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Fatal bicycle collision at SE 112th and Mt. Scott – UPDATED

Posted by on August 5th, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Screenshot of KOIN-TV coverage via @

Screenshot of KOIN-TV coverage via @


A woman died today while bicycling in southeast Portland.

The collision with an auto user happened around 3:00 pm at SE 112th and Mount Scott Boulevard. This location is near the entrance of Lincoln Memorial Park, a popular area for riding.

The police have not yet released details of the collision.

This is the fourth fatal bicycle collision and the 27th traffic fatality in Portland so far this year.

This is the second person to die while bicycling this week. On Saturday a Lydia Johnson was killed at SE Flavel and 82nd.

UPDATE: Here’s the latest from the police:

The bicycle rider killed on Friday afternoon has been identified as 49-year-old Karla Kalene DeBaillie of Happy Valley, Oregon.

The other driver involved in the crash was identified as 64-year-old Mary Elizabeth Dieter of Washougal, Washington. Dieter was driving a blue 1997 Dodge Ram pick-up truck. Dieter cooperated with investigators and did not display any signs of impairment or distracted driving.

Based on witness statements and evidence collected at the scene, investigators believe that DeBaillie was riding at a speed of 30-35 miles per hour down Mount Scott Boulevard (northbound) and turned left (westbound) at the interchange at 112th Avenue.

Dieter was driving eastbound on Mount Scott Boulevard and was moving to turn left onto 112th Avenue as westbound traffic stopped to allow her to turn. As Dieter crossed over the westbound lane of Mount Scott Boulevard, DeBaillie crashed into the passenger side of the pick-up truck.

The investigation is continuing and once complete it will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

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Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

The lady motorist probably had the same lame excuse. “I didn’t see her until it was too late.” Broken basic rule: Driving too fast for the conditions. Not watching where she was going to find Pokemon, Texting or? Absolutely no excuse.

James
Guest
James

This is heart-breaking. I hope our city officials are paying attention. SE Portland, past the 50s, and especially past 82nd, desperately needs improved biking infrastructure.

There are wide roads out there with little-used side-street parking that could cheaply and quickly be converted to life-saving buffered bike lanes.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

It is standard practice to list gender and age of involved people when reporting. However, such information was not provided in any of the news reports I’ve seen yet, and it is not in this post.

Until some facts are out, it is best not to assume what happened. The location of the tragedy indicated in the media is such that while it is possible the driver is responsible, it is also possible that the driver was neither inattentive nor committed any error.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Saying prayers for the cyclist, her friends, and family, and all involved.

Too many lives being taken on the streets.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Is this the tipping point? Is this when our elected officials finally take Vision Zero seriously? We are about to find out.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Haven’t ridden here personally, but from Google, it looks like a really poorly designed intersection. Steep terrain and bad intersecting angles. My guess is that the rider was descending, and the car pulled out in front, leaving no time to stop. This seems like an ideal location for a traffic circle.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

This is literally down the same road from the 82nd Ave & Flavel intersection. Flavel becomes Mt. Scott Blvd as it turns underneath I-205 just past 92nd Ave. What happened today is just 30 additional blocks down the same road where Johnson was killed one week ago. It is one of the few available routes for cyclists to Happy Valley et al from middle Southeast Portland.

Carrie
Subscriber

I’m flabbergasted, and yet at this point so not surprised. I was nearly right hooked by a driver in a car with “Share the Road” plates going SB on SW Terwilleger Weds afternoon (3:30 pm). There was road construction and car traffic was stop and go and the driver did NOT look over their shoulder to see if the [bike] lane was clear before turning (from nearly a dead stop due to slow car traffic). I only managed to avoid it because a) I wasn’t riding as fast as normal down the hill because of the construction and b) I just happened to see the turn signal on the rear view mirror that was flipped on a second before they started to turn. The ONLY thing that could have prevented this interaction was the driver doing what they were supposed to do — LOOK before turning — not assume that there was no one there because there was no one there 5 minutes ago.

