Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Careless Driving citation issued in collision that killed Kerry Kunsman

Posted by on September 26th, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Kerry Kunsman (1947-2014).
(Photo from his blog)

The Oregon State Police announced today that the man who drove his truck into Kerry Kunsman on September 19th as he rode his bike on Highway 131, has been issued two citations.

Frank Bohannon, 74, has been cited for Careless Driving (ORS 811.135(3)) and Driving While Suspended. Prior to this decision, the OSP says they conferred with the Tillamook County District Attorney’s Office and decided there will be no additional criminal charges. Additional penalties will be triggered because Bohannon’s actions resulted in the death of a “vulnerable roadway user.”

Oregon was the first state to pass a Vulnerable Roadway Users law in 2007. It adds additional consequences above and beyond the standard traffic violation penalties. Bohannon will now have to choose between doing 100-200 hours of community service (which “must include activities related to driver improvement and providing public education on traffic safety”) and completing a traffic safety course or paying a $12,500 fine and having his license suspended for one year. Bohannon will also be required to appear in court and face up to his actions. Prior to the existence of this law, the offender could simply mail in a check and be done with it.

Kunsman took this photo while biking down
the Oregon Coast just one day
before he was hit.

Kunsman died in a Portland hospital two days after the collision. He was a League Certified Cycling Instructor and a Board Member of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition who was well-known in his community. Kunsman was on a “Border-to-Border” bicycle tour from Canada to Mexico and kept a blog about his journey up until the morning of his tragic death.

Kunsman was riding westbound from Tillamook to Netarts on a state highway around a sharp right-hand curve with no paved shoulder when the collision occurred. Judging from photos taken at the scene and the time of day, it’s likely the sun was setting on the horizon as well. As you can see in the photo at right, Kunsman’s bike was equipped with a rear taillight (which was on during the day) and a large, hi-vis reflective patch.

This collision was the seventh high-profile rear-end collision on Oregon highways in the past six weeks. Four of the collision have resulted in a fatality. In six of the seven cases, OSP has determined that unsafe driving behaviors were to blame (one of them is still pending an investigation).

This spate of collisions have led some people to conclude that the solution is to ban bicycling altogether on some highways because “it’s too dangerous” — but this decision by OSP will (hopefully) reinforce the idea that bicycle riders have a right to all Oregon roads (except some freeways) and that roads are much safer when everyone operates their vehicle with caution and care for others.

UPDATE: Here are some comments about the collision from the DA who looked at the case, as reported by The Oregonian:

“It’s an extraordinarily tragic accident,” Porter said. “But it is in fact just that — an accident.”

The investigation showed no signs of excessive speed, intoxication or reckless driving by Bohannon, he said.

But Bohannon was cited for careless driving because he is familiar with the highway, knows that there are often cyclists on the highway and should have taken more care on the curves, Porter said.

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  • Sean S. September 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    How about mandatory jail time? The suspension sure was effective to begin with.

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    • q`Tzal September 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Sure sounds all nice and vengeful but look at it from a practical standpoint.

      The driver in question is a 74-year old man. Permanent revocation of his licence isn’t a bad idea but as soon as someone this old is in prison their end of life health care costs become the fiscal burden of the state. Odds are someone this old will die in prison. There are all sorts of cold, financial, mathematical reasons NOT to imprison someone like this.

      Imprisonment is only really needed when someone is shown to be a clear and present danger AND will do so again in opposition to a court order.

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      • Spiffy September 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        someone this old is likely to think that driving is their god-given right…

        they were clearly a danger enough to have their license suspended, yet they continued to be a danger driving illegally and it ended up killing somebody…

        this is akin to a DUI… they knew they were getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t be, they took the risk, and they killed somebody… their defiant negligence killed someone…

        if it was my father/grandfather then I would expect them to be locked up for the safety of the public, including myself…

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        • wsbob September 26, 2014 at 5:59 pm

          Psyfalcon asks the question:

          “Any word on what the suspended license was for? …”

          The answer to that question is important to know. It’s reasonable for people to expect that people operating vehicles, at the least, motor vehicles, on the road are fit to drive. Not just being sufficiently familiar with material in the driver’s manual and operation of a motor vehicle on the road to pass the tests, but possibly, an expectation of fitness to drive that’s higher than current measures to consider medical and psychological fitness to drive go, as well.

          I’d kind of like to know what Bohannon’s reason for being suspended was, and also, other things about his personal condition, days and maybe weeks, around the time he happened to be on the road and drove his pickup into Kunsman on his bike.

          It’s rather well known that when someone’s license is suspended, it’s remains difficult to keep them from driving if they’re determined to do so. Likely the same situation with revoking license. May be difficult to find room enough behind bars for all the people that would be subject to that if that were the means decided upon to keep them from driving.

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        • q`Tzal September 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

          What would prison offer in this instance that GPS monitored house arrest does not?

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          • wsbob September 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

            It’s likely to be tougher to skip prison than it may be to defeat GPS monitored house arrest. Depending upon how GPS gear is connected to persons assigned that form of monitoring.

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      • J_R September 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm

        He continued to drive with a suspended license. So, you think that now, all of a sudden, he will become a law abiding citizen and careful driver?

        Go to Jail. Directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

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        • matt picio September 29, 2014 at 4:08 pm

          It’s easy to say that – but what alternative has society given these folks? Unless the driver lives in town, he has to travel miles to get to anything – the store, etc. I don’t think any of us can legitimately say what should or shouldn’t be done without knowing his situation, or why he was suspended, or where he lives and how much he makes, and what transportation options are available. (hint on that last: not much)

          It’s easy to condemn the man when you know nothing about him and he’s safely a label and a “problem”.

          This is an all-around tragedy. Sure, something needs to happen – the #1 thing that should happen is everyone who has a gripe should write ODOT and demand a shoulder on both sides of Hwy 131 and Whiskey Creek Road. The #2 thing is write the BTA and demand they tell ODOT the same thing. The #3 thing is to write Adventure Cycling Association, The American Wheelmen, and Cycle Oregon and demand they petition ODOT as well.

          Ditto for the City of Tillamook, and Tillamook County. You want to fix this? Fix the road.

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          • Psyfalcon September 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

            I can’t speak for anywhere else, but in Oregon, you can only get your license suspended for a few reasons. The suspension is served by certified mail.

            Failure to Appear/Comply
            Failure to Pay Child Support
            Court Denial (Suspension for Underage Alcohol Offense)
            Habitual Offender

            Now assuming he hasn’t violated a court order for child support payment, he has failed to appear for a court appearance, committed a DUI or several previous traffic offenses.


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            • El Biciclero September 30, 2014 at 9:47 am

              On a tangent, I’ve never understood that child support rationale for suspending a license. If the delinquent supporter has a job that [he] drives to, why make it harder to earn the money he owes to the supportee? Isn’t that like Debtor’s Prison? Shouldn’t we only suspend licenses for driving offenses? Well I guess if you’re a teenager living at home you might get your car keys suspended for unrelated offenses, but still…

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          • El Biciclero September 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm

            matt– I’m all for compassion when it makes sense, but essentially what you’re saying is tantamount to “we should never suspend licenses on the grounds that there are no good alternatives to driving for getting around”. This philosophy renders almost all consequences of breaking the law moot; if you don’t relish the inconvenience of the punishment, don’t break that law. If you commit a crime or infraction that has a punishment attached to it, that punishment is supposed to be inconvenient or painful, otherwise there is no deterrent effect of law enforcement. What should we do for drivers that have proven they cannot drive safely and are a danger to anyone they come near in their vehicles? Assign them a private chauffeur until they get their license back? Give them a weekly/monthly cab fare stipend? How you’re going to get around after your license is suspended is something you’re supposed to think about before you do something to get your license suspended.

