Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

After alleged bike-bus collision, TriMet driver tells man ‘You’re fine’ and drives off

Posted by on June 16th, 2014 at 3:09 pm

street view

Google Street View image of the approximate incident location. The bus stop is visible beneath the tree at right.

TriMet is investigating an incident in which a man claims that a TriMet operator blew him off after a bus pulled in front of him while he was riding his bike, prompting a collision.

The encounter took place June 6 at 4:30 pm, leaving the man, Erik Holm, with what he described as “minor pain in my left shoulder, injury sustained when I used my left arm to brace against impact with the bus at oblique angle.”

Here’s Holm’s account of what happened, which he sent to TriMet (links added by BikePortland):

At 16:29 PDT on Thursday, June 5th, 2014, I was riding my bicycle up the hill Eastbound on SE Harrison Street in Milwaukie, Oregon approaching the intersection at Hwy 224, travelling approximately 11 mph. I was in the traffic lane off to the far right hand side of the roadway near the curb.

As I approached the red light, I was back roughly 150 feet from TriMet stop #2568 when I heard TriMet bus 3133 Line #75 approaching from behind and quickly accelerate to get up past me, at which point I was only 50 feet from the stop.

While I was maintaining my lane of travel, the driver suddenly right-hooked me as he maneuvered the front end of the bus over to the curb at the stop, effectively pinching me into the curb as I approached less than 30 feet from the stop. The rear of the bus never passed my position, and I was contacted by the bus at an oblique angle. I placed my left arm out and ahead of myself as a means to brace against the impact with the bus, which occurred directly over the passenger side rear wheel well. My left shoulder was injured during the impact, and my bicycle sustained damage as a result of the collision.

Immediately following the collision, I moved myself and my bicycle off the roadway and walked along the sidewalk to the front door of the bus to address the driver – a smaller man of dark complexion, late 40s to mid-50s in age, with an indiscernible accent. I asked the driver if he was aware that he had struck me, and his response was: “I know. I saw you. You’re fine.”

Unsure of how to respond, I said that I would be contacting the driver’s supervisor, at which point the driver closed the doors and left the scene of the accident.

  • The driver admitted that he saw me before the collision, thereby he knew I was there.
  • The driver admitted that he was aware of the fact that his vehicle had made contact with mine.
  • The driver subsequently fled the scene of the accident without providing any required information, failing to perform the duties of a driver pursuant to ORS 811.700 which is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • I sustained an injury during the collision. ORS 811.705 determines that leaving the scene of an injury accident is a Class C felony.

Holm contacted TriMet almost immediately via Twitter. TriMet’s communications staff replied within five minutes, reporting in a direct message 15 minutes later that “Operations is looking into it.”

In an email to BikePortland on Thursday, June 12, TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt wrote that the agency is “conducting an internal investigation into the incident. As Mr. Holm said, we have been in contact with him. We take complaints such as this very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation, we have nothing further we can release right now.”

On Monday, TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch wrote that “it remains under investigation as we are awaiting getting a formal statement from Mr. Holm. He told our staff today that he was leaving on a trip out of the country until late next month, so we have paused this matter until he returns.”

Though this seems to be unrelated to the incident at hand, it’s worth noting that Holm tweets frequently about the frustrations (and occasionally the pleasures) of riding TriMet, because it’s possible that this shaded the agency’s response to him and his willingness to report this incident. Though we haven’t yet heard the TriMet operator’s account of this seemingly scary collision, let’s hope TriMet gives a thorough investigation not just to this incident in particular but to the circumstances surrounding the bus operator’s choice to leave the scene.

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

  • q`Tzal June 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Off with his head.

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  • dr2chase June 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Do they have / did they have some sort of bike-awareness indoctrination for the TriMet drivers? They did something like that a few years ago here in the Boston area (MBTA) and I’d swear it made a real difference. As in, I’ve been in situations where exactly what you describe could have happened, and it did not;the buses now wait for bikes to clear, they watch for hand signals, it works.

