and that he was returning from his job at the gas station at SW Multnomah and 45th when he was hit. Welch reports that he has undergone surgeries and his injuries remain “very serious.” According to doctors, Wilson is doing “as well as could be hoped, but he is not out of danger.”

Wilson’s older sister also left a comment to report that Wilson was in a drug-induced coma, which he was being slowly being weened off. “I am keeping a notebook of people keeping him in there thoughts and prayers,” she wrote, “any comments you can email my way I would love to include for him when he has fully recovered. Thank you so much.”

Also on Friday, a man was hit while bicycling in the shoulder of Highway 30 north of the Sauvie Island Bridge and just south of NW Quarry Road. 24-year old Joseph Anderson was riding northbound and was struck by a motor vehicle. The driver of the motor vehicle did not stop and Anderson was left for dead on the highway until another person found him at around 5:30 am. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is still searching for the suspect vehicle.

Anderson, who a friend referred to as an “avid cyclist,” sustained very serious injuries, but subsequent reporting by KATU reveals that he has improved considerably and is now in fair condition. If you have any information about this incident, please call the MCSO at (503) 261-2810.

I will share more information about these crashes as I learn more (I am still away from my desk in Portland and won’t return until this afternoon).

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61 Comments
  • John Lascurettes February 8, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Parker told investigators that she looked to the rear seat of her car to “attend to her dog” prior to the collision. That distraction caused her to drive into the bike lane and off the right shoulder. Parker showed no signs of intoxication or impairment and she is cooperating with authorities.

    She might as well have been drunk. Same difference. Same recklessness.

    Wyatt noted that no helmet was found at the scene

    Irrelevant. When hearing about victims in a car struck by a drunk driver, I’ve never heard it reported whether the victims were wearing their seatbelts.

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    • Joe Rowe February 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      It’s easy to be angry here. The driver could have made up a story that blamed the cyclist. It is reckless driving when attention is moved from the road to a cell phone or dog. Driving drunk is far more reckless. To each his own opinion.

      Cyclists need to call reporters when they change the topic to blame the cyclist for not wearing a helmet in these “run down” style of “accidents”. More buildings get run down by errant cars than bikes, yet we don’t report that “the house was not wearing a helmet”. Bikes get out of the way most of the time.

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    • pdxpaul February 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      Untrue – it is typically noted when a passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. It is also very relevant yto the level of injury received. Helmets are for brains.

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      • Joe Rowe February 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

        passenger belts are required by law. And they are often not mentioned even when the info is available to the reporter. Helmets are a good, but notation of them here results in backlash for cyclists.

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  • John Lascurettes February 8, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Oops that should have been:

    Wyatt noted that no helmet was found at the scene

    Irrelevant. When hearing about victims in a car struck by a drunk driver, I’ve never heard it reported whether the victims were wearing their seatbelts.

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    • Spiffy February 8, 2011 at 8:03 am

      a recent article about a skiing death noted that the skier wasn’t wearing a helmet, which I thought was an odd note…

      I think they’re just trying to fill space with any possibly relevant info people might care about…

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      • wsbob February 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

        Skiers and snowboarders occasionally run into stationary objects, such as trees. So it is that members of the public are increasingly encouraged to wear helmets when engaged in particularly aggressive skiing.

        The knowledge of what safety equipment victims of collisions were using is relevant to solving problems associated with making given types of activities safer. Reporting about this helps toward achieving that objective.

        At the oregonlive.com story on Saturday or thereabouts, one of the people commenting remarked that the O’s story was conspicuous by not having reported whether or not the cyclist, Reece Wilson even had so much as a light on his bike; so the commenter appeared to just assume that Wilson didn’t have any lights on his bike. Come over to the comments here at bikeportland, and someone has noted that KATU’s story of the collision reports that the kid’s bike had lights. In fact…there was a picture of the crumpled bike with the lights on. No word about a helmet, but lights are at least some protection.

