Another collision at notorious N Broadway/Flint/Wheeler intersection – UPDATED

Posted by on June 6th, 2012 at 11:21 am

Still from KGW video footage this morning.

This morning there was a serious collision on N. Broadway between N. Flint and N. Wheeler — an intersection that has been identified by the City as one of the worst in Portland for bike/car collisions. According to reader who rolled up on the aftermath, it happened at about 6:30 am. The collision was also spotted by KGW’s Sky8 chopper as it flew over the area checking morning traffic.

Reader Jo Price says he saw a police officer, “loading up a very smashed up bike,” into a patrol car. I haven’t gotten word about the rider’s condition, but judging from the shattered windshield of the SUV seen on the KGW footage (below), it was likely somewhat serious.

Check out the image shared by a KGW Sky8 pilot via Twitter:

Via @Sky8JJ on Twitter

For another look at the collision’s aftermath, watch the KGW video:

For close readers of this site and for anyone who has ridden through that area, the news of a collision at this spot will come as no surprise. There is a long history of safety problems at this intersection that especially impact people on bikes. Some people do not come to a safe stop as they enter Broadway after riding down Flint. The bike lane on Broadway is also downhill westbound and many people driving cars and trucks turn right onto N Wheeler without properly yielding to traffic.

In 2007, in response to several high-profile right-hook collisions, the Portland Water Bureau (whose headquarters are a few blocks northwest of the area) prohibited their own vehicles from using N Wheeler. In 2008, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) announced a trio of safety fixes, one of which included new pavement markings aimed at improving stop sign compliance by people on bikes entering Broadway from Flint.

Unfortunately, PBOT’s fixes have been just tiny baby steps in actually addressing the issues at this intersection. In 2010, we again detailed the persistent problems at this intersection.

Observing Broadway traffic-4

People frequently turn right without properly yielding to bike traffic at this location.
Observing Broadway traffic-7

A Portland Public Schools vehicle turns right onto Wheeler from Broadway.
Observing Broadway traffic-12

The daily snarl looking east on Broadway at the Flint/Wheeler intersection.

This morning’s collision — and the lack of any significant engineering fixes since the problems have been identified — show that PBOT needs to pay more attention to this intersection before any more people are hurt.

The Eastside Streetcar Loop project was once expected to pump some funds into a solution, but that has not come to pass. Then City and ODOT embarked on the major N/NE Quadrant logo and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans process, which has addressed this area directly. In fact, there’s a public meeting on that planning process tomorrow (Thursday) night from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at the Rose Garden’s RoseRoom. PBOT and ODOT will unveil their Draft I-5 Facility Plan and will be accepting comments.

Betsy Reese, who owns the Paramount Apartments directly adjacent to this intersection, has been actively involved in that process and has been advocating for safety improvements for years. I have yet to delve into the finer details of the I-5 Facility Plan, but Reese says she believes things are “headed in the right direction.” (Please learn more about that project.)

Unfortunately, to my knowledge no significant funding has been identified to implement the N/NE Quadrant plans, nor has the streetcar project set aside any money to improve the intersection. I’m headed out there today to tape some coverage of the area for a KGW news story today. Hopefully more attention on these issues will result in action.

As reader Jo Price shared with his email after seeing the aftermath of this morning’s collision, “When will the insanity stop?”

UPDATE: The PPB just shared more info about the collision:

This morning, Wednesday June 6, 2012, at 6:17 a.m., Portland Police officers assigned to North Precinct responded to the report of a traffic crash involving and SUV and a bicycle.

Officers arrived and learned a 2005 Ford Expedition, driven by 59-year-old Michael Scott McLerren, was travelling westbound on North Broadway and stopped to make a right turn onto North Wheeler Avenue, yielding to westbound cyclist who was also approaching the intersection, but behind the Expedition. The cyclist, 30-year-old Karl Thomas Zickrick, apparently swerved into the back of the Expedition, shattering the back window.

Zickrick suffered facial and head injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. None of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

Although a traffic crash investigation was conducted, no citations will be issued as the driver of the SUV was properly yielding to the cyclist.