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    • Spiffy June 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      most of the bus drivers around here wait for bikes to clear as well… they’ll follow you slowly for a block just so they don’t cut you off…

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      • dr2chase June 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

        I’m just curious if that’s by local design or just the luck of the driver. I recall that here it was not-so-good, and then quite suddenly it got better, and stayed better, and that roughly coincided with MassBike doing something with MBTA driver training.

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        • davemess June 17, 2014 at 6:57 am

          I’d say luck of driver. Definitely seems to be case by case, as I’ve had some drivers not wait for me.

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        • Spiffy June 17, 2014 at 7:53 am

          I agree, luck of the driver…

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        • Mindful Cyclist June 17, 2014 at 11:09 am

          I will make this #3 that agrees it is the luck of the driver. I take the bike lane on E Burnside every day and there are three bus lines and it is always hit or miss if the driver lets you through.

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  • Chezz June 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    How did the cyclist know the driver had an accent if it was “indiscernible”?

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    • q`Tzal June 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Can you tell the difference between Russian, Estonian, Latvian Ukrainian accents in someone speaking English?
      Even if you can is that the critical bit of information you want to waste your time over analyzing when you could be memorizing critical facts that will help your lawyer prosecute?

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    • El Biciclero June 16, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Everybody has an accent. Can you tell the difference between Winnipeg and Fargo, or would it be “indiscernible”?

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      • Granpa June 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm

        Maybe the driver was from Indiscernistan.

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        • q`Tzal June 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

          Isn’t Dr Doom the leader there?

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  • jeffb June 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Read a few of his tweets about his “frustrations with TriMet”. Then tell me if you think this story, his side, is unbiased.

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  • Dave Thomson June 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    First, I think the BP headline is misleading at best; at this point it is just an accusation but the headline makes it sound like a fact. Second I found it interesting that Holm did not mention contacting the police regarding the alleged hit-and-run. I know I would have been calling them before I contacted Tri-Met in that situation.

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    • Spiffy June 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      most initial stories about crashes aren’t fact… they’re mostly witness recaps… we have no video so we have no facts…

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  • Mick O June 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    “Holm contacted TriMet almost immediately via Twitter.”

    Guess it wasn’t his tweeting shoulder. Seems legit.

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  • Spiffy June 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Holm contacted TriMet almost immediately via Twitter.

    if I’m ever involved in a hit and run I’m calling 911, not taking it to twitter first…

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    • q`Tzal June 16, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Will the police respond to a hit and run where the cyclist is alive and the “alleged” automobile is gone from the scene of the “crime” ?

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      • Paul in The 'Couve June 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm

        Insist on filing a police report in any case.

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      • Pete June 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm

        Eventually. 46 minutes in my case.

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  • Craig Harlow June 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    The TriMet onboard video cameras should show everything. Have you made a public records request yet for the video?


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    • Spiffy June 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      they never release video involving pending investigations…

      have we ever seen the video of Richard Krebs’ collision?

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    • Paul June 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Exactly right. Remember all the video available from the driver’s bus who spotted the toddler running loose in Gresham?

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  • Buzz June 16, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    As Mr. Holm said, we have been in contact with him.

    Pun intended, or not?

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  • Granpa June 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    If the rider was next to the rear wheel, and he put his hand on the brakes rather than the side of the bus the likelihood of cash payout would be significantly reduced.

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    • Spiffy June 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      in an effort to stop enabling bad drivers I stay the course when I’m not doing anything illegal…

      when I become too feeble to take one for the team I’ll relinquish to the younger crowd…

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      • stacia June 17, 2014 at 9:14 am

        are you really saying that you choose not to take evasive action to avoid a collision? i gotta say, having been badly hit once by a left-turning vehicle that failed to yield, i value my body more than i value my righteousness. if i could go back in time and see that turning pick-up a second before i did, and brake hard, you’d better believe i would.

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  • Austin June 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    What is with this guy and Tri-Met? His Twitter feed is seriously ridiculous.

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    • Mike June 17, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Agreed. His feed is borderline obsessive.
      Nothing in life worth tweeting about, unless it’s that damn Trimet!

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  • Kevin June 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    He can still contact the police, it really sounds more like a criminal case than a Trimet HR case.

