Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Two people injured in collision on NE Killingsworth at 28th – UPDATED

Posted by on July 12th, 2013 at 9:58 am

Photo from the scene. View looking westbound
from the southeast corner of Killingsworth and 29th.
(Photos by Paul Cone)

One man and one woman were hospitalized Friday morning after he turned his bicycle left onto Northeast Killingsworth “without coming to a complete stop,” Portland police said.

Steven Odell, 47, was treated for “serious but not life-threatening injuries” after the 8:15 a.m. crash, police said. According to their interviews and investigation, Odell was pedaling southbound on Northeast 28th Avenue (not Northeast 29th, as originally thought) when he made the left turn.

Tasha Brown, 34, was driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass west on Killingsworth “and had the right-of-way when the collision occurred,” police said. She was also transported to the hospital with “non-life-threatening injuries.”

No citations have been issued yet, and the police investigation continues.

Regardless of how it happened, it’s clear from the initial roadway evidence (the man’s shoes were found about 100 feet apart from each other) that this was a high-speed collision. Here’s more from reader Greg P:

“On my way into work this morning I passed what looked to be a very serious incident on NE Killingsworth between 29th and 30th.

There was a westbound vehicle stopped in the middle of the road with the driver’s door open, and about 10-15 feet in front of it was a man laying in the road, not moving. There was also a bike laying on the ground. I saw at least one police officer on the scene, and he appeared to be calming/consoling the woman who appeared to be the driver. The (assumed) bike rider was laying on the ground wearing a red jersey, without a helmet, and not moving. Nobody seemed to be helping him, but maybe he was already beyond help? Or maybe they were just waiting for medics? Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked.”

And here’s another photo from reader Paul Cone (who lives a few blocks away):

View from southeast corner of the intersection.

It’s important to note that speeds on this stretch of Killingsworth are notoriously high. Just two blocks east of this collision is the budding Fox Chase neighborhood business district. Citizen activists and business owners at that intersection successfully lobbied the City to get a flashing beacon and a crosswalk in order to slow people down and make it safer to cross the street.

Also worth noting is that 28th is an off-set intersection, meaning it jogs a bit when it crosses Killingsworth. This makes visibility worse and crossing trickier. The fact that visibility is bad due to people who park their cars all the way to the corners on 28th also makes crossing difficult and dangerous, even when people follow the traffic law by coming to complete stops at stop signs.

Crossing Killingsworth in this area is one thing, riding on it is another.

Like many streets in northeast Portland (Alberta, Ainsworth, and so on), Killingsworth is narrow (one travel lane and one parking lane) and there is no dedicated space for people to bicycle on. It’s a neighborhood collector street, a frequent service bus route, and speeds can easily reach 40 miles per hour or more.

We have freeways and many major arterials where people can expect to drive fast without sharing the space with vulnerable road users. Why do those same conditions exist in so many other streets that criss-cross our neighborhoods?

News editor Michael Andersen contributed to this post.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • KJ July 12, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I hope the cyclist is ok =( I used to live at 29th and Jarrett, one block south. Even with the new crossing signalanizing, crossing Killingsworth SUCKS. The rate of speed is way to high. Crossing as a ped, even with the signal traffic would not stop (a year a go anyways). And being ON K-worth?I avoided riding on K-worth on my bike, it never felt very comfortable. People would pass way to close at speed. I don’t know why people drive so fast through here but it needs some serious traffic calming.

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    • KJ July 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

      also worth noting, because this was my route often to get to 30th via bike, and others use it too and it can be a blind entry to K-worth..there is an alley between 29th and 30th near the coffee shop. The cyclist joined traffic from there and felt he/she had plenty of space to do so, but the driver didn’t notice them enter the roadway or turned from 30th and didn’t see them and vice versa. Speculative I know, but the alley is there and is used by people on bikes and cars frequently.

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      • KJ July 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

        the cyclist “could have” ugh. sorry.

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  • kittens July 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

    This is exactly the sort of street which needs speed enforcement.

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  • AndyC of Linnton July 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I’m glad you are now covering more of this type of incident. I know it’s not the most “inspiring” , and probably really draining, but always felt that Bikeportland could be used as a good resource to highlight the madness on our roads a little more. I think it is important for people to know what’s going on out there many times a day. It’s obvious that our streets are not working for any type of user.
    Here’s the thing: As a cyclist and pedestrian, I would like to not be run down by motor vehicles. As a motorist, I would like to not run down pedestrians or cyclists, or be plowed in to by other motorists. Seems like we, as a society, could at least ATTEMPT this basic premise.
    Until then, thanks for documenting some of this insanity.

    Here’s hoping the cyclist and driver both recover quickly.

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  • q`Tzal July 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

    One reader said, “Police on the scene suspect the cyclist ran a stop sign,”
    In other words the driver of the vehicle that hit the cyclist said “he came out of nowhere” “he must have run the stop sign” and the responding police officers failed to do their duty of keeping investigative objectivity (any guilty party will attempt to incriminate the innocent).

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    • Dave July 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

      You are criticizing the objectivity of the police without knowing anything? Innnteresting…

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      • q`Tzal July 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        #Police that adhere to their stated ideals: no
        #Police in general in the entire USA: only statistically*

        #Police in Portland that are aware of the vast number of cyclists legally on our public roads and that should know better than to
        (A) publicly impugn a party that is innocent until proven guilty
        (B) take the word of one party opposing the other when the 2nd party is too injured (or dead) to defend themselves
        (C) that cyclists are inherently the vulnerable party in motor vehicle vs bicycle collisions so cyclists are QUITE aware of the gravity of their actions :

        To publicly infer or to allow the perception of prejudgement upon a presumed innocent party that cannot defend themselves at the only time the responding officer takes official evidence is beyond unprofessional. The mere act of being on a bicycle in such a collision ensures that you will be found at fault because you will more than likely leave in an ambulance for critical medical care and be unable to provide lawful testimony defending yourself.

