Man riding bike found at fault in sidewalk collision with PPB officer – UPDATED

Last night a 22-year-old Southeast Portland man riding a bicycle and a Portland Police criminalist driving an official vehicle were involved in a collision on SE Powell Boulevard.

Photo from the scene by reader Joe Doebele.


According to the PPB Traffic Division, at about 9:30 pm last night Edward Poitra was riding eastbound on the sidewalk on the north side of Powell just after he crossed SE 50th. Jess Morgan, a 20-year PPB vet was pulling out of a parking lot with the intention to go westbound on Powell. Here’s the streetview (looking eastbound)…

In a statement, the PPB explains that Morgan pulled forward to look for traffic from the east (his left) and then, “believing the road and sidewalk was clear,” pulled forward to enter the roadway. Police say Poitra was going about 10-12 miles per hour (according to a witness) and the Chevy pick-up driven by Morgan was going about 5 mph.

The two vehicles collided. Poitra “suffered small abrasions” and was taken to the hospital via ambulance.

Police say Poitra had a bike light and it was turned on.

Joe Doebele, who witnessed the crash, says the impact from the truck, “hurled the guy into Powell traffic lanes” and that Poitra was unable to walk after the collision. Doebele says from what he saw, the police officer is “90%” at fault.

After concluding their investigation into the crash (which was required in this case because Poitra, a “vulnerable user of the roadway” was taken away by ambulance), the PPB determined that Poitra was “responsible for the collision”. They base that decision on Poitra’s speed of 10-12 mph, which is above walking speed. ORS 814.410 states that a person is guilty of “unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk” if they travel at a speed above ordinary walking speed while crossing a driveway.

Even though Poitra was found to be at fault, the police did not issue him a citation. When asked why, PPB spokesman Peter Simpson told me, “With a slow speed crash, discretion is often utilized by officers and insurance information is exchanged.”

This incident brings up many important issues.

On major, high-speed arterials like SE Powell, sidewalks are the only sane a refuge for some people who find walking and biking on the main roadway unsafe or intimidating. There is no shoulder space and there’s a high volume of fast-moving cars. The result is a lot of people bicycling on the sidewalk.

Unfortunately, bicycling on sidewalks is a very tricky thing. Not only are Oregon sidewalk laws unknown to most people, but the “walking speed” thing is pretty impractical when you’re on a bike. It’s difficult to ride at walking speed without falling over (has to do with inertia and physics I think).

Riding on sidewalks is also tricky because it’s inherently quite dangerous. When driving, people tend to clear roadway traffic out of habit and they don’t consider sidewalk traffic at all. Add in the faster closing speed and slower reaction times of a bike rider versus someone walking and collisions are the result.

We’d see less sidewalk riding in places like this if bike access on the roadway was anywhere near equitable with the access for motor vehicles. Only a very small percentage of people will ride a bike in the roadway in a place like SE Powell and 50th.

So it comes down to a sad choice: Do you ride on the sidewalk with all its legal quirks and dangers, or do you risk your life on the roadway? Hopefully some day our streets will better serve all vehicles and I won’t have to ask that question at all.

NOTE: I’ve edited this story because the comments where focusing so much on my reference to bicycling on the sidewalk near Powell as “the only sane” refuge.

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BURR
BURR
11 years ago

Had the cop been drinking at that strip club? In his official vehicle?

Perry Hunter
Perry Hunter
11 years ago
Reply to  BURR

More likely coming out of Taco Bell…

Joe C
Joe C
11 years ago
Reply to  Perry Hunter

I think that lot services the Taco Time actually. Taco Bell is across the street on the NW corner. =)

Hooray oversaturation of fast food restaurants, haha.

Gregg Woodlawn
11 years ago
Reply to  BURR

If the officer who hit the cyclist didn’t see the cyclist on the sidewalk, how does the officer know that he wasn’t riding “Walking Speed”? And WHY didn’t the officer see him on the sidewalk when the cyclist had a light on?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  Gregg Woodlawn

Multiple people witnessed the cyclist riding overspeed.

gregg woodlawn
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

So if there were multiple witnesses, do you know if they saw the officer hit the cyclist with the front of his pick up truck, or did they see the cyclist hit the officer on the side of the pick up truck? Isn’t there a law that vehicles need to stop before the sidewalk, and then yeild to folks on the sidewalk before they can cross the sidewalk. Even if the cyclist was riding faster than walking speed, this would be shared liability.

BURR
BURR
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

cops are always right

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

Under Oregon law, if one operator is obeying the law (which seems to be the case) and one is not (which also seems to be the case), then the person who wasn’t doing what they should be is at fault. That’s what happened here. Let’s ignore the fact that one person was on a bike and another is a police officer because it’s not relevant.

gregg woodlawn
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

Paul Johnson: I’m still not clear on who was not doing anything wrong. If the cop stopped BEFORE the sidewalk and then LOOKED both ways down the sidewalk BEFORE crossing the sidewalk, how could he have hit the person riding the bicycle? I would say that if the cop DIDN”T stop and look before he crossed the sidewalk= shared liability. AmIwrong?

Joe Doebele
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

There was only one witness (me) who was not a police officer. I watched the front of the truck roll the bike and its rider over. He ended up in a traffic lane on Powell. The police report claims it was a side-of-the-truck impact, implying the cyclist rode into the truck. Simply not true. The truck drove into the cyclist. I’m really disturbed by this; it’s a flat-out lie. I remember the two occupants of the truck getting out and closely expecting the front of the truck, not the sides, for damage, as did I. The police report faults the cyclist, but the fact is that the police driver was also at fault for not looking in both directions while rolling out across the sidewalk and down the driveway. And it bugs me when a police report describes an injured person’s injuries as minor so quickly after a crash. When I got run over by a pickup truck, it was about 10 days before I was diagnosed with a knee fracture. The cyclist in this case struck me as someone who didn’t know his rights, the rules of PIP insurance in Oregon, or the responsibilities of drivers and the police. NOBODY but me was telling him his options or that medical treatment would be paid for by auto insurance regardless of fault.

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

Thnx for the update.

I knew that the police account was false.

Does Mr Doeble have any photos of the police vehicle to confirm the point of impact?

The scary part is that the officer who so casually falsified a police report in such a minor accident is a forensic expert who collects evidence in serious criminal cases and testifies at trial. Any defense attorney worth his salt will exploit this case to destroy the credibility of the police.
No wonder the police in Portland are able to solve barely half of all homicides and the arrest rates for rape, robbery and aggravated assault are even lower. Arrest rates for property crime are pathetic.

Hopefully the bike rider will get a lawyer.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

I’m finding it interesting that some people in this thread seem to be of the opinion that bicycles are somehow above the law, common sense or basic physics, and are always right even when they’re obviously not.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  gregg woodlawn

Paul Johnson
I’m finding it interesting that some people in this thread seem to be of the opinion that bicycles are somehow above the law, common sense or basic physics, and are always right even when they’re obviously not.
Recommended 0

Would you care to be specific? Because your comment seems to be rather broadsided, faulting anyone that doesn’t seem to find the actions of the person riding on the sidewalk in this instant, flat out wrong.

10-12 mph is the speed it’s been suggested that Poitra was riding his bike on the sidewalk. That’s basically three times faster than walking speed; too fast if there’s people using the sidewalk, but if nobody is, depending on specific conditions related to each individual location, that’s not an unreasonably fast speed to ride on the sidewalk.

Big question for me is, was Poitra actually traveling 10-12 mph as he approached the driveway from say 25′-35′ away, and at that point, where was the PD forensics truck in relation to the sidewalk at that point? At what point could Poitra see the driver of the truck through the driver’s side window, and his head to possibly make eye contact with him?

Some people ride their bike too fast on sidewalks and don’t use care in crossing driveways. Some people drive their motor vehicle right across sidewalks without stopping before the sidewalk, making, if any…only a cursory micro-split second glance from the corner of their eye, down the sidewalk before rolling across the sidewalk.

