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Man on a bike struck while trying to cross I-205 – UPDATED

Posted by on August 15th, 2013 at 11:27 am

A man who was trying to cross Interstate 205 under the NE Killingsworth Street overpass was struck by someone driving northbound on the freeway. According to the PPB, the man was on his bike prior to the collision. He has “traumatic injuries” and his current condition is unknown at this time.

It’s not yet apparent yet why the man would have been attempting to cross the freeway. It’s worth noting that the I-205 multi-use path comes within just a few feet of the freeways lanes as it goes under the Killingsworth overpass.

We’ll post updates as more information becomes known and the PPB get further along in their investigation.

UPDATE, 4:31 pm: Here’s the latest from the PPB:

The bicyclist struck on I-205 today has been identified as a 40-year-old man. His name is being withheld at this time until family can be located. He remains in a Portland hospital in critical condition but is expected to survive his injuries.

A preliminary investigation indicates that the man was riding his bike on the right shoulder of I-205 northbound then began to cross over the freeway towards the center median. A northbound driver traveling the speed limit struck him as he reached the left lane.

The driver stopped and has cooperated with the investigation.

There is unconfirmed information that the bicyclist may have a had a dog on a leash at the time of the crash. No dog was located and it is not known what type of dog it may be.

Anyone seeing a loose dog with a leash should call Multnomah County Animal Control.

No citations have been issued and the case remains an open investigation.

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

  • 9watts August 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

    “It’s not yet apparent yet why the man would have been attempting to cross the freeway.”

    Not being all that familiar with the area, what would be the legal/safer way for someone on a bike to get to the other side of the freeway at this location? How straightforward is (finding) that route?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 15, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Pretty darn straightforward. The path actually drops you off right on the sidewalk of the Killingsworth overpass. It ends there. It doesn’t go under the overpass.

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      • davemess August 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        Killingsworth also has bike lanes in both directions on the street level.

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    • Todd Hudson August 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      While it’s not optimal for bikes, one can cross 205 at the nearby Prescott and Sandy overpasses – not sure about Killingsworth.

      This area is on my running route (along the 205 path), so I know it a little. There’s a lot of ODOT land surrounding the nearby interchange, and there’s a ton of homeless campers who use this vacant land along the path and along 205. I’m pretty sure I’ve sent tents right in the middle of this interchange.

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  • PdxMark August 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Best wishes to all involved. Not that a connection is at all likely, but last Sunday along I-84 in NE Portland I drove past a person lifting a bike over the median barrier — as if he were half-way through crossing the freeway as a pedestrian with a bike. It was a very odd sight. The similarity to the apparent circumstances of this story is weird.

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  • Marid August 15, 2013 at 11:58 am

    A car’s typical freeway speed of 100 ft/sec is just too fast to judge approach distance well. 🙁

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    • lyle w. August 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say. The closing speed on a car going around 70 mph when you’re stationary and they’re doing a straight line towards you is insanely hard to judge.

      Add to that probably not complete sobriety, probably not Rhodes Scholar-level intelligence… and you got a bad recipe.

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      • CaptainKarma August 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        …presuming, but doubting, you are describing the auto driver…

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  • maxadders August 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    The Oregonian headline describes the man as a “bicyclist”, which, even though we don’t know much yet– implies that someone was trying to ride their bike on 205. Cue outrage from the usual “what are those loony bike riders going to do next” types.

    If, as it seems very likely, the man turns out to be a homeless / transient person who’s living on the land around the freeway or simply cutting through, then I don’t think it’s fair to lump him in with recreational riders and commuters. Language matters. It stirs up emotions even when it’s trying to sound neutral.

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    • Todd Hudson August 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm


      There’s pictures of the accident. They’re not clear photos, but it sure looks like a junk bike use by a homeless person going to/from their squatter camp along the highway right-of-way.

      One thing I know is The O likes to use recklessly use “bicyclist” as much as possible, as red meat for their perpetually cranky commenters.

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      • Mike August 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        It looks like a BMX bike to me.