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        • Andy February 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

          Apparently the house should have been better lit also.

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          • matt picio February 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

            I don’t know – I think that house drank enough as it was. 😉

            I think the most relevant factor re: helmets is the cause of the injury. Certainly helmets will protect your head, regardless of the source of the head injury, and it’s smart to wear one. It’s also smart to wear one in the shower, which is a cause of far more head injuries. But there’s no legal requirement for a helmet in either case. In this case, the victim was struck by an inattentive motorist. While helmet use is relevant, what’s more relevant is that the victim was struck by a car, that the collision occurred due to distraction, and that the motorist was either not aware of the cyclist, couldn’t see them, or failed to wait until having passed the cyclist before “attending to her dog”.

            There are a lot of people out there who are not taking due care and being responsible. (including me – this morning I wasn’t paying attention and blew through a stop sign on my morning commute, and narrowly avoided being struck by a motorist legally exercising his right-of-way. If a collision would have occurred, whether I was wearing a helmet wasn’t nearly as important as me not paying attention) We all need to be more cautious on the road.

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      • pdxpaul February 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

        Again, not odd. Helmets are for brains. They keep them healthy.

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    • rigormrtis February 8, 2011 at 8:20 am

      It gets reported all the time.

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    • Andy February 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

      The victim’s life threatening injuries include head trauma. How is lack of a helmet irrelevant? It could possibly have made a significant difference in this case. Granted, even with a helmet, Mr. Reese would likely suffer the pain from being struck like this for the rest of his life, but I honestly don’t think you can say that a helmet wouldn’t have helped.

      In any event, the point of the helmet mention is not to shift responsibility to the victim. I don’t think anyone could deny that he is blameless. The point is to provide information to everyone reading this story and thinking, “My God, that could have been me.” In that sense, the helmet statement does perhaps represent a too hasty shift from sympathy and concern for Mr. Reese to the self-interest of the reader. You could argue that it is in poor taste, but I wouldn’t say that it’s irrelevant.

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      • Joe Rowe February 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

        We don’t know the intent of the reporter for the mention of a helmet. We know the result is that the readership does start to blame cyclists, when the story should focus only on the sole cause: distracted drivers. Regardless of intent, most cyclist feel helmets should not be mentioned in these “run down” stories.

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        • wsbob February 9, 2011 at 12:31 am

          “…We know the result is that the readership does start to blame cyclists, …” Joe Rowe

          What ‘readership’ are you thinking of? Some effort to be more specific about whom you’re referring to would be helpful, because not specifying at least a little, tends to leave the impression that you’re suggesting that everyone reading the newspaper, blames cyclists that aren’t wearing helmets, for collisions they’re involved in.

          Oregonlive. com, if that’s an example of the readership you’re referring to, numbers among its commenters, a bunch of regulars that more or less do nothing but post in nearly every comment, the same repetitive reactionary spiel, whether it refers to government, sam adams, cyclists, etc. etc. Their comments are nearly always little more than frustrated venting occurring with little reasoning articulated in their comments….and they post a lot of comments (never the less, the O rewards them with a little side box; people posting the greatest number of comments get listed in that box).

          People do comment to oregonlive.com stories, thoughtfully and intelligently. I really doubt they, to whatever extent they represent oregonlive.com’s readership, or other readerships, take a simpleminded view that cyclists due to not having worn a bike helmet, are responsible for the collisions they happen to be involved in.

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      • El Biciclero February 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        OK, imagine any of these scenarios being reported:

        “Police were called there on a report of a hit-and-run but when they arrived, they learned a vehicle had actually collided with a pedestrian, traveled through a fence and then hit a house. The pedestrian, who was returning from checking the mail and suffered life-threatening head trauma, was not wearing a helmet.”

        “…vehicle had actually traveled through a fence, run over a child playing in the front yard, and then hit the house. The child, who suffered life-threatening injuries, was not wearing a helmet.”

