Portland Century - August 18th

Man issues citizen citation after police decline to investigate red-light collision

Posted by on April 10th, 2015 at 10:29 am

Knoll’s mangled bike.
(Photo: Cedar Knoll)

A man nearly crushed last week by a large box truck whose driver allegedly ran a red light on Martin Luther King Boulevard has issued a rare citizen citation after Portland police declined to investigate.

According to Cedar Knoll, a food courier for the local company SoupCycle, the man drove his truck at high speed through what would have been a well-established red light at the intersection of NE Dekum Street and MLK Boulevard (map). Knoll said the driver only stopped the truck and returned to the scene after a witness drove after him and flagged him down.

A police officer who came to the site told Knoll, accurately, that it would be against Portland Police Bureau policy to investigate the incident or issue an officer-initiated citation because Knoll didn’t need to leave the scene in an ambulance (for more on the PPB’s investigation policy, read our report from 2008).

Here’s Knoll’s account of what happened, written before he issued the citizen citation:

Looking eastbound on Dekum at MLK.

I was biking east on Dekum, the semi was travelling south on MLK. I had a green and not a new green, a well established green, the cross-walk counters were counting down but I still had plenty of time. Anyway the semi just came flying (I say flying because it seemed really fast, and one of the witness swears he must of been speeding) through the intersection right in front of me, I hit my brakes but couldn’t stop in time and hit his trailer just in front of his rear tires, I think his rear tire caught my front rack or possibly handle bars. I sort of moved my body backwards as quickly as I could to get out of the way. He just kept on driving, he said later he never felt or heard a thing, although he admitted he did see me and was wondering if I was going to hit him. He also told the officer that he had noticed he may of been going a bit fast, I don’t have that recorded or anything though.

I flagged down a cop, who took an account down from both witnesses and myself. The cop would not fill out a police report, because I was OK and not leaving the scene in an ambulance. My bike is totalled (over $2,000 in damages) but luckily I am pretty much fine. The cop didn’t give the driver any kind of citation or ticket. The driver, did not admit to running the red light, but he also didn’t deny it.

I think it’s interesting that even in a situation where its not my word against the driver, there are witnesses saying the driver is at fault and my bike is obviously broken, the police still wont find the driver at fault or even put it down on the drivers record.

(Note: Knoll said Friday that after seeing the officer’s description of the truck he realized it may have been an unusually large box truck rather than a semi-trailer as described above.)

A call Friday morning to the driver’s employer, Stericycle Inc., hasn’t been returned yet. We’ll update this story if and when we hear back.

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In an interview Friday, I asked Knoll what could have made someone run a solid red light.

“He basically said he doesn’t drive MLK very often,” Knoll said. “It was sort of funny, because he said he was nervous about crosswalks because there’s crosswalks all over MLK, so he was watching for those and didn’t see the light at all.”

“I just called the cop and I was like, look, I feel like this guy was totally at fault, and I would like to issue a citation.”
— Cedar Knoll

“One of the other witnesses said he was going really fast,” Knoll continued. “He even told the officer that he may have been going a little bit fast. … To me, if you’re on a road in a giant truck that you don’t drive very often, maybe you wouldn’t drive faster than the speed limit. But I don’t know.”

Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson confirmed that an officer had responded to the scene.

“Generally though, non-injury, non-criminal crashes are not investigated and we facilitate insurance exchange,” Simpson said in an email. “Crashes are recorded in a person’s DMV record.”

Here’s the PPB’s official guidance on which sorts of collisions an officer should devote scarce resources to investigating, from the bureau’s policy manual:

Thanks to the Portland Mercury for having this PDF online.

Upset by the police action, Knoll contacted the city auditor’s office to file a complaint. Complaint investigator Eric Nomura, he said, “got back to me within a few hours and told me about the option of enacting ORS 153.058 through Portland Police Bureau directive 860.10.”

The policy lets citizens initiate their own traffic citations. We’ve reported occasionally on the law, and The Oregonian has created a useful comic-strip explanation of how it works.

“I just called the cop and I was like, look, I feel like this guy was totally at fault, and I would like to issue a citation,” Knoll said afterward. “I had to go to the courthouse and sign the citation.”

If the case advances, Knoll will need to appear in court to identify the driver and say what happened.

“I don’t think that people do this very often,” Knoll said.

Knoll’s boss, SoupCycle owner Nate Schlachter, said the PPB policy not to investigate traffic collisions that don’t involve major injury has him worried about Portland’s long-term ability to understand issues like this one. The Portland Bureau of Transportation, for instance, relies heavily on collision data to set priorities for safety projects.

“As an employer who has up to 6 people on the road three days a week I am concerned about how the city is tracking these types of incidents for use in analysis and hopefully planning and policy,” Schlachter said in an email.

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107 Comments
  • Avatar
    PeeJay April 10, 2015 at 10:38 am

    America’s Former Bike Capital!

