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Fatal hit-and-run at NE Lombard and 42nd Ave – Updated

Posted by on December 12th, 2015 at 9:41 pm

lombardfatallead

The crash scene. (Looking east on Lombard from the westbound lanes toward 42nd)
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A man was killed while riding his bicycle on NE Lombard/Portland Highway tonight. According to the Portland Police the crash happened near NE 42nd Avenue. This is the same location we just wrote about on Friday as having a “scary pinch-point.”

The crash happened around 8:30 pm. Here’s the statement released by the PPB at 9:10 pm:

On Saturday December 12, 2015, at 8:38 p.m., North Precinct and Traffic Division officers responded to the report of a bicycle rider down in the street in the 4200 block of Northeast Portland Highway.

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located the male victim suffering from life-threatening injuries. Medical personnel were unable to save the victim’s life and he died at the scene.

Witnesses described a suspect vehicle being driven out of the area eastbound on Portland Highway.

Northeast Portland Highway (Lombard Street) is closed in both direction at 42nd Avenue and will remain so for several hours as the Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team conducts an investigation.

A possible suspect vehicle has been located by police and two people detained at Northeast Sandy Boulevard and I-205.

No additional updates are expected this evening.

Lombard — also known as NE Portland Highway — is managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The bike lanes on Lombard end in both directions prior to 42nd, but it’s not clear yet if the collision occurred in the pinch-point or not.

People typically drive between 45-50 mph in this area (the posted speed limit is 45).

This is the second traffic crash in Portland this year that has claimed the life of a person who was cycling.

We’ll share more information as we can.

UPDATE, 11:35 pm: I just returned from the crash site. The Portland Police Bureau Major Crash Team is still on the scene doing the investigation. They’re taking careful measurements, snapping photographs, discussing things with each other, and overall doing what appears to be a very thorough and methodical investigation. It’s good to know we have such professionals working on our behalf.

As for the crash… We still don’t have official details. PPB spokesman Pete Simpson told me tonight they won’t release any updates until tomorrow or possibly Monday.

Given the history of this location and the fact that we’ve reported twice about the bike lane gap, I’m curious to confirm where this collision occurred. Based on what I saw tonight it appears very likely that the impact indeed took place in the bike lane gap.

It appears the man was riding eastbound and that the collision likely happened just west of the 42nd Avenue overpass, where the bike lane is gone and the shoulder narrows significantly near the bridge supports. As you can see in the photos below, the officers were focused intently on a location almost under the bridge itself.

Here’s a streetview image showing the location where police crash investigators are focusing:

lombard-map

And here’s a (poor cell phone image) of the crash investigators. Note how they are focusing under the bridge in the eastbound lane (I took this photo standing in the westbound bike lane looking toward the east):

lombardfatal2

Update, 12:53 pm on 12/13: PPB has just released an update (emphasis mine):

The driver in last night’s fatal hit and run crash was booked into the Multnomah County Jail early Sunday morning on multiple charges.

26-year-old Kenneth Britt Smith Jr. was charged with Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Reckless Driving, and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Marijuana).

During the investigation, Traffic officers learned that the 38-year-old male bicycle rider was riding eastbound on Portland Highway/Lombard when he was struck from behind by Smith, driving a blue 2000 Ford Crown Victoria. Evidence at the scene showed investigators that the bicycle rider was wearing a helmet and had a rear flashing red light on his bicycle.

Smith drove away from the scene and was later taken into custody when police located the vehicle at Northeast 97th Avenue and Killingsworth Street.

The name of the deceased will be released after family is located and notified.

NOTE: 6:05pm on 12/13: I regret getting the directions confused. It was a mistake of typing and thinking, not a pre-judgment of fact. To clarify: The crash happened in the eastbound lanes.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

117 Comments
  • K'Tesh December 12, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    That’s Terrible! My Prayers for the cyclist, his friends and family.

    God Bless! Be safe everybody!

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • eddie December 12, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Damn that’s terrible.

    Pinch point or not, bike lanes or not, Lombard is super sketchy in that area. I never feel safe there and avoid it as much as I can.

    poor bastard.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

  • CD December 12, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    God, that’s horrifying. Not a street I want to find myself on while riding my bike until serious changes are made to it.

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  • mikeybikey December 12, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    shut down/occupy the f**king road until ODOT director for the region resigns. enough is enough.

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    • Scott H December 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Matt Garrett ought to face 401 counts of manslaughter.

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  • Mike G
    Mike G December 12, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Thoughts to family and friends. Another sad reason for the cycling community to stand.

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  • peejay December 12, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    How many more people have to die before Matt Garrett is arrested and thrown in jail?