I love riding my bike. I love riding Terwilleger. I’m not going to stop doing either. But damn I wish I could ride as fast as I want there without being hyper villigant Every SIngle Time.

I love all you bike riders out there on the road!

Kristi Finney Dunn
Guest

Vision Zero is in the final stages of decision-making in Portland. It is not yet implemented, pending fine-tuning by the Task Force and then approval by City Council. This should be soon… not soon enough, but it is coming along.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Does not VZ have to go before its Executive Committee before it gets to City Council?

pdxhobbitmom
Subscriber
pdxhobbitmom

From the photo on KATU it looks like the bicyclist was coming downhill around a curve when a Dodge Ram turned left across her path. However, that left turn was actually straight ahead for the Ram, so there was less incentive to stop or slow down. It does seem like a dangerous intersection designed to keep traffic moving fast on Mt. Scott Blvd.
http://katu.com/news/local/pedestrian-struck-killed-on-mt-scott-boulevard

RushHourAlleycat
Guest

For folks using this or any tragedy to further an agenda or narrative. Maybe don’t.

soren
Guest

The 82nd Avenue of Death Ride and Protest will stop at the location of this second tragedy to protest another unnecessary death on our roads.

The ride starts at 5 pm at Woodstock Park and will stop at SE 82nd and Flavel at 6 pm.

Woodstock Park
SE 47th Street, Portland, Oregon 97206

https://www.facebook.com/events/1430777176948183/

kittens
Guest
kittens

So she was descending at 30-35 in the bike lane? I would definitely advise taking the lane in this instance. Don’t be shy people, your life may depend on it.

Asher Atkinson
Guest
Asher Atkinson

As the facts of this tragedy emerge it becomes harder for me to find obvious fault and simple remedies.

Assuming I reconstructed the situation accurately, the cyclist was moving at 30 to 35 mph around a left sweeping curve with a posted speed limit of 20 mph. Additionally, the cyclist passed a car that was stopped to allow an oncoming car to turn in front of it. Again, assuming I’ve reconstructed the situation accurately, two factors stand out.

One, while the stopped car had no legal obligation to yield to the left turning car, it likely did so out of courtesy. And it’s this type of courtesy that can leave the impression that it is safe for an oncoming car to proceed when it is not. The ‘no, you go ahead’ gesture disrupts predictability on the road and can lead to disastrous results. That said, had the car been stopped for a pedestrian, and assuming that the crossing to the island between 112th and Mt Scott is technically a crosswalk, then it would have been illegal for the cyclist to pass the stopped car.

Two, passing a car that is stopped, or moving at a much slower rate, is an inherently dangerous maneuver, and can be illegal. In situations like this, extreme caution is warranted, though often discounted or ignored.

These factors – the unpredictability of road users, and the misjudgment of risk – are both understandable human factors that are difficult to design against with infrastructure and laws. I hope we all can take lessons away from this tragedy and apply them to our behavior on the road immediately.

rick
Guest
rick

The nearbyh Willamette National Cemetery does not allow “runners.”

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

I agree entirely but feel in practice it can be very difficult to put this into effect. For example, when I’ve ridden on side roads in the 70+ Aves past Tabor on a downslope, it is easy to reach 25mph on bicycle yet the operators of cars will nonetheless try zipping around. Even as they continuously brake for speed bumps and stop signs without ever easily getting ahead in a meaningful way. Anyways, I agree that once you’re in the 25+ mph rate of velocity, leaving the bike lane makes sense but car operators will nonetheless feel the “need” to slip by the “slower” vehicle (which is going the posted speed). :-/ I suppose how car operators react to taking the lane is its own issue that does not detract from the validity and purpose of your statement but is highly related to general safety and maneuverability.

EPO Rider
Guest
EPO Rider

It’s unclear… how is the cyclist moving Northbound on Mt. Scott, while the truck driver is moving Eastbound!?!?!

Adam
Subscriber

That slip lane needs to go away.