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  • J_R June 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Another case where one should call 9-1-1 and lie on the sidewalk until help arrives. Wait for the police and emergency personnel. Take an ambulance to the hospital to get checked out. The contact an attorney.

    When you’re pumped on adrenaline, you may not recognize the extent of your injuries.

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  • pdx2wheeler June 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Careful when confronting TriMet! Once you do then they hold the bullhorn through the media, control the conversation through internal investigations, and can and will spin an incident until everyone eventually blames the victim. It happened to me big time a couple years ago and it was a huge story in Portland at the time! I just dropped it vs. fighting them through the media… At least this blog gives cyclist’s more of a voice if something does occur. I wasn’t aware of this website when my incident occurred, it might have been a big help in explaining my side of the story, the one you didn’t hear…

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  • TOM June 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    About 3 years ago , I was headed East on Powell at abt 119th. Tri-Met driver sped up to pass me to get to his stop before I did.

    Fortunately , I hit the brakes hard and back of the bus missed me closely. I pulled up to the driver (was still mad) and gave him “Nice driving, Guy” , and noted his description.

    Noted the bus number and time too and reported it via their website. Received back the standard “Operations is looking into it.”. never heard another thing from them. Got the feeling that it was not a rare occurrence. 🙁

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I get passed by TriMet buses all the time when on my bike – we often end up “leapfrogging” on Hawthorne, Burnside, Glisan, Sandy among other streets. The drivers seem hyper-aware of me and my bike, and give me a very wide berth.

    If this guy did get cut off by a TriMet bus, and even deliberately so, it would be unusual. Not saying it can’t or didn’t happen – TriMet drivers are human too – just that it certainly not typical of how TriMet buses are driven.

    By the way, I don’t understand reporting a bus-bike collision via Twitter. Call 911 if that happens.

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    • TJ June 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Considering the opportunity for bus-bike contact, I would say the percentage of conflict is low, but the occurrences are not unusual. I’d guess, from a biased perspective, that a TriMet bus gives a cyclist a scare at least once an hour in the city. This is not to say the driver is ever aware or even entirely at fault. The usual results are a shrug and a mental note to either make eye contact or leave additional space next time.

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  • DM June 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I ll be glad the day comes when you huberistic huffy road hogs start obeying the rules of the road. What ORS exempts you. Maybe its time you start earning respect instead of insisting on be a danger to everyone. What special training or lisence do you have.Especially those of us who pay for the road and the privilage to be on it.

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    • Pete June 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      LOL – thanks for the chuckle! 🙂

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    • I. Ron E. June 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Man, DM, you must really have it in for TriMet drivers.

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    • dr2chase June 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      You have it completely backwards — as near as I can tell, this guy was obeying the rules of the road, and was cut off by a bus that did an unsafe lane change (based on one side of the story, of course). So your basic assumption is irrelevant.

      Second, you are utterly unable to deliver on your promise of earned respect. I was one of those carefully effective law-abiding cyclists for about 3 decades — where’s my respect? Are you going to suggest that I don’t get respect until all the other cyclists I haven’t even met are also obeying the law? #1, that will never happen, I have no way to make it happen, and you know it, and #2, if each individual is responsible for the bad actions of others in their group, you’ve got some dead pedestrians to answer for.

      Third, for every gallon of gasoline that you put in your car, there is about a forty cent subsidy from other taxes (income and property, principally) which cyclists and everyone else pay. A cyclist is less of a freeloader than a car driver; the car driver pays some gas tax, but the net subsidy for a driver is far higher because bicycles don’t cost much.

      Fourth, the vast majority of adult cyclists are also licensed drivers, and most of them also own cars. Some car-free households rent autos for long trips, so they get some experience driving even when they do not own a car. Most of the people riding bikes know *more* about road safety than people who don’t, because they know all about the car rules, and they also learn (one way or another) about the bicycle rules (don’t get doored, don’t get right hooked, beware of side traffic that can’t see you, beware of drivers who look right through you, beware of various road hazards).