        So am I criticizing the police in this situation in absence of any evidence when the HUMAN BEINGS that act as police officers should know better than to assume the default position that the cyclist is at fault : F#$! YES!!

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    • dan July 12, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Generally I agree with you that police / media have a presumption of fault that tips towards the cyclist. But in this case, if the cyclist was indeed on NE 29th and the motorist on Killingsworth, how could you not suspect that?

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      • q`Tzal July 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        Granted it is one possibility.
        If the cyclist did exit from the side road with the stop sign, crossing Killingsworth which I has NO stop sign, then I suspect that the driver’s speed combined with the difficult sight lines at side street intersections is to blame.
        As others have stated the speed limit is usually exceed here by a large margin.
        In addition ON-STREET-PARKING provides a stark narrowing of the field of view of any driver of what is coming out of the side streets. Park one panel van too close and everyone coming off a side street has to stop at the stop sign then pull cautiously in to the Killingsworth gauntlet to see if they can cross.
        If the cyclist stopped at the sign as legally required then pulled up to see around parked vehicles it greatly reduced his safety margin in avoiding collisions and the time any driver could have seen him before he would be directly in front of the automobile.


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        • dan July 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

          Yes, Portland’s on-street parking right up to the corner is a real visibility / safety problem, especially when the intersections are offset like this. I’d love to see the curbs painted yellow about 25 feet before each corner, that would help sight lines considerably.

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          • q`Tzal July 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

            And draconian enforcement with steep fines that index exponentially for repeat violators.
            Who needs a revenue stream? Portland does!

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            • Dave July 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

              Just out of curiosity, now that it has emerged that the cyclist ran the stop sign, should he be subject to steep fines? I really hope he ends up ok, it’s an unfortunate, well I almost said accident, but yeah.

              By the way, I ride my bike every day and am sick of the entitled attitude of other bikers that contributes greatly to the attitude of non-bikers towards us. Time for our community to take responsibility as well.

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              • q`Tzal July 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm

                We should definitely all take responsibility for our own actions and safety; how do you intend to enforce this on others?
                On other cyclists?
                On other drivers?
                I wanna take video of that conversation.

                Taking in to account JRB’s comment at July 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm can we concede that the cyclist has some culpability for his own injuries as does the the speeding driver. The cyclist’s culpability would be calculated as a factor of what “without coming to a complete stop” means.
                Does it mean blazing through without slowing down at all, slowing down any, slowing down to less than walking speed or some bike hating neighbor who lives there that thinks track stands are illegal stops?

                Regardless if the cyclist is found guilty of “without coming to a complete stop” then at the very least they should pay the same top fine as the cyclists ticketed in the Ladd’s Circle stop sign stings.
                Needless to say this situation has lots of messy grey areas.

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        • DamonQuade July 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

          Please do not presume that the motorist was speeding if you do not have such information just as we do not like the public jumping to the conclusion that a bike related accident is the fault of the cyclist.

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          • Opus the Poet July 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

            The distance the cyclist was from the intersection where he was supposed to have pulled out from, and the damages to the car and injuries inflicted on the driver are sufficient to know the driver was exceeding the speed limit by a large margin when the cyclist was hit. I have been doing a blog on bike wrecks since 2006 and I can count on one hand the number of reports of drivers injured after striking a cyclist, and all of them involved highway speeds, 50 MPH and over. This car was effing speeding and I can say that without even knowing what the speed limit for that street is, because no sane traffic engineer would allow a speed limit to be set that high in any urban or suburban street.

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            • wsbob July 15, 2013 at 11:27 am

              The person driving may have been traveling at an excessive speed; especially not uncommon on thoroughfares and is a traffic situation anyone riding a bike defensively, in traffic amongst motor vehicles should be well familiarized with, and know how to safely deal with it.

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          • Paikikala July 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

            City data shows most drivers in that area of Killingsworth don’t speed.

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      • Schrauf July 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

        Because the driver and cyclist may be the only witnesses, and both are grossly biased. The driver might lie and say the cyclist shot out from the side when the cyclist was on Killingsworth the entire time. Or the driver might have not seen the cyclist on Killingsworth and simply assumes he “shot out of nowhere”. Obviously, the cyclist might lie as well, since he also is clearly not an independent observer. The point is, nothing should be assumed by the police in a public manner, with no data other than biased data. If the police have independent data or other evidence, or the two biased parties actually agree (that’s rare), then that’s when it is okay for them to state what they believe actually happened. Until then, they should not assume anything, especially when presented in a public, official manner.

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    • Daniel P.G. July 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

      The police interviewed several potential witnesses of which none, to my knowledge, saw the entire accident, however, the police’s knowledge of the accident comes from those statements and not just the drivers.

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    • Ali July 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

      This is not true at all, I was present during this accident and the person on the bike did not stop, while walking my dog I saw him fly through a stop sign and into oncoming traffic, blaming the driver and police officers for listening to those that observed the entire accident without being there yourself is sad.

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      • Sunny July 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

        Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

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      • Paul in the 'couve July 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

        Thanks for speaking up Ali. I’d like to read your description of what happened fully. this is the first I’ve heard that someone actually was observing the cyclist before the collision. Perhaps you would allow Michael or Jonathan to contact you for an article?

        Please excuse me at least for being skeptical of second had information in the immediate aftermath of a collision that places fault with the cyclist. I am certainly aware that like anyone on the streets cyclists can make mistakes either purposely or due to misjudgment or inattention / distraction. Yet I will remain skeptical when the rumors blame cyclist within an hour of a crash unless I know that there were observers and evidence of that.

