Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

More info on yesterday’s collision at SE Ankeny and 16th

Posted by on February 10th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Yesterday morning I got two reports from readers about a bike/car collision at the intersection of SE 16th and Ankeny. I usually don’t post about every bike-involved collision I hear about; but since two people emailed and it’s on a busy bike street, I figured this one was worth sharing.

Reader Marsha H. wrote in, looking for more information about what happened:

“I went by on my morning commute and saw a young woman on a bike on the ground not moving much, a small but growing crowd of concerned cyclists, and the driver in the collision calling 911.”

View of SE Ankeny looking north from 16th.

A reader named Heather also saw the collision and wrote in to share that, “It was bad enough that EMTs were attending the cyclist (but she was moving her feet – good).” The collision exacerbated Heather’s concerns that there is more traffic crossing SE Ankeny — one of the City’s oldest bike boulevards — since the completion of the Burnside-Couch couplet. “I see cars blowing stop signs as they cross and racing down the street regularly,” she wrote, “and by my unscientific analysis, it’s gotten significantly worse during and since Burnside construction.”

(For more on how the Burnside-Couch project has impacted bicycle traffic, see the comments to our post from April 2010: How are Burnside-Couch changes treating you?)

I asked Sgt. Peter Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau to track some information about the collision. Sgt. Simpson says that at about 7:15 am, the woman driving the car, 43-year-old Christine Ebright, was headed northbound on 16th, stopped at the stop sign. When she proceeded through the stop sign, “she heard a large ‘bang’ and realized she’d been struck by a person on a bike.” (Note: Ankeny has no stop signs at that location)

Ms. Ebright told police that she didn’t see the bicycle rider coming.

Sgt. Simpson reports that person on the bike was 23-year-old Erin Winn. She was transported to a hospital via ambulance for evaluation; but had no trauma-level injuries. There was no citation issued in the case.

— Remember, our 24-hour tipline, (503) 706-8804, is always available to report collisions (texts are OK too!).

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Chad Berkley February 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Once again, “I didn’t see the cyclist” = no citation. That really needs to stop happening.

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    • Dan February 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Amen. If it’s not exactly “failure to obey a traffic control device”, it’s definitely failure to yield right of way.

      Love the police description, putting the blame on the cyclist: “she heard a large ‘bang’ and realized she’d been struck by a person on a bike.” …failed to add “due to cutting the cyclist off by pulling out in front of her and not leaving her any room to get around or stop.”

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      • Chris I February 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

        They can’t even use the excuse of lack of details in this case. She clearly had to yield to the cyclist, so why is it not stated in the report that she failed to yield? Ridiculous.

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        • wsbob February 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

          “…why is it not stated in the report that she failed to yield? …” Chris I

          What report? Have you read a report on this collision other than maus’s story?

          “…Ms. Ebright told police that she didn’t see the bicycle rider coming. …” maus/bikeportland

          Many people in comments to this story seem to be assuming to the exclusion of all other possibler reasons, that the person driving didn’t see the bicycle rider coming, either because the driver didn’t look for traffic approaching on the cross-street, Ankeny, or specifically, weren’t looking for a person approaching on a bike.

          There are other possible reason than these for the person driving having not seen the person on the bike coming. If I’m understanding the law correctly, those would need to be eliminated before the traffic court judge could decide a citation recipient was guilty of something like failing to yield.

          A citation is just a charge, but the cop issuing one should have some solid grounds for issuing one. Looking at this collision scene and talking to people there, would the cop responding to this collision have been able to readily determine why the person driving didn’t see the person on the bike coming, to an extent that would justify issuing the citation?

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          • El Biciclero February 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

            I don’t think it matters why the driver didn’t see the cyclist. It was 7:15am; the sun is up by then. Driver pulls out directly into the path of a moving cyclist. If the driver had “heard a loud ‘bang’, and realized she had been struck by [anything other than a bicycle]”, I would bet next month’s paycheck she would have gone home with a citation.

            There was a recent case of a cyclist who rode into the path of a car while changing lanes on MLK. I believe he had a citation for “illegal lane change” before the ambulance doors closed. What careful collection of evidence led to that definitive conclusion? Was there any discussion of “why” the cyclist thought the lane was clear? Nope.

            Granted, I don’t have any detailed, inside knowledge of either of these cases, but I would be interested to see an analysis of “minor” collisions like this and see a) who gets citations, and b) how quickly they get them. It is my perception that cyclists are more often deemed at fault on the scene (it seems to take longer to determine that a motorist bears any blame), and are issued citations on the spot more often (it seems to take the police a long time to decide whether a motorist deserves one or not).

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            • 9watts February 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

              Excellent comparison to the MLK crash & citation. One wishes for a group of law students to take on this issue and comb through the past few years and follow up on them. Hm.

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            • wsbob February 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

              “I don’t think it matters why the driver didn’t see the cyclist. It was 7:15am; the sun is up by then. Driver pulls out directly into the path of a moving cyclist. If the driver had “heard a loud ‘bang’, and realized she had been struck by [anything other than a bicycle]”, I would bet next month’s paycheck she would have gone home with a citation. …” El Biciclero

              You don’t perhaps mean ‘Anything larger than a bicycle’. Do you? A car or a big truck coming down the street is large enough that people driving or biking generally won’t miss it as they scan the street for approaching traffic. Bikes, having far less width from front and rear, can be far harder to see, making certainty for a cop having to decide whether or not a citation is in order, less clear.

              I’m increasingly seeing people on bikes running daytime lights, for greater visibility. I don’t yet, but am gradually warming up to the idea that this might be something I should start doing. At this particular street intersection, assuming Ebright did scan the cross street for approaching traffic, if Winn had been running daytime lights, I wonder if that would have helped Ebright see Winn approaching.

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              • El Biciclero February 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

                It is not a cyclist’s legal duty to go above and beyond the requirements of the law to help drivers with basic looking skills. This could have been a motorcycle, or even a runner crossing this driver’s path. I suppose sunrise on that day was still 5 minutes away (I looked it up) so if the cyclist did not have lights on they could also be cited for an equipment violation. Does that absolve the driver of responsibility? Unlighted things are perfectly visible 5 minutes before sunrise. If this is used as an excuse, then that is exactly what it is–an excuse–not a reason. I refer again to the case of Samuel Guthrie who was cited within the day (likely at the scene) for an error in judgement that resulted in his own injury, while the driver in this case is not cited even thought they caused injury to another. I would love to know what conclusive evidence there was in Guthrie’s incident that made the case for issuing a citation on the spot rather than waiting for further investigation, or hedging on concerns of nuanced turns of legal sparring that might influence insurance companies’ decisions or a county’s traffic conviction rate.

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              • wsbob February 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

                “It is not a cyclist’s legal duty to go above and beyond the requirements of the law to help drivers with basic looking skills. This could have been a motorcycle, or even a runner crossing this driver’s path. …” El Biciclero

                Numerous people commenting about this collision have noted that legal duty is not the only related issue here, and probably not the most fundamental. Preserving life and limb is.

                While it’s “…not a cyclist’s legal duty to go above and beyond the requirements of the law to help drivers with basic looking skills. …”, for people that ride bikes in traffic, iit makes a whole lot of sense to do exactly that. The number of people that do take extra measures to make themselves more visible to people that drive, are increasing.

                I’m not sure that in the overall scheme of things, a citation issued to a driver for actions…whatever all those of the person driving in this collision were…is going to having a lot of effect in terms of reducing such collisions. Depends on various things which haven’t been reported that I know of.

                I don’t know about the other collision on MLK you’re referring to, but there seems to be numerous basic differences between it and this one on 16th and Ankeny. Looking at those differences more closely may help to explain why a citation was issued there, and not in this collision.