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          • Todd Boulanger September 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

            Matt, your logic could lead to the same logic underlaying the debate for DL access for illegal immigrants…no DL = no insurance = high risk driving outcomes = no insurance funding to pay for hospital bills etc for victims.

            The issue of mobility post DL suspension is the red haired step child in the legal / transportation world: there needs to be a support network and training for ex-drivers on how to use the bus, bike and live without a car. In rural areas this can be more difficult, but no different than other retired drivers who can no longer drive due medical restrictions vs legal.

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          • Pete September 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm

            “what alternative has society given these folks?”

            Don’t do things that get your license suspended in the first place.

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      • Seth Alford September 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

        It would be worth the cost if it prevented the next senior citizen from driving while suspended. Or if s/he was too old to be driving.

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    • davemess September 26, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      I don’t understand why people driving on a suspended license isn’t a more serious crime. If the next violation had some teeth (like you get caught driving on a suspended license and you permanently lose your license) people might actually think twice before driving without.

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      • MaxD September 29, 2014 at 9:57 am

        They should take his car away!

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  • GlowBoy September 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    “or paying a $12,500 fine and having his license suspended for one year.”

    Glad to hear that the VRU statute is finally being invoked on some level, but if the assailant was already driving while suspended I don’t think the one-year suspension is going to have much impact.

    Seems to me if you kill someone DWS, you should permanently lose any chance of having your license reinstated.

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    • Brian September 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      As well as the vehicle used. How effective is telling someone they can’t drive? Not very, obviously.

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      • K'Tesh September 26, 2014 at 8:58 pm

        How about adding in that the vehicle will be confiscated and sold to help assist in compensation.

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        • shirtsoff September 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

          i agree with the sentiments regarding fitness to drive and confiscating the offending vehicle, but this entire situation is the result of a horrible issue with our nation: effective, safe, and convenient public transit is not readily available outside of the urban centers. Without his vehicle, the offender may not have access to grocery stores, medical offices, etc. I too am alarmed and have serious doubts that this 74-year old member of our state will stop driving if his car is not confiscated, but what alternatives exist if his residence in away from the core of Tillamook or whatever town he is closest too? There *should* be bus routes and rail *everywhere* with regular, frequent service, but in this age of austerity, it is a tough sale. It always has been in recent times within the United States. Everywhere in the US we need better transit options for the elderly and remote.

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          • Pete September 28, 2014 at 12:23 am

            This, along with the wages and taxiing children arguments, are popularly heard in courts daily and too often result in people maintaining a driver license that in theory declares the competency and responsibility they violated to get them in court to begin with. There is plenty of funding poured into local transit services for the elderly as well as public transportation. If you broke a law that resulted in a license suspension, I don’t buy that you shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced at your own expense. There are these things called taxis, including the modern variants discussed elsewhere on this very site.

            The technology currently exists to chip a driver license and even use that to start a car. With future V2V implementations the identity of the driver could be (securely) broadcast, something known as “non-repudiation.” This is not something I’m advocating here, mind you, and it’s irrelevant as the priority to prevent people from driving who shouldn’t be clearly does not exist in our country.

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    • El Biciclero September 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Seems to me if you get caught driving at all while suspended, that should convert suspension into revocation. And also cause the actual vehicle to be impounded/confiscated. If my kid gets in trouble, I don’t say “That’s it! No more playing with toys!” and leave him sitting in a pile of toys; the toys go away.

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      • Dan September 29, 2014 at 7:40 am

        Yup, time to escalate the penalty to asset forfeiture.

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  • Livellie September 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Sounds like they threw the book at him. Unfortunately, that book is feather light.

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  • Nick September 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    “…this decision by OSP will (hopefully) reinforce the idea that bicycle riders have a right to all Oregon roads (except most freeways) and that roads are much safer when everyone operates their vehicle with caution and care for others.”

    Jonathan, I completely disagree. A driver on a suspended license killed a man with his car and his punishment options are 1) community-service + traffic safety course or 2) fine + 1 year license suspension.

    If anything, this slap on the wrist reinforces the supremacy of automobiles, the complete lack of protection of our vulnerable users, and effectively sends a message to automobile drivers that they can go ahead and continue to kill people with their cars without any meaningful punishment. This is disgusting.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      I hear you Nick. My thought in that sentence isn’t trying to relay my larger position on the issue of enforcement and culture around how we handle these of cases in Oregon (and the U.S.). I’m simply acknowledging that — even though it is just a slap on the wrist — at least it shows clearly and legally where the blame lies and it should end any notion that “bikes just shouldn’t be on roads like that.”

      And on a similar note… while I’m disgusted at stuff like this too on certain levels.. the fact remains that in Oregon (and other states) criminal negligence and much stiffer penalties require a very high legal threshold. In the absence of intoxication, malice and/or complete disregard for human life (demonstrated by something like 100 mph driving), there’s just no way I’d expect the law to come down hard on someone like Bohannon in this particular case.

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    • michael September 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      I agree completely with Nick. Getting caught driving on a suspended license should mean that you never ever drive again. otherwise there is no actual consequence to suspending a license.

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      • Nicholas Skaggs September 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

        Except continued suspension of said license.


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      • Pete September 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm

        A few years ago in Sunnyvale, California there was a man-hunt for a gravel truck driver who brought an arsenal into work one morning and killed several co-workers. It was a pretty intense affair, with residents asked to stay inside and local businesses on lock-down, and they discovered him hiding under someones car in a residential driveway and there was a shoot-out and he was killed. During news coverage it was reported that he had five license suspensions prior to coming to California and getting this job. How someone gets five license suspensions to begin with, let alone going on to become a paid truck driver is beyond me.

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    • capizzi September 27, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Would the driver have received the same penalty if he had hit a person changing a tire on the side of the road or accidentally rear-ended a vehical in front of him, killing the driver? Parity under the law?

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      • Seth Alford September 28, 2014 at 1:22 am

        Or if the person he hit was a police officer?

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        • lyle w. September 15, 2015 at 6:10 am

          The police have the abject right to kill you immediately if you drive (or threaten to drive) your car at them in any way. If you threaten a bicyclist with your car in the same way, you usually have to drag them kicking and screaming into caring. So no, the punishment wouldn’t be the same.

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  • Psyfalcon September 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Any word on what the suspended license was for?

    Looks like he has a commercial fishing license too. Will he be allowed to pilot large fishing boats while he “can’t” drive?

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    • Psyfalcon September 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Its very tough, and it should be, to put someone in jail for what is often a momentary lapse of concentration. Its actually pretty similar to hunting “accidents” in that regard. There is a really low prosecution rate on those too, even though you have to break multiple safety rules to shoot someone.

      Unless you don’t have a license. Then charges seem to be forthcoming.

      So why can you drive on a suspended license and not be charged? It’s clearly beyond a momentary lapse or an accident, because he willfully drove while not licensed to do so.