So yes…Poitra could be wrong here, but not simply because he was riding his bike 10-12 mph on the sidewalk. Assuming Poitra was riding 10-12 mph on the sidewalk, neither is the forensics officer free of responsibility, if the officer failed to stop before the sidewalk to see first if the way was clear before proceeding across the sidewalk.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
11 years ago
Reply to  Gregg Woodlawn

Speed: impact velocity, damage and resulting post-impact vectors.
Not seeing light: driving in a dense urban environment – perhaps too complicated to leave up to humans.

Kevin
Kevin
11 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

Or seemingly riding bicycles, in this case.

Andrew Seger
Andrew Seger
11 years ago

FoPo is such a terrible area to bike in. With the flex funds and perhaps some vision from the neighborhood and city there could be world class bike facilities along Foster and Powell. There’s no reason that part of town shouldn’t have equal or greater modal share as NoPo: less elevation change and it’s about the same distance to downtown, especially once the new bridge is built.

grimm
grimm
11 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Seger

There is a bike boulevard 3 blocks north on woodward.

Underserved? Unknowing of the facilities? Or unwilling to go out of his way for a safer route? Probably a combination of the three.

Regardless I hope the injured makes a speedy recovery.

Andrew Seger
Andrew Seger
11 years ago
Reply to  grimm

Woodward is 6 blocks north, is slower/steeper, and doesn’t help at all if you want to go south or to anywhere along Powell. For that matter it wont even get you to the 205 path. The greenways/boulevards are great but it’s no substitute for real bike infrastructure in the places people want to be and need to go. A mile out of the way really isn’t an acceptable alternative.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Seger

6 blocks would be just over a quarter mile, since it’s 20 blocks to the mile in Portland.

gregg woodlawn
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

Depends on the blocks

John Mulvey
John Mulvey
11 years ago

This intersection is one of the worst in Portland. I think the biker probably was at fault, for the reason given, but it’s nonetheless true that riding on the sidewalk is the only practical option in the area. Neither Powell nor 50th have the bike infrastructure to permit safe operation of a bike, yet locals (including bikes) are coming and going from these businesses 24/7.

Part of the answer is to move forward quickly with the 50s Bikeway project, which will give bikers a better through-route and allow most of them to avoid this area entirely.

I hope that Mr. Poitra comes out of this okay. If not, ODOT bears some of the responsibility.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  John Mulvey

“it’s nonetheless true that riding on the sidewalk is the only practical option in the area.”
I respectfully disagree. I bike on Foster and Powell frequently. I don’t take the lane. It works fine (for me).

John Mulvey
John Mulvey
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

You bike in the street on that section of Powell Blvd?? You’ve got more courage than me.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  John Mulvey

I bike everywhere–except the Interstates.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

I prefer the interstates. Interstate highway standards require wide shoulders and limited access (ie, no parking, no at-grade intersections). This means quick travel with limited safety concerns compared to alternative routes, which frequently include 55MPH roads with no shoulders, blind curves and much steeper hills.

Byron
Byron
11 years ago

I am sorry for the bicyclist. However, it is not a good idea to bike on the sidewalk. You have little rights unless you are going very slow, and drivers are not looking for you coming along at any speed. For this reason I never bike on a sidewalk unless it is for a short distance at slow speed.

But it is difficult to bike on many streets. On a street like Powell or Foster, if you have to bike on it, take the lane and make sure you are very visible. It may irritate drivers and you run the risk of being hit by a drunk or distracted driver but at least you will have been in the right as they cart you off to the hospital or morgue.

It is too bad that the city is not working on solutions to these problems. Where are the streets that are safe to ride on?

Dan Faulkner
Dan Faulkner
11 years ago

Last night, the two inner lanes of Powell (closest to the median) were closed from 50th to at least 72nd. I believe they were preparing to stripe the lanes after the paving they did a few weeks ago. It wouldn’t have directly impacted this collision, but it certainly could have been a distraction for both parties involved.

Ringer
Ringer
11 years ago

So, if I’m jogging, I’m fair game?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  Ringer

10-15 MPH isn’t jogging speed. 5-7 is.

JHB
JHB
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

That’s pretty slow, I walk at 4 mph…

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  JHB

Jogging isn’t sprinting, after all.

Ringer
Ringer
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

My point here is that if your not “walking speed” on a sidewalk, you are at fault when you get run over by a car on said sidewalk

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

That’s faster than walking speed.

Matti
Matti
11 years ago

I wonder how the cyclist’s speed was determined?

Sean Chaney
Sean Chaney
11 years ago

I hope Edward recovers quickly.

I live in this area and see cyclists on Powell and Division every day. I’m not entirely clear on why people choose to ride those fast-paced and busy streets vs those that are nearby and have bikelanes like Clinton, Woodward and Center.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Sean Chaney

“I’m not entirely clear on why people choose to ride those fast-paced and busy streets vs those that are nearby and have bikelanes”
We do for the same reasons others (in cars for instance) do. They get you where you want to go directly without a lot of jogs and stop signs and such. Besides some of us on bikes have business to conduct at locations along those arterials. Buck’s Stove Palace, George Morlan, Powell Paint, The landfill site out at 110th off Foster, etc. For me Powell and Foster, though they are admittedly busy streets are fine for biking. It never occurred to me not to take those routes if that is where I’m going.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts
9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

that is correct, but I don’t live anywhere near that landfill and if I’m hauling stuff there it is bound to be heavy and I’m going to take the most direct and flattest route there which isn’t the neighborhood greenway.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Springwater Corridor, being a former railroad, is going to be your flattest route if you’re coming from east or west.

Cora Potter
Cora Potter
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Please stop calling it a landfill. That is patently false.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

“Please stop calling it a landfill. That is patently false.” Cora Potter

If you know it to be something different than a landfill, why not tell everyone reading what it is?

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts
Spiffy
Spiffy
11 years ago
Reply to  Sean Chaney

Clinton goes to a mountain… the easiest way to get east from there is Division… for that reason I have ridden in the lane on Division from 52nd to 78th a lot to get east…

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
11 years ago
Reply to  Sean Chaney

We’re just people, not cyclists, and we want to get where we need to be.
It might be reasonable to expect better conditions on lower traffic side streets but people driving autos utilize these same “safer” streets to an equal overall detriment to the safety of people on bikes.

Travel (definition): to go from one place to another
Origin: 1325–75; Middle English (north and Scots), orig. the same word as travail (by shift “to toil, labor” > “to make a laborious journey”)

Often a journey is fraught with peril but the destination is necessary; endeavor not to be end of another’s trip.

John Lascurettes
11 years ago

If your’e going to bike on the sidewalk, go slow. If your’e going to bike on the sidewalk against the flow of traffic in the street, go extra slow.

I routinely bike up the sidewalk, against traffic on the north side of Broadway between the bridge and Flint. But I chill the hell out until I get to Flint, riding about 5-7mph and come to near or full stops at each corner. When I get to Flint, I turn left, take my normal lane position and step on the pedals.

Even going slow, I’ve still had some close calls from cars that pull up to the corner on a side street, looking left for cross traffic and never checking to their right for people using the sidewalk before they make their rolling right turns. Because of my slow speed, I’m always able to correct for their lack of attention.

Kevin
Kevin
11 years ago

Admittedly I don’t ride bikes. I initially started coming to this site to learn more about the community, and understand more about biking (mainly i’m physically unable to ride), its because of these steps I have learned a great many of the rules that really aren’t taught to drivers, and it’s released me from a lot of bike targeted road-rage.

I’ve seen all the arguments on this site but as a car driver I cannot stress enough that riding against the flow of traffic is borderline suicide. An automobile driver trying to get onto a busy road like Powell is spending most of his effort trying to find a safe egress onto the street without himself getting run over. Many times you make a quick glance to the right to make sure you arent running over a pedestrian and glance back to the left and note your “Window” has closed by a quick lane change of another auto, or someone driving faster than they should. Riding against the flow of traffic just adds to an already complicated driving scenario.

I feel bad that Powell is so narrow that they really can’t do much to it include bicycles (except with the more extreme crowd here would suggest, that cars should disappear from their universe).