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  • RH July 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

    These stories are very informing, but if I were a person looking to start biking again, they could scare me away from ever wanting to do so. I sense these stores are being published as you have seen better traffic calming features/infrastructure/respect for cyclist/etc..in your recent trip to Europe.

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    • AndyC of Linnton July 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

      I’m going to “recommend” this, because this is the other side of the coin, and I hope it wouldn’t deter anyone from biking, but very well can understand how it could.

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    • RJ July 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

      These crashes are unacceptable, and we shouldn’t be lulled into accepting their inevitability. We SHOULD be outraged. The target should be zero crashes.

      On the other hand…let’s not get carried away with an “it’s getting worse and worse” narrative. The data probably don’t back that up. Yes, bike crashes in Portland are trending upward overall over the past decade, but the crash rate (crashes per user, trip, mile, etc.) is clearly trending down. Meaning you, personally, are less likely to be hit today than you would’ve been ten years ago, just because there are so many more riders out there. See p. 27 of the most recent Bicycle Counts report.


      Safety in numbers.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Be careful about such statements, “a flashing beacon and a [marked] crosswalk in order to slow people down and make it safer to cross the street”…

    …even if you are just repeating what you were told (attribute it), since these types of enhancements are generally not that effective in slowing MV traffic above 25 mph and improving safety outcomes without frequent and active police enforcement on urban arterials. They are best left to rural highways with few pedestrians and frequent gaps in traffic .

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  • mikeybikey July 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I hope the biker and driver will be ok. I live a few blocks from here. Killingsworth is a nightmare for anyone not in car. Nobody drives the speed limit. Its treated as highway with a lower speed limit plain and simple. The crossings are a deathtrap for anyone on foot or on a bike. Compliance with the HAWK at 30th is a joke and a testament to PBOT’s continued commitment to mediocrity when it comes to taming traffic in the name of safety and accessibility.

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    • Paikikala July 15, 2013 at 8:20 am

      hyberbole (“Nobody”) makes your opinion less credible (and dilutes any future opinions you might express). 85% of the motorists near 29th go 31 mph or less.

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  • spare_wheel July 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    If the motorist was exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount they share culpability regardless of any allegedly illegal actions by the cyclist.

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    • jeff July 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      why’s that exactly? the cyclist easily could have stopped, looked both ways patiently, waited for the car to pass, and proceeded on, and guess what? none of this would have happened.

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      • spare_wheel July 17, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        Its generally agreed that operating a lethal piece of heavy machinery at high speeds contributes to harm and death. I believe this is one of the reasons that its actually illegal to exceed the speed limit.

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  • A July 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

    How the hell does someone who crashes their car into someone on a bike need to go to the hospital?

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    • Joseph E July 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Overwhelmed with guilt or anxiety?

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    • Mindful Cyclist July 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      No seatbelt perhaps?

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    • Karen July 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      I was thinking the exact thing. It was a friend of mine who was hit. He is in the hospital with a compound fracture on his leg, a broken bone and some bleeding on the brain, along with some other injuries. As far as I know he ALWAYS wears a helmet, I bet it was knocked off from the impact.

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      • Karen July 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        *a broken arm

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    • Opus the Poet July 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      The report I read yesterday said the driver was injured by glass from the shattered windshield. That requires a lot of energy and since the cyclist only supplies the mass in 1/2mV^2 that means the V^2 must have come from the vehicle. Also the fact that the safety glass of the windshield was damaged to the point that glass fragments flew from it with enough velocity to injure the driver also points to excessive speed on the part of the driver.

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    • jeff July 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      whiplash. broken glass. plenty of options.

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  • Daniel P.G. July 12, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Everyone should relax and stop making assumptions. It’s getting kind of absurd. First of all, the windshield was at about a 30 inch indent and shattered with a 6″ radius hole in it. There were no squealing tires and the car traveled 15 feet past the intersection suggesting a fast stopping velocity. It’s entirely possible the motorist was advised to go to the hospital in case of injury. Everyone trying to assign guilt should relax. I woke up to the sound of the crash, so I was not a witness. The police did speak with several potential witnesses, and I asked a man who I saw give a statement to police what happened. He said he turned at the sound of the impact and saw the bike fly twenty something feet in the air, but he didn’t know what happened exactly. I don’t think anyone witnessed the entire accident.

    My wife and I bike, we don’t own a car, so seeing something like this is really disconcerting, but even having witnessed the aftermath I don’t think I’m able to make many correct assumptions, save the cyclist entered traffic on Killingsworth heading southbound from 29th (based on information I overheard). Your as correct in assuming the motorist slowed due to street side parking on Killingsworth as you are assuming they were speeding because “everyone does on Killingsworth.”

    If you’re going to make assumptions about anything make assumptions about the nature of Killingsworth street itself and not it’s motorists/cyclists/pedestrians. It’s true that it’s dangerous on that stretch from 19th to 33rd. Save going to one of these two intersections, crossing Killingsworth is fairly difficult. I’ve worked over here for six years and have only lived here for 6 months. Cars constantly have a difficult time turning onto Killingsworth at 29th. Even just a few months ago there was a car accident without serious injury. 29th in my opinion is the worst intersection because cars park along the street from 30th to 28th. All of these features obscure your view of traffic. I agree with other readers something needs to be done to slow traffic down.

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    • gdgarcia July 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I have lived on Killingsworth for 6 years. The biggest problem I have seen are the cops because of the precinct right there on MLK and Killingsworth. I would love to have access to a radar gun because I would be blown away if I have ever seen anybody but the cops going 45 mph. Crossing the street is another issue. However, that is a problem all over Portland.

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      • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:02 am

        I have a radar gun you can use, drop me a line.

        The BTA also has a radar gun to loan out.