      Just to add one more, driving without insurance? I suppose the truck was in someone else’s name. Why is there no charges or fines to someone who gives someone on a suspended license a car?

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  • Todd Hudson September 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I regret clicking on that Tillamook Herald “poll”.

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    • 9watts September 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Note the banner ad above that unfortunately worded ‘poll’ was purchased by Ford Motor Company.

      The two choices:
      – Hwy 131 is too dangerous for bike riders
      – Hwy 131 should not be off-limits to bicyclists

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    • Bella Bici September 26, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      How many more deaths on that stretch of highway were people in automobiles? I would say many more. And, I seriously doubt that the Tillamook Herald would be placing a poll saying that Hwy 131 should be off-limits to car drivers.

      If Hwy 131 was off-limits to cars I would say that deaths on that stretch of roadway would be close to zero.

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  • 9watts September 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Too Fast For Conditions = Careless Driving? Is there a way to understand both the specific and general relationship between these two findings?
    I’m very glad to see at least strong wording in these citations, and wonder if the suspended license somehow emboldened the law enforcement folks to treat this case more seriously than it seems many other similar deaths have been treated.

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  • Chris I September 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I’m still torn on the proper punishment for these types of incidents. On the one hand, it doesn’t make sense for the state to spend millions to house these people in prison, but the punishment is often too lax. I think the one-year suspension should be mandatory, and then the fine or community service would be up to the offender. The money from these fines should be placed into a fund that goes towards traffic safety improvements state-wide. Likewise, the community service should be focused on these goals, as well. Now, if someone repeatedly drives while suspended, or gets in multiple crashes, then jail time should be considered, as they have shown that they are a public health hazard.

    That said, I think I will have “Motorist was cited for careless driving” etched on my tombstone.

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  • Chris I September 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Headline based on the Tillamook Herald poll: “Breaking News: Drivers that make roadway unsafe for cyclists conclude that roadway is unsafe for cyclists.”

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  • Damon September 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    If you kill someone while driving on a suspended license, you lose driving privileges for life, serve some jail time and the state now owns your vehicle. That should be the bare minimum with stiffer penalties an option.

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  • PNP September 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I’m not at all surprised by this, but I still think it’s just not enough to give a traffic ticket to someone who drives so poorly that he kills someone. I lost a dear friend when an unlicensed teenager drove his mother’s SUV over the top her car (she was stopped in traffic) and crushed it so badly that rescuers couldn’t get her out. He got a ticket for driving without a license and for careless driving. That was several years ago, and it still hurts my heart to think about it.

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  • KristenT September 26, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Clearly, suspending his license did not stop him from driving– and fatally injuring a person.

    I’m glad that the law requires him to go to court and face up to what he did; I would hope Kerry’s family chooses to go so this man can see how missed Kerry is, and how much his actions have hurt a family and a community.

    I would hope the judge would not give him the option of further license suspension, unless the judge has the power to take away his vehicles to keep him from driving. It would be nice if there was no “instead” in the punishments but an “and”, so one would have to perform community service, take the class, pay the fine, and be suspended. All at once. With his cars locked up somewhere so he has no access to drive at all.

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  • KristenT September 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Also: The photos were taken later in the day than the incident occurred; I would say that they are not indicative of the sun position at the time of the collision, that the sun was further up in the sky and not a factor in the incident.

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    • wsbob September 26, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Just read the Oregonian story:

      Interesting statement from that story: “…Bohannon was trying to move over when he struck Kunsman, investigators found. …” oregonian

      That suggests Bohannon did see Kunsman on his bike before colliding with him. Not speeding, not DUI, but still runs into the bike.

      What speed less than the posted speed limit might someone driving need to travel under the conditions existing around the time of this collision at that point on the road, to see someone riding a bike on the road sufficiently in advance to avoid colliding with them? If this was a 45 mph posted road, maybe half that, 20-25 mph.

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      • 9watts September 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm

        “Bohannon was trying to move over when he struck Kunsman, investigators found.”

        I wouldn’t place all that much stock in that finding. The point is he was driving too fast, couldn’t react in time. Whether he saw Kunsman half a second before he killed him, or two seconds, hardly matters.

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        • wsbob September 27, 2014 at 1:34 am

          “…The point is he was driving too fast, couldn’t react in time. …” 9watts

          If you’ve read and given some thought to the question I asked in the last paragraph of the comment you responded to, you’ll have noticed I asked about what may have been a correct speed for the conditions Bohannon was driving in.

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          • Dan September 29, 2014 at 7:50 am

            Depends on the sight line around the corner, the driver’s skill & ability to react, the driver’s position in the vehicle (ie., did he have both hands on the wheel and a foot over the brake pedal?) the quality of his brakes & tires, the weight of his vehicle, the road surface. Are you looking for a specific answer to a vague question, or was this just rhetorical? The driver is responsible for weighing those factors, assuming that there may be an obstacle around the corner, and choosing an appropriate line & speed. The speed he should have chosen was probably half the speed he was actually going, or less.

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            • wsbob September 29, 2014 at 11:59 am

              “Depends on the sight line around the corner, the driver’s skill & ability to react, the driver’s position in the vehicle (ie., did he
              have both hands on the wheel and a foot over the brake pedal?) the quality of his brakes & tires, the weight of his vehicle, the road surface. …” Dan

              Think about addressing those points from an investigators’ perspective. They arrive after the fact. Apparently, there were no surviving witnesses to the collision other than the driver. This leaves them with the problem of having to ascertain some sense of speed factor relative to the collision, not just that of the motor vehicle, but of the bike as well.

              In their report, there may be more insight about the investigators’ determination of mph speed involved, but from the O and bikeportland news reports on their findings, it seems they did not feel it was appropriate to professionally state that the driver was traveling at a mph speed too fast to avoid the collision.

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              • 9watts September 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm

                “it seems they did not feel it was appropriate to professionally state that the driver was traveling at a mph speed too fast to avoid the collision.”

                Right. And that finding doesn’t even pass the laugh test.
                How is it possible to be so wrapped up in the essential rightness of driving everywhere—to treat the fact that cars will even sometimes run into anything, anytime, anywhere as inescapable—as to deny this obvious fact?

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              • 9watts August 24, 2015 at 10:01 am

                And now everyone can drive even faster on Oregon’s rural roads. Yippee!
                From today’s Monday Roundup:

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      • 9watts September 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm

        The part I thought was more telling was this:
        “The investigation showed no signs of excessive speed.”
        I guess that answers my question above. The locals don’t know about the basic speed rule.

        “It’s an extraordinarily tragic accident,” Porter said. “But it is in fact just that — an accident.”

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        • wsbob September 27, 2014 at 1:35 am

          “…The point is he was driving too fast, couldn’t react in time. …” 9watts

          If you’ve read and given some thought to the question I asked in the last paragraph of the comment you responded to, you’ll have noticed I asked about what may have been a correct speed for the conditions Bohannon was driving in.

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      • 9watts September 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

        “If this was a 45 mph posted road, maybe half that, 20-25 mph.”

        I thought we’d come to understand that this curve had an advisory 35mph sign. If you can’t see what is ahead of you/around the bend then you need to slow down enough to where you could stop in time to avoid hitting it. If it is really what we call a blind corner, then it is anyone’s guess as to how slow you’d need to be going to avoid this outcome, but clearly much slower than Bohannon was going.
        Evidently the clowns in Tillamook can’t conceive that speed could have had anything to do with this, but would rather (implicitly) finger the cyclist for surprising the guy-in-the-truck.
        Accident? Because speed (going up to or even a little past the speed limit) is considered by virtually everyone to be a basic right of those in motor vehicles, these collisions are interpreted as “an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause.”