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pdxt
Guest
pdxt

Just for the record, I’m pretty sure it happened closer to 6:45 as that is about the time I walked my bike around the fire truck, ambulance, etc. It’s definitely a reminder to be super vigilant at that intersection : (

NPDX
Guest
NPDX

Hate to say it but it seems like the cyclist was at fault on this one. Following to close and not able to stop maybe? Rear endings are usually close to 100% the fault of the person that hit the vehicle in front. Hope the cyclist has a speedy recovery and this is a good reminder to not follow too close at speed.

Tom M
Guest
Tom M

Too many unknowns here to make a judgement. If the SUV turned too close and suddenly then human reaction might never have been enough. Let’s let the official report come out before making any judgement.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

Could have been that the cyclist thought that he was about to get right hooked and swerved left to swing around the SUV. Then the SUV stopped and bam!

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

This is exactly how I could have got nailed.
My interpretation of the mandatory sidepath law includes a strict application of “suitable for safe bicycle use”.
If someone is going to endanger my life while I’m in the bikelane I’m getting out of it.
This is safe and reasonable especially when the bike lane in question is inside of a mandatory auto turn lane or a defacto turn lane such as the outer right lane on eastbound TV Hwy at Murray.
Where it gets problematic is with the overconfident drivers newly fearful of cyclists: I call them “Screech, Halt, Yield” drivers.
Characterized by:
() the common behavior of Screeching tires to get past cyclists;
() the sudden realization that “wow, that cyclist is fast. I might not be able to make it.”,
() and the less common behavior of Screeching to a Halt and unpredictability Yielding.

Occasionally the emergency stop yield obstructs the bike lane but as far as the driver is concerned they did a good thing and should be congratulated for stopping no matter the consequences.

Pete
Guest
Pete

“Screech, Halt, Yield” – thanks, I was never really sure what to call them! If only people who drive and don’t cycle could experience the feeling of having a car tool by you, start to turn, and then suddenly come to an abrupt stop when they realize they will otherwise be responsible for killing or maiming you. Cyclist’s fault my arse! I would love for that commenter to experience a pile-up on the highway and then have the courage to explain to his insurance adjuster he was following the car in front of him at 70 MPH too closely to avoid driving under their rear wheels as they hit the car in front of them. From a physics standpoint there is really no difference between nearly NOBODY on the highway keeping a *truly* safe stopping distance from the car in front of them, than from the perception that a “cyclist hit a car’ when it stops so abruptly in front of them. Sure, technically, the cyclist did hit the car, but…

Sigh, logic eludes me, I’m preaching to the choir hear.

Heal up fast Karl!

007
Guest
007

If the driver really was yielding or decided to do so too late and that is why the cyclist had to maybe slam on his brakes and swerve out of the way. What does the cyclist say?

peejay
Guest
peejay

The pictures imply the SUV was encroaching on the bike lane. If I were in the lane, I’d probably have assumed that the SUV was going to turn in front of me.

Nik
Guest
Nik

I’m trying to figure out how “properly yielding to the cyclist” results in the cyclist going through the back window of the yielding vehicle.

Ian
Guest
Ian

Yeah, pretty baffling.

9watts
Guest
9watts

perhaps injured cyclist was taking the lane?

Matt M
Guest
Matt M

Sounds like the injured cyclist was taking the lane and the motorist stopped for a different cyclist in the bike lane.

Scott
Guest
Scott

He probably tried to do the zoom and go behind the car he thought would not yield and then ended up banging into the back when the car did yield.

Looks like a case of pro moves being employed by a non-pro.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Yeah, I had someone about clip me on N Vancouver this morning, trying to employ the same ineffective technique, looping around a car yielding to bike traffic.

IMHO we’re all safer when we *predictably* assert our right of way. That way we don’t rear-end vehicles stopped in the roadway.

spare_wheel
Guest

the pro move is to change lanes.

Pete
Guest
Pete

The pro driver uses a turn signal and avoids speeding by the cyclist before slamming on the brakes.

007
Guest
007

Possibility for sure.

007
Guest
007

Touche.