        “…vehicle had actually traveled through a fence and then into a house, hitting the homeowner who was sitting in his living room. No helmet was found in the living room.”

        “Distracted by her dog, Palmer left the roadway, traveled through a fence and then hit a house. Palmer’s dog, Brutus, suffered serious head trauma and was later euthanized at a veterinary clinic. Brutus was not wearing a helmet.”

        What’s relevant again? Given the path of the motor vehicle that left the roadway, any of the above scenarios could have been reported, but I would bet all the money in my pocket that the last sentence in each would be omitted.

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  • deborah February 8, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Thoughts and prayers to Reese and his family.

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  • EmGee February 8, 2011 at 8:34 am

    It is a wonder this driver did not hit anyone else in her totally distracted state.

    Perhaps it is time for Oregon to start keeping a public Reckless Persons Registry, sort of like a sex crimes registry. A list that employers and persons who organize volunteer efforts could consult to limit their risk of putting someone who lacks basic safety sense in any job where safety is a concern. This is of course in addition to revoking their license to drive.

    I have met some very nice persons who are also reckless; they just don’t have a clue about how to think about safety. I expect that you, Gentle Reader, also know a few persons who are like that.

    Driving a car is operating a piece of lethal equipment that requires more constant attention than most other lethal machines, such as firearms. You keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction when you have it in your hands and you don’t need to worry much about it except for that. But there is no way to point a car in a safe direction and drive it anywhere.

    Society is much too lax in licensing drivers, and now that there are so many good alternatives to lifestyles that require an automobile, the reasonable thing is to push for ways to get dangerous drivers off the roads. If this driver had been on a bicycle there would still have been a crash, but the injuries and damage would have been much less.

    Pardon the rambling. Need more coffee, and need to think of more succinct ways to express these ideas.

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    • peejay February 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

      +1 to you. The car/gun analogy, while not 100% accurate, is nice.

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    • was carless February 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

      I’ll just leave this link here:

      http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/02/the-future-of-cars-p2p-mesh-4g-and-the-cloud/

      Wired Autopia interview of a guy who says that, and I quote:

      “…and you want to have full connectivity with full access to any media, or any person anywhere via the best videoconferencing available. So you need a rich media experience in the car.”

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      • Pete February 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        My company supplies embedded software to car manufacturers (and just about every other industry), and yes, there is a huge push in “In-Vehicle Infotainment” aka IVI. It scares the crap out of me. Clearly drivers can be distracted enough without it.

        My thoughts and prayers to these victims for a full and speedy recovery.

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    • q`Tzal February 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      +1
      Waiting impaitently for robotically driven autos or proper neurological exams for all drivers at initial and renewal of licence

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  • Yaright February 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

    @ EmGee – A graduated licensing system might be a way to start heading in that direction

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  • A.K. February 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I agree – she should have her license pulled for willfully distracted driving. She chose to pay attention to her dog, and now someone else is going to have to pay the price for that with a life that will never be the same.

    Further, she should be responsible for his medical bills. It doesn’t matter if he wasn’t wearing a helmet, one isn’t required by Oregon law, and he wouldn’t have been injured had she not been driving while distracted and hit him.

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  • Nick V February 8, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I hope that the victims have a quick and complete recovery. It is also my opinion that drivers should take driving tests from age 60 and up – the same one we all had to pass to first get our license – and they should take them every time they renew their license.
    Nothing against the elderly, but their mental capacity eventually starts to erode. At age 40, I’ve already had some senior moments and I’ve been oh so tempted to put my driver’s license into the shredder.

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    • wsbob February 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

      “…It is also my opinion that drivers should take driving tests from age 60 and up – the same one we all had to pass to first get our license – and they should take them every time they renew their license.
      Nothing against the elderly, but their mental capacity eventually starts to erode. At age 40, …” Nick V

      There’s plenty of age specific bad driving associated with individuals from other age groups besides the one broadly referred to as ‘the elderly’. It could be said that individuals from those other age groups commonly lack sufficient emotional maturity, disposition, and sense of responsibility required to be a safe driver.