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              • El Biciclero February 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm

                Arrgh. You are conflating two separate issues. My desire to survive does not influence a driver’s legal responsibility to drive carefully. When I say a cyclist has no legal duty to go above and beyond the law, I’m not saying that it is a bad idea to go above and beyond. I am saying that a driver should not get away with committing a traffic infraction that results in injury because they can point to a cyclist and say “he/she didn’t do absolutely everything possible to force me to see them!!” Drivers must train themselves to look for all other legally operating roadway users, not expect everyone to cater to their particular degree of inattention, inexperience, or incompetence.

                I wish people would distinguish between legal responsibilities which have legal consequences and safety measures which have personal safety consequences. There is a big difference.

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              • wsbob February 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

                “…I am saying that a driver should not get away with committing a traffic infraction that results in injury because they can point to a cyclist and say “he/she didn’t do absolutely everything possible to force me to see them!!” …” El Biciclero

                From what I can tell by reading this story and comments to it, Ebright, the driver hasn’t gotten away with committing a traffic infraction. She hasn’t received a traffic citation…yet. She may still. She stayed on the scene of the collision. Offered insurance info. According to Winn’s brother, is apparently willing to accept due responsibility for the collision.

                Hasn’t made any excuses for not having seen Winn approaching on her bike. Only has said something on the order of having not seen her. It’s people in comments to this story that have speculated about and jumped to conclusions about why Ebright didn’t see Winn on her bike.

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          • BicycleDave February 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

            “would the cop responding to this collision have been able to readily determine why the person driving didn’t see the person on the bike coming, to an extent that would justify issuing the citation?”

            Yes. If conditions were such that the driver of the car could not see whether or not a bicycle and rider were about to hit her car then it was not safe to proceed through the intersection.

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            • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

              But how could the cop know whether the woman had sufficient or insufficient ability to know if a cyclist was about to cross her path? I think that’s what wsbob was getting at.

              Reading your comment, it seems to me that you’re saying that a person should wait at a stop sign until they know for certain that a cyclist isn’t going to cross their path. Well how can a person know aside from seeing whether or not a cyclist is there, right? If the driver scanned and didn’t see one, then the driver didn’t see what was outside her vision, because she of course couldn’t, or her brain misinterpreted the cyclist she saw as something else. Do we expect drivers to sit at stop signs because they can’t know whether or not there’s anything outside their sense’s abilities to know, or do we expect them to have faith in their senses and act accordingly?

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      • Todd Boulanger February 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        The initial police report will typically be written through the viewpoint of those available for the interview – and in most cases this is the driver since they are most likely the only one to survive a bike crash or the cyclist is unavailable (rushed off to the hospital or unconscious).

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        • q`Tzal February 11, 2012 at 10:24 am

          And yet even the driver’s description plainly demonstrates violation of basic simple rules of the road that all drivers are supposed to know per ODOT and the DMV.

          Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices

          This section establishes appropriate driver responses to specific traffic control devices for purposes of ORS 811.265 (Failure to obey traffic control device). Authority to place traffic control devices is established under ORS 810.210 (Placement and control of traffic control devices). Except when acting under the direction of a police officer that contradicts this section, a driver is in violation of ORS 811.265 (Failure to obey traffic control device) if the driver makes a response to traffic control devices that is not permitted under the following:

          (11) Stop signs. A driver approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no marked crosswalk, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.

          See, right there. Ticketable offense.

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          • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

            What you quoted doesn’t say anything about how to cite or not cite a driver whose failure to yield comes from a failure to first see the approaching object. In fact it says nothing about any reasons for failing to yield. Perhaps such a lack of specifications is why people often don’t agree with police officers’ interpretation of the law.

            Of what use are citations if they don’t solve the actual issue at hand, and if we don’t even know what the issue is? Citations are meant as an incentive to modify behavior, are they not? If a law aims to make people choose to yield, should we cite someone who failed to yield possibly only because they failed to see what the law wanted them to yield to? Police officers have to weigh such questions and consequences regularly. How many of us do?

            We call accidents accidents for a reason, and we treat them differently from intentional crime for a reason.

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      • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        “Love the police description, putting the blame on the cyclist: “she heard a large ‘bang’ and realized she’d been struck by a person on a bike.” ”

        Where at all does the article say the police blamed the cyclist for anything? Saying she’d been struck by a person on a bike is merely a way of conveying the events that occurred. The police might not share your connotations for certain words and phrases.

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    • Jacob February 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

      not to sound like an ass, but did the cyclist slow to make sure no one was attempting to cross? What would the outcome be if a ped was trying to cross the street and the cyclist did not yield? I am very happy that (apparently) no one was seriously injured. When approaching any intersection we should all be aware, cyclist, pedestrian, motorist, or what have you. Just because you don’t have a stop sign does not make that intersection any less of a cross walk for peds. All intersections are pedestrian crossings, marked or not.

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      • Tracy Winn February 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

        I guess I am sensitive because it was my baby sister who was involved in the crash, but you do sound like a bit of an ass, Jacob. If cars and cyclists were supposed to yield at every intersection, even when they clearly have the ROW, then the PDX traffic would be infinitely worse. I can guarantee my sis will be much more wary when she crosses any intersection in the future, but if this driver hadn’t pulled out in front of her I don’t think she should have to feel that way.

        My sis is the sweetest most caring person in the world and I’m sure she will forgive this woman for what was obviously an accident. Yet I feel quite pissed off that a driver that was clearly at fault got away with nearly killing my sister without so much as a ticket.

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        • Jacob February 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

          I’m not saying that everyone slow at every intersection. I’m talking about defensive riding, ride like everyone is out to kill you. I used to think that it was ok to just ride and everyone would be ok. After being hit a few times (luckily none of the accidents involved injuries to myself), and after getting married, I realized I need to take care of myself regardless of the law. I don’t drive anymore, therefore I ride everywhere, which was fairly easy when I lived in PDX. Now living in a comparativly bicycle unfreindly city (Santa Cruz, CA), I need to defend myself from not only cars, but other cyclists. I don’t “yield at every intersection” but I do pay extra attention at every intersection, and that’s why I’ve yet to be seriously injured while getting to/from my destinations (MTB riding is a different story ;p ).

          I’m sorry your sister was hurt, that’s not cool. The only thing I could say is that while riding, pay extra attention at intersections, especially those where cross traffic is supposed to stop at a stop sign. It’s not fair that we as cyclists must practice extra caution just to get home safely, but it gets you home alive and without stitches.

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        • wsbob February 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

          “…Yet I feel quite pissed off that a driver that was clearly at fault got away with nearly killing my sister without so much as a ticket. …” Tracy Winn

          So your impression is that Christine Ebright, the person driving the car, got away from this collision with no consequences whatsoever?

          Here’s a link to your brother’s comment further down: http://bikeportland.org/2012/02/10/more-info-on-yesterdays-collision-at-se-ankeny-and-16th-66989#comment-2551910

          …and some of what he says about the person driving: “…The driver, as far as I’ve been told, has been a stand up citizen throughout the ordeal. She made a very human mistake and, per usual, is more distraught than any party involved. …” Collin Winn

          Besides the shock and distress your brother says Ebright is experiencing, this bikeportland story reports that she’s provided your sis with her insurance info, meaning it’s likely Ebright’s insurance is going to be paying for injuries and damage your sis sustained. As some people have suggested in their comments, it’s possible somebody will decide yet to pursue a citation against Ebright for failure to yield. Could be Ebright’s premium will go up.

