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Broadway Bridge updates: A broken shoulder and upcoming closure

Posted by on October 6th, 2015 at 11:02 am

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Terry Barton’s broken shoulder.

We’ve been following the Broadway Bridge re-painting project since the first complaints about it started coming in back in August.

The biking and walking pathways have been dramatically narrowed to make room for construction scaffolding. Despite flaggers on both ends to ferry users through, we’ve been worried that someone would get hurt. Now we’ve heard about the first (to our knowledge) serious injury caused by this narrow riding environment.

Portlander Terry Barton contacted us yesterday with the bad news: He suffered a broken shoulder on Friday afternoon after a crash caused by trying to navigate through the construction zone. Barton told us he’s been riding through the “mess” since it started and that he’s had several close calls with people both walking and biking. On Friday he was headed downtown when he miscommunicated intentions with someone walking toward him in the narrowed portion of the path. “I clipped him and then flew over my handlebars,” Barton shared with us.

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Barton found our coverage of the project after researching onling about the unsafe conditions and says he’s considering taking legal action against the county.

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(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In other news about the project, Multnomah County announced today that they plan completely prohibit motor vehicle traffic from October 11th through the 27th. The paths on each side of the bridge will remain open during the closure, but streetcars, buses and all other motor vehicles will not be allowed on the bridge, “to ensure public safety.” People driving are encouraged to use the Burnside, Fremont or Steel bridges instead.

The County says the project is on schedule to be finished by the end of March 2016.

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Mike Quiglery
Guest
Mike Quiglery

Ever consider walking your bike through these kinds of areas?

Dan
Subscriber

With all due respect, if you were passing a pedestrian in the section of the Broadway Bridge shown in the photo, how could you go fast enough to endo? The whole thing looks like it’s less than 4 feet wide.

Paul Wilkins
Guest
Paul Wilkins

Sounds as though someone was operating a bicycle too fast for the conditions.

Alex
Guest
Alex

That’s terrible. Hopefully positive changes will come from this. I know the folks at MultCo are receptive to communication and are sympathetic.

I think it is a difficult situation that may be best resolved by simply diverting bike traffic to other bridges.

browse
Guest
browse

I biked over the Broadway Bridge path yesterday, traveling west bound. I moved at a slow walking speed and the other people I saw, on bike and on foot, were quite gracious about taking turns leaning far to one side to let each other pass.

RH
Guest
RH

I grazed my finger on the bridge railing the other day…scaffolding on one end of the bridge is wider than the other…caught me off guard. Not sure why they only flag one end of the bridge and not the entire thing. Scaffolding is on both ends now.

Allan
Guest
Allan

How much time would it take to finish if they closed the bridge completely and worked faster

Adam
Subscriber

If he clipped a person walking, and couldn’t stop in time, then he was likely riding too fast for conditions. Is the person he hit okay? At any rate, I hope Terry heals soon.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

“serious injury caused by this narrow riding environment.”

No, you were not traveling at a speed appropriate for that environment and you failed to take precautions to avoid an ‘accident’.

spencer
Guest
spencer

Thats a bummer. Heal up quick. I echo Paul’s comment, I’m a fast rider but that path is so narrow that we should all be moving cautiously to avoid contact.

Endo
Guest
Endo

I hate that people are blaming the victim here. Why should he have to slow down? If the conditions weren’t so poor he wouldn’t have broken his shoulder, the city is totally at fault here, not the cyclist.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Sounds like he was riding too fast and hit a pedestrian. Should have been riding at near walking speed, or walking his bike. Especially since he was familiar with the conditions during construction. Probably lucky he didn’t go over the railing, or send the pedestrian over the railing. Hopefully the pedestrian wasn’t injured.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

In fairness to the rider, bikes become much less stable at low speeds and actually require more width as they slow down.

I’m dismayed that the county is comfortable allowing a grossly substandard environment for pedestrians and cyclists while maintaining full access for motorists. Perhaps a better solution would be to close off the bridge to motorists while the work is ongoing. If the little darlings can handle a week and a half of bridge closure, surely they can handle a couple of months. Oh, I forgot. Cars first, last and always.

Steve
Guest
Steve

When in doubt, “consider legal action”. Nice. If you don’t like the conditions choose another route. He says himself he has ridden through the site numerous times prior. I hope he heals soon and has learned a bit also.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

Hm…, it might be wise to edit that x-ray image to obscure Terry’s personal data. Of course, the cat’s probably out of the bag by now.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

>he’s considering taking legal action against the county.

And then they’ll close the bridge completely to bikes. Great!

