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Early morning bike/car collision results in heroic rescue, life threatening injuries – UPDATED

Posted by on January 5th, 2012 at 9:16 am

Photo of the scene.
(Photos: Portland Fire & Rescue)

Before sunrise this morning at about 6:30 am, a man riding his bike south on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd just past Lloyd Blvd on the I-84 overpass, was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.

According to a police statement, the man on the bike collided with one car and then, while lying in the street, was struck by another car that was “unable to stop.” The second car pinned the man face down and rescue crews had to rush to the scene for a “technical extraction.”

When fire crews arrived, they reported that the man was in a life threatening situation. Then, as firefighters began to put together a plan, they realized how many of them were already standing around. “Given the critical condition of the patient,” reads the statement, “firefighters opted to forgo standard procedure and worked together to lift the 3200 lb. vehicle off of the patient.”

Eight firefighters then lifted the PT Cruiser up off the trapped man lying on the road. “It wasn’t pretty but it worked,” said firefighter Mick Held.

The man was transferred to Emanuel Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

One person who saw the incident emailed BikePortland to tell us he was two cars back when he “saw a bike shoot out from under a vehicle.” He added that the man who was bicycling appeared to have no lights. After stopping and getting out of his car, the person driving exclaimed that the bike rider “Came out of nowhere and flew right under my car,” says the witness.

The images below were taken by Portland Fire & Rescue…

UPDATE 1/5, 11:05 am: The PPB has issued an update to this story. I have posted it below…

The investigator concluded that the man on the bicycle was traveling southbound in the far right lane (the number 4 lane) and changed lanes unlawfully into a car traveling in the next lane (the number 3 lane). The man on the bicycle struck the car and was then thrown in the path of a car also traveling south (in the number 2 lane) pinning the man on the bicycle under the car, Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in 4 lanes all southbound at the I-84 overpass.

The man struck and pinned under the car is 30 year-old Samuel Guthrie and he was cited for Unlawful Lane Change and Improper Use of Lane.

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  • Zaphod January 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Hoping for a full recovery. Thoughts go out to the victim.

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  • bikeyvol January 5, 2012 at 9:31 am

    At that hour of the morning I see more than a few people riding down MLK, in the dark, with few lights. I don’t know how they can do that with traffic being as it is. It’s very unfortunate for the rider but I think this was something that was bound to happen sooner or later. Why wasn’t the rider over on Vancouver??

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    • Lance P. January 5, 2012 at 9:46 am

      This happened south of the Lloyd. Vancouver doesn’t go past the Rose Garden, actually, if you stay on that route it will lead you right over the MLK overpass. There is no other way to get into inner SE (other than 12th) so if you work/live in inner SE this is really the only option.

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    • ME 2 January 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Because Vancouver doesn’t exist at that part. The closest street that goes over I-84 is over 10 blocks east on NE 12.

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    • Suburban January 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Why wasn’t the PT Cruiser on Vancouver? Having a citation issued to a party to the crash is a positive step.

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  • Mindful Cyclist January 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Wow! This sounds horrific and I am glad the cyclist is still alive and hope for a full recovery!

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  • Stretchy January 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I’m sure you’re already working on this but, a diagram of the directions of travel would be helpful if you’re able to get that information.

    I used to bike that stretch northbound in the mornings and southbound in the evenings and found myself perpetually frustrated that there wasn’t a better way for a bike to get from MLK/Lloyd/Rose Garden to SE Ankeny. From a cyclists perspective, it’s just dreadful traffic planning (or lack thereof).

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  • involved January 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    South bound on MLK. Biker cut across MLK from West to East without looking. Was hit by car in lane 3 and flew into lane 2 where the 2nd car pinned him. He was also not wearing a helmet, but did have a front light, but no back lights. Cops put the biker at fault.

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    • g January 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

      The law says that he needs a front light, but only a rear reflector= not breaking the law.
      I would love to see speed limits lowered/ enforced on MLK and on Grand

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      • Paul Johnson January 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        Clean rear reflector of a size and reflectivity such that it’s actually visible to other users, sure. The dinky postage stamp that came with the bike? No.