          I was glad to read that your sister survived the collision, and from your brother’s comment, that he and his brother had set her up with good gear for riding. The simple fact is, that even under the best of circumstances, bad things can happen. There are lots of street situations, particularly in neighborhoods, where sight-lines and obstacles make seeing a person on a bike coming down the street, difficult, even when a person driving scans for them. Jacob in his comment about being especially wary about intersections like the one where this collision occurred, makes a good point.

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          • El Biciclero February 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

            Don’t even talk about the “hasn’t the driver suffered enough” argument. Again, I will refer you to the case of Samuel Guthrie. Notice that even the headline to the story mentions the citation that the cyclist–who was nearly killed–received, likely at the scene. Tell me who has suffered enough already to warrant not receiving a citation? A driver who got a scratch on her car and was “shaken up” because she caused serious injury to someone else, or a cyclist who got run over and nearly killed? Yet in comparing these two cases, who got the citation? The “hasn’t the poor driver suffered enough” principle makes about as much sense as a gravy fork.

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      • are February 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        i missed the part where there was a pedestrian involved in this scenario. seems clear the motorist, at least, did not scan for pedestrians or anyone else. absolutely no evidence the cyclist did anything wrong. she could have seen the car, seen that it was stopped, proceeded after slowing or whatever it is you are asking her to do, and still had this happen.

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      • Kristen February 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

        Do car drivers with the ROW at the intersection slow to make sure no one was attempting to cross? Probably not, because the cross street has stop signs and the main arterial does not.

        It’s the responsibility of the person at the stop sign to make sure the crossing is clear. Obviously, the driver in this instance did not.

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  • A-Dub February 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I didn’t see=I didn’t look=I didn’t perform my duties as a driver=citation. Period. Seems simple enough.

    Also, as Maus has pointed out in the past, the police often only get to hear the perspective of the driver of the car especially in serious collisions because the person on the bike is often on their way to the hospital.

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    • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Wow. Really? How do you know what was going on in the driver’s head?

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  • peejay February 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Will somebody please hold the police accountable for their gross misunderstanding of the law?

    Nah, I didn’t think so.

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    • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      I can’t see your post serving any purpose other than to further incite emotions and fail to correct anything you’re trying to complain about. Society and its laws and conventions and regulations and policies and blah blah blah are quite complicated. What specific laws do you think the police are misunderstanding? What makes you so certain we aren’t misunderstanding them? You can simply say “law” while thinking of laws “A, B, and C”, and other people on here can recommend your post because they thought about the police interpreting laws “D, E, and F” and/or “G, H, and I”, etc differently than they themselves would, but where do generalizations and our rallying together by them get us?

      Will somebody please hold online comment posters accountable for the harmful biases they spur and/or support? Nah, I didn’t think so. But that’s an inaccurate statement on my part, because no bias begins and continues due to any single element such as a poster.

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  • jeff February 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    let me get this straight..if she was crossing Ankeny and Ankeny has no stop sign, the driver would seem to be clearly at fault, am I right?
    a citation may be on its way.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    It’s worth noting that Sgt. Simpson did point out to me that, “Driver’s insurance information provided to the bicycle rider.” I take that to mean that the ppb were satisfied that the woman on the bike would be taken care of, at least in terms of her injuries and damages.

    In cases like this, I think that the PPB feel that since the insurance will sort out fault, they would rather not issue a citation that could then potentially be challenged in court – thus making them spend resources appearing in court.

    the ppb might think they don’t have a strong enough case for “failure to yield.” FWIW, in my mind, this story really isn’t about the citation issue… it was more to share news about the collision.

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    • A-Dub February 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Good point. I remember getting in a collision while driving about 10 years ago. I called non-emergency line and was told unless their was a dispute as to who was at fault or alcohol appeared to be involved, the police weren’t going to come out.

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      • A-Dub February 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        “there” not “their”…wish I could blame auto-correct but I have only my editing skills to blame.

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    • BURR February 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      A cyclist going up alone against a motorist’s insurance company, especially in the absence of a citation, is a fool’s mission.

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      • are February 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        i agree. the police must surely know this. the citation relieves any ambiguity as to who was at fault. i am not trying to punish anyone, but as long as we are dealing with fault and insurance, we gotta cross these t’s and dot these i’s.

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      • Case February 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm

        Absolutely right. I have been in more than my share of car vs. bike and I learned very early to collect witnesses, ask them to stay and call the police. I have also been told that a citation was warrented but they weren’t interested in the paperwork. In the cases where a citation wasn’t issued I was put in a position of retaining a lawyer to fight drivers’ insurance denials. Letting a victim fend for themselves against an insurance company is neither protecting or serving and boarders in misconduct.

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      • A.K. February 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

        I wonder if she were to “lawyer up” as it were, if negotiations with insurance would go better? I’ve heard several accounts that once you get a lawyer involved, the motorist’s insurance co. is much more likely to settle with little trouble, because even a settlement for, say $10,000-$15,000 is much less than what could happen if two or more vehicles were involved. Some medical bills and a new bike for the cyclist are peanuts in comparison….

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      • Todd Boulanger February 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

        This should be on the top of the agenda of the Mayor, Council and the BTA to work on this since it undermines the city’s active transportation objectives…much as the old (since ended) police policy of not bothering with crash reports if the vehicle value was less than $500 (my memory).

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      • Greg February 11, 2012 at 1:58 am

        I’ve injured in two significant car v. motorcycle collisions. In both cases, I got nothing but the runaround from my insurance and the other party’s insurance. Once I obtained an attorney, the attitude changed, and I started to get my medical bills paid.
        One of the particularly interesting things is that from each attorney’s perspective, a citation was irrelevant. There were no citations involved in either case.

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      • Spiffy February 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

        I got the insurance company of the driver that hit me last week to send me a $15 check for repairs to my bike without even providing them my receipt…

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      • matt picio February 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        BURR – that’s why it’s important to have renter’s/homeowner’s insurance, which covers your bicycle and any liability associated with it. Then it’s not you vs. their insurance, it’s your insurance company vs. their insurance company – a much more level playing field.

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    • 9watts February 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm


      Fascinating. I love the narrative forensics.
      At a two-way stop, the vehicle stopping is supposed to be cognizant of cross traffic. The vehicle without a stop sign that is close enough to the intersection to produce a ‘bang’ in this instance should be able to count on the stopped car to remain stopped.

      Since neither occurred, one has to ask (as many have already) what’s going on here with the police assessment of the crash?

      “…PPB would rather not issue a citation that could then potentially be challenged in court”

      Somehow I don’t feel like the PPB acts so deferentially in all cases.

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    • Rol February 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Every auto insurance policy issued in Oregon is legally required to cover the following expenses incurred by any injured party, REGARDLESS OF FAULT: doctor bills, wage losses, child care, and anything you can reasonably argue was a cost directly resulting from the accident. In case you ever need it, this coverage is called a PIP (personal injury protection) endorsement. If an insurance carrier tries to deny your claim, report them to the Oregon Insurance Commission.

      So yes, she will be taken care of, but “Driver’s insurance information provided to the bicycle rider” indicates nothing in particular regarding who’s at fault in the accident.

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    • Seager February 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      This absolutely should be about the citation issue. If the police refuse to protect people on bikes from people in cars, and don’t penalizing people in cars for breaking the law when a people on bikes are the victims, then we (as people on bikes) do not need to follow the law. If the law won’t protect us and dehumanizes us, it does not apply to us.

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      • middle of the road guy February 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Go right ahead with that and see how things turn out.

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    • El Biciclero February 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Two words: “Samuel Guthrie”.

      In a recent story covered on this site, Mr. Guthrie was run over on MLK Jr. Blvd. after swerving left in front of another vehicle. From the Oregonian, in a story published the same day as the incident:

      “Guthrie was cited for unlawful lane change and improper use of lane.”