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      Mossby Pomegranate April 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      At least we’ve become America’s Bike Theft Capital to make up for it.

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    gutterbunnybikes April 10, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Funny that someone gets tazed in Hillsboro where there is no incident or damages. Or the authorities want to investigate a dead mallard but….

    Here in Portland a $2000 bike get totalled when a heavy transport vehicle is speeding through a red light gets no attention from the police.

    Yeah there is no enforcement problems here.

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    Jeff TB April 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Platinum!

    THE 5 E’S
    Engineering: Creating safe and convenient places to ride and park
    Education: Giving people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride
    Encouragement: Creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling
    Enforcement: Ensuring safe roads for all users
    Evaluation & Planning: Planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation option

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    Charley Gee April 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Yesterday I read a Portland Police Bureau report where a driver ran a red light and struck a bicyclist, there was an independent witness to the collision who told the police that the driver ran a red light, the driver admitted to having run the red light, and the response of the police officer was to advise the driver that she needed to pay better attention while driving downtown.

    I also spoke to a guy who had a police officer chase him down with a cruiser and cite him for riding on the sidewalk downtown.

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      Spiffy April 10, 2015 at 11:57 am

      seriously misplaced enforcement…

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        Andrew N April 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm

        Welcome to Charlie Hales’ Portland. Business as usual.

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        soren December 1, 2017 at 12:41 pm

        Disagree. In my experience, the portland police bureau is unabashedly HOSTILE to people on bikes.

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    El Biciclero April 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

    OK, wait—
    The “Investigation Criteria” state that a crash will be investigated

    “i. When a citation is issued to a driver involved in a crash for a violation other than a vehicle licensing, operator licensing, or financial responsibility statute.”

    So the victim’s level of injury does NOT appear to be the sole determiner of whether a crash will be investigated. Had the officer believed and acted on witness reports to issue a citation to the red-light-running driver, then an investigation would have been triggered, according to my reading of the policy. We have a frequent commenter on this blog (9watts) who was recently given a citation for a dubious “infraction” based solely on the say-so of a driver, yet in this case, police wouldn’t issue a citation (for a much more serious offense, resulting in serious damage and potential serious injury) based on the say-so of a cycling victim and at least one other witness? Is the failure to issue a citation based on some motivation to avoid an investigation, since the policy appears to clearly state that if a citation is issued, an investigation is warranted?

    This sounds ridiculous and extremely biased, but maybe that’s just me…

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      John Lascurettes April 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I had just typed up the same section to make a similar comment. What the heck? So by failing to issue a citation for running the red light, the cop doesn’t have to investigate. Stated another way, had the cop cited him, he would have to investigate (yes?). So, now that a citizen citation has been made, do the police have to investigate?

      This is so messed up. This is what the BTA should be fixing to get updated legislatively. Does the BTA have a stance on this? Have they ever put it on their agenda to change anything here?

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        John Lascurettes April 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        And wasn’t there an admitted hit and run here? Or because he “didn’t feel anything” is he magically absolved of then “running”? I’m so frustrated by this.

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        Scott H April 10, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        I can’t glean from the article why there wasn’t at least a police report. Maybe the officer didn’t want to issue a citation having not witnessed the incident. Alright, but shouldn’t there at least be report for statistical purposes?

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        El Biciclero April 10, 2015 at 4:28 pm

        Maybe it’s just a classic Catch-22: I can’t investigate unless a citation is issued, but I can’t issue a citation unless I investigate…

        Really, I don’t think we need to call out the crash reconstruction team here, but it would be nice for fault-finding purposes if an officer-issued citation could be used to corroborate the victim’s story to the insurance company. Or at least if uniform criteria could be established for when an officer would issue a citation for a violation he didn’t personally witness (recalling again 9watts’ case, or that of Kyle Egertson from 2007).

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          Scott H April 10, 2015 at 4:34 pm

          I thought a collision involving that amount of property damage would require an accident report ( was there an accident report filled out by Knoll? ), and accident reports typically detail who was at fault, especially for insurance purposes. Do they not?

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            El Biciclero April 10, 2015 at 4:58 pm

            I’ve been in a couple of vehicular “altercations” (car-on-car) for which police were not called, but I was still under legal obligation to fill out a DMV accident report due to (guessed) level of vehicle body damage. According to the DMV, the truck driver in this incident would be under obligation to file an accident report within 72 hours if the damage to the bike exceeded $1500, or risk having driving privileges suspended.

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              El Biciclero April 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm

              …Well, except the language on the page I linked to is completely motor-centric: is the cyclist in the case a “driver”? Was the bicycle “towed” from the scene? Is a bicycle in a crash considered “property other than a vehicle”? Depending on how these terms are interpreted, maybe both parties would be obligated to fill out accident reports.

