(Photo: Chris Dorr)
On Thursday evening the unthinkable happened.
While waiting behind two cars at a red light on SE 60th at Division, a Portland man — with his four year-old son in a trailer behind him — was rear-ended by someone driving a car. The police haven’t released many details, but I’ve talked with him at length. At this point, he has asked to remain anonymous because he’s conflicted about having himself and his family thrust into a public debate about biking with children.
Here’s what happened…
The man was headed south from his child’s preschool near Mount Tabor, at 60th and Salmon, to their home just south of Division. He chose SE 60th because it’s the only traffic signal to get across Division. He was wearing a reflective yellow jacket and his trailer had a strobing rear tail-light. The last thing he recalls before impact was standing at the light, and an instinctive concern that the car sounds behind him were approaching too fast. Then he’s flying through the air after being thrust up onto the hood of the car behind him, breaking its windshield, eventually impacting the car in front of him. When he came to, he realized his son was still in the trailer, which had been crumpled by one of the car’s wheels.
“I thought he was gone,” he recalled, “I pulled open the mangled, flattened trailer and found him calling for me, scared, covered with blood.”
“I thought he was gone, I pulled open the mangled, flattened trailer and found him calling for me, scared, covered with blood.”
As we spoke, the man shared that it was difficult to talk about details. He suffers from post-traumatic stress.
Further complicating the experience for this man is the fact that, prior to moving to Portland he had established a bike advocacy group in his old hometown. “I’d wanted to believe that cycling could make families, communities, even our planet healthier, and that it could be done safely. But clearly there’s no safe way to bike home from our preschool– not in November, and maybe not in summer, either.” This is a situation of a bike advocate, on the leading edge of being the change he sought for others, coming face-to-face with his own beliefs and vulnerabilities.
Thankfully, both the man and his son were treated then released from the hospital with no major injuries. The man has a fractured vertebrae and is in a back brace, and the child suffered only cuts and bruises. Physically, a full recovery is expected. But mentally, the collision has likely forever changed the man’s perspective on the safety of bicycling.
The collision happened after dark (around 6:00 pm) and it was wet and drizzly out. Thinking back, the man now feels that “This intersection may not be worth exposing your child to, maybe not ever.”
But what are the alternatives? The man crosses SE Division via 60th frequently. He feels it’s the safest among few good options. “But there is a cramped sidewalk we could use — by a cafe.” It’s an off-set intersection and, like many parts of Portland, there’s a severe lack of good, north-south bikeways to use as alternatives.
For a man who has worked to promote bicycling as a safe option, this collision raises some very difficult questions. He doesn’t want to scare people away from biking with their kids; but he’s now more realistic than ever about how vulnerable his child was. “The risk of a rear-end accident and the consequence of what happens if it occurs, is something I hadn’t fully come to terms with before — not like this,” he said.
He also knows that we must do more to fix these notorious “choke points.”
“I think there’s a lot to be learned from what happened to us. But it’s not a comfortable tale to share.”
It remains unclear why the person in the car behind this man failed to stop in time. I have asked the police for more details but have yet to hear back.”
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
I agree that N-S crossings are a huge problem and that something should be done to fix it; meanwhile, when I have doubts about the safety of an intersection I dismount and cross it as a pedestrian in the cross-walk. Slow, but I think it’s safer.
I don’t even have kids and this makes me feel sick. I hope this can be a catalyst for truly safe bicycle facilities, but I wish it never happened.
No such thing as truly safe bicycle facilities, of course—but it would help tons if those piloting 3,000-pound-plus vehicles were consistently held accountable for distracted or impaired behavior…and/or if completely separate facilities were available for those who swing that way (including me if my child were still of trailer age).
There truly are safe bicycle facilities, They are found throughout the Netherlands. They do this by providing infrastructure that goes everywhere free of conflict with cars. Providing biking infrastructure that removes all conflict with cars is the single most effective way to reduce accidents. Our bicycling injury rate in the USA per distance traveled is 21 times higher than in the Netherlands and our fatality rate is 5 times higher. The Dutch have prioritized people over cars to keep adults and children safe and healthy.
Agreed Rebecca–but if our injuries and fatalities can be expressed as multiples of the Netherlands’, it means riders are still hurt and killed there. Which might lead us to debate what level of injuries and deaths (if any) is compatible with being “truly safe.”
You could say this about any mode of transportation though; In WA motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for people ages 5-24. There is some level of risk involved in nearly every activity we do, the question is how to reduce the risk to an “acceptable” levels. Some may say the Netherlands has done this for cycling.
there can’t be separate facilities 100% of the time… so if people get used to not seeing bicycles on the road then when you do have to ride on the road it seems that it would be way more dangerous…
Well said, and besides, waiting for or demanding separated facilities does nothing for the present situation when we’re decades away from anything like separate infrastructure, and in any case it lets drivers off the hook.
Insisting on vigilance by–and better training of–drivers, enforced with real penalties is something that in principle we could do now at very little cost (comparatively speaking).
I guess what I have in mind is that people would be using both (if available) depending on context. I’m still pretty “strong and fearless” in middle age, so I ride with motor traffic. But when pulling my child when he was of trailer age, I would take every separation opportunity I possibly could. Thus, during that era of my life, I might have passed through the same area twice on the same day but navigated it two different ways–depending whether or not I was trailering the boy. I’m thinking it might be similar for others.
Sure, but this gets us back to El Biciclero’s (hey we haven’t heard from you in a while!) point about our second class status on public roads. See
It doesn’t quite work like that. The safer it gets, the more people start to cycle, the more people start to cycle the more aware they are of cyclists. This is because there is more chance they are a cyclist themselves or someone very close to them is. Without safe infrastructure for cycling it will forever be an enthusiasts pastime and marginal as a serious transport alternative.
Of course, segregated cycleways make cycling more dangerous! That must be why they have so many of them in the Netherlands where 25-30% of people cycle, including loads of kids and pensioners, and they have fewer accidents than the US.
Well done for working it out.
You can bet that the driver will suffer huge consequences, not just monetarily, but also emotionally.
I don’t think we know enough to assert this for either category. Or do you know something we don’t?
Huge monetary consequences? How consistently have we seen that, even where the person on a bike is killed?
Two things need to happen: the driver needs to punished, and everybody needs to hear about it. The latter is far more important in my mind. People should be terrified of the damage they can do with their cars, and drive accordingly (less, slower, with out distractions, etc.).
Just like every other collision, the inattentive driver will suffer only a slap on the wrist and will continue to believe it was “just an accident.” get a lawyer and sue the H out of the motorist.
I hate to agree with J-R but he’s likely correct. Same thing happened to me when I was hit earlier this year. No citations were issued to the driver (that crossed two lanes of traffic and t-boned me in the bike line trying to make a right) – the cop said it was because I wasn’t entered into the trauma system.
That’s crap. I hope this gentleman, when he’s recovered enough from his experience, heads down to the BTA to learn how to file a citizen’s complaint and get citations issued to the motorist.
before you leap to conclusions, you have no idea as to the state of the driver. Perhaps they suffered a seizure.
perhaps. Though I’m not clear on your use of the plural.
Use of the plural “they” is current best practice for referring to a person that has not been identified as to gender.