      Why did the driver, Candace Parker, take her eyes off the road to tend to the dog in the back seat? Was it because of possible eroded mental capacity due to the fact she’s 63 years of age, rather than being a youthful…say 20 years of age?

      Or was her taking her eyes off the road to mess with the dog in the back seat more likely associated with a lack of emotional maturity more common in younger age groups?

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    • spare_wheel February 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      “It is also my opinion that drivers should take driving tests from age 60 and up”

      I’ve never understood why we don’t restest all drivers every 5 years or so.

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      • Opus the Poet February 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

        Back when I still flew, I had to prove proficiency with a flight test and an oral exam on changed rules and regulations every 2 years. I don’t see why we can’t do the same for drivers.

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    • q`Tzal February 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      The elderly, as a generic American demographic, are much likely to be taking several prescriptions each of which, individually, will state a warning about driving while take said drug.
      Retesting needs to take place while they are on their normal meds.

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    • Pete February 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      Not to jest in this context, but the South Park episode “Grey Dawn” comes to mind…

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  • kiel Johnson
    kiel Johnson February 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

    jonathan, the safety summit is tonight at 6, not tomorrow

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  • sam February 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

    The front page of KGW.com is reporting that Joseph Anderson is also battling stage 4 cancer, poor kid.

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  • Alan February 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Hit by a gas hog while pedaling home from a job at the gas station…tragic irony.

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    • Did I miss it? Again? February 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Is everyone that drives a “gas hog”, or is there more to this comment?

      Wouldn’t you consider this a “us vs. them” type of comment only further dividing those who drive and those who do not?

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      • Alan February 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

        Petroleum powered transportation hogs gas compared to bicycling, and SOV vehicles proportionately moreso than other vehicles. I consider cars running over bikes considerably more “us v them” than commenting on an obvious irony in our society.

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        • Did I miss it? Again? February 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

          You disappoint me.

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        • Machu Picchu February 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

          I had not caught the irony until you pointed it out, Alan. Thanks. You don’t disappoint me.

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  • Joe February 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

    sad story get well !

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  • Stig February 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Jeez. Stage 4 cancer? (spread to distant organs) I wonder how good the gas station’s health plan is..

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    • Alan February 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

      Joe Anderson (Hwy 30) is fighting cancer. Reese Wilson (Multnomah Blvd) worked at a gas station. I hope they both get good medical care without having to battle that front.

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      • Stig February 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

        Thanks. My mistake. Nothing makes me more ill than the healthcare system in this country.

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  • Brian E February 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Isn’t mentioning the drivers age “63” similar to mentioning that the bike rider was not wearing a helmet? How does it pertain? Some of the best drivers in the world are older than 63. Most of the worst drivers in the world are younger than 63.

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    • snapbrim February 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      I’d say in this case I also struggle to see how the driver’s age sheds any light on the situation. The cause of this accident would appear to be simple carelessness and poor judgement, qualities that are certainly no less abundant in 23-year-olds than in 63-year-olds.

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    • Did I miss it? Again? February 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      They also mentioned the cyclists ages in both stories. Should that be left out as well?

      If the driver was 16 or 100, do you think it would be worth mentioning then? What would be the age at which it becomes a notable fact?

      If the writer were to leave out all details and facts that do not “pertain” or “shed light”, the story would be considered incomplete and poorly investigated.

      It could read “Car runs over bike.”

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  • Matti February 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Not sure if I missed it, but was driver Parker cited by police?

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  • GlowBoy February 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I support mandatory periodic retesting of ALL drivers regardless of age … but more frequent for older drivers. Often when an older driver’s skills go, they go fast. Geriatric drivers might not appear to have a poor safety record on a per-driver basis, but they tend to drive far fewer miles. On a per-mile basis elderly drivers are more dangerous than 20 year olds.