NF
NF
11 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

I don’t think the extreme crowd here would suggest completely removing cars from Powell (from slow, low-traffic neighborhood and commercial corridors, yes).

But there are ways of adding bicycling infrastructure to Powell to create a more complete street. These solutions will likely slow drivers down slightly (which is why they are opposed), but it would create a much safer environment for ALL users, including people driving cars.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

“except with the more extreme crowd here would suggest, that cars should disappear from their universe”
Kevin,
if that is me you’re referring to I try to very carefully distinguish between ‘cars should disappear from the universe’ as you put it, and the prediction that cars will fade rapidly from their now entrenched dominant position in our transportation system in a short while. I’ve stressed that this has nothing to do with you or me or anyone *wanting* them to go away–though that may also be true–but rather that there is no argument I’m aware of that suggests there will be anything to fuel them affordably in the near future, and/or that the consequences of our extended binge with fossil fuels will manifest themselves in ways we take seriously on a policy level (we’re getting off topic here in a big way, but you brought it up).

Mike
Mike
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Definition of near future? Your lifetime? The next generation?

I certainly hope your timeline is wrong.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike

“Definition of near future? Your lifetime? The next generation?”

ten to fifteen years max.

“I certainly hope your timeline is wrong.”

the point is whether it is five years or twenty we need to get a move on (no pun intended). Infrastructure and habits are quite durable. Pretending none of this is going to happen ever (which one could conclude from most official policy directives) is not only foolish but derelict. We need to be anticipating the end of automobility and spending our money we don’t even have, and using the dwindling resources to reconfigure out infrastructure in such a way that it will be useful to us without cheap oil. We are not, by and large, doing that right now, spending on bike infrastructure notwithstanding.

Brian
Brian
11 years ago

I think you are over-reaching when you write “It’s difficult to ride at walking speed without falling over (has to do with inertia and physics I think).” I have pedaled up many a hill at 3-4 mph on a tandem with a kid stoker and touring gear. It may not be fun or convenient to ride at walking speeds, but it is certainly possible.

I agree with all the comments that streets such as SE Powell leave cyclists with no good choices. But I think riding 10-12 mph on the sidewalk is the worst choice as demonstrated with this incident.

Peter Noone
Peter Noone
11 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I’ve found that at speeds under roughly 6mph it can be difficult to ride in straight line. That’s based on a 2500 mile bike tour where I constantly watched my speed and cadence.

Of course, this is just more anecdotal evidence. I’d guess that minimum safe speed varies by experience, equipment, terrain, etc.

Spiffy
Spiffy
11 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I’ve been passed by people walking at times that I’ve been pedaling up a hill…

Indy
Indy
11 years ago

I walk during the colder months, and this type of accident is so common I won’t even bother walking across a driveway unless I get visual confirmation from a driver exiting a driveway. Most of the time drivers are completely unawares of pedestrians.

Mark Markovich
11 years ago

People just shouldn’t bike on Powell anyway. It is dangerous and stupid. There is a perfectly good shareway on Clinton and plenty of slow traffic streets inbetween. Use those.

Joseph E
11 years ago
Reply to  Mark Markovich

What is you want to get to a destination on Powell?

Mark Markovich
11 years ago
Reply to  Joseph E

Then take a side street until you hit the cross street you want and cut up to Powell that way.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Mark Markovich

“dangerous and stupid.”
Thanks for your opinion. I respectfully disagree.

Paul in the 'Couv
Paul in the 'Couv
11 years ago
Reply to  Mark Markovich

Operating a motor vehicle at 5mph over the speed limit in an urban area is dangerous and stupid!

Riding a bike ANYWHERE is more sane than driving.

Tacoma
Tacoma
11 years ago

Where did the “5mph over the speed limit” comment come from? While I agree with the opinion, what does it have to do with this news story?

Paul in the 'couve
Paul in the 'couve
11 years ago
Reply to  Tacoma

Responding to Mark up above who call riding on Powell (at all) “dangerous and stupid”

Traffic on Powell is frequently 5mph over the posted speed limit – just like many major streets.

My point is that bicycling is not dangerous and stupid. Its cars travelling at 40mph that are dangerous to everyone – not bikes and cyclists.

shirtsoff
shirtsoff
11 years ago

@Paul

Yes, yes, yes! It’s not cycling or the roads themselves that are dangerous.. It’s the distracted drivers operating cars and trucks at high speeds which makes the roads dangerous.

Spiffy
Spiffy
11 years ago

On major, high-speed arterials like SE Powell, sidewalks are the only sane refuge for people walking and biking.

Only a very small percentage of people will ride a bike in the roadway in a place like SE Powell and 50th.

I’m one of those insane people that ride in the road on Powell sometimes… in fact, last night an hour before this collision and in the exact same spot I saw somebody else riding in the road on Powell…

and yes, people riding bikes on sidewalks need to slow down… I was almost hit by somebody riding fast on a sidewalk when I was riding on 82nd and turning onto a side street they were about to cross… they were going at least 10-12 mph and seemed surprised that I didn’t yield for them…

to get to the train at Clackamas Town Center from work I often use a couple blocks of sidewalk and I always feel bad for making cars wait for me because I’m only going 5mph across the street… however, that sidewalk is also a MUP… what’s the speed limit on a MUP where it crosses a street? is a MUP a sidewalk?

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago

“…the PPB determined that Poitra was “responsible for the collision”. They base that decision on Poitra’s speed of 10-12 mph, which is above walking speed. …” maus/bikeportland

Sounds fair. It is difficult to ride a bike at walking speed, but doable, though not necessarily practical for travel purposes.

Riding at speeds of 10-12mph on the sidewalk may be reasonable if there aren’t pedestrians and other bikes on the sidewalk to deal with, and if…the person on the bike traveling that speed slows when crossing driveways, which it’s not reported that Poitra did.

“…When driving, people tend to clear roadway traffic out of habit and they don’t consider sidewalk traffic at all. …” maus/bikeportland

I’ve seen people driving motor vehicles, not stopping at the sidewalk to look each direction down it before crossing it to stop before entering the roadway. Looking at them through the side window of their car, I couldn’t be sure whether or not they actually looked either way down the sidewalk as they moved across it.

The police statement doesn’t say whether or not Morgan stopped to look down the sidewalk before crossing it, but according to the excerpt maus has included in his story, does say Morgan proceeded: “believing the road and sidewalk was clear,”.

It would help to have a little more clarification from Morgan about what measures he took to arrive at his belief that the sidewalk was clear.

Dave Thomson
Dave Thomson
11 years ago

“On major, high-speed arterials like SE Powell, sidewalks are the only sane refuge for people walking and biking.” i believe many people, apparently including jmaus, have the PERCEPTION that you are safer riding on the sidewalk, but the actual FACT is you are safer on the street practicing vehicular cycling. There was at least one study (don’t have the reference) showing you were much more likely to be injured riding on the sidewalk than riding on the street.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Reply to  Dave Thomson

Dave,

I have never said biking on the sidewalk is safer. I’m merely pointing out the obvious… that for many people riding on Powell is a non-starter. I am a “vehicular cyclist” and take lanes all over town; but I’m also realistic and I know that many people think it’s insane to ride on Powell and they’d never do it… at least not until the car traffic is tamed.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago

I’m curious how it is that “many people think it’s insane to ride on Powell.” I mean, this isn’t I-84. That is arguably insane. I had to ride on I-84 once twenty years ago because there were no parallel roads to I-84, no way to get where we were going without getting on I-84 for a stretch out by LaGrande. It was insane. I wouldn’t recommend it, but not because I felt in danger–the ‘shoulder’ after all was plenty wide–just because the speed differentials were so ridiculous. But getting back to Powell, I don’t have that same experience there. What, specifically, makes it seem insane?

Oh, and by the way, today is world carfree day!

joe doebele
11 years ago

Dan Faulkner
Last night, the two inner lanes of Powell (closest to the median) were closed from 50th to at least 72nd. I believe they were preparing to stripe the lanes after the paving they did a few weeks ago. It wouldn’t have directly impacted this collision, but it certainly could have been a distraction for both parties involved.
Recommended 0

Dan, good observation, but this played no role in the scenario. Everything was clear to all eyes and all lanes were open. I have photos if anyone wants ’em. My sesnse as I watched it happen was that the driver should easily have been able to see this fellow coming. Had he looked with reasonable care to his right, he wouldn’t have been able to not see him. Also, the front of the truck hit the cyclist, but the police report says the collision was on the side of the truck.

