Today we suffered yet another right-hook collision on Broadway, a street has been plagued by right-hooks from downtown to the east side for many years. This morning’s collision was at the intersection with N. Ross which is just one block west of Wheeler, a street that was so right-hook prone former Mayor Sam Adams closed it to right turns two years ago.
In fact, just four months after Wheeler was closed we reported on a right-hook at the exact location of this morning’s collision. It has happened again and it will probably continue to happen until changes are made on Broadway.
Around 10:00 am this morning we heard from a reader who witnessed the collision. Here’s what Noel Mickelberry (who happens to be the executive director of Oregon Walks) shared with us via email:
“Just saw the aftermath of a right hook collision on Broadway and Ross. Person on bike was taken away in an ambulance but was able to walk… This stretch of Broadway is super dangerous (Oregon Walks office is across the street), as you know with the closure of Wheeler – is Ross now the new problem intersection? Red car in the photo is the one who hit the person on a bike – in the bike lane.”
We’ve checked in with the Portland Police to learn more details, but have yet to hear back. (Note that right turns are illegal only for trucks at this location.)
We also got a call this morning from Betsy Reese, a dedicated community safety advocate who used to own the Paramount Apartments one block away from the collision. “This is a problem we’ve been concerned about,” she said. Thankfully, because of Reese’s dogged persistence, the Oregon Department of Transportation is slated to make some safety improvements around this area; but so far there is no fix on the table that would address the right-hook potential on Ross and other intersections.
It’s extremely frustrating that after many years of knowing that right-hooks are a serious problem in Portland, thousands of people are being left at risk every single day on streets with inadequate bikeway designs.
For a city that says it cares about bicycle safety and “Vision Zero,” the inherently dangerous design of Broadway should no longer be tolerated. We don’t lack solutions, we lack the political will and sense of urgency to implement them.
I’m sick of writing these stories. Portlanders deserve better than this.
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I think we know what Bob Huckaby of First, Inc. would suggest we do….
I just NEVER use the bike lane when descending the hill in that section of Broadway. I occupy the right full-size lane until I move left into the bike lane that begins before the Broadway bridge bike ramp.
That’s exactly what I do, depart the Broadway bike lane before I get to the intersection at Ross Avenue. Unfortunately the road design makes it appear that people biking should stay within the bike lane, but that’s where it is the most unsafe, and the entire design results in unpredictable behavior which is never a good thing to have in the heart of a ‘world class’ bicycling city. That road definitely needs to be redesigned.
Ironically, it was at this very same intersection where I stood around for about 10 minutes recording video footage displaying people biking that really don’t want to stay within the bike lane. They look for an opportunity to depart the bike lane, and do so when it is safe. You know the design is just not working anymore when you can snag that much footage showing the problem in a span of 10 minutes. You can view the video here: https://vimeo.com/100533034
Excellent video. I personally think sharrows would be a better lane marking for that last block, and I continue to be frustrated by planners who refuse to mix FTR bike lanes with sharrows at places that I’ve come to call “mixing zones.” To your point, the bike lane communicates to both drivers and cyclists that bikes do not belong in the lane for this stretch, but must magically suddenly appear to the left of the lane at the bottom of the hill with no real (communicated) transition to get there.
ditto. I do exactly the same thing. I also make a point to just not ride that route anymore than I have to. That offramp (slip lane, whatever it’s called) from the interstate needs to be CLOSED. Just like on the other side. I’ve seen 2 wrecks in the last 6 months and I do NOT travel along that route. If I’ve seen two, I bet there’s been far more than that.
That whole on off ramp area and the bad curve alignment over the interstates really needs re-done.
Tell me more, because now that right turns from Broadway onto wheeler are prohibited, I think the primary reason for the closure of the slip road is now gone.
“The Oregon Department of Transportation is slated to make some safety improvements around this area; but so far there is no fix on the table that would address the right-hook potential on Ross and other intersections.
As someone who rides through this area frequently and drives through it occasionally, I think it’s unnecessary and adds an unneeded stop and unnecessary frustration and additional danger for drivers exiting the freeway. Unfortunately I think this is a done deal.
FWIW I think that the police should start aggressively ticketing drivers who encroach on the bike lanes, not only here, but everywhere.
Can anyone tell me if that’s legal? I know in some parts of the country if there’s a bike lane, bikes are required to use it (with some exceptions like turning, road hazards, etc.). Thanks!
ORS 814.420 is the mandatory sidepath law, and allows exceptions for “(c)
Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.” That said, I have been hassled by a motorcycle cop in this exact location for taking the lane, so I guess in his mind motorists routinely cutting across the bike lane without looking is not sufficiently hazardous.
The most unfortunate aspect is that the victims of right hooks probably don’t know this. They’re probably relatively knew to biking and after being right hooked, may very well not want to ever bike commute again.
oh snap i have almost been hooked on this street. 🙁 hope person is ok, cars goat rope each other.
Protected intersections, now!
Hell yes. What drives me crazy is if we actually built stuff like this, I bet most people would prefer it when they’re driving, too. A lot of people I know from out of Portland hate driving here precisely because the we force people riding and people driving to navigate the same space at the same time.