NPDX
Guest
NPDX

Looks to me like the SUV was in their lane, yielded to other cyclists and this one was traveling in the center of the vehicle lane. The cyclist probably hit the SUV just as it was initiating the turn.

9watts
Guest
9watts

If the circumstances as they present themselves to people on bikes at this location were instead difficulties experienced by those driving cars the problems would have been fixed long ago. We are separate but not equal when it comes to prioritizing & spending on ‘fixes.’

And we’re still talking about defensive spending–protecting people riding bikes against the dangers of the ubiquitous car–(even if in this case the following guy on a bike may have not left enough distance, or couldn’t see past the Expedition with tinted windows.Did Mr. Expedition use his turn signals?

Rick
Guest
Rick

Would like to know all the details, but at this point I’m really irked over the wording in the statement from the PPB.

>>>The cyclist, 30-year-old Karl Thomas Zickrick, apparently swerved into the back of the Expedition, shattering the back window.

It leaves the initial impression it was the fault of the person on the bike.
I seriously doubt that.

SV
Guest
SV

Bicyclists do no wrong? Just because it’s an SUV vs bike doesn’t automatically mean its the drivers fault.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

how can you “seriously doubt that”? someone has to be going pretty fast to destroy a rear window on an SUV, don’t they?

007
Guest
007

Ask Tiger’s ex-wife.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Why would you doubt that it was the fault of the cyclist? If he were in a car he probably would have been cited for following too close. I too ride a bycicle, but exercise extreme common sense. I have to expect that every driver will turn in front of me,or fade into my lane, or just not see me coming. As a driver I expect cyclists to race through traffic, shoot the gaps, and blow through stop signs.because I see all of these senarios regularly. We cannot legislate common sense. Nor can we afford to idiot proof every intersection and roadway. We all must take accounability for our own safety. Because I know while on my bike, if I collide with a vehicle, even if I’m in the right I still lose. To me, that’s unarguable. Ride and dri
ve safe and look out for those who aren’t.

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

I think the default assumption in a rear-ending is that it is the vehicle behind, but it is possible that the SUV cut in front and then braked hard. Not necessarily likely, but certainly possible, and something I’ve observed myself from time to time.

9watts
Guest
9watts

And great photos from the archives, Jonathan!

Joe
Guest
Joe

GET WELL!

Ethan
Guest
Ethan

Driving a big Penske bobtail through that area was one of the most nerve racking driving experiences of my life.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

Ethan, its a truck route, a commuter route, the way to the Rose Festival Parade, a bike route, a pedestrian route, a lets get across the street into the Rose Quarter before the game starts, Bridge is being raised,right turn, get over far left ASAP merging traffic Emergency Vehicle ahead, turn to get on the freeway… you get the picture: a lot of everything compressed into a very small area. The Rose Quarter by design is the transit hub, bike hub, major crossroads for accessing the I-5 freeway, I-405 and downtown, lower eastside,etc. It’s long overdue for a major redesign to make some sense for the variety of uses and users. In these times, I don’t expect much. A little collateral damage is acceptable I guess…

benschon
Guest
benschon

Looking at the first photo above, the shattered glass on the ground and the stopped SUV are both in the general travel lane. Though it doesn’t make much sense that a cyclist would leave a bike lane in order to rear-end an SUV with his face, that’s kind of what the evidence suggests. Very bizarre.

Granted, with safer intersection design, these conflicts could be avoided altogether. Why not follow the Water Bureau’s lead and have PBOT ban right turns onto Wheeler for all vehicles?

Phil Kulak
Guest
Phil Kulak

It really looks like a rear end, and we all know who’s at fault when that happens. Not that fault is the most important thing here, but it’s what everyone is asking.

JRB
Guest
JRB

I can think of two reasons a cyclist would take the lane there and rear end into the back of a vehicle that was turning but stopped to yield to a cyclist. First the cyclist may have observed a turn signal and decided to not risk a right hook and instead took the lane, but then failed to allow for a safe stopping visit int he event the vehicle stopped suddenly. I did this some years ago when following a car that too closely when turning left from Fremont onto Vancouver. The car stopped suddenly for a squirrel and I rear ended the car.