Police investigating police…?

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago

joe doebele

Dan Faulkner
Last night, the two inner lanes of Powell (closest to the median) were closed from 50th to at least 72nd. I believe they were preparing to stripe the lanes after the paving they did a few weeks ago. It wouldn’t have directly impacted this collision, but it certainly could have been a distraction for both parties involved.
Recommended 0

Dan, good observation, but this played no role in the scenario. Everything was clear to all eyes and all lanes were open. I have photos if anyone wants ’em. My sesnse as I watched it happen was that the driver should easily have been able to see this fellow coming. Had he looked with reasonable care to his right, he wouldn’t have been able to not see him. Also, the front of the truck hit the cyclist, but the police report says the collision was on the side of the truck.
Police investigating police…?
Recommended 0

“…I have photos if anyone wants ’em. …” joe doebele

Sure…start a thread and post them in bikeportland forums.

Looking at the picture accompanying this story: If that’s the correct location, which of the two driveways shown, was Morgan entering the road from?

hmm
hmm
11 years ago

The standard I have seen in other states is that if a law enforcement officer is involved in a situation in same jurisdiction as they are an officer, then the investigation goes to another law enforcement agency, such as county or state.

The same goes for elected government officials.

Kinda like the Multnomah county Sheriffs should have been called in to investigate that little traffic incident up at Jantzen Beach involving an elected city official.

Esther
Esther
11 years ago

there’s a STRIKE tag in the paragraph beginning “On major, high-speed arterials like SE Powell, sidewalks are the…” It’s striking through all the text on the rest of the page 🙂

dan
dan
11 years ago

I have to disagree that it’s not possible to ride in control at walking speed. I do it every time I ride (illegally) on the sidewalk downtown. I figure if I’m going to break the law, at least I shouldn’t be a jerk about it. 🙂

I even got chewed out by a pedestrian once for not checking behind me when changing course — she was passing me on foot!

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago

I’m not sure how you can really call that a choice, when US 26 has a bicycle boulevard just four blocks north and a city neighborhood greenway planned just south. For access to Powell addresses, there’s often gaps big enough to travel a block or two in-lane and walking your bike that distance on the sidewalk isn’t a problem. Does Powell need better access? Definitely. Are there existing alternatives? Yes. I don’t see a problem with the outcome of the investigation.

Steve B
11 years ago

I used to react to all sidewalk riding with indignation, but now I have come to understand the purpose more clearly now. Particularly on streets like Foster & Powell, during the busy times of day you will find me on riding (slowly) on the sidewalk until I find a good parallel route to connect to.

NF
NF
11 years ago
Reply to  Steve B

I like to call the sidewalk on inner Foster the “Foster Cycle Track” because it’s so wide as-is.

Paul Deming
Paul Deming
11 years ago

A point not addressed in comments so far is the equity issues of transportation access. The name of the victim is hispanic and he was relatively young. We don’t know any more about him at this point. But …. Many people who are a)new to PDX, b) have marginal english skills c) have few transportation alternative and d) often work hours that make public transportation even more problematic make the best transportation decisions they are able too. Not everyone KNOWS that there is a Bike Blvd a block away, or that Division has lanes, or that riding on the sidewalk is dangerous.

Along with the focus on how riders should make the best and safest use of the facilities, I’d like to see discussion of the need for safe facilities and the right of everyone to be able to ride safely everywhere in the city at all times. In the mean time there is a desperate need for outreach to the poor, homeless, immigrant and youth communities to teach safe cycling skills.

Schrauf
Schrauf
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Deming

I thought Poitra was most likely a French name, not Hispanic. But regardless, very valid point. The City does a good job of attempting to distribute information in many languages, but even with that, it often does not reach the people that need it.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  Schrauf

Given that riding on the sidewalk is heavily regulated and commonly discouraged or outright banned in urban areas the world over, I’m pretty sure that you’d have to be outright ignorant and not necessarily foreign to make the mistake that caused this accident. Let’s leave race out of this, it only serves to make a very racially homogeneous city look culturally ignorant to suggest this is a race issue.

Spiffy
Spiffy
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Deming

I don’t think equity has anything to do with it… when I moved here I had no idea where the good bike roads were… I rode wherever I felt safe… I eventually found some free maps at a bike shop… and then these web sites…

Ryno Dan
Ryno Dan
11 years ago

I think it should be illegal for motorized vehicles (cars) to cut-thru neighborhood side-streets. I also think that the city speed limit should be 25 mph.
To go along with that system, I suggest a small set of streets that are car-thru-ways with a speed limit of 35 mph, where the cars are encouraged to go. Powell should be one of these streets. On such streets, I think cyclists should be disencouraged, but not denied.

To summarize, I think we need a system where through-(motor)vehicles are required to stay on main streets. Bicycles should use alternates to this small set of streets.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Ryno Dan

“Bicycles should use alternates to this small set of streets.”
Why?
Some European cities are experimenting with 19mph (30km/h) speed limits across the board. Then I think your rationale for restricting modes to separate streets goes away.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempo-30-Zone

John Mulvey
John Mulvey
11 years ago
Reply to  Ryno Dan

What about the people who live there? And how do you tell who lives there and who doesn’t?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  Ryno Dan

That’s already more or less the case given that the only through neighborhood streets are already neighborhood greenways or planned to be converted at this point.

NF
NF
11 years ago
Reply to  Ryno Dan

“Bicycles should use alternates to this small set of streets.”

This works well close-in, where there are local parallel routes. On outer east side streets however, there are almost zero through routes on neighborhood streets. The same goes for diagonal streets like Sandy and Foster.

In these cases in particular, changes must be made so that the road can accommodate all people.

Adam Troxel
Adam Troxel
11 years ago

I live near there. Why not pick one of the other less heavily traffic streets. 100 yards in ether direction would be a lot safer than Powell. I commute every day and go out of my way to not ride on Foster, Powell, etc. The streets are dangerous and the sidewalk option is even more so.

When I see cyclists on the sidewalk I cringe. Its not safe and common sense should win out.

9watts
9watts
11 years ago
Reply to  Adam Troxel

Adam,
I see your point on Powell, a street that follows the grid–though since I’m comfortable riding on it I’m not looking for a side street alternative. But for Foster this doesn’t work. Look at what Googlemaps for bikes offers us when we want to go where Foster would be the logical choice…. An endless string of jigs and jogs. What a joke. It would take me twice as long to remember/follow those directions, and in my view be no safer.
Don’t get me wrong. I like to bike, but sometimes I also just want to get where I’m going.

Adam Troxel
Adam Troxel
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Foster really depends on where you are going. Its an odd duck. From downtown – I generally head to sellwood, springwater, and out that way. If it is a shorter area within foster..Woodstock seems to be a good alternative. Slower vehicles for sure. I find the less time I’m looking over my shoulders – the faster I ride. It makes up for the extra miles – and extra miles are always good for my health.

NF
NF
11 years ago
Reply to  Adam Troxel

If you’re riding out to Lents, you’re allready putting in more miles than most people reading this blog. Surface streets will get you there in 6.5 miles, the springwater corridor is twice that. (granted, you can go faster, but not twice as fast.)

Spiffy
Spiffy
11 years ago
Reply to  Adam Troxel

I got a mirror so I don’t have to look over my shoulder so much…

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Woodstock or the proposed Gladstone-Center greenway, using the side streets for local access along Foster, seems viable.

Oliver
Oliver
11 years ago

Hello Salmon!