Opportunities for conflict are only increasing, at least from my (admittedly anecdotal) experience. Division, Williams, Broadway, Barbur, Gladstone, Knott, Clinton, Rodney, 28th, Naito. I could go on, but it seems like all the street work either maintains the existing points of conflict between people or it actually introduces new ones. Even our gleaming new cycle track on Moody was designed with a crosswalk right at a blind spot, and we built that basically from scratch.
If everybody’s traveling around the same speed (which ends up meaning 15 MPH or less) things can be fine, but anywhere else we need separation -physical or through timing – between different modes if we want everyone to make it out alive. Fatality rates are compellingly low in basically every place that gets that.
Signals at every intersection ($250k each)? With little to no greenways east of I-205 or west of downtown?
Signals are not required. The beauty of the design is that it slows drivers and gives them a chance to react to an unexpected overtaking bicyclist. This can work in Portland.
Want to talk about it? firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of Broadway already has bike-specific signals.
Oh hey. You’re the person who created that video. Great work! How can we force everyone on city council to watch your video? 🙂
Protected intersections would do better with a grade change for drivers and enough space for them to stop off of the thru path. Without that much separation, this is just segregating traffic and not contributing to safety because they still mix at the collision point. Better to allow merging ahead of time. Safety requires lower traffic speeds.
I changed my commute to stay off Broadway except when crossing the bridge.
I wonder how many drivers modify their commutes to avoid being killed?
I changed my job to work from home so I can avoid driving… 🙂
Dang.. that’s part of my bike commute route…. So I jump ahead reading the story to see what time the crash happened to know how close I was… Dang.
The link to “Protected Intersections” is interesting. What is the design improvement to avoid right hooks at a place like Broadway and Ross?
Apart from eliminating the crossing patterns of people biking and people walking, as with Wheeler, there is no clear and easy solution to eliminating turn hook collisions.
Each closure pushes the turning vehicles farther down the street, concentrating more turning drivers.
A contributing factor here is the grade that permits cyclist to go faster than usual/expected. The same pattern has been found on other downhill bike lanes where turns are more common.
Separation, as with protected intersections, may reduce some collisions in that it slows down people biking and places them more in the peripheral view of people driving who have already begun the turn. It’s likely that some here will object to slowing people biking as an unfair burden.
Sharing the lane might help, but is not recommended for most people biking.
“…there is no clear and easy solution to eliminating turn hook collisions.”
Well then, it sounds like we’ll have to come up with a creative solution and we’re going to have to work hard to get it, doesn’t it?
Hearing a litany of reasons from PBOT why some suggested improvement or another won’t work, why nothing can be done to fix some safety issue or another, is starting to wear awfully thin. We can’t have a bikeway on 28th because businesses didn’t like the one idea we came up with. We can’t have diversion on Clinton because there’s not a good grid nearby and besides we need unanimous consent from the neighbors. We can’t do anything about right hooks because it’s complicated.
If we’re really the city that works, we’d stop it with the excuses and doggedly get on finding a solution. You’ve got any number of design examples from Copenhagen and the Netherlands to use as a starting point, and significant expertise on these best practices on PBOT staff. Since other cities are now running rings around us in creating quality infrastructure, you can now also look at numerous examples of application of the Dutch/Danish principles in the US. You’ve got a traffic engineer in Dongho Chang 180 miles to the north who is absolutely crushing it, absolutely reinventing how to get bike infrastructure on the ground despite myriad challenges; look to him, or better yet, try to outcompete him! And most of all, you’ve got a smart and passionate community here who will gladly do a lot of the heavy lifting for you…use it!
That can’t-do attitude runs so contrary to the spirit of this great city that it boggles the mind.
I often wonder how PBOT was able to so swiftly design and implement the Upper E Burnside road diet with minimal input, while simultaneously refusing to quickly add diverters to Ankeny. It seems like they like to just do whatever will be the most *visibly* popular for political reasons, i.e. removing a lane and lowering the speed limit on Burnside “for safety reasons.”
Credit where it’s due, I give PBOT props for finding a way to trade capacity for safety on Burnside despite massive pushback from the handful of people whose commute times increased a few minutes as a result. I agree that the public process there was lacking, and it would have been great if they at least pretended they knew bikes existed when designing the project, but it’s still a step in the right direction. And though it’s a small one, I can tell you that they took a LOT of flack for it, so my cap is doffed.
NW Everett is another recent example of a significant improvement for which PBOT has absorbed a lot of criticism from a loud minority. Those folks will always be louder and more persistent than those of us who support the changes, but we should not go unheard.
E Burnside looks great on paper, and I support the reduction to one lane, but the additional street parking combined with significantly increased cut-through traffic on side streets has made it a lot more dangerous. I feel this as a cyclist, pedestrian, and driver. I’ve also seen a noticeable increase in backups on 28th at the Burnside light after the city tweaked the timing to account for westbound backups on Burnside.
Though I’ve had plenty of close right-hook events there at Ross, I’ve had closer and hairier ones on Broadway at Hoytt and all the way to Burnside.