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    • not-involved January 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Did the cyclist have a rear reflector? Are you sure he didn’t look? Are you sure he didn’t signal?

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    • spare_wheel January 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

      cyclists are not legally required to have a rear light or to wear a helmet. your comments about light and helmet are irrelevant to a determination of fault.

      traffic speeds on mlk are outrageous with many motorists driving at ~50 mph or above. i suspect this contributed to the severity of this accident regardless of “fault”.

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      • A.K. January 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

        I thought when it’s dark out you could be stopped and ticketed for not having lights? I’m not sure.

        I really hate to play “blame the cyclist”, but taking at least minimal care to be visible at night or during the early morning hours is the least you can do for yourself.

        As a cyclist I watch intently for other cyclists while driving, and it’s amazing how hard people can be to see if they don’t have any lights or reflectors. Drivers need to TAKE CARE while driving, but also try and give them a chance to see you at a distance as well.

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        • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

          “it’s amazing how hard people can be to see if they don’t have any lights or reflectors. ”

          True but also interesting to note how this issue is generally handled differently in several European countries I’ve looked at on this. Austria and Germany generally put more responsibility on the car, headlights, and the driver than we are used to doing here. I posted a bunch on this a while back on the ODOT armbands discussion here: http://tinyurl.com/3p6nfqd
          BMW http://tinyurl.com/3slngkw
          my translation of their description follows:
          “Directed Light-beam for more Safety
          Experiments show: a pedestrian wearing dark clothes can only be seen at 29 meters distance in the dark. If the rule ‘always drive safely’ were followed, one wouldn’t even be allowed to drive Tempo 80[km/h], as at that speed the stopping distance would be 63 meters. With night sight assistance such as Night Vision from BMW, pedestrians and deer can already be seen at several hundred meters distance. However drivers would have to occasionally look at their Night-Vision-Display. With the Dynamic Light Spot the pedestrian will be recognized by the night sight assistant’s infrared sensors and can be directly illuminated by a spot light.”

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      • wsbob January 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

        It’s no secret that motor vehicle traffic travels very fast on this section of MLK. Most people using the road, especially those traveling by bike, would probably recognize this to be the situation, and take precautions accordingly.

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        • Andrew Seger January 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm

          Before the streetcar tracks this was actually a pretty decent way to cross 84. As Elly Blue’s mini reviews of bike lane said (http://takingthelane.com/2011/10/29/portland-bike-route-mini-reviews/)

          “Before it was ruinously remastered to include streetcar tracks, MLK was an underground classic, a thrilling whirlwind of a ride. Though it never gained popular appeal, for those in the know it could take you anywhere fast; you never could keep up, but you never wanted to stop trying”

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        • are January 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

          and yet it is posted thirty

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      • PorterStout January 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        Your first comments are correct but your second paragraph violates your own statement. We don’t know if the driver was speeding, yet your “suspicion” indirectly vilifies the driver. As a general observation, all of us who didn’t actually either see this or interview those that did are unqualified to pass judgment on who or what was at fault. Such speculation only leads to more bikes vs. cars controversy.

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        • PorterStout January 5, 2012 at 12:52 pm

          My post is in response to spare_wheel’s above.

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        • spare_wheel January 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm

          i prefaced my second comment with “suspect”. i was not attempting to make a factual statement.

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      • dbunny January 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm

        Legal or not, riding down MLK in the dark without a rear light is just reckless. I’m glad that he did not die, but we as cyclists do need to take some responsibility for our own safety. As far as the speeds go, I commute by bike at the time of that accident four days a week and drive down that stretch of MLK at that same time once a week and never see anyone pass me at more than 35. 50? Really?

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        • spare_wheel January 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          lowering and enforcing speed limits save lives. its not just about you, motorists.

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  • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

    is there a way to be notified of comments and updates on a story without posting a comment first and checking the little [notify] box here?

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    • Paul Johnson January 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

      Good question; I’ve been wondering that myself.

