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Man dies after being struck while bicycling on SW Multnomah

Posted by on May 30th, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Looking east on 6300 block of SW Multnomah.

Looking east on 6300 block of SW Multnomah.

There was a fatal collision on SW Multnomah Blvd today that involved a person who was riding a bicycle.

According to the Portland Police Bureau the collision happened at 4:00 pm on the 6300 block of Multnomah — just a few tenths of a mile east of where it splits with Garden Home. Both the bicycle rider and the automobile driver were going east prior to the collision.

The police have not released many details, but they have said that, “Investigators believe that impairment may be a factor in this crash.” The police didn’t say which of the two parties in the collision is suspected of being impaired*. However it appears to be the person driving because the police statement also says, “Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs injure and kill thousands of people every year. People consuming alcohol or drugs are urged not to get behind the wheel and should have a sober driver or utilize taxis, rideshare companies, or transit so everyone is safe on our streets.”

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This section of SW Multnomah is a key east-west connector in southwest Portland. Unfortunately it is also a well-known danger spot. People tend to drive relatively fast (speed limits are 35 and 40 in the area) for a road with just one standard lane and a bike lane in each direction. The road and the bike lanes are narrow and the bicycling space is not buffered in any way from the driving space.

I rode this exact spot on Multnomah back in February 2015 during SW Portland Week. “This stretch between 69th and Capitol Hwy,” I wrote, “really needs a buffer and some sort of protection.”

This is the second fatal collision involving a bicycle rider this year. There have been 22 fatal traffic crashes overall in 2016.

We’ll update this post as we learn more. Please contact us if you have any information.

KGW-TV reporter Maggie Vespa was at the scene and shared a few interesting tweets:

UPDATE, 5/31 at 6:40 am: The police have arrested 61-year-old Willard Tow on charges of DUII, Manslaughter I, Manslaughter II and Reckless Driving. Here’s the latest statement:

Investigators believe both Mr. Tow and the victim were headed eastbound on Multnomah when Mr. Tow struck the victim from behind at a high rate of speed. It appears that both intoxication and speed played a factor in this crash.

UPDATE, 5/31 at 8:50 am: The police have identified the victim as 77-year-old Andrzej Kurkowski.

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

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

Very sad. Nearly every route through SW looks like this in one place or another. All of them connect in some way to bars with lots of parking.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

The bar in this instance is at the last intersection and another 1 more block west. Of course both of the pubs are in the 25 MPH zone. The 25 MPH sign is less than 100 feet away from the crash site.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Is there any evidence that those bars had anything to do with this death?

37Dennis
Guest
37Dennis

Thank you, John.

Dave
Guest
Dave

If those bars didn’t have parking lots, your question would be a reasonable one.

Steven Soto
Guest
Steven Soto

Maintenance has also been an issue in this area, particularly headed east. The ivy on the south side of the road frequently takes over the bike lane and effectively narrows it and pushes bicycle traffic into the roadway. I have not ridden the stretch in a couple of months, so I could be wrong.

Making things worse is the fact that there is no sidewalk on either side of the street, so cyclists often are forced to take the lane to avoid pedestrians and joggers in the bike lane.

Jeff Fuchs
Guest
Jeff Fuchs

I agree about the poor maintenance along this roadway. Multnohmah Blvd. has been part of my regular commute to Tualatin for the past year. There is always gravel and debris in the westbound bike lane. For the past month, there has been broken glass in the eastbound lane and gravel from construction entrances that are clearly not complying with erosion control rules. I usually just ride through the gravel and mud, but I go around the glass in the vehicle lane if I think it is safe to do so. There are often a lot of large limbs and plant debris in the eastbound lane and occasionally I encounter a pedestrian sharing the bike lane with me.

I’m bummed that another cyclist died, I’ve always felt safer on this stretch of roadway relative to other parts of my commute (like Terwilliger, Capitol Highway, or Hall) because the road is straight and there are few driveways. It is pretty hard to avoid being hit from behind, but I will be thinking about it more than usual when I ride to work tomorrow.

soren
Guest

The straightness of the road and lack of cross streets encourages speeding. In addition to a better bike lane, SW Multnomah should be signed at 25 mph and have speed bumps.

rick
Guest
rick

SW Multnomah Blvd needs more official stairs / trails build on the unbuilt, public right-of-way that goes from SW Garden Home Road to SW Multnomah Blvd. There is a great lack of north / south roads and trails in that area.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Because of the topography created by cutting away hillsides for the old railroad, or filling in valleys, there aren’t too many opportunities for connections to Garden Home Road. Two already exist to the west, and there are a couple opportunities on the eastern side.

There is an existing stairway (with a bicycle gutter) at 61st. And there’s a cut-through at the LDS church near 66th. I use that to “cheat the hill” up Garden Home Road. A little out-of-the-way, but less steep, and gives me a chance to rest, if needed.

In the 70’s, SW 57th used to connect with 58th via an unnamed east-west gravel road, making a gradual descent all the way to Multnomah Blvd, but development has since encroached and cut that off. The east-west road is now paved, and the right-of-way to 57th still exists, but people are reluctant to use it because it looks like private property.

Finally, it should be possible to create a trail through the Shadow Creek condos on to Garden Home Road at Orchard Lane or 48th. Looks like there’s right of way to do it, with cooperation from Shadow Creek. A bridge over the creek would likely need to be built. I think this would be an awesome connection for the neighborhood, should it ever get built. Would be nice if it could also connect to Woods Creek Court. Looking at the map, i’m not sure if there’s any right-of-way for that.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Michael: re: the connection of 57th and 58th, I’m looking to buy a house around there and would love to be able to get from 57th directly to Multnomah without having to ride back to Old Market Pub , but I don’t see the paved road that you mention (walked the road today), it looks instead like the road goes straight into a garage:

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.4667227,-122.7360357,3a,75y,269.45h,59.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sktwDVO27bDw47piT1G-axA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Am I looking in the right spot?

Thanks!

AJ

Michael
Guest
Michael

As a district collector and emergency response corridor (or whatever its precise designation) Multnomah Blvd. will *never* get speed bumps. Nor is it likely to ever have the speed limit reduced to 25mph (too much traffic volume).

However nearby Garden Home Road, from 69th to 40th, did get its speed limit reduced from 30mph to 25mph last year. Our Ashcreek neighborhood association had requested the change. PBOT, which has to get approval from the State for speed limit changes, made the request. They told us it was unlikely that the straight stretches would be approved, but it all was. I think the only reason they even made the request was because Garden Home Road has no paved shoulders, and has a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic along it.

soren
Subscriber

Multnomah was updated to a community corridor in the new TSP. Community corridors can have speed bumps (SE Stark is an example).

Michael
Guest
Michael

It’s still a designated emergency response corridor, which precludes speed bumps. The Fire Department won’t allow it.

soren
Subscriber

There are speed bumps on other emergency response corridors. Split speed bumps are better than nothing.

Michael
Guest
Michael

That might be true. All i can tell you is that PBOT doesn’t install speed humps without the Fire Department’s approval, and that agency is no longer allowing them on emergency response corridors (perhaps because of lessons learned on other emergency response corridors).