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    • Erinne August 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Why does it matter at all if they’re a person living unhoused? Does housing status somehow changes someone’s status as a bicyclist? Isn’t a “bicyclist” just a person who uses a bike to get around?

      Best wishes for this person to recover.

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      • 9watts August 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        I think the deal is that (in the rhetoric of the Oregonian) these are two flavors of lower-class, and some members of the one group don’t want to be tarnished with the label of the other, or have the two conflated.

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        • Erinne August 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm

          And I’m calling that out for being really messed up and gross. 🙂

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          • maxadders August 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

            Get off the cross. There are people who utilize our bike infrastructure for recreation, commuting and fitness, and there are people whose only affordable means of transportation is a bicycle. Guess what? These groups have different needs, and tend to use our infrastructure in ways that the other groups don’t. If I told you I was going “bike camping”, you’d picture someone with $3000 worth of touring gear, headed to a state park for the weekend. But of course I could also be a mentally ill man who lives outdoors for most of the year, whose “camping” experience includes drinking malt liquor in the bushes along side the Springwater. Are you going to tell me these two people are both “bike camping”?

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            • Erinne August 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm

              I’m not saying people don’t have different needs. I’m saying we shouldn’t classify ourselves as so different that we can’t all be “bicyclists.” We’re not arguing whether he was “bike camping,” people are arguing we shouldn’t call ourselves by the same term because “ew, gross, homeless people!”

              You have a bike, you ride it, you’re a bicyclist.

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              • Ian August 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm

                Nope, Bicyclists don’t ride on the wrong side of the street.

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              • naess August 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

                that’s odd, I see cyclists doing just that all the time.

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              • Pete August 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

                Nope… call the person a criminal for illegally treading where pedestrians and bicyclists are expressly forbidden:

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            • Kevin August 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

              If a homeless man who sleeps in his car runs over a bicyclist, is he no longer a driver?

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              • Pete August 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

                Not sure about declassifying his driving rights, but I’m sure the ‘motoring community’ would accuse the biker of running a stop sign before he/she was hit… and heaven forbid if a helmet wasn’t worn! 😉

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      • davemess August 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        And at what point is someone a cyclist? If they’re just pushing a bike along the street? To me they need to be riding to be a cyclist.

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        • maxadders August 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm

          I feel like when you’re doing something reckless like crossing I-205, you’re a vulnerable human being, first and foremost, regardless of what might be rolling beneath you or along side you. If a person was hit in a crosswalk, call them a pedestrian. If a person was hit riding a bike in a bike lane, or anywhere else where it’s legal and reasonable to do so, then call them a cyclist.

          Saying a cyclist was hit crossing I-205 conveniently ignores the unpleasant reality that people are living in the disused land in the middle of our freeways! That alone should overshadow any sort of “bikes vs. cars” angle, yet we’re here fighting over the scraps. Ugh.

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          • davemess August 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

            True. I was just thinking that by the Oregonian standard you could get into an auto crash and have a bike strapped to your car, and probably be considered a cyclist.

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      • Todd Hudson August 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

        It matters because there’s a sizable population of homeless* people that live on the I-205 right-of-way, including within cloverleafs and below overpasses. ODOT prohibits trespassing/camping on right-of-ways for exactly this reason: people get hit.

        *not using PC terms.

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      • Pat August 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        I think the point is that this may not be a “bicycling” issue, but rather a “housing” issue that happens to involve a person with a bike.

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        • kittens August 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm

          This is the sort of nuisance that is lost in poorly written headlines, whose purpose is to attract buzz.

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    • Spiffy August 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      kudos to KGW who reported it as “Man on BMX hit while trying to cross I-205″…

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    • Esther August 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      maxadders, I really don’t get what you’re trying to get at here. Someone is severely injured or possibly dying. He was bicycling at the time, per PPB, which is why Jonathan posted about it here, whether legally or illegally. His housing situation has nothing to do with it.