The second scenario is that the bike lane here shifts left at the bottom of the hill to allow vehicles to access the left turn only lane right before the Broadway bridge. Cyclists have to merge left to access the MUP on the bridge. Rather than wait until the bottom of the hill I usually take the lane at the top of the hill.

My guess based on the available facts is that the cyclist was taking the lane for one of the reasons above but failed to maintain an adequate stopping distance.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

Hey…would someone go out there and pick up a sample of the rear window and pass it onto the cyclist’s attorney. They can check it for level of tint, as others have mentioned the potential for such a compounding issue.

Rick
Guest
Rick

Although I said in my initial post I doubted the cyclist swerved into the back of the vehicle, it is interesting to note the position of the vehicle and the glass on the street. Even thought the vehicle has encroached into the bike lane, it looks like the vehicle has not been moved since the impact and it doesn’t seem like the person on the bike could have been in the bike lane at the moment of impact.

oskarbaanks
Guest
oskarbaanks

Irregardless of blame, IMO, those who commute this route daily should be very aware of the conditions here. I am all for PBOT doing whatever it needs to improve this area, and have no suggestions ( I am sure there have and will be plenty from others here). As someone who rides this often, but not daily, I watch my butt all the way to the second light. My guess he hit the back of the vehicle squarely. If the vehicle had turned suddenly, the cyclist would more than likely careened across the back of the vehicle, or T- boned the side. Just a hunch.

oskarbaanks
Guest
oskarbaanks

Also, looking at the first photo, the car is parked square in the lane, with the glass in the middle of the lane. If the sun was shining brightly, vision could have been an issue, with the signals being washed out. It is possible the cyclist did not see brake lights .

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

My hunch is that the bike rider was going pretty fast, assumed the suv would turn right, then swung wide to ride around it, then suv stopped suddenly and then boom, the collision. I’m out at the scene now w KGW.

And to add… This isn’t always about fault… It’s about the fact that a collision happened.

oskarbaanks
Guest
oskarbaanks

Hey Mr. M., I hope that you did not think I was implying that about you, or the post. The initial comment I made, was directed at the idea that people ( commenting) were starting to blame the driver. I have no idea what happened, It just looked to me that he hit the Ford item square in the rear. Also, I hope the rider is o.k. btw.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Wow, KGW … think you’ll influence thier spin/bias?
They must all know of you; are they merely snooty or on edge?

Now would be a good time to call up the feed from all those cameras big brother put up:)

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

My suspicion, based on my own very inexpert opinion, is that the cyclist expected the SUV to turn right and veered out into the lane to pass the turning SUV on the left. When the SUV stopped instead of continuing its turn, the cyclist smacked into the back of it.

Just my first impression based on the photos and Jonathan’s description of the intersection.

bikeyvol
Guest
bikeyvol

+1

Without knowing what happened, this sounds most likely. Bummer – puts cyclists in a bad frame of light for PR. *sigh*

Uncle Muscles
Guest
Uncle Muscles

Speculation helps nobody folks. Let’s wait and find out what happened before the flame war/passive aggressive victim/driver blamefest really jumps off.

Utility cyclist (Eugene)
Guest
Utility cyclist (Eugene)

How about this for a scenario: from the cyclist’s perspective the motorist appears to be turning across the cyclists path of travel so the cyclist decides to merge into the through lane to pass on the left. At the same moment, the motorist slams on the brakes as they realize that there’s a cyclist about to pass on the right and they have to yield. With sufficient speed, the cyclist would not have time to stop to avoid the rear of the motor vehicle nor be able to merge back into the bike lane.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Just like a driver (or cyclist, for that matter) who speeds up to a red light and stops last second, a driver who otherwise signifies intent to cross the bike lane illegally but at the last second does not, is creating a hazard to other road users, especially people on bikes who are left with conflicting information about what to do. The person who crashed into the window was likely going too fast for the conditions, but that means it is normal to assume that you can expect to have your right-of-way interfered with at any time.

whyat
Guest
whyat

If you see a vehicle with a turn signal on, and you’re not sure what the driver is going to do you should SLOW DOWN. I run into this situation every day coming down the hill on Sandy Blvd where it turns into SE 7th. Being right doesn’t help if a car turns unexpectedly into your path (or suddenly changes its path at the last minute). It’s much better to be able to mutter at a cr@ppy driver than to have to pick your teeth out of the pavement (or worse). Be 15 seconds later to your destination.