              Reading further down the linked page, and considering applicability of these rules to bicycles, does the obligation to file a report “even if your vehicle was the only one in the crash” extend to bicycles? Or is it only for registered motor vehicles? What if I total my brand new $6000 road bike in a “solo fall”—do I have to report it to DMV? If not, then would I have to report a crash involving my brand new $6000 road bike and a car, or would only the car driver need to file a report? Under the same rules, the driver wouldn’t be obligated to file a report unless the damage was to his own vehicle or my bike was “towed” from the scene, or my bike was considered “property other than a vehicle”. But ORS are clear that my bicycle is a vehicle, but it doesn’t really need to be “towed” anywhere (unless putting the remnants in my car trunk counts as “towing”), so what gives?

              It’s mildly frustrating that so many rules surrounding bicycle use are so ambiguous as to require a lawyer to interpret them.

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                wsbob April 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm

                “…Was the bicycle “towed” from the scene?…” bic

                Crashes that make motor vehicles unable to be driven, result in their being towed.

                Motor vehicles are towed after having being damaged in crashes to the extent that they can’t be driven further. It’s not the means of hauling the wreck off that’s important, but what the reason is for having to haul it off. I would think the same criteria would likely apply to a bike involved in a crash.

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    PeeJay April 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Seriously though, this is why we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that Enforcement can ever be a primary part of the solution to our tragic safety problems. With existing laws as they are, there isn’t enough that any police department can do to change the culture that thinks it’s OK to take chances with other peoples’ lives.

    Enforcement will only have any effect when we have a strict liability law, which will never happen because of deep-seated politics. It sucks, but that’s how it is.

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      q`Tzal April 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Red light cameras at ALL intersections.
      Anything even resembling an incident is reviewed by humans online.
      Use video clips of incidents in place of Captcha style human verification systems or “game-ify” by giving viewers & raters game points or real world money.
      Incidents suspected as “real” or “serious” by more than one rater gets reviewed by an officer from the responsible jurisdiction.
      Then ACTUALLY issue citations.

      OR…
      Wait for self driving cars then pass laws mandating that automobile insurance companies’ minimum policies provide full coverage for rehab, loss of income and disability for as long as the affected parties live.
      Then wait 5 minutes for manual human driving to be priced out beyond the reach almost everyone.

      Authoritarian or libertarian: take your pick. There is no reason people need to die getting from point A to point B.

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        wsbob April 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm

        Just a reminder that auto manufacturers and the government continue to expand the installation and use of on board vehicle data recorders. In this incident, it may have come in handy to have been able to a check of an on board data recorder to find out just how fast the driver was going through the intersection. If the data recorder can know when a vehicle has passed through a red light, establishing fault would be a slam dunk.

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      gutterbunnybikes April 11, 2015 at 12:45 am

      So just give up?

      Really?

      Come on man, things can be changed. Although I’m glad that there were no injuries, this is a great example of a legal loophole (and in this case multiple loopholes) that wasn’t well known by most of us that requires some attention.

      Enforcement of the law is a big deal, but so much of it’s so nuanced and hidden, we should take advantage of these opportunities when they present their ugly little heads to demand some changes, and whack that mole back into the hole it belongs.

      Just giving up really isn’t an option. With the attitude you are expressing, nothing will ever happen.

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        soren December 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        It’s not giving up at all. It’s acknowledging our reality — the first step to change. When the law, the court system, and our culture is hostile to vulnerable road users, calls for increased enforcement are counterproductive.

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    Alan Love April 10, 2015 at 10:57 am

    The link to the comic strip (Isn’t that a great description for The Oregonian in general?) is broken.

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    K'Tesh April 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

    It seems insane that a person has to be bundled into an ambulance before PPB will investigate. That is Totally F****D UP!

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 10, 2015 at 11:12 am

      As I reported in 2008, the ambulance threshold was actually seen as a major improvement over the previous policy which didn’t trigger an investigation unless the person suffered a serious trauma injury.

      http://bikeportland.org/2008/02/13/sizer-issues-executive-order-on-crash-investigations-unveils-new-code-procedures-6691

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        John Lascurettes April 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm

        It’s not enough. I’d love to see the BTA make this an agenda item. Had the truck totaled someone else’s car without sending anyone to the hospital, would there have been an investigation?

        The article implied that there was an exchange of insurance information (because it said that was all police show up to do – facilitate that). So did Knoll get that info did you confirm? I surely hope he will be compensated in full by the driver’s carrier.

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          BicycleDave April 14, 2015 at 9:44 pm

          Seems like there ought to be a gross vehicle weight threshold that would help trigger an investigation. Large trucks are inherently more dangerous because of there size.

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      Chris I April 10, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      It’s going to turn into a soccer game out there. If you want the police to cite, just feign an injury and call for an ambulance.

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    Andrew Lynch April 10, 2015 at 11:17 am

    So if I get hit by a truck, am OK, but the driver that hit me isn’t cited….my best recourse is to fake an injury severe enough to need an ambulance? Policy failure.

