Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Man in critical condition while Police search for suspect in North Interstate hit-and-run

Posted by on June 17th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Screen grab from KPTV.

On Saturday (6/15) at around 11:30 pm, a man was critically injured while bicycling up Interstate Avenue. According to the Portland Police Bureau, 59-year-old Mike Cooley was riding northbound on Interstate when he was hit by someone driving a Ford pick-up. The collision occurred just north of the intersection with Greeley Ave.

Here’s more from the PPB:

A witness described to police seeing a white Ford pick-up, possibly late 1970s model, driving erratically before the crash, which occurred in the northbound lanes of Interstate Avenue.

The truck operator fled the scene and PPB investigators are looking for the driver. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Chris Johnson at (503) 823-2213 or Chris.Johnson@PortlandOregon.gov, reference PPB Case #13-48846.

Thankfully, Cooley’s injuries are not life threatening, but a report by KPTV says he, “faces months of painful rehabilitation in the hospital for dozens of injuries throughout his entire body.” He also might become paralyzed as a result of the impact. According to KPTV, the man’s wife said he was coming home from his shift as a postal worker and has been riding his bike to work for 15 years.

Approximate location of collision.

It’s worth noting that this section of roadway (map) is extremely narrow and it’s on an uphill so there’s a significant speed differential between car and bike operators. At the location where this occurred, the road bends slightly. The Yellow Line MAX takes up a considerable amount of road space and people in cars and bikes are forced to share a relatively narrow road.

Here’s a graphic created by reader Joshua Cohen that shows how common it is for people in cars to drive in the bike lane:

I ride this stretch of Interstate frequently and it’s unacceptably dangerous. There’s a striped bike lane, but I have always been spooked riding here given the speed differential and close proximity of cars and bikes. More should be done to lower auto speeds and/or to create a safer bicycling environment. One problem is that we have an extreme lack of north-south bicycle access in this area. Greeley (to the west) feels like riding on a freeway shoulder and there’s a steep hill on Mississippi (to the east). Interstate is not a great choice but there are no other good options for people riding bikes.

Hopefully they catch this guy. And hopefully the City can do its part to create safer road designs and more appealing bicycle route options.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

58
Leave a Reply

avatar
31 Comment threads
27 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
40 Comment authors
kwwJohn Lascurettesoldguyluvs2ridePhil HansonJoe Adamski Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Blake
Guest
Blake

Yeah, hope they catch the guy and he does jail time for the hit and run. Amazingly, this isn’t even the most dangerous part of Interstate. That would be SB between the Bway bridge exit and Larrabee, which has even narrower bike lanes, a speeding problem and very heavy truck traffic. They need to shut that section entirely to trucks, make them go over Bway bridge exit and if they need to end up back on Interstate, they can go down Larrabee. No need to combine heavy truck traffic with cyclists in narrow stretch, especially since that section would be part of the “NoPo Greenway” (which is absolutely unacceptable).

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Damn, that’s horrible. Several times over the years I’ve had the pleasure of riding a few blocks with Mike when we both happened to be heading north at the same time, and he’s always seemed like a great guy. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery. And man do I hope that driver gets caught.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

My heart goes out to Mike and his family.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

My condolences to Mike Cooley and his family. I hope his recovery is better than expected and that he can return to work. I hope they catch the guy and that he actually has liability insurance. It would be nice if the law would make sure he did jail time and never drove a car on a public road again.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

They really need a separation here. A curb-separated or raised bike lane would almost eliminate motor vehicle intrusions into the bike lane here.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

Trying to temper my rage here. This is unacceptable.
My thoughts are with you and your family, Mr. Cooley, and I also want to pass on wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

I’ve been wondering lately if there should be some sort of “Critical-Mass” type ride that is better organized- not simply obstructionist- and highlights problem areas like Interstate. For instance ride once a week/month on this stretch until it’s fixed and then move on to Foster, SW Barbur, etc, until something’s done.

Joe
Guest
Joe

such bad news hope he heals soon and they find this person! that section is sketchy BTW autos drive fast around there.

Joshua Cohen
Guest

I ride this stretch several times a week, and can recall several instances of fast moving vehicles passing too close. The site image above (from Google Street View) shows a recently painted bike lane. However, the paint quickly wears off in sections where motor vehicles cross into the bike lane. I’ve marked up a screen grab from Bing Maps to illustrate:
comment image

o/o
Guest
o/o

Oh no. Hope Mike will have speedy recovery. It looks like a tough fix to correct the tight spot. Ideally, that wall needs to be move to make more room for bicycles. I will need to find a different route if and when I go over there. Not worth the risk.

Spiffy
Guest

I generally use Mississippi because there’s just a short steep hill instead of a long easier one… and it’s much quieter…

as least when I’m not cheating and taking the MAX…

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

“MAX takes up a considerable amount of road space and people in cars and bikes are forced to share a relatively narrow road”

And yet day after day after day, cars drive with one wheel on the white line and 4 feet between them and the yellow/center line.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

My partner and I were biking home to Arbor Lodge at 12:30am on Saturday night/Sunday morning and saw Interstate Ave closed due to this. We rode up the sidewalk on the west side of the street, and saw the police photographing the aftermath. Horrible thing to have happened. Mike, I hope for the best.