I learn something new here every day. Thanks, Opus.
Emotional consequences are highly overrated. Most drivers end up with a ticket for a couple hundred bucks at most even when they kill someone, their insurance covers the rest, and they never have to see the victim again or even think about it.
It’s true. It’s “just an accident”, right? That is what society tries to convince us of, anyway. Collateral damage of our right to drive. Never mind the inattentiveness, or more likely, gross negligence.
I completely agree, but more stringent requirements for motorists and stronger penalties for accidents involving bicycles are not the whole solution when the problem is infrastructural, as it is. There should really not be any place where a cyclist towing a child has to be within 3 feet of a car going 20+ mph.
This is heartbreaking. I’m really glad to hear that the kid is safe.
I’m going to assume he will read the comments and I want him to know that more than anything I’m so glad he and his son are ok. It made me ill when I first heard of this crash. As someone who bikes with my kids daily and likes riding in the rain & dark I’m not going to stop, but I’m going to be more defensive. I’ll leave more space in front of me to escape into and pay closer attention to the cars in my mirror. I’m also going to complain about my heavy bakfiets a little less; hills are hard, but the kids are in front of me & as protected as they can be on a bike. And I’m going to keep taking the lane because everything I’ve read leads me to believe that’s the safest place for us.
there need to be far more serious consequence for these types of “accidents” than just a few points on a DL.
True. Aside from a total equipment failure there is no “accident” here, the driver is responsible and needs to be accountable.
And before someone gets pedantic about me decrying the use of “accident”, no matter what you call it, the car driver is negligent in his duties to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.
+1 John for heading off the semantics police.
Seriously. If the driver did not see the bike/trailer, what was he/she doing zooming up so quickly to the car ahead of them that we might assume he/she DID see? That car was obviously doing a decent clip to damage that trailer so severely. What the hell is the point of closing the distance between yourself and the car in front of you with such haste?
Makes me think of the times I’m driving and lay off the gas in order to coast to a slow stop as I approach a red light. It’s amazing how many times the car behind me will change lanes and audibly hit the gas to accelerate toward the stopped cars at the red light. Hurry up! Get to that red light first!!
I’m very glad that that father and son escaped from this collision as relatively unscathed as they were and find it remarkable they did so escape.
“…That car was obviously doing a decent clip to damage that trailer so severely. …” tonyt
Not that someone carrying a child in a child carrying bike trailer should be obliged to use it in situations where the trailer would need to withstand impact from motor vehicles…but it seems that generally, bike trailer design and construction offer virtually no protection against impact.
Even if manufacturers were to come up with designs that offered resistance against motor vehicle impact, in the bigger picture, such a strategy may be of somewhat dubious value in terms of improving vulnerable road user safety, if using it were to somehow draw away from the objective of doing everything reasonably possible to avoid collisions happening at all.
Just how much impact resistance a child carrying bike trailer can withstand, is exactly what State Rep Mitch Greenlick sought to draw attention to last legislative session with his very controversial and generally here at bikeportland, hugely unpopular proposal to address the issue of bike trailer safety.
“…He was wearing a reflective yellow jacket and his trailer had a strobing rear tail-light. …” maus/bikeportland
Last year when the Greenlick bike trailer law proposal caused such a stir, one of the things occurring to me at the time that I thought could possibly offer a relatively easy means of improving bike trailer safety, would be to improve the visibility bike trailers present to road users, by expanding the minimum legal requirement for bike lighting and reflectivity specific to bike trailers.
In short: though it’s certainly better than none at all, more than a single strobing tail light on the trailer. Maybe, ‘X’ amount of square inches of reflective material, in addition to bike lights. Maybe a requirement of two or more lights, or a light of a certain square inch size. Relying too heavily for visibility on bright colors child carrying bike trailer’s are covered with, isn’t a good situation.
“it seems that generally, bike trailer design and construction offer virtually no protection against impact.”
In this case, it seems the opposite is true. If I read the account correctly, the car must have gone over the trailer, or at least hit it with enough force to throw Dad back onto the car’s hood and windshield, then forward onto the car in front of them. Injuries sustained by the child were limited to minor cuts and bruises. A kid just standing there in the street–or even being pushed in a stroller–would likely have suffered much greater injury. I have to assume that some combination of trailer, seat, and helmet worked quite well to protect this boy from what “should” have been much worse injury. The father’s own account suggests that the nature of the impact was such that he was afraid his little boy hadn’t survived–yet they were both home from the hospital in short order. No telling whether the trailer was actually crushed under the car’s wheel (unless it came to rest and was found there), but that would give even more credence to the idea that some part of the boy’s traveling environment had some pretty substantial protective effects–or else a miracle occurred.
Day after I posted the above comment, I thought to search for and check out whether Burley’s tested its trailers for impact resistance/absorbtion Posted the link on the 5th, here it is also:
You’ll see Burley does do a ‘drop’ test, and offers modest amount of info about what that consists of, and a link to a standards criteria it meets. Without having read the standards sheet, I’m going to guess the type of slow speed collisions having occurred this last week are probably the maximum impact Burley’s trailers could handle.
If Burley has done a crash test dummy type collision with an actual motor vehicle at a range of speeds banging into a bike and bike trailer, that might be interesting to look into. I’m inclined to think that building bike trailers to withstand high impacts from cars is probably self defeating. Even if, let’s say, bike trailers were equipped with air bags…it’s doubtful that equipment would reassure people about their prospects of avoiding trauma after being piled into by a motor vehicle traveling 25mph or higher speeds.
Especially for people wanting to tow their kids around in bike trailers, the potential for collisions with motor vehicles would probably have them strongly favoring design, construction and funding of at least a basic grid of grade separated cycle tracks throughout Portland’s neighborhoods.
Basically, EXACTLY what KYouell wrote above. I am so terribly sorry that this happened to you and your son.
Another reminder of how relentlessly violent cars are.
I hope that maybe this can spur development of some decent infrastructure.
What a tragedy. I’m very sorry to hear that this had happened.
I get upset knowing that many of our civic leaders fight to keep safer streets from being built (The 2030 Bicycle Master Plan) while 100s of millions of dollars are being thrown at planning the Columbia River Crossing Highway Expansion Project and the Rose Quarter Highway Widening Project.
I hope this family can heal as quickly and completely as possible.
Even beyond the CRC, our mayor-elect argued that the best way to safer streets for all users is to redirect more funds to filling potholes. I believe that incidences like this are a strong rebuttal to that idea.
This has to be a very painful process for the father. I hope he has a chance (and is willing) to tell his story to the mayor and the city council members. They need to understand that families use the city streets and need to be protected. Right now, the city is at a near complete standstill on improving bicycle infrastructure. If we don’t move forward on our bike masterplan, we can anticipate further tragedies of this sort.
This sort of tragedy is avoidable. We could prioritize protecting the most vulnerable road users, but instead we prioritize traveling to Vancouver 5 minutes quicker than our current rate, we prioritize road surfaces that are pristine and we prioritize increasing the convenience and speed of automobile use over saving lives.
The PDOT budget is not just an account of dollars and cents, it is a reflection of the priorities of our city and our leadership. It is, above all, an ethical document. On this count, the PDOT budget is a horrible, abysmal failure and is a shameful reflection of our city and our lack of concern in the loss of life that we regularly experience on Portland roads.