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      Bill Walters April 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

      You won’t be faking, you’ll be prudent. Adrenalin can initially mask injuries — including ones that can do you in overnight via internal bleeding or the aftermath of concussion.

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    K'Tesh April 10, 2015 at 11:30 am

    You might not be faking it… I was left behind by an ambulance in my 10/12/07 collision because I was able to walk (somewhat) on my broken leg. >:(

    Do not let ambulance crews leave you behind if you are hurt! They don’t have F****N XRay Eyes.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 10, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Also maybe worth mentioning. You’ll note that in the 2008 story I link to the head of the PPB Traffic Division was Larry O’Dea… Who just so happens to be the new Chief of Police.

    O’Dea was in charge when the Transportation Community Policing Agreement was adopted by the PPB, City Council, and various non-profit orgs in October of 2009.

    In recent chats with O’Dea lately (mostly about Bike Theft Task Force stuff), he has mentioned that he feels it’s time to update that agreement.

    Given this story, some personal experiences of my own, things I’ve been hearing, and the tone of these comments so far… makes me think he’s absolutely right.

    Whether that agreement had a huge cultural impact at the PPB or even citywide is debatable… But it can’t hurt to create a new one — especially given the O’Dea connection.

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      John Lascurettes April 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      This is the best piece of news I’ve read on an otherwise frustrating series of events published on this page today.

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    Joe April 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Seems some drivers just get away with what ever they do towards humans outside the box 🙁 riding down broadway yesterday and cars zipping past, honking, yelling, texting,talking on cells, one dude drove up the curb, lucky I took the sidewalk he thought it was funny… smh driving habits really changing in Portland lately. OH MASSIVE RED LIGHT running 🙁

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    K'Tesh April 10, 2015 at 11:42 am

    The full sized version of the comic is better seen with this link:

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2012/06/every_oregon_driver_is_a_traff.html

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    Todd Boulanger April 10, 2015 at 11:51 am

    A question, should not the responding officer still investigate this crash due to subsection “e” relating to a hit and run? Did the officer check if all the trucks paperwork was current and the truck not stolen?

    Or was this not a hit and run due to the driver “not knowing he was involved in a collision” or that its “OK” with the PPB for a driver to drive away and return only when a witness makes you do so?

    If the truck operator gets off the hook due to the latter situation then we need to tighten up the law for commercial vehicles, CDLs and vehicles over 10,000 GVW. Otherwise then truck drivers will potentially get a “platinum get out of jail free pass” in Portland…as trucks will become “too big to fail” when ignoring basic traffic laws and causing crashes.

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      El Biciclero April 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      But the driver didn’t “perceive a need” to remain at the scene.

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      wsbob April 11, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Another question: browsing over the story, I’m not finding what Cedar Knoll, as a citizen issuing a citizen citation, is citing the driver of the truck for.

      By Knoll’s account of the incident, it appears the driver could possibly be guilty of disobeying a traffic control signal, and careless driving. Citing for hit and run may more difficult to cite for, because even though the driver has been said to have ran the red light, Knoll hit the truck.

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        J_R April 13, 2015 at 8:35 am

        Oh, come on, Bob. You’re now claiming that Knoll hit the truck, right? It’s quite possible that Knoll had stopped and that the rear tire of the truck hit him. But even if you assume that both were moving, we can all agree that as a result of the collision, the bike stopped and the truck didn’t.

        If you think that “movement” is the determinant in whether a certain party was at fault, consider the following scenario. You’re driving your car down the street when a car suddenly backs onto the street. He backs out absolutely without warning and is stopped when you collide with him. He was stopped; you were moving. Is it your fault? That seems to be the argument you’re making in the case of Knoll and the truck that sped through the red light.

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          wsbob April 13, 2015 at 12:07 pm

          According to the article, Knoll did hit the truck, not vice versa. As I more or less implied in my comment to which you’ve responded, that doesn’t mean that Knoll is at fault for hitting the truck. Of course he stopped, because apparently, the truck pulled out directly in front of his bike without allowing him sufficient time and distance for him to stop without colliding with the truck.

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            J_R April 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

            OK, Bob. Your definition of who hit whom is based exclusively on which vehicle suffered front-end damage. Fortunately the issue of who hit whom doesn’t even come up in the statute.

            “Hit and run” is not the title of the law applicable to this case, it’s a simplistic, short-hand description of the “failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged” [See ORS 811.700]. The only reference is to “is involved in an accident…” The word “hit” does not appear in the statute.

            The facts are that two vehicles collided; the one who was very likely at fault for having failed to obey a traffic control device, and was very likely speeding, drove away and had to be tracked down.

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              wsbob April 13, 2015 at 2:05 pm

              J_R…’hit and run’ isn’t ‘my definition’. That phrase is common and popularly used terminology for the kind of collision the Oregon statute addresses. I didn’t check the statute before commenting, about ‘hit and run’, so thank you for having done so.