        Ted Buehler

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  • Paul Cone July 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I suspect the car stopped pretty hard, and so the driver hit the steering wheel. The cyclist’s shoes were like 100 feet apart.

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  • CD July 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I was there when the accident happend today.

    I heard a loud smack, like when a car hits a deer really squarely. Oddly, no screeching brakes followed the impact. I ran half a block to the scene and saw the driver was out of her car and frantic, screaming “why me!” and “He came outta nowhere!”.

    The cops were running in at the same time and had made it to the scene really quickly. They were obviously trained not to attempt any medical procedures on the victim laying on the street (lawsuits etc.).

    Following the impact, the driver hurt herself by repeatedly slamming her hand on her car door, while screaming “Why me!” I saw that she cut and broke her finger.

    Her car was facing west on K-worth, with the front end about 1.5 car-lengths past 29th ave (north side of K-worth). The injured and unconscious bicyclist had landed further west, in the same lane, at a point pretty even with the dirt alleyway between 28th and 29th, but his shoe had flown all of the way back to 29th near the South-side of K-worth (The opposite direction of the impact).

    While he was still unconscious, it seemed he must be beyond help because of his gurgled, labored, gasps and his body’s erratic muscle spasms. I thought he was dead for sure. His lower-left leg was badly shattered and hinged back and forth as he regained shocked consciousness and tried to pick himself up off the ground. Lots of blood was coming out of his head and he had a blunt trauma injury to the left temple (blue helmet was still on).

    It seemed to me that the bicyclist must have been riding southbound on 29th (I would have seen him riding north), straight out into Killingsworth and was subsequently T-boned by this woman’s car (I’m guessing she was moving at about 45 mph).

    That guy is lucky to be alive and I am blown away that those are non-life threatening injuries. His brain took a big hit today.

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    • RJ July 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Your description is deeply and appropriately horrifying. Thanks.

      This shit can’t happen. I mean, if your info is right, then the cyclist wasn’t riding on K-worth, but just crossing it. You can ride on low-traffic streets all you want, but you still have to cross dangerous streets to get anywhere. That’s where we need help.

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    • Dave July 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      That is horrifying. I hope everyone involved recovers quickly. Wow I am going to ride extra careful on the way home.

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    • DamonQuade July 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      So you are saying that you did not see the car before the impact, but you know that it was going 45mph. Can you please explain this to me?

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      • Scott E July 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

        CD said “I’m guessing,” which is significantly different from saying “I know.”

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    • wsbob July 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      I wonder if you’re telling us that you did not observe anybody attending to the injured cyclist, at all, before the EMT’s arrived, and upon the police having arrived.

      Your account of the cyclist’s struggles while he lay on the ground, and that of reader Greg P, quoted in the story, is chilling, especially if it’s true in fact as Greg P’s account may suggest, the someone had come to the aid of the relatively uninjured driver of the motor vehicle, while the cyclist lay by himself, alone on the ground. Someone should have rushed to his side to at least try console him, try help him relax and urge him not to try move his broken limbs…possibly cover him because he was no doubt in shock.

      Running stop signs, if that’s what happened, is bad news, especially for vulnerable road users.

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    • bjt July 13, 2013 at 9:28 am

      I am not from Portland. Is there a business at this intersection that might have a security camera that taped the crash?

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    • lyle w. July 14, 2013 at 9:36 am

      A man lies on the ground gurgling blood and and severely injured without anybody helping, and you stand off to the side screaming ‘WHY ME?!?!’

      Yeah, you might want to re-evaluate your outlook on life.

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      • spare_wheel July 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm

        Drive a lethal piece of heavy machinery in a city full of human beings and you are bound to eventually hit, injure, or kill one.

        Your choice.

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        • Caleb July 17, 2013 at 2:05 pm

          I often find myself thankful for the things you state in the comments section, but disagree with your comment here.

          You generalize the automobile’s effects by labeling it “lethal”, and whether or not anybody will hit, injure, or kill others depends on far more variables than just whether or not one drives a piece of heavy machinery, where they drive it, and how many people are around when they drive it. I would like a world in which automobile use is dramatically curbed, but I don’t think oversimplifications and generalizations of their impact are going to help us get there, and may even be detrimental to our efforts.

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  • BURR July 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Even if the motorist had the right of way and the cyclist pulled out or turned in front of her; if she was speeding, not only does that make the cyclists injuries more severe, but also means that she should share responsibility/fault.

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    • JRB July 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      It’s been a long time since I took torts, but I do believe Oregon is a comparative negligence state. That means if both parties to the collision were to some degree negligent in causing it, liability would be apportioned on that basis. If the cyclist was hit crossing Killingsworth because he did not come to a complete stop at the stop sign on 28th or failed to yield right of way to traffic on Killingsworth, he would be at least partially at fault. Even if that is true, however, if the driver was unable to avoid the collision because she was speeding than she will indeed bear some liability for the injuries and property damage.

      Liability is apportioned on a percentage basis so if Party A is deemed to be 70% at fault and Party B is deemed to be 30%, Party A could recover only 30% of their damages and would be liable for 70% of Party’s B damages and vice versa.

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  • grumpcyclist July 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I love how the writers on this article write a story that doesn’t conform to the facts. The cyclist ran a stop sign and got hit, but then they suggest that speed might have been a factor when they don’t know whether or not the driver was speeding, and then suggest the intersection might have been a problem, despite the fact that the cyclist blew the stop sign.

    This is about the world’s easiest story: Cyclist blows stop sign and gets t-boned by car. You can search for other parties to blame (Maybe there should be a stoplight at every intersection. Maybe we should pass a law that requires special hardware on a bike the forces the brakes to engage within 20 feet of every stop sign?) but the cyclist is obviously to blame in this case.