PorterStout
Guest
PorterStout

Regardless of fault, or even if there is fault, it’s the cyclist that bears the risk and suffers the result. Every time. Ride like your life depends on it.

spare_wheel
Guest

since cycling in pdx is quite possibly safer than walking (on a fatalities per mile traveled basis) i find it very odd that i am never admonished to walk like its my last foot step.

spare_wheel
Guest

i *ALWAYS* SLOW DOWN in the few millisecond before i hit a car that “turns unexpectedly into your path (or suddenly changes its path at the last minute)”. i just don’t get why people are in such a hurry. does it really matter if your trip takes a few more milliseconds?

JNE
Guest
JNE

Was the SUV fully or almost stopped when the bike hit? Perhaps the cyclist thought the SUV didn’t see him and swerved into the lane, just as the driver stopped . . . to yield to the cyclist.

Another reason to not ride next to, or overtake, a car while passing through an intersection. That saves you from the negligent right hook. Doesn’t do much for the grossly negligent right hook, where the car overtakes the bike and then executes the turn. That might have happened here.

Grillz
Guest
Grillz

there is also a #9 bus stop about 50 yards west of this site. Got stuck behind it yesterday but decided to wait with a foot on the curb as it loaded riders in the bike lane. If the bus has to pick people up at this stop it crosses the bike lane twice in one block as the right hand lane turns right while the bus goes over the bridge.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

I did not witness the event nor have I read the crash report yet…perhaps the scenario went like this:
1) multilane higher speed traffic traveling downhill (over speed limit?) approaches wide intersection at an angle (difficult to see low volume cross traffic from left) (?)
2) SUV driver turns right signal on very late (<100 ft) /very close to intersection or does not turn it on while approaching intersection (?)
3) cyclist reacts to driver merging into bike lane by leaving bike lane (due to this hazard) (?)
4) driver then sees other traffic in intersection ahead (other crossing cyclist (?) on Wheeler) or sees the rear approaching cyclist in bike lane and then stops/ slows abruptly in travel lane
5) cyclist then hits rear of SUV
6) SUV then moves 5 or so feet ahead to resting point

It will be interesting to hear how the Oregon traffic law is applied in this case:
(A) if the cyclist is viewed as a vehicle operator at fault: is following too closely to stop from hitting a vehicle in front; or
(B) if the SUV vehicle operator is seen as creating a hazard by merging into an adjoining travel lane without safe regard for other traffic there by not signaling correctly ("unlawful or unsignalized change of lane"), crossing too many lanes too abruptly before the intersection (?), speeding (?), distracted or impaired driving (?), etc.; or
(C) mix of the above

craig harlow
Guest
craig harlow

I’ve been ticketed (as a car driver) for reflexively trying to drive around a suddenly stopping vehicle in front of me, rather than slamming my brakes and maintaining my line. The law requires following from a safe distance, i.e. one that allows enough braking distances should the vehicle in front come to an immediate stop.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Also, you forfeit your right of way in both lanes as soon as your vehicle crosses in to another lane.
Basically, the act of making a non standard vehicular movement requires that you yield to all users of all lanes you enter or exit.
I’ve asked many police in many different states about this scenario with an accident diagram in hand; they all agreed with the prior statement about ROW.
This was the last crash and ticket in my nefarious youth (1995) so I know this lesson all too well.

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

And I hope the crash report adds additional important information such as, did the SUV operator speed up and pass the cyclist and then turn, as this is a very common scenario among drivers who do not realize that many cyclists are able to travel faster than expected and often as fast as the speed limit/ traffic pace.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

I always wondered why Wheeler needs to connect here. If southbound Wheeler ended in a cul-de-sac just before Broadway and if right turns were pushed west one more block, it seems like this stretch would be a lot safer.