              Here’s the link to oregonlaws.org ‘Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver’: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.700

              One of the specs of that statute, is basically, that if a person driving causes a collision, they’re supposed to stop and stick around, etc, etc. This bikeportland story quotes Knoll saying:

              “…He just kept on driving, he said later he never felt or heard a thing, although he admitted he did see me and was wondering if I was going to hit him. …” Knoll

              Apparently, the person driving stopped at some point, but where and when? Knoll mentions the person driving, talking with the officer. Did the person driving stop after the collision and having cleared the intersection? Did the cop Knoll flagged down, pursue and stop the person driving. Did the person driving completely leave the scene of the collision, to be contacted later by the officer?

              There’s a bunch of elements to 811.700, which ought to be checked with what’s known about actions of people involved in this collision. The best I, or maybe most of us reading here could do, is guess about whether or not the person driving is due a citation according to that particular statute.

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        El Biciclero April 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        I think if we actually use the title of the law as given in the ORS, “Failure to perform the duties of a driver…”, rather than the colloquial “hit-‘n’-run”, and if we actually read the law, we see there is no distinction of responsibility to remain at the scene based on who may have “hit” whom. Any person who “is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident” must remain at the scene and render aid if needed, or at least exchange information. Now the “driver” terminology (rather than “operator”) could be used to argue that a person on a bike has no legal obligation to stick around after they have been involved in a crash, but I would bet that law enforcement wouldn’t let that technicality stand in the way of issuing a citation to or arresting a bicyclist whom they believed—based on personal observation or just witness statements—had caused a crash and left the scene.

        It would be a good clarification to the article, but my guess is that the citation would be for failure to obey a traffic control device.

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          wsbob April 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm

          From oregonlaws.org, here’s a link to ‘Careless Driving’, which as a reminder, is the Oregon statute that has the ‘vulnerable road user’ element in it:

          http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.135

          The driver didn’t, if true as suspected and reported, simply fail to comply with a traffic control device. He also may have been exceeding the speed limit for that roadway, and have failed to allow safe passage of someone on a bike, of a vulnerable road user with right of way by way of a green light, across the intersection. The person driving, appears to have possibly driven in a way that not only endangered, but actually caused an accident, which would be a Class A violation.

          Kind of adds up to ‘Careless Driving’, I would think.

          (3) of the law, the ‘vulnerable road user’ criteria, don’t seem to be met, because they specify contribution to serious injury or death.

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    Brendan April 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

    The fact that you are required to identify the face of the driver to press charges is just another important reason driver side window tinting should be illegal (and enforced).

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      K'Tesh April 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

      As well as a reason to carry a camera with you at all times (even a cell phone camera).

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    J_R April 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Unless it is something really minor, I’m going to insist on being taken to the hospital by ambulance when I am eventually hit by a motor vehicle. With adrenaline coursing through your system you may not recognize the extent of your injuries.

    The ambulance ride and police report are the only things that will help get you the deserved treatment from the motorist’s insurance company. And with the horror stories I’ve heard from a good friend and my sister-in-law, the insurance company will try to cheat you on every element of your claim (e.g. your bike was 5 years old, so it’s worth only 10 percent of what you paid for it, etc.).

    My prescription: lie in the street to wait for help, get witness statements, wait for the first responders, ambulance, and get an attorney. Keep detailed extemporaneous records of all your aches and pains, medications, etc.

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      Paul Souders April 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      I was doored last summer and suffered a broken collarbone. It didn’t even occur to me to take an ambulance. I learned too late that I should have, and that I should have called 911 and remained in the street until cops and medical arrived (instead of riding/walking to the ER like a tuff guy)

      Everything worked out OK for me, but only because the driver took responsibility, was fully insured, and did all the right & honest things for the insurance company; and because my injury was relatively minor. But I could have had spinal or head injuries and not known it, and if something would have happened while I was transiting myself to the hospital (SO TUFF!) it would have been on MY dime.

      Stupid stupid.

      So, weird as it sounds if I ever have physical contact with a car again, I will call 911, insist on a police visit, and an ambulance ride. I will go full Soccer Foul and cry and scream and lie in the street and act like I may have broken my neck and OMG maybe I am dying.

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      eli bishop April 10, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      I hate to waste resources like this if it’s not necessary, but it does seem to be the only reasonable course of action if you want the system to work on your behalf.

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      Psyfalcon April 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      The state could require the insurance companies to pay full price for a new comparable bike. Bikes are cheap compared to most car dents so it wouldn’t be a huge burden on the insurance companies.

      You wont have a rash of insurance scams because totaling your bike under a car is going to hurt most of the time.

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        J_R April 13, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        We can’t even get the legislature to adopt a truly useful vulnerable road user law or a vehicular homicide law, you don’t really think there’s a chance in H that you could get a law requiring “full value replacement for bikes,” do you? They’d be more likely to pass an special valuation specifying that insurance companies could pay an assumed value of $100 for any bike more than a year old.