      **final sentence deleted for insulting language – Jonathan**

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    • Todd Hudson June 17, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Did you get lost? This isn’t the oregonlive.com comments section!

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2014 at 8:52 am

        Todd (and others),

        Please remember that everyone is welcome to comment here on BikePortland. Obviously, DM’s comment isn’t the typical perspective we see shared here, but in my opinion that’s why it’s worth reading and that’s why I didn’t edit it.

        And yes, I know DM’s comment is essentially an insult, but given the context and the creative way he presented it (nice alliteration!), I decided it was harmless.

        Thanks for understanding.

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    • GlowBoy June 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      “I ll be glad the day comes when you huberistic [sic] huffy road hogs start obeying the rules of the road. What ORS exempts you.” – DM

      Putting aside the irrelevance of your question with respect to the incident in question, I’ll ask you this: what ORS exempts drivers from obeying the rules? Because the vast majority of drivers appear to be in constant violation of the rules:
      – Nearly everyone seems to exceed the speed limit fairly frequently.
      – Most drivers fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs when no other traffic is present.
      – Most fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Even marked ones. The situation is much worse at implied crosswalks.
      – A majority (at least here in Oregon) fail to signal lane changes.
      – About 1 in 3 fail to signal actual turns.

      But thanks for showing us observational bias in action. Keep thinking convenient thoughts.

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    • GlowBoy June 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      “Maybe its time you start earning respect instead of insisting on be a danger to everyone.”
      Gee, and how much “danger to everyone” is an average 200lb bike+rider compared with a 4000lb car (which carries 400x as much kinetic energy at the same speed), huh? Most of our traffic laws exist to keep people in two-ton vehicles from hurting themselves and each other.

      “What special training or lisence do you have.” The overwhelming majority of cyclists have drivers licenses. That good enough for you?

      “Especially those of us who pay for the road and the privilage to be on it.” User fees like gas taxes only cover a minority of road work. Most of it comes from the general fund, which comes out of all taxpayers’ pockets. And by the way, although cyclists probably aren’t wealthier on average than drivers, I do know quite a few wealthy cyclists: are you saying they should have more right to the road since they pay more income tax? I didn’t think so.

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  • Jayson June 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Man, Twitter is obnoxious!

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    • q`Tzal June 16, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Man, homo sapiens are obnoxious!

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  • Pete June 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    “The bus stop is visible beneath the tree at right.”

    The bus stop may be located beneath the tree at right, but it’s certainly not visible, to my eyes, in this picture. There is no stop pad, pullout, or bench that I can see, just some signage obscured by tree branches.

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  • Middle of the Road guy June 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    So the cyclist could have slowed down and avoided this.

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    • davemess June 17, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Have you ever had a bus come up on you at speed? Sometimes there isn’t a lot of time to react.

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    • Mindful Cyclist June 17, 2014 at 8:40 am

      And, the bus driver admitted he saw him and could have slowed down to avoid this as well. What’s your point?

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      • Middle of the Road guy June 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm

        that both people can make decisions and that cyclists should not expect everyone else to make decisions that accommodate only the cyclist.

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        • GlowBoy June 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm

          “cyclists should not expect everyone else to make decisions that accommodate only the cyclist.” The bus driver was supposed to yield to the cyclist. It’s not unreasonable to have expected him to do so.

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        • El Biciclero June 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm

          Yeah, well when one person or vehicle operator has the right-of-way by virtue of already occupying a particular space, they darn well expect other vehicle operators to yield to them when moving into that space. Your implication that this cyclist was somehow being selfish or arrogant by expecting not to get run over is transparent and seemingly either intentionally inflammatory or exceedingly biased.

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    • Dabby June 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

      The cyclist does not have to slow down to avoid this. The bus driver has to do his job and hold back to wait for the bike lane, or any travel lane, to be clear before proceeding forward.

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      • Middle of the Road guy June 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm

        When I ride my bike, I make decisions about how I ride to enhance my safety. Abdicating my safety to the decisions of others is simply naive….cyclists are also responsible for reacting to situations.