      If the implications of issuing citations are so subtle and nuanced as to warrant such extreme caution in writing one up in cases like this where the motorist is (IMO) obviously at fault, why are they written up and tossed into the back of the ambulance as a cyclist is being hauled away if the cyclist is “obviously” at fault?

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      • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        In Samuel’s case, I imagine issuing a citation might have been much easier. How much busier would you say MLK generally is over Ankeny? When driving on MLK, might one expect safety of anyone to be less guaranteed than when driving on 16th and Ankeny? I don’t think of that as an excuse, because safety’s guarantee merely depends on immediate, ever changing circumstances, so neither road is inherently safer than the other, but perhaps the police like many others, work under the assumption that cyclists should be much more careful on MLK and maybe even avoid it altogether. I find such assumptions unfortunate, but even I can admit that negligence might have been easier for police to see in the MLK case than in the 16th and Ankeny case.

        I don’t know this for certain, but in talking with a close friend of Samuel who saw him shortly after the accident, it seems Samuel was wearing headphones during the accident. These two cases don’t seem as comparable as some might imply.

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        • 9watts February 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

          “When driving on MLK, might one expect safety of anyone to be less guaranteed than when driving on 16th and Ankeny?”

          Even with all of your qualifications I find this point of view troubling. I also note that you seem (in your word choice at least) to be taking the perspective of the driver of a car. Is that deliberate?

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        • El Biciclero February 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

          Why easier? Is it because if he changed lanes and somebody was there to run over him, it must have been an illegal lane change wherein he failed to yield to vehicles already in the lane? How is that different from someone who pulls out in front of another vehicle that has the ROW at a point in time where they are “so close as to be an immediate hazard”? If a cyclist was unable to avoid running into the car that pulled out, isn’t that so-called “prima facie” evidence that the driver created “an immediate hazard?” Why don’t the police reach such conclusions as quickly if a motorist is at risk of being cited as they do if a cyclist is up for being cited?

          The only way I will concede that the comparison is invalid is if it comes out that Erin was also doing something illegal at the time of the collision, e.g., speeding or (technically) not using a light (since sunrise was still 15 minutes away).

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          • El Biciclero February 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

            Oops, I meant “sunrise was still 5 minutes away”. Even closer.

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  • Ted Buehler February 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Just a reminder —

    If you see cars “blowing” stop signs or other unsafe driving/riding, the city requests that you report it to them. Call or email it in, and ask them to make it safer. Give them as many specifics as possible, such as “On Ankeny between SE 12th and SE 30th, many cars blow stop signs between 7:00 am and 8:00 am”

    See http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=47144&a=319727

    “In Portland city limits, contact the Bureau of Transportation for help with street maintenance and traffic safety issues on City-maintained streets.”

    “503-823-SAFE (7233)
    report a traffic safety issue”
    (or email safe@portlandoregon.gov)

    If they don’t know about it, they’re not going to fix it. If they get a lot of reports of unsafe behavior, they’re much more likely to act on it.

    Ted Buehler

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    • jeff February 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      While that’s a worthwhile idea, I found, in my single experience using this reporting tool, that its completely useless. It took 2-3 initial reports to get a response that took upwards of 4 weeks. After the city assessed the intersection I complained about, I was told it was not an engineering problem, but a compliance problem. Then I was promptly lied to about enforcement activities at that location.

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      • Chris I February 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        I hear that you get better results if you report them as a drunk driver. Clearly, they must be impaired if they are driving in such a way, how are we to know what the impairment is for sure?

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      • Ted Buehler February 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        jeff — it doesn’t always get immediate action, but it gets it on their radar screen.

        What was the intersection/safety problem?

        Here’s a couple ways to ramp it up if they blow you off on your first attempt:

        * Multiple complaints (from multiple individuals). Get your friends and neighbors to call it in as well.

        * Write your story, give it to Jonathan to post here on BikePortland.

        * Post it to the AROW list, bring it to the BTA, or use another resource to get a small group of fellow riders to help strategize and act on the problem.

        * Take the Portland Traffic and Transportation class offered each fall term at PSU and learn more about the ins and outs.

        Ted Buehler

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        • Machu Picchu February 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

          Had never heard about the Traffic and Transportation class at PSU. Sounds like a great resource. Thanks for sharing that, Ted.

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    • are February 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      the city has known for awhile that the burnside couch couplet configuration has had the effect of diverting motor traffic onto ankeny, and has done nothing about it yet. nor will they do anything about it after this incident. what is need is a diverter at 12th to prevent motor traffic entering that stretch. of course, that would not have prevented this particular incident, which is just plain stupidity on the part of the motorist. you cannot fix stupid except by suspending driving privileges.

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      • grumpcyclist February 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm

        That’s got nothing at all to do with this incident. The driver was crossing Ankeny on 16th, the cyclist was the one that was on Ankeny.

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        • are February 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

          first of all grump, my initial post acknowledges that the diversion of burnside motor traffic onto ankeny does not on the face of it relate to this particular incident.

          secondly, however, how do either you or i actually know? where was this motorist coming from or going to, and why was she using 16th instead of, say, 12th? it may very well be that the reconfiguration of the intersection of 12th with burnside and sandy did in fact create this situation.

          but a diverter at 12th would not address this particular problem, it is true. a more comprehensive approach to shunting through traffic to the arterials and diverting it from neighborhood streets might prevent some percentage of this kind of thing, however. especially if the effect is to make the motorist feel that she is in uncharted waters when she is on the side streets.

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          • grumpcyclist February 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

            You said,

            “the city has known for awhile that the burnside couch couplet configuration has had the effect of diverting motor traffic onto ankeny, and has done nothing about it yet.”

            I was responding to that statement. The couplet may drive traffic onto Ankeny, but this car was not on Ankeny, it was crossing Ankeny. Why you would bring up an issue that has no bearing on this particular incident is still a mystery to me.

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          • matt picio February 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

            are – 16th north of Stark is a common route for cars trying to get to I-84, since it leads directly to the freeway on-ramp. Most of the traffic turns onto 16th from Sandy, but a significant number of cars get on from Burnside, Stark, and Belmont/Morrison.

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    • sabes February 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Same goes with cyclists blowing stop signs, which I see more often than cars, at least in Inner SE PDX.

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      • resopmok February 11, 2012 at 5:21 am

        it’s weird because i see more motorists blow stop signs and red lights these days than bicyclists. anecdotal evidence blaming a group of people doesn’t really mean much, does it?

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      • oliver February 11, 2012 at 8:33 am

        Are you serious? Another injury crashed caused by a driver and someone chimes in about cyclists running stop signs.

        I think it’s irrelevant to this story, but since you obviously don’t, and zero incidents being statistically impossible to acheive, What do you think is parity for driver caused injury vs cyclist failure to obey TCD?

        1 cyclist death caused by driver negligence for every 25 stop signs run by bikes? 1 motorist caused death for every 10 stop signs ignored by bikes? 1 death for every 5? It’s a continuum, and you obviously have an opinion, so let’s hear it.

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        • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

          Perhaps he was simply bringing up bikes running signs, because he wanted to discourage biased interpretation of law, which is what seems to be the major complaint in this thread. His post didn’t express his sentiment toward automobiles running signs, so you might be jumping to conclusions here.

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    • was carless February 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Can’t, its too dark on the street. There are practically no streetlights, and its impossible to get a license plate # when they are travelling perpendicular to your direction – all you can see is the side of the vehicle.

      But yes, there is probably 2x as much traffic during rush hour as before, and many vehicles just slowly roll through stop signs. Most stop if a cyclist approaches, however. I see about as many cyclists running stop signs as cars… although cars sometimes drive over the “car diverter” on SE 20th and Ankeny to continue E/W.