        The trouble is that we do have this basic speed rule, that the Tillamook law enforcement gang apparently don’t concern themselves with. Perhaps someone more familiar with the language of ORS 811.100 can interpret this for us so we can better understand why this was not considered relevant or applicable in this case.

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        • wsbob September 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm

          Huffing, puffing, and generally being abusive towards the efforts of Tillamook district attorney and the OSP isn’t likely to help improve conditions for riding in future.

          Some of them were at the crash scene near to the time of it’s having occurred, and would have had opportunity to see first hand, conditions relatively close to those present at the time of the collision. Not though, exactly what presented itself to Bohannon, near to and at the time of the collision.

          The Oregonian story reports the investigation having found that Bohannon “…was temporarily blinded by sun glare…”. Without even a suggestion as to what span of time ‘temporarily’ is being thought of, it’s difficult to get a very good idea of what the sun conditions on the road were. The road may have been sun glare free for as little 3 seconds from his coming up behind Kunsman.

          Based on info provided in stories so far, there’s been no report of what mph speed Bohannon’s was driving. It’s conceivable that he was driving less than 35 mph. Motor vehicle black box data collectors could be configured to help answer such a question.

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          • 9watts September 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm

            [I’ll try to post this in two parts since I keep getting error messages]

            I think I’ve stumbled on another difference between us, wsbob.

            You are interested in forensics related to the driver’s mindset, the vital signs of his or her vehicle, and extenuating circumstances that might have contributed to the crash. I start from the premise that when someone runs over and kills another human being with their vehicle I don’t need to know all that much about the how and why—the seconds of sunlight glare, the exact speed—I’m interested in forensics related to the cultural biases (carhead) that pervade our legal system, confuse our public officials, blindfold the news media, and generally hornswoggle most of the rest of us, which predictably frustrate anything like a just outcome, a commensurate legal rebuke for these utterly preventable killings.

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            • wsbob September 28, 2014 at 12:04 am

              Most people having posted comments to this comment section say or imply they’re interested in measures being implemented that will prevent or at least help prevent collisions like this one. As to willingness to consider what actual conditions contributed to the occurrence of the collision, or realistic means that could be implemented to help reduce the occurrence of such collisions, they’ve little or nothing to offer.

              In some of the comments here, there’s plenty of mean, ignorant stereotyped blaming going on. Name calling. People making jokes of serious problems. Assumptions made with little or no basis to support them. Very few people’s comments to this comment section about this collision leave the impression that they are sincerely concerned with working to reduce the occurrence of these type collisions.

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              • Pete September 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm


                Let me know how to pitch value to the auto insurance industry with this technology and we can at least start to address the prevalence of DWS; this is certainly not the first time we’ve read on this site about a cyclist being killed by a driver with suspended license.

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              • 9watts September 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm

                “As to willingness to consider what actual conditions contributed to the occurrence of the collision, or realistic means that could be implemented to help reduce the occurrence of such collisions, they’ve little or nothing to offer.”

                why do you keep saying this?
                Frank Bohannon took that corner too fast to avoid killing Kerry Kunsman. This is not in the least complicated or mysterious.
                I can’t explain why the powers that be are unable to see this, except to note as I have repeatedly that what Alan Durning calls carhead is clouding their vision.

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              • wsbob September 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm

                “…Frank Bohannon took that corner too fast to avoid killing Kerry Kunsman. …” 9watts

                You don’t know that. That may be your opinion, but that’s not something you know on facts. It wasn’t a corner on the road, it was a curve.

                The O says the the police investigation didn’t find indication of excessive speeding. Except for the fact they believe he wasn’t excessively speeding, they may not know, or be able to determine exactly what his speed was, or whether the speed he was traveling was the reason he did not manage to avoid having his vehicle collide with Kunsman on his bike.

                The police aren’t supposed to just make something up to meet some people’s assumptions about what the person driving did or didn’t do. Childish name calling isn’t going to help to understand what the police faced in investigating and trying to figure out the reasons this collision occurred.

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              • 9watts September 29, 2014 at 8:29 am

                “You don’t know that.”
                Actually I am happy to go on record as claiming that I do know that. As I suggested in the discussion of Marvin Ford’s running over Hank Bersani on Hwy 99W, if Frank Bohannon had been riding a donkey or a unicycle the chances of his killing Kerry Kunsman seem infinitesimal. Given the difference in momentum, speed, and consequent danger that a Ford F350 represents compared to some other modes of travel we can imagine, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mr. Bohannon’s speed as he rounded that curve/corner/bend was the deciding factor.

                The relationship between speed and inattention, as I’ve tried to suggest in some posts that are currently languishing in moderation purgatory, is worth examining more closely. With enough attention, a little more speed might be o.k., while at a slow enough speed, some momentary inattention is unlikely to result in someone’s death, but in all of these cases, we have enough (or plenty) of both to kill or maim someone. Driving safely is a very demanding task; perhaps more demanding than many can muster under circumstances where the margin of error is very small.

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              • wsbob September 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

                9watts at:

                It sounds as though you have something on the order of a remotely conducted hypothesis as to Bohannon’s driving relative to the collision, but nothing more. I don’t recall your saying you visited the collision scene and conducted an investigation of it, professional or otherwise. Again, you’re just huffing and puffing.

                In your mind, you think you know about Bohannon’s speed relative to the collision, but you obviously don’t know. In mph, how fast would you guess, or know Bohannon was driving, 150′-100′ from the collision?

                If the police knew a specific mph, they likely would have noted this and been able to use the info to know better, factors contributing to the collision. They don’t know, but in your mind, perhaps you think you do. That’s not good enough as working grounds to come up with possible measures to implement towards making this road safer to use for all road users.

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              • 9watts September 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

                “In your mind, you think you know about Bohannon’s speed relative to the collision, but you obviously don’t know.”

                why is his precise speed important? What does it have to do with our ability, going forward, to prevent or discourage or penalize people in motor vehicles from killing people on bicycles?

                I’m quite certain that if Frank Bohannon had driven slower, perhaps much slower, and/or been paying closer attention to the potential for others to be out in the road in front of him/around the next bend that he would not have hit much less killed Kerry Kunsman. Why make this complicated?

                If FB had been riding a Vespa, if FB had been driving a Smart Car, if FB had also been riding a bike, the chances of him *killing* Kerry are very much reduced. A Ford F350 is a huge machine. With extra size comes extra responsibility. You can’t (safely) go as fast in a larger vehicle. This is one of the chief reasons trucks and cars with trailers have a lower speed limit. Vehicle size, speed, and level of attention all figure into this, but your fascination with—your determination to—find some way to show that FB was doing almost everything right “in all other aspects besides his suspended license, he may have been perfectly fit to drive” is, to me, curious when we know as much as we know.

                I don’t know a formula for specifying what ratio of vehicle size, speed, and level of attention will permit someone to avoid killing another person with the vehicle. I don’t know that it is possible, which is why we have the basic speed rule that introduces the element of judgment.

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              • wsbob October 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

                why is his precise speed important? …” 9watts

                I would hope there are at least some people reading of this collision that really want to think about and try understand how this collision truly came to happen, rather than relying primarily on bias and presumption.