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    encephalopath April 10, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I walk across that intersection all the time and compliance with the signal is very low. It’s exceptional when the light changes and no one goes through late and fully red.

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      Huey Lewis April 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      There are countless vehicles running red lights as I type this and when you read it. Read this again and more vehicles have run more red lights. Repeat.

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      Scott H April 10, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      If only we had the technology to automatically photograph vehicles that fail to obey traffic control devices. Gosh, that would be swell.

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    davemess April 10, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Just frustrating. Are there PPB officers who ever ride bikes? Why are they not speaking out about this? If I was a cop and I read this, I would not be happy. Just sad that we get new police leadership who likes to claim to be all pro bike, yada yada, and then stuff like this still happens.

    Driver broke the law. Driver caused property damage (and was VERY lucky not to cause physical harm). There were 3rd party witnesses. Driver should be punished. End of story.

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    Tom April 10, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    This excuse I have not heard before. Okay so now drivers can not be responsible because they haven’t driven a particular road in a while? So he thought he would just go really fast so as to get to a more familiar road more quickly?

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      J_R April 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      No, Tom. The speeding is to minimize the amount of TIME spent on the unfamiliar road. The faster you go, the less time you spend until when going fast enough, you spend no time at all. Brilliant.

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    Joe April 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    so I had a PP officer chase me down in his car saying i ran a red light, pulled into the main fountain near water front, started going off on me about how much its going to cost me, but throws in that he also rides bike… LOLZ right dude.

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    Bella Bici April 10, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I was hit by a driver on Williams who totally failed to notice me riding in the right of way.

    I called the non-emergency police number to report the incident and they refused to make any report. My car-bike collision is on no record or statistical sheet.

    My friend just got struck by a car crossing 3rd St while she had the right-of-way traveling west on Broadway. She was injured but was not transported via ambulance.

    Again, the police refused to document her car-bike collision.

    Just earlier today I told her that she should initiate a citizen citation for the driver. How fortuitous that this article be published today reaffirming our right to do such a thing. Do take responsibility while law enforcement shuns theirs.

    I swear, it is like Portland drivers get a mulligan when they strike/injure a cyclist. “Oh, you can limp away, therefore I am absolved of any fault in my negligent driving.” As if nothing happened to them.

    Well, not much really happened to them. But, I really felt my injuries the next day/week, and the same is happening to my friend.

    Open season on bikes. Thanks, PPD, and those lawmakers!!

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      J_R April 10, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Calling the NON-emergency number was a big mistake!

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      WD April 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      I’ve had experiences really similar to yours. I’ve fallen off my bike three separate times when people have driven through the bike lane. One was a collision on SE Gladstone, one was on Durham Road (an active school zone outside Tigard High School), and the most recent was a damn-near collision on Williams. Officials declined to take a report or issue a citation in the first two cases. In the third I didn’t even bother trying to report it because I knew nothing would come of it.

      I didn’t suffer any major injuries in any of the three crashes. The people driving were as shaken up as I was and were exceedingly apologetic. I really don’t want to see people punished for an honest mistake, but it’s time we stop kidding ourselves about the way we design out streets.

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    oliver April 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    So in other words, unless you have the $3 to $6K laying around to take a medi-cab ride to the emergency room to drop another several grand.

    We’re not going to help you.

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      invisiblebikes April 10, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      Yeah that is kind of the same thought I had, it would seem like if you want justice then you have to pay for it up front!

      Body repair at the Doc shop = $$$$$
      recovery time = $$$
      Bike repair = $$
      amount of time for responsible party to pay up = $$$$$

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      K'Tesh April 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is standard in all insurance policies for drivers in Oregon. If you don’t have insurance (because like me you don’t have a car), the driver’s insurance must pick it up.

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        Todd Boulanger April 10, 2015 at 6:51 pm

        …assuming they have auto insurance if they stop to render aid

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    Steve B April 10, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve seen this policy in action before. Witnessed someone doored on Williams, driver threw open the door without looking and clobbered this person. Cops show up, turns out driver doesn’t have insurance and admits to throwing open door during an argument, cyclist didn’t go away in an ambulance, so no one was cited. Turns out later on the driver came to the cyclists house demanding they pay for the door! Classic.

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    dan April 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I fired this gun at you and hit you, but you were only slightly wounded and were able to make it to the ER under your own power, so no crime was committed, right?

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      J_R April 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Yeah. Second Amendment and all. If bike were important they’d be mentioned in the Constitution.

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      Andyc of Linnton April 10, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Yeah, dan. Though make sure you’re operating a motor vehicle at the time so you’re sure to get away with it.

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    encephalopath April 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    It actually took three or four cycles at MLK and Dekum for me to catch a red light run on video because traffic is light.