Speed humps cause major problems for fire engines with large tanks of water as they cause the water to slosh around, and that forces the vehicles to slow way down, increasing response times.

Also, Portland only allows speed humps on streets classified as either “local service” or “neighborhood collector” class streets. [Ref: Chapter 11-01.2 of the Portland Bureau of Traffic Management TRAFFIC MANUAL]. Multnomah Blvd. is a “district collector,” so that also precludes it.

“Split speed bumps are better than nothing.”

One sees those in Washington County, but Portland eschews them. I don’t think the Portland Fire Department likes them any better than the speed humps Portland favors, however. As a bicyclist, i prefer them myself, cause i can fly right through them on downhill stretches. I’ve suggested to PBOT they should use them, but they cite a variety of reasons not to. I think they cost more, and that’s probably the biggest factor.

soren
Subscriber
Michael
Guest
Michael

The map is only a proposed draft. Besides, it lists that stretch of Multnomah Blvd. as a “Urban Throughway,” not a “Community Corridor.” Definitely not a candidate for speed humps.

soren
Guest

you are mistaken — the 6300 block is designated a community corridor.

hopefully, one of the things the vision zero process will do is prioritize traffic speed reduction over motor vehicle LOS.

Nate
Guest
Nate

I ride Multnomah evey day. The ivy is not overtaking the road. Not yet, at least. (they’ve been better about preemptively trimming it back)

rick
Guest
rick

The ivy and weeds are killing the roadside trees.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

what? I’ve driven my car (sober) along some of the most heinous unimproved roads in the state. I didn’t kill anyone because I was SOBER.
maintenance has nothing to do with this. a sober driver can operate a car just fine in most any environment.

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

Confirming it was the driver suspected of being intoxicated, the Oregonian post on this says, ‘The statement also said “investigators believe that impairment may be a factor in this crash and are continuing the investigation.” Sgt. Greg Stewart, a spokesman for the police bureau, confirmed in an email that police are investigating the driver.’

Then there was this: “Just talked to passenger in the car. Said he met driver today in Fred Meyer parking lot, paid him $5 to take him for a ride in the Corvette.” https://twitter.com/Maggie_Vespa/status/737442662521798656

So the scenario shaping up is starting to look like: Drunk person tries to earn five dollars by impressing random stranger with super-sweet car, and extinguishes a life in the process.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Welcome to America. We’re on track for 35,000+ auto deaths this year.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

More from that account:

“Police say driver was likely impaired, still conducting interviews. Heard man say “we weren’t going like 100 mph.””

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

That really struck me; you don’t have to be going 100mph to be driving too fast, and it seems like people don’t seem to understand that.

Clearly, the driver was doing something wrong, or they would have been able to maintain lane position, and adjust for other road users’ behaviors.

still riding after all that
Guest
still riding after all that

My guess is that the “we weren’t going like 100 mph” comment was a snarky reference to the Portland cop who was drunk-driving at 100 mph when he crashed a city car into a pickup truck and ended up with the car upside-down in a roundabout in Happy Valley. That was in April of this year, and – surprise, surprise – still no punishment for that cop.

http://www.oregonlive.com/happy-valley/index.ssf/2016/05/portland_cop_found_with_alcoho.html

By the passenger’s convoluted reasoning, drunk-driving at 65 mph is less evil than drunk-driving at 100 mph.

The driver probably wasn’t going anywhere near 65 while passing Thriftway and Old Market Pub, but floored it as soon as he made the half-left from Garden Home Road to Multnomah. Even in a Corvette, that’s some serious acceleration to get up to 65 in such a short distance, and who knows what speed he’d have gotten up to (entertaining his passenger for money) if he hadn’t crashed into and killed a bicyclist.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

There’s a lot of debate over whether this road is dangerous or not, but it seems to me that the driver specifically chose this road as one well-suited for flooring it.

jonno
Guest
jonno

Very sad. This is my new route since being hit on 99. No place is safe. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will ever change.

rick
Guest
rick

Have you rode on the side streets to get to from SW 45th Ave to SW Oleson Road?

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

rick

Have you rode on the side streets to get to from SW 45th Ave to SW Oleson Road? Recommended 0
I have ridden as far on the north side as 12 blocks and the south side to Taylors ferry, and I would rather stick to Multnomah,

rick
Guest
rick

I sometimes ride on the sidestreets in the Maplewood neighborhood (Canby or Peyton or Miles through April Hill Park and then to SW Maplewood Road which is 20 mph) to get to SW 45th at SW Maplewood Road. The Multnomah Presbyterian Church on SW 45th has a wood staircase to walk from SW Miles Court to cross SW 45th to get to Gabriel Park.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

The side street routes to Oleson pretty much suck. Maplewood itself to angle away from Multnomah isn’t too bad (narrower bike lane than Multnomah, but also lower speeds) but then it’s a bit of a tangle of discontinuous side streets, hills and park pathways to get over to Oleson. Ultimately it’s a lot less direct and convenient than Multnomah, and roads like this are why I always ride with a mirror – and check it when traffic is overtaking me.

And as bad as Multnomah from Oleson to 45th is, it’s better than the most of the routes from Oleson to Beaverton, anyway. Definitely not the worst part of the trip.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Rick is right. The Maplewood alternative to Multnomah blvd. is a much more pleasant and safer ride, but more circuitous and less level… therefore not as fast as Multnomah blvd.

“And as bad as Multnomah from Oleson to 45th is, it’s better than the most of the routes from Oleson to Beaverton, anyway.”

I beg to differ. Oleson to Beaverton is a pleasantly safe ride from Garden Home on the off-street Fanno creek trail path. Takes you right to 92nd & Allen. That area is a bit gnarly (but not too bad). To get into downtown from there, take Elm avenue to Chestnut place, where there’s a bicycle path to 5th avenue bypass. Very nice route.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

You’re right: I should have said that the direct routes from Garden Home to Beaverton are lousy. Oleson/Hall is mostly pretty safe (except for southbound Hall at Greenway), and very fast despite adding an extra mile or two, and a minor hill or two, to the trip. In fact, it is by far my preferred route.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Actually, the Fanno Creek trail really isn’t any longer than Garden Home Road + 92nd Ave, as it’s more or less the hypotenuse of that triangle. But one can’t ride the trail as quickly, owing to the curves and ped’s. I often cut out at 84th to Bohmann Parkway to avoid the bridges and bumpy trail along the park. A tad longer, but i can ride it faster and safer, for the most part.

If one is determined to ride Garden Home Road, better to turn off at 84th rather than go all the way to 92nd. 87th is a bit more direct, but you’re on GHR for longer.

I agree: Oleson is good now, and Hall Blvd. is fine for the most part, except around the Progress area. That whole area, from about Target @ Washington Square to just east of Nimbus Avenue, sucks. I worry about that area far more than Multnomah Blvd. (Old Market Pub intersection excepted, of course.)

I used to take Oleson/Hall to get to Greenway Blvd, until i started looking at the map. I now prefer to take the trail to 92nd, and catch that new trail segment they put in a few years ago on the other side of Scholls Ferry. I take that on over to Denny Road, then shoot down the trail to Hall to catch Greenway Blvd. The Denny Road area is a bit sketchy, but not too bad. It’s just to get over 217 and you’re back on a trail again.