    Bike Portland reads like KPTV lately, lots of sensational stories about accidents and not much inspiration.

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    • Paul in the 'couve July 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      I disagree with you. You seem to think it is a proven fact that the cyclist ran the stop sign. I’ve read the article and every comment, where is it established that 1) the official police statement is that the cyclist “blew” the stop sign, or 2) an eye witness (other than the driver) saw the whole thing and saw the cyclist “blow” the stop sign? Are they reporting that on another media outlet? Based on what information?

      I see one witness writing here who says the woman driving the car was saying “He came out of nowhere.” I also see the article reporting second hand information from a BP reader who says the police on the scene are saying “It looks like he ran the stop sign” and “She had the right of way.”

      What I many people here are pointing out that I agree with, is that the cyclist was unconscious, and we don’t have his version, and probably never will because he will have lost the memory. Apparently there are no witnesses to exactly what happened.

      Generally a car on Killingsworth has the right of way at that intersection, but there is a lot we don’t know and a lot the either the police do not know, or that the police haven’t told us how they know it.

      I think it is worth questioning how quickly police and the public arrive at apparent conclusions or guesses in these cases, well before any kind of forensic examination or investigation of testimony, comparing stories etc. can possibly have established even a solid probability without a direct eye witness statement. It is also apparent to me having followed these stories for a few years across the country, that it is very rare for the first statements to accuse the driver of wrong doing. Virtually the only time it ever happens that the driver is immediately held up as guilty is when there are multiple eye witnesses such as the death in a crosswalk this week, and the case of the bus driver hitting 3 people in crosswalk in Old Town some time ago.

      I find this highly suspect. Even if the driver is a fairly honest person, no one want to admit to themselves, much less the cops, that I just did something really bad and ended up killing someone. “He came out of no where” is not sufficient to exonerate the driver or at least it shouldn’t be.

      Sure, maybe the cyclist did “blow” the stop sign. I’m guessing that isn’t likely. People in the neighborhood know the danger of that intersection and of crossing Killingsworth. We don’t know who the cyclist was, or where he lives, but running a stop sign at Killingsworth would be a very stupid thing to do if you know the area. If you don’t know the area then it would be fairly clear to an observant cyclist approaching that it isn’t a quiet residential street and a traffic calming stop sign. The stripes in the road are a give away. Of course we don’t know. The cyclist may have be reckless, or may have been distracted. Maybe he blew the stop sign. But I’m not taking the driver’s word for it.

      The driver’s right of way, though assumed, is not absolute. If she was driving 45mph – nearly double the speed limit, then she could have been approaching fast enough that the cyclist just didn’t see her in time. It is also possible that she was accelerating, and when making the judgement to cross the cyclist didn’t realize how fast she was / would be going.

      In any case, at the very least, unless the police actually release a full statement with details about their conclusions, I think the matter is open to some speculation. I’d sure like to see a forensic report. The physics of throwing the cyclist into the air and down the road sugest to me that speed greater than 35mph may well have been involved. I strongly doubt we get any real answers.

      Perhaps we should start pushing for a “blue ribbon” investigation of how bicycle vs. car crashes are investigated and how seriously police take the business of fairly looking at cyclists and motorist contribution to fault.

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      • Mike July 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm

        You don’t think it is possible the rider ran a stop sign? Do you ride in portland? I see it all the time so if one were to run a stop sign it shouldn’t be a shocker if he/she were to get t-boned regardless of how fast the car was going. Most people on this site lay blame on the car as having sole responsibility in any accidents so heaven forbid the finger is pointed at the other side.

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        • Paul in the 'couve July 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm

          you clearly did not read my entire comment.

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        • spare_wheel July 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm

          I slow down or stop, look both ways (often several times), and “blow” traffic signals or signs often. I have absolutely no desire to sit parked in a high risk area due to blind obedience to irrelevant and unsafe motorist-centric traffic statutes.

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      • Julie July 13, 2013 at 10:19 pm

        Exactly. This was part of my daily commute for a year, and although I know people do stupid stuff and make mistakes, I can’t imagine someone just blowing a stop sign into that intersection. And the visibility there does totally suck. No matter how careful I was, I know there were many times where I could’ve gotten hit as a matter of bad timing or luck.

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    • KJ July 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      There is absolutely no evidence or fact yet presented here or elsewhere that proves that the cyclist ran a stop sign.
      Even if that *is* true, speed absolutely is a factor in how serious collisions are and how much time people have to react to unexpected road conditions.

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      • jeff July 15, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        so, exactly how fast was she supposed to be driving?
        how about the rest of us? should we all do 5mph? all the time?

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  • Sunny July 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Google street view shows a partially obscured stop sign that was taken July 2011 at this intersection where the cyclists presumably entered Killingsworth. Gotta keep them trees clear if the controller of the trees doesn’t want to get sued too.

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  • Serena July 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I turn right onto Killingsworth from 27th everyday – just a block down – and it’s true that the visibility is awful coming off these side streets. Even stopping at the stop sign, I often have to then roll slowly forward trying to peak out around the cars parked on Killingsworth (a lot of tall SUVs and vans, no less) to find a safe time to turn. Often, I come to a complete stop, and start rolling forward, only to have to stop suddenly again because of oncoming traffic that is impossible to spot from where the stop sign is located. This one really hits home because it could have easily been me.

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    • Paikikala July 15, 2013 at 8:26 am

      your description of two stops is exactly how stop signs are designed to work. The stop sign assigns right of way and the pedestrian at the crosswalk and the user of the main road both have superior right of way to you approaching on a side street.