Also, I bike this section of Interstate getting to and from work every weekday. Something should be done.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

How many people have died or been hurt on this stretch of road in the last few years? Seems like a lot…

Justin Gast
Guest
Justin Gast

Get well Mike.

feralcow
Guest
feralcow

not to change subject, and this is truly awful, but there are so many inadequate narrow bike lanes in this city. The stretch of SE 26th South of Cleveland High is esp. egregious.

noah
Guest
noah

At least in this case, the driver won’t be able to get out of jail free by claiming the sun was in his eyes…

Champs
Guest
Champs

As an Overlook resident, my critique of Interstate is that it’s a frustrating gauntlet of traffic lights and semis, never mind the safety issues.

I regularly use Williams and Vancouver instead. The trip distances might be longer, but they might be just as fast, and they’re far less stressful.

Kirk
Guest

It would also help if PBOT maintained the bike lane by cutting away all the blackberry vines that encroach on a good portion of that extremely tiny bike lane. There, and in the many other locations throughout Portland that have blackberries next to the lane.

esther c
Guest
esther c

The easy fix would be for all drivers to pay attention and share the road. If the road narrows, slow the hell down and give cyclists wide berth. How many cyclists ride this stretch alongside cars every day without getting creamed?

Blaming the road for being too narrow is giving this driver an excuse. There is none. All he needed to do was exercise some due caution.

Brett
Guest
Brett

In a situation like this, until we can get true separated lanes , which are essential, might it help to quickly put in a line of those raised reflectors — the ones that rattle your entire vehicle — that will warn drivers when they’re encroaching on the bike lane, at least on the really dangerous narrow stretches?

freewheeler
Guest
freewheeler

I hate that portion of Interstate. It’s just plain unsafe and I’m getting fed up with the high number of bicyclist getting hit in that Greeley/Interstate area. I suggest that bicyclists team up and take the car lane, northbound and southbound. Legally we can do that when the lane is unsafe, which it is. Best wish to Mike for a full and speedy recovery. This is truly sad and unnerving.

JonathanR
Guest
JonathanR

It’s very sad when anyone is injured in an accident (or a “reckless”). But if it’s 11:30p, you’re awfully close to 2:00a, and are going to have a lot of bad driving out there to contend with, whether you’re a cyclist, pedestrian or driver.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

Tonight the news lead with this story, and two more vulnerable users killed by cars, and the City Club recommendation advocating a tax on bikes to fund safety training, and then a 5 year old kid seriously injured while on a sidewalk.
If only I felt a cyclist ‘safety’ program would prevent this chain of sorrow. IF.
Maybe better to access a .5% surcharge on all car sales to fund separated facilities. Oh, it will never happen, but it would certainly be a more effective way to respond.

Kristi Finney
Guest
Kristi Finney

My heart goes out to Mike and his family. I am so glad he was wearing a helmet as it is credited for preventing more serious injuries. It is so disheartening that we continue to have these cowardly and immoral people who can leave an injured or deceased person on the road like garbage. This act is an added injury and heartbreak to those already suffering. I am pleased that the license revocation period for hit-and-run with serious injury increased from one year to three years with the passing of HB 2542 last month. Of course, this makes no difference to a criminal who has gotten away with fleeing. I don’t understand how they can live with themselves.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Raise the bike lane (like a sidewalk). The curb will dissuade drivers from encroaching. Alternatively, install a guardrail to separate bike lane from traffic lane.

I don’t love these solutions, because they make it hard for cyclists to use the traffic lane. But in this particular stretch, it might be the best answer.

oldguyluvs2ride
Guest
oldguyluvs2ride

A hit and run conviction should result in 10 years or more license revocation. It is an act of unconscionable cowardice and should be punished more severely. It feels to me like the number of hit and run crimes (can’t call them accidents) has risen in Portland and we have to stop it.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Seems like the perfect place for a cycletrack. There are no issues with parked cars and no pedestrian crossings.

John Lascurettes
Guest

What is the deal with all the space between MAX tracks on this stretch? There’s certainly more space inside the tracks than there is between the tracks and the auto lanes on either side. Seems like a major design flaw from when the tracks were constructed.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

For North Portlanders, another tragic illustration of the need to gain legal use of the Cement Road and build the North Portland Willamette Greenway Trail.

kww
Guest
kww

Bicyclists must demand where there is a significant speed differential, that separation must occur. Really, how much would it cost to plop down jersey barriers for that stretch of road. Same for SW Barbur blvd.

kww
Guest
kww

An exception could be made for the uphill section of road, such that the bike lane is a bit narrower with lessor consequence (lessor being defined as not being mauled by a truck). How many people have to be mauled or killed on this stretch before that concession is made?