Alternatively, there is a more direct route: There’s a trail from GHR through to the Harman Swim on Scholls Ferry. But it means crossing the traffic at 92nd. (I actually think it’s better to catch 90th to Brier, then backtrack along 92nd.) On the other side of Scholls, one could catch Heather Lane to 105th to Denny.

Darnell
Guest
Darnell

Personally, I feel that riding on Multnomah Blvd is safe. The bike lane is pretty decent size and it’s a straight road, so cars can see you if you make yourself visible.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

When you ride a bicycle on an American highway you’re casting lots with the Grim Reaper. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Or drive, or walk, or do anything on or near, for that matter.

bendite
Guest
bendite

But we want to make sure to place more responsibility on the cyclist or pedestrian.

Kristi Finney Dunn
Guest

That’s true regardless of your mode of transportation. But why even say it right now? Or ever, really? What satisfaction do you get out of it? Do you have even a smidgen of concern for not only a person whose life was taken by a criminal drunk and speeding man but for the victim’s family who might read your insensitive comments? I just don’t get people like you feeling the need to make a horrible situation even worse.

My heart goes out to this person’s family and friends. I know how tragic this is and how horrible they feel.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Thanks, Kristi.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

When you go to a party, you might get assaulted. Take your chances.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

…or if you stay home. You never know when somebody is going to break the law, better wear body armor to the dinner table (or climb into your 5000lb armored dinner couch and drive it to the kitchen and back.)

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Nobody will blame you for staying home. You only get blamed for trying to enjoy life, like this 77-year-old man out riding his bike on a sunny afternoon.

Spiffy
Subscriber

when do we get the down-vote button back?

Kevin
Subscriber
Kevin

And the victim blaming begins. If he hadn’t been riding his bike legally in the bike lane, he wouldn’t have been hit from behind by a speeding drunk. Alas, both sides are to blame and the only way it could have been avoided was for the cyclist to have been driving an even bigger, heavier car than the corvette.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

I don’t believe it qualified as a high crash corridor, but this 40mph section of SW Multnomah should be considered for the next round of photo radar speed cameras to be installed. Motor vehicle speeds are regularly 50+ here.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

There is a SMART speed sign (radar) watching the other direction a half block west of the crash site. Need it hooked to a high capacity digital camera.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Do those log the speeds ‘seen’, even if it’s just a number (eg no camera)?

Michael
Guest
Michael

There are speed reader boards which do log speeds, but i don’t think that one installed there has that capability.

Roger Averbeck
Guest
Roger Averbeck

My daughter spoke to two witnesses of this crash. They estimated the eastbound vehicle to be travelling about 65 mph prior to the crash. The car swerved into the eastbound bike lane to avoid a vehicle that had stopped to make a left turn into a driveway. The witnesses stated that the driver was “drunk”.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Add ‘Unsafe passing on right’ to the charges.

Spiffy
Subscriber

the city needs to start writing a lot more tickets both for passing on the right and for driving in a bike lane…

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

As long as the police do not cite cyclists for riding in the bike lane. Have seen and talked to some that would.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

Question: Why would the police cite a cyclist for riding in the bike lane? Isn’t that where you’d expect them to be?

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

The 4 officers I spoke to said that the cyclists were blocking the motorist from making right turns at intersections.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

By riding in the lane designated for their use? Or were they sitting in the intersection blocking it so no one could turn in?

I’m a little hazy on these details. Can you provide more background?

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

The city simply needs to write more tickets. Since we don’t require knowledge tests to retain a license, the only source of re-education most motorists will encounter is in traffic court, with the fine being the tuition for this important education.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Don’t expect Portland to do that. Unlike other cities in Oregon, Portland doesn’t receive the lion’s share of the citation value; other cities get to keep something like 80% of the money collected. As a result, cities like Beaverton, Tigard, Lake Oswego, etc. write a lot more tickets. They make money on it. Portland, however, loses money on each citation they write (because the officer has to show up in court, and what they get back simply doesn’t cover the cost).

J_R
Guest
J_R

Twice in the last year I have witnessed PPB officers in patrol cars using the bike lane to pass motor vehicles stopped to make a left turn. There IS an exception in the law allowing emergency vehicles to use the bike lane, but in neither case did it appear the PPB officer was responding to any type of emergency.

When I witnessed the first of those incidents, I had the time, place, and plate number of the PPB vehicle and sent a message to the chief. I did receive a response from some assistant to the chief, but I don’t think there was actually anything done.

I wonder if the PPB has EVER cited a motorist for driving in a bike lane.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The law is a bit confusing on that. The witnesses cited above tell of Mr. Tow passing a vehicle that was stopped to make a left turn, which gives motorists the “green light” to pass on the right, as long as they don’t “leave the paved portion of the roadway”. Since the bike lane is paved, most drivers feel they may use it to pass on the right. However, there is some question as to whether a bike lane is part of the roadway (since it is defined as being adjacent to the roadway), and the list of exceptions for “when motor vehicles may operate on [a] bicycle lane” does not include when “the overtaken vehicle is making or the driver has signaled an intention to make a left turn”. Given the combination of laws and definitions, I would conclude that using a bike lane to pass on the right in a motor vehicle is always illegal.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I’m not even sure that stretch of Multnomah blvd. has a “bike lane.” It isn’t marked as such. Technically, i think it’s considered a shoulder, because there are no sidewalks, and it’s used by both pedestrians and bicyclists. I’ve talked with folks from PBOT about this stretch before, and they’ve cited that as the reason not to mark it as a bike lane.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

According to Google street view from February of this year, there is a diamond marking on the “shoulder” almost exactly where this collision happened. The diamond would indicate a special lane; the only type of lane that could be that narrow is a bike lane.

So it looks like a neglected and not-well-marked bike lane, but a bike lane nonetheless.

Michael
Guest
Michael

As explained to me by PBOT, “bicycle lanes” are marked with bicycle icons and directional arrows. They said they won’t mark the shoulder along this stretch of Multnomah as a bicycle lane because there are no sidewalks, and pedestrians use it too. (Incidentally, this conversation occurred a few years ago as part of a walkabout with local residents and PBOT planners & engineers along this very stretch of Multnomah Blvd, from 45th to Garden Home Road, so i’m pretty certain that, technically speaking, this isn’t a bicycle lane.)

In this case, the diamonds indicate it’s a shoulder used by pedestrians and bicyclists. However i believe that the diamond marking does forbid its use by motorized vehicles.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Wow. Is that treatment even documented/defined anywhere? “Pedestrian lane”?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Diamond means ‘special lane’ and is used for bus lanes, HOV lanes, and bike lanes.

Charlie
Guest
Charlie

Going 65 there is crazy. First off, there’s the curve to the left at Garden Home then another just after that to the right just past which the collision occurred. At that speed, I don’t think a curb would have helped anything.

Also, the picture’s caption is incorrect. It should say looking west, not east.

Roger Averbeck
Guest
Roger Averbeck

SW Multnomah Blvd is classified by PBOT as a district collector; a major city bikeway; and a city walkway. It is not an “American Highway”.

NOLA Electrician
Guest

So sad. Terrible news.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Convictions for Manslaughter I and Manslaughter II require mandatory prison sentences without parole.

rick
Guest
rick

So sad. I often ride on SW Multnomah and a lot of SW Garden Home Road.

