(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)
Last night on N Williams Avenue, a man was injured when he was involved in a left-hook collision with another road user. The incident happened around 5:30 at the intersection with Tillamook. I happened to be riding by and was able to stop and talk to one of the riders who saw the collision.
According to the witness, who was nearly involved in the collision himself, the injured man was riding his bicycle northbound on Williams (a one-way street with a left-side bike lane). The witness was riding alongside the man and one other rider. The witness told me they were riding “at a high speed but with front and rear blinking lights.” As they came up to the Tillamook intersection he saw a large tow-truck (owned by Sergeants Towing, which is located just a few blocks away on Vancouver) stopped with its blinker on, waiting to turn left. He and the other riders continued through the intersection and the tow-truck turned left, striking the man who was riding at the front.
According to the witness, another man in an adjacent building saw the collision and said it was clearly the bike riders’ fault. Here’s a tweet from Kevin Veaudry Casaus, who was right behind the collision:
— ⭐️KVC (@kevinrvc) January 30, 2015
The man who came in contact with the tow-truck appeared to suffer just minor injuries (although adrenaline has a way of masking more severe injuries). He was talking with the tow truck driver and the police about what happened. At one point, the tow-truck driver said, “I’m sorry man, I’m glad you’re not seriously hurt.”
The potential for left-hook collisions on Williams have been a major concern ever since a project completed last fall moved the bike lane to the left side.
This is the second collision we’ve heard about since the changes were implemented. Back in December a woman on a bike was involved in a collision with a driver as she attempted to cross over Williams (at New Seasons Market) and go right onto Fremont.
(For what it’s worth, I was nearly the victim of a left-hook myself a month or so ago. It happened further up Williams around Skidmore. A woman driving a large truck turned left right next to me and I had to yell and scream to let her know I was there. Luckily I was riding slowly and very alertly so I avoided a collision. She was very angry with me and said she never saw me.)
We’ve requested more information from the Portland Police Bureau but have yet to hear back.