There is a large influx of bicycles coming from Flint into the bike lane at a point 25 feet from a popular right-turn intersection. That is hardly long enough to a rider to establish visibility to cars. This is compounded with a highway exit, downhill speeds, a bend in the road, and inappropriately placed, super-short bike lane on Flint.

I never trust a car to yield to the bike lane when turning right onto Wheeler from Broadway. It is easy to see why a rider might take the lane. The pictures Jonathan showed in the article are indicative of stuff we see at this intersection nearly every day.

I only have best wishes for the injured bicycle rider. Hopefully due attention can be pointed toward this mess.

John Lascurettes
Guest

That’s my thought. Close Wheeler at Broadway. Wheeler can always be accessed from the other side of the block. It would eliminate a huge percentage of the conflicts.

There’s too much traffic with the I-5 offramp dumping on to Broadway mere yards away from Flint dumping onto broadway which is mere yards away from Wheeler.

While bike traffic rarely comes to a complete stop at the stop sign at Flint and Broadway, the motor traffic coming off both of I-5 seriously doesn’t stop either.

On a related note: expect a stop sign sting/enforcement at Flint and Broadway very soon. It’s been a long time since there’s been one (at least since last summer that I’ve seen). I’m surprised there hasn’t been one yet with the improved weather and the fair-weather riders out in force.

Slammy
Guest
Slammy

This reeks of fixie… I hope everybody’s oK.

Spiffy
Guest

no citations will be issued as the driver of the SUV was properly yielding to the cyclist.

why won’t the cyclist be issued a citation for failure to maintain a safe following distance? somebody obviously made the wrong move here and should be cited…

Spiffy
Guest

actually, the citation will probably also include failure to use the required bike lane…

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

If the investigators believe the guy on the bike to have been at fault, and the driver of the SUV has full insurance coverage, the police may have opted not to cite the guy on the bike, and add to the woes of wrecking his bike, face and head. Maybe the SUV driver even consented to this knowing his insurance would cover the damage to his vehicle, and not wanting to trouble the battered bicycle guy any more. Maybe the guy on the bike just did what twelve other people here have already suggested, and everyone actually involved in the incident decided to cut their losses with a “lesson learned”.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This is a situation I find myself in a few times every week. Driver, signaling or not, turns wheels or starts drifting into the bike lane to apparently make a right turn. Sometimes they realize they need to yield to me, sometimes they don’t. There are four basic choices:
* Continue on in the bike lane, asserting the right-of-way of a bicyclist riding on a bike lane and take the chance the driver won’t yield.
* Continue on in the bike lane, but prepare for your own abrupt right turn should the motorist hook you.
* If given enough advance warning, slow down in the bike lane until you are reasonably certain of what the driver will do, then either stop or continue based on the driver’s perceived level of awareness.
* If given enough advance warning, merge into the next lane and pass right-turning cars on the left.

Normally, either of the last two would be the safest options, but in this case, there apparently wasn’t enough of either time or space to make it work. Oh, the irony of a situation in which a motorist attempting to yield to bike traffic (however belatedly it may have been) results in a bike crashing into his/her vehicle.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Exactly this. The actual complexity of situations like are what make the PPB statement so irritating. They don’t understand realities of bicycle and apparently don’t care to learn anything about it.

So we get appallingly stupid statements like the one above: the bicycle swerved into the back of a stopped car. That’s it.

Argentius
Guest
Argentius

That’s a nasty intersection. I agree with all above, my best guess is that the cyclist was moving at a good clip, it’s easy to do downhill there, and saw the SUV suddenly threatening to turn into his path.

So, the cyclist swerves into the auto lane, but, the auto is stopped, or very slow, and does not proceed to make the turn.

There is a reason why they call them “accidents.” Speedy recovery to the cyclist. Be careful out there.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Rider sees SUV encroaching, turns head to look back to the left into the car lane and begins moving left into the car lane, SUV stops but cyclist doesn’t see it until too late. Wham.