It’s an education issue. I think most drivers, especially out of state or transplant drivers, still aren’t aware that they must yield to the traffic in the lane next to them (namely the bicycle lane).
Licenses for bicycle riders! That’ll do it.
No. Enforcement at Ladd’s Addition.
Personally, I think it’s more dangerous on (busy street) when I ride (in the downhill direction).
The common factor is speed. People in cars must account for bikes closing in faster when turning across a downhill lane. People on bikes need back off from their giddy pace so they can make a panic stop when riding through hook zones. I agree that it is an education issue, but it’s for everyone.
Dont ride through hook zones at a giddy pace then.
Exactly…if you stay in the bike lane. If I think I can get within 5 mph of the speed limit, I’m moving into The Lane until the grade slows me down enough to move back over. Of course, even doing this I’ve had (at a different location, not on Broadway) drivers pass me (or yell at me after I move back over) when I’ve been 3-5 mph over the speed limit.
What’s below silver? Bronze? Maybe we should be tin. Portland: America’s Tin Bike City. See how that plays in the tourism marketing.
For shame, Mayor Hales and the rest of the City Council! Not just for stalling bike infra improvements, but for riding our perceived bike friendliness all the way to the bank.
“I’m sick of writing these stories. Portlanders deserve better than this.” Amen.
goat rope is when cars tail gate eachother, no breaking room, so will swing hard right or left to merge. *** causing right hooks ***
Love it – thanks for this! When I teach, I emphasize that it’s important to beware of the car behind the one you see behind you, so sometimes it makes sense to take the lane ahead of time if you’re in a traffic-crossing situation like this one, or California’s many slip lanes (another term I learned here on BP). As an aside, I was grazed by the mirror of someone “goat-roping” once. Startled the living bejeezers outta me.
What changes would reduce the right hook risk at this intersection?
For starters… We should much more separation between modes here. The bicycling volumes and the speeds of both drivers and bikers demands more separation. This is a main bicycle thoroughfare into “America’s most bike friendly city”.. Sure we can do better than a 5-foot wide bike lane?
So, a 6 foot bike lane? 8? How much is enough?
JM, you measured the lane? That’s solid reporting….
Completely eliminating all right turns off this section of Broadway, could eliminate the need for mode separation. Doesn’t seem very practical or functional, but maybe doing something like this is what some people have in mind to stop right hooks.
Broadway is main thoroughfare for motor vehicle use, far more so than it is for bike use. The city can’t just tell, say fifty percent of the people using this road with motor vehicles every day, to ‘go drive somewhere else so the road isn’t so hazardous for people riding bikes.’. Motor vehicle traffic is traffic the city has to accommodate on this road.
Bike in traffic education and instruction for all road users, but particularly people that bike, the latter of which who presently have no obligation whatsoever to receive any such education and instruction in using the road with a bike, could help some to avoid such collisions as right hooks. Still, anyway it’s configured, because of the enormous amount of traffic this road is obliged to handle, riding a bike on it amongst motor vehicle traffic may always be a very challenging thing to do.
How would a wider lane, say, eight feet, help to eliminate right-hook crashes?
I readily admit that an 8-foot lane make me feel more comfortable with autos rushing by at 5+ mph over the speed limit. And an 8-foot lane allows faster riders to pass me more readily.
I’m seriously interested in an answer. Can anyone point to any research on the width of the bike lane reducing right-hook crashes?
“The bicycling volumes and the speeds of both drivers and bikers demands more separation.”
Actually, IMO, as speeds of cyclists approach those of motor traffic, it demands less separation. If higher speeds demand more separation, then more separation would likely involve infrastructure that would “demand” slower speeds from bicyclists (but not motorists). People riding bikes could voluntarily do that now, if they wanted to—slow to no more than 10 or 15 mph so they could be ready to brake when right hooks started. This would likely be the approach to separation: design something that makes cyclists feel unsafe going as fast as auto traffic, causing them to slow down. Also, some “BIKES YIELD” signs at intersections to remind cyclists of their duty to avoid getting run over.
what would prevent right hooks is if bicyclists were not riding to the right of cars. get rid of the striped bike lane, get rid of the mandatory sidepath and far to right laws, put sharrows down in the right travel lane, and forbid right turns except at signalized intersections.
i rode this route for five years and never once used the bike lane west of about third.
Make the right lane right-only with a 9ft bike lane to its left and sufficient obstacles to enforce it (barrels, bollards, curbs.). This is a 25mph zone? I didn’t see a single speed sign in street view. Our street design fails to challenge drivers, so their only obstacles are made of flesh.
There was also a pedestrian critically injured in another high crash location, 68th and Division. #VisionZeroNow
Kenji (OBRA ED) says it was a flagger, on the sidewalk, holding a “SLOW” sign. Here’s an ironic photo from the scene: http://kptv.images.worldnow.com/images/7247902_G.jpg
That driver should be in jail right now. Holy crap…
Should have been wearing high-viz.
You beat me to it.
kptv update says driver was ‘huffing nitrous oxide’. What are the odds that he will be back driving again soon?
Released on his own recognizance. I wonder if he drove home.