SD
Guest
SD

Would be interested to know how they came up with 30-35 mph. We tend to overestimate the ability of police to determine “facts” that become fixed once they appear in a police report.

I am trying to figure out how dangerous this intersection is. Hard to blame the intersection for a car stopping innapropriately (if I read the report correctly.)

This highlights one of the black boxes of right sided bike lanes. Right turning cars must stop to yield the ROW to bikes passing on the right before the car turns, but they could also be stopping for other reasons. If I stopped every time a car stopped to allow me to pass before they make a turn, it would be confusing and frustrating for everyone. I typically wait for a car to be at a full stop for 1-2 secs before I assume they have seen me. The lack of a turn signal is not unusual enough to set off alarms.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps I have a bias because of the many decades I lived and rode in a rural area with a one-mile grid of roads, almost none of which had slip lanes, but there’s just no need to try to make every road into an expressway.

Bad traffic engineer. No coffee for him/her.

David Lewis
Guest

Yielding one’s own right of way, and accepting that yielded right of way are common causes for collisions like this. If I were in charge, these would be criminal acts. There are no accidents.

Driving is not a passive activity; it is both a privilege and a responsibility to know and follow traffic laws. Cooperating with police after the fact does not vindicate.

I agree with Tom Hardy that all acts while driving are deliberate.

Spiffy
Subscriber

disclaimer: I am not a lawyer…

legally, this will be the cyclist’s fault… they were riding on the shoulder, which is legally considered a sidewalk (and why we’re allowed to bike on it)…

as a sidewalk rider you are required to enter the crosswalk at a walking speed when there is a pending conflict with a motor vehicle…

per witness statements the rider did not slow down to a walking speed (~4 mph) before entering the unmarked crosswalk and thus did not leave enough time for the driver to react…

unfortunate, but that is my take from a legal standpoint…

moral take-away: when passing cars to the right of the white line you’re on an unmarked sidewalk so be sure to slow when there are cars turning across that shoulder…

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Jonathan: I would recommend the terminology “motor vehicle operator” and not “auto user”.

In the future the term “auto user” may be better a description for a person inside a self driving car where they have final authority to cease operations or set the “avoidance” threshold for self preservation…and they are in a crash/ collision.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

To all those who are saying that this may be the fault of drivers who had “courtesy stopped” in the road to let the truck driver turn — what if they had stopped for a pedestrian? It’s an intersection, therefore an unmarked crosswalk, so cars would be required to stop for peds. A cyclist flying down the hill at 30-35 mph could easily have taken out that ped in addition to themselves. I know that wasn’t the case here, just saying that we cyclists are just as responsible for those around us as drivers are. If cars are stopped in the middle of the road, best to slow down and figure out why.

bendite
Guest
bendite

Adam H.
Roundabouts improve safety by reducing the amount of conflict points over a signallized intersection. Of course, if they are only designed for cars, then they only improve safety for drivers. It is possible, however, to design roundabouts to accommodate cycling.
Recommended 1

I can tell when someone is about to blow the yield in a roundabout. If someone is blowing the stop on a 4 way stop, I’m a sitting duck by the time I realize it.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I’m a hill cyclist, but have never biked to the top of Mt Scott, despite it being one of the biggest hills in the area.

I considered doing it for the first time only last week as it happens, and was pouring over Google maps trying to find the best way up.

You know when you use the word “pouring” over a map, it is not going to end well.

It is a suburban hellhole out there on the hill.

I could not find any direct way to the top that did not involve biking on, for all intents and purposes, freeways part of the way up, including Mt Scott Blvd. There is little to no connectivity, because all of the subdivisions meander about forever, before abruptly dead-ending. You can see the road 30 feet higher up the hill you want to get to, but you are in a culdesac with no way of getting there.

After pouring over the map for 5 minutes I gave up, and Mt Scott remained unbiked by me.

I suspect this lady was trying to do the same thing I was doing. For those saying she shouldn’t have been biking on a busy street, I would come back at them by saying, there are no other streets that will get you anywhere on that hill. They are all dead-ends.

