at the scene a few minutes ago.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Portland Police say at about 4:00 pm today, a man riding a bike westbound on Burnside pedaled right into the back of a TriMet bus.
The incident was first reported to me by a reader who called and then later emailed after she came up on the scene right after it happened. Here’s the reader’s recap:
“I was going east on the bridge and the accident occurred going west at about 4PM. Fire truck was just pulling up when we passed (we’d been sitting in stopped traffic for several minutes) and a police car was flying down Burnside toward the accident. Ambulance had yet to arrive. The rider was in his 30s maybe (?), reddish hair, black bike shorts, bike shoes…didn’t see a helmet but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. Bike had white grip tape, was black with white lettering on it, road bike. The frame was creased in the center and standing up against the bridge railing. The cyclist was laying in the center of the right lane (lane closest to bridge sidewalk). The bus was pulled all the way over about 10 feet further up and a tri-met vehicle had pulled up hastily behind the cyclist with the door open (like someone jumped out super fast). Someone in a lime green SUV had blocked the bridge from traffic. Eveyone (tri-met supervisor and random people) were standing over the cyclist and he was conscious from what I could tell but he was laying flat on his back and not moving. People looked really freaked out and the cyclist looked like he was in shock.”
I rolled over to the scene to take a closer look and the police, TriMet vehicles and the bus were still there. They were all parked in the bike lane just 50 yards or so west of the Couch/Burnside curve that leads traffic onto the bridge.
Here are a few more photos to help you understand the context of where this occurred:
Looking west on Burnside at east end of the bridge…
I have also talked with Lt. Eric Schober of the PPB Traffic Division. He said it appears that the man operating the bicycle ran into the back of the TriMet bus. According to Schober, the bus operator had been pulled over in the bike lane “for a good minute or so” prior to the collision. Apparently the bus operator decided to pull over in this location because there were already several buses queued up outside his destination at the Rescue Mission near the western terminus of the bridge (just above SW Naito).
It remains unclear how and/or why the man on the bike didn’t see the bus prior to the collision. I also have not heard anything about the rider’s medical condition. Does anyone know the TriMet policy about remaining stopped in a bike lane?
Stay tuned for more details.
UPDATE, 5:57pm: Asked about their policy for buses parking in a bike lane, TriMet Public Information Officer Roberta Altstadt said, “We don’t have policy that prevents being stopped in a bike lane.”