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  • Chris I January 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

    While the rider has no excuse for not using lights, I would just like to state that I have observed PT Cruiser drivers as being some of the worst out there. Certain vehicles seem to attract the poorly skilled/distracted driver segment more than others…

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    • Mike January 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Agreed. My list of worst offenders include modified honda civics/accords, kias (any model) and toyota prius(es? not sure about plural of prius).

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      • A.K. January 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm


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      • middle of the road guy January 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        My list of worst offenders includes fixie riders without helmets at the top.

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    • Mindful Cyclist January 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      This sounds about as ridiculous as “every fixie rider blows stops signs and doesn’t wear a helmet.”

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      • whyat January 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm

        Agreed. Total irrelevant hearsay comment.

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        • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

          irrelevant maybe, but still funny.

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      • Paul Johnson January 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

        That might be ridiculous, but they do all wear skinny jeans, smoke cloves and drink PBR. *ducks*

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  • q`Tzal January 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Let’s give a big round of applause to heroic well fed firemen and the reduced weight of passenger cars since the OPEC embargo.

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  • Joe January 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I pray for full recovery.

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  • John Lascurettes January 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

    “came out of nowhere and flew right under my car”


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    • Rol January 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      I know, I love that. “The cyclist appears to have arisen from nonliving matter according to the Aristotelian theory of spontaneous generation.”

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      • John Lascurettes January 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

        And: My car was just sitting there and the bicyclist flew under it without my involvement. I had nothing to do with it.

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  • Zac January 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I ride this exact route every morning (including today) at about 6:20am. It’s really tragic how the freeways have limited our options for getting around the city by bike. Cyclists wanting to cross I-84 in this area are forced to choose between between dangerous MLK or the inconvenient Esplanade. I’m grateful that the 12th avenue overpass was improved but bikes deserve more options. It’s time!

    I hope the best for recovery. It’s always tragic and frightening to hear news like this.

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    • Oliver January 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Yet another story where the first thing I thought of was how, just this morning, like many days, I was lamenting the fact of how so much of the bikeable routes are blocked, fronted, paralled or impinged by freeway interchanges.

      2 Hells yeah for the firemen! That is just awesome.

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      • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

        “2 Hells yeah for the firemen!”
        you mean, like, Attorneys General?

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  • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

    “changed lanes unlawfully into a car traveling in the next lane”

    I’d be curious for someone to explain this unlawful bit. Unlawful to change lanes there? Unlawful to be in that lane as a bicyclist at all? Unlawful to run into a car in any lane?

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      unlawful to try changing into an occupied lane…

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    • Paul Johnson January 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Violation of the lanesplitting law and basic laws of physics.

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      • Alan 1.0 January 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        ORS Section 814 appears to be the relevant code. “814.400 Application of vehicle laws to bicycles” says bicycles are “(1) subject to the provisions [of] any other vehicle…except: (b) When otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.” 814.240 “Motorcycle or moped unlawful passing” specifically provides that motorcycles and mopeds are prohibited from land-splitting but doesn’t mention bicycles or vehicles, so exception (b) applies. IANAL, that’s just my interpretation and maybe there is further case law clarifying it, but that’s how it looks to me.

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    • Mindful Cyclist January 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      I am only guessing, but here is what I make of it. You have Toyota in right lane and Honda in left lane of a two way street with four lanes. Toyota is traveling slightly ahead of Honda. Toyota changes lanes (turn signals would be a moot point really) suddenly and hits Honda. The Toyota would be at fault for changing lanes and hitting the Honda as there would be very little chance for the Honda to stop. A car is required to change lanes when the path is clear.

      I am not trying to specuate what happened here or defend the cyclist or driver; was just trying to answer the question.

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      • John Lascurettes January 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        A car is required to change lanes when the path is clear.

        I think you mean rather: A driver is prohibited from changing lanes until the path is clear. And stated one other way: A driver is required to yield to vehicles in other lanes before changing lanes.

        Nothing requires you to change lanes under normal conditions.