Spiffy
Subscriber

In other news about the project, Multnomah County announced today that they plan completely prohibit motor vehicle traffic from October 11th through the 27th. The paths on each side of the bridge will remain open during the closure, but streetcars, buses and all other motor vehicles will not be allowed on the bridge, “to ensure public safety.” People driving are encouraged to use the Burnside, Fremont or Steel bridges instead.

they don’t say that the bridge lanes will be closed… so this news release to me says that I can bike in the lane on the bridge with no motor vehicle traffic to worry about…

they really should clarify that the bridge lanes will be closed to all traffic and that bicycles may only cross using the sidewalk…

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

I hope the pedestrian sues the cyclist for biking wayyyyyy too fast for conditions. The nerve this guy has to think it’s the city’s fault.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I have biked through this work zone a few times and I was wondering if they had considered removing sections of the bridge railing (separating cars from bike/peds) to allow easier rerouting of bicyclists off the path and onto the closed but “open” roadway lanes?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Additionally, now that the bridge has been closed to cars and trams, I wonder if the County would reconsider adding a tarped tunnel 1 lane wide to facilitate bi-directional bike traffic through this workmen and away from the pedestrians on the pathway?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Todd Boulanger
sorry…meant work zone and not workmen (damn text editor!)Recommended 0

Don’t want bikes weaving between the workmen, and you wouldn’t want to breathe the dust and paint particles.

joel
Guest

“he’s considering taking legal action against the county”

HAH! someone should count their lucky stars they didnt otb over the railing and into the vacant lot below. sue the county! because guy, by his own admission, clipped the ped? take some responsibility for your own actions, acknowledge that you were riding too fast for conditions and shooting a gap that was too narrow for your skill set, and heal up quick. next time, STOP, lean against the railing, and let the ped pass. that narrowed stretch isnt wide enough for a bike to politely pass a ped unless the ped yields to the bike out of sheer generosity, and everyones just gonna have to suck it up until this is done, cause a certain amount of room is needed around the bridge structure in order to sandblast and repaint.

HJ
Guest
HJ

Honestly I have little sympathy in this case. It’s a construction zone. It’s a very tight squeeze. If I had a pedestrian coming up on me while riding through there I’d unclip a foot and very slowly scoot past.
Let’s face it, you have to be going a certain minimum speed to do a full endo and that speed is one that would be totally inappropriate for the situation described.
The bottom line is the city needs to maintain the infrastructure. They’re doing that. It’s going to cause some inconveniences. I’d consider slowing down for the whopping grand total distance of 1 bridge a pretty minor inconvenience. And no, they don’t need to make huge luxurious high speed bike corridors available through the construction. That’s just absurd. All they need to do is leave a passable path and they’ve done that.

Kevin
Subscriber
Kevin

I’m curious about what Terry means when he says he “miscommunicated intentions with someone walking toward him”. There shouldn’t be any question of which direction either party should move if they’re coming towards each other; move to the right. Did Terry indicate he was going to the right and then move left or vice versa? Either way, it sounds like he instigated this collision.

I am certainly sympathetic to him for the broken shoulder and hope he heals well, but judging from the limited information available, I can’t help but believe that he was responsible. I assume the pedestrian hasn’t been identified since they’re not mentioned in this article. It would be interesting to have them come forward and tell their side of the story. Hopefully they were uninjured when they got clipped.

ynn
Guest
ynn

Why are people who ride bikes so quick to claim “I’m the vulnerable user” when there’s a dangerous interaction with a person driving car?
Then when a person who rides a bike clips a person walking, they are the victim? Isn’t the vulnerable user the person who is walking?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A
Mark
Guest
Mark

What’s so hard about getting odd and walking? If we can’t, we are no different than auto drivers who wizz by us to close.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Getting off…not getting odd…

Terry barton
Guest
Terry barton

I’m not that fast of a rider.I swerved to the left but the pedestrian didn’t move to one side or the other.Witnesses said that it appeared that he was Itrying to make me crash or was drunk.I think that there should be flaggers during peak hours or no bikes allowed at all.There isn’t enough room for both on such a busy bridge.Its even more difficult to walk my bike across the bridge during construction

Michael
Guest
Michael

The be all end all is take responsibility for yourself and your actions. It’s not the county’s fault you endo’ed and it’s not for unsafe situations. Yes, it’s difficult and less safe than previously. If you’re not comfortable with your skills or the intent of someone else go slowly. Accidents happen and I’m very sorry this person ended up with a broken shoulder; but really, a lawsuit? Life happens and it’s not always someone else’s fault

Justin
Guest
Justin

Great, so now he sues, costs the taxpayer money because he couldn’t handle his bike (and don’t know, but sounds like going to fast). Why are we so quick to sue and compulsively blame any injury on someone else?

I’m not sure how much more we expect the bridge crews to do – I mean, they have to put up scaffolding, they put flaggers out there, etc. Perhaps there are things I am not thinking of.

SJ
Guest
SJ

I take this route every day. I can’t imagine being bold enough to clip a pedestrian and then sue anybody. The bridge is open to bikes. Riders need to be careful. Period. They could have just closed the bridge to bikes altogether. Would this have been preferable? Lawsuit? Give me a break.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Small issue (potentially bigger issue)- you might want to remove/blur the medical record number from the X-ray.

Terry Barton
Guest
Terry Barton

Taking legal action was just a thought that I had because there were no flaggers and that the bridge should be off limits to bikes.If I had it to do all over I would avoid the bridge altogether.The city need to take responsibility by herring flaggers or banning bikes altogether.Furthermore,my experience has been,peds are polite enough to move over.This is what I was expecting.The bridge painters said that the ped purposely was attempting to make me crash.