Tacoma
Guest
Tacoma

Quite reasonable scenario. Person on bicycle expected car to continue turn but got “shook” when car stopped.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

then the cyclist was traveling too fast. rear endings are pretty clear cut accidents as to who’s at fault.
hopefully he’s got insurance as rear windows aren’t cheap.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I don’t buy the “he was traveling too fast” argument. If you are in a separate lane from other traffic, following distance is not an issue–you can parallel vehicles in adjacent lanes and not be considered to be “following too close”. Let’s say you are doing exactly this in your car, and another driver from the adjacent lane moves over and sideswipes you. Were you “traveling too fast” because you couldn’t stop in time to avoid being sideswiped?

This story presents a slightly different scenario (I imagine, because I can picture exactly how this would happen to me) in which rather than being sideswiped, the cyclist saw the immediate potential of being cut off, right-hook-style, and made a split-second decision to veer around the potential threat. At that point, the threat of one type of collision became a different type of actual collision. Maybe the rider was taking chances, maybe there wasn’t enough time to slow down enough to avoid a right hook, maybe the rider’s experience told him that the particular nuances of the SUV’s movements indicated a “commitment” to turn, who knows.

A very similar thing happened to someone I used to know while they were driving a car: driver ahead of her pulls to the left edge of the lane, signaling to turn left, and as Oregon law allows, my friend began to pass them on the right. At that moment, the erstwhile Lefty Turner decides not to turn after all and pulls back into the center of the lane, sideswiping my friend. The determination of fault was “no fault”. Indicating that you will do one thing, then deciding last-minute to do something else can cause problems. Corollary: assuming others will do what they are indicating they will do can result in trouble for you.

Joe
Guest
Joe

heavy car traffic and bike don’t mix well. bike buffer needed!

meh
Guest
meh

Just goes to the confusion created by through lanes on the right side of lanes that can turn. You have a driver who did what he was supposed to do, yield right of way to the bike. If he was signalling he was also doing what is required by law. So what we end up with is a driver following all the rules of the road causing confusion.

Was in Santa Monica CA last year, the bikes lane stripes go to dashes within a certain distance of an intersection. At that point cars can use the lane for turning, if it is clear to do so, otherwise they have to yield to the bike lane users.

I prefer the CA set up as it makes it quite clear what the drivers intentions are, they’re turning and taking the rightmost portion of the road to do so.

In this situation, how do you know the driver’s intentions, he’s signalling a right turn but has stopped. Are they going to cut across the bike lane or are they giving me the right of way?

shannon schilling
Guest
shannon schilling

Dear Karl, my name is Shannon Schilling. I’m the guy in the yellow jacket looking in the back of the suv in KGW’s video from the helicopter. I arrived about 2-5 minutes after the crash on a bike myself at 6:20 am (the blue one laying down is mine… your white bike and helmet were leaning up against the light pole when I arrived) and I gathered information from three witnesses (the driver of the suv, a separate driver who saw the crash (federal agent), and another man who arrived on scene before I did and called 911. Within a few minutes of my arrival, fire department arrived, then ambulance. I wrote down the names and phone numbers of these 3 people, as well as my own, onto 1 business card and one small piece of notebook paper, and I asked the ambulance driver to tuck all of these into your pocket. Once you are feeling better, feel free to call me (503-493-7267) if you have any questions about what I experienced there at the crash scene. Fire department told me your bike would be picked up by police… surprising to me: you bike seemed in pretty good shape… front wheel appeared pretty round from a quick glance on my part, chain was in between gears on front derailleur.
May your healing be fast and complete. Good job wearing a helmet! Call me for more details if you want.

9watts
Guest
9watts

shannon,
you’re a class act.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“chain was in between gears on front derailleur.”

Oooohhhh! There goes the “fixie” finger-pointing.

…Slammy…

oskarbaanks
Guest
oskarbaanks

.. didn’t wanna say anything. glad someone else caught that! 🙂

Slammy
Guest
Slammy

Thanks.. no longer reeks in here

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

…really only a full face helmet would protect a rider in this type of impact with a stationary 90 degree surface. Just sayin’

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

I propose a deal: forget about doing anything to SW 12th (other than sharrows), and spend the money to fix this dangerous intersection. Now!