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    • Suburban February 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      “Blowing” means disregarding

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    • Amanda February 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Thank you for this — plugging the number into my phone now. There have been several times I’ve wanted to report things but didn’t have the info at my fingertips and didn’t have time to search, and then of course had forgotten by the time I could do something about it. No more!

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    • middle of the road guy February 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Just remember, this applies to cyclists as well.

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  • ambrown February 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    and 16th is technically a bike boulevard too, isn’t it?

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    • are February 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      a designated bike route yes, though probably not decorated with those sharrows. frankly, i have never understood why 16th is designated. the crossings at burnside and at irving, at least, are dreadful.

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      • BURR February 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        actually, there are sharrows on SE 16th, at least between Hawthorne and Belmont, but I’m not sure about further north.

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  • kgb February 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    What if the insurance company uses the presence of police and lack of a citation being issued to argue the driver may not have been at fault?

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    • Greg February 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

      That is where a good attorney comes in. While taking 25-40% of the settlement may seem like alot, 75-60% of a settlement is much more than 100% of $0.

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  • JP February 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I was hit last year in Milwaukie – and that driver got a nice $400 ticket…it didnt hurt a state tropper was right behind him when he hit me – but still…

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    • tonyt
      tonyt February 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      That’s likely the ONLY reason they got a ticket. Glad to see small justice at least.

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  • BURR February 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    If the motorist didn’t wait at the stop sign for the cyclist, and pulled out in front of the cyclist, she should have been issued a citation.

    “I didn’t see the cyclist” is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, it is an admission of guilt.

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    • Randall S. February 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      I think you mean “should be.” “I didn’t see them” is, in fact, a get-out-of-jail-free card for motorists.

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      • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        Do you have awareness of every single case involving “I didn’t see them”? For all we know, it hasn’t prevent fault 99% of the time. For all we know, everyone who uses that phrase genuinely didn’t see them. For all we know, the phrase is used insidiously as you imply and works every time. But I’m guessing none of us know, so maybe making such assumptions could be harmful to morale and subsequently future interactions between cyclists, motorists, and police officers. What intentions do you have in making such statements?

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  • Joe February 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Get Well Soon! be safe all.

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  • Nat West February 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    +1 for everyone’s comments about no citation issues. JMaus, it seems that we just see too many of these collisions and I personally am tired of hearing that the driver got off w/o a ticket. Geez you can get a ticket for doing a zillion other less-lethal things but running into a biker seems to be to be lethal-enough.

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  • sswannab February 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I had a similar incident Thursday as well riding to work Eastbound on Ankeny at 8:30am. Truck was stopped at stop sign, made eye contact (I had flashers on even…) and gunned it once I was in front of him and was brushed by the bumper barely eeking by. Only thing that saved me was my cross skills and driver pulled over to apologize but wth?…

    Drivers are cutting north/south there more and more and feels like I’m part of a sick video game, stay safe out there!

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    • NF February 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      I get this a lot too while riding on bike boulevards. I think drivers are operating on autopilot, expecting you to be traveling as quickly as you would be in a car. Their internal calculations lead them to leave their stop sign sooner than they should with a slow biker crossing their path.

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  • beelnite February 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Many drivers will turn Right at Ankeny off SE 12th in order avoid the malfunction junction. They then head East on Ankeny and turn an immediate Left (SE 13th, I think) to reach Burnside to turn Right and head East.

    Whenever drivers “work it” or attempt a maneuver to circumvent traffic or a nearby main road it seems to increase the risk of collision with other vehicles, in this case, many cyclists.

    I suspect many of these side street collisions and near misses can be traced to a choice made by the driver before they even get in the car. That choice is to “navigate through traffic” in a creative way by seeking side streets and alternate routes.

    Working it. Showing skill as a navigator and “saving time.” It’s a powerful feeling.

    Yes. “I didn’t see them” is a clear admission of guilt. I think what people are asking is for more immediate enforcement and recognition of that from our PPD. But perhaps a good lawyer can make that case after the fact. In that sense, the officer’s did their job. No one is in immediate danger and it’s on record what the driver said. Let the judge sort it out.

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  • eljefe February 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Somebody broke the law here, but it may not have been the driver or cyclist. Ankeny almost always has vehicles illegally parked in the crosswalks, blocking lines of sight for cross-traffic. Also, if a vehicle is over 6 feet tall or isn’t see through, it may not be parked within 50′ of an intersection. The liability may lie there.

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    • wsbob February 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Points you raise in your comment touch on other possible reasons besides possibly not looking, that driver Christine Ebright didn’t see rider Erin Winn. Maybe Winn didn’t see Ebright either.

      I hope Ebright didn’t stop for the stop sign at the point it’s located relative to the intersection, and try look down the street for approaching traffic from there; the picture shows the sign is set a long way back…about 10′ from the intersection.

      The sign would probably have been posted at the corner, but for the tree that would be blocking clear view of the sign if it was there. To safely stop at this signed intersection, a road user would need to first stop at the intersection itself, then nose carefully past any cars parked on Ankeny up to the intersection if there were any there…peer carefully up the street for oncoming traffic before proceeding across Ankeny’s lanes of traffic.

      Which direction was rider Winn traveling? West to east appears to be somewhat downhill.

      Glad to read Thomas’s comment about the value of people running better than minimal lights on their bikes during daytime.

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  • Adam February 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    SE Ankeny between SE 20th & MLK/Grand serves as little more than two extra lanes of auto capacity for Burnside Couch.

    The amount of car traffic on Ankeny has SKYROCKETED since the couplet was constructed.

    A diverter is needed at SE 12th on Ankeny, and soon.

    I am not surprised at ALL that a cyclist was hit at this intersection by a motorist.

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    • jimbobnw February 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      I’m an almost-daily user of Ankeny, have been for 30-ish years. Since even before the barrier at 20th, no less. I’ve seen a small uptick in traffic in the last couple years, but c’mon.

      A quick look at Portland Maps shows daily E. Burnside volumes at around 19k – about what you’d expect from a 4 lane arterial. Old numbers, put they prolly have not gone down in 9 years.

      It would be interesting to get up to date counts around here to confirm whether on not Ankeny has been overwhelmed by auto traffic. Not my experience, but actual numbers would be good.

      Yes this is a designated fact-free zone, that hyperbole and drama might run free, but still. . .

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  • MossHops February 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    One of the most disturbing aspects of this to me is Jonathan’s follow up comment that PPB tends to avoid issuing citations to let insurance sort it out.

    In cases like this, PPB is committing a sin of omission. They are choosing to NOT do something that they OUGHT to do. The driver was in the wrong, PPB knows that the driver is in the wrong, but did nothing about it.

    This inaction sends a very poor message to the public at large (per the PPB’s action, not see cyclists who are obeying the law and then colliding with them isn’t even a ticket-able offense) and by the PPB not issuing a citation it can put the cyclist at a distinct disadvantage if this ever goes to court.

    It’s not the PPB’s job to serve as an innocent bystander, but rather it is their responsibility to protect and serve the people of Portland though upholding the rule of law. Furthermore, their failure to act is not a “neutral” action, it is an action that does exceptional disservice to the cyclist in the collision and the bicycling community at large.

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  • Minister February 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    So, no documented injuries by bicyclists against pedestrians at Ladd’s circle and tickets issued!!! A documented injury requiring ambulance for injured cyclist and no ticket!!! hmmmm

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    • 9watts February 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      I nominate this for most succinct and well-put post!

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  • ~n February 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Does anyone know what happened and whether the cyclist hit at NE 60th on the I-84 overpass around 9PM this Wednesday (Feb 8th) is alright? Was going by as ambulance & fire trucks were arriving.