                The speed both vehicles, bike and car were traveling, is important to help get some sense of what closure distance there was between the two vehicle for a given period of time.

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              • 9watts October 9, 2014 at 11:51 am

                “try understand how this collision truly came to happen”

                Are you truly in doubt about how this collision came to happen?

                It doesn’t matter whether Kerry was riding at 2mph or 10mph, whether Frank Bohannon was driving 25mph or 35mph or 75mph. The combination of his vehicle’s size, weight, and (unknown-to-us) speed, and his lack of due diligence about what he might encounter on this stretch of road was more than enough to kill Kerry Kunsman. The exact ratios of those are hardly necessary to understand what happened – nor do we need to know that to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

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    • wsbob September 27, 2014 at 1:44 am

      “…further up in the sky and not a factor in the incident. …” KristenT

      Further up in the sky, yes, ‘not a factor in the incident’, maybe, maybe not. Dramatic changes in dark and light conditions from close sections of road to another can occur as a result of full sun and deep shade created by trees and other obstructions blocking the sun. This may have been the conditions on that road.

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      • J_R September 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm

        It makes no difference, wsbob. The 74-year old driver was driving illegally. One can reasonably surmise that he’d seen the effects of sun glare, the change from sun to shadow, and had likely driven on this very road under similar conditions. All of these factors make it impossible for me to excuse his reckless behavior and call this a tragic accident or incident. Count me as another who thinks vehicular manslaughter would be an appropriate response to his behavior.

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        • wsbob September 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

          “…vehicular manslaughter…” J_R

          You can check, but I don’t Oregon has such a charge. As for Bohannon’s license suspension, I don’t think the reason his license was suspended has yet been reported. Knowing the reason the license was suspended could give a better idea of whether or not he was fit to drive, aside from having a suspended license.

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          • Seth Alford September 29, 2014 at 12:55 am

            He had a suspended license. Therefore, he was unfit to drive.

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            • wsbob September 29, 2014 at 11:19 am

              As I’ve already written, in all other aspects besides his suspended license, he may have been perfectly fit to drive. Most likely, the police investigators were obliged to and did consider this.

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              • J-R September 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

                Why would the police investigators be “obliged” to consider whether he was fit to drive? He had a suspended license. He was driving illegally. Might as well discontinue licensing if “fitness” is the only criteria. Jail.

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              • wsbob September 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

                The question is whether the person driving was mentally and physically fit to drive, regardless of the status of his license. I’m not attempting to argue that he should have been driving when he had a suspended license. He shouldn’t have been. That he did, does not necessarily mean that he was mentally or physically unfit to drive.

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              • Seth Alford September 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

                Most likely, the police investigators were obliged to consider this and ignored it.

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      • KristenT September 29, 2014 at 10:18 am

        I agree with your premise, which is why I also ride with two very bright red blinkers on the back of my bike– mostly because my parents live at the top of Pete’s Mountain Rd and one of the scariest things for them during the summer is driving up the hill, because a lot of cyclists up there don’t have those blinkies and are essentially invisible– especially cyclists who don’t wear hi-vis.

        So my parents drive slowly, trying to spot the cyclist in the shade.

        All that said: The pictures I’ve seen of Mr. Kunsman’s bicycle show that he and I are of the same mindset– but he had added hi vis and reflective elements as well.

        My surmise (from driving up to my parents house) is that absent the sun being directly in the driver’s eyes, with Mr. Kunsman’s additions to his bicycle, the “he was hidden in the shade” angle is definitely minimized.

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        • wsbob September 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm

          Could be the sun in eyes was a minimal at worst factor. Who’s to know better than the people that first hand investigated the collision, and maybe, Bohannon as well? I’ve never met Bohannon, or anyone involved in the collision investigation. I have no way of much knowing the accuracy of what they’re saying. Given that, I have to place a certain amount of trust in what the police conclusion on the collision is.

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          • 9watts September 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm

            “I have to place a certain amount of trust in what the police conclusion on the collision is.”

            Because they are authority figures?
            Because they have demonstrated good judgment and evenhandedness in situations like this in the past?
            Because they are fluent in the vulnerable road user law? The Basic Speed Rule? People cycling’s right to move about on the road and live to tell of it?

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            • Dan October 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

              If the police biked on that road, like, EVER, it would help my trust in their opinion.

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            • wsbob October 9, 2014 at 11:07 am

              Why do I feel I should place a certain amount of trust in what the police conclusion on the collision is?

              Because I haven’t been to the collision location. I did not investigate the collision. Am not trained to do on location collision investigations, etc, etc. I’m guessing, neither have you been, nor have most other people reading here.

              Hoking up a bunch of conclusions for the want of a simple, quick, clear explanation as to how a collision may have come to happen, does not effectively help people to concentrate on arriving at practical ways to keep such collisions from happening in future. Huffing, puffing, self righteous indignation alone, doesn’t do much to make roads safer for vulnerable road users to ride with motor vehicle traffic.

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              • 9watts October 9, 2014 at 11:45 am

                “simple, quick, clear explanation as to how a collision may have come to happen, does not effectively help people to concentrate on arriving at practical ways to keep such collisions from happening in future.”

                Unless we’re seeing a pattern, wsbob. The pattern I’m seeing relates both to the collision and to how it is rationalized in the news media and by the police to whom they habitually turn for guidance. There is no reason to make this complicated. It isn’t complicated. I’m sorry you didn’t like my thought experiment with the donkey or the unicycle.

                Some “practical ways to keep such collisions from happening in future” for those in cars and trucks are as I’ve suggested above:
                – drive only as fast as conditions permit you to stop in time to avoid running over or into anything that might be around the next bend;
                – pay careful attention, always; expect the unexpected;
                – the bigger the vehicle, the harder to see out of it, the more of the above may be required.

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  • Spiffy September 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    bicycle riders have a right to all Oregon roads (except most freeways)

    that should say “except some freeways” since it’s legal to bicycle on the vast majority of freeway miles in the state…

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  • Mossby Pomegranate September 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    The law is saying here that your life does not matter when you ride a bicycle. Hey may as well shot Kunsman.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly September 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Are we supposed to be glad that at least they didn’t let him go with no penalty at all, because this is tantamount to exactly that. A man died because of someone’s carelessness and this is the only consequence? Makes me think I’m back in Florida.

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  • Kristi Finney-Dunn September 26, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I do not agree that this was an accident, just a tragic accident. This driver drive his car knowing he was not legally supposed to. If he had not been driving, this could not have happened.

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  • Peter W September 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    If the highway is too dangerous because of the automobiles, they should ban automobiles on those highways.

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    • Pete September 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

      It’s sad that you’ve had so many recent opportunities to mention this obvious bit of logic!

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  • Barney September 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I would be interested in a follow up to this story, say a year or two down the road. That the driver was cited makes it much easier for the family to win civil penalties against him. That can take some time but it would be interesting to know what the ultimate penalty is for the driver, as well as how his sentence was served.

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    • 9watts September 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      I agree very much. I’ve been trying to figure out what happened with Christeen Osborn & Wanda Cortese for more than two years now, to no avail. And there are unfortunately dozens of other cases where the information dries up abruptly a few days after they kill or maim someone with their cars. I have my suspicions, of course.