        Just riding along with the assumption everyone else will change their behaviors for you is an over-entitled, naive sentiment and only results in decreased safety for yourself.

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        • KristenT June 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

          He maintained his lane, his speed, his direction of travel, and his predictability on the road. Last time I checked, the overtaking vehicle has the responsibility to WAIT for the person on the bike to pass before changing lanes, making a turn, pulling into a parking spot, etc.

          If he was riding predictably and legally (which is more than can be expected of most drivers), then I don’t see how he was abdicating anything.

          The expectation of all users of the road is that the other users will behave in a predictable fashion and at least attempt to follow the rules of the road. The expectation was that the Tri-Met driver would not attempt to pass and pull over to the bus stop when there wasn’t enough room to do so.

          If Holm had been in a slow-moving car and the same thing had happened, there would have been no question and no discussion about who was at fault.

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          • Middle of the Road guy June 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

            “the overtaking vehicle has the responsibility to WAIT for the person on the bike to pass before changing lanes, making a turn, pulling into a parking spot, etc. ”

            yeah, but that is not an assumption I make. I take proactive steps towards my own safety.

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        • El Biciclero June 17, 2014 at 4:57 pm

          Who has to change their behaviors? What behaviors?

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  • John June 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Next time don’t waste time with twitter. call 911. It is the only way to get Tri-Met to respond promptly. I know I work there. I apologize for all of us for the failure the operator to work safely and be responsible.

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  • Ted Buehler June 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Why all the fuss about the victim tweeting his crash complaint to TriMet?

    Seriously, commenters, do you think YOU would be in a great frame of mind with regards to what do do after whacking yourself into a city bus that cuts you off, getting told off by the driver, and being in an uncertain amount of pain from bodily damage? Pain, fury, knowing you could have gotten squished by a bug, and a few other emotions might cloud your rational thinking.

    Evidently, tweeting is his preferred mode of communication. If he was a accident recovery and reporting expert, like so many commenters seem to be, then he would have called the cops and his lawyer.

    Just because he went for his standard means of communication to file an accident report doesn’t in any way diminish the fact that a city bus cut him off, he whacked his arm/shoulder into it (presumably to prevent his head from whacking into it, or to prevent the bus from knocking him to the pavement and then running him over) and the bus driver told him off and left the scene of the crime.

    Best of luck to a quick, full recovery for the victim and some retraining for Mr. TriMet Driver.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler June 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

      This brings back a memory of mine, volunteering at Sunday Parkways two years ago, SW Portland. A middle aged, privileged-looking white male, driving an expensive SUV, talked back to me when I politely told him the road was closed. The street had bikes, peds, kids 0-plenty. It was pretty obvious that there was a reason for it to be closed.

      I was standing in front of his car. I may have walked there after he talked back to me, I don’t recall.

      He let off the brake, and literally plowed me out of the way. His 5 year old kid watching wide-eyed from the back seat.

      I was too shocked to get a license number. And didn’t call the police (as volunteers are instructed to do) because I didn’t want to deal with a cop car (presumably with flashing lights) parked at our intersection for 20 minutes taking a report. & I was having a great day otherwise.

      I felt very violated. & pissed. & fearful. I really should have reported it. I probably should have yelled to my compadres to chase after him and get his license number.

      I very much appreciate that Erik Holm is taking the time and effort to make this driver, and the corporation that hires him, fully accountable for cutting him off and risking squishing him like a bug. Because if the driver has done it before, he’ll do it again, and maybe next time it will be a less skilled bicyclist and we’ll be reading about him/her in the obituaries.

      Ted Buehler

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      • Spiffy June 17, 2014 at 8:01 am

        the police won’t respond unless you need medical attention… I’ve tried to report road-ragers before, the police told me that they don’t care…

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        • Craig Harlow June 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

          If a crime was committed, they will respond if there is sufficient evidence for them to follow up — like video — or a combination of vehicle & plate + driver description + plus eyewitness willing to talk.

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      • Middle of the Road guy June 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

        “privileged-looking”…….what does that mean?