    Might try this again in the evening.

    https://youtu.be/Rae9Fb3RE1I

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      John Lascurettes April 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      In the case of Knoll’s situation, the truck was headed southbound on MLK and Knoll was crossing MLK on Dekum. Did you notice if red light runners were more common on what the more major, multi-lane highway?

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        encephalopath April 10, 2015 at 4:52 pm

        The Subaru that runs the light in the video is headed south on MLK as well. It’s mostly the MLK traffic that runs the light. Sometimes you’ll get people turning last off Dekum on to MLK, but the at-speed red light runners are people going north or south on MLK.

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      caesar April 10, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Give him a break – that light was orange!

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        encephalopath April 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm

        If by orange you mean super red then, yes.

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          q`Tzal April 10, 2015 at 7:47 pm

          No, doppler shift from his high rate of speed shifted his observed spectrum to higher frequencies: red to orange to yellow then green.

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    brian April 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I was hit by a car last year and PPB failed to come out to the scene. It was more difficult because there was no police report but I managed to get a hefty settlement from the drivers insurance co.

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    Dwaine Dibbly April 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Stericycle transports medical waste. (I know because I work in a medical profession at a hospital.) Think about that: a large truck hauling who-knows-what sort of infectious and nasty stuff speeding through town.

    If the Police won’t investigate accidents where someone very well could have been killed, where a large dangerous vehicle was driven recklessly and carelessly, where a vulnerable road user was the victim, then they need to change their policy to make exceptions for cases like this.

    In the meantime, there should be some sort of get-together where interested people who bike can learn the details of filing citizen citations.

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    q`Tzal April 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    I can’t be the first person to make this observation but…

    … Being an average non-automotive road user in the United States means being in a continuous state of PTSD…. only without the Post. We’re stuck in this abuse codependent relationship with no obvious way out.

    We are afraid all the time or hyper-vigilant.
    We can expect injury or death with no warning.
    No matter what happens it is somehow our fault.
    Authority figures trust the abuser implicitly.
    If we try to stand up for our basic right to live uninjured we are treated as crazy, violent, militant or all of the above.
    And all the time we are left doubting our own actions as if we were to blame: maybe if I was a little more deferential to cars, maybe if I wore different clothes, maybe if I gave cars a wide berth and only used streets that don’t go where cars go.

    All the while we keep getting injured and killed and it seems to matter only as a statistic.

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      Bella Bici April 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Recall, our being struck by cars is not even registered as a statistic! Only if we are carted away in an ambulance.

      Our injuries and physical insults at the hands of distracted/negligent car drivers is INVISIBLE to this city.

      I agree more and more with others, Portland, Biking Capitol of America?!?? Grrrrrrrrrr

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        q`Tzal April 12, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Deaths that involved an automobile in any way have been consistently recorded by the USDOT for many years.
        Everything else is not.

        There was a line from a dystopian fanfic that seems to sum up this uniquely America attitude: “Roadkill is the price of progress”.

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        q`Tzal April 12, 2015 at 11:53 am

        This is DEFINITELY not just Portland by far and certainly isn’t any worse in Portland: this is an American problem.

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        soren December 1, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        And some of these injuries end up being serious injuries.

        Vision Zero!

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        q December 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm

        Vision = Seeing. Zero = Nothing. Therefore Vision Zero = Seeing Nothing.

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    Todd Boulanger April 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    This whole discussion reminds me why I ordered a Rideye bike camera on Kickstarter…and its finally on its way after being shipped out today. Its too bad I have to defend my self in this way…

    In this case the rider is still alive and well to testify and fight for their rights vs. the more common scenario of being too injured or forever silent to testify.

    [It if get hit someday and cannot testify please look for my camera(s) before some car later drives over it one the crash scene is reopened.]

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      davemess April 11, 2015 at 9:32 am

      But I don’t think a video would have really helped in this case. They had witnesses that agreed with the cyclist’s story. It’s more an issue of the police just doing something!

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        Todd Boulanger April 11, 2015 at 3:05 pm

        Yes you are correct…my point was that this was a rare situation…all agreed that the driver was at fault (even the driver at some level) but the PPB did what it did. Too often the cyclist cannot be their own witness due to being dead or injured.

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        El Biciclero April 11, 2015 at 8:33 pm

        But in the case of the citation, it is much easier to get your video to show up in court than a witness. “Your Honor, I call Mr. GoPro to the stand…”

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          JAT in Seattle April 13, 2015 at 1:09 pm

          Objection! No foundation, your honor.
          (just sayin’)

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            El Biciclero April 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm

            Don’t I have to ask the witness a question first?

            -Your Honor, we know there is no need to swear in this witness, since cameras don’t lie; I’ll just state for the record that the witness knows he is under “oath”.

            -Mr. GoPro, can you tell the court where were you were on the date and time in question?

            -On the handlebars of Mr. Knoll’s bike.

            -And what were you doing on the handlebars of Mr. Knoll’s bike?