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    • DamonQuade August 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Stop with the class warfare and stop with your elitism. Was he riding a bike? Yes. Explain to me what else he needs to do to be classified as a bicyclist. Is there a list of prerequisites that are needed to be deemed a bicyclist because I want to be one of the cool kids that gets to be in that club. A little sensitivity to an injured human being and a little class can go a long way sir.

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  • Spiffy August 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    photos show plastic bags and cans… I’m guessing this was a homeless/low-income person looking to profit off of the trash on the side of the freeway… I see it a lot on the Glenn Jackson bridge…

    unfortunately it’s illegal to ride a bicycle on that part of I-205…

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  • Brad August 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Criticizing local journo-language and blaming the driver ALWAYS has become the Godwin’s Law of this site.

    Poor guy gets hit by a car while being in a spot that he should not have been. Whatever the circumstances, have some sympathy for the victim and the very likely traumatized driver that hit him. For all the hand wringing about “cars vs. bikes” in the local media, most posters here like to play the very same blame games.

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    • Caleb August 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Who’s blaming the driver? I haven’t noticed anybody doing so.

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      • DamonQuade August 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm

        Not on this story but on many other stories on this site you would be hard pressed to disagree with that statement.

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        • TheLastCicada August 15, 2013 at 6:06 pm

          So basically you are not saying anything relevant to this article, just complaining about other things you’ve read on the internet at some point in your life?

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        • Caleb August 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

          Granted, but that doesn’t make his point relevant to this thread.

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          • middle of the road guy August 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

            Many of the comments are attempting to state that the victim was not a cyclist…..which is simply an attempt to make it continue to look like cyclists are never at fault for their decisions.

            The flipside of this is that the drivers must the the reason then.

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            • Caleb August 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm

              I disagree. I don’t believe anybody was trying to say cyclists are never at fault, nor that anybody was saying the driver must be at fault.

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  • Adam August 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I’ll tell you why he was trying to cross I-205 – because the connectivity around this area is TERRIBLE.

    Look at a map, and see how many places there are to cross I-205. There is ONE place. One. It is called NE Halsey Street, and it is an abysmal bike and ped facility.

    Now look north, and see how many other crossings there are to get across I-205. There is not a single other crossing for about a mile and a half. The next crossing is at NE Prescott Street.

    If I had to go a mile and a half out of my way, I would be frustrated too.

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    • Caleb August 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Somebody mentioned Prescott. Going by Google maps, I’d say that option seems fine. Sandy looks all right to me, too.

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    • davemess August 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      So Killingsworth (where he was hit) doesn’t count? It has bike lanes!

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  • gutterbunnybikes August 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    First and foremost, My condolences and best wishes to this cyclist, the driver, and the dog. I can’t (and honestly don’t ever want to) imagine what any of them are going through. Good luck to all of them.

    To the rest-

    I’m sorry, but it just wrong to not call this person a cyclist. It’s really not fair to judge him for not following the “rules” when many of those rules are often contested and argued on this site endlessly.

    Most of us wouldn’t dream of riding directly on the 205, let alone trying to cross it. But some of you wouldn’t dream of riding without a helmet, I can’t imagine riding with one. Some have no problem running red lights – I wouldn’t dream of it. Many barely yield to stop signs, others ride the sidewalks. Lights? Traveling against traffic? And if you’re truly honest with yourself, you’d probably admit that you’ve done it all at one time or another on bike regardless of what your “side” of the issue publicly is.

    Just because this person may – or may not – share your ideal demographic of what constitutes a rider is biased, unfair, and unreasonable. There are many that don’t fit into your prejudiced vision of what a cyclist is. In fact, to get the ridership numbers increased into what the city as well as most of the rest of us hope for, those prejudices must be demolished.

    Dude was on a bike….He’s a cyclist. Just like people driving can’t separate themselves from other drivers that make poor decisions, you can’t as a cyclist distance yourself from those that make poor decisions on a bike. It’s just an example of someone for what ever reason making a poor decision.