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  • Ian Stude February 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I agree that PPB not issuing citations in cases like this is a problem. Maybe as advocates we should start by asking PPB to at least issue citations in cases like these when they occur on a designated bikeway. This might be easier to implement than an across the board change to traffic enforcement, and it would set up a higher threshold of responsibility for these vulnerable-user corridors.

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  • BURR February 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    If you’re paying attention at all, this is a prime example of why neighborhood greenways are not necessarily safer cycling environments than arterial streets.

    Cyclists are typically a lot safer crossing at signal-controlled intersections on arterial streets, as long as they use proper lane position (e.g. staying out of the right-hook bike lane); rather than at stop sign controlled intersections where there is moderate to heavy cross traffic.

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    • are February 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      i absolutely agree that i will always choose to cross a major road at a signalized intersection if possible, and that the failure of many greenways to include this feature is a reason to divert from the greenway some number of blocks in advance of the intersection or just skip it altogether.

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  • jonno February 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I used to commute down Ankeny and 16th was often a place where drivers would roll the stop sign or otherwise fail to yield. I’ve learned a couple of defensive techniques over the years that might help save a future unfortunate person on a bike some pain and suffering.

    Whenever I see a driver come up to an intersection on a possible intercept course regardless of who has the ROW, if I can’t make eye contact with the driver I will often slow, stop or prepare to evade unless it’s clear they’re yielding the ROW. It’s a PITA to lose momentum but this definitely saved my bacon on numerous occasions. Another thing to watch is the car’s front wheel — watch it carefully and if it starts to rotate from a stop, look out! It’s much quicker to spot motion at the wheel as opposed to observing the car as a whole. This, too, has spared me from crashes while riding both bicycles and motorcycles.

    Maybe that makes sense?

    This is not to blame the victim, of course. Hope everything works out for her.

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  • Thomas February 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    The time of day isn’t mentioned in the article, but I run across many of my fellow bicyclists with little or no lighting, making it very hard to see them. I ride with two 300+ lumen front lights, the strongest rear flasher that I can find, and front & rear mini-flashers on my helmet (so that cars on side streets have a hope of seeing me over parked cars.) It’s darn dark out there in the AM & PM and too many of us bicycle riders seem to expect cars to see us in dark clothes with no lights. A single cheap flasher on the front & rear are simply not enough to be seen.

    I don’t know if this was the situation in this accident – but we should give the motorist the benefit of the doubt without the details provided. Also, we on bicycles have to ride defensively, this is taught to motorcycle riders in their training classes – yet since we have no training classes to ride our bicycles, this simple fact of being aware of dangers and responding to them proactively seems to be lost on many a cyclist. I learned my lesson long ago with a short flight over a car and an extended recuperation for fractured vertebrae – be careful out there folks…

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    • OnTheRoad February 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      The article states the time as 7:15 AM. Kind of dusk or whatever the word for that is in the morning.

      And I didn’t pick up if the cylist had lights. I am not blaming the victim on this acore, but if an auto driver says they didn’t see you, maybe you were not visible enough.

      The dusky parts of the day always seems to be the most treacherous – rather than full daylight or full nightfall.

      The number of lights I use and reflectorized clothing hopefully will help a motorist see me. And if they don’t, I would have a strong case in court that they SHOULD have seen me.

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      • are February 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        did the motorist have lights?

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    • Antload February 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      The League of American Bicyclists does provide street skills classes that are analagous to motorcycle skills classes. They tend to emphasize “vehicular cycling”, which gets very mixed reviews among Portland bike advocates, but they DO allow cyclists to stack their odds to some important degree. “Quick stop” and “instant turn” skills are emphasized: skills that can really help in some situations similar to the one reported here. Not to assume that this unfortunate cyclist necessarily had a chance with or without advanced skills. The League’s website has a schedule of classes for our area.

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      • are February 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        in recent years they have begun to get away from the vehicular model, which is actually why i no longer teach it.

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  • dwainedibbly February 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Agree that there should have been a ticket issued. Maybe PBOT should paint “STOP HERE FOR BIKES” on the pavement. (Yes, I know that the driver did stop and that it’s the starting up again that was the problem, but the other story has me somewhat ticked off.)

    I’m glad Erin is ok.

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  • random_rider February 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Is there confirmation from witnesses that the Ms. Ebright stopped at the stop sign or is that statement from Sgt. Simpson based solely on what she told him? I wonder if Ms. Winn was interviewed and verified that account. I’m not claiming otherwise, just asking questions that I think are quite relevant in this instance. I know of more than one incident where a bicyclist was hit and never asked for their side of the story since they were being transported to the hospital while the police “investigation” relied entirely on what the motor vehicle driver told them.

    And even if Ms. Ebright came to a complete stop, it shouldn’t matter. Let’s say I go to a playground and start swinging a baseball bat around, accidentally hitting someone. Do you think the police would be ok and let me go if I tell them that I looked around first and didn’t see anyone?

    I encourage everyone who agrees that this is simply not acceptable to not simply post to this blog but actually take a moment to contact the City by either e-mail or phone. The contact info for the Police Bureau, Bureau of Transportation and the Mayor’s Office’s are all easily found on http://www.portlandonline.com

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  • John Lascurettes February 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    So a few comments about this particular situation:

    It’s possible to do a citizen’s citation. Since she admitted guilt “I didn’t see the cyclist” ON RECORD when the cyclist had right of way, I don’t think it would be that hard to get pulled off. It is a PITA as far as process goes, but it could be done. Look up any number of articles about it on this site or on Ray Thomas’s site.

    The cyclist should definitely make a PIP claim and her insurance will then contact the driver’s insurance and THEY will duke it out. Put the professionals working for you in charge! I speak from experience. My PIP covered my chiropractic appointments for my injury and then said they found me less at fault and would be attempting to reclaim the costs from the insured driver (a judge by the way) but that I would have to do nothing from that point.

    This is just two blocks from Buckman Elementary. Granted this was well outside of the school hours (first bell isn’t for another 1.5 hours) but there could have easily been kids on foot or on bikes there (mine included). The PPD should definitely be a little extra caring about that fact.

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  • PoPo February 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    We ask officers to make on-the-spot judgements every day. We may not always agree with them, and heaven knows that being human beings, sometimes they really flub calls.

    It is important, however, before we judge their judgements, to understand all of the factors they may have been considering at a particular place and time.

    Included in their judgement were probably issues of resources, demeanor/wishes of the involved parties, prior driving history, statements, evidence, availability of witnesses, severity of injuries, apparent recklessness of behavior, etc.

    It could be that if we fourth-hand receivers had all the information, we would still judge this a bad call. Or not.

    It is certain, however, that if officers issued citations at every crash that occurs every day in Portland, they would have time for little else.

    A citation is a form of consequence for poor sharing of the road, but not the only form of consequence. An officer not issuing a citation does not absolve an operator of fault.

    Here’s a good video that describes some of the things officers think about when they make citation decisions:


    It is directed mostly toward decisions of citations for bicycle infractions, however I think some of the stuff carries over to enforcement/citation decisions for all modes.

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  • AlphaMonk February 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Please do not submit false reports of drunk drivers every time you see a driver make a slip. As it is, they sometimes don’t follow up on legitimate reports, which pose immediate, life-threatening danger to peds, bikers, motorists and themselves.

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    • are February 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      not “every time you see a driver make a slip,” but by g*d i will phone in a drunk driver report every time a motorist intentionally crowds me or threatens me. as far as i am concerned, only a drunk would behave that way, and if the police actually bothered to follow up and stop the guy, either it would turn out he was in fact drunk, or he would have to come up with some other explanation for his aggressive behavior. win/win.