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        • Opus the Poet June 17, 2014 at 5:38 pm

          Middle of the Road guy
          “privileged-looking”…….what does that mean? Recommended 0

          White male in an expensive car…

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          • Middle of the Road guy June 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

            Hmmm….guess I’ll start making “criminal looking” assumptions in my neighborhood.

            Reality is, one has no idea how that guy came about owning the car, how much money he has, etc.

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      • Middle of the Road guy June 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

        When I have volunteered for Sunday Parkways, I have had several ‘hoodlum looking’ individuals do the same thing in SE and North Portland.

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        • Mij June 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm

          Several? Why didn’t you take proactive steps toward your safety? Or even reactive steps after the first person pushed you with their car. By the 4th car I imagine I would have learned to back flip.

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  • was carless June 17, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Wait, are you guys saying that twitter isn’t for reporting traffic accidents??

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    • Chris I June 17, 2014 at 7:57 am

      @PPBPIGS is how I file all of my police reports…

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  • TOM June 17, 2014 at 8:05 am

    About 3 years ago , I was headed East on Powell at abt 119th. Tri-Met driver sped up to pass me to get to his stop before I did.
    Fortunately , I hit the brakes hard and back of the bus missed me closely. I pulled up to the driver (was still mad) and gave him “Nice driving, Guy” , and noted his description.
    Noted the bus number and time too and reported it via their website. Received back the standard “Operations is looking into it.”. never heard another thing from them. Got the feeling that it was not a rare occurrence. 🙁
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    In all fairness & honesty, this was a very isolated case FOR ME. The vast,vast number of TriMet drivers are courteous to me.

    When the bus and I are approaching their stop at the same distance , almost always they slow down or even stop, giving me room/time to pass it and then they turn in behind me.

    I try to give a wave to let them know that I’ve seen what they did and appreciate it.

    Also when I approach a bus that is stopped for pickup/letouts and is blocking the lane, I stop and wait, making sure that I’m in their mirror sight.
    Yup, as mentioned by others, unintentional leapfrog is rather frequent , and their drivers do know how to handle it safely.

    A general thanks to the TRi-Met drivers ..it’s a tough job.

    (we have a Vietnamese friend named Tri. The word “met” means tired in the language. When he got here, I was asked “why to all those buses think I’m tired” ?? )

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  • Opus the Poet June 17, 2014 at 11:32 am

    When you get hit all the thousands of times you got passed safely no longer count. All that counts is you are in pain and have a damaged bicycle. Voice of experience here.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Just going to toss in some advice to all us urban cyclists.

    As far as possible, never enter an intersection with a car immediately to your left. If a car overtakes you on your left as you approach the intersection, tap your brakes and slow down, so that the car enters the intersection ahead of you and you have room/time to do an emergency stop/swerve should that car suddenly whip right. Or, take the lane into the intersection to block overtaking, realizing this does add other risks.

    When a bus overtakes you as you approach a bus stop, it is likely to pull over at the bus stop, so protect yourself by slowing down and not letting yourself be caught between bus and curb. Buses drive in a predictable manner; it is not hard to anticipate their moves.

    I know, it is irritating and “unfair” to have to give up the momentum you’ve worked for, but that’s part of defensive riding in the city. I’d rather be unhurt than “right”.

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    • Moleskin June 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Simple but excellent advice, I completely agree with this.

      A further thought: don’t be in a hurry. If I’m pushing harder than usual to get somewhere, almost like clockwork I have the odd nearish miss that would almost certainly not have been considered my fault in most people’s eyes. Sometimes I’m just astonished at how reliably this happens; I’d consider myself pretty experienced with decently-developed cyclists’ spidey senses, and haven’t ever had a significant accident , but add in a dash of hurry and weird things happen. Had I not been hurrying, I would have done a better job of anticipating and slowing a little so that these near-incidents would never have arisen or seemed much less significant; or perhaps other actors would have had more time to notice me and react accordingly. It’s hardly surprising, but I’m frequently surprised how quickly consequence follows cause.

      I tend to dwell on incidents for quite a while, so I find my inner peace is much enhanced by taking it a bit easy.

