Two people, one on a bicycle and one in a car, collided while traveling on SE Ankeny this morning.
According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), the incident occurred just before 7:46 am at the intersection of Ankeny and 7th. The collision involved someone driving a car and someone pedaling a bicycle. Here’s more from the PPB statement:
Officers determined that the driver of the car had turned left while traveling eastbound on S.E. Ankeny, onto northbound S.E. 7th. The driver turned into the path of the bicyclist causing the accident.
The driver of the vehicle had stopped prior to turning and did not show any signs of impairment. It appears that the driver did not see the bicyclist.
The bicycle rider suffered “serious but non-life-threatening” injuries and thankfully, the driver remained at the scene. Despite the troubling claim that “the driver did not see the bicyclist,” the driver was still given a citation for a Dangerous Left Turn.
This stretch of Ankeny is one of Portland’s earliest bike boulevards (developed before they were called “neighborhood greenways”). It is marked with sharrows but is a common source of complaints from road users who say that it carries more auto traffic than it should and that people who drive on it often go too fast.
Also notable about this incident is some of the wording in the official PPB press release. Its final paragraph reads:
The Portland Police Bureau would like remind all road-users to remain safe and to pay attention while using public roadways. We would also like to remind motorists to pay particular attention to vulnerable road-users.
That was unexpected. And nice to see.
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While I totally appreciate the continued attempt to nail down proper terminology for describing these events (note – I didn’t use “accident”!), I just don’t think this opening sentence does much good:
“Two people collided while traveling on SE Ankeny this morning.”
I don’t think their bodies touched.
LMFTFY: “two [vehicles] collided”
Jonathan…I’m pretty sure the Burnside High Crash Corridor project includes some traffic calming stuff on Ankeny and Couch as well, but I don’t see anything specific in the documents. Any chance you’ve run across an overview of what they are planning?
I live near the traffic barrier on 20th and see cars driving over it or around it probably once a week. I’d love to see some more effective calming on Ankeny.
All the greenways need to have more effective diverters installed.
Claymore makes a nice traffic “diverter” known as the M18…
Ankeny is not a greenway yet. If funding is found, plans are in the works to upgrade it to greenway status. There is talk of some form of diversion near 11th and 12th. It also needs traffic calming added. Couch is in a similar place.
i would be interested in details. my impression was ankeny was one of the first “bike boulevards.” does the change of nomenclature to “neighborhood greenways” imply a need to upgrade existing facilities?
AMA — you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to install “candlestick bollards” on the diverter. That will stop most of the cars from driving over it.
Just note the location and the frequency you observe infractions. And ask them to put up additional barrier material, such as candlestick bollards (those wiggly plastic things).
If nobody complains, that barrier could go on for another 20 years. If even once person makes a request, you’ll see a change in a couple months.
The city has yet to find a device that will prevent such behavior. It was tried at Going/15th. They are on version 2.0 there now.
The current plan (still in process) is to install 3 speed bumps on Couch from 28th to 24th. On Ankeny, PBOT is still deciding between 8 speed bumps between 20th and 32nd or installing a diverter between 11th and 12th. The diverter would force westbound car traffic to turn right on 12th, while allowing bikes to continue straight on Ankeny. Eastbound traffic is unaffected.
Contact info and a feedback form are here – http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/61206
to me that shows sign of impairment… why else would they stop in the middle of the road when they saw no oncoming traffic?
If someone drives their car into someone else they’re impaired. Not necessarily impaired by drugs or alcohol but still not mentally competent enough to be operating a vehicle.
2-way/4-way change-up confusion. While driving my car once, I had my right-of-way at a two-way stop usurped by a driver who assumed it was a 4-way; he stopped, then took off right in front of me, assuming I had to stop as well. I bet that confusion goes both ways; after a series of 4-ways, it becomes a temporary habit to stop at every intersection. Or maybe sun glare facing East in the AM?
This happens in downtown Hood River all the time… tourists see the crosswalks painted and assume they are stop signs. (I’ve been honked at for not stopping at crosswalks before, while driving). Recently the road was dug up where there’s an actual 4-way stop, and I was nearly hit on three different occasions when proceeding from my stop (on a bike) while the perpendicular traffic didn’t see their sign and assumed I was running my stop. Fortunately the project is finished now and the stop bars are painted back on the road, as the stop sign itself is pretty much useless.
In the morning drivers coming up the hill, west on Ankeny, are looking into the sun and the shadows of trees on the north side of the road make it difficult to see. There is such a thing as an accident. I came up on the corner several minutes after it happened, and the driver looked absolutely miserable, sitting on the curb with his head in his hands. The police had taped off the whole corner and were diligent and polite to bicyclists trying to get through the intersection. There were three cruisers there. I was very impressed that they didn’t just take the ‘I wasn’t watching where I was driving excuse’ and give the whole situation and driver a warning.