Spiffy
Subscriber

in keeping with Vision Zero policy I expect the city to take action to ensure this is unlikely to happen again…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

/s

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I would like to see bike paths on Garden Home west of Olefson

Mike Thomas
Guest
Mike Thomas

KGW Reporter Maggie Vespa spoke to passenger in the vehicle who told her he paid the impaired driver of the Corvette $5 if the driver would take him out for a spin. https://twitter.com/Maggie_Vespa

Peejay
Guest
Peejay

What kind of person would either offer or ask for money for that kind of thing? I suspect the passenger might also have been drunk, because the whole story seems weird. I could be wrong, though. This whole story makes me sick. I’m so sad for the rider. I’m so disgusted with the driver and the passenger.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Of course the impairment to the driver is the major point here, and the main cause of the deadly automobile assault on the impairments. But there seems to be another bad behavior here that needs to be purged from American Life. The racing about on the public roads in fast cars as entertainment is a meme that needs to die. Yes, speed limits, and speed cams are a good idea, but will they ever really be effective as long as people bombarded with car commercials, movies, hot rod shows and video games that show racing on the streets as part of “The American Way”? Our roads are too crowded, the oil age is ending and climate change is upon us.It is time this need for speed be relegated to history the same as backyard burning, and carnival freak shows.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

If we had speed cameras on all major roads that gave tickets to 100% of the people speeding, then, yes, they would be effective. Massive deployment is needed to solve this problem.

Roger Averbeck
Guest
Roger Averbeck

UPDATE #2 – MAJOR CRASH TEAM RESPONDS TO FATAL CAR CRASH IN SW PORTLAND

News Release from Portland Police Bureau

###UPDATE###

The victim in this incident has been identified as Andrzej Kurkowski, a 77-year-old male.

###UPDATE###

An arrest has been made in this incident. Investigators have arrested 61-year-old Willard E. Tow on charges of DUII, Manslaughter I, Manslaughter II and Reckless Driving. He has been booked into the Multnomah County Jail.

Investigators believe both Mr. Tow and the victim were headed eastbound on Multnomah when Mr. Tow struck the victim from behind at a high rate of speed. It appears that both intoxication and speed played a factor in this crash. This is the 22nd fatal crash in 2016.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Google shows an older mug shot of Willard Tow, maybe an earlier DUII ?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I see a mugshot for a domestic violence charge.

esther2
Guest
esther2

charming guy, DV and DUI

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Some people are not fit to operate a motor vehicle. But we do our best to make sure everyone is allowed to.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

If the ride for $5 story is true, I would like to see the passenger also convicted of conspiracy to commit manslaughter as egging on a drunk to speed in his corvette seems to be a contributor to this tragedy.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’m sure they will be named in the eventual lawsuit.

esther2
Guest
esther2

I doubt if someone who pays $5 to ride in a corvette to a stranger at FM has any assets.

Joseph Edge
Guest
Joseph Edge

Not that it increases the probability that the passenger has assets, but I’m guessing they were drinking together when the $5 was offered. Meeting at FM feels like a cover story to me.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Yes, i think “Fred Meyer” is probably a better cover story than “Old Market Pub.,” which is more likely the case, given what this article says: “Shortly before the crash, Tow’s vehicle was seen leaving the parking lot of a nearby bar.”

http://koin.com/2016/05/30/cyclist-hit-killed-in-sw-portland/

I don’t know which bar they were seen leaving, but that one is “nearest.”

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

The Corvette would have had no difficulty accelerating from Old Market pub lot to where the crash was (note not an accident), The other Pub on the other side of Gardenhome and a block and a half further west is Lucky’s, and has a pot shop upstairs and not as good of parking. Old Market pub has good video. Lucky’s has no outside video.

bedite
Guest
bedite

I don’t think there is a such thing as conpiracy to commit manslaughter. It would contradict the legal definition of manslaughter.

lop
Guest
lop
bendite
Guest
bendite

Because manslaughter is “reckless” and the passenger wouldn’t be found engaging is the cause of the recklessness.

Lafayette
Guest
Lafayette

This is very sad. How ever this will not stop me from taking this route on the regular. Ride safe keep your perceptions up! Watch these drivers.

rick
Guest
rick

I enjoy the west-bound ride due to the additional sunlight. Have you rode on SW Garden Home Road or thru Maplewood?

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Many many times. I have even been right hooked 5 blocks west of Olefsen.

Adam
Subscriber

Painted bike lanes are deadly. PBOT should upgrade this facility to a fully-separated cycleway.

dwk
Guest
dwk

It will never be a separated bike lane. This is as safe a route as any in Portland. Spend your energy combating drunk driving……

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Something tells me this guy was a terrible driver to begin with. How do we remove all bad drivers from the road, not just the drunk ones?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Take away cars. Have a “no drive” list, with penalties for knowingly lending or selling a car to anyone without a current license. Require driver’s ed. prior to ever getting a license. Require at least written re-testing for every license renewal. Etc.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Steel bollards on each side of the lane with 7ft gap at random intervals. Get careful or get out.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Sounds familiar: curb on one side, speeding traffic on the other, broken glass and sunken storm drains at random intervals…

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

Looks like you’re right. News is now reporting he has at least one previous DUI from ’12.

Nate
Guest
Nate

Exactly. I ride Multnomah every single day to work. Why? It’s by far the safest, most pleasant way for me to get into SW Portland. It’s a straight shot with good sightlines and is pretty well maintained (except for occasional over-growth of shrubs in the spring).

The one danger spot I’ve noticed is heading Westbound at the curve by Old Market Pub. Drivers constantly cut the corner into the bike lane there, to the point that the striping is worn away. That should be green-painted like the eastbound is.

This incident seems to be one of those unfortunate – and thankfully infrequent – incidents where a drunk driver trumped everything else. Could’ve happened anywhere.

rick
Guest
rick

That intersection is proposed to have Portland and Washington County to receive an overhaul. A traffic light, or better yet, a roundabout.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

I’m with you rick, this intx is a great candidate for a roundabout. It appears there was a motor vehicle driver fatality here sometime between 2004-13 per http://metrocosm.com/10-years-of-traffic-accidents-mapped.html
but I can’t find any stories on it. I will be curious to read how and why the RAB was dismissed as an option at this intx.

RABs are starting to gain the reputation of de-prioritizing bikes and peds but they excel at accommodating unusual geometry and slowing motor vehicle speeds. (Side note – we are going to start seeing signalized roundabouts in the future and I’m not sure how I feel about it)

Michael
Guest
Michael

That fatality was a motorcyclist.

soren
Guest

I prefer Vermont. Speeds are far lower and I ride in the middle of the lane when descending.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Vermont has no business being 35mph. Yuck.

https://goo.gl/maps/EV73E6Va55p

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

You ride Vermont all the way out to Oleson? I’ve tried it a number of times, but had multiple close calls.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I stood outside the pub one Saturday afternoon with a camera. About two-thirds of the cars had one tire inside the bike lane, and a full third of all cars completely straddled the lane!

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

At least fill in the ditches for an additional 5 foot on each side, west of Olefson

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Also a nasty crash on Holgate at 34th Monday afternoon.