I’ll buy a box of Voodoo Donuts as a thank-you for the DA’s office if they actually decide to prosecute the driver under the Vulnerable Roadway User law. Sad to say, I’m betting that they’ll just let the driver plea-bargain it down to a misdemeanor charge. I can’t recall ever hearing about a successful case prosecuted under VRU; maybe someone can refresh my memory?
The VRU law is flawed in that it requires that the person found guilty of it operated their vehicle in a “careless” manner. The legal threshold of what constitutes “careless” is so high that most cases do not qualify. It would have real teeth if it simply required that the victim was a VRU and the person operating the vehicle broke a traffic law.
And I thought I’d read here somewhere that in rear-end collisions it is automatically the fault of the rear-ending party. Or did I misread/misremember that?
Thank you Jonathan for exploring this in more detail and for the very graphic photo, too. Knowing he and the trailer were well lit and reflective just goes to show what some of us have been saying here for a while now. Being lit/reflective is no guarantee of anything.
Being “at fault” and being “careless” are probably two different things. I like Jonathan’s idea that seems to imply that even “fault” shouldn’t matter–if a VRU is injured by a motor vehicle and they were both breaking the law, the motorist should still be prosecuted under the VRU law, as they have a greater responsibility to operate their vehicles within the bounds of the law to avoid injuring and killing people.
I hate that the streets are considered to be the equivalent of something like a military artillery range, where anybody that wanders onto them ought to expect to get blown up, and don’t come crying to me when you do…
“… Being lit/reflective is no guarantee of anything. …” 9watts
Actually, there is essentially a guarantee to people having their bike properly equipped for visibility…light in front, reflector or light in back, in they won’t be cited for not having that visibility gear.
And most likely, more square inches of reflectivity and lighting displayed by people that bike, will increase the ease of road users efforts to detect vulnerable road users so equipped, amidst the traffic landscape, thereby increasing their odds of avoiding close calls and collisions.
Of course, for your own self, if you find that additional visibility measures not including a guarantee against collision are of no value to you, you’re welcome to choose to go without.
So the guarantee for “being lit/reflective” – i.e light in front, reflector or light in back – is that one “won’t be cited for not having that visibility gear” – i.e. I won’t get a ticket. Thank you for pointing out the single guarantee it brings. That does provide some consolation after one is struck by a car, that at least one won’t “be cited”. Frankly, your comment here comes across as petty and detracts from your other comments.
“…Frankly, your comment here comes across as petty and detracts from your other comments. …” Tacoma
‘Guarantee’ was in response to the comment of 9watts lamenting about lights and reflectivity not being a guarantee of ‘anything’, alluding to collisions involving a bike and a motor vehicle.
If a ‘guarantee’ that maximizing bike lights and reflectivity will prevent collisions caused by another vehicle, were the only means by which people could be persuaded to equip their bikes, trailers and themselves with visibility enhancing gear, it could be very difficult to achieve that higher visibility on the part of bikes and bike trailers.
Fortunately though, most people would probably recognize it’s not reasonable to expect lights and visibility to guarantee that collisions they could come to be involved in, caused by other vehicles, will not happen.
Despite reasonable ability to offer a guarantee against collision, in favor of increased visibility on the part of vulnerable road users, with some simple encouragement, people could possibly come to understand that enhanced visibility on their part, could very well help reduce their chances of not being seen by other road users, with the result being a collision.
This benefit of enhanced visibility through more lighting and reflectivity is the point I tried to express in my comment. My apology if my remarks came across as not reflecting a genuine interest in improvements to everyone’s safety.
If there was data being sent or received via their wireless device at the time of the accident, does that presumptively meet the standard of carelessness?
“careless” is defined at ORS 811.135 as driving “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.” the threshold is not high. it is not an abstraction, and it does not require you to inquire into the driver’s state of mind. rear-ending someone at a stop is likely to endanger, period.
It’s so obsurd that injury accidents like this do not automatically qualify as being “careless”. Did you hit a stopped object with your car? You were being careless. It doesn’t matter what you were doing at the time. If anything, someone that wasn’t “distracted” at the time is even more dangerous!
in other words, the statute as a practical matter already does say what you want it to day — violation plus injury to vulnerable user. the problem is that responding officers have not been properly trained to make the appropriate marks on the ticket form. they imagine that some high threshold of “carelessness” is required, but it is simply not the case. someone needs to step into the training sessions and clarify this.
“…responding officers have not been properly trained…”
So, then, who is responsible for that training? Who, once the legislature has passed a law complete with discussion about why it was needed and what it was intended to accomplish (testimony from Bjorn et al), is responsible for implementing it and its enforcement? My guess is that it is District Attorneys who have chosen not to use it, possibly due to unfavorable court decisions in other cases. But I am curious about who actually made the choice(s) not to use it, and why.
presumably police officers have regular trainings in some dull classroom somewhere. BTA could offer to send someone to do a one hour briefing at these. the drafters of the legislation, including ray thomas, would make credible presenters.
the most recent change to the statute, adding paragraph (6) to make it easier for the officer on the scene to note the fact that the statute might apply, without actually committing to the charge, was put forward by BTA specifically in response to a request from law enforcement through ray. we are handing law enforcement this thing on a silver platter and they still will not take it.
That sounds like a worthy endeavor for BTA, but even covering just the tri-county police departments, one by one, would be a big effort. Trying to cover all city and county police departments in Oregon is asking too much. Both the Oregon District Attorneys Association (ODAA), representing 36 elected district attorneys, and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police (OACP) have conferences, meetings, and discussion and training fora, and maybe BTA could leverage those higher association levels to help spread awareness and use of 811.135.
I was recently in a meeting with two officers responsible for traffic and bicycle policing. When I mentioned some of the laws that were not being enforced that cause problems for bicyclist they had no idea what I was talking about and had never heard of them. The problem is that there are so many rules and few take many of them seriously.
As I see it the laws are routinely violated and there is no enforcement. And when there is an accident, the police and DA work very hard to come up with a reason that the pedestrian or bicyclist is in the wrong rather than punish the poor driver. I believe the only way to change this is to make a law that says that in an accident between a motorized vehicle and a pedestrian or bicyclist that the motorized vehicle is responsible, the implied liability of the Netherlands.
It is clear to me in this case that the driver was speeding and distracted. Both of which rise the careless or even reckless. To throw the bicylist into the car in front with enough force to break the window implies considerable speed. A speed limit is an upper limit, not a lower limit, and can only be used if all conditions are good. That means that in a rain the speed limit is less and travelling the speed limit in the rain is careless and reckless driving.
I agree that the careless standard appears to me to be met by this, I guess one could argue that the injury doesn’t meet the legal standard for serious:
from ors: “Serious physical injury means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”
To me a broken vertebrae meets that standard, or at least comes close enough that it should be up to a judge to determine. The issue continues to be police officers who are either unfamiliar with the law or not applying it properly. I don’t know if it is too late for the officer to issue the citation, but hopefully whatever lawyer this guy has contacted will be advocating for that to happen. Overall it would be nice to see Chief Reese communicate to all officers that they should error on the side of using the law when a VRU is seriously injured.