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    • dwk December 13, 2015 at 8:11 am

      You should also thank the BTA for the complete lack of any real progress in this “bike” city. I have been commuting 13 miles each way across this city since 2003, going on 13 years. I am still on the exact same dangerous streets with a stripe of paint for my safety. A complete joke and all the money that has been raised and wasted (or used for year end “congrats” parties by these clowns), and all the votes for phonies like Sam Adams et al, who con you people year after year.
      Meanwhile to the north, Seattle is building real bike paths, Minneapolis and other cities are making Portland look like 1960 Detroit.

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      • Stephen Keller December 13, 2015 at 8:33 am

        That is why I stopped re-upping my membership.

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      • dwk December 13, 2015 at 9:37 am

        just a note, I have only been hit by a car once on those 13 years…….

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      • Kevin December 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

        Be careful what you cite as progress. I spend significant time in Seattle, much of what you tout as progress up there is actually door zone bike lanes, wrong way bike lanes, and bike lanes that increase the chances of being, right hooked, left hooked, and left crossed. Magic Green Paint and separated facilities does not necessarily equate with personal safety.

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      • soren December 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm

        BikeLoudPDX could use your help. We have been protesting ODOT’s highways of death since our inception. ODOT is the single biggest barrier to road safety in the Portland region.

        http://bikeloudpdx.org/

        Activist ride to our General Meeting
        Another death on Lombard. Meet me at 2:00 on the NE Corner of Peninsula Park near the tennis courts. We’ll ride 1.3 miles northwest to Tuite Bicycle Repair and attend the 3:00 meeting today. Depending on the number of people we’ll do a slow ride on Lombard and stop at the I-5 interchange which has one of the highest accidents rates in PDX.

        http://shift2bikes.org/cal/wp3week.php#13-5388

        General Meeting
        3:00 – 5:00 pm
        Tuite Bicycle Repair
        2234 N Lombard St

        At our general meeting we will discuss holding another “Die-In” at ODOT Region 1 headquarters in response to this unnecesssary violent death.

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        • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 4:46 pm

          Sorry Soren! I left BTA about 13 years ago when they began to advocate riding without helmets and riding on sidewalks in and out of town as well as against prevailing traffic.
          All of these are a lead in for suicide.

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  • DisconnectedInCully December 12, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I live near here and depend on my bike to get around. It’s impossible to find a safe route North or East of my neighborhood. I’ve spent so much time scouring online and paper maps trying to figure out how to get to 122nd, for example, and there are a depressing amount of ‘difficult connections’. To get to I205 Multi-Use Path I have to decide between Lombard and it’s barely-handlebar-width lanes next to 45mph traffic or a street devoid of bike lanes, with one lane each direction and cars impatiently whipping around me.
    I am a confident rider yet I never ride on Lombard, the traffic is too close and too fast. In particular the disappearing-reappearing bike lanes, and the dicey way you’re supposed to cross over a lane of traffic merging onto I205 South when heading eastbound. Columbia is much, much worse.
    This shouldn’t happen. It’s time for the city to focus on improving conditions such as these in underserved neighborhoods like mine. We’ll never realize Vision Zero until there are safer routes that serve and connect the whole city.

    Recommended Thumb up 54

    • eddie December 13, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Honestly you just have to do a lot of experimenting and wiggling on the smaller side streets to get around there. I’d stick to streets like Prescott to go east, and north? good luck. Just go on google maps and take the smallest possible streets. 33rd in that area.

      It’s really the only way to go. Bike lanes are nice to have but if they are on a high volume street they can’t do a damn thing to protect you. Which is why Rodney, for example, is far safer than Vancouver or Williams, despite the latter two having bike lanes. There are tons of cars on those streets and they are therefore less safe than the quieter neighborhood streets.

      You just have to bike where it is physically safe, no matter how they decorate the street. And never cycle somewhere like Lombard and 42nd at night. I’m not blaming the guy who got murdered by a car driver there last night, but it’s a word to the wise.

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      • Lester Luallin December 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm

        Even Alberta’s a good riding road out that way. It’s mostly sharrowed up out there past 42nd. I take it east, cut through that park, pick up Alberta again, L on 89th, then R on Killingsworth ’til I intersect the 205 trail. If going on to 122nd, I’d take 99th down to Prescott…

        If I’m taking 205 over to Vancouver from Cully area, I just take 33rd north to Marine Drive MUP, then across the Glen Jackson.

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    • rick December 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Have you checked portlandmaps.com ? It shows public right-of-way.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 13, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Just back from the crash scene and added this update to the story:

    UPDATE, 11:35 pm: I just returned from the crash site. The Portland Police Bureau Major Crash Team is still on the scene doing the investigation. They’re taking careful measurements, snapping photographs, discussing things with each other, and overall doing what appears to be a very thorough and methodical investigation. It’s good to know we have such professionals working on our behalf.