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    • are January 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      possibly changing lanes without signaling for fifty or a hundred feet or whatever it is, and not yielding to an overtaking car in the lane to which he was merging, which can sort of be inferred from the fact that he crashed into the side of that car. also the more general law (if it is a law) that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

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  • Alexis January 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Um, what’s up with the PPB describing the bicycle as striking the car? It seems more likely that the situation was that the car struck the bicycle, if both were traveling forward and the bike was in front of the car, unless the bike literally swerved right into the front of the car, which, though not impossible (especially if the swerve was to avoid an obstacle) seems less likely.

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    • JRB January 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

      I suspect the bike collided with the car when it was changing lanes as opposed to changing lanes and then colliding with the car. Without regard to fault, in the former I would say the bike struck the car, in the later I would say the car struck the bike.

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    • John Mulvey January 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      This is a pretty important point when it comes to assessing fault for this collision.

      The report says that the bicyclist “changed lanes unlawfully into a car” that was on his left in lane 3. If, as this suggests, the bicyclist veered into the passenger side of the car, then clearly the bicyclist wasn’t paying adequate attention and is very likely at fault.

      Yet the report goes on to say that the collision caused the bicyclist to end up in lane 2. I cannot fathom how a bicycle can hit a car’s passenger side and end up on the other side of the car.

      What it sounds like actually happened –and can easily be confirmed by looking at where car 1 was damaged –is that the bicyclist moved into lane 3 and then was struck from behind by car 1. This would be the only way that the bicyclist could have ended up in lane 2.

      If that’s true, then fault becomes harder. If the bicylist was in lane 3 and was then hit from behind, the general rule is that car 1 was at fault for following too closely to stop in time.

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      • Spiffy January 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

        or when hitting the passenger side of the car the cyclist was thrown across the hood and into the far lane…

        but I’ve heard that the cyclist AND their bike were under the 2nd car, so yeah, there’s no way that the bicycle hit the car, the car must have hit the bicycle…

        now why did the bicycle change lanes? was it clear when they started and the car sped up and changed lanes without warning? was the cyclist thrown due to streetcar tracks?

        we won’t know until we hear from the cyclist…

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        • 9watts January 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

          “we won’t know until we hear from the cyclist…”

          Or not…. One of the things I’ve learned from commenters here is that when there are no witnesses to such bike+car crashes, a cultural bias that tends to take the driver’s word over the word of the cyclist prevails. I suspect that some of the more reflexive ‘exonerate the cyclist’ sentiment seen here may originate with or be a reaction to that cultural bias.

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  • jon January 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

    wow, surprise, surprise… they blamed the cyclist.

    so is the case with traffic laws and streets built around the motorcar, anything other than motoring is the problem/at fault/illegal.

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    • whyat January 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      You know, cyclists do make stupid actions sometimes. It IS possible. Not saying that’s the case here, but as cyclists we aren’t all born with halos on our heads.

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    • middle of the road guy January 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Of course, it is far easier to blame others than to see fault in oneself.

      Your statement suggests one should always assume the driver is at fault.

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      • PedInPDX January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

        Look to the bull, not the china, when the shop gets wrecked.

        Or would a fair caption for the image below read, “Well, they were making an illegal lane change…” (Alternatively: “Scofflaw china.”)

        It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that private automobiles driven at speeds sufficient to kill or seriously maim (people on bikes, people on foot, people in cars) have no place in urban environs. Until the proper legal and infrastructural protections for the most vulnerable road users are in place, and until our thinking enters the 21st century, tragedies like this — in which minor, split-second mistakes result in massively disproportionate loss of life and livelihood — will continue to occur.

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  • Dan January 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

    “changed lanes unlawfully into a car traveling in the next lane”
    I’m thinking it was without properly signalling his lane change. I’m seeing WAY too many people out there without lights or with lights you can not see unless you are right next to them.

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    • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

      “I’m seeing WAY too many people out there without lights or with lights you can not see unless you are right next to them.”

      are you or aren’t you – seeing them?

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  • Stretchy January 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

    If I recall correctly, this new streetcar tracks begin in the far right lane of MLK somewhere along that stretch. If the accident happened along the streetcar tracks, it’s possible they affected the cyclist.

