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Collision on Hwy 101 south of Cannon Beach results in critical injury – UPDATED

Posted by on July 8th, 2012 at 12:27 am

Another serious injury collision happened today on Highway 101.

According to the Oregon State Police, at about 1:25 pm, a 35-year old woman was riding northbound on the shoulder of Hwy 101 five miles south of Cannon Beach near milepost 35 (just south of Hug Point Road) when she was struck by a 78-year old woman driving a Dodge Caravan. The OSP says the woman driving the van “drifted onto the shoulder and struck the woman’s bicycle from behind.” No names have been released yet.

The woman riding the bike was with her husband. He was up the road a bit, then stopped and turned around shortly after the collision because his wife never caught up. The woman was flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for treatment of critical injuries. The van operator and her passenger were not injured.

An OSP statement says, “A decision on enforcement action is pending. Traffic was heavy and there were several witnesses contacted for statements.”

BikePortland reader Dana Troy was driving home from the beach when he came upon the collision. Dana also wrote this note via email: “Someone said the person on the bike swerved out into traffic, but that is not anywhere near official. Overheard a guy say, ‘Those bikers have a death wish riding out here.’ I refrained from yelling at him.” Here’s a photo of the scene taken by Dana (note the shattered windshield in the van):

I’ll update this story as more information becomes available.

UPDATE, 7/8 at 10:00am: The woman riding the bicycle, Christeen Osborn from Hood River, remains in critical condition. The woman who was driving the van is Wanda Cortese from Kennewick, Washington.

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9watts
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9watts

Overheard a guy say, ‘Those bikers have a death wish riding out here.’ I refrained from yelling at him.

Let me guess – that guy was driving a car; can’t conceive why anyone would every ride a bike on public roads or streets. Where do these foolish notions come from? Oh, right. “…streets had to be socially reconstructed as places where motorists unquestionably belonged.” (Peter Norton, Fighting Traffic, p. 1)

9watts
Guest
9watts

“A decision on enforcement action is pending.”
Does anyone know what this means? At first I read this as ‘a decision about what citation will be issued is pending’ but citation and enforcement are two different things.

Mike bodd
Guest
Mike bodd

Sight seeing and driving don’t mix.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I highly doubt the cyclist swerved into traffic. Unlike some parts of 101, there is more than adequate shoulder there.

It was a picture-postcard sunny clear day at the Coast yesterday and I don’t doubt traffic was heavy…hopefully several people saw something and the truth can emerge.

I used to think heavy traffic on 101 = slower cars, but it’s not true. Everyone tends to drive faster and it’s even more nerve-wracking.

What is the hurry, people? Is there someone in the car giving birth? Slow down and enjoy the amazing views (while staying on the road, of course).

I live on the North Coast and cycle 101 near daily. I’ve affixed both blue and red flashing lights to the back of my bike& helmet. THAT seems to get drivers to notice more…

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

In situations like these, I think the resposible party(ies) should be held accountable, but how do we send a message to the public that these things can happen, and aren’t just acceptable odds? I think when a driver is drunk, with a history of it, it’s easy to think that one more bad egg got found out and punished (assuming they’re convicted, et cetera.) But if that driver’s a senior woman, which is to say low man on the Boogeyman pole, it’s assumed that the negligence, inattention, inability to just legally drive straight down the road is somewhat more acceptable. My point is that one person getting as harshly convicted as the law allows doesn’t really do anything toward changing the culture of “car as livingroom” and “driving as a normal thing to do at 50mph+ while close to unarmored people,” which is what really allows so many of these things to happen.

esther c
Guest
esther c

According to the Oregonian the van drifted onto the shoulder. The comments though are blaming the cyclist. What would one expect riding a bike around large vehicles you know. The lady driving the van was old so it wasn’t her fault.

The law needs to hold people accountable to be 100% attentive when driving.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Comparing Dana Troy’s picture in this article, KATU’s picture, Milepost 35 and Google Streetviews, I wonder if the collision occurred just south of St Peter the Fisherman church, between E Upland Drive and Montbrecia Lane? (about a mile south of Hug Point Rd)

My thoughts to Ms Osborn and her husband.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

Recently an elderly woman ran her van through the front of a business and ended up completely inside in Corvallis. If it is ok to have a minimum driving age then why not a maximum. 78 is awfully old to be behind the wheel.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Jack
…and plenty of scenery to distract driver’s from the road/traffic.
I’m not blaming the victim.