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      • Caleb July 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Can you point me to any civil engineering information which explains that’s how stop signs are designed to work? Having no knowledge of engineers’ intentions for stop signs, I am inclined to disagree. If a person stops once at the sign, and then pulls forward again to see if traffic is approaching, they have no way of knowing before deciding to pull ahead just how long they may or may not have to impede any oncoming pedestrians who intend to use the crosswalk. Such a design would not contribute to efficient traffic movement.

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  • wsbob July 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    If it comes to be established that the cyclist did not stop for the stop sign and accordingly rolled out in front of visible oncoming traffic, placing him at fault for the collision, it figures that would have a bearing on the amount of payment of his medical expenses the driver’s insurance would cover.

    In itself, a simple citation for running a stop sign is relatively no big deal.

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    • are July 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      all the more reason the police should not be speculating

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  • Ann July 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I’m surprised to read that speeding is notorious on Killingsworth. I live at 30th and Killingsworth and while I find it hard to cross sometimes as a pedestrian, it’s generally due to volume rather than speed. No doubt some people go fast, but when I drive the speed limit, I don’t have people tailgating either.

    Regardless, this sounds like a pretty horrible collision, and I hope he’s okay.

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    • Concordia Cyclist July 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Between 30th and 22nd (where the school crossings are clearly marked) people tend to exceed the speed limit all the time.

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  • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:13 am

    “trying to peak out around the cars parked on Killingsworth (a lot of tall SUVs and vans, no less) to find a safe time to turn.”

    In Portland, if its taller than 6′, it can’t be parked within 50′ of an intersection.

    Call it in to Portland Police nonemergency at 823-3333, request that the offending vehicles be ticketed and towed. If they balk, get your friends and neighbors to call in as well.

    See “blocking visibility” —
    Vehicles cannot park within 50 feet of an intersection if they fit the following descriptions: … The vehicle or a view-obstructing attachment to your vehicle is more than 6 feet in height.

    it is unlawful to park or stop a vehicle in any of the following places:
    Within 50 feet of an intersection when:
    1. The vehicle or a view obstructing attachment to the vehicle is more than 6 feet in height

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:51 am

      Or, call parking enforcement directly (phone # from Kat in the Doubletree thread)

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      • Serena July 14, 2013 at 7:28 am

        I had no idea about this, thanks! There is a particular black van I have in mind…

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    • CaptainKarma July 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      thanks, i was just getting ready to throw that in. Its really bad i a lotta places, trying to get out safely, whether bicyling or driving.

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  • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:20 am

    In civil society, a certain amount of law enforcement/law encouragement/code awareness comes from folks communicating to each other about it. Rather than learning it in class, or reading the code.

    Question for ya’all — if you see a fellow bicyclist doing something that’s unsafe, how do you interact with them? I have 2 ways.

    1) Call out the infraction. “Stop Sign!” “Headlights!” “Wrong Way! Be kinda cheery about it, but firm. This doesn’t request a response, so it’s not awkward, and doesn’t make the offender feel grumpy.

    2) If its more complicated, and 2 syllables can’t explain, I approach them at the next light and say “hey, you wouldn’t mind giving me a little more space when you pass me with cars buzzing by, would you?” This has never actually worked to my satisfaction. I and the offender both feel grumpy at the end of it. But they say some asinine things, like “I could tell that you weren’t going to move to the left” to which I reply “Dude, *I* didn’t know if I was going to move to the left or not, how could you know?”

    It’s not easy. But useful.

    Any anecdotes or suggestions?

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

      Another variant on making folks aware of unsafe riding practices generally starts with the word “DUDE” or “DEWD” with a lot of enunciation… Said quickly — just after the action has occurred.

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      • Concordia Cyclist July 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

        A favorite of mine.

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    • BURR July 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

      “Any anecdotes or suggestions?”

      How about: Mind your own business?

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      • Caleb July 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        Where is the separation between one person’s business and another person’s business?

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        • BURR July 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

          When I’m out in traffic, I don’t tell motorists how or where they are supposed to drive, and I don’t like being told by motorists how or where I’m ‘supposed’ to ride my bicycle. I like it even less when it’s another cyclist doing the preaching. That’s the equivalent of a pedestrian piping up and telling someone they shouldn’t be jaywalking, even when there isn’t another car for two blocks and clearly there isn’t any risk to crossing against the light. The correct response in all of these situations is to mind your own business. In the same way, if someone chooses to obey or disregard traffic laws when they are cycling, it’s their own choice/decision, based on their risk perception.

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          • Nathan July 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

            Telling someone that their riding made you feel unsafe is not “being told how … to ride.” Case in point, saying “you passed too close [to be safe].”

            It is an expression of displeasure at being put in an unsafe situation where the implicate goal is that the other person think about how their riding affects other people.

            I’m not telling you how to think, but I *do* think that an isolationist attitude causes unsafe traffic situations. Also, telling someone to mind their own business is anything but.

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            • BURR July 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm

              the only people that actually need to be told verbally to mind their own business are the ones who don’t have an appropriate internal voice telling themselves to mind their own business.

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          • Caleb July 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm

            You’ve equated “another cyclist doing the preaching”, something very vague, with a much more specific pedestrian “preaching” situation. Obviously in that pedestrian situation the jaywalker is risking only its own safety, but Ted Buehler did not state any specifics portraying such a dynamic, so I think you were hasty in your snarky (seeming to me, anyway) response. Given his example of feeling unsafe when someone passes closely, I don’t believe he was referencing situations such as that jaywalker risking only its own safety based on a clearly safe judgment call.

            Also, you didn’t answer my question, but if you don’t want to, I’m okay with that.

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        • are July 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm
      • wsbob July 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        People playing around with basic rules of the road sometimes pay big time. That may have be what Steven Odell did. For his sake, I hope not, but whether he did fail to stop at the stop sign or not, or did or didn’t take required precautions to be certain traffic was clear, he’s the guy with a busted leg.