    And that is what I think the biggest problem with cycling in Portland is. The “idea” of what a cyclist is. The entire cities bike infrastructure is completely biased to these stereotypes while ignoring large parts of the population that are eager to join and many that participate despite having few viable safe options. And quite frankly, all the information of who rides in this town reflects that problem. The young urban hipster and middle aged guy that turned in his Porsche for a carbon framed “whatever” is about as big as it’s going to get. Time to start encouraging other to ride now, or this city will fall flat fast.

    Forget what the Oregonian says. No one reads it and it is slowly going broke. And what pathetic little existence it has left is highly paid for by the automobile industry (get a copy and cut out all the automobile related ads and see what is left). Which they’ll continue to defend to the end.

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    • Caleb August 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      “Just like people driving can’t separate themselves from other drivers that make poor decisions, you can’t as a cyclist distance yourself from those that make poor decisions on a bike.”

      It’s my opinion that you have the situation reversed from reality. Each driver is a separate individual, so people driving have no need to separate themselves from drivers that make poor decisions. The same goes for cyclists. The distance is already there, though some people sometimes overlook it.

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  • James August 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I was driving southbound on 205 at around 11:45. Northbound traffic was completely backed up past the banfield and all the way along the banfield to I-5.

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  • jim August 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Did they test him for alcohol?

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    • Granpa August 16, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Did they test him for poverty, for mental health? for inability to access veteran’s benefits? If he fails any of these tests then we can blame the victim dismiss the issue and move blithely on with our bikey lives

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  • Hillsons August 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    How is this front page news?

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  • Caleb August 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I think many people are misunderstanding maxadders, and that maxadders hasn’t thoroughly explained himself/herself/itself, and I’ll explain why.

    Maxadders expressed discontent with the use of “bicyclist” to describe the victim under the premise that the victim might have little in common with “bicyclists” who ride much differently than he does. But as many have pointed out in retort to maxadders, logic dictates that anybody who rides a bicycle is a “bicyclist”.

    We cannot possibly say for certain, but I believe that if everybody used the word “bicyclist” only to mean someone who rides a bicycle, maxadders would not have mentioned anything about its use. I have witnessed many times people generalizing bicycle users by saying “bicyclists are _____”, “bicyclists do ______”, etc, often to promote or discourage infrastructure and policy changes as well as personal behavior. If somebody were to look at this specific case and in response cite it as evidence that “bicyclists are ____” and thus a reason to not spend public money on bike routes and such, that clearly wouldn’t make much sense.

    As far as I can tell, using “bicyclist” as a loaded word in that way is what maxadders was trying to discourage. Yes, it was presumptuous of maxadders to say the headline was implying any certain thing. Yes, it was incorrect for maxadders to selectively apply the word “bicyclist”. Yes, it may be that nobody jumped to any conclusions that the victim was any certain “type” of “bicyclist” and thus maxadders’s comment may have been entirely irrelevant. But no, maxadders said nothing to indicate “bicyclist” status relates to housing status, or that homeless “bicyclists” tarnish the image of other “bicyclists”, or that homeless people are “ew, gross”, or that he/she/it is of a higher rank than any other “class” member, or that “bicyclist” is a word reserved for “cool” kids, or anything like that.

    Maxadders, I sympathize with your plight against generalizations, but we might be more successful challenging them by applying the word “bicyclist” to everyone it logically applies to, that being anybody who is riding a bicycle, and pointing out counter examples to peoples’ generalizations of “bicyclists”. If I’ve misunderstood your stance, please set me straight.

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  • JM August 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    This is my brother.. If any of you really care we took him off life support yesterday .. He is loved and will be missed by his family and friends.

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    • Caleb August 27, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      Damn. Sorry, JM. I hope you you’re feeling okay.

      Regardless of how callous some comments may come off, I think there are many reading this blog who will be thankful for the update. Thank you for mentioning it.

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    • Esther August 28, 2013 at 9:52 am

      I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, JM, and thinking of and praying for you and your brother’s circle. I also apologize that you have had to read some of the public commentary on here and possibly other places full of conjecture about your brother’s life. No one deserves that.

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  • Steve B August 28, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I am really sorry for your loss, JM. My heart goes out to you, your family and friends.

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