Not only is it a bad idea to ride on the sidewalk for anything other than local access (ie > 1 block) but going against the flow of traffic in the nearest lane, as I have stated before…is foolish. And this is precisely the reason why. And I’m sorry, but if you are a runner, you are traveling at greater than walking pace, so this counts for you as well

Tomas Quinones
11 years ago

All riding, bike-lanes, side-walks, shoulders, whatever, ride as though nobody sees you and could be squashed like an ant.

captainkarma
captainkarma
11 years ago

I believe people on bikes should be able to go wherever they need to and be accommodated at a higher priority than powered vehicles.

On the other hand, I sat in the riverfront park and watched people go by the other evening. 100% people on bikes did not walk their bikes through the congested area as requested by the city. About 85% were speeding i.e., too fast for conditions, at least 12-15mph (some even faster). 35% didn’t have a working front light. The same percentage, but not necessarily the same individuals, had in-the-ear earbuds in use. I saw racers getting dirty looks from fathers with kids that had just about been clipped.

Good thing there’s a decent railing or there’d be people, dogs, bikes, skateboarders falling or jumping into the river, haha.

It goes both ways, but I’m just wondering when was the last time the one with the badge ever gave him/herself a ticket?

Kevin
Kevin
11 years ago
Reply to  captainkarma

I don’t understand what makes you a better person than pedestrians or motorized vehicles that you deserve an “higher priority”. This is a lot like saying row boat should have higher traffic priority than a cargo freighter in the water.

As far as I see it, as a driver, pedestrian, cyclist or what have you…Drive Defensively. Act like people can’t see you. Don’t Assume anyone on the road (bicyclists OR vehicles) knows how to drive properly. And most importantly, you can’t tell someone you were in the right if you are dead.

Spiffy
Spiffy
11 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

I don’t understand many of your responses… like why you are asking what makes captainkarma better than a pedestrian…

craig
craig
11 years ago

Jonathan,
I love the advocacy you present for riders in this town. But man, you are also a bit too sweet on being a bicycle apologist.

To quote:
“… but the “walking speed” thing is pretty impractical when you’re on a bike. It’s difficult to ride at walking speed without falling over (has to do with inertia and physics I think).”

Seriously??? Many people can stand up at a dead stop on their wheels. Walking speed on a bicycle is easy for anyone with any skill. As is riding around tracks, if you’re present and aware.
If a skilled motorcyclist can maintain walking speed in a straight line on a 800lb cruiser, is it really too much to ask that a person on a bicycle exhibit that skill when on a sidewalk?

Again, I love your advocacy for rights. Please offer more advocacy to increase skill, presence, and awareness- for safety’s sake.

cyclist
cyclist
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

I agree 100%, how often do you see people doing track stands, yet biking at 5mph is impractical?

My biggest disappointment with JM’s work is that he more or less refuses to call cyclists out when they do something wrong.

AGRIBOB
AGRIBOB
11 years ago

Riding on the sidewalk the wrong direction, ie facing oncoming traffic, is suicidally stupid. Drivers pulling out look right then look left for oncoming vehicles. With none on their left they go. If a bike zips up the wrong direction good luck to all.

Chris
Chris
11 years ago

The fact that the “cycling community” gets OUTRAGED over the most ridiculous little things detracts from the times we should be absolutely outraged….like this one. Please reserve your outrage for things that really deserve it…like this.

Paul Hanrahan
Paul Hanrahan
11 years ago

Ok. I haven’t read every post. But the rider should be on th Sout side of the street if he is going East. The driver pulling out into the street will be looking your way and in theory see you. Going East on the North side is asking for trouble.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago

Ringer
My point here is that if your not “walking speed” on a sidewalk, you are at fault when you get run over by a car on said sidewalk
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Quoted for truth.

NF
NF
11 years ago

All of this arguing of whether he should have been on Powell, or on a side-street is missing the big picture solution of actually making Powell an acceptable route.

Powell needs to accommodate all users, period. It’s ridiculous that a major commercial and transportation corridor can’t serve the needs of the residents in this city.

A few years ago there was an ‘Inner Powell Streetscape Design Plan’ which covered this area. In this document they list the major issues identified with Powell, and guess what, “Biking along Powell” was NOT one of them. This was a major missed opportunity to at least have this discussion.

The plan does call for future study of a cycle track on Powell from 72-92nd ave… which would be pretty sweet, but why stop at 72nd?

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago

The detail that the cyclist was “hurled” into the travel lanes combined with the photo just set off my BS sensor. The physics of momentum exchange makes this improbable if the bike ran into the police vehicle as claimed. The only way it could happen is if the police vehicle was traveling at a high enough speed that friction between the bike rider and the van could transfer enough momentum to radically change his velocity vector. Either the police vehicle hit the cyclist or the police vehicle was traveling faster than claimed. Given the limits on acceleration, this in turn raised doubts about the officer’s claim that he had stopped to look before entering the roadway.

Finally, I notice that the officer was leaving the parking lot of an establishment that features nude dancers. Was he there on official business or was he having his liquid lunch break? Was a breathalyzer test administered? Does his wife know he was there?

cyclist
cyclist
11 years ago
Reply to  James Crawford

You’ve uncovered a MASSIVE cover up, all of those eyewitnesses must be planted by the cops to impugn this guy’s reputation. Thank you for revealing the truth!

Kristen
Kristen
11 years ago
Reply to  James Crawford

Actually, I wondered about that myself (where the cyclist ended up, and how, not where the cop was coming from).

If the cyclist was thrown into Powell, he would have had to been just about in front (or just off the front) of the vehicle. And the vehicle had to have been accelerating, pulling out of the driveway and onto Powell, which means the vehicle was probably going faster than 5mph (probably closer to 10).

I am skeptical of the details of the crash.

Joe Doebele
11 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

The front of the police forensics truck rolled into the cyclist and threw him out of the Taco Time driveway/sidewalk and onto Powell. The truck was going about 5-6 mph at the time of impact (my guess). The truck stopped 2-3 feet shy of the curb (noticed in my photos). The bike ended up in the middle of the lane. The cyclist ended up between the front of the truck and the bike, and right about where the right side of an oncoming vehicle would’ve rolled over him, had any traffic been coming. The driver (who was not a typical police officer, but some kind of forensics worker in a non-police uniform, who offered no help to the cyclist while they waited for the ambulance) had told the cyclist “you came right outta my blind spot!” I watched this happen from the truck’s right side. There’s no blind spot in this scenario…just a driver who didn’t look carefully to his right. They both bear some responsibility. Stupid or not to ride 10 mph the “wrong” way down a sidewalk, I’d have to say most of the blame goes to the truck driver for not looking carefully. To me the most important issue of all is the falsified police report, especially the change in the location of impact from the front of the truck to the side.

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago
Reply to  Joe Doebele

I knew that the scenario described by the police could not be true. It simply violated the laws of physics. The scenario you describe conforms to the physical evidence. Do you have any photos showing damage to the FRONT of the police pickup? You should provide them to the cyclist’s attorney.

Now the question is will this cop be prosecuted for falsifying a police report?

What the he’ll is wrong with this department?

craig
craig
11 years ago

Paul Johnson
Under Oregon law, if one operator is obeying the law (which seems to be the case) and one is not (which also seems to be the case), then the person who wasn’t doing what they should be is at fault. That’s what happened here. Let’s ignore the fact that one person was on a bike and another is a police officer because it’s not relevant.
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That’s not so, if the officer failed in his legal duty to confirm nobody was approaching from left AND right on the sidewalk before pulling out. He clearly didn’t. Had he done so, he would have seen the lighted bike, whether it was moving at 5 mph or 10 mph.

This happened to me as well when I was walking.

In my case, the pickup was stopped before the sidewalk, and I proceeded to walk across its path. The truck then lunged forward to turn left, putting me up on the hood, where I could plainly see the driver with his head turned hard-left still watching the break in traffic from the left as he pulled out to make his left-hand turn into the road. He still didn’t know I was on his hood until I started pounding it with my fist. At that point he turned his head, startled, saw me, stopped the truck, and buried his head in his arms on the steering wheel.