        I wonder if anyone ever called out some advice to him about stopping at stop signs, looking for traffic, cars going over the posted limit…that sort of thing.

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  • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:28 am

    “(I’m guessing she was moving at about 45 mph)”

    I rode on Killingsworth today from 7th to 14th. Normally I’d take Emerson, but there were zero parked cars, so I had plenty of space. 6pm, cars were going pretty slow.

    If there’s a certain time of day (like early morning) that folks are really zipping along, make a request to Portland Police that they enforce the speed limit, and set up a speed reader board sign to make people slow down. 503-823-3333. Give them specifics — what blocks, what days, what time of day. It only takes one 45 mph car to clobber someone.

    Also, the speed limit there is 30, which is way too fast for conditions, and it should be dropped to 25 mph, just like they did on Alberta, a 1/4 mile away. email PBOT and ask for this. safe@portlandoregon.gov

    (& while it might seem impractical to tame a whole city by having folks call in requests for each and every street, it does result in the cops spending more time doing traffic enforcement overall, which does indeed calm the whole city. Get drivers chilled out on Killingsworth, and they’ll be chilled out on other streets, too. & if PBOT is trying to lower speed limits on one street, it makes it easier to lower them on other streets, too — like Alberta => Killingsworth).

    Also, if you see bicyclists running stop signs and endangering themselves, you might ask for cops to enforce that, too.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler July 13, 2013 at 2:42 am

    “While he was still unconscious, it seemed he must be beyond help because of his gurgled, labored, gasps …”


    “you did not observe anybody attending to the injured cyclist, at all, before the EMT’s arrived, and upon the police having arrived.” … “Someone should have rushed to his side to at least try console him, try help him relax and urge him not to try move his broken limbs…possibly cover him because he was no doubt in shock.”

    Jonathan or Micheal — have you considered calling the police and doing a separate post on this? This is pretty horrific — why wouldn’t two cops sit next to him on the pavement, put a blanket over him, hold his hand, and tell him that help will be here in just a minute or two???? Seems that there should be an post crash industry practice here that wasn’t followed.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Sho July 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Gotta love one sided reports, the vehicle has the right of way and yes was most likely speeding which is a constant problem on those heavy east/west roads there. Yet we as cyclists still need to pay attention and understand the rules of the road. We can’t criticize that car for speeding blaming him for the accident when the cyclist ran a stop sign (or wasnt paying close enough attention), if this is what happened (if a car did the same they would be at fault). The visibility at these intersections all around town sucks due to portland allowing vehicles to park right next to cross streets versus maintaining a 50-200′ distance like other cities. The visibility issue is worse when in a vehicle since you aren’t able to stick you neck out.

    Jonathan and Michael – when are you going to start reporting these accidents and taking into account how we as cyclists should be riding appropriately? Its good to see these incidents here, however they lack any credibility when they become biased.

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    • wsbob July 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Defensive biking. Not enough emphasis here at bikeportland on whether people biking, involved in collisions, did or didn’t competently use basic, legally required in traffic practices that help prevent collisions from occurring.

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  • CaptainKarma July 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Just speculating, maybe they were trying to prevent the auto driver from injuring herself; sounds like she was pretty much freaking out. Not sure that’d be MY priority, but I’m not a cop. Sounds cold, though.

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  • Julie July 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Sure, maybe the cyclist did “blow” the stop sign. I’m guessing that isn’t likely. People in the neighborhood know the danger of that intersection and of crossing Killingsworth. We don’t know who the cyclist was, or where he lives, but running a stop sign at Killingsworth would be a very stupid thing to do if you know the area. If you don’t know the area then it would be fairly clear to an observant cyclist approaching that it isn’t a quiet residential street and a traffic calming stop sign. The stripes in the road are a give away. Of course we don’t know. The cyclist may have be reckless, or may have been distracted. Maybe he blew the stop sign. But I’m not taking the driver’s word for it.

    Exactly. This was part of my daily commute for a year, and although I know people do stupid stuff and make mistakes, I can’t imagine someone just blowing a stop sign into that intersection. And the visibility there does totally suck. No matter how careful I was, I know there were many times where I could’ve gotten hit as a matter of bad timing or luck.

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    • Julie July 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Wow, I messed up the quote formatting AND posted it in the wrong spot!

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    • wsbob July 13, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      Whether they’re driving, biking, or walking, people sometimes make mistakes…mistakes whose consequences can be especially critical where traffic conditions such as those common to busy thoroughfares, place big demands on road users.

      “One man and one woman were hospitalized Friday morning after he turned his bicycle left onto Northeast Killingsworth “without coming to a complete stop,” Portland police said. …” maus/bikeportland

      By that description, Steven Odell, the person riding probably wasn’t thought to have blown through the stop sign, but more likely, was thought to have rolled it at a relatively low speed..say three, maybe five miles per hour. With the visual congestion people have said is common at Killingsworth intersections, and excessive speed that’s especially not unusual on thoroughfares, a rolling stop just may not provide for a good enough opportunity to make sure the way is clear of oncoming traffic.

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      • Concordia Cyclist July 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm

        The rolling stop seemed most likely to me, too, as I also cross Killingsworth daily (a bit further up at 23rd/24th) and sometimes need to move up a bit from the stop sign to see past parked cars before entering the roadway.

        Also, because of the wonky nature of the cross street alignments, its actually fairly helpful to roll out a bit when taking a right hand turn onto Killingsworth, so as to get into the flow of traffic before crossing. I find a lot of similarities with trying to cross Fremont further south on my ride since one is required to get into the traffic flow just to cross the street (but cars aren’t normally moving as fast on Fremont.)