    The lighting and pavement conditions in that area are also sub-par, especially if the street is wet. The overhead street lights reflect off the wet blacktop causing a disorienting glare.

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      good catch… it’s possible that the streetcar tracks caught the bike’s tire and then trying to recover and not fall caused him to swerve into the next lane…

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      • whyat January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        The tracks have a physical concrete border here. It would be tough to get caught in them.

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  • MyWar January 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I picked the guys bike off the road . It was pretty horrifying. From what I could tell there was no lights, reflector or helmet. Biker and car were stopped in the second lane from the left.
    The biker was face down on the street but was alive and looking around the people gathered by the car.

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  • q`Tzal January 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Remember: it IS possible that a cyclist can be at fault in a collision with an automobile.

    The police wrote some rather specific tickets.
    Given the description I would say that their incident assessment was based on the sound scientific principal of bodies in motion.
    The final resting place of the cyclist speaks directly to the cyclist’s initial force vector in relation to the force vectors of the other vehicles involved.

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    • Psyfalcon January 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      However, I’m sure they talked to the drivers, but could not talk to the rider. That seems to be a common occurrence in serious accidents. There were witnesses, so the tickets might be based on reliable information, but I’m generally unhappy that they’ll issue a ticket to the rider so quickly, but hold off on ticketing car drivers.

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      • wsbob January 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

        The rider can contest the citations in court.

        Possibly, more will eventually be reported about what all the police had available, indicating to them that the citations they issued were the most appropriate for the circumstances.

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        • Paul Johnson January 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

          Exactly. Police go with the information available at the scene and let the courts sort out who is really in trouble. Law enforcement more or less executive branch, courts are judicial.

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          • John Mulvey January 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

            Which is fine, except that the press looks to the police account as being authoritative. This morning’s collision is widely reported. A judgement to the contrary, two years from now, probably would not be.

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            • wsbob January 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

              “…the press looks to the police account as being authoritative. …” John Mulvey

              And rightly so, because the police are authorities.

              “…This morning’s collision is widely reported. A judgement to the contrary, two years from now, probably would not be. …” John Mulvey

              The big news here isn’t the nature of the citations that the police issued, but rather, the nature of the collision and the means taken to provide as immediate care as possible to the injured person.

              A good question, is how significant to possibly different conclusions arrived at in court in future, is reporting of the nature of the citations in association with the dramatic nature of this collision and the heroic rescue measures taken?

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              • John Mulvey January 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

                Except that being an “authority” doesn’t make the police authoritative as to fault, which is the point we’re discussing here.

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              • wsbob January 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

                It certainly does to the extent they are authorized to ascertain fault, which is limited to a citation rather than a conviction, the latter of which they aren’t authorized to decide for, and haven’t.

                Should the police have waited until they could talk to the injured person and get their side of the story, before they issued citations? I don’t think enough info has yet been published about what was done and what is yet to be done, for those of us reading here to easily answer that question.

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              • John Mulvey January 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm

                I’m not sure what you’re arguing. The police are not the authoritative determiner of fault. The press reports treat them as if they are, which is inaccurate and misleading.

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              • wsbob January 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm

                “I’m not sure what you’re arguing. The police are not the authoritative determiner of fault. The press reports treat them as if they are, which is inaccurate and misleading.” John Mulvey

                The press may treat the police as…an…authoritative determiner of fault, which they are, but not the final determiner of fault, which would be a judge of the courts.

                It’s my feeling that the press as a rule, does not consider the police to be the final determiner of fault. Other people, including yourself, may feel the opposite. That’s an opinion people are free to have.

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      • q`Tzal January 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        In this case it is a simple matter of physics.

        From the PPB update posted in the main article above:

        PPB update
        The investigator concluded … bicycle was traveling southbound in the far right lane (the #4 lane)
        and changed lanes … into a car … in the next lane (the #3 lane).
        The man on the bicycle struck the car and was then thrown in the path of a car … (in the #2 lane)

        Ignoring the tickets and their charges for a minute:
        the cyclist started in the right most lane,
        intersected with a car to his left,
        then still had enough leftward momentum to carry him in to the next lane.
        The car in lane #3 was not reported to have crashed in to the car in lane #2 so we can reason that car #3 did not impart any leftward momentum to the cyclist.
        This means that the inertia that carried the cyclist through his collision with the car in lane #3 existed before he crashed in to it.