“In the morning drivers coming up the hill, west on Ankeny, are looking into the sun and the shadows of trees on the north side of the road make it difficult to see. There is such a thing as an accident.”
but that first sentence is not an example of an accident…
Does the vulnerable road user law apply in this case? If not, why not?
Kudos for the PPB to cite someone for this collision and an obvious failure on the part of one vehicle operator.
VRU ORS 811.135 is about “careless driving.” Now, I won’t argue with you if you say that anyone who drives a car into people riding bikes or walking was careless about operating the vehicle, but the way the law actually works is that both the courts and police officers rely heavily on judgment and discretion when interpreting the law. The bar that law enforcement uses for “careless” is higher than you or I might like it to be.
Yep. Alan 1.0 is right. The VRU law only triggers when the operator of the vehicle is cited for “Careless Driving” which is often a high legal threshold to reach.
A left cross… yikes.
I’m just gunna go out on a limb here and say that this was bad. Cars and Bikes are not supposed to collide. I know all of you are talking about how a thinning the heard is needed here, but I disagree. I think everyone should live.
Maybe cars and bikes should have dedicated roads, we could alternate days. I this it would be fun to have the highway available to us every other day
PPB still uses the word “accident”?
I’d like to know that as well vs how many times a driver hits a cyclist and does not get cited. (I mean the data would have to be gleaned through because cyclists are at fault sometimes. . . so we’ll just filter out the 3 weeks of pedalpalooza)
The stats would be iffy at best considering since around 2002-ish?, the PPB implemented a policy to reduce cost overhead with what it considered ‘unnecessary officer response’ by only dispatching officers on bike “accident” scenes that involved; a) property damage requiring insurance claims of more than (? amount) or b) personal injuries requiring immediate medical assistance (ambulance ride). The remainder of the time we (roadway users) were told thru the local press to exchange info with the other vehicle’s operator and work it out thru the insurance companies without an actual police report….(never liked that policy).
This approach does not work. If you have no other witnesses, there is nothing to keep the other party from lying to their insurance company. My wife was clipped by a guy who should have been cited with failure to yield, and the POS lied to his insurance company, so she ended up getting nothing. No one stopped to act as witness, so we had no options.
Lie on the pavement. Call 911. Wait for emergency responders. Take an ambulance to the hospital. Get checked out even if you initially think you’re OK (your adrenaline is masking the symptoms). Keep a diary of your medical issues (headaches, trouble sleeping, quantities of pain medication, limping, etc). Contact a lawyer.
Call emergency responders and get checked out at an urgent care clinic if a friend or family member can come pick you up, absolutely!
But, I don’t make enough money (and most people don’t) to get stuck with an ER, or worse, ambulance ride bill if it was not deemed medically necessary or the driver did not have insurance at all.
This is why I don’t like riding my bike in these deficient, sub-standard facilities.
This is why I don’t like driving my car around these deficient, sub-standard facilities.
We should be looking at all of the bike lanes and bikeways across the city, and if they’re old enough to drink, maybe it’s time to buy them some new, up to date clothes.
If we had a much-needed diverter at SE 7th & Ankeny, this would have been a total non-story.
The second the Burnside-Couch Couplet Project went in, auto-traffic on Ankeny SKYROCKETED.
Drivers don’t want to hit it through like, twelve sets of lights, when they can just floor it totally unimpeded a block north on a bike street with one stop sign in about twenty blocks.
What needs to happen for a diverter to go in here? Does somebody have to die first?
Why do we need a diverter there? SE 7th is a very minor street at that location. If you wanted to put diverters, you’d do it Grand and/or 12th.
Because most traffic heading into Portland in the mornings heads westbound down Burnside, then turns left onto Ankeny at SE 17th or SE 16th, then takes Ankeny down until SE 7th.
There, the traffic typically takes a left off of onto SE 7th, and goes a few blocks in order to access the Morrison Bridge. Some traffic also does straight across SE 7th, in order to get down to SE Grand, which then connects back to the Burnside Bridge.
Putting in a diverter at Grand would be great of course! But it wouldn’t deter the bulk of traffic using Ankeny, which takes it to access SE 7th, while avoiding the giant mess at SE Burnside/Sandy/11th/12th.
You’re thinking of the SE Ankeny/Sandy Blvd/11th intersection. When 7th turns northeast at Washington, it becomes Sandy Blvd. 7th continues north as a local street.