Utility pole splintered 15 feet off the ground.

Fire truck and ambulance were processing someone on a gurney.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I rode through there on Saturday. Hadn’t been there before. I was impressed with the (slightly) grade-separated path in one section, so I recorded it. At the end of the video you can see a standard path. I’m going westbound; there’s a bike lane on the EB side, which is where Tow killed Kurkowski.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGnlExuTAzk

Adam
Subscriber

Heh. That “slightly grade-separated path” is a poor excuse for a separated cycleway. For one, it’s nearly flush with the roadway, and thus offers no actual vertical separation. It’s inexplicably made of concrete rather than asphalt. (Concrete is bumpier for people cycling). It completely drops off at intersections where you’d need the separation the most. Motor traffic is still whizzing by you inches away at 45+ mph, as nothing was done to slow drivers down. It’s really no more than a painted bike lane.

The path in the other direction, however is much better as it offers actual separation using a curb and bioswale.

dwk
Guest
dwk

It is actually a very expensive, very nice path.
You should actually ride around before commenting…..

Michael
Guest
Michael

For the record, this is about a mile east from where Mr. Kurkowski was killed. But Adam H. and Ted Timmons are correct that there are a lot of faults with this project. Last minute engineering changes, which ignored local community input, made it what it is today.

My concerns are that the cycleway looks a lot like a lane of traffic. Someday we’ll be hearing about a motorist plowing down bicycles, thinking is was a traffic lane. This could have been solved had they listened to community input and put the cycleway *between* the planters and the sidewalk.

And that jog near the end of the video puts cyclists in danger when there are high profile vehicles parking in the area (autos turning right at the signal — or into the businesses just before — can’t see bicyclists hidden behind parked vehicles… and vice versa). Also, there is a slight downhill grade here, so bicycles are picking up speed, perhaps trying to make the green light, all while navigating the twists in the cycleway, dealing with the car-door zone encroaching on the cycleway, and trying to see around the blind spots created by parked high profile vehicles. These all conspire to make this section particularly dangerous.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

More often than not I see cars parked in the bike lane that runs to the left of the parking spaces. Then there is some confusion when I see cars parked half way across the bike lane. A couple of times I have even seen cars parked in the bike lane (concrete) where the video was started.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Sure, it’s not far up from the road. But car drivers hate being inconvenienced, they seem to avoid that more than avoiding paint alone.

Adam
Subscriber

Sure, it’s a bit better than just paint, but given how much this project cost the city, we could have had much nicer facility. Especially given the nature of the road that encourages speeding by drivers, as it feels much more like a winding country road than an urban street. The nature of the road warrants curb-separation. Honestly, even a wider eastbound path with room for two-way bike traffic would have been better.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Agree. Shift the road to the south, put a two-way path on the north side. Of course that’s just crazytalk. Imagine what the Oregonian readers would say.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Actually, this is exactly what i’ve recommended to PBOT, for the stretch between 45th to Garden Home Road, except the two-way bicycle lane should be on the south side (avoids the incursion zone at the Pub, and there are fewer ingresses and egresses from Multnomah Blvd. on that side). They could even put in a Jersey barrier to protect it. PBOT is considering the idea (not sure about the Jersey barriers; but they say some kind of separation).

dwk
Guest
dwk

Cars do not drive very fast on the stretch with the concrete paths at all.
Again, before you comment maybe you should go ride around the area?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Ted’s video stops about 1.3 miles before the location of this wreck. First the terrifying door zone lane, then the blind bridge intersection, some random parking and backing-out/in, the post office, sample woods, and *then* the wooded expressway. This rebuilt stretch is less terrifying than the wooded expressway, but I’m not sure if it is safer. Connecting directly to I5 at the east end infects this street with “unobstructed highway” mentality.

I agree, the westbound bikeway isn’t great at intersections. The path in the other direction is actually much worse. It’s a multi-use path (legally a sidewalk) with about 6 driveways and intersections, none of which you have the right-of-way through unless you slow to a walking pace. All of these cuts have the grade lowered 6in, where a good bikeway would stay flat across each of these and have right-of-way. This might be safer than a painted bike lane at 5-8mph, but only if you nearly stop at every driveway. That’s no way to get people out of their cars (which is really the way to make us all safer, right?)

I’ve ridden the bridges on Barbur at night, but just the stretch of “sample woods” on Multnomah between 40th and 45th makes me squeamish.

Michael
Guest
Michael

The westbound shared “bike lane”/sidewalk needs striping (think Moody St.) to segregate the bikes from the peds. Otherwise, i feel safe on it.

I regularly ride the “wooded” area of Multnomah Blvd. and feel pretty safe on it. Not so on the bridges on Barbur. I sweat that every time.

Carolyn
Guest

Hi Ted, sweet video – -you got close to the scene, but actually, you’re still 25+ blocks east. And there are some differences in where he got hit w/regards to the traffic etc. You may have ridden further west and not recorded it?

I know this stretch of road like the back of my hand and I’m greatly saddened to think about what happened — I used to bike commute this stretch every day for 5 years (then I moved to the east side) and then in 2007 I moved back to this ‘hood. Today, on my commute through the section you rode, it was very very difficult for me.

I’ve advocated greater safety on Multnomah Blvd., specifically in a 50+ yard area around where he got killed, for years.
No offense, and only to inform the group, I want to point out that the area where you showed the video feels very different. The area you show has had significant upgrades recently.

To envision the tragic area, a cyclist needs to start west of your video’s-end quite aways to Oleson and then start riding east from Oleson / and the Dairy Queen. Lots of car traffic in / out of the DQ, Bar, and Safeway; clusters of pedestrians; dedicated bike lane; speed limit is 25 mph. Then, at the Old Market Pub, Mult. Blvd. takes a left (north); straight is Garden Home (where cars trying to go left often fail to look for cyclists; it’s painted by PBOT to increase awareness of cyclists). About 100 yards after, once the turn straightens and points nearly due east again, the speed limit increases to 40MPH. Flat (actually, it’s probably about a 1-2% grade up). 2 car lanes, 2 bike lanes. Straight. From a cyclist perspective, you need to be aware of the potential of Ivy and/or blackberry hanging into the dedicated bike lane in addition to gravel, debris, joggers, walkers, etc.

My 100% conjecture is that the driver, all pumped up by the straightaway and increase in speed limit stepped on the gas. 🙁

Options to improve safety?
Seems like speed bumps are out;
Due to the fact that Mult. Blvd. in that stretch is practically on a berm (old RR bed), there’s not a lot of shoulder / space to the edges to do the separated bike lane option in your video…
?
West bound, there is a flashing 25MPH / slow down sign which seems to help? But east bound?

Michael
Guest
Michael

Carolyn, Multnomah Blvd. actually terminates at the Old Market Pub intersection. The road to the west is Garden Home Road (all the way to 92nd).

I know it looks pretty flat, but eastbound it’s an uphill grade virtually all the way to Barbur. Takes about half the time to ride Multnomah Blvd. westbound as eastbound (at least for me).

Technically speaking, there’s no “bicycle lane” along Multnomah Blvd. west of 45th Avenue. It’s a shared use lane for both pedestrians and bicyclists, thus the diamond markings rather than bicyclist icons with directional arrows (which are used to designate dedicated “bicycle lanes”).