Someone was killed in that exact intersection about a year ago after someone (with a history of seizures or some other medical disability) had a seizure and hopped the curb.
I always feel sketched out along that section of Division when I’m on my bike. People in cars clearly think of it as a de-facto highway, and these are the results we all get to enjoy.
All this AFTER the road diet. It still feels much better, but this is the second car to leave the road here and hit someone.
Some of those photos (at that link) are … interesting. I don’t know about high crash location. It looks to me like the driver of the Camry was trying to play polo.
In the picture there is a no right turn sign at this intersection. It seems the driver of the red car needs a citation for illegal right turn, at the very least.
I’d love to know if they get cited. Because it is extremely evident that this is exactly what they did.
That is a no right turn for trucks sign, requiring them to go to Larrabee.
I stand corrected. I did not notice the “Trucks” sign above the no right turn sign.
For a city that says it cares about bicycle safety and “Vision Zero,” the inherently dangerous design of Broadway should no longer be tolerated.
“Says” is the key word. Until we can replace it in that sentence with “spends a significant portion of its transportation budget proving that”…well, talk is cheap.
Rethinking my cynical comment. I know we have to start somewhere, begin a conversation, get the notion out there, etc. I know that talk is all the City can afford right now. Sorry. Just feeling discouraged.
I feel like the problem has less to do with “…can afford” and more to do with “…is willing to spend.” Talk is cheap. Human lives are valuable, however. I look forward to a change in the way people think about traffic. Vision Zero requires a huge shift in the way we think about transportation. Traffic injuries and deaths do not need to be the cost of doing business!
Like a lot of other road users, I engage the main travel lane as soon as I turn right off of Flint onto Broadway. The bike lane in that section is so pointless… in a few blocks it kind of drifts across to the left side of the right lane, probably to avoid right hooks from turning semis? I just take the lane. At rush hour. With a 100 pound cargo trike, that is carrying my daughter.
Portland is over. I was riding like this in Colorado Springs in 1978, and I used “neighborhood greenways” then too. They were just neighborhood streets that parallelled busy arterials. They didn’t even have sharrows. And they worked just as well as the majority of our bike i-hesitate-to-call-it infrastructure.
I’ve stopped riding my bike for a week due to an injury. It’s been wildly relaxing. Walking is scary, too — even scarier, because as a pedestrian, you have even less space on the road than you do on a bike! But most of the time I am on a bus, and at no time does anyone treat me as anything other than a complete and total person.
Very well said, Patrick Barber, and sad. It’s crazy, the risks we have to assume just to get from point A to point B. I’ve had a driver knock me down and run over my bike and half my left foot (“i didn’t see you!”) and too many close calls to enumerate–and I figure most here are the same in that regard. I ride in a state of insane alertness.
I’m not kidding when I tell people I prepare to die every time I get on my bike in Portland, though I always say it jokingly. I’m so accustomed to that feeling, I don’t even think anymore of how weird it is.
Hope you heal up soon.
I agree a 5′ bike lane is paltry for the amount of bike/car traffic there and the relatively close car/bike speeds with the slight descent, but what specific separation would we propose? There are 3 car lanes there, including the left lane with the streetcar tracks. There seems to be no-where to widen.
I suppose one option is to change the thinking of every intersection being available to car drivers… in view of the high bike/car traffic and bike/car speeds. Close Ross to right turns, like Wheeler, and funnel all cars onto Larrabee… Are there other options?
Here’s the weirdness of that left lane with streetcar tracks. It goes across the bridge. Yet most of the cars headed to the bridge are all in the center lane, or in the right lane trying to merge left at the last block. On the rare occasions where I drive across that bridge, I head down that left lane and pass most of the cars blindly following each other (“goat rope” as it was called up above).
Why is everyone getting upset about road design when the common denominator here is that drivers simply don’t look before turning? I commute up E Burnside to 13th every afternoon and I either nearly experience or witness a near-miss right hook in that bike lane on almost a daily basis. Each time I’m the near-victim I yell at the drivers, but they always seem completely oblivious to the fact that they did something wrong.
Sure, we definitely need better and more separated bike facilities, but in the meantime we could make cycling, walking, AND driving a lot safer in Oregon if we doubled-down on testing requirements and added a new requirement for re-testing every time a licence is renewed. “I don’t know half the laws” isn’t a good enough excuse when people are getting killed.
I agree. It doesn’t help either that Oregon is about the only state that has the “wait for cyclist to pass before turning right rule (and I suppose for left too if the bike lane is there”… this causes horendous gaps in people’s driving knowledge when coming from elsewhere. Such as California where the rule is to merge onto/into the bike lane first. Seriously though, if we really want this issue to go away… we need to start designing like the world class biking infra located in those other countries (everybody on here knows what I’m talking about…)
Oregon driver tests should be a lot more rigorous and should include as many laws as possible that are unique or less-common in other states. Another one I can think of is the left-turn on red from a two-way to one-way street. There’s even some police offers here who don’t know that one, and it’s really annoying to get stuck behind ignorant people waiting for the light to turn green when they could go already.