    As for the crash… We still don’t have official details. PPB spokesman Pete Simpson told me tonight they won’t release any updates until tomorrow or possibly Monday.

    Given the history of this location and the fact that we’ve reported twice about the bike lane gap, I’m curious to confirm where this collision occurred. Based on what I saw tonight it appears very likely that the impact indeed took place in the bike lane gap.

    It appears the man was riding eastbound and that the collision likely happened just west of the 42nd Avenue overpass, where the bike lane is gone and the shoulder narrows significantly near the bridge supports. As you can see in the photos below, the officers were focused intently on a location almost under the bridge itself.

    Here’s a streetview image showing the location where police crash investigators are focusing:

    lombard-map

    And here’s a (poor cell phone image) of the crash investigators. Note how they are focusing under the bridge in the eastbound lane:

    lombardfatal2

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Spiffy December 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

      story: Note how they are focusing under the bridge in the eastbound lane

      this update: Note how they are focusing under the bridge in the westbound lane

      also: A possible suspect vehicle has been located by police and two people detained at Northeast Sandy Boulevard and I-205

      so was the crash going eastbound? or was it westbound and then the driver turned around and headed back east?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Spiffy December 13, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        thanks for the correction…

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm

          you’re welcome. I have a horrible habit of getting east and west incorrect. it should all be good now. Just want people to know that it was an oversight/mistake and not a prejudgment based on speculation. I try to be extremely careful to not rush to judgment (I’ve learned my lesson over the years).

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          • El Biciclero December 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

            “I have a horrible habit of getting east and west incorrect…”

            Huh. So I’m not the only one. North and South? No problem. East and West? Half the time I say the wrong one even though I know which direction I’m talking about. Weird.

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    • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      I just noticed Jonathan. Just before the update in the front section “This is the second traffic crash in Portland this year that has claimed the life of a person who was cycling.”
      I think this is the second one this week on ODOT roads in Portland.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • gutterbunnybikes December 13, 2015 at 10:19 pm

        What is the other one? I haven’t heard of any others this week in the city.

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        • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm

          It may have been in the last 2 weeks. The gent that was killed on his bike on Powell

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  • Jan V December 13, 2015 at 1:39 am

    So sorry. Very sad.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • rachel b December 13, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Just terrible. Awful. Very sorry to hear this and am thinking of his family and friends, with great sympathy.

    (As I was typing this, several drivers tore down our 25mph street. It is such a frustrating feeling to see that kind of now-routine carelessness and risk-taking–with my and others’ lives–and feel helpless to even make a dent in it. Sick and tired of nervously dancing around impatient, fast and distracted drivers and fearing the worst, hoping for the best, like a lottery, every day)

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • Allen Hepner December 13, 2015 at 5:51 am

    How about a listing of the most dangerous streets for bicyclists

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Brendan Treacy December 14, 2015 at 8:56 am

      I’d like to see that too but what worries me is that areas like this just get written off as no-go zones for bikes. Like it’s on you if you get killed out there because its just so dangerous. We have to keep the pressure on making places safer but at the same time avoid those places until then. Not sure how to make that one work.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • peejay December 13, 2015 at 7:57 am

    While ODOT is criminally negligent for this tragedy, let us also not forget that similar dangerous conditions exist on PBOT-maintained roads, such as Interstate under the 99w ramp overpass, and the Naito Gap, among many others. The sad truth may be that we need surviving family members to sue these agencies into doing their jobs, because they will not act on their own.

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    • Spiffy December 13, 2015 at 11:15 am

      N Interstate Ave IS 99w… so which ramp do you mean?

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      • peejay December 13, 2015 at 11:20 am

        Larabee I think. Same exact kind of pinch point.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Middle of the Road guy December 14, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Criminally negligent?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • dan December 14, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Well, it did seem to work for Amanda Fritz.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • 9watts December 13, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Platinum.

    But I have to say I’m delighted that (at least here or from any police utterances mentioned) there have been no questions about the rider’s attire or what he had on his head. Perhaps Vision Zero is starting to have (small, but salutary) effects.

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    • peejay December 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Although I wonder if they just haven’t gotten around to that yet.

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      • Spiffy December 13, 2015 at 2:46 pm
        • lyle w. December 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

          Just as a warning to people with a weak stomach for this stuff… do NOT go through those comments unless you’re prepared for the usual swamp of victim-blaming, cycling-hatred and febrile-minded garbage from the o-live crowd.

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          • Dan A December 14, 2015 at 9:05 am

            OMG, it’s just brutal over there.