Carlsson
Guest
Carlsson

I live close to here and bike and drive regularly on this stretch of Multhomah Blvd. This is not the first major incident on this stretch of road. A couple years ago a kid was hit from behind while heading westbound, with catastrophic results, by a distracted driver. Many lives have now been inexorably changed along this stretch of road. Some people I’m sure feel safe on this stretch, I don’t. I’m not a big fan of trusting my well being to vehicles overtaking me a couple feet away or less at speed differentials of 30-40 mph when all it takes is hiccup, sneeze, or text msg. on their part for my life to end or be dramatically altered.

It will be interesting to watch if what City of Portland’s reaction is to this latest crash. If they’re serious about vision zero, can they just ignore it? This is a a 1-1/2 mile section of road that is by far the most direct and level connection between Garden Home and Multnomah Village. There is only one or two streets that intersect Multhomah Blvd in this stretch. Why wouldn’t a curb buffered cycle track be a solution on this section? I seriously doubt that education efforts alone will eliminate distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless behavior, etc. Here is opportunity to do something significant. Don’t install the full-monty of improvements like they did west of 30th on Multnomah. Install a damn curb! Forget over-engineering and time and money sucking outreach. Just do something straight forward and bold. That make it likely to happen in the near future instead of adding it to the list of projects that will never happen by 2030.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Multnomah Boulivard through to GardenHome used to be a trolly line to the Meyer Estate. Notice the rail grade? Need it back.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

I commute on this stretch 3-5 days a week, so this really strikes a nerve. I’m not looking forward to telling my wife about this, because I know it’ll put a nasty scare into her.

These past few weeks, during the big Bike More challenge, I set up a little bike train for some co-workers to commute this route together. I expect now the people I’d been hoping to ENcourage will be very DIScouraged.

This morning, having heard about this crash, I expected to see something there to mark the spot where it happened – ghost bike, flowers, or something – but there was nothing yet…

rick
Guest
rick

I prefer riding westbound versus eastbound on this unofficial autobahn. Have you rode on the sidestreets in the Maplewood neighborhood?

Chris
Guest
Chris

There are detours through Maplewood and also Garden Home Road. Unfortunately, either choice adds additional cycling time (hills) and eventually you will be back on SW Multnomah at either 45th or 38th street if you are heading East. Very, very sad for this man & his family. RIP.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Garden Home Road east of 52nd isn’t safe to bicycle eastbound, because of the steep, twisty grade, total lack of shoulder, high speed of some cars, and blind curves. Although i live off Garden Home Road, i won’t bicycle that stretch eastbound. I take Multnomah Blvd. instead. Westbound (on GHR) isn’t nearly as bad, because the uphill stretches are much straighter.

Going through Maplewood, rather than Garden Home Road, is a far safer alternative.

That said, i don’t see this stretch of Multnomah Blvd. as all that unsafe. But there are relatively low cost things which can be done to make it safer, like putting a two-way bicycle/pedestrian track on the south side of the road.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

I haven’t really tried alternate routes through the area. Looks like you could take a loopy detour north of Multnomah. But I’ve kind of always made a point of taking the most direct, common sense route, unless I’m just looking to take the long way for kicks or curiosity’s sake.

rick
Guest
rick

SW Canby Street is close to Multnomah and it has a path connection from the nearby assisted living center.

Cyclo
Guest
Cyclo

I agree with Chris I. Speeding and speed limits are treated as a municipal money-makers instead of safety issues.

In this day and age, we could catch and punish every speeder if we wanted. Instead we all (myself included) treat speeding as a lottery with good odds that we won’t get caught if we speed a little.

Of course, this driver wasn’t “speeding a little”, but I doubt he’d have been so cavalier with speed if he knew he’d definitely get a speeding ticket.

Let’s choose speed limits that make sense and enforce them consistently with modern technology. Let’s fund our towns and police properly instead of forcing them to rely on speeding tickets to raise funds.

Michael
Guest
Michael

What’s the stat? I believe its at 30mph a ped/bicycist’s chance of survival is pretty good, but at 40mph becomes quite low. So adding even another 5mph becomes a big deal. My point, speeding “even a little” can have dramatic consequences.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Municipalities generally do not “make money” from speed enforcement or any other traffic citation. The fines are specified in state law. Much of the money goes to the courts to support their operations. The officer is paid for his time showing up in court, often overtime since he’s not their during his regular shift. If a judge is sympathetic and reduces the fine, there is virtually no money left over. The “money making” aspect of traffic enforcement is generally an urban myth at least in modern day Oregon.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

They make the money on civil forfeiture.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Whether or not citations are profitable for jurisdictions depends on whether or not it handled by a municipal court. For most of Oregon, that’s the case, and most jurisdictions get to keep about 80% of whatever is collected.

Portland is one of the few cities in Oregon where they get something like 20% of the fines paid (the rest goes to the court and state). Portland loses money on every citation they write, because their costs exceed revenue. This is why one rarely sees a Portland Police offer pulling someone over and why they don’t write very many citations. I know this because i attend meetings and have asked officers and DA’s why they don’t issue more citations. They always say they don’t have the budget to do so.

But surrounding communities, like Beaverton, Lake Oswego and Tigard are quick to write citations. They get to keep 80% of the fines paid. If they lost money like Portland does, they wouldn’t be so quick to write tickets.

Economics, pure and simple.

Forrest
Guest
Forrest

Another cyclist was struck and nearly killed by a distracted driver on this same stretch of road in 2011. People drive way too fast there. I cringe every time I see cyclists riding along Multnomah Blvd., afraid they will become the next victim of a distracted, drunk, inattentive, speeding, etc. driver. The one time I rode along there I swore I’d never do it again.

rick
Guest
rick

When and where was it on SW Multnomah?

Carlsson
Guest
Carlsson

The previous crash was very close to this, maybe within a block, but westbound instead of east

http://bikeportland.org/2011/04/05/grand-jury-no-criminal-charges-for-woman-in-sw-multnomah-blvd-crash-50826bound.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

If you’re cringing, slow down. Why not say “I drove 35mph through there once, then saw somebody riding in the bike lane and swore I would never do it again.”?

Forrest
Guest
Forrest

I guess I didn’t make my thoughts clear. When I drive on Multnomah Blvd. I cringe because I often see other drivers speeding and driving inattentively on that stretch of road and I worry about the safety of cyclists I see. I’m not cringing because I’m driving too fast or putting the cyclists in danger, I’m not cringing because of my own driving or behavior. I cringe because I don’t want to see another story about a cyclist who has been injured or killed by a speeding and/or inattentive driver. I once rode along that stretch of Multnomah Blvd on my bike and felt really unsafe because the majority of the cars that passed me were driving far above the posted speed limit (or so it seemed to me). I ride along Highway 30 all the time and feel far safer there.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Right. Bike lanes on roads posted at 35mph or higher offer a dangerous illusion of safety.

rick
Guest
rick

Parts of Highway 30 have wider bike lanes than SW Multnomah Blvd.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I think we’re in agreement. It seems that in many cases jurisdictions put bike lanes down because they have to, and simply check off the box. There’s little attempt to make them clean, appealing, or safe.

axoplasm
Subscriber

This was my daily commute for years and still on my usual route to the outer westside. I never felt particularly scared riding on it.