Amen on that. When I moved here over a decade ago, I was bummed to see that in OR it was illegal to make a U-turn anywhere unless explicitly allowed by signage. Whereas in CA it’s legal at any break in a divided highway or intersection to make one unless explicitly prohibited. The opposite. But I was willing to give that up for that weird left turn on red from a two way to a one way street rule – however, almost no one does it. Then again, there’s a huge percentage of people here that do not take a right after stopping on a red when it is allowed and there isn’t another car, bike or pedestrian in sight.
Virtually no one knows about the left turn onto a one way, many don’t know about right on red. That’s all just the tip of the iceberg, the laws of the road may as well be written in a foreign language.
I don’t know what the solution is, but bringing tens of thousands more people into the DMV each year seems unrealistic. I’ve always maintained that signage is cheap. Why isn’t there more signage everywhere? ‘You can turn right on a red,’ ‘You need to yield to pedestrians here.’ Why doesn’t PBOT at least add some adequate signage?
Because at some point, sign overload happens and people become completely blind to them. We don’t want people being distracted from the road, but the more signs we’re asking them to read, the more we’re taking their attention from their environment.
“there’s a huge percentage of people here that do not take a right after stopping on a red when it is allowed”
There’s another sizable percentage that zoom through red lights to take a right without stopping (or looking both ways).
i got honked and yelled at by a car behind in a right-only lane because I did not go on red in front of truck in an adjacent lane (I waited for him to pass, then went). Oregon drivers take the right on red as mandatory not optional, and they only look for on-coming traffic at a one-way street leaving people using sidewalks very vulnerable. I support no movements on red.
Exactly. Just because you’re ALLOWED to make a right turn on red, doesn’t mean you are REQUIRED to.
Before they fixed the Upper Boones/Durham intersection and cut down the bushes blocking the sight lines, I always stopped and waited for a green to turn right from Durham onto Upper Boones. I got honked at a lot, but I didn’t care– I couldn’t see, and my safety trumps the other drivers’ burning need to cut off the traffic with the right of way.
+10000000 for have to retake the written test when you go to renew your driver’s license. Make it open book, take at home, take online and bring the results in… but make people take it! The laws change all the time, and the odds are most people are not familiar with the nuances that have been enacted since they first got their licenses.
In CA, I’d make the turn from nearly the same spot. I wouldn’t hug the curb to turn. MUST a bike yield if I was signaling, but not all the way in the tiny bike lane?
If there is a marked bike lane and a bike is approaching, you must yield to it. If there is no bike lane, and you’ve signaled with enough warning (100 feet by law) he should yield to you.
The key difference is the wording in exception 4 of CVC 21202… the bicyclist is not required to be as far right as practicable “when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.”
Additionally, even though it’s illegal here, I’d much prefer a driver to merge into the bike lane before turning so I knew what they were doing. It’s incredibly bad when they don’t signal, or signal at the last minute, and just sweep right across the bike lane.
Because road design will change behavior without enforcement. Until we (as a society/city/etc) take that into account and put it into action, all the paint/signs/stings in the world won’t make the changes that we need to accommodate our growing population.
Yes exactly, so the only safe way to deal with this is to take the entire lane in any hook zone. Safe cyclists take responsibility for being visible to unconscious gas huffin or whatever else motorists or else big brother mandates glow in the dark neon safety attire. No amount of infrastructure can compensate for ultratimid riders being abused by unconscious aggressors speeding around in their shipping containers. I hope this changes over time but for right now we need to take responsibility in the moment for drivers who can DRIVE away uncited by simply parroting “I’m sorry but I didn’t see you”
I wonder if taking the lane in a place like that is legally defensible in Oregon if a police officer decides to camp out there and ticket riders for disobeying the bike lane. And taking the lane next to a bike lane – though I do it in places to protect myself, such as passing cyclists on the Burnside bridge – often results in road rage from drivers who have no idea that the law allows us to leave the bike lane in certain conditions. I’ve been honked at, yelled at, flipped off, and more for rightfully and legally protecting myself.
“I wonder if taking the lane in a place like that is legally defensible in Oregon if a police officer decides to camp out there and ticket riders for disobeying the bike lane. …” Kyle
More importantly, does Oregon law, such as 814.420, allow a person riding a bike to leave the bike lane if a particular road situation makes riding in the bike lane hazardous? I think 814.420 acknowledges the right of people riding bike to leave the bike to avoid hazards. In the text of the law, it says so in black and white.
Does the law saying this mean that a police officer isn’t going to issue someone on a bike a citation for leaving the bike lane? Not necessarily. To avoid a citation, the person riding has to know this law, and try do everything reasonably correctly according to the rules of the road in dealing with road and traffic situations they encounter. This includes signaling properly, and changing lanes accordingly.
My feeling is that riding a bike in traffic amongst motor vehicles can be far more difficult and dangerous that driving a motor vehicle amongst other motor vehicles. Doing so safely requires skill, planning, and experience. Take note when on the road, how many people’s riding indicates they’re not meeting these requirements. And they’re the vulnerable road users.