            “Besides, it was a dark, wet night in Portland. It could have been any one of us driving and not seeing a bicyclist riding on the side of the highway. Similar accidents happen multiple times a year. Sometimes when drivers are cold sober.”

            “Riding a bicycle at night on that highway is not a very smart thing to do. Oh sure he has every right to expect drivers to safely pass him, but in that part of town there are many slimeballs who don’t obey traffic laws. So go ahead and risk life and limb, spokers, but I’ll take my chances in my big, safe car.”

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            • Middle of the Road guy December 14, 2015 at 10:06 am

              I don’t think that’s brutal. I think it’s fairly objective and unemotional.

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  • Hazel December 13, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Jonathan, you state people drive between 45-50 mph on this street. I occasionally drive on Lombard doing the speed limit and get passed at high rates of speed by most other cars. A more accurate speed is 45-65 mph on this road. I have never ever seen any enforcement on Lombard. Lower down the speed drops to 35 and people continuing drive 50+ mph. I’ve never understood why any surface street in the city should have such a high speed limit. Seems like a terrible idea.

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    • Ted Buehler December 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      I have a friend who received a photo radar ticket on this stretch of Lombard. Going 55 in a 45 zone. She slowed down after that. So, props to ODOT for having done this in the past, anyway. I don’t know if they still have the photo radar ticket program or not.

      FWIW,
      Ted Buehler

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      • J_R December 13, 2015 at 2:37 pm

        ODOT has nothing to do with enforcement.

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      • Mark December 14, 2015 at 4:43 pm

        Because you are less dead at 55 than 45. It was designed for 55/

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    • HJ December 14, 2015 at 7:58 am

      I drive Lombard almost every day to get to work. Usual speeds are 45-60. I’ve seen several times they’ve had a photo-radar van set up to catch speeders. Probably the only reason people aren’t usually going 70.
      What really terrifies me is how impatient people are on there. I had one day I was driving home, traffic was going about 43mph, multiple cars in both lanes. Impatient motorcyclist decided he couldn’t possibly handle going the speed limit and went around by blowing up the bike lane at what had to be at least 80mph.
      About a half mile later there was a cyclist in the bike lane.
      The way he pulled out (he was behind me before, driving erratic) there’s not a chance he was able to see ahead of time the bike lane was clear for even 50ft.
      Still amazes me that I didn’t drive up on a horrible accident.

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  • hotrodder December 13, 2015 at 9:07 am

    This is just terrible. My thoughts go out to the family of the victim…

    Is there any more word on the suspects?

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  • Joe December 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

    🙁 so sad ppl drive way beyond 45mph. sometimes 10over the limit.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Clark in Vancouver December 13, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I’ve never been there but looking at Google maps and Streetview, it looks like there’s enough room to put in wide, off road cycle paths on each side of this stretch.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • shirtsoff December 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Seriously! I keep wondering this myself each time I pass by this stretch.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 13, 2015 at 10:48 am

      there’s also enough room to narrow the existing lane(s) and stripe a continuous bike lane… of course to do that safely ODOT would have to do something to lower speeds and warn people to drive more cautiously at the pinch point and elsewhere.

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      • AndyC of Linnton December 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Which are two smart, easy, cost effective things ODOT seems completely incapable of doing on any of their highways through the city.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

    • wsbob December 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      “…it looks like there’s enough room to put in wide, off road cycle paths on each side of this stretch. …” clark

      At the least, the bike lane diverted around the bridge supports, would most likely be safer for all road users than a road diet would be.

      Of course, making no prompt change at all to this point of the roadway, would seem to be the worst choice.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      There is plenty of room for a joined or separate bike path on both sides of the thoroughfare on Portland Road/Lombard. I first rode that stretch on the way to Rocky Butte in 1954 with 2 friends of mine. I was 9 years old.
      It still has the same road but it has guard rails now. Beyond the current guard rails and bridge posts it would be fairly easy to build a paved bike lane.
      Have a group of boy Scouts do an eagle project, or have a half dozen ODOT administrators lose their high paying positions and use that money to do it.
      Just my opinion!

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  • eddie December 13, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I’d like to go down there and lock a white bike to the site. What are the laws about this kind of thing and how long is it likely to stay there?

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    • Spiffy December 13, 2015 at 11:26 am

      since it’s under ODOT control it’s considered a distraction, is illegal, and will be removed within a couple of days…

      they can’t have people slowing down and being careful or it would defeat the purpose of having a highway in the city…

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      • J_R December 13, 2015 at 11:40 am

        No. A serious distraction like that will qualify as an emergency; they’ll dispatch a crew immediately to deal with a crisis like that!