If this collision, involving a motorist zooming up to stopped vehicle traffic at a traffic signal and crashing into a stopped vehicle with a strobe and a rider with a reflective vest, doesn’t constitute CARELESS, the DA should public declare that the VRU law is completely useless.
Better yet, let’s have the DA attempt to prosecute under the law and let the court decide the threshold is too high. Then we can all go back to the legislature and demand something that actually does protect the vunerable from the non-careless, inattentive drivers.
By anyone’s definition, except a lawyer’s, this collision meets the definition of careless.
I am also glad that two people are alive and have a good prospect of recovery.
The office of the District Attorney is in some degree answerable to political pressure–write, call, email, etc., directly as well as through city and county government.
I am aware of a case involving a cyclist and a drunk pedestrian in this city where the cyclist, much less culpable than this car occupant, was charged with assault. He hit a jaywalker who was intoxicated, the D.A. offered to let him off with 30 days in jail and loss of riding privileges! This farce was the result of the pressure from City Hall on the D.A.’s office.
This is not a legend, I am personally acquainted with the cyclist who was (unfortunately for him at the time) working as a messenger. He was also one of the most staid, law-abiding traffic cyclists I have ever seen.
Outrage. Light ’em up.
To the dad: I’m glad you and your son came out of this horrible experience without major injuries. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Drivers make mistakes and injure people on foot and in others cars all the time, not just those on bikes. You could been crossing that same intersection on foot and had equal or worse injuries.
You’re absolutely right. Drivers do make mistakes and injure people on foot and in cars and on bicycles all the time.
Yupp, you are right Fleur, but when a driver doesn’t pay attention, 3000 lbs of steal go array!
This is, of course, totally horrible. I understand the PTSD, and would never challenge this family’s likely enduring fear of taking kids by bike. But suppose this family was walking instead, and struck in an intersection, with or without lights and high-vis. It certainly happens, far too often. That too would be a crime, not an indictment of the judgment of the parent in choosing to walk.
Right. There was the family had their 2 y.o. in a stroller that was run over by a geriatric driver while standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street.
Mitch Greenlick is all hot and bothered about kids in bike trailers, but has done nothing rein-in unsafe, geriatric drivers.
Jonathan, have the police at least indicated the age of the driver?
yeah, or sex, race, hair color, taste in music or clothing?
This passes moderation?
Unlike all those other characteristics, advancing age plays a marked and well-known negative factor on both eye-sight and reaction times.
“passes moderation” coming from someone who attacks “geriatrics” though there are no reported facts here indicating the age of the driver.
stats from the 2000 census
say in 1998 there were eleven “accidents” per hundred licensed drivers, thirty fatalities per hundred thousand. among drivers over age 75 the crash rate was slightly lower and the fatality rate was slightly higher than the averages.
but guess what. everybody below age thirty-four had worse numbers, and twenty to twenty-four was horrible. and all those people in between, twenty-five to seventy-four, although they were running stats below the average per hundred or hundred thousand, accounted for 69.7 pct. of all crashes and 69.6 pct. of all fatalities.
and the reason the fatality rate was slightly higher may have been that, y’know, old people are easier to kill
here is some more recent data
and hey, the good news is, drivers twenty-five to thirty-four have moved into first place.
Any data that is based on collisions per driver rather than collisions per mile driven will skew heavily towards demographics that drive more.
First, I did not use the pejorative noun “geriatrics,” so don’t put it in quotes as if I did. I used the adjective geriatric as a modifier to the noun drivers. That is perfectly legitimate usage.
Second, my attack, such that it was, was with Mitch Greenlick and his ham-handed desire to regulate the victims, rather than deal with the offenders.
Third, enough with the ad numeram fallacies and the not so thinly veiled ad hominem.
Finally, I’ve not suggested we go FAA on geriatric drivers. However, added regulation aimed addressing their declining faculties is entirely reasonable and would unquestionably save lives. Methinks you doth protest too much. You’re obviously biased and I won’t be responding any further. It’s clear where I stand, and you’re not going to be able to cast me as some sort of bigot.
please identify the ad numeram fallacies
Actually I’m in favor of going FAA on all drivers and requiring a re-test of knowledge and skills every two years (biennial review). It has proven most effective at identifying lapses in training and skills in pilots, even GA pilots (non-professional) are leaps and bounds above the skill level of most car drivers in terms of accidents per hour at the controls, especially when the added dimension of flying is considered as well as the fact that there is a much higher probability of crashing from just getting lost than there is with cars (fuel exhaustion, missing a fuel stop in an airplane is not the same as just going to the next exit in a car).
First, I did not use the pejorative noun “geriatrics,” so don’t put it in quotes as if I did. I used the adjective geriatric as a modifier to the noun drivers. That is perfectly legitimate usage.
Second, my attack, such that it was, was with Mitch Greenlick and his ham-handed desire to regulate the victims, rather than deal with the offenders.
Third, enough with the ad numeram fallacies and the not so thinly veiled ad hominem.
Finally, I’ve not suggested we go FAA on geriatric drivers. However, added regulation aimed addressing their declining faculties is entirely reasonable and would unquestionably save lives. Methinks you doth protest too much. You’re obviously biased and I won’t be responding any further. It’s clear where I stand, and you’re not going to be successful casting me as some sort of bigot.
and while you are at it, please identify the ad hominem
Teens have a higher crash rate than elderly people.
And teens have added restrictions on their licenses… depending on the state, no driving at night except to work, no other teens in the car, etc.
But regardless, since when does two wrongs make a right?
the two wrongs being, let me think, some guy and his kid get creamed at 60th and division and you come on here complaining about old people
None. I think people should have to get re-tested for their licenses every couple years. I was just able to renew my license after 9 years and won’t have to renew again until 2020, and DMV had no way of knowing if I’ve developed some kind of impairment that affected in that time, unless I had happened to visit and tell it to a doctor who obliged with their mandatory reporting to the DMV. That’s a lot of IF’s. I think ALL drivers should have frequent re-testing, not just old ones, or young ones.
*None = Never (as in, 2 wrongs never make a right)
Todd, sadly there are plenty of a-holes out there that DO take parents to task for walking. We have come to see anything but travel by car as being inherently risky and foolish. Of course they forget the massive casualties among motorists themselves, being the most dangerous daily activity for the majority of Americans.
Walking? WALKING? The thing that met ALL the overland transportation needs of modern homo sapiens for the first 95% of its existence (before the domestication of horses)?
What’s next… breathing? “You shouldn’t have been trying to breathe there.”
I agree. It’s completely understandable how this guys feels. However, this seems to be a case where the trailer did it’s job and protected the kid.
People get hurt getting rear ended in cars too. All you can do is either never leave your house, or take the best precautions you can.
What disgusts me is all the motorists out there that are going to be blaming the victim and rationalizing (implicitly their own) distracted and negligent driving with “accidents are going to happen; that guy had no business being on the streets, surrounded by cars with a small child in one of those trailers that offers no protection.”
This is every cycling parent’s worse nightmare. My heart goes out to the fellow and I wish him well.
Some of my fondest memories of my little boy involve riding with him on the back of my bike. Remember, that all transportation alternatives involve risks. Illegal operation of motor vehicles is the #1 cause of childhood death. Most of these children die in the parents car. At least when you are on a bike you are part of the solution and not the problem.