People riding can do everything right, and there still may be some road user yelling and screaming at them. Important thing for them to do, is to keep track of what they’re doing, so they know their actions have been correct. That’s their first best defense against obnoxious road user behavior.
You might get harassed by police and drivers who don’t know the law, but I think any public hearing that concluded a 3-5ft randomly narrowing/vanishing strip of mostly gravel and glass, sinkholes, metal covers, and drain grates was “suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.” (25mph) was a flawed hearing. In any case, the “Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.” clause should cover you for avoiding right hook zones.
I don’t disagree, but in the absence of that driver education, marking this last block with sharrows instead of a hard right-side bike lane would “train” both drivers and bicyclists that it’s OK for riders to be in front of them (and ‘in the way’). Unfortunately what I’ve seen in planning is that sharrows and bike lanes seem mutually exclusive, which I don’t get (that’s not how we ride, depending on traffic and timing of right-turning cars).
I don’t see where “separation” makes sense here, unless you remove the right turns along the way and at the bottom of this hill. What any kind of physical barrier would do here, it seems to me, would limit the opportunity for the bicyclist to time gaps and take the lane in preparing for that transition. Further, it may even obscure them from the right-turning drivers’ view.
Maybe the intersection could be blocked with a homeless camp/bike chop shop?
The solution to right hooks is to have the sidewalk and bike path on an elevated platform as it passes in front of the side streets as they do in the Netherlands. That way the elevated platform serves as a speed bump to turning cars, and the possibility of a right hook is eliminated.
The speed of the collision is reduced, but the possibility of the crash still exists.
But PBOT has a policy of not installing raised crosswalks anyplace turning movements may be occurring.
Broadway is the only street I have been hit on. I dislike riding on it almost as much as riding on Hwy 30. Hope the person who got hit is not injured too badly.
It’s a bit further up than where this crash occurred, but that zig-zag weaving bike lane right when you ride onto/from the east approach to the Broadway Bridge should be considered criminal negligence. Green paint doesn’t prevent conflicts.
It seems to be a balance.. between road design and driver education. I agree that driver carelessness and ignorance is a major contributor, but I doubt that we’ll be getting the million or so current Oregon-licensed drivers through a new and revised DMV driver test anytime soon. And besides, that does nothing for the thousands of visiting drivers or commuters from Washington. So road design becomes a tool to make it harder for drivers to do dumb-@ssed things in their cars… Even with that, drivers will apparently still manage to drive most of the way through a park and hit someone…
We should design our infrastructure so that driver error does not result in the injury or death of other road users.
Better designed roadways are only one part of a Safe System. It would also include safer vehicles (Feds), safer users (State testing, City messaging), better enforcement (City), better laws (State), and better adjudication (County).
Is there a way to find the crash history at a location in Portland?
6 reported crashes 2009-2013. 3 involved cyclists. One was the cyclist’s fault.
For the 17,700 cars a day westbound on Broadway, that’s a crash rate of about 0.20 per million entering vehicles.
Currently PBOT does more detailed investigations when the crash rate exceeds 1.0 pmev.
What’s the crash rate per bike I wonder?
Lack of political will is right. Seattle is taking Vision Zero and running with it. The fact that Portland is professing to aspire to Vision Zero is a joke as long as our politicians refuse to challenge the status quo in any way. I feel like Charlie is so scared that he might offend a crank somewhere that he refuses to do anything that isn’t agreed upon by every single person in the city. Result: paralysis.
Curb side bike lanes in areas with downhill grades where cyclists can pretty much approach or go the speed limit don’t make any sense at all, and the bike lane merge to the left of the right turn only lane at Larrabee at this location occurs way too late and over too short of a distance. I tend to avoid this whole area on Broadway, because it it so unsafe for cyclists, but if I ever do find myself riding westbound on Broadway there I merge into the right lane as far east as either the I-5 or N. Vancouver intersections.
Well, here’s at least one thing that hasn’t changed much in Portland in the last ten years.
Narrow the roadway to two lanes, not three. Put a physically separated bike lane (with barriers that a car can’t cross), clear up to the intersection, and put signals, like at Broadway and Williams, with separate phases, at each intersection where right turns are wanted for motorists. The motor vehicles would be held, while cyclists went straight, and vice versa. (Broadway/Williams needs the physical separation added, too)
“with barriers that a car can’t cross”…
So as a driver who needs to turn north, where shall I be expected to turn right to avoid going over the river?
As John Liu points out, at some point the bicyclist and the right-turning car will be crossing each others paths here. As a bicyclist, I’d like as much control over the safe timing of this as possible.
Turn on MLK or some other signalized intersection. Who cares if you have to detour. It could save lives.
I’m willing to bet we could get the FTR bike lane replaced with sharrows here before we could get PBOT to disallow right-hand turns at all of the intersections here. My point is “separated” facilities don’t work everywhere, for everyone. “It could save lives” doesn’t sell city councils on unpopular and expensive decisions, regardless of how much you and I believe it should.
