a man talking to a woman he just hit
with his car.
-Watch it below-
A man’s on-bike camera filmed a collision between a woman riding her bike in the crosswalk and someone driving a car. The intersection where the collision occurred — SW Skyline where it crosses Highway 26 and the highway’s adjacent multi-use path in Sylvan — is a common sight for close calls and there are numerous videos of it posted online2.
A video taken by southwest Portland resident Andrew Holtz, who goes by “crazytraffic99” on YouTube caught the bad intersection in the act. The video, uploaded on Wednesday, shows a person in a car rolling through the crosswalk, just as a woman rides through it on her bike. The car clips the woman’s rear wheel. Scared and shaken, the woman yells at the driver and pulls onto the sidewalk. The driver gets out and the two have a conversation — which is all caught on camera and subtitled thanks to Holtz.
Check it out:
This intersection clearly has some issues. The multi-use path is a busy and popular route for people riding over the West HIlls, and whenever a sidewalk spills into a roadway, there is potential for conflict.
Holtz has been riding through this intersection for over a decade. He told me yesterday that, “I’m still startled by the number of drivers who apparently don’t see people using the crosswalks and paths.” The most common hazard, he says, is people turning right to enter Highway 26 without yielding to traffic on the multi-use path:
“Day after day, I see drivers staring intently to their left, inching forward, ready to pounce as soon as they spot an opening in the vehicle traffic. Too often, they never glance right to see people entering the crosswalk. The same thing happens when drivers turning right have the green light… too many of them don’t seem to notice when the WALK light gives the right of way to people in the crosswalk.”
“Few parents will allow their children to walk or bike across the interchange now. That’s a sad reality that we should change.”
— Andrew Holtz
The good news is that the intersection is already on the radar of both PBOT and ODOT (fortunately, Holtz also happens to be a very active and engaged citizen bicycle activist). Last summer, Holtz visited the intersection with city and state traffic safety specialists. According to a source at PBOT, one of the reasons this intersection is so dangerous is that it was designed to handle large truck traffic, which means the curbs have a very shallow angle in order to handle a wide turning radius. It’s a design that invites rolling through turns and maintaining speed.
Another issue at play here is the classic tale of dual jurisdictions managing a roadway. With both PBOT (SW Skyline) and ODOT (the multi-use path and highway on-ramps) having responsibility here, finding solutions is even more difficult.
Holtz would like to see a “No Turn on Red” policy implemented here. He says even when he has the light, he assumes that people in cars will violate his right of way because he sees it happen so often. “It shouldn’t be that way.”
The many people who use the multi-use path, adds Holtz, “shouldn’t have to be hyper-vigilant in order to take advantage of one of the premier paths in the region.”
He also points out that the East Sylvan Middle School is less than a block from this intersection. “Few parents will allow their children to walk or bike across the interchange now. That’s a sad reality that we should change.”
It’s great to know that ODOT and PBOT are actively working on a solution. We’ll keep you posted once they’ve made some progress. In the meantime, use extra caution at this intersection.