I was right hooked again today by a parent turning into an elementary school. If I expected parents to look or signal before turning I would have been hit.
In my experience schools have the most dangerous intersections to ride near, by far. Distracted driving doesn’t always come from mobile devices.
I do understand why this needs to be reported here BUT let’s also consider that there will be other children and adults injured and killed at this intersection and it won’t be extensively reported (if at all) and the safety of driving and walking with children won’t be debated.
It breaks my heart to see this photo. That could be my child crushed under that wheel. Maybe what we need to see is more pictures of auto wreckage and casualties so that we can be reminded that our transportation system is not safe regardless mode and it’s all because of one mode, the automobile. Somehow we’ve become so accustomed to the carnage that we don’t even notice it unless the victim is riding a bicycle.
My hope is that we’ll see improvements at this intersection but the real solution is to dramatically reduce auto-speeds on all of our streets and highways.
super scary. glad they’re going to be ok.
that intersection scares me even as a pedestrian. drivers treat that section of divison as a highway, and race up to the stop light all the time.
the best way to cross that part of division is the pedestrian signal at 57th, then you can cut over to woodward via 58th, or take the path between clinton park and franklin high school. it’s a little bit out of the way if you’re coming from 60th and salmon, but not *that* much and you can take 57th the whole way from salmon.
Thankfully this type of incident is rare. So glad the child was not severely hurt. This reminds me of the proposed bill around the child trailers (see http://bikeportland.org/2011/01/12/rep-greenlick-says-safety-concerns-prompted-child-biking-bill-45890) – will this be raised again? Let’s remember that an incident is not a trend.
This is why I don’t wait for red lights. I understand he had a child with him, but if I can help it I never sit at night waiting for a light. You have to look out for yourself, because nobody else will.
He was stopped behind two other cars and we’re talking Division, at night, at 6PM with a bike trailer. Are you insane? Who would cross Division against the light, at night, in the rain, at 6PM, with a bike trailer.
i have an idea how to advance the constructive tone of this conversation. let’s call each other names.
not necessarily applicable to this specific situation, and not as a critique of how this guy handled a particular situation that happened to have a bad outcome, but
what a red light signifies, as far as a bicyclist is concerned, is that cross traffic is likely to be flying through at something over the posted limit. the red light does not signify to the bicyclist, as it does to the motorist who is safely enclosed in a collapsible airframe, you sit here and switch into “off” mode until the light changes. people are still approaching from behind, and frankly, the guy making a right off the cross street might swing wide. sitting in an intersection is always the worst thing a bicyclist can do, even (or especially) when it is nominally required by the traffic signals. you do it if you have to, but you have to remain vigilant, and if there is an opportunity to get out, you may as well take it.
Thank You! You expressed what I meant. “Remain vigilant, if you have the opportunity, get out of there”. I think while sitting there it creates a situation where you could be a “sitting duck”.
even if it might not be applicable to a heavier bike with a kid trailer, i am glad you made this point.
i also think that its best to move to the front of a line of cars and place your bike squarely in the way of the first car. unless its unsafe to do this i never sit sandwiched between tailpipes.
I am sorry, but thus just reinforces the law breaking mentality of the bike ninja class. People like you very much make those of us who actually know how to ride a bike look bad.
look bad or look dead, i always say
what you call a law i call a statute enforced by a fee (quelle horreur!!1!) that was specifically designed for multi-ton hunks of metal.
“the bike ninja class”
also known as human beings who often do not have a lot of money and cannot afford to be “was carless”.
I am extremely happy to hear that both dad and son were able to come away from this without permanant injuries.
I totally agree that there needs to be more safe and easy to navigate North/South routes within Portland. I would really like to see some pressure on PBOT and our new elected officials to put out some workable plans to make that happen.
Very tragic story, what is the condition of the child now?
My partner and I are planning to have a child in about two years; she is already super nervous about my safety on my bike and I’ve been thinking about the safety of a pulling a trailer behind me due to fear of this very type of incident, a rollover, etc. When I was in Copenhagen recently, I don’t recall seeing many kids in trailers but instead saw lots of _trikes_ with kids in them. It seems to me that having the kid in front, where you can keep an eye on them, and having the stability of a single frame would be far safer than pulling a trailer.
Yes, trikes are popular in Copenhagen, and bakfiets are popular in Amsterdam. I’m @kyouell on twitter & have been riding my kids around in a bakfiets for over a year and a half now. I’d be happy to discuss my experiences more with you. I’m sure Emily Finch (@1lessgmsuburban) would also be happy to chat about it too; she has a bakfiets and her husband has a trike (& a car). She’s a tad busy this week, so if you aim your comments at her don’t be surprised if it takes awhile for an answer. We do it, you can do it too. 🙂
A great alternative to a bakfiets or trike is an xtracycle with childseat. There are tradeoffs against either the baks or trikes, but there are definite advantages for the general usability of the bike, including being less expensive, especially if you convert a bike you already own. Ridability and handling are as good or better than the original (pre-xtra) bike, and you can haul a wide range of goods spontaneously, without having to decide to hook up a trailer or take the other bike.
I converted an old Schwinn mountain bike into a xtracycle a couple years before I knew I was going to have a child. Once he was 8 or 9 months, I added a front child seat (Yepp Mini), which I highly recommend, and we started riding. A bit after he turned two, I replaced it with a Yepp Maxi that attaches to the rear deck. He has loved riding in both seats, and I appreciate how much better the bike handles than it would with a trailer and not having to worry about him being several feet behind me, more vulnerable and breathing at tailpipe level.
I did add a two-point kickstand, which eliminates any stability concerns while loading/unloading the bike, locking it up, etc. (I would recommend that anyone considering hauling kids on an xtracycle — or any other bike — be very comfortable with the handling of the bike itself before adding a child seat.)
My message to father and family: “so glad you are safe! Thanks for all your previous efforts on the behalf of cyclists. Happy riding once you are healed up.”
This is terrible and should never happen. I live just north of Mount Tabor and the ONLY good route to head south is all the way to 52nd, which is a Greenway yet to be constructed (next year).
If you compare the Master Bicycle Plan and the local roads there is an easy solution which requires no private land acquisition, but would involve….gasp….a new traffic light.
SE 64th connects the Lincoln-Harrison Greenway to the back end of the Park’s Department Headquarters. It would be easy to build a path on the back side to Division and then, with a new Bike/Pedestrian light (which they REALLY need since there is a senior community there) crossing Division at SE 64th. Then, when money and time allows, Greenway access from south Portland (which needs it desperately) can easily be achieved : SE 64th to Woodward, SE 65th to Center, then SE 67th all the way to the city limits south and the Springwater Corridor.
Personally, I think this is one of the most important connections we need to make since this would give controlled SAFE access to Mount Tabor and the Lincoln-Harrison Greenway to all of South Portland and once you get to Lincoln, the whole rest of the central city opens up.
Ditto on more N/S routes. I’m more inclined to focus on that (I just got a N/S route by my house, the 86/87th route in Montavilla), and it has made a big difference at major intersections like Stark/Washington. I think this is a much more productive area of focus for the cycling community than busting out the pitchforks and torches and for more “serious consequences” or prosecutions. That route of action has it’s place as well, but considering how little specific info we have on this accident, it’s probably a little premature here.