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  • Mark December 13, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Time to lobby for a Lombard diet. One lane 14 feet each direction. That will meet the needs of oversize and riders.

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    • soren December 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Until ODOT’s highways of death are turned over to the city nothing be done to protect the vulnerable Portlanders who use them.

      Oregon Traffic Fatalities
      2015 year to date: 401
      2014: 327

      Recommended Thumb up 11

      • peejay December 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

        You’d think that would be the number one performance metric that determines whether the people running ODOT deserve to keep their jobs, but I bet it is not even top ten. Unless, of course all of us raise holy hell about this and create a public outcry, and the media does its job. Righ, what was I thinking?

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        • Dan A December 14, 2015 at 9:10 am

          They want you to look at the positive side, and count the number of death-free days instead.

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    • wsbob December 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      The recent story update indicating that marijuana intoxication may have been a contributory cause of the collision, has me wondering whether a road diet for the purpose of creating a continuing bike lane under the overpass, would have been enough to have kept this collision from happening.

      Much about this collision is not yet known, especially to people learning about it through comments to this story. Under normal circumstances, if two road users; one person driving, the other person riding a bike:…travel the section of the road under the overpass at the same time, keeping their line of travel straight and apart from that of the other, a collision isn’t going to happen.

      Most likely, this collision occurred in part, because one of the two road users turned from their line of travel, into that of the other road user. Remains to be determine which did which. At best though, a main lane adjoining paint marked bike lane only establishes a 4′-6′ area separated from the main lane. That’s not really a barrier to a collision from any road user not holding their line of travel away from that of other road users.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    New update from PPB says man was driving high on marijuana. The guy on the bike (name still not released) had a rear light:

    Update, 12:53 pm on 12/13: PPB has just released an update (emphasis mine):

    The driver in last night’s fatal hit and run crash was booked into the Multnomah County Jail early Sunday morning on multiple charges.

    26-year-old Kenneth Britt Smith Jr. was charged with Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Reckless Driving, and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Marijuana).

    During the investigation, Traffic officers learned that the 38-year-old male bicycle rider was riding eastbound on Portland Highway/Lombard when he was struck from behind by Smith, driving a blue 2000 Ford Crown Victoria. Evidence at the scene showed investigators that the bicycle rider was wearing a helmet and had a rear flashing red light on his bicycle.

    Smith drove away from the scene and was later taken into custody when police located the vehicle at Northeast 97th Avenue and Killingsworth Street.

    The name of the deceased will be released after family is located and notified.

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    • K'Tesh December 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Well that blows the hell out of the argument that Pot is a “safe” drug.

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      • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 4:48 pm

        It never was a safe drug that I know of. It came to my attention when I was at the demonstrations in Haight-Ashberry in San Francisco in the 60’s.

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      • TTFN December 13, 2015 at 5:03 pm

        Running the wrong direction with the pitchforks. Pot is safe in that it doesn’t cause major disease, you can’t die from taking it and it doesn’t make you want to attack people. Of course you’re not supposed to drive while high, nobody is a proponent of that, and when someone does it they deserve to get in trouble for it. Pot is obviously far more safe than the traditional intoxicant Alcohol, unless you’re just in favor of government restricting freedom of anything like this in which case, nope.

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      • wsbob December 14, 2015 at 12:01 am

        And with that, a little straight talk seems in order. If we’re looking for a sense of how it may have contributed to the occurrence of this collision, then ask and try get an answer to the question ‘What exactly does pot do to driving ability?’.

        Very basically, sources say that DUI pot, generally results in people driving slower than usual, because unlike DUI alcohol, pot is thought to leave people feeling that their emergency response reflex has been impaired by the drug…even if it hasn’t.

        Following, is a couple links to more detailed discussions. One is for NORML, the other for The Poison Review. I’ve only browsed the summary, not the entire review written of at the latter website. Look them over yourselves:

        http://norml.org/library/item/marijuana-and-driving-a-review-of-the-scientific-evidence

        http://www.thepoisonreview.com/2014/04/09/effects-on-marijuana-on-driving-ability/

        Instead of a lot of people guessing, to answer questions many people are having, I’m hoping the investigators are able to get lots of information that will give them a very good idea of just how DUI pot may have, or may not have had a bearing on this collision having happened.

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        • Lester Burnham December 14, 2015 at 7:58 am

          I love how pot defenders immediately come out of the woodwork. Impaired is impaired.

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          • Spiffy December 14, 2015 at 10:27 am

            if they were impaired then it’s a valid charge…

            people are hoping the charge wasn’t just tacked on there because the person smelled like pot…

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          • wsbob December 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

            I wondered that if I wasn’t outright critical of pot, someone would assume from my comment, that I was a “…pot defender…”, if that is your thinking.