I was unhurt and there was no police involvement, but it was his inattention that caused him to hit me, and not a mere 5 mph difference in speed between, say, me walking or running.

craig
craig
11 years ago
Reply to  craig

oops: I meant “…as he pulled out to make his right-hand turn…”

Dabby
Dabby
11 years ago

I did not honestly read the above comments, but after our discussion on this here at home I must ask:

What was this police officer doing in his cruiser that distracted him from seeing a light coming down the sidewalk that he was about to cross?

Is there a way (there should be a way) to find out if he was:
On the radio.
On the Computer.
On the internet.
Running a plate.
Something.

We have all heard the tragic “I didn’t see him”.

This is an obvious case of that without it seemingly being said.

So, WHAT the hell was he doing instead of paying attention while turning?

Why would a paid officer of the law be doing crossing a sidewalk without looking?

It sounds like if he looked, he would have seen a bike light, right?

Dabby
Dabby
11 years ago

One last thing:

Left.
Right.
And, then left again…

jim
jim
11 years ago

Did we learn anything from this?
Perhaps if we ride on the sidewalk, we better be pretty darn cautious. Seperately if riding on the sidewalk you should not ride out into the crosswalk where cars may not see you in time…..

tom
tom
11 years ago

I’ve driven Powell to downtown sporadically since 1973 and have NEVER seen a bike rider “take the lane” …that would be a death wish action …I have biked as far as 40th using the sidewalks ,,,usually pretty slow, 6mph-ish …and have always wondered why PDOT ignored this problem during all the reconfigs of Powell that have been done …surely the elimination of the center divider strip would have made room for a bike lane.

Steve
Steve
11 years ago

Don’t ride on the f*cking sidewalk. Period. Enough said. Find a street one block off a main street and ride there.

Tabor
Tabor
11 years ago

Come on people, riding on Powell isn’t dangerous, people won’t hit you. It isn’t the most pleasant place to ride and people behind you might get annoyed but there is another lane, they can pass you. They won’t mow you down out of impatience.

Noel
Noel
11 years ago

Everyone knows you should unmount your bike or go at a “walking pace” to cross streets…

Cora Potter
Cora Potter
11 years ago

It’s not a landfill. Please stop spreading that falsehood. It’s a transfer station where yard debris is loaded onto larger trucks and taken to composting facilities in North Plains.

Historically, that whole industrial site started as a lumber mill – with mill ponds and those old burn tipis etc. Now, it has a number of different construction equipment vendors, concrete recycling operations and the yard debris transfer station and building materials reclamation operation.

Ride by it on your bike – it’s obviously not a landfill.

Paul Johnson
The landfill you speak of has direct access from the Springwater Corridor and a planned neighborhood greenway.
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Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago

wsbob

Paul Johnson
I’m finding it interesting that some people in this thread seem to be of the opinion that bicycles are somehow above the law, common sense or basic physics, and are always right even when they’re obviously not.
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Would you care to be specific? Because your comment seems to be rather broadsided, faulting anyone that doesn’t seem to find the actions of the person riding on the sidewalk in this instant, flat out wrong.

Sure, here’s your own words.

Big question for me is, was Poitra actually traveling 10-12 mph as he approached the driveway from say 25′-35′ away, and at that point, where was the PD forensics truck in relation to the sidewalk at that point? At what point could Poitra see the driver of the truck through the driver’s side window, and his head to possibly make eye contact with him?

Overspeed for sidewalk conditions (it’s a sidewalk, not a cycleway, after all), and legally overspeed for crossing a driveway (since all accounts seem to indicate faster-than-walking), does not a legal, or predictable, or even sane maneuver make. So some of the finer details (like whether the police vehicle struck the cyclist or vice versa) are contested. That doesn’t mean people leaving the driveway have any reason to expect someone travelling at alleyway speeds to come shooting out of vehicular no-man’s land into their path. If I was on my bike instead of that police officer pulling out of the driveway, I’m pretty sure we would have collided anyway because of that.

We’re not talking about someone cautiously operating on a sidewalk at sidewalk speeds and making eye contact knowing that people have no reason to expect vehicles coming down sidewalks. We’re talking about someone going faster than that without due caution.

The fact that many in this thread seem to be doing everything they can to blame the victim in this because the victim was a cop and a motorist in this collision makes my point for me about people on this forum having a tendency to think that bicycles are above the rules of the road, laws of physics and common sense. Get a copy of the state bicyclist’s handbook and accept the fact that Poitra was acting like a fool, and those actions have consequences.

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

Because of the comments made by Joe Doebelle, I’ll accept the claim that the bike was traveling at 10-15 mph. I will however point out that since the police officer claims he didnt see the bike before pulling out, he had no way of knowing the speed the bike was traveling at when he pulled out to hit him. More importantly, a bike traveling at 10-15 mph is only traveling about 20 feet per second. If the cop had stopped and taken the time to look left, right then left before accelerating, then the bike would have covered only about 20 feet during the time between when the driver should have been looking and when the impact occurred. If a driver can’t be bothered to notice a bike that is only twenty feet away, then he needs to extract his cranium from his rectum and clean the feces out of his eyes. If that driver is a cop who then goes on to conceal his culpability by falsifying a police report and making misleading statements in a public forum such as this one, then the bike’s culpability becomes rather irrelevant. The question of if the bike hit the cop vs the cop hitting the bike is hardly a minor detail in this particular situation. Mr Doeble’s comments make it obvious that the two. Cops knew damn well that they had hit the bike rather than the bike hitting them as they claimed, so there is no excuse for their mendacity.

Keep in mind, I’m a militant motorist rather than bike nazi.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

Here’s the link to the entire comment of mine from which you’ve drawn the above excerpt:

http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/22/man-riding-bike-found-at-fault-in-sidewalk-collision-with-ppb-officer-59451#comment-2037036

Not in it, or anywhere else have I said or implied that people that ride bikes are above the law. People that ride bikes, are obliged to follow traffic regulations, just as all other road users are.

It seems to me that most everyone else in their comments to this story, that are questioning details about the collision and the conclusion of the police in regards to it that Poitra on the bike was responsible for the collision, also consider that people that ride bikes are obliged to follow traffic regulations.

Never the less, people have a right to expect that what the police say happened, should add up. I’m happy to believe the police are giving everyone the straight story, and that Poitra was responsible for the collision, if the statements made by the police and reported in maus’s story, add up…but I’m wondering if they really do add up.

Poitra may have failed to slow to a walking speed upon crossing the driveway. Why though, wouldn’t the forensics officer have seen Poitra either some distance from the driveway as he, Portland Police Forensics Officer Morgan driving the truck…was approaching the sidewalk, or as Morgan was waiting at the sidewalk before looking both ways down it to see for certain it was clear for him to cross…unless of course, he didn’t stop and look before crossing the sidewalk.

Page 41 of the Oregon Driver’s Manual:

“…If you must cross a sidewalk, such as when entering or leaving an
alley or driveway, stop before reaching the sidewalk and yield to
pedestrians and bicyclists. …”

If Forensics Officer Morgan had stopped at the sidewalk, saw Poitra coming, thought he had plenty of time to cross the sidewalk on a reasonable assumption that a person on a bike should slow to a walk before crossing a driveway, yet Poitra failed to reduce his speed to a walking speed, resulting in the crash, it might be fair to say he was responsible for the collision. Unfortunately, we reading here do not know whether or not this is exactly what happened.

Morgan, the driver of the truck, was supposed to stop at the sidewalk to make sure it was clear before driving across the sidewalk. Did he do so? If not, perhaps he was also responsible for the collision, maybe in part, maybe entirely.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Corrections:

“…if the statements made by the police as reported in maus’s story, add up…”

“…or as Morgan was waiting at the sidewalk before crossing it, looking both ways down it to see for certain it was clear for him to cross…”

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

There is usually a lot of subtle, non verbal communication going on between people on the road which falls under the category of “making eye contact.”. People quietly acknowledge each other’s presence so that everyone knows that the other guy knows that they are there. It is difficult or impossible for this to happen in the dark

Given Joe Doebele’s observations, I’d say that the physics of collision are consistent with the police vehicle having stopped at the sidewalk to look before crossing the sidewalk to enter the roadway. Given the limits on acceleration capability of most vehicles, the bike impacting the side of the police vehicle would have been consistent with the bike being far enough away (about 60-80 feet) that the Police officer could be excused for not perceiving his presence. The bike would also have had the time as well as the responsibility to slow down and in fact stop before he hit the police vehicle even if he had been traveling at an “unsafe” speed of 10-15 mph.