I’m going to make a wild guess and assume the motorist was yakking on their cell phone when this accident happened.
glad this kid was OK.
I watched a wonderful mother blow a loaded 4-way stop sign intersection this morning with a kid on the back. Just shook my head in disbelief.
It goes both ways with kids and people’s decisions on the road.
The intersection is not that bad in my experience. Seems like nothing more than driven inattention, which no cyclist is safe from. I ride it a few times a week at night. Clinton is a lot better however, less traffick, and delivers you to the same general area, however crossing 52nd can be tough at night, in the rain. The traffic patterns of the entire area are affected by the presence of Franklin High School grounds/fields.
Hmmm, driving a 1.5-ton object over a child in a small trailer. What an unconscionable act of violence. Now, if I walked outside and started shooting a gun randomly and hit someone, I would be accused of homicide or something similar. If I do the same thing with my car, which is proven in statistics to be hundreds of times more lethal, law enforcement looks the other way. Just sad.
What luck that the child survived and wll recover. But we shouldn’t let luck make us complacent. PPB and the DMV are the only ones who ensure the attacker is held accountable. Murder, whether intentional or through recklessness, is not ok.
Remember, it’s wise to not think of drivers as human; rather, they’re an uncontrolled, top of the food chain predator with no natural enemies. And, nobody’s hunting them–yet.
9watts is correct in saying that being well lit is no guarantee that you will be well seen. But it sure does help. I commute daily from Vancouver to my job at PDX, about one and a half hours each way. During the winter months I never see daylight on my bicycle until spring. I have two high-power headlights and a “constellation” of tail lights, plus reflective clothing. I once confronted a driver who cut me off. He claimed he didn’t see me, and perhaps so. Drivers generally are looking for other vehicles first. Their eyes are not attuned to other life on the road. Like it or not, this is a human factor we more vulnerable beings need to bear in mind. That being said, I can’t tell you how frequently I come across fellow commuters ( and joggers), with some despair, who are wearing all-black clothing. And often their lighting is very weak. If I have an opportunity at a traffic signal, I cordially offer my observation on their lack of visibility. More often than not, they do not seem concerned. If my bike-sensitive eye has difficulty picking them up, how much more so for a motorist who has never been on a bike?
Lighting and reflective clothing is wise, prudent, etc. As we’ve seen here it can be overdone (blinding oncoming traffic, Trimet clown in orange suit, etc.) but that aside it is an area worthy of attention, advocacy, and education.
What this tragic example highlights, however, is that all those campaigns that focus attention on the supposedly unlit or underlit human-powered modes, are misconstruing the problem, which is still inattentive drivers. European authorities get this and generally don’t blame the un- or under-lit victims.
“…being well lit is no guarantee that you will be well seen. But it sure does help. …” Glenn
Glenn…thanks for helping to emphasize what should be among the very top in-traffic self defensive measures people that bike amongst motor vehicles use to improve their chances of avoiding collisions and worse with motor vehicles.
Decently bright, off the shelf, easy to recharge lights are available for around $50 and up for headlights,
$30 for tail lights…still a lot of money for people to afford multiple lights, but one or two can be supplemented with reflective tape, which is less money…about a $1.00 a foot for 2″ wide, but is very effective when headlights shine on it.
1: being seen is good
2: being run over is bad
Two pedalcyclists pulling their progeny in bike trailers have in the past week now been run into by Portland automobilists, one father and child in broad daylight (scrapes, Eric see below); the other at night but well reflectivized and illuminated (hospitalized but released, see above). Poor visibility of the victims was by all accounts not a cause in either case, driver attention almost certainly was.
Conclusion wsbob: let’s just keep talking about reflectors and lights “to improve their chances of avoiding collisions and worse with motor vehicles. […] reflective tape is very effective when headlights shine on it.”
1: being seen is (still) good
–> you need to make yourself visible when biking = 2
–> I need to pay attention when I’m driving = 0
2: being run over is (still) bad
I know you’re trying to be helpful, wsbob, but this does not strike me as productive here. Instead it is starting to smell like the reflexive “was he wearing a helmet/was she wearing a skimpy dress” question.
“…I know you’re trying to be helpful, wsbob, but this does not strike me as productive here. …” 9watts
Then perhaps you should think about situations where people may be trailering their kids around, a bit more thoroughly.
While additional lights and reflectivity may not have made a difference in helping to avoid a collision in the situations these most recent car/bike w/trailer collisions occurred, additional lights and reflectivity may very well be helpful in other situations people may find themselves towing their children behind them with a bike.
Enhanced visibility reduces the potential for close calls and collisions in situations where poor visibility exist due to a variety of conditions such as poor or nonexistent street lighting. Lighting and reflectivity are comparatively cheap.
Yeah, I can think of a lot of maybes too.
What I’m trying to understand is why you are so determined to focus not on the apparent and familiar cause in these and many other instances where cars and bikes crash, people outside of cars are maimed or killed, but on a ‘fix’ for a hypothetical problem not generally observed.
Reese Wilson: straight road, middle of day
Christeen Osborn: straight road, middle of day, reflective vest
David Apperson: wiggly road, no shoulder, sun in driver’s eyes
Martha McLean & Essya Nabbali: straight road, middle of day
Marcellus Tijdink: straight road, middle of day
Steven Dayley, Hank Bersani & Karl Moritz….: straight road, middle of day, and on and on…
To shore up your point, can you point to people we’ve read about here on bikeportland who have been hit by cars where inadequate illumination or reflectivity was determined to be the cause?
And on the assumption that you can find some, would you agree that in other countries (Austria, Germany for starters) the law and public service efforts do not focus on or single out or blame the victims in instances like this but tend to find fault with drivers even in cases where we here might find ourselves expecting ‘what is with the ninja-cyclists?’
You say: “Lighting and reflectivity are comparatively cheap.”
I agree with that, but they are also, predictably, the responsibility of the human powered modes in our conversations here. Cost is hardly the most important criterion in this context. Assigning responsibility is to me a more important and prior one. The cost to me as a bicycle rider of (finally) getting the VRU law applied, or of (finally) ticketing distracted drivers at rates that conceivably might reduce that tendency, is likely lower than buying and installing and maintaining even more lights and reflective material.
It’s all about priorities.
For people that bike, increases in the total square inches of visibility enhancing lights and reflectivity is something almost every person that bikes can relatively easily achieve…now…not weeks, months or years from now.
New laws, or revision of old ones that attempt to somehow reduce collisions between cars and bikes may have merit in the long term, but for the short term those measures offer no relief.
This is horrifying…I can’t imagine what the father must be feeling right now. Such a shame that we all know the driver will walk with a slap on the wrist.
Thank you, Jonathan M., for taking the time to post this story. I hope that the family recovers quickly and that they continue to advocate for family bicycling.
Agreed Rebecca–but if our injuries and fatalities can be expressed as multiples of the Netherlands’, it means riders are still hurt and killed there as well. Which might lead us to debate what level of injuries and deaths (if any) is compatible with being “truly safe.”