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  • Ted Buehler February 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    So, if we want to submit a request to the city that they issue a citation in circumstances like this, who do we call? Sam Adams, commissioner responsible for Portland Police?
    & cc it to the Chief of Police?
    http://www.portlandonline.com/police/index.cfm?c=30539 (online form to contact Reese on this page)

    Is there a case number we can reference? If we don’t have it, we can just write the time, date and names of people involved, and they’ll be able to find it.

    & we can cite the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan of 1995 and the Portland 2030 Bike Plan of 2010 in asking the city to follow their own policies on enforcing traffic infractions:


    2030 Bike Plan, p. 108, 4.2.D

    “Implement enforcement practices that contribute to the safety and attractiveness of bicycling”

    ” Develop an enforcement hierarchy for
    bicycle safety and enforcement strategies
    to communicate priorities clearly. In
    particular, the Portland Police Bureau
    “o Prioritize enforcement toward
    motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians
    based on available data that documents
    the correlation of specifi c travel
    behaviors to potential injury and
    livability concerns



    1995 Bike Plan, p. 189, sec IV.1.C, Bicycle Safety; Enforcement.

    Law enforcement is a necessary component of
    bicycle safety. Stricter enforcement can limit
    both intentional and unintentional infractions.
    As with any law, lack of enforcement leads to a
    general disregard of the law. Local police
    officers should be willing to enforce the motor
    vehicle code with bicyclists and motorists.



    This would be a good start to getting improved enforcement of stop signs on Ankeny.

    Comments, additions?

    Ted Buehler

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  • K'Tesh February 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I wonder if the cyclist is aware of the possibility of issuing a Citizen’s Initiated Citation?


    When I was stuck by a motorist who didn’t get a citation, I began the process. Upon that, the officer decided to go ahead and issue a citation to the driver. I went to court, and the ticket was upheld. Failure to Yield to a Cyclist in a Bike Lane.

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  • mh February 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Just out of curiosity, how many of you have had (multiple? countless?) experiences of drivers stopping at stop signs, looking (for something at least as big as their vehicle), and then proceeding (towards you)? I scream often, but I suspect they truly are practicing “defensive driving.” They notice anything they think will hurt them, and not much more.

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    • wsbob February 11, 2012 at 1:31 am

      The vast majority of vehicles on the road are cars or larger motor vehicles. People driving, are, of course going to be looking for motor vehicles. I hope you’re not thinking that because their vehicles are larger, truck driver’s don’t look for approaching traffic in the form of sedans.

      Seeing approaching traffic in the form of a bike coming down the road is different than seeing traffic in the form of a car or larger vehicle. Bikes are much smaller than most cars. This can make them more difficult to detect against complicated backgrounds of many streetscapes.

      Motorcycles are bigger, but somewhat similar in size to bikes. Because of the inherent hazard on the road, due to their smaller size relative to that of most other motor vehicles, motorcycles are required by law to run lights, front and back, all hours of the day when they’re on the road in motion.

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    • are February 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      agreed, marsha. motorists are scanning only for threats to themselves. this is why they are always hitting pedestrians and cyclists and kittens and then claiming (accurately) that they did not see them.

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      • wsbob February 11, 2012 at 11:57 pm

        agreed, marsha. motorists are scanning only for threats to themselves. this is why they are always hitting pedestrians and cyclists and kittens and then claiming (accurately) that they did not see them.
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        So you’re thinking that if all pedestrians, cyclists and kittens traveling or crossing the road were as big and as visible as cars and trucks, but didn’t carry any extra weight than they do in their actual form…and people driving knew this…people that drive would just not scan approaching traffic for them?

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        • are February 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm

          what a fantastic thought experiment, wsbob, thanks.

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          • wsbob February 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm

            But you didn’t answer the question.

            In your previous comment, you seemed to be suggesting that as a general rule, you think that people that drive don’t care enough about people, to scan approaching traffic for people on bikes.

            Your comment suggested that you seem to want people reading here to understand that you think that people driving care to only avoid moving objects, if those objects can bring harm to the people driving.

            I suppose people other than myself, reading here, might be interested in your clarifying what you meant about motorists only scanning the road for threats to themselves.

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      • matt picio February 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        The day they come up with a bike-mounted, hub-powered hologram generator that can make my bike look like a Peterbilt or a Hummer H2, I’m totally buying one. Perhaps then motorists will consider me a threat and respond with caution rather than disdain.

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        • 9watts February 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

          Since it is to be hub-powered, it might be easier to generate a hologram of you as a bike cop. Done well, that might have a similar effect.

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      • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

        Any idea how many motorists are on the road at this very moment? Can you imagine all the different circumstances they exist in? City streets, country roads, freeways, dirt paths on mountains, etc. How much awareness do you actually have of what any of them are looking for? I can’t say I’ve ever driven an automobile without the intention of keeping my eyes peeled for anything that might be on the road.

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    • Mabsf February 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Yupp… I call the stop sign instinct: they are trained to stop when they see the sigN, but don’t really look…and those are normally the people who get really pissed when you yell at them, because it startled them.

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  • hazel February 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I work on Ankeny and I see cars speeding up and down it to avoid Burnside and Couch in alarming numbers. At least once a day I encountera driver who doesn’t stop at a stop sign at a cross street. I think there really needs to be a speeding enforcement done by the police. I don’t like that this street feels incredibly uunsafe when it was once one of the nicest streets to cycle on.

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    • grumpcyclist February 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      I’m going to repeat myself one time in this thread since your comment got repped by someone:

      Cars driving up and down Ankeny have nothing to do with this incident. The driver was crossing Ankeny on 16th, the cyclist was the one that was on Ankeny.

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  • q`Tzal February 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I’m starting to think we need to treat scofflaw drivers like police tell us to deal with dangerous dogs:
    call in and file MULTIPLE reports of dangerous behavior.

    Without that official history “bag dog” behavior it is difficult to confiscate an aggressive attack dog wandering a neighborhood.
    Similarly we find it difficult to convince a police officer that a sweet looking soccer mom could possibly be to blame.
    Even if we can’t get these inept drivers punished appropriately if we can get the FULL HISTORY of their dangerous driving on the screen of responding officer it might make a difference when it matters.

    At the very least a long history of disobeying simple traffic law will reflect poorly when a driver’s auto insurance policy comes up.

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  • Tom February 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    In the ten years since I started commuting on Ankeny, the couplet has changed the traffic pattern. Cars use Ankeny as a faster route to Sandy/7th or other points south. Speed and failure to stop have made the street more dangerous for cyclist.

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  • Jolly Dodger February 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Didn’t see the biker? WTF..? Was the biker travelling faster than the speed of light? NO. Was the biker hiding behind an elephant? Doubt it…but on the local news; i’ve noticed lately; whenever a biker is involved in an auto accident, if a ticket is written to the cyclist, they go out of their way to let the public know about it. Having officers who will write the citations, then let the judge decide who was at fault seems to be the correct response. Deciding/judging on the site of the accident without an option to defend this in a peer reviewed court of law seems to go against legal regulations….wouldn’t ask an officer at a murder scene to assume all roles (judge, jury…) and let everyone else who could be possibly be at fault go free. I’ve been nudged, tapped, squeezed and hit. Unless their is injury they tell bikers to just exchange info with the driver and let the system take care. I’ve actually had better luck just asking the driver for $ to cover bike damage, licking my wounds and moving on. Drivers don’t seem to care, their insurance companies treat us like children and the popo tend to ignore until a maiming or death occurs…then it’s really about making themselves look less culpable.