However; since the front of the Police vehicle impacted the bike, the bike could not have been more than 20 feet away when the police vehicle began accelerating to enter the roadway. The cop’s failure to notice a bike in such close proximity isn’t excused by the bike’s excessive speed. Furthermore, the bike would not have had time and distance to stop to avoid the collission. This is why the “minor detail” of the pickup hitting bike verses the bike hitting pickup is vitally important. IMHO based on probable acceleration rates, even if the bike had been traveling at normal walking speed, the pickup would still have struck the bike unless the bike was able to stop in time which MIGHT have been possible. (minor detail here is important. Where was the exact point of impact on the front of the police vehicle. An impact closer to the right side indicates that the bike might not have been struck if he had been traveling slower while an impact closer to the left side of the pickup indicates that the bukevwas so close that he would have been ran over even if he had been traveling slower) However; the bike had the right of way on the sidewalk. The bike traveling at excessive speed is a factor that might mitigate the pickup’s failure to see him if he hadn’t been so close, but the bike still had the right of way in spite of his excessive speed.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  James Crawford

Here’s what maus wrote, drawing from a police statement about the collision and Morgan’s action related to it:

“…In a statement, the PPB explains that Morgan pulled forward to look for traffic from the east (his left) and then, “believing the road and sidewalk was clear,” pulled forward to enter the roadway. …” maus/bikeportland

Maybe the full police statement has more info about whether or not Morgan stopped at all before crossing the sidewalk and entering the roadway, but the excerpt above doesn’t address the question of whether or not he stopped.

Read Doebele’s comment: http://bikeportland.org/2011/09/22/man-riding-bike-found-at-fault-in-sidewalk-collision-with-ppb-officer-59451#comment-2035657

Now look at the streetview photo maus has posted, of the street, sidewalk and driveway that supposedly are the ones involved in this collision. Note the width of the planting strip between street and sidewalk. If Doebele’s characterization of the collision is reasonably accurate: “hurled the guy into Powell traffic lanes” (quote from maus’s story), does it square that a guy riding a bike on the sidewalk, and either running into, or being run into by a motor vehicle approaching him from an angle perpendicular to the guy on the bike’s direction of travel, somehow moves all the way across the width of that planting and into the main lane of street traffic, as Doebele claims he saw happen?

Joe Doebele
11 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

There’s no planting strip where the collision occurred, just the Taco Time driveway and then the street. The truck stopped about 2-3 feet from the street– whatever the distance is in the photos I took. It was a very simple crash. The truck was rolling out of the lot and down the driveway/across the line of the sidewalk when it plowed into Poitra. There was a split second where Poitra reacted: his left hand went up (reflexively, it looked like to me) to meet the truck’s front end. (Pure speculation: this move may have prevented head or shoulder injury, and I think it was what set off the twirling motion. It looked like an aikido sort of roll.) The truck plowed into him and I watched his body twirl in midair as he fell south and down into the right-hand westbound traffic lane. After he landed, the truck passenger got out and moved the bike out of the street and stood it upright in the driveway while the cyclist also scrambled or crawled out of the lane and back to the driveway, where he sat there exchanging thoughts with the driver, checking out his injuries, and then trying, unsuccesfully, to stand. Then he sat back down and waited for the ambulance. The officer who took my report didn’t ask me how fast the truck was going, just how fast the bike was going, and I guessed 10-12 at the moment just before impact.

I’m starting to realize how odd it is that a witness doesn’t get to read what an officer jots down before the interview concludes, much less sign off on it, and yet they’re free to quote or misquote you as they like. Who does that serve? And that, with all the technology at their disposal, they still don’t record these conversations. (I should have used my cell phone recorder.) And that police reports aren’t available to any of the parties, any of the witnesses, the media, or the public without legal action.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Joe…thanks.

Poitra exceeding a walking speed on the sidewalk, forfeited his right of way over Morgan driving the truck. Morgan is still obliged though, to exercise ‘due care’ in crossing sidewalks.

To meet the standard of exercising ‘due care’, is looking out for a person possibly riding a bike down the sidewalk faster than a walking speed…10-12mph, necessary for a person driving a motor vehicle and approaching a sidewalk with the intention of crossing it?

It’s not a secret that people ride bikes on the sidewalk, or that some of them may be traveling faster than a walking speed across driveways.

Assume a person driving a motor vehicle on a driveway, approaches a sidewalk and stops to look down the sidewalk as they’re supposed to before proceeding across it. They see someone on a bike traveling on the sidewalk towards their vehicle at a speed faster than a walking pace.

Even though by traveling faster than a walking speed, the person on the bike has forfeited their right of way over the person driving the motor vehicle, would the person driving the motor vehicle be exercising ‘due care’ if in proceeding across the sidewalk before the person on the bike passed by their vehicle, a collision might result?

http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/811.html

(scroll down the page to ORS 811.055 Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk; penalty)

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago

Yes, the physics of collision square perfectly with Doebele’s description of events. The only caveat is that in a purely elastic collision with no friction between the pickup and the bike, the pickup would have needed to be traveling at about 8 mph at theist of impact. Given the limits of acceleration, this would then suggest rhat the pickup either stopped about 12 feet short of the sidewalk or the pickup failed to stop. I’m not certain of Doebele’s account mentioned that he observed the pickup stopping or if he inferred that it had. (IMHO, Dowbele is an unbiased observer whose statements are extremely credible). I’ll stop short of suggesting that the cop failed to stop or stopped well short of the sidewalk to get a running start only because there might have been some friction between the bike and the pickup which would have allowed him to be thrown further at a lower impact velocity. There is simply no way in he’ll that the biker could have been “hurled into the street” unless the pickup had been traveling much faster which means that it simply wasn’t possible for him to have stopped at the sidewalk.

Just for clarification, I’m actually crunching the numbers to estimate what the various velocities, accelerations, and positions must have been. I’m not a professional accident investigator, but it is physics 101 to me. I could teach the class for accident investigators.

The police report is fraudulent.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  James Crawford

“…(IMHO, Dowbele is an unbiased observer whose statements are extremely credible)…” James Crawford

He wasn’t directly involved in the collision, but it’s probably important to keep in mind that in posting comments to this story on bikeportland, he’s made his name a link to Joe-Bike.com. He might have a connection with that business. Given it’s a bike shop, that would have some people considering whether his recollection of the collision may be biased in favor of the person riding the bike over the person driving.

On the other hand, if he’s got such an connection and it’s given him a better than average knowledge of bikes, that might make him something of an expert witness.

Maus’s story says: “…Police say Poitra was going about 10-12 miles per hour (according to a witness) …”.

Who was that witness? Doebele in his comment posted to bikeportland says “…There was only one witness (me) who was not a police officer. …”

So was it Doebele that gave the police the estimation of Poitra’s speed on the bike? Or was it Morgan’s passenger?

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago

“There is simply no way in he’ll that the biker could have been “hurled into the street” unless the pickup had been traveling much faster which means that it simply wasn’t possible for him to have stopped at the sidewalk.”

I mistyped here. I meant to say that if the bike hit the side of the truck, the truck would have had to be traveling at a very high speed to ” hurl” the bike into the street. The truck would not have been able to stop for some distance and since he was turning right onto the street the truck would likely have ran over the bike.

Once again, the physics of collision make it obvious the Mr Doebele’s description is very credible while the police account is fraudulent. Ranks right up there with claims that the Earth is flat. Total BS.