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  • Adam June 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t see what “investigation” is required here. All Trimet buses are mounted with front-facing cameras. They would have caught the driver overtaking then right-hooking the cyclist. The internal camera may have also caught the moment the bus hit the cyclist.

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  • Joe June 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    “most of the bus drivers around here wait for bikes to clear as well”
    or some will jockey the hell outta you going down the road. *smh*

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  • Joe June 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Need a road-rager hotline… wild when your life is put in the hands of someone who really doesnt care or…. OHHHH I didn’t see them? huh you passed me and right turned… agh we need more riders rights most drivers get away with it all.

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    • Jane June 19, 2014 at 8:34 am

      A cop did that to me day before yesterday. I doubt they care.

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  • Scott June 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I sent in a complaint to trimet over an almost identical incident this past sunday. I was lucky enough to avoid the collision, but the bus driver seemed to think he had right of way over my bike lane, honking and flailing his arms.

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  • Dan Christensen June 20, 2014 at 8:44 am

    As a bus driver I can tell you that way too few of the busses have cameras that would have showed this incident. I won’t bore you with model numbers and cameras I will just generalize and say outside backward facing cameras are only on the news busses in the fleet.

    As a driver I have given up on the pass and pull over maneuver if it’s under a block. First I don’t think it’s safe, tracking my own observations I realized that it’s fraught with a high frequency of Bus V Bike encounter. I also don’t believe it saves much time. Sure it may seem faster but then you have to wait for cyclist to pass your bus and clear a safe distance.

    So if it’s under a block I just bang back and go slow until I can make my stop.

    There is no policy at trimet regarding the proper way to do this but I use the one block rule and it keeps me safely away from B V. C encounters.

    Some cyclist think I’m trying to shame them. hanging way back and going slow. Most understand and many speed up when they hear me back there waiting. You cannot make everyone happy as a bus driver but you can strive to make everyone safe… Keep doing a good job Portland Cyclist.

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    • dr2chase June 20, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Is there a chance you could get them to adopt a policy? Here’s a link to a story about what they did here in Boston, that (from my subjective/anecdotal experience) seemed to even make noticeable improvement: http://massbike.org/blog/2010/11/12/massbike-participates-in-ts-new-bus-driver-training/ . The MBTA is busy and underfunded, but Massbike might have time for you.

      And don’t knock algorithmic safety — “hang back if it’s one block or less” gives you a nice objective safety rule. Mine for a (cargo) bike on a multi-use path is “3 or more dogs and/or children means slow to a walking speed, then pass safely”.

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    • El Biciclero June 20, 2014 at 10:07 am

      As a frequent cyclist, I’d like to say “Thank you” for following this procedure. I have observed many other Tri-Met drivers following the same basic rule, which generalizes to “If I don’t think I can completely pass a cyclist (with room to spare) by the time I get to my stop, I’ll fall in behind and cruise up slowly to the stop”. I have not had any drivers overtly behave as though this causes them any great inconvenience, and I don’t feel any pressure to “hurry it up” when a bus is following behind me to it’s stop.

      For my part, I never pass a stopped bus on the right, make every attempt to avoid riding in a bike lane parallel to buses, and strive to maintain a clear view of one side mirror or the other so drivers can see where I am most of the time.

      It’s been mentioned in stories and comments on this site before: Bus drivers and transportation bicyclists are both helping to achieve a goal of reducing car traffic on city roadways; in this respect we’re on the same “side”, so why not cooperate?

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    • Jason March 3, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Why did you take your blog down?

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  • The Deacon In Blue June 20, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Anybody notice something missing from this story? The driver’s side of the story. I’m not insinuating anything, but there are always two sides to a story, and TM isn’t representative of us. Just sayin’…

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  • TOM June 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

    the larger problem for me is not the TRi-MET drivers racing me to their stop, but auto drivers racing me to their homes/starbucks/burger place/gf’s house/etc. so they can right turn in front of me to a driveway.

    golly, they may save a whole 3 seconds ?

    I’d really like to carry a paintball gun and mark those 1d1ots.

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    • Jane June 20, 2014 at 11:35 am

      ulock works too.

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