    Meanwhile, I don’t agree that reporting the presence or absence of safety equipment amounts to “blaming the victim”. It’s important information, and I’m glad that (contrary to the first post, and contrary to custom 20 years ago) seatbelt use is almost always mentioned in reports on life-threatening or fatal crashes. Maybe not on the idiot TV news, but in the newspaper (usually page 2 or 3 of the local section) the presence or absence of seatbelts is nearly always mentioned. I don’t see why reporting on helmet use should be any different.

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  • esther c February 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Reporting on whether someone who is obeying the laws of the road who is mowed down by a car is wearing a helmet is sort of equivalent to reporting on whether someone who is shot is wearing a bulletproof vest or not.

    I don’t see papers reporting that gunshot victims weren’t wearing bullet proof vests.

    I wear a helmet when I ride but it shouldn’t really be incumbent on me to protect myself from cars. If the paper wants to report that someone is wearing a helmet as an exception that would be one thing. Like a car mowed down an innocent man and in spite of the fact that he was wearing a helmet he was still injured, that’s one thing. But to act as if we have some responsibility to ensure that people don’t inflict brain damage on us as we innocently use the public streets is rather odd.

    Interestingly enough, one study showed that if people in cars wore helmets, they’d have a 28% improved risk of head injuries. DH and I always joke that we should wear ours while driving to the ski hill. The risk is much higher on the highway than while skiing.

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  • Mark Mcgregor February 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    The ages are relevant if there are 2 people of the same name but different ages. Sr vs Jr. I know a Candace Parker but she isn’t 63 y/o.

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  • twistyaction February 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I wish both victims an optimal recovery.

    What’s the barrier keeping police from enforcing distracted driving again? Projected revenue to effort ratio makes it a low priority? A toothless law that gives nearly anyone an excuse for being on a phone while driving? How many times have you seen someone driving around with their dog on their lap, looking out the driver’s window? As enclosed motor vehicles become more isolated from their environment, their ease of use increases so as to make their operation even more casual and effortless. Combine that with the modern “multitasking mindset” and all the available distractions designed to function from the comfort of the driver’s seat and it’s no wonder that people are being mowed down all over the place, be they on a bike or their feet.

    Please police, who are designated (and paid) to protect us from those who choose to ignore their responsibility for the safety of others in the shared public space, look up from the dashboard mounted laptops and turn down the radios (a bit) and make all types of distracted drivers accountable BEFORE they take someone out. Isn’t that your job?

    Mayor, commissioner, anyone???

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  • Oh Word? February 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    “The victim was not wearing a helmet- not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

    Seriously though, what word describes someone who is capable of running someone down then not stopping to help them survive?

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  • Racer X February 9, 2011 at 12:32 am

    “Officer ‘Hyatt’ then went on to add to his official report that the rear passenger (aka ‘dog child’) was not belted in (aka ‘leashed while in the public right of roadway’) … then officer ‘Hyatt’ pressed the delete key on his laptop and removed his thoughts on the report.'” Hmmm only according to an alternative reality…

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  • Racer X February 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Alternative Reality Dos…”the driver initiated a ‘hands off’ the steering wheel/ ‘eyes off the road’ call by turning to the back seat to engage the ‘blue tooth’ k-9 in a hands free conversation at a speed greater than ‘prudent’ speed given the ability to stop ‘safety’ under multimodal traffic conditions. The k-9 passenger is ‘sorry’ that they did not realize they were disruptive and displaying ‘unsafe’ behaviour. They will wear their ‘seat leash’ next time.”

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  • Racer X February 9, 2011 at 12:46 am

    “She struck [the two wheeled vehicle], then a parked car, and then careened through a fence before coming to a stop on the side of a house.”… It was later [not] reported that the fence was not painted white nor was the house grounded for electrical storms nor surrounded by a moat…that the impact with a human directed ‘4 wheel weapon’ was bound to happen some day…alternative reporting tres.