SW Multnomah is about as good as bike routes get in outer SW Portland. It is flat, has good visibility, a wide (and continuous) bike lane, and connects destinations in a straight line on a single street. It doesn’t require years of hard-won knowledge to suss out, unlike the alternatives (e.g. Maplewood)

The alternatives are the opposite of all that. Hilly, curvy, disconnected, often unsigned or unpaved, usually no bike lane or even sharrows. They are awesomes for a lovely ramble, but no fun when you are still 12mi away from the end of your commute. I ride the alternatives when I can but it took me sometimes a decade to find (and remember) them.

Anyway to repeat: SW Multnomah is one of the best bike routes in outer SW. (Reminder that “GOOD” is not a prereq for “BEST”).

rick
Guest
rick

Multnomah often has loads of debris. I’ve seen abandoned and parked cars in the bike lane over the past two years in the forested section.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Photo enforced limit no more than 30mph. Add speedcarts. Add bike lane protection were possible. Remove centerlines to calm traffic. Plus propose state law to mandatory revoke DL on first DUI, not up to judge.

Vision Zero should mandate safety improvemen’s for every fatality, that are specific to the location.

kyle
Guest
kyle

Condolences to Mr. Kurkowski’s friends and family. I hope you will be able to remember him on Memorial Days with the wind in his hair, still riding at 77, like a boss.

ElPana
Guest
ElPana

I take this road on my commute from Nopo to Tigard, it always scares me I try to ride as far right in the bike lane as I can and still doesn’t feel save. Hope this drunk driver gets some jail time!!!

rick
Guest
rick

I agree. I’ve stopped riding east-bound and now take the sidestreets.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Here are the pictures I collected of cars driving in the bike lane on that section of road: http://imgur.com/a/zYHpY

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

I’m gonna be honest… I don’t have a problem with people cutting the bike lane like that on a sharp turn, if you are paying attention and have good, clear sightlines. I realize it’s not ideal, but it’s a reflection of the road design/speeds/ability it gives you to avoid doing a tight turn while also navigating the middle of the lane.

rick
Guest
rick

It is against Oregon state law to cut into bike lanes except for very certain situations.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

If a driver can’t stay in their lane on a turn, why do they have the right to drive?

Pete
Guest
Pete

A bike lane is legally its own lane of travel. Every state has a requirement for drivers to stay in their lane of travel unless signaling and changing safely (and sometimes meeting other criteria, such as distance from an intersection). Oregon’s is ORS 811.370. Police often use lane departure as just cause for a traffic stop, especially if other violations are suspected (i.e., drinking, texting, handset use).

Also, cities don’t like having to repaint lane markings so often.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I have been riding this route since 1978 from Washington Square to downtown via Barbur or via Taylors ferry over the Sellwood bridge to Clackamas. One wreck 5 blocks west of Olefson on Garden home and one collision with a rear view mirror sticking out while I was going down Taylors Ferry. Destroyed the mirror It hit my shaoulder as the pickup was going by and I was at the limit. I just kept going. Other time was when I was a t a stop light on the expressway in Milwaukie. Car clipped me as he was stopping. I hopped on hood, wrapping the hood of the Lincoln around the air filter. Then smashed his windshield with my cleats. He took off through the red light and was pulled over by cop a block later. Right hook was only injury.

rick
Guest
rick

Ask Washington County and Portland for a safe roundabout where SW Garden Home Road and SW Multnomah Blvd meet:

(in both annexed Portland and Washington County)

http://www.mstip3e.com/

Chris
Guest
Chris

Andrzej lived across the street from me and was an incredibly nice man and great neighbor. We just purchased our daughter a new Trek a couple weeks ago for the Summer and were going to ask to ride with him. Now I’ll be worried every time she rides it. My heart goes out to his wife and family and I hope something good comes out of this senseless loss.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

So sick and tired of hearing about people dying on our streets…just for riding a fucking bicycle. Vision Zero my ass.

still riding after all that
Guest
still riding after all that

“Here are the pictures I collected of cars driving in the bike lane on that section of road”

caption on your last picture: “Lol, even the biker can’t stay in his lane”

Please, no laughing, out loud or otherwise. Perhaps the cyclist has ridden that stretch before and knows that many drivers encroach on the bike lane, as shown in all your other pictures. So, he’s trying to stay as far right as possible, even if that means being outside the painted lines, which is exactly what I do (defensive riding).

I live just a few hundred yards from the Old Market Pub and consider that intersection *very dangerous* whether I’m riding, walking, or driving. Over the years, there have been at least 2 petitions to get traffic lights installed where Garden Home Road forks at Multnomah … City of Portland refused.

Condolences to the victim’s family and friends.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Whenever i bicycle through that curve, i’m as far right as i can be, because i know the cars are too!

As for the petitions, i’m responsible for one, about 12 years ago, which was inside the Pub. City has finally listened, and is offering to put up $1million for a signal, improved bicycle lanes, and sidewalks all the way to Oleson.

That’s a weird little jurisdictional area. Part of the City of Portland, but in Washington County. Portland is asking Washington County to match $1 for $1. It’s on the county’s 150% MSTIP 3e list for funding as project number 202. A third of projects (by cost) on the list will be cut. If it doesn’t get cut (i.e. makes it to the 100% list), we should see something in place by 2019. We should know in a few months if it’ll get funded. It’s one of the cheaper projects, so stands a decent chance of getting funded. If so, a roundabout will be considered, but may not be feasible. PBOT will be asking for community input. They’ve been doing a good job of listening lately, too (except for the work at the east end of Multnomah Blvd.)

rick
Guest
rick

A roundabout is needed there.

Dave
Guest
Dave

From experiences over the last few years, I will never ever regard a drunk driver as a human being. The scales have fallen from my eyes–no irony or humor intended, just pure rage that this predatory subhuman species is allowed to live in our midst.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I don’t see any way that there will ever be walled off bike lanes on a road like that. The cost/mile is too high, considering the distance involved. The right of way is not wide enough, since the roadway needs a breakdown shoulder. Maybe very aggressive rumble strips can be installed to alert drivers who are going over the line.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Well, “I don’t see how we can allow motor vehicle traffic on a road like that.” Really. We don’t *need* a breakdown lane, or at least nobody needs to die to allow us to have a continuous one. (Besides, I5 already has a pretty good one.)

Michael
Guest
Michael

I’m pretty sure there is sufficient right of way, that being an old rail line. Problem is the cost of widening the road. It’s not so much the price of the asphalt, but the cost of storm water management (which is there isn’t any in the area anyhow). The clay soils on the west side make storm water management extremely costly.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

That is a really good point. I was riding Cornell, Skyline, and Corneilius Pass today and thinking “next time they repave this, it would be really nice if they laid pavement more than 2 inches past the fog line.”

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

The downhill of Cornell is really bumpy between Thompson and 53rd. I have to take at least part of the lane, sometimes drivers get aggro.