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  • J4son September 27, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Exactly Barney! If the 74 yr old has heirs, they should be trying to keep grandpa from driving while suspended. If they don’t, (which it appears they haven’t had much success) their inheritance should be transferred through civil action to anyone whom grandpa injures while driving illegally.

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  • K'Tesh September 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    How about this… Shove him into a Nursing Home. That way he can get fed, and taken care of, as well as trips out and about without us having to fear sharing the road with him.

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    • Chief September 28, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Plus a free meal at the HoJo right before visiting the Hostess next door..

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  • Trek 3900 September 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Shame this happened. My condolences to the family of the cyclist; and also to the driver and his family since I am sure he is suffering for hitting the cyclist. I think it was an accident and I don’t think he deserves prison time. I do think a slower speed should be posted on similar curves if they are allowing cyclists.

    I ride on roads that don’t have a wide shoulder – such as West Union out toward North Plains – it has no shoulder. BUT visibility is fairly good for most of it and I do wear yellow to help drivers see me. I know with each motor vehicle that approaches from the rear that my life is totally in their hands – I’m “taking my chances” and that I could be hit, but I count on the visibility to make it less likely.

    Mr. Kunsman took his chances, just like I do, and he lost the bet. He made a collision a little more likely by riding a route with no shoulder, poor visibility (curves) and high speeds, by loading his bike up so wide with gear that it took up a lot of room on the road (if it was like the photo taken the day before he was hit), and he didn’t help if he was not wearing high-visibility yellow or orange clothing as indicated in his photos. It was as much his fault as the pickup drivers.

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  • VeLoRoK September 28, 2014 at 12:03 am

    How can they say this is just an accident when he was driving on a suspended license? HE KNOWINGLY BROKE THE LAW BY DRIVING TO BEGIN WITH! This should be treated as pre-meditated vehicular homicide!

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  • Ted Buehler September 28, 2014 at 12:18 am

    A comment on this tragedy.

    Oregon has maintained the “Oregon Coast Bike Route” for many decades. I biked the route in 1990, and before starting I called ODOT and talked to someone there that told me a bit about the route, such as how they maintain it primarily for north-south bicyclists, and favor shoulder width on the southbound side when there is inadequate space for shoulders on both sides.

    Since moving to the Portland area in 2008, I’ve been less impressed with how well the coast route is maintained as a bike route.

    Earlier this month, I rode Highway 131 from Tillamook to Cape Lookout and back, and I was singularly unimpressed by an unusual characteristic of this route:

    ** This portion of the coast bike route is unsigned and unmarked. In dramatic contrast with other sections of the route. **

    Most of the Oregon Coast Bike Route has signs every couple miles, notifying bicyclists that they’re on the route, and drivers to expect the presence of bicyclists. On sections where there are no shoulders, there are *always* yellow diamond signs that say “BICYCLES ON ROADWAY, NEXT 7 MILES” or however long the shoulder-less section lasts.

    But, Highway 131 lacks these features.


    Because it isn’t part of the original coast route. Historically, bicyclists bypass most of 131 by taking the Cape Mears loop to the north. The short section of between downtown Tillamook and the Cape Mears turnoff is marked with bicycle warning signs, such as on the bridge over a slough.

    In spring, 2013, the Cape Mears loop was closed long-term by a mudslide, and all traffic from Tillamook to the coast now needs to take 131, then turn north at the coast to go up to Cape Mears.

    But, ODOT never changed the signage. 131 is probably one of the very worst sections of the coast route in terms of blind curves, narrow lanes, zero shoulder, combined with fairly heavy traffic. To be consistent with other parts of the 300 mile route, 131 should have had bicycle signs installed on it. “OREGON COAST BIKE ROUTE” and “BICYCLES ON ROADWAY, NEXT X MILES” This would help bicyclists find their way, and make motorists aware that they should proceed cautiously because of the presence of bicycles.

    I could send in a safety request to and ask them to install these signs. And they’d probably put them up in a couple months. But, this takes someone recognizing the problem and requesting a “fix.”

    Really, this isn’t a fix. This should be part of the general programing at ODOT.

    I suspect the guy I talked to in 1990 has long since retired, and his replacement, and the replacement’s supervisors, have put a much lower priority on maintaining the coast route.

    I’d like to see this change. Before more people are killed. I’ll make a point of sending this message to someone in District Whateveritis, and ee if I get a response…

    I encourage everyone else to do the same. Whenever you see obvious safety issues on ODOT property, let them know, one way or another.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Todd Boulanger September 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Ted, I rode the coast route for the first time then too…given the era you most likely spoke to Michael Ronkin…since I doubt the program was much bigger than him and the summer hires sitting in the RV handing out cookies and coast bike maps. (That blew my mind then.)

      The Oregon Coast route was very bike friendly and advanced…but that was for the 80s…it has not kept up with the state of platinum design and the demand from what I see on my annual trips to sections. ODOT and the tourism community needs to reconstruct the route from the top down vs letting annual landslides suck the budget (like how forest fires are managed).

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  • 9watts September 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    attempted 2nd part to response to wsbob’s huffing and puffing critique:

    My feeling is the unavoidable, tragic accident category is vanishingly small. I can’t think of a single incident reported here on bikeportland over the last ~five years where the driver couldn’t have, through throttled speed or better attention or both, avoided the death or maiming of the person they hit.

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    • 9watts September 28, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      The “Ignorance is Bliss” Defense (

      “You’re supposed to be able to see what’s on the road in front of you and you should only proceed when it’s safe to do so,” Outagamie County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Jobe said. “When you run into another vehicle or in this case, a bicycle you should have seen, then obviously it’s our view that the only reason you didn’t see it was because you weren’t paying attention.”
      (from Spencer Boomhower’s post here: )

      In the two columns below I list the victim riding bike opposite the evident or suspected reasons the person in the car ran over them. Put another way, if they’d been going slower or been paying more attention the outcome in each case would have been less severe or could perhaps have been avoided altogether. Not that the police or legal system took this view in more than a few cases. All of these people with the exception of Brett Lewis were hit from behind–and in his case it isn’t clear.

      Hank Bersani – speed, passing too close
      Christeen Osborn – failure to maintain lane, but why? distraction? speed?
      David Apperson – sun in eyes (really speed, passing too close)
      Brett Lewis – speed
      Reese Wilson – distraction, also speed
      Steven Dayley – distraction, speed
      Nick Bucher – speed

      Hank Bersani: Although official reports insist that Bersani ‘moved away from the shoulder,’ the less ambiguous conclusion some of us drew was that Ford was passing too closely+driving too fast to avoid running him over.

      Christeen Osborn: broad daylight, straight highway, good visibility, wearing reflective vest. Wanda Cortese drifts into the shoulder…

      David Apperson: was killed by a driver who claimed the sun was in his eyes.

      Bret Lewis: “Lewis had a functioning light on his bike, but Nguyen told police he couldn’t see it in time to avoid hitting him.”

      Reese Wilson “63-year old Candace Parker was driving westbound on SW Multnomah Blvd when she took her eyes off the road to tend to her dog in the back seat. She veered into Wilson, then struck a parked car, and ended up driving into the side of a house.”

      Steven Dayley: “the pickup, driven by 24-year-old Fred Moore from Battleground, Washington, “veered right to avoid traffic ahead and struck the bicycle.”