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  • Racer X February 9, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Alternative universe quatro…
    “…The [legally certified] driver of the motor vehicle [failed to stop per law and training and give aid] and [the vulnerable road user] was left for dead [the human like object hit did not disable my car and it did not cause more than $500 in damage] on the highway until another [driver saw him in time and did not almost run him over] at around 5:30 am.”

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  • Todd Boulanger February 9, 2011 at 12:58 am

    How about a goal for Mayor Sam Adam’s Safety Summit…that an agreement with the press on how to effectively and fairly report on traffic crashes? Florida did this back in 1999 and Sweden/ Netherlands before.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 9, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Oh well…that horse is left the barn…the summit was on Tuesday. Ok…homework for 2012. Talk amongst yourselves.

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  • wsbob February 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    “…Certainly helmets will protect your head, regardless of the source of the head injury, and it’s smart to wear one. It’s also smart to wear one in the shower, …” matt picio February 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Smart to wear a bike helmet in the shower? Not much chance of a car running into a person taking a shower.

    “…If a collision would have occurred, whether I was wearing a helmet wasn’t nearly as important as me not paying attention) …” picio

    Paying attention while operating a vehicle on the road or traveling roads and streets on foot is a first priority of importance. Equipping oneself with gear providing protection over known dangers they have little or no control over is very close to being as important as paying attention.

    Since the driver fled the scene of the collision, at this point, nobody knows what caused the driver to collide with 24-year old Joseph Anderson out on Hwy 30. Many people know though, the inherent dangers of traveling Hwy 30, and should be taking precautions accordingly, especially when riding a bike on this road and others similarly dangerous.

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  • Alan February 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    wsbob
    “…Certainly helmets will protect your head, regardless of the source of the head injury, and it’s smart to wear one. It’s also smart to wear one in the shower, …” matt picio February 9, 2011 at 10:59 am
    Smart to wear a bike helmet in the shower? Not much chance of a car running into a person taking a shower.

    Exactly! The reason to wear a helmet is to prevent brain trauma, not to prevent being run over by a car. Helmets do not prevent that. Numerically more brain traumas occur from falls in showers than from cars hitting bikes, and more also occur among motorists than among bicyclists. So, if one goal of a protective state is to prevent brain trauma, wouldn’t it be more sensible and productive to require showerers and motorists to wear helmets, as that would have a greater numerical reduction in brain trauma?

    Since the driver fled the scene of the collision, at this point, nobody knows what caused the driver to collide with 24-year old Joseph Anderson out on Hwy 30. Many people know though, the inherent dangers of traveling Hwy 30, and should be taking precautions accordingly, especially when riding a bike on this road and others similarly dangerous.

    Several people have mentioned how bad Hwy 30 is for riding, yet when I’ve driven it I always see bikes, the shoulders seem wide, smooth and well swept, sight-lines are good, no tight curves, and overall it doesn’t look terribly scary to me. Yes, it does have lots of traffic and car speeds are high, beware of right turns and the occasional parked vehicle on the shoulder, but especially out past Linton it looks like a nice enough ride. Anyone who actually rides it with any frequency care to comment on it? How is its history of car/bike collisions?

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    • wsbob February 11, 2011 at 12:15 am

      “…The reason to wear a helmet is to prevent brain trauma, not to prevent being run over by a car. Helmets do not prevent that. …”

      Who’s saying that bike helmets prevent their wearers from being run over by cars? I’ve never heard that claim made, at least not seriously. Bike helmets potentially offer some protection against scull and brain trauma. With regard to wearing of bike helmets, Oregon is far from being “…a protective state…”, since only people under the age of 16 are legally required to wear them while riding a bike. Austrailia now… different story. Vancouver, Washington too.

      Re; the hazard of Hwy 30: that road has had numerous horrific collisions over the years. I know that’s being very vague. Not sure how much searching it would take to find the stories. There’s something about that road. Maybe drivers are fooled into thinking it’s easier to drive than it really is. It may be that it somehow lends itself to drivers going very fast and having them relax concentration on what’s going on to the sides of the vehicle.