        That isn’t a simple matter of drifting one way or the other; a turn was executed. The legality of that turn can be argued but that act was the cause of this incident.

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  • fredlf January 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    MLK seriously needs a road diet and traffic calming.

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    • jon January 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm


      the streetcar project was the perfect opportunity to rethink the function and design of those streets, unfortunately they just kept them more or less as is. they are the worst streets in central portland by far IMO.

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      • Paul Johnson January 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

        Keep in mind that MLK isn’t a street. It’s a state highway.

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        • Steve B January 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm

          It’s also a street, and a designated city bikeway.

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        • Unit January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm

          It is NOT a state highway. City of Portland has jurisdiction of MLK/Grand between Columbia Blvd and the viaduct, despite the fact that it still carries the 99-E designation.

          If they had wanted to road diet it, they could have.

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  • Oliver January 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Fully. Isn’t that how the kids are saying it these days?

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    • q`Tzal January 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm


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      • El Biciclero January 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

        I think Oliver means “Totally”, “Bingo”, “Exactly”, “You said it”, “Right on”, etc.

        Can’t tell by the indentation what is being heartily agreed with…

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        • q`Tzal January 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm

          That and what “Fully” specifically references.

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  • Slammy January 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    both bikes and cars are guilty of changing lanes “no matter what” like if they miss their lane change, the world will end. Biker prob realized it was his turn and just had to turn, consequences be damned… how many times have you been driving, about to exit, and have the car next to you speed up and slip in front of you into a tiny little space to make the same exit instead of doing the unthinkable, which is to actually slow down a little bit and slip in behind you, where there’s tons of room.

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  • Carrie January 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I love fire fighters. 🙂

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  • Steve B January 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I hope Samuel is doing ok and heals quickly.

    I am highly suspicious of this account, primarily because it doesn’t even mention the streetcar tracks or the reason the Samuel would have been merging left. If not one but two cars hit him, my gut tells me they were not traveling at a safe speed.

    The new streetcar project has seriously made bicycling in this segment markedly worse, and has ruined the potential for a safer North/South bicycle crossing over I-84 here. As a reminder, Grand and MLK are both designated city bikeways, already in the TSP for years. Where is the mitigation?

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    • Chris I January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      A 2-way cycle track occupying the left-most lane on MLK would be a pretty good solution. Not sure if the city could get away with reducing it to 3 lanes, one of those containing a streetcar that stops every few blocks.

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  • was carless January 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Terrible. Both his cycling and what happened.

    Reminds me of just last night, I was driving home from picking someone up at the airport we saw your typical ninja cyclist – all black clothing, black hat, black bicycle, no lights, no reflectors, riding down the middle of Sandy blvd at midnight.

    Guy had to be nuts to do that.

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    • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      but, as you said, you *saw* him. Amazing.

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      • wsbob January 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        Yeah…9watts. And exactly what is it that you found *amazing* about ‘was carless’ having been able to see the ninja cyclist riding down the middle of the well lit Sandy Blvd at midnight?

        Are you going to suggest that ninja cyclists only ride on broad, well lit boulevards?

        When a ninja cyclist gets hit despite a road user having seen the ninja cyclist, but not in time to keep from colliding with them due to the fact that people on bikes dressed in black or other dark tones, not equipped with lights and reflectors……do not allow road users to see them nearly as readily as they can see cyclists running lights and reflectors, are you going to say: ‘But you *saw* him. Amazing’. ?

        It does no good to be able to see too late to stop from colliding with them, goofs on bikes that neglect even the most basic aids that help road users detect the presence of vulnerable road users making their way down or across the road.

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      • was carless January 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

        Whats *amazing* is that I pay attention to the road whether I am walking, on a bike, or driving a car. Unlike the vast majority of people on the road who are watching youtube or facetiming their friends while driving.