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        • wsbob July 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

          True…road users rolling past the stop sign a bit…the least amount required to enable sufficient visibility of oncoming traffic, and then stopping at that point to look down the street for traffic…without actually entering into oncoming lanes of traffic, is sometimes necessary.

          It’s great that Portland at least has an ordinance on the books to help deal with visibility issues at intersections due to obstructions such as vehicles over 6′ high. Enforced, that height limitation could help some to better enable visibility at intersections.

          Another practice that sometimes create obstacles to visibility, is poorly placed street trees. In some situations, it could help if planting sites for trees were kept some distance from intersections to enable adequate viewing angles from vehicles in position behind the point where stop signs are sited.

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    • Sho July 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Going from the stated evidence we have, the cyclist was in the wrong due to not stopping completely (which is still considered running a stop sign). Assuming what the report states before us is wrong would make any arguments or comments here useless cause we are then saying anything could have happened. Agreed most people at Killingsworth do not blow those stop signs but many do not stop for an appropriate amount of time to assess the situation fully. Crossing killingworth used to be part of my daily commute and now coming from SE it is a shame seeing the majority of cyclists blowing signs along Clinton, then getting pissed when they are almost hit (by cars or other cyclists) and/or almost hit pedestrians in the crosswalk.

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      • spare_wheel July 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        “but many do not stop for an appropriate amount of time to assess the situation fully.”

        there is often no need to stop to assess the situation fully. at many intersections i can check both directions several times and still roll through an intersection safely.

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        • wsbob July 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

          Whatever procedure Steven Odell used to be certain intersections are clear before riding into them, I wish it would have worked better for him than it did most recently.

          Almost a week since the collision, assuming no further complications, with a big cast…lots of room for signing, cute bike doodles, get well soon wishes…now on his leg, he’s probably recuperating nicely.

          Probably only another 7 weeks until the cast can come off. Meanwhile, any chance bikeportland’s staff will be able to contact him and offer a personal invitation to share his thoughts on why he thinks this collision occurred?

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          • Karen July 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

            Really, 7 weeks??? You haven’t been hit by a car lately, have you??

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  • Glenn July 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    There is an amazing amount verbiage going back and forth about speculation, nobody saw the accident take place, blaming the police for making unfounded statements, blaming the vehicle driver for operating a “lethal piece of heavy machinery,” and so forth. A person named Ali above states very clearly “I was present during this accident and the person on the bike did not stop, while walking my dog I saw him fly through a stop sign and into oncoming traffic, blaming the driver and police officers for listening to those that observed the entire accident without being there yourself is sad.” Until he has been found to have made a false statement, it should be pretty clear what actually happened and that the incident could have been avoided if the cyclist had stopped and looked for traffic in compliance with both law and common sense, regardless of how fast the vehicle driver may have been driving. Am I missing something here?

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    • Paul in the 'couve July 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Ali did not post that statement until after most of this conversation had already occurred. Look at the date and time on Ali’s comment: July 15 at 11:42 AM a full 3 days after people started commenting.

      Further, so far Ali hasn’t posted a more detailed account. I am not saying it’s a false statement, but really, an anonymous statement in a combox 3 days later requires a little authentication before I personally accept it. I think Ali has commented here previously, but I’m not sure. I think you would agree anybody could post such a statement true or false. With so little detail, it really is not possible to not reserve a bit of skepticism.

      I’ve thought of this in relation to the George Zimmerman trial and the Trayvon Martin death. In that case there has been an actual trial with facts presented under oath and a huge investigation and still not everyone is ready to accept was the jury concluded. I think that is perfectly right in a democracy.

      What ever information is relative to this accident, it certainly hasn’t been vetted and presented to the public. I don’t fault anyone for continuing to have questions. Especially considering how other bicycle accidents are often handled.

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  • Lifestyle July 19, 2013 at 10:20 am


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  • lesley July 21, 2013 at 6:13 am

    wsbob…as a family member of Steven O’Dell, I can tell you it is far more complicated than “just a big cast and 7 more weeks in it before it comes off”. There has been a lot of pain and suffering on his part, not just because of his leg being broken and surgery he had to endure to repair it, but also the surgery he had to undergo t repair his broken arm from the accident as well. Let us not forget that he also had bleeding on the brain, a bruised lung and many other contusions along his body. So for you, sir, to make light of his injuries is an insult of him or any other person who has been in this type of accident – whether the bicyclist is at fault or not, whether the driver of the vehicle is speeding or not. Accident’s happen. It’s a shame that it comes to a public forum like this, to where arguments happen, of rights and wrongs, where people place blame on the bicyclist’s, the drivers, the police,the speed limits, the shrubbery, parking situations, etc. All can play factors in my opinion. It’s a matter of memory, and the “I can’t believe this is happening to me today” from the driver” tells me a LOT” of how she was NOT paying attention herself. Who’s to say that Steven didn’t come to complete stop and then go? I know for a fact that he is one of the safest bicyclist’s on the road, as he has been riding for many years. So why wouldn’t he watch his road signs now, just down the street from his own home? Especially knowing that this is a busy intersection? Just my two cents. May Steven continue to heal and come home to us soon.

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    • wsbob July 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Lesley…It’s not my intention to make light of your family member’s injuries, but rather, to emphasize the long term healing period that broken limbs require, and the importance of taking precautions on the road to avoid collisions, the results of which sometimes are broken limbs, or worse.

      I hope Steven gets well soon, to where he’s able to start the long process of rehabilitating his leg so he can ride again. If at some point, he feels he’d like to share with bikeportland readers his thoughts about the collision, why it happened, and what he thinks could be done to help prevent similar types of collisions from happening, I think most people here would welcome him and respect his willingness to do so.

      People make mistakes. Whether he did or didn’t, that’s not the end of the world. It’s a matter of picking up the pieces, and going on from there, maybe learning something valuable in the process.

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