I guess I’m not following your train of thought. What does the scenery have to do with anything? People riding bikes should only ride where there’s no scenery?

kate
Guest
kate

Macchu Pichu makes a good point. Reading the KATU comments, it’s all “cyclists should not be on the road” or “old people should not be on the road” as if those alone will solve the problem. We need to shift from this pointless argument to look for real solutions that will make us all safer. Because we are humans. Because we make mistakes and f*ck up.

But the prevailing attitudes are making that hard right now. Drivers DO need to be held 100% accountable, as Esther says…and right now, the culture is still very much Cars Rule, So If You’re On the Road, Cyclist, It’s Your Risk& Your Fault.

I’ve compared this before to beliefs such as: “well, you were walking alone at night wearing a short skirt, so OF COURSE you were raped!”
Although we are far from eliminating rape, I believe our culture–to its credit– has moved significantly beyond that sentiment, and we need to keep working for that re: cyclists’ right to the road.

But my main concern is: what can we do CONCRETELY to make things safer for cyclists and cars? Rather than just blaming and restricting and promoting this false sense that things will be safer, “only if” we make these limitations?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

if there were serious consequences for killing a human being with a lethal vehicle (e.g. mandatory time in the slammer for involuntary homicide) motorists would pay closer attention to pedestrians and cyclists on the road.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I’m planning a Hwy101 ride from Portland to SanFran w/ my girlfriend next summer. When would be the safest month to ride (in terms of traffic, RVs, vacationers)? I was thinking maybe the end of Aug through mid Sept.

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

This is my greatest fear as a cyclist — being hit from behind as I ride the shoulder of a fast highway. I’ve tended to ride with my upper body low and parallel to the ground with plenty of mirrors in hopes that if I am hit, my body will “fold” and my head will not take the brunt of initial impact.

Opus the Poet
Guest

As I posted in a reply above, others have noticed that humans are poorly adapted to driving http://xkcd.com/1075/ but I think the distance warning should be changed to “rest of your life”. Outside of built up urban areas motor vehicles travel at speeds upwards of 50 MPH on roads that have hidden intersections, driveways, blind hilltops, and blind curves. Humans have evolved to run as fast as 30 MPH, and deal with thrown or falling objects that might hit 100 MPH. The fact that we can drive at average speeds of 70 MPH is testament to the over-built status of the human brain.

ScottB
Guest
ScottB

age related driving facts:
http://tinyurl.com/cc5n8y4

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

Rumble strips could have mitigated this.

Machu Picchu
Guest
Machu Picchu

Whether it was due to my writing or your reading, you didn’t really get it, Bob. My father is 78, and as far as I can tell he is at least as good a driver as most on the road. My mom is five years younger, same deal. I think everyone on the road is a threat, including me. That’s why I avoid it, and drive kind of like a little old lady most of the time (there I go again!) The only age bias I was referring to was that of the public, and in favor of senior women, as opposed to young men. What happened to the woman (several months ago) who creamed the guy on Multnomah before crashing into a house? I don’t know. So anyone who knows can set me straight right now if she was incarcerated or caned, or something that I’m pretty sure would happen to mid-forties Me if I executed that kind of nincompoopery behind the wheel.

Sorry if you found my intertwining humor with my honest attemp to think through the OSP’s language with 9watts insensitive (or whatever it was). You say things like “most likely” all the time. You’re just guessing, and you want to wait and see. Well anyone can wait and see. I want to try to think about what it means while I wait to see. I think language in official statements from government agencies is important, and when paired with eventual actions, can give insight in future instances where the same language is used. You have misjudged me, and it’s not the first time. Beyond that, you seem a little crabby on this one.

colleen hilke
Guest
colleen hilke

It doesn’t matter if the women was to old or the cyclist shouldn’t be on the road and have a death wish. My sister (ms. osborn) is injured. She is a doctor in Hood river and has dedicated her life to saving lives and now she is fighting for hers.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

This situation highlights the lack of mobility options for an aging population. Specifically, we have built a society centered around the auto and living in settlements where that is the only quick way to get to where you need to go. Elderly populations tend to lead more isolated lives and are not able to gather the support and resources from friends and families to go where they need to go.