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      • Alan February 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

        “Who’s saying that bike helmets prevent their wearers from being run over by cars?”

        That’s the inference of your reply to Matt P: “Smart to wear a bike helmet in the shower? Not much chance of a car running into a person taking a shower.” Reports about car/bike collisions routinely mention whether the rider was wearing a helmet. If society’s interest were strictly in reducing head injuries, then every time someone was injured by a slip in the shower (in Matt’s example, or in cars, or other common head-injury places), those should be reported with similar reference as to whether the showerer was wearing a helmet. Due to showers greater incidence of injuries than bikes, that would produce greater social good than doing so for car/bike collisions (if such nagging does any good).

        “Oregon is far from being ‘…a protective state…'”

        YMMV, and I don’t mean exclusively Oregon. I feel that American society in general, and excessive legislation and regulation in particular, is attempting to overprotect me. I don’t have an easy answer and the discussion is outside the scope of this reply, but as an example of where I see a threshold, mandatory use of seatbelts can actively prevent or minimize car crashes – not just injuries! – by keeping the driver in position during lesser jostling, thereby protecting others as well as the driver, whereas mandatory helmet use only helps after the crash and only the person with the helmet, not an innocent bystander. There are loads of other cases in nearly all aspects of daily life, not just transportation, where the state (gov’t in general, not a specific jurisdiction) and other facets of society have increasingly restricted individual choices and freedoms. There is a balance to be struck, no doubt, but for me our society continues to curve toward the overprotective extreme and the resulting lack of liberty and personal responsibility.

        “Hwy 30: that road has had numerous horrific collisions over the years.”

        Well sure, many roads have witnessed such carnage and a high-traffic undivided highway with 100+mph approach speeds as Hwy 30 (often higher as its wide, straight design encourages speeding) is going to have severe impacts when someone or (rarely) something screws up and crosses over. But I hear about car-to-car collisions on it and not car-to-bike, and as I said, I see quite a lot of bike traffic on it so lack of crashes isn’t just lack of bikes. It seems safer to ride than, say, Barbur, and I suspect that numbers would bear that out. GlowBoy’s experience (downthread) matches my expectation for the ride. Seems to me that all the hand-wringing about riding on such a dangerous road is misplaced and discredits Joe Anderson’s judgment. He was riding in low-traffic early morning hours, long after bar-closing time, properly lighted, on a stretch with very accommodating shoulders. That does not strike me as risky behavior.

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  • esther c February 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Car accidents are the leading cause of brain injury. One article I read said that helmets in cars would prevent 28% of head injuries.

    And certainly everyone knows the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house.

    Don’t get me wrong. I wear a helmet when I bike in a vain attempt to protect myself from cars. But people who choose not to aren’t “asking for it” or at fault in anyway for their injuries. They aren’t behaving recklessly.

    It is the people in cars who are not paying attention to the people sharing the road with them that are being reckless.

    If the presence of cars on the roads makes them so damned unsafe that other users have to armor themselves maybe they should think about taking the cars off the road. Or building some sort of separate facility for them. Let them stay on the interstates and build big parking garages for them at the entrances to the cities and towns.

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  • GlowBoy February 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve only ridden US 30 for a longer distance on one occasion (to St. Helens and back), but I’ve ridden out to Sauvie Island a few times and I frequently ride it back in to town after hitting the north end of Forest Park on the way home from work.

    I don’t find it particularly harrowing, except for one stretch just past Linnton where inbound bikes get squeezed into a relatively narrow lane up against a concrete wall. But that’s a pretty short section — much of the rest of the time the shoulder is 12-15 feet wide.

    I do try to keep to the right of the bike lane/shoulder, though, and keep an eye on my mirror. This is a good reminder to me to keep up the vigilance.

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