      Nick Bucher: witnesses say that the man who ran over and killed him at midnight “did not have his headlights on and was speeding to the point where you could hear him accelerating multiple blocks away. this doesn’t even include whether or not he was drunk, which it sounds like he was.”

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  • Trek 3900 September 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    There has never been a cyclist killed in Oregon while wearing fluorescent yellow or orange clothing. And there never will be.

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    • 9watts September 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

      “There has never been a cyclist killed in Oregon while wearing fluorescent yellow or orange clothing. And there never will be.”

      Trek 3900,
      you and I have had this conversation here before several times. Your claim is absurd. To have fluorescent garb *protect you* requires an attentive driver. That is what seems increasingly in short supply. Reflective clothing is not a force field.


      “The cyclists of Portland have officially been challenged.”
      Trek3900, you might want to brush up on your philosophy. The assumed absence of a well-illumined, reflectorized cyclist being run over and *killed* in Portland you keep mentioning proves nothing; in no way enshrines illumination as protecting us from death or injury. I could imagine there have also been no fatalities of ‘ninja’ cyclists, so called, in the metro area.
      You and I have had these conversations here several times already. You persist in arguing that *not getting run over* is something you as a cyclist can take charge of by doing X or Y. I have countered and will continue to counter your statements with examples of people who have been hit, run over, and in some instances killed by people driving around without paying nearly enough attention. For lighting or reflective clothing to be useful you also have to have an attentive driver.

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    • GlowBoy September 29, 2014 at 9:36 am

      I thought Ellen Dittebrand was wearing hi-vis when she was killed.

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      • 9watts September 29, 2014 at 9:40 am

        We know Christeen Osborn was and why Kerry’s large reflective triangle on his pannier disqualifies him is also unclear.
        But Trek 3900 seems impervious to examples that contradict his conviction that the one thing we need to know about safety is to wear high-viz garb.

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    • Lynne September 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Not for lack of trying. I was wearing a fluorescent green vest on Jan 3, 2013, at about 8:30am, chugging west on Evergreen by the Verizon store. Left hooked. “I didn’t see you”. Low traffic, clear lines of sight.

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    • Todd Boulanger September 30, 2014 at 8:42 am

      High Vis wear is just but one tool in the tool box, and it is becoming less effective with addled and distracted drivers driving faster.

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    • Pete September 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      When I took a class on cycling instruction, the first exercise we did was to ride 500′ away from and back towards a (parked) car with headlights on in the dark, once with lights off and once with them on, using the most visible garb and equipment we had available. We then reviewed the video in class – you’d be amazed. While my lights didn’t hold a candle to their expected brightness, my $200 hi-viz florescent green Goretex jacket was the second most visible clothing in the whole class, second only to the BLACK hi-viz tights I was wearing. The most reflective (non-illuminated) item we saw was the sidewall of a tire a fellow student had. The $30 blinky lights most of us had were barely perceptible at 200′, including my stack of three Radbots with one steady and the others flashing with different patterns (though multiple rear lights was definitely more noticeable than just one).

      Do not confuse florescence with reflectivity, and don’t confuse either with 100% effectiveness.

      And I’m terribly sorry for the bad pun.

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  • Vance Longwell September 29, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Mr. Maus, in your closing you assert that bicycle operators on Oregon highways have the same rights as any other user; to paraphrase. Point of fact, no one, operating any kind of vehicle, has any right to access Oregon highways.

    In my opinion, this is part of the whole problem. This, “…driving is a privilege…”, nonsense, since the insurance companies paid-off to make it the law of the land, simply must end. Until driving car, bike, or otherwise, is a civil right, we’re all beholden to the insurance industry, and their paid shills in our electorate.

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    • Dan September 29, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Driving a car should be a civil right? Please clarify.

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    • matt picio September 29, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Vance – it’s implied by Oregon state law that the right to the road is unrestricted. See ORS 810.020 and 810.030. It is not, however, explicitly stated. So you are technically correct, but Jonathan’s base statement that cyclists have the same rights as drivers is ALSO correct – ORS 814.400

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    • Pete September 30, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      You forgot the oil and gas industries, with Exxon once the wealthiest company on the planet (now second only to the company that makes devices to distract drivers), and the automobile manufacturers that have been bailed out repeatedly with many billions of US taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

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  • Stretchy September 29, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Make driving without a valid license a felony. If someone dies in the commission of a felony, it is automatically felony homicide, even if it was not the intent of the felon.

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  • Edwards September 29, 2014 at 10:53 am

    One note to consider for all those upset by the supposed lack of legal ramification. The legal process is completely backing the side of the victim so far in this case.
    The OSP has charged the driver (Bohannon) with the correct traffic citations (knowingly) which will reinforce a civil case making him [the driver] liable for a very high cost of damage and loss of life.
    The victims family will be able to sue Bohannon for pretty much every thing he is worth (i.g land, home, vehicles and anything of any worth) which will basically ruin Bohannon’s life. Any retirement he has saved up will be taken by the victims family, even if the civil case gets a lenient judge and jury… the facts will be hard to over come by the defendant (Bohannon) along with the evidence, and including multiple (criminal) citations and fines. The family of Kunsman has a very good chance to win a civil lawsuit and this man will also most likely go to the grave stripped of any self respect or personal worth… and just to hammer that point home his (Bohannon) family can also be held liable for his debt from the civil case if he passes before paying for it.

    I think he (Bohannon) will suffer plenty if not a little more than needed for this mistake, so your “eye for an eye” justice will be served if the family of Kunsman wishes to pursue it.
    Look at OJ Simpson, the civil court system took everything away from him! And now he is rotting in prison for other crimes because he thought he was untouchable!

    The Civil justice system can and does inflict a much higher cost of personal liability than a criminal system ever will!

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    • 9watts September 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks, Edwards, for that elaboration. I learned a few things. The chief downside of this imbalance I suppose is that the message that leaks out to the public is based entirely on the thin indictments associated with the criminal part. Which is why the Tillamook paper’s dreadfully shallow conclusions ever saw the light of day.

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    • 9watts August 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

      And yet, your hypotheses about the damages Kunsman’s family would be able to extract from Bohannon seem to be quite different than what actually transpired.

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      • Tara August 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Hey 9watts, we plan to come up next May and put a ghost bike up etc. We also have an annual 2day memorial ride in San Diego around that time if you cyclists up north ever need an excuse to visit San Diego. Just saw your.comment notification so thought I’d share.

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  • Matt Haughey September 29, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I was on that stretch of road four days before Mr. Kunsman was, doing the coast tour myself. I actually thought it was a great stretch of road on an early Tuesday morning, as I only saw four or five cars on the whole stretch, and it was a relief compared to the stressful high speed highway 101 sections.

    It sucks that committing a crime on a suspended license doesn’t carry stiffer penalties. The driver shouldn’t have even been out there to kill this man. He did, and he should lose his license to drive a car for the rest of his life over it.

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  • PJTidmarsh October 5, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    According to the locals, Frank was at a well-known bar in Netarts bragging about the incident the evening before the cyclist died. Having frequented the bar, this seems highly probable.

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    • 9watts October 7, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      One would like to know what Frank said. Not that it matters all that much, I suppose, but it is sometimes useful to illuminate these other facets, get into the hearts and minds of the people involved, see things from their perspective.

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      • Seth Alford October 9, 2014 at 5:01 am

        It might matter in the size of the award in the civil suit.

