52-year-old John Shapley was biking on a road just north of Western Oregon University on December 30th when he was struck from behind by 41-year-old Daniel Major, who was driving a Mazda sedan. The impact killed Shapley. He was the 441st person to die while using Oregon roads in 2015 — an increase of 25 percent over last year and a 41 percent jump from 2013.
Shapley was killed while biking westbound on the 9000 block of Hoffman Road on the outskirts of the city of Monmouth. The roadway in that section of Hoffman is one lane in each direction with little-to-no paved shoulder. The crash happened at around 6:40 pm.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Shapley was a resident of nearby Independence, Oregon. In a post about the crash on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Shapley’s 14-year-old daughter has reported in the comments that Major was “drunk” and that her dad had a functioning rear light. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Shapley was killed just around the corner (less than a mile) from where former Western Oregon University professor Hank Bersani was killed while cycling in 2012. Hoffman Road, where Shapley was riding, was featured as part of the route of the 2015 Cycle Oregon Weekend ride.
“Oregon envisions no deaths or life-changing injuries on Oregon’s transportation system by 2035.”
— From vision statement in ODOT’s Traffic Safety Action Plan.
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Division Manager Troy Costales, this year’s four fatal bike crashes are down from seven fatalities last year*. But that’s the only stat to see a decrease.
Costales shared a breakdown of 2015 numbers and a comparison with 2014.
- — A total of 441 people died while using Oregon roads in 2015, a 25 percent increase over 2014’s 354 fatalities.
— 76 people died while walking on Oregon roads in 2015, a 38 percent increase over 2014’s 55 fatalities.
— 57 people died while riding a motorcycle on Oregon roads in 2015, a 24 percent increase over 2014’s 46 fatalities.
If ODOT achieves their current vision, we’re 20 years away from no traffic deaths. A committee working on an update to their Traffic Safety Action Plan has adopted the following statement: “Oregon envisions no deaths or life-changing injuries on Oregon’s transportation system by 2035.”
Speaking of which, we’ve got a great opportunity to get involved with that update. Tomorrow in Portland ODOT kicks off their first of five regional “listening sessions” on their Safety Action Plan. It will be held at their Portland headquarters (123 NW Flanders) from 10:00 am to 12 noon. Learn more here.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
*UPDATE: There have been more than four fatalities involving bicycle riders in 2015. As a commenter points out below, there was also Austin Crenshaw (no collision, lost control of his bike), Kimberly Wyatt, and Grant Garner. We’re working to get a full accounting of the stats and will update accordingly.