Imagine if all people, young and old alike, lived near light rail and it went to the places they need to, or imagine that everyone had low-cost shuttles/cabs to bring them where they need to go. We would see fewer people who may not be as able as many of us are behind the wheels on our roadways.

Since we as a society do not subsidize such services enough or even provide them in many locations, we leave the elderly with few options but to drive about in private cars. This can, but certainly not always, lead to dangerous and deadly situations such as what happened on highway 101.

We need to increase access to mobility options for our aging populations and end this championing of the car as the best choice.

shetha
Guest
shetha

I spent a lot of time driving up and down 101 this past week. Today, I drove by the spot where this collision occurred, and my heart went out to Mrs Osborn. Driving 101 is stressful. I am constantly vigilant for bike traffic, as the weather finally has people out on two wheels (where were they in December???) The speed limits vary from 55 to 25, depending on where you are. And the shoulder varies from wide to nonexistent. The signs stating that it’s oregon’s scenic bikeway always make me shake my head… really? There is not enough room to be on the shoulder and the vehicle traffic has so many blind corners and such a high speed allowed? How is this possible? Add RVs and logging trucks into the mix and it’s just disaster bound… that’s a sad fact 🙁 When I saw the markings on the road from the collision, I saw that the minivan brake markings started in the main lane and went off into the shoulder. I also saw where the bike came to rest markings… and they seemed WAY far ahead. I am hoping for a quick and full recovery for Mrs Osborn. And I hope that some sort of BETTER infrastructure is going to follow those lovely “bikeway” signs sooner than later.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

How much you wanna bet Wanda keeps her license and doesn’t get cited?

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

This makes a pretty good argument for making all state and US cycleways in Oregon have speed limits of 35 MPH or lower.

Ben
Guest
Ben

If the elderly woman is unable to drive safely then she shouldn’t be driving at all. She has defiantly proved she cannot drive a motor vehicle.
My heart goes out to Christeen Osborn, people need to just stop driving.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“Someone said the person on the bike swerved out into traffic …”

Seems to be the knee-jerk defense these days.

kate
Guest
kate

“This situation highlights the lack of mobility options for an aging population. Specifically, we have built a society centered around the auto and living in settlements where that is the only quick way to get to where you need to go.”

Especially at the coast and in most rural areas. And would you like to talk about the drunk driving situation? Epidemic around here.

There is one bus, the Tillamook Wave, that goes from Tillamook to Cannon Beach…but it’s done after about 8pm…and it’s notorious for buzzing cyclists :-).

“The speed limits vary from 55 to 25, depending on where you are. And the shoulder varies from wide to nonexistent. The signs stating that it’s oregon’s scenic bikeway always make me shake my head… really?”

I think a good start would be to reduce speed limit to maximum 40MPH on 101, but, of course, to most folks who live around here, and to those who make their living via commerce…I might as well ask them with a straight face to ride unicorns. But then I think of the revenue that could be generated busting speeders…and the amount of actual time saved on a trip going 55mph vs 40mph…again, is there someone giving birth in the vehicle that needs to get to the hospital? Is someone’s life worth your 15 minutes of saved time?

And yes, 101 is marketed worldwide by the state as a scenic bike route. Has anyone quantified the $$$$ cycle-touring brings in? In the perpetually cash-starved tourist-based industry that is the north coast, that might make an impact on some people.

By the way, there is loads of real-estate available for purchase right now between Rockaway Beach and Manzanita, if any of you out there have $$ to invest in establishing a bicycle-themed hostel or brewpub or campsite or something that might raise the profile of cycle tourisim on 101?

As for the best time to tour 101…summertime is of course busy time, but if you can ride early morning-daytime during the weekdays, it’s still a better deal than weekends. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the side roads (i.e. Miami-Foley from Garibaldi to Wheeler) The locals get quite frustrated with the slowdowns on 101 by tourists (RVs especially) and tend to use the side-roads (which usually have NO shoulder) to drive even faster than normal.