Also, some perspective is needed here. I find Ankeny MUCH better to bike along than Clinton right now. Ankeny’s ADT is low enough to get 20mph limits, but Clinton’s is not. That’s all you need to know about the situation on that “bike boulevard”.
? Parts of SE Clinton is 20mph…has been for months.
Correct…east of 39th/Chavez. That’s not the problem area.
Another lesson that sometimes drivers can be looking straight at a bicycle and their brains don’t register what their eyes are seeing. Motorcycles get left crossed too. Some drivers are so careless, distracted, or incompetent that they don’t register anything short of a big truck.
Ride defensively. Assume every driver might try to hit you, cover your brakes, watch their hands and front wheels, and always have a plan. If that driver suddenly turns left in front of you, are you going to whip a hard right, swerve left, lay it down? Think about that as you approach the car.
There are things you can do to be more noticed. Weaving looks odd and gets attention. The dreaded hi-viz clothing or helmet. And the controversial daytime blinking headlight.
Hope the rider is okay and sues the crap out of the driver.
wsbob reminds us of this from time to time too. He thinks bikes blend into the background, are just really difficult to see even if you’re scanning.
I think It appears that the driver did not look for the bicyclist.
Drivers (many of them, too much of the time) aren’t consciously looking for anything. They are on a sort of autopilot, driving by habit, glancing at a piece of road and mentally registering (noticing) stuff that is a threat, unusual, interesting. Other cars usually get registered because they are threats. Bikes are not threats and may not get registered. But a tall bike is unusual and may be. Motorcycles are sometimes not registered. But a police motorcycle is registered, because it is a threat. An average pedestrian may not be registered. But an attractive female pedestrian may be.
Just Sunday a driver stopped, looked right and left and straight at me, then pulled out of a side street – as I was turning into it on my bike, came close to hitting me. Broad daylight and I was maybe 15 feet away. His eyes saw me, his brain didn’t register me. I wasn’t a threat or interesting or unusual, and he was on autopilot.
That’s not how drivers SHOULD drive, but it is how they often DO drive. Important to keep in mind.
Very well put. Thank you.
“…wsbob reminds us of this from time to time too. He thinks bikes blend into the background, are just really difficult to see even if you’re scanning. …” John Liu
Not ‘are’, but ‘can be’, and thanks John Liu for reviewing some of the reasons for this.
By the street view picture accompanying this story, and other info, it certainly looks as though people driving have a clear, unobstructed view of traffic approaching directly opposite from them. That and other info here suggests strongly that the person just didn’t, even if they were looking that way, detect the person biking, approaching from the other direction. In this particular situation, lots of possible reasons for that, none of them probably a reasonable excuse for turning in front of opposing traffic such that a collision would occur.
From a visibility standpoint, most other vehicles on the road have a significant advantage over someone on a bike, by virtue of their being bigger, and or flashier. Comparatively, bikes can be much more difficult to visually detect. In this particular situation though, with its great lighting, good weather, unobstructed views, there’s probably no legitimate reason the person driving would have for not seeing the person on the bike approaching.
If for example, the person riding had their bike rolling along at a very high speed for a bike on the flats, say 35 mph approaching and through this intersection, something like that could possibly increase the difficulty for other road users to detect them there. Even that though, wouldn’t likely excuse turning in front of this type traffic.
Whups! Mistakenly attributed watt’s comment to John Liu. Sorry about that.
consciously or unconsciously on guard, we miss things. this is not an excuse for distracted driving AT ALL…but an observation of our own cognitive weaknesses….
Also nice to see a report that recognizes the car didn’t cause the collision, but the DRIVER of the car. Eternally frustrating to see reports that say “a car hit a pedestrian…” or “the car ran through a red light,” when of course the driver is the one responsible. Good job bikeportland!
If ya’all want to see more diverters, just drop an email to email@example.com and ask them to do something to reduce cut-through traffic on Ankeny.
You can cite this collision, and give them any anecdotal evidence you’ve gathered, including effects of the Burnside Couplet project.
Many of these improvements re installed strictly on a complaint basis. This is not a residential neighborhood, by and large, so its unlikely the neighborhood association would get behind it (or block it, for that matter).
Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Best wishes for a speedy, full recovery for the person that got hit.
The best way to find out what the Buckman Community Association thinks is to come talk to us. We meet every 2nd Thursday (tonight) at the Multnomah County Building at 7pm – http://www.buckmanpdx.org/
I think it’s interesting how Driver’s don’t “see” bicyclists and other road users, but what really happens is they simply are classified as not a threat, and hence not worthy of concern. All too often, it takes a bus or a concrete truck to reach the threshold of threat, and loons go on their merry way, ignoring other traffic.