            I don’t encourage people to use the stuff, though I think in under some circumstances, it can help people feel better…and that’s fine, but please, not while driving. Absence from pot use, of the falling down drunk aspect that goes along with excessive alcohol use, is a definitely better, for everyone.

            From my own experience, potheads are much easier and less obnoxious to be around than are drunks. Ideally though, if everyone that uses the stuff, whichever one it is, would just try a little harder not to overdo it, that would help a lot.

            Within the last two or three months within the Portland Metro area, wasn’t there another collision with a vulnerable road user, I think it was a lady crossing the street…in which the person driving had been smoking pot while driving? Just recalled this now, didn’t do a quick search for the story, but it should come up.

            These incidents may be occurring in part because of the gradual legalization of recreational pot use around the country. Could be, some of the people having little or no familiarity with the stuff, that have been avoiding using it because it was ‘illegal’, now with legalization, are looking at it as being a perfectly fine, harmless thing to do, not ‘bad’, like being drunk. Maybe they’re jumping in the car for a drive, without really being aware of just how much their driving ability is impaired.

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            • Spiffy December 14, 2015 at 3:09 pm

              we’re hearing about it more because the media needs ad clicks…

              they know they can get people riled up about it now that it’s legal…

              previously it was just another DUI that didn’t get much attention…

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            • lop December 17, 2015 at 1:22 am

              >Within the last two or three months within the Portland Metro area, wasn’t there another collision with a vulnerable road user, I think it was a lady crossing the street…in which the person driving had been smoking pot while driving?

              Back in October.

              http://www.oregonlive.com/gresham/index.ssf/2015/10/woman_hit_in_crosswalk_by_pot-.html

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        • Dan A December 14, 2015 at 9:12 am

          I’m going to guess anyway. My guess is that this guy was a crappy driver to begin with.

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    • bjorn December 13, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Of course he was intoxicated, why else would you flee? That is why I think the penalty for hit and run has to be worse than for staying at the scene when you are intoxicated because it is pretty much a lock that anyone who flees isn’t sober and the way things are now there is a certain amount of incentive to run and try to sober up before turning yourself in.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 14, 2015 at 11:46 am

        You might flee if you were sober and panicking, and thought you might not get caught. Panicked minds do not make the best decisions.

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  • Chris I December 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Looks like they should install barricades and convert the right vehicle lane into a bike lane until a permanent solution can be found. No more deaths on a road that is never congested at this location.

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    • mark December 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Chris I
      Looks like they should install barricades and convert the right vehicle lane into a bike lane until a permanent solution can be found. No more deaths on a road that is never congested at this location.Recommended 1

      If this was seriously brought before ODOT..I can already see the handwaving and dismissing…

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  • Mark December 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    mark

    Chris I Looks like they should install barricades and convert the right vehicle lane into a bike lane until a permanent solution can be found. No more deaths on a road that is never congested at this location.Recommended 1

    If this was seriously brought before ODOT..I can already see the handwaving and dismissing…Recommended 2

    Clearly we should go back to profiling minorities, attaching records to people making it much harder to be employed…and overall allow more police harassment.. ….because something might be dangerous in road use.

    Because…alcohol is generally safe

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  • Cyclo-fascist December 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    So if Fairchild and Fritz received 745k and 1.45mil for their spouses’ deaths in a vehicular crash when ODOT was apparently negligent in updating I-5, what do you think a cyclist’s family will receive in a similar situation? I wager ZERO. Any thoughts?

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    • El Biciclero December 13, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Willamette Week coverage

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    • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Cyclo-fascist December 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm
      So if Fairchild and Fritz received 745k and 1.45mil for their spouses’ deaths in a vehicular crash when ODOT was apparently negligent in updating I-5, what do you think a cyclist’s family will receive in a similar situation? I wager ZERO. Any thoughts?

      Just one for a start. Bars and taverns can be sued if there is a driving infraction by one of their customers. Who says that the Pot dealer can’t be part of the suit?

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      • dan December 14, 2015 at 5:38 am

        Don’t they need to be able to show that the bar overserved the driver? Not sure if that applies in this case. However, it seems there’s clear evidence that ODOT is aware this is a hazardous roadway but hasn’t taken any measures to address it. Does’t that mean they’re liable?

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      • El Biciclero December 14, 2015 at 9:25 am

        “Bars and taverns can be sued if there is a driving infraction by one of their customers. Who says that the Pot dealer can’t be part of the suit?”

        Bars and Taverns, maybe, but not liquor stores. I’d imagine the same for a pot store.