What this is, is a case of broken trust. In addition to the raw trauma of the event, there is the realization that there has been a betrayal. Generally speaking, TRUST is a huge element of what allows advanced civilization to exist and function. Transportation is no exception. Every day, no matter what mode you use, you’re putting your life, and those of your kids, in the hands of others out there. But when people fail in their moral duty, there is a sense of loss and outrage. All the angry d-bag commenters on Oregonlive feel it too; you can see it plain as day. They’ve probably all been betrayed already. And now, realizing their own laziness or cowardice has made them part of the problem, they’re just basically resolving the cognitive dissonance any way they can. They will not generally hasten to tell you “Wow, I’m actually sort of a coward and I’m part of the problem.” They will more likely say “Silly fool, it was stupid of you to trust people, just buy a tank to transport your kids in. Like I did.”
To the anonymous dad: There are only two roads to go down:
1) Believe in civilized society, and other people (the vast majority of whom “get it” I think), and your own reasons for cycling, and the freedom or right to do so. Result: Being courageous and continuing as you were already doing. Continued physical risk. Relative absence of cognitive dissonance. “You picked up where you left off.”
2) Give up on civilized society, or the notion that people can be trusted. There does exist an argument to be made in favor of this, since in many ways we seem to be creeping toward collapse, and those who have seen such things elsewhere know it’s always characterized by gradually- or precipitously-increasing entropy/disorder (which almost by definition is when “accidents” mount in frequency). Result: Less physical risk, but a quiet and sad sort of alienation, and capitulation to a powerlessness ultimately much more far-reaching than the momentary powerlessness of the crash itself. “You learned your lesson.”
Probably not going to be very popular with this post: I was pretty amazed that someone who lives in the neighborhood would consider 60th as the best option (or even a viable one) at night, in the rain, near rush hour, with a kid in tow. A little bit of map examination and a test ride would reveal that you could head west 1 or 2 blocks on Salmon then south on 58th or 57th, slight jog to the right at Lincoln then straight to Division. 57th and 58th both have painted crosswalks at Divsion. Might require a dismount at Division, but you are so close to the light at 60th that it is not difficult to cross.
Understand, that I believe they have an absolute right to safely ride on SE 60th and I think society has a duty to ensure they can do so… but unfortunately that does not mean it actually is, in those conditions.
I’m glad to hear that father and son will fully heal and I hope they continue to ride. I also hope the driver is held fully accountable for his/her negligence.
sounds like simply crossing the street you’re already on would be the best option… oh, except for the dangerous motor vehicle operators…
the best option for me is the most direct one, just like everybody else…
in fairness to mike’s point, spiffy, there is also a light at 57th, and a great deal less southbound traffic. problem is, it dumps you nowhere, and then you are on division itself, which might be worse.
Having pulled all 3 of my kids around, this made my eyes tear up and heart sink.
Very unfortunate that this happened, and I am sure that it will take some time to get over the shock of the event. Sometimes I stand at the corner of Belmont and 39th waiting for a bus, and I observe many passing drivers. Looking at what many of them are doing (texting, talking on phone, dancing and singing in driver’s seat, or wolfing down a Big Mac), it’s a miracle that there aren’t more collisions at intersections. Frankly, observing drivers scares the crap out if me.
Distracted driver, vulnerable road user.
They should throw the book at the motorist.
If the car hit the car in front of the bike, this accident becomes unavoidable, the driver had to be texting, drunk, or perhaps eating. As we know this causes accidents a minimum of 2 years with out a DL and a probation officer might make people think twice.
as a father who tows his 4 year old in a trailer as well this just makes me furious… I’ve biked that intersection (and in the lane of the 4-lane section of division up to the bike lane) in the dark many times, but I don’t think I’ve been there with my kid… I would not hesitate to bike this route, or any route, with my kid…
society does not have adequate discipline for what the driver deserves and I hope I’m never in this situation if somebody injures my kid with their cage…
SO relieved to hear the injury report after seeing that photo.
I have to say that this is the worst child-on/behind-parent bike incident I’ve heard of in 4+ years of pretty obsessively following family cycling issues online and locally in Seattle. Cuts, scrapes, slo-mo tipovers and other scares/learning experiences on occasion, but nothing like this.
Which will be faint reassurance for the dad but for the rest of us hopefully puts trailer and tots on bikes dangers into some (limited) perspective.
I’m so glad they are okay. I hope to hear that the terrible driver is being prosecuted soon.
We’re considering what type of bike addendum to get for our youngster when we start hauling him around this spring. We’d decided against bike trailer because we cross Powell a lot in the 50s range, and the center median isn’t wide enough for bike+trailer. But it doesn’t sound like a rear seat would have been safer in this accident — it sounds the driver really wanted to run over whatever was in front of him.
Wow. I live in the South Tabor neighborhood, ride daily, and cross that intersection by bike nearly 4x/week. Over the course of 3 years, that intersection has been a bad one for quite some time, as people are typically 1)running the light traveling E-W on Division, and 2) drivers looking to turn R onto Division commonly blow through the light, irregardless of if someone is at the crosswalk.. Also, as a parent of 2 small kids, who has a Burley, this is a nightmare come true.. horrible thing to happen- especially since all precautions (bright colors, flashing lights) were presumably used by the rider.. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this person driving was… Texting. . . Scary stuff!
(Recharging my bike lights as I write this!)
The photo is disturbing I am glad that they are both safe. Being reared on my bike is a fear I have had but lucky have never had to face.
Such a tough story. We all know that altogether cycling with a child in a trailer is relatively safe, in fact this accident has even served to show how safe – the trailer was ran straight under, yet all the child suffered was bruises. On the other hand “altogether” and “relative” are such moot terms if it comes to you, yourself and your children. I wish this father the strength to not let doubt ruin his attitude, to grab his guts, get up again, say “shit happens” and keep cycling. You did the right thing, yes you did the right thing for your child even if in this particular case it went wrong!
“…We all know that altogether cycling with a child in a trailer is relatively safe, in fact this accident has even
served to show how safe – the trailer was ran straight under, yet all the child suffered was bruises. …” Thomas Arbs
Relatively safe. Child carrying bike trailers may offer safety protection against bumps in the road but it would seem very little protection against motor vehicles colliding with them. In this collision, the back, upper portion of the bike trailer, appears to have been nearly collapsed by the impact with the car.
I can’t decide from looking at the picture accompanying this story, but a question that occurs to me, is when a child is in the trailer, what part of the child’s body would be on a similar height from the ground as parts of motor vehicles, for example, a cars’ bumper.
Another reason the child survived as injury free as he did, may likely have to do with his relatively small size.
Also, I believe the Oregonian story of last week noted that speed of the car colliding with the bike trailer was low, which though may not necessarily be true, I’m thinking it likely was less than 15 mph. It’s entirely conceivable that motor vehicles could collide at higher speeds with child carrying bike trailers towed by people on bikes stopped in traffic, almost completely pancaking bike and trailer against the car ahead.
Let’s keep in mind that the apparent condition of the vehicle (be it automobile or bike trailer) is not (in any simple way) a good indicator of how safe it was for the passenger/occupant. Once upon a time cars were made of steel and very heavy and rigid. In many accidents the car looked fine, but the passengers absorbed much of the impact and were not. Fast forward to cars designed to crumple upon impact, and the tables are turned. Car post collision tend to look awful but passenger often walk away, even in the absence/before air bags.