The only problem with having a shoulder is drivers expect you to never be in the lane- so if it’s full of gravel or glass it’s the worst of both worlds.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

You have to tuck that part at 45 mph, then the drivers treat you as part of the traffic flow.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

They have to get by you so they can wait in line at the stop sign at the bottom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9yCeKHShgE

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I like the speed bumps below Thompson and past the tunnel. cycle grooves in the middle of the lane. Cars have to slow down bikes do not. Finny watching Prosche’s follow me through going airborne with no bumps for me.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Great id, DanA. That’s my experience on that road too. Typically it’s in the tunnel sections that I have the most aggro drivers.

And yes Tom- it’s entertaining when there’s an aggro car behind you and you can sail through the speed bump gaps.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

‘Driver found at fault in death of cyclist. Car seized, driver’s license revoked for 10 years.’ That’s the kind of news story I want to read — something to get people to wake up and start being more careful.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

The same action, scofflaw driving with disregard for other road users, can have dramatically different outcomes depending on a large number of factors, including the presence of other road users. I’d prefer to see people lose their licenses and cars for dangerous driving BEFORE they kill someone. Imagine how people would drive if a single moving violation could result in even a one month license suspension and car impound.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Sure, that too. Since we only require drivers to take a driving test when they get their license, it ought to be much easier to remove their license and their vehicle when they fail in the real world.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I can see the billboards now:

A picture of a nice policeman writing a citation and some inset close-up of an Oregon license with “SUSPENDED” stamped across it in “TOP SECRET” style. The big words emblazoned over the picture would be:

“Every trip is a driving test. Don’t fail.”

Or a picture of a brain and a license with appropriate arrows pointing to each with the text “Use it” (pointing to brain) “or lose it” (pointing to license). Possibly also with the tag line “Every trip is a driving test. Don’t fail.”

The possibilities are endless. Somebody hire me now. Oh, wait—we have to change the law first. Never mind.

Pete
Guest
Pete

“Every trip is a driving test – don’t fail.”

Hey, awesome tagline! I’ll have to add that to the line of snarky cycling jerseys that I will someday launch. 🙂

(Others include “Honk if you misunderstand CVC 21202 / ORS 814.420”, “Smile, you’re on camera!”, “Snare the Toad”, “May Use Full Brain”, and of course there’s the ubiquitous “Drive as if my life depends on it.”).

Pete
Guest
Pete

On a side note, I finished a ride yesterday at the hospital, waiting for my wife to finish work so I could ride home with her. I watched an elderly woman with a walker come out. Several people showed concern when she ambled across the roadway, because she looked like she was about to fall over, let alone get hit by a car. A short while later I happened to notice her getting into a car and driving away! (I actually tried to get video of it but my GoPro battery had died by then).

Now, I suspect that if she were to hit and kill a bicyclist or pedestrian, they wouldn’t even bother to check for alcohol (seemingly the only punishable driving offense these days), but simply dismiss it as accidental.

Jeff Hawkins
Guest
Jeff Hawkins

Involuntary manslaughter (I.e. killing someone while DUII) appears to have a 12 month max sentence. Seems a little light I think.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Talk about blaming the victim! (from KOIN):

“Tow claimed that Kurkowski “swerved right in front me,” according to the court documents.

Witnesses told police a different version of what happened.

One witness told officers that the Corvette driven by Tow actually tried to pass Kurkowski on the right hand shoulder and that Tow struck Kurkowski in the bike lane, records show. Shortly before the crash, Tow’s vehicle was seen leaving the parking lot of a nearby bar.”

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

If you are suggesting KOIN is ‘victim blaming’ I disagree. That’s not victim blaming (as much as you want it to be). It is simply relaying what an inebriated driver/man-slaughterer said. If anything, the witness accounts would have been left out if there was victim blaming.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

He’s not, he’s saying that Kurkowski is blaming the victim.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Kurkowski IS the victim!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Right, sorry, wish I could edit that.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Should have typed that:

Talk about perpetrator (Tow) blaming the victim (Kurkowski)!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

On Saturdays, for 6 months or so, I’ve been riding with a little group. From Beaverton to Multnomah Village and back. For it’s gentler grade and wide bike lanes, they prefer Multnomah Blvd, over, just a bit to the south, Garden Home Rd which has no bike lane.

Multnomah Blvd seems to have far more motor vehicle traffic than does Garden Home Rd…and it seems to be faster, though maybe that’s due in part to the blvd having bike lanes, leading people driving to generally feel they’ve less need to slow down, approaching and passing bike traffic, than they may, on Garden Home Rd.

Personally, I prefer riding Garden Home Rd…it’s quieter, people driving tend to be comparably more considerate than those on the other road..and there’s fewer of them.

Nothing really wrong with Multnomah Blvd, though. This collision appears to be due simply to a fool with a corvette, trying to show off. In this case, any common sense acquired through the advanced age of the person driving, didn’t seem to be actively working.

In future, autonomous vehicles could be the answer for road situations comparable to that of Multnomah Blvd: 0-60 mph in 6 seconds Corvettes, other hot cars, and motor vehicles in general, could be configured to not allow speeds beyond posted speed limits, and not at race car rates of acceleration.

Motor vehicle traffic on Multnomah Blvd could be slowed down some without excessively reducing travel time. Doing that wouldn’t prevent stupid motor vehicle usage apparently having contributed to this particular collision…but it would help this road be a much better one on which to ride a bike.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Garden Home Road is fine if you don’t go past 49th eastbound. The combination of the hill (i.e. slow bicycles) and blind curves (i.e. fast cars) makes for a dangerous combination. I won’t ride it, and know someone who was seriously injured doing so.

Your group would be well advised to consider this alternative route from Garden Home into the Village:

https://goo.gl/maps/bnZ6QUv63pz

A few more hills, but far more peaceful and safer than Multnomah Blvd. Will add about 8 minutes ride time. I like riding through April Hill Park; alternatively, some people prefer to ride around it on the streets to the north. Enjoy!

JackC
Guest
JackC

I disagree about the general safety of that stretch. It’s a long. straight road with not much distance from cars in the bike lane, and it’s tempting for drivers to speed. There are also times of day when the sun blinds people, since it runs east to west.

But Corvette drivers do tend to be d-bags and showboaters, so that’s the biggest component in this particular crash.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Yes, still there EVER be an edit function here?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You mean ‘will there’. But you’ll never be able to change it, bwahahahaha.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Heart of my Heart!!! For the first time in the last 38 years I have been going back and forth on Multnomah I saw a Portland policeman in a meter maid cart giving tickets to cars (yes plural) parked in the bike lane about a quarter mile from the crash location. Some people were having an estate sale on the south side and cars were sprinkles everywhere, including double parked in the bike lane. I did not stop to ask how many tickets he gave, but he was giving them at least over a period of 45 minutes as fast as he could write the tickets one at a time.

Thank You PPB!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

KOIN update says that the passenger believed they were going 80 to 90mph before the crash.

http://koin.com/2016/05/30/cyclist-hit-killed-in-sw-portland/

Jeff Hawkins
Guest
Jeff Hawkins

We need the level of outrage currently happening around Brock Turner’s sentencing.

Michael Lee
Guest
Michael Lee

I bike commute this east bound section every Friday and the small potted plant on the inner edge of the “bike lane” put there right after the crash is still there. Could we get a ghost bike to mark the spot?