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  • 9watts October 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm
  • 9watts September 14, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Is there any way to find out whether there was a civil suit, what ever happened to Frank Bohannon? So many of these cases just fizzle (from this reader’s perspective). It is difficult to form an opinion about how our justice system works when all we ever see are the first few minutes of this process that (only sometimes) even include charges.

    Thanks very much.

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    • 9watts September 30, 2015 at 11:44 am


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    • Tara K February 28, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      Hi 9watts, this is Kerry Kunsmans daughter, I am just starting to get over my grief enough to start taking action. Tomorrow I plan on writing an update on what happened with Mr Bohannon, I don’t know if they will post it here but I plan to send bike Portland a copy. I am also looking for help in getting a ghost bike put up and the family is looking to get signage changed and see what we can possibly do to get a shoulder on that road. My dad wouldn’t have even been riding that road but the route he was supposed to take was under construction and they city told him this was the alternative route!

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      • 9watts February 29, 2016 at 4:36 am

        Thank you, Tara.
        I really appreciate you stopping in here. Some of us take these cases quite seriously and would really like to know how the system works, what ends up happening, if justice is served in any recognizable way.

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  • estherc February 29, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Killing someone while driving while suspended should be a felony. The driver had no legal right to be operating a vehicle. His operating the car was a crime and he killed someone in the commission of a crime.

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  • Tara K February 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Justice Not Served

    Many people have been wondering about what happened between Frank Bohannon and Kerry Kunsman. Kerry Kunsman was riding his bicycle from Canada to Mexico when he was struck my Mr. Bohannon’s F350 pickup truck near mile marker 5 on Highway 131 between Netarts and Tillamook, Oregon. Chargers were filed against Mr. Bohannon for careless driving (since he traveled that highway often) and driving while on a suspended license. The court date was set for nearly a year later on Aug. 11th 2015. The family was originally told there would be nothing filed against Mr. Bohannon, so we were happy to hear some sort of justice would seem to take place.
    The family was able to obtain the initial police report where Mr. Bohannon stated the sun glare was to blame. It was also written in here that he saw the cyclist and then didn’t. A “reconstruction” report was also being written but would take longer to write (although we were told no longer than a month) which the family was waiting on. This report was never given to us and the reason the case was dismissed. A few days after the accident we spoke with police and were told a copy of the “reconstruction” report would be made available to us ASAP yet we never saw it.
    The court date was still set to go on even without this final police report. We were told having this report would not make a difference in the case because it was basically the same that was written in the original report. As a family we were not satisfied with this answer so we filed a formal request with the Department of Transportation, wrote to the head of state police and anyone else that may be able to help us with getting the final report we knew was written or at least started because we spoke with the state trooper who was the one writing it. Finally we received a response that the trooper working on this report was on suspension for messing with her time clock and on suspension, due to this her laptop was stored in evidence and would not be released. At this point we were once again assured this report didn’t matter and they had everything they needed to charge Mr. Bohannon. My mother and I both took our time to write victim impact statements and file for restitution. I asked Mr. Bohannon be charged with the fullest which would only be some fines and maybe community service.
    The day of the hearing DA Girata was told the police had a “Draft report” and would be able to release it the next day. When asking for more time to be able to review this report the judge said you’ve had a year to do this and dismissed the entire case. Mr. Bohannon walked free of everything and we still have yet to see this report and have basically been told we won’t be obtaining a copy of it. I don’t know why they won’t release it to us, I personally would still like a copy even if it isn’t for legal reasons. Mr. Bohannon’s lawyer did tell our lawyer he would agree to help us with changing signage in the area and pay my restitution. Since things have been settled we have contacted him but have been ignored. This was just done by his word and not something we can hold against him. So “it is what it is” as my dad would say. I have my own opinion of Mr. Bohannon but we can only move on from here and focus on what is important.
    Part 2 What’s Important
    My dad was a seasoned cyclist, he taught road 1 and road 2 courses with the San Diego Bicycle Coalition (how to ride your bike in traffic). He also taught beginner riders in San Diego, many adults who never learned how to ride and there was nowhere to take lessons so my dad took on that job. My dad also commuted to and from work 4 to 5 days a week for around 20 years. When riding on his trip he ALWAYS wore light colored clothing, had reflectors on him and or his bike, wore a helmet, had mirrors to see what was behind him, and rode with lights on whether it was day or night. He followed the rules and knew the rules well. What needs to change is the road! My dad had a well planned out route down the entire coast but found out the route he was supposed to take was under construction so he did the research and the county put him on highway 131 near mile maker 5 saying this was the alternative route to take.
    Not only was my dad a huge activist in bicycle education and safety but he was an electronic engineer who worked for a company that made traveling safer for cars. He built cameras that went into cars and would record before and after if you got into an accident. Part of the company also plays a part in research and making sure roads are safe. Our family will now be focusing on getting a lower speed limit posted for that area, proper signage, and something done about that shoulder. We have a fund open in my dad’s name to help us get this done. I personally would also like to look into laws regarding cyclist and motor vehicles. If this was in California Mr. Bohannon would have his truck impounded and likely charged with vehicular manslaughter for the one reason of his license being suspended.
    In the future we made needs letters or signatures to send to Oregon council and if anyone is interested in helping with fixing this road please feel free to get in touch with me personally. I also would like to have a ghost bike installed at mile marker 5 and welcome any help as to how to get that done. I plan to visit hopefully in September of 2017 to finish my dad’s journey and spread his ashes down the coast (I have his map of the route he planned) but would like a ghost bike up as soon as possible. Thank you for your support, I only hope things change for the better for the cycling community and justice can be served in the future to other victims.
    Kerry’s daughter Tara Kunsman

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    • 9watts February 29, 2016 at 2:31 pm


      Thank you for filling us in. This is so much worse than I feared, so utterly disheartening. I don’t even know where to begin. Something’s got to change in the way our state handles cases like this. I’d venture that certain individuals who mishandled this case, from the cops who said speed had nothing to do with this to the DA and the judge should have to answer some tough questions. I wonder who one appeals to when there is so much layered dereliction of duty and responsibility as you’ve documented.


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 2, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you for sharing this Tara. As I said in my email, I’m very interested to keep updated on your fight for justice and we’re considering how best to follow up our story and shine another light on this case. Keep in touch.

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  • Tara K February 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    It’s been very frustrating being told that’s the way it is and that there is nothing I can do, unless of course I had billions of dollars. The whole thing does not make sense to me, I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes….

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    • 9watts February 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Jonathan and Michael don’t have billions of dollars either, but perhaps they can kick up some dust, knock some heads, find out what small fry like us can’t seem to. I hope so.

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  • 9watts June 7, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Bump –
    Any more developments in the past year?

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  • Tara June 7, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Not as of now, I have been so busy this past year with being pregnant having a baby and moving!! My family is planning a trip up there to put up a ghost bike, it was supposed to be this year but I believe we are looking at next May. I was told signage was changed up there but don’t know to what, have been meaning to get back in touch with Jonathan as well.

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    • 9watts June 7, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Thanks, Tara.
      Good to hear from you. Keep in touch.

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      • Tara March 14, 2018 at 3:33 pm

        Hey just wanted to update. My mom and I will finally be coming up in April (April 19th) for a few days. Our main goal will be to put a ghost bike up at the scene (We have the bike to put there). If anyone is willing to help us put that up it would be awesome! -Thanks!

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