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        • Spiffy December 14, 2015 at 10:30 am

          liquor stores are allowed to sell to drunk people? somehow I doubt it…

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  • Mark December 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Tom Hardy
    Sorry Soren! I left BTA about 13 years ago when they began to advocate riding without helmets and riding on sidewalks in and out of town as well as against prevailing traffic. All of these are a lead in for suicide.Recommended 0

    Suicide denotes that the individual is seeking death. Just curious. How are you connecting the wearing of a helmet to this act? In addition, is there a moral issue with riding where one feels safest…for example a side path? Side paths are separated with curbs. Why is this suicid

    So many questions.

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    • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      I have been saved in at least 3 different instances in the last 30 years riding in Portland and surrounding areas by my helmet. In each case I survived a right hook, a Left hook, and an over the handlebars by destroying my helmet instead of my head. Mostly broken collar bones, obliterated jerseys, and wrecked bikes with minor damage to cars. although one car still had the damage 20 years later.

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      • Mark December 13, 2015 at 8:01 pm

        That’s great and wonderful. It still does not explain the use of the word suicide. However, there are many days I like to ride for pleasure and not for commuting. Those days, I jump on the side paths. When the car took over the road, they pushed safety to the curb.

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    • Tom Hardy December 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      I never ride on ped paths except Broadway, Hawthorn, and Tillicum. I have extreme disdain over running over Peds texting and wearing earphones and walking 4-5 abreast. I do not like jumping onto the adjoining traffic lane on the Hawthorne bridge to try to avoid oblivious Peds. 18 to 24 inch drops are not nice on a road bike.

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      • Dan A December 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

        Why does riding on sidewalk = running over peds?

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        • Mark December 14, 2015 at 4:42 pm

          Darn good question. Who knew the bike was literally the dark angel of death on side paths?

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    • rick December 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      sad

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  • Adam December 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    K’Tesh
    Well that blows the hell out of the argument that Pot is a “safe” drug.Recommended 5

    It’s plenty safe if you behave responsibly and don’t get behind the wheel. There are dozens of medications that make driving unsafe. No one should be driving under any dangerous influence.

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    • Middle of the Road guy December 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      He might have been high but it might not have been a factor in the *hate to use this word* accident.

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      • Dead Salmon December 16, 2015 at 8:35 pm

        It will be a factor in court I suspect.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    If ODoT is unwilling (or unable) to restripe this arterial so that the bike lane can continue through…how about an interim design option until a bike bypass of the columns can be built?

    The interim design option would be to create a traffic calmed outside lane with freight friendly speed cushions where cyclists would have a better chance of sharing the lane with traffic.

    Think of it as an urban shared “climbing lane”. This shared speed zone could be striped well in advance to allow faster motorists to merge into the inside lane before cyclists merge into the outside lane. Slower freight trucks would stay in the outside lane to climb up the hill. The speed cushions would not cause them too much disruption due to their wider axel spacing.

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    • Todd Hudson December 14, 2015 at 9:24 am

      An “interim design” would be there for a few years and it would become permanent. “Sorry budget problems” is what we would hear from ODOT.

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  • eddie December 13, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    They say Smith will get 6.25 years for this. Does anyone know offhand the other possible penalties? If someone gets a DUII and kills someone then drives off it seems to me they’d be in quite a bit of doo doo for quite a long time beyond jail time… fines, loss of license, possible wrongful death civil suit by the family, etc.

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    • lyle w. December 14, 2015 at 7:32 am

      I think if you kill someone in Oregon while impaired, and you’re convicted of that, you are guaranteed to lose your license for life (with no chance of ability to retain it through appeal down the road).

      Not that it totally prevents people like this guy from driving while revoked when he gets out of prison (if he even goes), but it’s at least some tiny victory in this messed up reality.

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      • K'Tesh December 14, 2015 at 8:39 am

        Likewise if you run, you lose your license, and guaranteed 2 X the imprisonment.

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        • Bjorn December 14, 2015 at 10:30 am

          Not if you can stay away from the cops long enough to sober up. Lots of cases in recent years where people turned themselves a day or two later and ended up with either no jail time or far less than if they had stayed at the scene drunk.

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          • K'Tesh December 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

            That should have read as a “Should” statement.

            Likewise if you run (Intoxicated or stone cold sober makes no diffrence). you Should lose your license for life, and Should have at the least a guaranteed double length imprisonment.

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      • Bjorn December 14, 2015 at 10:34 am

        According to the oregon dmv website the maximum suspension by the dmv is 5 years and that is for 3 or more convictions within 5 years for the following:

        Any degree of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, recklessly endangering another person, menacing or criminal mischief resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
        Driving while under the influence of intoxicants.
        Driving while your driving privileges are suspended or revoked.
        Reckless driving.
        Failure to perform the duties of a driver after a collision.
        Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

        I guess it is possible that a judge could order a longer suspension although I don’t know, but I have never heard of anyone in oregon having their license suspended for more than 5 years after their jail term ended.