Yes, why can’t I use this argument when caught speeding: “I didn’t see the speed limit sign”. Or even in a collision with another car: “I didn’t see the other car”. Why is it almost considered a reasonable excuse when it comes to bikes?
Me too. Whenever another road user does something dangerous or unpredictable around me while I ride, I wonder if they would have done the same thing were I driving a dump truck instead of a bicycle…
Bright sun in the eyes?
Arguments against attention getting blinkies (http://bikeportland.org/2014/07/08/grafitti-northwest-portland-rages-blinking-bike-lights-108410#comments) meet article about drivers not paying attention…
My question is, Did he have lights and if so were they flashing or solid?
He normally uses a solid light and it would make no difference if the driver was blinded by the sun. Frankly, if the driver can’t see then he should pull forward to a position where he can before turning. Lazy freaking driving.
I feel for the cyclist, as I was in a similar accident three months ago descending the West Hills, except that I somehow avoided hitting the car (both wheels locked up, fish-tailing). I hit the pavement hard, and got an ambulance ride to the ER on a backboard w/neck brace. Concussion symptoms are gone, but still healing the lower back with physical therapy.
Since there were no witnesses in my incident, the police officer could not write a ticket for the at fault driver. Also, the driver initially denied pulling out right in front of me from the stop sign. The police officer explained to me that since I, the cyclist, did not “make contact” with the car and that there were no witnesses other than the driver, he did not have sufficient evidence to give the driver a ticket. However, the day after the accident, the police officer re-intervieedd the driver, and the driver changed their story, admitting fault, etc. Fortunately, the driver was/is properly insured, and everything has/is being taken care of.
Couple things I learned in my accident:
– Call the police. Insist on an accident report.
– Locate witnesses and get their information.
– Use a flashing headlight that is readily visible in daylight.
– Joke mode on: hit the car and leave a large enough debris pile on the road so that there is no question about location the bicycle and car. Joke mode off.
….though I’ve had drivers pull out, fixate on the unknown flashing thing coming at them at a speed they can’t judge, and then just stop right in the line of travel. They don’t know what’s happening…go forward, go back? Stop seems to be the default. A go-pro would testify on your behalf, wish they were cheaper.
Make that two Go-Pro’s; one rear facing (perhaps get an image of a negligent overtaking driver and front license plate), one front facing.
I see what you mean about front flashers confusing drivers. However, I will place my bets on more visibility and stick with a front flasher that has a relatively low flash frequency.
Maybe a somewhat random flash frequency would be less confusing to drivers?
“…- Call the police. Insist on an accident report.” Only works if you are conscious.
which is why I stopped avoiding bad drivers in my car a long time ago… I don’t want to enable them to continue driving badly…
I only avoid the super dangerous ones while on my bike…
but on my scooter I avoid them all… to much metal to get mashed into… but usually my kicking the car gets their attention…
Are you comfortable naming the intersection where this incident happened? I “descend the West Hills” quite often; just curious about the location.
I was southbound on SW Dosch, and the accident occured at the intersection w/ SW Bridlemile Ln.
If you can’t see where you’re driving and you continue to drive, that’s not an accident. It’s not imply intent, or that someone was being malicious, but you have a duty to drive safely, and if there are factors that inhibit you from seeing people that you will severely injure/kill, that’s on you… and citing external circumstances to excuse responsibility doesn’t fly.
That’s why the ‘sun was in my eyes’ excuse is always so preposterous to me. Why would you keep driving if you literally are blinded by something?
Also a good reminder that if you see someone hit, whether you’re on foot/bike/in a car… make sure to pull over and give them your info. Thankfully that person was honest and decided to cough up the truth… but we all know society is swimming in people who have no qualms about lying through their teeth if they were in the exact same scenario.
I just found out 10 minutes ago that the cyclist is someone I work with, and is in the ICU, might possibly require surgery. 🙁 Be vigilant out there, everyone.
I also work with him (and he’s a great guy) and can’t explain how pissed I am about this. A good reminder that this could happen to anyone. Bike defensively, people because most drivers aren’t paying attention to you.
I was riding right behind him when it happened and it was the drivers fault as the cyclist had the right of way.
That being said if the guy would have only been wearing a helmet he would have been much better off. All I could do was try and stabilize him and hope for the best. I haven’t seen anything like it. Thank god he’s going to make it cause I wasn’t so sure at the time.
You can’t be cited for that—it isn’t against the law. The only way to get in legal trouble specifically for “hitting” anyone is to do it on purpose, then have it proven that you did it on purpose. In such a case you would then be cited for vehicular assault; otherwise, you might get cited for some kind of “unsafe operation” violation.