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Man hit while biking on Fremont remains hospitalized

Posted by on July 11th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Dave Collins
(Photo courtesy Kyle Kautz)

26-year-old Dave Collins is lucky to be alive after being dragged 25 under a van driven by a man who made a dangerous — and illegal — left turn and collided with him on Monday.

After speaking with a police officer at the scene of the collision, we initially reported that Collins’ injuries were minor. The officer made it seem like it was a miraculous situation and he told me he had chatted with Dave and joked with him. But yesterday I saw a photo of Collins tweeted by his employer, PDX Pedicab, and realized he was far from “fine”. The photo shows Collins laying on a hospital bed, completely bandaged up.

The photo was taken by the owner of PDX Pedicab, Kyle Kautz. He put me in touch with Dave yesterday.

Dave moved to Portland from Boston about one and a half years ago. He told me he was on his way to the bank on Monday, headed east on Fremont when he “got t-boned when a guy abruptly took a left.” “By the time it was time to brake I couldn’t maneuver out of the way. Then I was under the van.”

He then talked about how he was dragged by the van another 20-30 feet before it stopped. “It was like an eternity,” he recalled. “They had to use a jack to pull me out.”

Collision at N Fremont and Borthwick-5

They used the jack shown in this photo
to raise the van off of Collins.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Dave still can’t figure out why it took so long for the man to stop. “Maybe he didn’t realize what happened. I have no idea.”

Now Dave is still waiting news on just how doctors will put his skin back together. He has major road rash on his back, stomach, hips, wrist, and even his cheek. And he also has two broken ribs. His girlfriend Julia shared with me that the doctors are considering skin grafts. Luckily, Dave says the van driver has insurance, so “hopefully this is all covered.”

Dave’s boss, Kyle, says he’s going to hold a benefit party to help with hospital bills and rehab expenses. Dave doesn’t have his own, personal health insurance. A party is in the works at the Lost and Found Bar in North Portland. Kyle also says he’ll donate all proceeds from the sales of Beer Tours during next week’s Brewfest to the fund.

Looking back, Dave realizes how much worse this could have been. “I’m very lucky for sure… it could have been worse, but it was still not great.” He also says he plans to buy a helmet and that, “Cyclists and drivers need to be more aware… it all happened in about 10 seconds.”

Stay tuned to @bikeportland on Twitter or watch for an update on this post when we get details on the upcoming fundraiser.

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  • Anne Hawley July 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    My immediate reaction to the photo: Jesus H Christ! That poor man. Holy crap.

    I’m still shaking my head over “good thing he was thin”. I can’t even…

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  • Mindful Cyclist July 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Wow!! Get well soon, Dave!!!

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  • BURR July 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Get well soon!

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  • matt picio July 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Best wishes, Dave – hope you heal up fast! Glad the injuries weren’t more severe – it’s great to hear that this didn’t end in a fatality. Any road death is one too many.

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  • encephalopath July 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I hope never to sustain injuries that reach the level of minor if this is minor means now.

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  • Todd Hudson July 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    It’s good to hear the driver’s insurance will be picking up Dave’s medical bills.

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    • JAT in Seattle July 12, 2013 at 7:58 am

      I didn’t read that the insurance WILL be picking up Dave’s medical bills,… I read that “Hopefully” it’s all covered.

      Insurance corporations have every incentive not to pay. I really hope this works out financially for Dave, and it’s great he’s got a support network but it’s more than a little sad that when someone gets plowed over by an insured motorist the blameless victim will likely need to rely on a benefit party to avoid financial ruin.

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      • Todd Boulanger July 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

        Cyclists can be at a disadvantage due to they not having their own insurance provider fighting for them during what can be a long wait for repayment…a burden placed on the victim and the local hospital.

        This is one area of transportation planning that needs help from city and state laws in order for Portland to reach the 25% target bike mode share…by either setting up a fund (like 1% for art…perhaps 1% of all auto related infrastructure projects should be set aside for vulnerable roadway user post crash protection) or in establishing policy …especially when >10% of all drivers do not have insurance plus more have inadequate insurance coverage.

        More info on the big picture:

        Then there are the ~5% who do not have a drivers license but have insurance. [All bicyclists? ;-)]

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        • Chris Hickey July 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm

          Wow – so taxpayers should pay for insurance for cyclists just because not all auto drivers obey the law? I guess than if not all people pay all the taxes due I should not have to either.

          Typical Portland Plantation owners mindset. Make it someone elses financial responsibility. I came here to retire young!

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          • Caleb July 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm

            I sense you’ve misunderstood Todd’s position. I don’t believe he was proposing the fund be set up for the reason that “not all auto drivers obey the law”.

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  • Alan 1.0 July 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Me too, and it also hints at what cops have to see too much of.

    Best wishes, Dave.

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    • Alan 1.0 July 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      (in response to encephalopath July 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm)

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  • Natalie July 11, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I’ve been commuting by bike exclusively for two years and the only times I’ve been hit–twice–were on Fremont. The first time, the driver behind me didn’t see me slowing down to turn left and clipped my back wheel while skidding to a halt. The second time, the driver–from what I could tell–decided at the last second to forego the traffic that was building up at the light on Williams and swung right onto a neighborhood street, right-hooking me. That one landed me with six staples in my head. As a bike rider, I had a misplaced sense of safety riding on Fremont–it wasn’t MLK or any other multi-lane high-speed street, after all, and I rode defensively–taking the lane when appropriate but (unfortunately) trying to let cars pass when they were at higher speeds than me. But drivers race between lights on that street with a similarly false sense of ease, and unlike popular streets like Knott, there’s no space between the curb/parked cars and the cars whizzing by. For my own safety, I stick to lower-traffic neighborhood streets now, though anyone who has tried to cross MLK without the traffic lights that come with major intersections knows just how frustrating such a switch can be.

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  • wsbob July 12, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Fun. What a mess. It sounds now, that Collins was extremely lucky to not have been rendered dead by the person driving the vehicle. Despite that extraordinary luck, he’s apparently got road rash of such a serious nature that fixing it may require extensive skin grafts.

    And why did this happen? Supposedly, because somebody driving found the situation of their friend in a motor vehicle stopped next to a side-street curb was somehow so urgent that they could not afford to adequately check the street for oncoming traffic before making a left turn across lanes that traffic approached upon.

    Collins account of having been drug 25′, about two car lengths…by the driver’s vehicle, after the vehicle collided with him, in my mind, urges that inquiries be made into the ability and competency of the person driving, to safely operate a motor vehicle. Maybe the responding officer did some things as a matter of course to get a sense of this with respect to the driver. It may be worth reviewing what things of that nature he did or didn’t do, what the law allowed him to do in that situation, and whether what the law allows him to do is enough.

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  • Alain July 12, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Was the van driver charged with a traffic infraction?

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  • longgone July 12, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Ouch! That makes muscles deep within my Glute’s turn to stone!
    Get well soon my man..truly glad for you, that it was not worse.

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  • Carter Kennedy July 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

    He’s not “laying” in a hospital bed– he’s lying in it.

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