I think the other point people are making here – about controlling the downhill speed of cars in the right lane – is also quite key. Get cars out of the right lane as early as possible (if they’re taking the bridge), and keep them within a safe differential of biking speeds on this last critical section. (Notice that even the ‘timid’ riders are going ~15 MPH due to the downhill). Also get the bike riders out of the FTR bike lane before the last block – notice that some are holding the middle of the lane long before this block (in the video).
This is what the lane markings here should communicate to both drivers and cyclists to expect here:
MLK is east of I-5. This location is west. Maybe you mean turn at Larrabee?
Any bike lane that is separate from a driving lane results in cars crossing through the bike lane when turning to a side street. Doesn’t matter if the bike lane is ten feet wide or curb-separated.
Thousands of drivers may carefully look for and yield to bikes when making that turn, then one won’t. Whatever additional signs or controls you add, yield or stop signs or even red lights for the turn, there will be one driver who won’t obey them.
So there are only four solutions I see.
1. Eliminate the bike lane. Mingle bikes and cars in the traffic lane. Cyclists will have to occupy the full lane. They will have to ride at a speed compatible with car traffic, because if cyclists move very slowly in the rightmost lane, then it effectively turns into a bike lane and cars will turn across it from the next lane.
2. Keep the bike lane. Add as much helpful marking and signage as possible. Cyclists will have to watch out for cars that might be turning, slowing down if uncertain what the driver will do. Every now and again, both driver and cyclist will make a mistake and there will be a right hook.
3. Prevent cars from making right turns, with physical barriers. Drivers will need some way to escape from being forced onto the bridge. Eventually, somewhere, they have to be able to turn right.
4. Prevent cars and/or cyclists from driving/riding through the intersections (without stopping) at the same time. Phased signals for cars and bikes, such as used elsewhere on Broadway.
SW 1st Ave / Clay is awful for right hooks too. I take the lane before that intersection instead of using the bike lane. Way too many inattentive drivers almost hooking me there.
Same with 3rd and Clay.
Wow. There is even a giant “no right turn” sign in the photo.
It applies to trucks.
If I ran the world, there’d be dedicated bike lanes on the Fremont. That section of Broadway is part of my morning commute, every day at five am, year round. I’m not scared, but I have my head on a swivel, and I’m the guy with a bike that’s lit up like Times Square.
I hope the cyclist is ok and I hope the driver was cited.
Bonus points for not using “Christmas Tree” as the benchmark for lighting conspicuity…
It’s absurd to blame street design. Blame the driver, but don’t blame the innocent car as the eyewitness did.
The driver decided to turn right without confirming oncoming traffic. The driver should expect a heavy prison sentence and fine. Not holding my breath.
The real problem is treating driver licenses as birthday presents and de facto ID. They are neither. Expect more of this until both change.
A heavy prison sentence for a right hook?
I don’t agree that it’s absurd to blame street design, as that very design communicates to all users where they are ‘supposed’ to be (and what they should expect to come up on, and to a degree how fast they should be going).
The street is designed for 70mph travel and you don’t blame it for drivers going too fast? The wide lanes free of obstacles, for some coming off the highway seeing the exact same cross-section and scale — they might be busily looking around for a speed limit sign, worrying about getting rear-ended, and never see a pedestrian. A bit of claustrophobia and some obstacles which could scrape their precious paint would make a world of difference.
There was a great discussion here last week on the relative culpability of people driving versus road design in crashes. This crash and the ensuing conversation are unfortunately quite apropos.
I think this crash is a prime example of one where the infrastructure is to blame even though you can point to a person driving who could have and should have prevented this crash. Consider for a moment the logistics of avoiding a hook crash from the perspective of a person driving. By and large, the stuff you’re not supposed to run into or over when you’re driving is either directly in front of you (e.g., oncoming vehicles when you’re turning left) or well within your periphery (e.g. people walking when you’re turning over a crosswalk). By contrast, the potential victim of a hook crash is approaching from almost directly behind you, and generally from the side of your vehicle with poorer visibility (this is particularly problematic for trucks). Politics being what they are, it’s probably worth noting that in low-light conditions hi-viz would do precisely nothing to help the situation since your headlights shine in the opposite direction.
There are a few exacerbating factors that make this location in particular so problematic–the aforementioned grade definitely makes it harder for a person driving to judge the closing speed of the person cycling, and the fact that many people biking turn onto Broadway at Flint means a person driving wouldn’t be made aware of the presence of a person cycling by overtaking them just prior to turning across their travel path. Further, a person biking in that location is likely checking his/her shoulder looking for a gap in (fat, high-volume) traffic to execute the weave over the turning lane at Larabee, which itself is a challenging maneuver, and thus may be slower to react to a change in front of them.
So you’ve got a high degree-of-difficulty maneuver for turning drivers, combined with a high degree-of-difficulty maneuver for people cycling. It’s a recipe for disaster, and disaster is exactly what we’re getting there.
The solution, as many have pointed out, is to engineer out those complicated maneuvers by protecting the bike lane and intersections. Design the facility so that people driving and biking are crossing one another’s travel paths at right angles, and eliminate that weave for people biking. If that’s politically or economically infeasible (it shouldn’t be… this idea really isn’t that radical or expensive), a distant second-best interim option would be to turn the whole right lane/bike lane area into a shared space with green zebra striping, etc, and use whatever design elements you can think of to push people biking to the center of the lane and maximize their comfort. This is far from ideal, but it does engineer out the right hook conflict without really reducing cycling comfort since the weave there forces people riding into vehicular cycling anyway.