        I have had a few run-ins with cycle ninjas; a few weeks ago I was almost t-boned when one ran a stop sign across Ankeny and almost hit me while I was on a bicycle. Also at night, and I didn’t see him until the last second.

        Listen, I drive very cautiously – usually only 30 mph or lower. I keep a careful eye out for pedestrians and cyclists since I have spent many years living a former carfree lifestyle – and I cycle daily to work.

        What basically worries me is when people do not have any lights or even reflectors in the left lane of a fairly high speed limit street. I mean… I was taken aback at the balsiness of the guy to do that, not to mention the fact that at that time of night, there are a lot of inebriated drivers on the road. Also, he was not turning, he traveled at least 10 blocks that way.

        As a cyclist, I would not bicycle down Powell or Sandy blvd in the left lane in the middle of the night with no safety gear or lights. It just doesn’t seem safe to me. Maybe it does to you.

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        • 9watts January 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm

          I think riding at night without lights is crazy too. But I admit I don’t get as exercised about it as some people I know.
          I now have outfitted all the bikes members of my family use with multiple good working lights front and back. But that wasn’t always the case, and when I was a kid no one wore fluorescent vests on a bike either. Just because some of us are so on top of the lighting and reflective end of the bike spectrum doesn’t mean this has gotten through to everyone, or everyone has figured out how to make it work. I’m still working on figuring out good, cheap, and reliable lights and visible clothing after biking for 30 years so I don’t feel too haughty toward those who haven’t yet.

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  • Bill Stites January 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Very sorry to hear of this crash.
    Maybe I missed it, but doesn’t anyone else use the sidewalk here? I’ve never had any trouble doing this, as I bike with respect – giving pedestrians their priority. You wouldn’t catch me out on MLK in this stretch of road, especially in the dark.
    The sidewalk is my safe connection from Lloyd down to Davis, where one can then use traffic signaled intersections to zig-zag to Ankeny.

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    • was carless January 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      You know, MLK seems more dangerous than it actually is. At least, prior to the streetcar tracks. I rode it once or twice and honestly, it wasn’t that unsafe if you took the lane and were visible to traffic. However, cycling in the rain may be a different story. And those streetcar tracks… yeesh!

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    • spare_wheel January 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      you are afraid to ride you bike on mlk. i am not.

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  • Opus the Poet January 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    The cyclist’s trajectory sounds amazing. As in “what could throw a cyclist that far to the left?” amazing. I hypothesize something in the #4 lane that when hit at bicycle speed would propel the cyclist to the left from the #4 lane to the #2 lane after bouncing off a car in the #3 lane. Was there something like that seen at the scene?

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    • John January 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      No! This was completely the cyclists fault.

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  • Filmman January 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    As I read through all the comments here I realize that everyone here, for the most part, are looking for any excuse to blame the driver and exonerate the cyclist. Anything to make the cyclist a ‘victim’.

    The reality is, people do stupid things sometimes. This includes both drivers and cyclists. It doesnt matter how many bike lines, lanes, or esplanades the city installs, if people throw caution to the wind, they are going to get hurt.

    Slowing the speed down will do nothing to fix the problems of cyclists who absolutely ignore the rules. They are going to get absolutely hammered no matter whether the car is going 35 or 25. Its still 4000+ lbs of metal.

    I have 100’s of hours of footage of cyclists breaking the law. Please, take responsibility for not following any rules. Deferring blame doesnt fix the long term problems for both drivers and cyclists.

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    • John Lascurettes January 6, 2012 at 1:19 am

      I don’t think you read through the comments very carefully, Filmman. Plenty of people are laying some or all fault on the cyclist.

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      • John Lascurettes January 6, 2012 at 1:22 am

        P.S., Filmman. One could gather hundreds of thousands of hours of cars constantly breaking the law too. So what’s your point again?