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago

wsbob
“…(IMHO, Dowbele is an unbiased observer whose statements are extremely credible)…” James Crawford
He wasn’t directly involved in the collision, but it’s probably important to keep in mind that in posting comments to this story on bikeportland, he’s made his name a link to Joe-Bike.com. He might have a connection with that business. Given it’s a bike shop, that would have some people considering whether his recollection of the collision may be biased in favor of the person riding the bike over the person driving.
On the other hand, if he’s got such an connection and it’s given him a better than average knowledge of bikes, that might make him something of an expert witness.
Maus’s story says: “…Police say Poitra was going about 10-12 miles per hour (according to a witness) …”.
Who was that witness? Doebele in his comment posted to bikeportland says “…There was only one witness (me) who was not a police officer. …”
So was it Doebele that gave the police the estimation of Poitra’s speed on the bike? Or was it Morgan’s passenger?
Recommended 0

Good point about who that witness who estimate rge bike’s speed was. If it was Morgan, why did he pull out and hit him? If it was the passenger, did he try to warn. Morgan to stop?

As traumatic as this was for the bicyclist, it was only a minor accident. Since both appear to have been at least partially at fault, assigning blame shouldn’t be that big a deal. However; the fact that the two police investigators made assertions about the bike hitting the side of the pickup that are self evidently false is a very big deal. Keep in mind, they are forensics investigators so they have more expertise than the average cop, so there is no excuse for their false statements. If they are willing to lie and abuse their authority as police to keep a minor traffic accident off their driving records, are they willing to fabricate evidence and commit perjury to falsely convict people of serious crimes.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  James Crawford

Since there apparently wasn’t major injury, death or damage to property, I suppose the collision could be considered minor. Still, it’s been reported that Poitra was taken to the hospital via ambulance to be checked out. Probably cost some money to be examined, possibly ex-rays, etc. Someone has to pay for that. It’s the responsible party or parties that should pay. If one person or the other is unfairly held responsible for a collision, that’s a bum deal.

The act of a person driving a motor vehicle and failing to yield to a person using the sidewalk, may not go well on the driving record and insurance of the person driving a motor vehicle, or, if it happens while working, on the work performance record. These seem like possible personal reasons people would be glad not to be considered responsible for a collision, even a relatively minor one.

Maus reports the collision had to be investigated by the police, since the collision involved a “vulnerable user of the roadway”. Though it hasn’t been reported here one way or the other, I’m not going to assume it was the officers directly involved in the collision that investigated it.

I hope it was a very carefully conducted, objective investigation, even though it was for a relatively minor collision.

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago

wsbob
Joe…thanks.
Poitra exceeding a walking speed on the sidewalk, forfeited his right of way over Morgan driving the truck. Morgan is still obliged though, to exercise ‘due care’ in crossing sidewalks.
To meet the standard of exercising ‘due care’, is looking out for a person possibly riding a bike down the sidewalk faster than a walking speed…10-12mph, necessary for a person driving a motor vehicle and approaching a sidewalk with the intention of crossing it?
It’s not a secret that people ride bikes on the sidewalk, or that some of them may be traveling faster than a walking speed across driveways.
Assume a person driving a motor vehicle on a driveway, approaches a sidewalk and stops to look down the sidewalk as they’re supposed to before proceeding across it. They see someone on a bike traveling on the sidewalk towards their vehicle at a speed faster than a walking pace.
Even though by traveling faster than a walking speed, the person on the bike has forfeited their right of way over the person driving the motor vehicle, would the person driving the motor vehicle be exercising ‘due care’ if in proceeding across the sidewalk before the person on the bike passed by their vehicle, a collision might result?
http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/811.html
(scroll down the page to ORS 811.055 Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk; penalty)
Recommended 0

Thnx for posting a link to Oregon law.

Here is what it reads.

      811.055 Failure to yield to bicyclist on sidewalk; penalty. (1) The driver of a motor vehicle commits the offense of failure to yield the right of way to a bicyclist on a sidewalk if the driver does not yield the right of way to any bicyclist on a sidewalk.
      (2) The driver of a motor vehicle is not in violation of this section when a bicyclist is operating in violation of ORS 814.410. Nothing in this subsection relieves the driver of a motor vehicle from the duty to exercise due care.
      (3) The offense described in this section, failure to yield the right of way to a bicyclist on a sidewalk, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §702; 1985 c.16 §340; 1995 c.383 §44]

The bottom line is that the auto driver can’t be prosecuted for failure to yield, but he still has an obligation to exercise due care. Just because a bike mightbbe riding to fast on the sidewalk doesntmean it is open season on them. If the bike had hit the side of the pickup, I’d consider blaming the bike. However, the pickup hit the bike which as I calculated earlier indicates that the bike had been so close at the time the cop pulked out that it is obvious that he didn’t exercise due care. This is aggravated by the cop’s callous refusal to help the bicyclist get to safety.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  James Crawford

“…However, the pickup hit the bike…” James Crawford

It’s not been proven that the pickup hit the bike, or that the police lied about how the collision happened.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
11 years ago

wsbob
To meet the standard of exercising ‘due care’, is looking out for a person possibly riding a bike down the sidewalk faster than a walking speed…10-12mph, necessary for a person driving a motor vehicle and approaching a sidewalk with the intention of crossing it?

I don’t think so, if anything it reduces due care for the way that actually matters and is more likely to kill someone

It’s not a secret that people ride bikes on the sidewalk, or that some of them may be traveling faster than a walking speed across driveways.

While true, the expectation has been set, and people would be wise to follow it.

wsbob
wsbob
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson


“…To meet the standard of exercising ‘due care’, is looking out for a person possibly riding a bike down the sidewalk faster than a walking speed…10-12mph, necessary for a person driving a motor vehicle and approaching a sidewalk with the intention of crossing it? …” wsbob

“…I don’t think so, if anything it reduces due care for the way that actually matters and is more likely to kill someone…” Paul Johnson

I don’t really understand your answer.

I’m trying to visualize how far down the sidewalk Morgan may have looked, assuming he did look…before crossing the sidewalk, and whether that fulfilled his responsibility to exercise ‘due care’

How far down the sidewalk might vehicle operators preparing to cross the sidewalk, be expected to look down the sidewalk for approaching pedestrians traveling at a normal walking speed?

I suppose if a ‘normal walking speed’ traveled on the part of people coming down the sidewalk is the only condition for looking that vehicle operators have to meet in order to fulfill ‘due care’ than perhaps they may be relieved of having to look for someone traveling faster.

May be, but not necessarily so, because even though a vehicle operator might not be able to avoid a collision with persons traveling down the sidewalk at a faster than normal walking speed, it seems to me that to exercise ‘due care’ they still have to be on the lookout for such persons, in the event that by seeing such a person, they could take emergency measures to avoid a collision.

How far might Poitra have been down the sidewalk when Morgan’s bumper met the sidewalk, or was say…4′ from the sidewalk? At that point, would Poitra have been so far down the sidewalk that Morgan, however far he may or may not have been looking down the sidewalk….thought there was no way he couldn’t proceed across the sidewalk without a collision occurring?

Reading Morgan’s statement (I expect it’s not his entire statment.) posted to this bikeportland story, it seems as though Morgan didn’t see Poitra before the collision…at all.

James Crawford
James Crawford
11 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Excellent point about how far down the sidewalk a person has to look to fulfill the obligation to exercise due care. As I said, a bike traveling at 10-15 mph is treaveling at about 15 to 22 feet per second. If it takes you two seconds to do the look left, look right, look left then go then you need to be cognizant of what is on the sidewalk for about forty feet. I think this is rather easy standard to meet and I can’t imagine anyone not noticing an oncoming bike that was that close. Most people can instinctively estimate distance, speed, probable closing time and the time needed for them to make their maneuver in only an instant. They don’t have to do the math. Furthermore; no one except perhaps a police forensics investigator would estimate that a bike was traveling to fast, conclude that the bike had forfeited it’s right of way, then proceed even though they knew a collision would result because they could argue that the bike was at fault.

Of course we can argue about where the initial point of impact forever and not reach an agreement because one of us is either unable or unwilling to do the math. Of course the issue could becresolved easily by looking at the photos that the police investigators should have been taking of the front and side of their truck. Then again, since the cops got the bike off the street but forced the injured bicyclist ton crawl for the safety of the sidewalk, I can believe that the cops either didntbtake the photos that procedure dictated or chose to ignore them as they concocted the official pile of bovine scatology.