Of course, if you really fault bad driving rather than bad infrastructure for these crashes, that’s defensible, but we should then start identifying ways to curb that. What about a big, multi-agency awareness campaign akin to the hi-viz pablum we endure each November? What about stiffer penalties and better enforcement for failing to use a turn signal when the un-signaled turn is across a bike lane? What about decals people can affix to their car’s passenger-side mirror reminding them to check for people biking?
The one thing that’s completely unacceptable is to talk a big game regarding bikability and vision zero while continuing to do nothing. I love the pugnacious tone JM took here and agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly.
You had me up until you described the way we see many bicyclists (in the video in the comment above) riding here as “interim.” Your “distant second” alternative is easily the most cost-effective remedy to accomplish the goal of communicating to drivers to a) expect bicyclists in the middle of the roadway instead of a bike lane on your right, and b) slow down because bicyclists will be crossing through the middle of the roadway and not in a bike lane to your right.
Also I highly recommend mirrors for timing when to turn to look for upcoming cars (which, agreed, is a vulnerable move because it tends to cause a bicyclist to steer left while looking).
Another day biking on Barbur, yet another almost right hook at SW Barbur and SW Hamilton. What is the conversation you sould have with a driver when they almost hit you and they believe otherwise?
So the driver made a right turn where no turn is allowed. Looking forward to Amanda Fritz applying the same logic to car infrastructure that she advocates for bike infrastructure. Something like, “there will be no money for further car specific improvements until drivers start obeying the law.”
I’m sure she’ll insist on this.
I amend that. The sign apparently applies to trucks.
My challenge to AF still applies for any other motor vehicle collision. I’ll call attention to the driver of the garbage truck that struck a man, and severed his leg, just the other day. The man walking was in a marked crosswalk with a light, and the driver had a no turn on red sign.
Come on Amanda, we’re all looking forward to consistent application of your standards here.
Steve Novick is commissioner for PBOT, and Leah Treat is its director. They may have some thoughts about the situation on Broadway. Maybe you’re nevertheless still interested in Fritz’s take on the situation.
“We don’t lack solutions, we lack the political will and sense of urgency to implement them.”
Well said. this has been the case for some time. As citizens of this city and cyclists, we need to start showing our discontent at the polls. Remove those in office that do not share our interests and the best interests for all of Portland. Starting with Fish and Fritz.
Mayor Hales needs to take note.
Like most I take the land here, but with the morning volume of cyclist and drivers I would not be surprised if a “blind spot” side-swipe happens during a lane change sooner than later.
“We don’t lack solutions, we lack the political will and sense of urgency to implement them.”
This is incorrect. We lack solutions. We lack solutions because we lack the money to pay for it. We lack a PBOT that solves problems by considering something other than the cheapest, least convenient option.
We’ve failed to fund safe options because any proposal to do so instantly becomes bickering over the most politically correct way to do so, and threats of ballot initiatives.
So I am not seeing that there is an actual 1st-hand account of what happened…Noel Mickelberry says he came upon the aftermath of the accident. Yet everyone here is reacting based on what they are guessing happened. Jonathan has told us that something happened but there is no account of exactly what happened.
As for the “thousands of people are being left at risk every single day on streets with inadequate bikeway designs” People are “at risk” every day for lots of reasons. While a revised bike facility may reduce the risk of some things, there is always risk. We bike in an urban environment and so cyclists should be aware of the risks where they ride.
I am in favor of pressing for change where change is needed, but if a cyclist is looking for a particular type of bike infrastructure to make them “safe” A) you may have a long wait so what are you going to do in the mean time? B) with any infrastructure there are risks…some just “feel” safer. I am in favor of small, low costs modifications to help cyclists “feel” safer, but I do not support major investments on shared streets that are “feel good” measures. C) as the comments on such stories prove, there is no consensus, among the cyclists who ride these streets, what the solution should be. When you add in the other stakeholders, it is not surprising that nothing gets done.
My suggestion is to get out on your bike and ride more and become a better rider. The more you ride the safer you will be.
A proposed solution for the City that Works and the State that cares about bike safety:
0. Change the ODOT I-5 off ramp project to address the real problem that’s occuring. Have there been right hooks from the off ramp?
1. Add traffic signal at N Wheeler: this would allow the property across from Eastbank (south of Broadway) to develop in the future. That land is next to streetcar and should have some auto access and right now that’s pretty poor. The City might be able to work with the land owner on some sort of a fee in lieu. The traffic signal would address that right hook at N Wheeler that was occurring by limiting the amount of time where that can happen or possibly add a warning sign like NE Grand & Couch that comes on when bikes cross the detector (if needed).
2. Close N Ross Street to eliminate that right turn: that would address the right hook there, the signal would provide the circulation into that area.
3. N Flint will be taken care of if the ODOT freeway widening ever happens (in some phase of that project).