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    • Lazy Spinner January 6, 2012 at 5:08 am

      Agreed. Cyclists are no different than drivers in that they make poor decisions at times. There’s much we don’t know at this time. Was the cyclist impaired? Prescription and common OTC meds can alter your perception of speed/risk – not speculating that he was inebriated in the traditional sense. Was the cyclist distracted? Using headphones? Did he not turn his head enough to scan for auto traffic near him? Did he simply think, “Oh crap! I need to turn here.” and executed the move in haste? You see that everyday with drivers. Why wouldn’t we expect a cyclist to do such things?

      This is tragic and I do hope that Samuel recovers. I also hope that many here will get past their, “The Rider is ALWAYS Right!” and “Damned Ninja Hipster Deserved It!” mentalities as neither are constructive in the long run.

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    • PedInPDX January 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      “Slowing the speed down will do nothing to fix the problems of cyclists who absolutely ignore the rules. They are going to get absolutely hammered no matter whether the car is going 35 or 25. Its still 4000+ lbs of metal.”

      Factually untrue, Filmman. People are going to break traffic statutes regardless — people of all travel modes. But the difference between getting hit by a car going at or less than 20-25 mph and one going over that can be — literally — a matter of life and death.

      This is from the very first study I found on google, from the NHTSA:
      “The idea that the faster a striking vehicle is traveling, the more damage is done to a struck pedestrian, has been documented in a number of studies. Pasanen (1992), for example, concluded from three studies relating collision speeds and pedestrian injury severity that about 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling 20 mph, about 40 percent for vehicles traveling 30 mph, about 80 percent for vehicles traveling 40 mph, and nearly 100 percent for speeds over 50 mph.”


      The amount a vulnerable road user gets “absolutely hammered” has everything to do with speed.

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    • Kristen January 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Also: Roads are for people.

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  • Hank Sheppard
    Hank Sheppard January 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Time to dust off that “7th Avenue Bridge” idea and connect the north and south sections of that street with a beautiful bike/ped bridge over I-84 in Sullivans Gulch.

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  • John R January 6, 2012 at 3:25 am

    First, look at comments in the thread above. Can we take a moment to respect the people involved in this accident? It’s not about fault.

    Second, go to Oregonlive and take a look at the comments there on this story. Terrible.

    Finally. I have no idea if the cyclist involved was at fault. I do know that I laid it down just south of there I knew that there was a street car track there. I walked away bruised but alive.

    The point: our streets are still not safe for all modes of transportation. Shame on any of us for blaming the victim or the culprit.

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    • middle of the road guy January 6, 2012 at 8:53 am


      the comments on the O are bad, but the comments in this forum against cars are just about as bad. Neither side has any objectivity and it is usually an emotional argument for both.

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      • q`Tzal January 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

        Sorry, I’ve avoided the O and actively tune out the anti-car responses posted here.

        While I can’t deny that the anti-car invective gets heated here YOUR supposition that every comment here is biased is in it self BIASED.

        Go back and read some comments; you might just discover that there are some intelligent, rational and circumspect comments here.

        Unless of course you believe that for someone to be intelligent they have to agree with you.

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    • wsbob January 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

      “…Finally. I have no idea if the cyclist involved was at fault. …” John R

      You do know that the person riding the bike was “…cited for Unlawful Lane Change and Improper Use of Lane.” Assuming you’ve read Maus’s story.

      I’d say it’s a fair guess that all the people directly involved in this multi-vehicle collision, have done some thinking about the question of fault as it relates to the collision, and whether or not, and if so, how their actions contributed to the collision.

      Due respect for the people involved in this collision is important to keep in mind. So are questions of fault and traveling the road safely to avoid collisions.

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    • jlkm January 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      Right. It was an ACCIDENT.

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      • canuck January 9, 2012 at 5:51 am

        Wrong. It was not an accident.

        As an incident investigator in the Canadian Forces, I ran into 1 incident of a true accident. All other traffic issues were completely the fault of one or all the drivers involved.

        Someone made a bad decision here, plain and simple.

        Fobbing it off as an accident it is not how you learn from the incident. In the military you find the cause and you take action to eliminate the cause, usually through remedial training.

        And the one true accident was a tree limb falling on a vehicle. Not much we could do about that except remove all the trees from the training area.

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