(Image: Google Street View)
A collision involving a pickup truck and a bicycle critically injured a man biking southbound on 26th Avenue just before 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
Police said the injured man’s leg was severed after the northbound truck turned left onto Powell in front of him. Alistair Corkett, 22, was “transported to a Portland hospital with life-threatening injuries” but is expected to survive.
Kenji Sugahara, executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, said in an email Sunday afternoon that Corkett was “a development rider for one of our teams in PDX.”
Brandon Bruins, a manager at the Clackamas Bike Gallery, said Corkett and a man who was riding with him were both employees there, and that Corkett had raced bicycles for years. Bruins said he’d been told Corkett was speaking to people after treatment.
Steve Remy, another friend of Corkett’s, said the man riding with Corkett was Anthony Disano.
According to the online map of traffic injuries since 2004 created for the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero campaign, this is the most dangerous intersection on Powell between SE 7th and SE Cesar Chavez, with 73 injuries from 2004 to 2013: 60 people in cars, eight people on bikes and five people on foot.
Here’s the full news release from the Portland Police Bureau:
On Sunday May 10, 2015, at 9:52 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to Southeast 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard on the report that a man riding a bicycle had a leg severed after being struck by a man driving a pick-up truck.
Officers and medical personnel arrived and located the injured man in his 20s. The victim has been transported to a Portland hospital with life-threatening injuries. Several passersby stopped to provide medical aid until paramedics arrived at the scene.
The driver of the truck remained at the scene and has been detained by police for further investigation.
Preliminary information indicates that the truck driver was northbound on 26th Avenue and the bicycle rider and a friend were riding southbound on 26th Avenue. The truck driver turned left in front of the bicycle riders, colliding with the victim.
The Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team has responded to the scene to investigate the crash.
The department added in a later update:
The driver of the pick-up, 42-year-old Barry Scott Allen, was detained and released as the investigation continues. Drugs and/or alcohol do not appear to be a factor at this time.
Once the investigation is complete, the case will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.
This is one of the most important bike crossings of Powell, with bike lanes and bike boxes in both directions. It’s the main corner in front of Cleveland High School.
The 20s Bikeway project, which is nearing completion, is currently considering creating an alternative neighborhood greenway route on 28th Avenue, a lower-traffic street two blocks east. That would require a new signalized crossing. As of April 30 the Oregon Department of Transportation, which controls Powell Boulevard, had not yet decided whether to approve that new city-requested signal because it is so close to the existing one at 26th.
Beneath this post, several readers have had things to say about this intersection and the surrounding area. From Ezm:
Another Car v Bike happened in this intersection 2-3 weeks ago. Driver hit a high school kid, similar circumstances, although I don’t think the injury was nearly as bad.
I live a block away, cross here on feet or bike several times a day. The intersection is very straight forward, few if any vision obstructions. Yet daily I see drivers not following signage, not respecting the bike box, and just generally not yielding or driving with caution.
Car traffic has a tendency to get jammed here during the rush, especially as parents drop kids at school. A lot of what I see is frustrated drivers, on powell and 26th alike, pushing the light and driving super aggressive.
I have to bike through this intersection on my bike several times a day and I feel like I’m gambling with my life every time. 1) The N/S light is way too short (and the E/W too long), so everyone speeds through. 2) No one enforces the green boxes, so a lot of the cars turn right on red 3) There are no alternatives for crossing Powell within 6 blocks 4) Traffic on 26th has gotten progressively worse over the years with no change in traffic patterns to accommodate it (a left turn signal would be pretty useful).
The section directly in front of Cleveland HS is especially dangerous with the bike lane frequently blocked by buses in the bus stop, parents dropping off/picking up their kids at school (because the kids can’t seem to walk half a block, I guess), and, during rainy season, a poorly drained lake at the corner. All factors that force cyclists into the car lane.
KATU.com has a photo of the truck that was involved.
Nearby resident Dan Kaufman, whose children attend Cleveland High School, is organizing a “super legal slow-down of this intersection at afternoon rush hour” on Monday.
Nicholas Caleb, a candidate running for city council against incumbent Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, shared the news on his campaign Facebook page:
As soon as I arrived home from a wonderful, leisurely day at Sunday Parkways, I saw this terrible news.
The reality of cycling in Portland is that it is extremely dangerous. The infrastructure that should be in place to protect cyclists has not been installed & each passing day without it means life threatening danger for cyclists who venture out into the streets. Fragile human bodies stand no chance when they come in contact with metal machines weighing in at thousands of pounds and moving fast. Helmets and reflective clothing won’t change this reality. We need real safety infrastructure & traffic laws to be strictly enforced in order to protect human lives.
I will fight for a society much closer to what we experience at Sunday Parkways.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.