Karl: here’s hoping that you recover quickly and are back on the bike soon.

spare_wheel
Guest

how about williams. /ducks

was carless
Guest
was carless

I think we need a buffered lane here. Or something. Geez, this is awful.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Buffered lanes won’t help the right hook situation of three conduits coming onto Broadway in rapid succession:
1. I-5 Offramp
2. Flint
3. Wheeler
… all within yards of each other and all which would cause a break in the buffered lane.

Closing Wheeler at Broadway makes the most sense. Changing the offramp at I-5 to meet Broadway with a narrower and more perpendicular intersection would discourage the lazy, roll-through stops there as well.

esther c
Guest
esther c

I think cyclists need to not feel responsible for the actions of every other cyclist. Yes, some cyclists ride poorly or make mistakes. We are not each responsible for every other cyclists behavior anymore than any individual driver who drives responsibly is responsible for the boneheads.

When we start trying to place the blame on the driver without knowing that its his fault, we’re really heading in the same direction as the commenters in the Oregonian who chip in every time a cyclist is killed with “I saw a cyclist run a stop sign once” as if that excuses someone from running down a totally different cyclist who was obeying the rules of the road.

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

The driver did the right thing – they yielded to the cyclist. Here’s the sad part: this happens SO SELDOM that the cyclist probably made evasive action to avoid what he felt certain would happen (that the SUV was going to turn right without yielding to him.)
So it’s not the SUV’s fault. It’s hard to say if it’s the cyclist’s fault EITHER. If this cyclist rides this particular section of road regularly then it’s safe to say he’s seen a lot of near right hooks and he’s probably performed this exact evasive action before (maybe even many times before) without barrelling into the back windshield of the car turning right.
I think what Jonathan’s point is is that based on these factors, it’s not the driver’s fault, it’s not the cyclist’s fault, it’s the fault of extremely poor road design. And it’s time to address it!

Livellie
Guest
Livellie

I hope for speedy recovery for the rider. That looked like a awful hard hit. Between the rain this morning and reading about this mishap makes me wonder if it’s time to get a bike with disc brakes.

spare_wheel
Guest

do it.

one of many true stories:

i was riding up hawthorne at a fast clip and a motorist pulled out from the grand central parking lot without “seeing me”. i somehow managed to *skid* to a stop in 6-8 feet (left a mark). it was raining and there is no way i would have been able to INSTANTLY lock up my wheels without disc brakes

Karl Zickrick
Guest
Karl Zickrick

Hi- I am the rider from this crash. I just arrived home from the hospital, and it looks like fortunately will only have scars and a couple missing teeth to show for it (and unfortunately my bike frame is destroyed). As mentioned by a couple people, I ride this route 5 days a week to get to work and have become accustomed to vehicles who do not yield at this intersection. On this particular trip I was indeed traveling in the bike lane and noticed a car beginning to turn in front of me, so as I have had to do many times at this intersection I made the judgement call to swerve around the turning vehicle rather than t-Boning it, only to have him apparently notice me at the last minutes and slam on his brakes (though the last few moments are lost). I can’t speak to the evidence as seen by the police, as I only know and trust my intuition when biking around cars, and know that it has saved me from ever previously having a serious accident in the last 13 or so years of biking in cities.

I also agree that this particular intersection is one of the worst I have faced in Portland. The absolute worst was the Broadway/ I-5 onramp before they added the bike signal, but this next section of Broadway has really taken the cake since then. Live and learn I suppose, but it took losing a couple of teeth for me to definitively decide to ride a different route dowtown in the mornings until this intersection is adjusted.

Thanks to all that offered their sympathies, and thanks to my job for the health coverage…
Karl

PS- Shannon, I did recieve your info sheet and I am very grateful for your help. I may be getting ahold of you in the next week.

shannon schilling
Guest
shannon schilling

Glad to hear you came out ok and are recovered enough to respond… sorry to hear about your teeth… I was actually looking for them in the back of the SUV and on the pavement to send with the paramedics, but all I saw was broken glass… feel free to call if you want… I’m a bike commuter too, and have been for the last 26 years. I hope you are back on a two-wheeler soon.

oskarbaanks
Guest
oskarbaanks

If I ever need it, I hope someone like you is around to look for my teeth! Shannon, Gold Star Samaritan !