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  • Collin Winn February 12, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Hey yall,

    I’m writing as the older brother of Erin Winn, the cyclist who was unfortunately injured in this incident. First and foremost, my family and I (and the patrons of this blog) are obviously all elated to know that Erin did not suffer critical injuries. She was diagnosed with a concussion and is bruised, swollen and mentally traumatized. She will make a full recovery.

    My two younger siblings and I are all Portland residents and bicycle commuters. After Erin’s recent incident, the three of us have now all been hit by cars on various occasions, with the majority of them being the motorists’ fault. To say the least, our mother is quite concerned.

    I must say that I am overwhelmed by the response to my kid sister’s accident, and I’m grateful for it. Please let us all be reminded how privileged we are to live in a city/cycling community that is forward-thinking and progressive enough to be active and vocal concerning these issues. This simply doesn’t exist most places elsewhere.

    That being said, I don’t think we, as the cycling community, have much to gain to automatically “hate” on the PPB and/or drivers at fault in these incidents. We are better served by showing, at least, a bear minimum of empathy for all parties involved. The driver, as far as I’ve been told, has been a stand up citizen throughout the ordeal. She made a very human mistake and, per usual, is more distraught than any party involved. She is playing by the rules, thus far.

    I don’t know how beneficial it would be, in the big picture, for someone like her to be cited for recklessness. Would she be cited, what good would come of it? Would drivers in the future be “that” much more careful when crossing an intersection after coming to a complete stop? None of us doubt that the driver could have been “more” careful, but she did not, by any means, blow a stop sign.

    It is important for these blogs and threads to exist, and for the public reporting of these incidents to occur, for it is the public announcements and outcries that will raise more consciousness, not citations given to those who were not blatantly reckless.

    My poor, dear sister had just bought her first bicycle and had only just begun getting comfortable as a daily commuter. She has all the proper gear, my brother and I made sure of it. Just days prior she had expressed to us how much she loves her new city, bike, job and bike commute. Obviously, this accident was a real buzz-kill for her.

    Her helmet was shattered in three separate places, which would have surely been her skull had she not been wearing it. Gear up!

    I appreciate the dialog and concern for her from the community, and I encourage civil discourse on these matters, which take into consideration the reality of these unfortunate situations that often occur in our random and hectic world.

    Cheers and safe riding,
    Collin Winn

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  • jim February 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    It looks in the picture that the stop sign is about 20 ft back from the corner which makes you wonder just where the car stopped at?

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  • Shelley February 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I am constantly frustrated when I hear about motorists not being cited when they hit a cyclist but the comment about the driver giving the cyclist insurance information seems really important.

    I witnessed a car-car altercation where on car ran a red light. That motorist took full responsiblity for having messed up and admitted to the officer that he was at fault. The officer didn’t write a citation. When asked why, the answer was the “at fault” driver was taking responsiblity so didn’t need the additional burden of the ticket to reinforce the error of his actions.

    If I hit a cyclist or caused one to hit me, no citation would ever make me feel any worse or more responsible than my own conscience. I never want to see a driver get away with injuring a cyclist without consequences but maybe there are times when the driver pays emotional consequences that the officer recognises and that we don’t realize since we weren’t there to see what was actually happening on the ground.

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  • pdxrunner February 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I would be interested in hearing from one of. The Bike lawyers, whether the lack of citation would impact an insurance settlement even when the motorist accepts responsibility at the scene of the collision.

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  • Pat Franz February 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I’m glad that it looks like Erin is going to be OK and that the driver is being responsible.

    On the issue of citations or not, don’t even begin to think that turning things over to an insurance company will result in anything approaching justice or fairness. They are not in the justice or fairness business.

    Insurance companies are in the paying out as little as possible business- period. Whatever it takes to minimize their costs, that’s what they’ll do. They have their own rules of the road, and they are designed solely so insurance companies can settle things as easily and cheaply as possible.

    Their rules bear some vague resemblance to the rules of the road we all understand, but they are different in very important ways that are not necessarily fair to the parties involved. Remember, it’s always about minimizing expenses in the long run. The settlement rules often do not care about lots of facts that may be important to you. Fairness is not the issue. Cost control is the issue. Sometimes that intersects with fairness, but only because all the other alternatives would cost more.

    Casting unprepared, injured people to mercy of insurance companies is expedient- and cruel. It’s no substitute for justice, if that’s what you’re after. If justice is what you want, you’ll have to get it elsewhere. A citation would be a good place to start.

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    • wsbob February 14, 2012 at 1:07 am

      Winn might have to get legal help, but I hope everyone involved will be honest, and the driver’s insurance doesn’t try to pull any fast ones, forcing her to resort to that measure. There’s probably a lot of truth about what you say in regards to insurance companies looking out for their bottom line rather than what’s fair and reasonable.

      It can work out though, in favor of the injured party. For a local example, search the bikeportland archives for a story about a gal that was riding in the bike lane on Hawthorne Blvd about a year ago. Begins to cross the intersection when somebody driving right hooks her. Person driving readily admits she goofed, gets a citation, but the judge tosses it. Despite the judges unpopular and controversial decision, the driver’s insurance company decides the right thing to do is to pay the injured party’s bills anyway.

      That’s a brief summary from memory. Anyone…please correct me if I’ve got any of those details incorrectly.

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  • craig harlow February 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Nearly the same scenario happened with me this morning (though no collision), as happens at least weekly during my twice-daily 4-mile round trip ride along Klickitat and Alameda to deliver and pick up my son from day care.

    This morning, I was westbound on Klickitat, approaching the intersection with 32nd Pl, and a pickup northbound on 32nd stopped at their stop sign. Their stopping gave me confidence to proceed toward the intersection, when the pickup then accelerated from the stop, and I nearly t-boned them. I was able to brake and avoid the crash by about five feet.

    I was less lucky two years ago in precisely the same situation at Klickitat and NE 22nd, when the car rammed my bike from the side. The bike was totaled, and I was unhurt.

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    • 9watts February 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

      “proceed toward the intersection”
      I am going to assume you meant proceed through the intersection?

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      • craig harlow February 15, 2012 at 10:46 am

        Nope. When the truck stopped, I was still 50 0r 60 feet from the intersection, and was braking (downhill) while watching the truck. When they stopped at their stop sign, I let off from the brakes and pedaled ahead *toward* the intersection.

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        • 9watts February 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

          I think I now understand. At this intersection only cross traffic had a stop sign, yes? You had the right of way, which guy in pickup took, once you were in the intersection.

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        • wsbob February 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm

          The person in the pickup might have presumed the intersection was a four-way stop. Out here in the Beav, the intersection of Millikan Way and Rose Biggi Ave is a two-way stop (stop signs on Millikan), but for some reason, people seem to get confused about who is supposed to stop.

          Millikan Way seems to be the busier of the two streets, yet sometimes, Rose Biggi road users stop, even though they’ve got no stop sign.

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          • El Biciclero February 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

            That is so annoying. I have heard this is because people can’t be trusted not to stop on the MAX tracks to the north of Millikan, therefore, there can be nothing to impede SB traffic on Rose Biggi. That way it never backs up to the tracks. Funny, though that drivers on Rose Biggi often stop due to instinct without even looking for a sign.

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  • mh February 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    They stopped, they felt like they’d done what they needed to do, they went. We don’t register on many drivers’ consciousness.

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    • Caleb February 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      But I imagine we DO register on many other drivers’ consciousness.

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  • AlphaMonk February 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    You can do whatever you like. Threatening people is a serious crime that I don’t believe needs embellishment to get a response from 911.

    my point is that if everyone reports every driver they think is out of line as a duii, police will follow up even less on legitimate duii reports.

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  • AlphaMonk February 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Hmm. My reply got detached.

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