Adam Gniles
Guest
Adam Gniles

I just overheard myself say, “people in cars must really have a murder-wish to be driving out there.”

esther c
Guest
esther c

Perhaps everyone needs to be tested routinely with drivers license renewal for ability. With 10 to 15 percent of Oregonians, for example being addicted to narcotics, it is probably shocking how many stoned people are driving on our roads legally.

Christianne
Guest
Christianne

My sister and I drove past this about an hour after it had happened. Seeing the van, I initially thought they’d hit a deer, but then it was too early in the day for it, the pattern didn’t match quite right from what I’d seen growing up in Maine – until we drove a little further and saw the mangled wreck of a bike. It was horrifying. My thoughts go out to Christeen and hope she can make it through this and recover, and to her husband and family in this difficult time.

Steve B
Guest

My heart goes out to Christeen and her family.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Bike touring 101 is ride-able except for the fact huge 2ton machines sprawl the area. GET WELL SOON!

Rol
Guest
Rol

It’s true though, I’m totally out there on the coast looking for death. I mean why else would you be there? All the other ways of killing myself just seem so… non-scenic. Not to mention easy and quick. Who wants that? Not me, I’d rather ride up and down the coast for as long as it takes… months? Years? And maintain a bicycle in working order the whole time, until eventually I’m successful in finding sweet, sweet death!

Zaphod
Guest

Wow… perhaps a bit of self-checking in in order. Some really thoughtless comments from many perspectives. I was stuck in post-accident traffic and saw the police and emergency crews surveying and marking trajectory and such. The shattered bicycle had me thinking the worst and I relieved to see this story about it not fatal even though she’s not out of the woods.

Jon, please keep us informed on final outcome about her well being.

I think vilifying drivers or jumping to conclusions has zero value and causes plenty of hurt. Not suggesting we let things slide or shrug but a bit of empathy all around might in order.

Moe
Guest
Moe

Christeen and her husband Charlie Petit are very well known doctors here in The Gorge, and this has been very tragic news for us locally. All of us are wishing her a full recovery. I also wanted to share an interesting post from the Cannon Beach Gazette website from a witness that saw the accident.

http://www.cannonbeachgazette.com/regional/article_9e2401be-2fe5-558e-93a6-da58fb8a1d55.html#user-comment-area

Sunny
Guest
Sunny
Joe
Guest
Joe

Just scary we have some driving at age 70.

Scott
Guest
Scott

“wsbob” -wsbob

Amy
Guest
Amy

Yes, bikers know there is a risk, however, it does not mean we should not ride. There is a risk for every thing we do, including driving. I personally have been riding on the same highway as Dr. Osborn. I assure you she is safe! The problem is people in automobiles need to be more aware and careful. It does not matter if I ride on highways, or as close as the slow streets in my home town of Hood River, cars just drive to fast and to close to bikers. There have been several times a car has driven so close to me, even in a bike lane…..if I fell, or lost my balance there is no way a car could respond quick enough! Not all areas have bike lanes either. I think the key thing to remember is both cars and bikes are here to stay…..so everyone needs to be mindful and careful of each other. I am sure no one wants to hit a biker as much as a biker does not want to be hit! Learn to share the road safely!

Christina Carrillo-Cowan
Guest
Christina Carrillo-Cowan

I was 2nd car behind van that hit her. I saw the whole thing. Christeen was way over away from white line almost in the gravel when the van for no reason swerved over and hit her. The van did not even break until after Christeen was already thrown thru the air for 2nd time. I am very upset about what I witnessed. The van had apsolutely no reason for swerving. My thoughts and prayers are with Christeen & her husband. When ready to press charges or whatever please do not hesitate in contacting me. Good luck in speedy recovery Christeen!

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Raise yer hand if you want grandma in the slammer for running down the poor lady.

Amy
Guest
Amy

I know her and work with her….. I will be sure to pass this on !

Hooben
Guest
Hooben

The fact remains that the most dangerous thing we do is drive a car. More people die in cars than in airplanes, bicycles or walking. Driving an automobile is statistically the most dangerous part of our every day lives. You are more likely to die in an automobile crash.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Coming up on two years since this happened. Anyone know how Christeen is doing? Was there anything more than a ‘failure to maintain lane’ citation? This was to me a particularly horrific collision and I’d sure like to know what came of this. Some of us even sent letters to the DA back then asking for him to take a closer look at this.