            -Recording video.

            -Of anything in particular?

            -Just whatever happened to be going on in front of us.

            -So, you and Mr. Knoll were not recording scripted or staged events?

            -No.

            -You were recording what most people would think of as “reality”.

            -Yes.

            -And did anything out of the ordinary happen at or about the date and time in question?

            -Depends on what you mean by “ordinary”…

            -Let me rephrase: did anything happen that day that doesn’t usually happen to you and Mr. Knoll?

            -Yes.

            -Can you show us on this video monitor here what, to the best of your recollection, happened that day at the time in question?

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    SW April 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I REALLY hope this citizens citation goes somewhere and doesn’t get ignored.

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    soren April 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    It’s great that so many are outraged by the lack of enforcement but, IMO, police bureau attitudes will not change until we elect council members who are passionate about reform. This is why I’m voting for Nick Caleb in 2016.

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    drew April 11, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    100 years of influence by the automotive and petroleum industries allow malevolent or careless and/or unskilled drivers to turn our public roads into deathtraps. Everyone knows there is little legal consequence for slamming into a bike or ped with your car. The police say you are on your own and their hands are “tied”. Good luck.

    I was once knocked off my bike by a pickup passenger leaning out of the vehicle to strike me, while roaring by me in Port Hueneme, Ca. Witnesses got the license number of the truck. A witness took me to her house to bandage my wounds. The cops said nothing could be done unless I could identify the assailant! Nothing has changed since that happened 40 years ago. Domestic terrorism with motor vehicles remains legal in this country.

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      Todd Boulanger April 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Nice word choice “malevolent”!

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    Houston Bolles April 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Wondering what happens if, in order to require the officer to investigate, a cyclist asks for an ambulance, then stays at the scene instead of being transported away. Can an ambulance company charge for a non-transport? What if it’s a city fire paramedic crew?

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      J_R April 13, 2015 at 8:42 am

      City EMTs render aid at the scene. A private ambulance company does the transport to the hospital.

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        Paul Cone April 13, 2015 at 12:41 pm

        In other words, once you get in the ambulance they start billing you.

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    Paul Cone April 13, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Years ago I was at 27 & Division and a kid in his mom’s Volvo almost clipped me while coming around the corner, but I was able to stop in time. However I stopped so hard that all my forward momentum went into my front wheel, which tacoed. The kid didn’t stop but someone in another car did, and agreed the kid was totally at fault. I walked to K & F (known cop hangout so I knew I could find them there) and told the officers there what happened, but they said since no actual contact was made between us there was nothing they could do. Then I wished I’d just run into the car.

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      El Biciclero April 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Yeah, the “no contact” rule seems terrible in the context of riding a bike. If I dive into a ditch or run into a curb and crash hard because a driver moved into me, but didn’t “make contact”, well, tough beans—if he didn’t hit you, the driver didn’t do anything, right? Just remember to never put your hand out and touch a vehicle, though, because that will be hit-and-run or vandalism on your part…

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  • Tony T
    Tony T April 13, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    “the PPB policy not to investigate traffic collisions that don’t involve major injury has him worried about Portland’s long-term ability to understand issues like this one. The Portland Bureau of Transportation, for instance, relies heavily on collision data to set priorities for safety projects.”

    This is a HUGE part of the problem.

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    El Biciclero April 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

    It seems there is a distinction here between “investigate” and “cite”. It sounds from the content of this very article that there is a pretty clear understanding of what happened: speeding truck runs a red and snags the front of a bicycle whose rider was crossing the truck’s path—with the right-of-way conferred by having a green signal. Bike damage is obvious, witnesses confirm the truck driver ran the red, the truck driver admits he “may have been going a little fast”. If I were a cop, that would be about all the investigation I might need to determine what happened.

    The part that irks me is that when witness statements and evidence at the scene point to—or even prove—the fact that a driver broke the law in the course of causing damage and coming within a hair’s-breadth of seriously injuring or killing someone (on a bike), all the officer seems to want to do is tell the driver to “be more careful, ‘k?” While in a similar situation, if any tiny shred of evidence or even dubious and contradictory witness accounts even hint at the possibility that a bicyclist may have caused a crash, that bicyclist may expect one of the first visitors in his hospital room to be the cop, with a citation in hand. Get well soon!

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    Esther2 April 28, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    The ambulance ride being the threshold of investigation is really silly. it in no way indicates the seriousness of the accident or injury.

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    X November 30, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    What was the outcome of this citizen citation?

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    q November 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Since there was no police report, and the victim is writing the citation, will it be his duty to warn himself to always wear a helmet, use front and rear lights, and wear high-visibility clothing, so that he can Be Seen and Be Safe?

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      X December 1, 2017 at 6:46 am

      I see what you did there–
      If anyone hasn’t seen the recent post from M. Conners on shift2bikes.org, look it up. Apparently you need to do this stuff even if somebody else fills out the crash report.

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