Now to this Burley. The two side panels are connected with a horizontal strut at the very top of the trailer. This strut is held in place with rubber cleats and screws at each end, and a cotter pin that allows the trailer to be collapsed to put it in the trunk of your car or take up less space in the garage. It would seem that the impact, or the effort to extricate the child from the trailer caused a screw or the cotter pin to come out, thus making it appear as if the trailer was flattened. Another thing to consider is that the car rear ending the bike + trailer probably only made contact with the bike and dad via the trailer. As such, the condition of the trailer in the photo is remarkable given the injuries the dad is reported to have sustained.
All this is a long way around saying that whatever the trailer looks like in the photo I think it is fair to say that it manifestly did some useful work in preventing more serious injury to its passenger.
“…”I thought he was gone,” he recalled, “I pulled open the mangled, flattened trailer and found him calling for me, scared, covered with blood.” …” father of son, remarking about his recovery effort with regard to his son, as reported in this bikeportland story
The bike trailer’s design and construction may have provided some undetermined degree of impact to the child riding in the trailer when the trailer was impacted. Not having been there to investigate, or read results of an investigation, how much protection might have been afforded is something to speculate on. Your theory may have some validity. The words ‘mangled’ and ‘flattened’ in describing the condition of the trailer, post collision, don’t reassure me. Maybe they do some parents.
An interesting question to me would be whether Burley or any other trailer manufacturer has their trailers undergo trailer-motor vehicle impact resistance testing. Bike helmets, probably the most well known impact resistance cycling gear, do go through testing of that sort. If child carrying bike trailers presently don’t undergo such testing, maybe they should.
“If child carrying bike trailers presently don’t undergo such testing, maybe they should.”
I see your point, wsbob, but I think you’re forgetting that humans have not undergone such testing either, and when out and about they are called pedestrians.
Actually, bicycle helmets are not subject to “motor vehicle impact resistance testing.” They are designed and tested to provide some protection for low-speed falls from the bicycle. They are in no way intended to provide protection from the huge amount of energy in a motor vehicle collision.
That’s one of the most frustrating things for me when I read a news article about a crash involving a person riding a bicycle and a person driving a car. The media always report whether or not the person on the bicycle was wearing a helmet, even though it’s largely irrelevant because they’re not intended to provide protection in those instances.
“…Actually, bicycle helmets are not subject to “motor vehicle impact resistance testing.” They are designed and tested to provide some protection for low-speed falls from the bicycle. …” Mark
I think you’re trying to say that bike helmets aren’t subject to testing of impact directly against a motor vehicle, which is true in that instead of some part of a motor vehicle, a drop stand and what’s called an ‘anvil’ is used. Nevertheless, helmets are tested for impact resistance, or maybe more accurately ‘impact absorbency’. That capability can be useful even though the surface a helmet wearers head may happen to collide with during or after a collision, is a surface other than that of a motor vehicle, such as the ground, wall, lamp post, etc.
In a collision between a bike and a car, or a bike trailer and a car, some degrees of impact would be comparable to the impact on a helmet dropped from a drop stand onto an anvil. The point I’m trying to stress, is that bike trailers aren’t subject to any such test, while bike helmets are.
Outrage is an appropriate response. So is Charity. What can we do for this family? Do they have good health insurance? Is there anything they need.
I remember there being talk a long time ago there was talk of using Mt. Tabor yard as a cut through on 64th Ave. It was part of the plans for the Mt Tabor Park Masterplan. I wonder whatever happened to that idea because 60th is a horrible street for bikes. From Burnside to Division it is narrow and cars move too fast.
Strap airbags all over the trailer — inner tubes perhaps. Or get a front loading cargo bike. There are nutcases behind motorized vehicles everywhere. No child should be left openly exposed to a world of nutjobs before they themselves can even make that decision to ride in traffic.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that in this incident the trailer actually protected the child better than the dad fared on his bike.
Aluminum “roll cage”. Maybe we should all ride around with something like that.
we should hold drivers accountable for their inattention.
I tend to avoid busy arterial streets so that I avoid situations like this: lots of busy traffic and distracted drivers. On quieter streets, there are not as many car headlights pointing every which way reducing visibility due to lights pointing into eyes/light reflected in water and dirt on windshield glass, etc. It is also easier to hear if something is amiss and get out of the way. I usually only cross at a signal if the wait at a stop sign (on a residential or non-arterial street) is intolerably long.
My greatest fear as a MOTORcyclist is being rear-ended while at a stop light at night. Non-4-wheelers just don’t seem to register to 4-wheeler drivers.
Glad to hear that everyone is going to recover. I would say OK, but that clearly isn’t the case.
This is just another example of the completely lacking bike facilities in the outer part of the SE core. Division is a nightmare from 39th to 92nd, as is Powell and nearly every other street south of Burnside within that range.
60th isn’t a picnic either, traffic is almost always going faster than the speed limit (25 mph at that intersection). Sidewalks are horrible, cars often parked on the West side of the street.
And really 60th shouldn’t be this way, being the gateway to one of the biggest attractions in SE. Especially considering the amount of bike traffic Mount Tabor gets from rec. riders.
Though I’m excited to see things like the bike facilities expansions in Loyd and other sections of Portland, I’m still wondering why nothing is done out here in SE.
Our system out here is terrible, even though we have some of the best access to most of the commercial districts in the Portland Area than any of the neighborhoods in NE or N or even close in. From my house in South Tabor I can get to Gateway/205, Lents, Foster, Woodstock, Clinton, Hawthorn/Belmont, Montavillia in 10 minutes or less. Another 10 minutes I’m in Hollywood/outer Loyd, Inner SE, Sellwood, Downtown, Clackamas, outer SE. And yet to do so I have to usually ride in traffic or neglected streets that “they” labeled as Sharrows.
I’m so glad the father and child are both on the way to recovery.
There was an object in the road, despite ANY conditions the driver should be held fully responsible should he hit it. By hitting the trailer, he proved his is unable to maintain full control of his vehicle.
To the DA: Please fine to the full extent of the law.
First off I am glad that the child was not severly injured. I also have a bike trailer and that is my largest fear when hauling kiddos around.
As a former resident of that area I have to agree though that 60th is a terrible bike road either direction and that intersection is often treated as a freeway onramp by motorists. 60th itself is too narrow by half for the two lanes and parking it has (note how many people parking on 60th park half on the sidewalk- they KNOW it is to narrow.) I only ever biked it when I was in full VC-AH mode and took the lane on the entire downhill to the stoplight, and always without the trailer. More often I would take the crosswalk and bike up the south sidewalk to 61st and into my old ‘hood (South Tabor, how I miss you!), and I am generally a never bike on the sidewalk kinda guy.
That section of Division has a lot of speeders with its two lanes either way and everyone jockeying for position with people stopping for left turns. Honestly I want that thrilled about driving my car on it- too many foks speeding up to pass you on the right to get in the left lane and slam on the brakes to make a turn. I always thought that the key to a safe N-S crossing was to slow down Division- because if Division is a freeway the feeders become onramps.