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    • Dan A December 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

      The story says, “If found guilty of the most serious charge — second-degree manslaughter — Smith faces at least six years and three months in prison.”

      Of course, if he goes to trial he will face a jury full of drivers who believe that the cyclist was suicidal to be on the road in the first place.

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      • Middle of the Road guy December 14, 2015 at 10:10 am

        uh, I’m a cyclist and I was on the grand jury…and oddly enough one year later so was another cycling friend.

        You might be surprised as to the make up of the juries.

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        • Dan A December 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm

          What kind of case was it?

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  • Lester Burnham December 14, 2015 at 7:57 am

    We need protected bike lanes and cycle tracks NOW!

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  • Trailuver December 14, 2015 at 8:32 am

    You can’t help but hold your breath until they release the victims name. Sure getting sick of this. Something has got to change.

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    • Dead Salmon December 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      YOU can change. Be VERY visible: multiple lights and massive high-viz. Particularly in wet weather at night. It is difficult for car drivers to see on a rainy night even if they are paying attention. The water seems to soak up all the light.

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      • 9watts December 16, 2015 at 9:22 pm

        “multiple lights and massive high-viz.”

        Really?
        Again?

        Perhaps you weren’t around when people in cars ran into all those people who were done up just like you say. Some at night, some in the middle of the day. If the person behind the wheel is not paying attention it doesn’t much matter what you’re wearing or how many lights you may have.

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        • Dead Salmon December 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm

          You do what you want. Being visible will not work every time but most of the time it will help. If you’re wearing asphalt colored clothing on a dark rainy night and your light is not on or if the battery is weak so the light is barely visible (I’m not saying that is the case here.) and I tell the cop “I didn’t see him until it was too late and I couldn’t stop”, then I win, you lose. Cop will believe me because all drivers know it is impossible to avoid hitting something that is nearly invisible and that such objects (or cyclists) are road hazards. Deer are a good example – if deer had flashing lights on all sides people would see them standing on the side of the road ahead and they’d slow down – fewer deer would be killed by cars. It’s common sense. Who was it not long ago who said they did not have common sense – someone on this website – can anyone remember who made that comment?

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          • 9watts December 18, 2015 at 6:59 am

            “Cop will believe me because all drivers know it is impossible to avoid hitting something that is nearly invisible and that such objects (or cyclists) are road hazards.”

            And yet you can report all these nearly invisible objects, have presumably encountered them and managed not to damage your auto by running into them. Your post perfectly encapsulates the (embattled) view from within the car. You realize perhaps that the speed and the level of attention you choose can take account of the possibility of people who are not lit up like Christmas trees, and that by doing so you can avoid hitting them under very nearly all circumstances. But you apparently don’t think that is a reasonable expectation. So you (and you have lots of company, I’m not denying that) prefer to shoulder others with the responsibility of making up for your car-bound unwillingness to adjust your sense of entitlement to the road, to speed.

            As for common sense, there is a pragmatic sense in which wearing high viz can be hoped to increase the probabilities of coming home in one piece (I don it myself and make sure my lights have charged batteries), but this is quite different from what some here suggest which is that if you have high viz and multiple powerful lights drivers will always see you, not kill you.

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        • wsbob December 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm

          “…when people in cars ran into all those people who were done up just like you say. …” watts

          And in situations where vulnerable road users were equipped with visibility gear, hundreds of thousands of people driving, and some that were riding or walking, were generally able to see the vulnerable road users sooner than if they hadn’t been equipped with that gear, thus helping reduce the likelihood of collisions that might otherwise have occurred.

          In this particular collision, the person riding was reasonably well equipped, with a rear tail light, to ride a bike on a road used with motor vehicles. The misfortune, was that the person driving that collided with him may have been so high on marijuana, that he was unable to keep his car on a straight track and not into the person riding, whether or not he saw the tail light on the back of the bike. The safety value of having tail lights on the back of bikes, is substantial nonetheless.

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  • Robert Hurst December 14, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Heartbreaking and stunning that this occurred at a point highlighted by bikeportland just a few days ago. RIP, anonymous victim, condolences to a family no doubt in terrible shock.

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  • Robert Hurst December 14, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Thanks goodness their press release notes that the victim was wearing a helmet. That’s a critical detail to know when someone is gunned down from behind by a careless driver.

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  • SD December 14, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Newsflash for ODoT: People live here.

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    • Spiffy December 14, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Newsflash for ODOT: Slow moving living beings frequently use your facilities.

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