Depressing as hell. Who gave planning permission for this sh***y piece of suburbia?

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Another Good Samaritan Death Trap sadly claims another victim. This particular road design, referred to in the police report as an “interchange,” not an intersection, is an unusual and inviting set-up for such a trap. I can’t imagine this is the only collision which that design has contributed to. Is Portland or Clackamas responsible for that road? (It’s right on the city limit border.)

matt picio
Guest
matt picio

David Hampsten
Judging from PBOT stats that 20 mph crashes are rarely fatal, and that this one was, and that the mountainbike/hybrid fork was bent in and the front wheel tacoed with the tire peeled off, I’d say the impact was at least 25-30 mph, if not higher.
Recommended 0

Chance of death @ 20mph impact speed: 20%
Chance of death @ 40mph impact speed: 80%

There’s a high likelihood that the cyclist’s speed was no more than 25mph. The motorist would have accelerated to roughly 15mph to clear the intersection, making the impact speed around 40 mph. (depending on the impact angle and other factors)

q
Guest
q

Coincidentally, I was on a highway in Washington last weekend where two of these same conditions within a few hundred yards of each other are being removed, because they are unsafe. If you’re making the “turn” the driver was making, you’re not really turning, you’re going straight, so almost head-on into oncoming traffic. If you’re doing the opposite–in this case heading westbound, and entering Mt. Scott Blvd. at the base of the hill from the small straight stretch that the driver was turning onto, you’re having to look way behind over your shoulder as you drive forward. That’s probably even more dangerous. And all that’s just for drivers, without considering safety of anyone else.

TAJ
Guest
TAJ

I’ve ridden this many times and am wondering if “westbound traffic stopping to allow her to turn” is being misinterpreted. I cannot imagine making this “turn” at 30 mph without taking the lane. It’s fast but completely navigable with the lane. It’s not feasible to me to do so without taking the lane… at least not near that speed, which is easily attained, and so this part of the reporting confuses me.

What I know is that there is a lot to navigate there. First, approaching at 30-35mph is easy because it’s in the middle of a long descent. Cars routinely travel that stretch at 35+. As you head down Mt. Scott Blvd toward 112th, there is traffic coming toward you on Mt Scott Blvd with a stop sign for them at the “intersection”. I hand signal to indicate I’m going left in front of them (you can also go straight on Mt. Scott and much of the traffic does), but signaling for any length of time is difficult because you need to brake for the turn…not easy to brake 1-handed going downhill, so the signal is brief.

At the same time you have to look left to see if someone is coming up 112th who may cross your lane in front of you (as happened here) to go east on 112th. There’s no stop or yield sign for them, but they are crossing your ROW. Finally, you may have a westbound car on 112th entering your lane to head downhill on 112th. There’s a stop sign for them, but we know how that can work. Just watch the car(s) blow thru that one on the KOIN report.

This is a fun road and dangerous descent. I had a close call similar to what happened to Ms DeBaillie. An eastbound car on 112th cut in front of me as I descended. I was lucky. I had a car at the stop sign facing southbound on Mt. Scott Blvd pull out as I was crossing (with the ROW) in front of him. I had signaled and thought I had made eye contact…not hardly.

I’ve taken this descent more carefully since the close calls and I’ll take it even more carefully now. But I understand the ease with which a bike can go 30+ around this bend. And how that intersection depends on too many drivers yielding the ROW and staying stopped at stop signs.

I don’t know what my narration can add to this. I’m lucky not to have had the same thing happen to me. I think the traffic control there needs to change. Sadly it will not help protect Ms. DeBaillie. My condolences to her family.

kittens
Guest
kittens

looks like the bike was pretty well in the traffic lane on the decent. how else would it have ended up there?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Other than a few comments there isn’t a lot of skewering of the driver and I am not sure why this case is so different than other bike vs car news posted here. Even a few anti car voices seem to be silent. Just an observation.

TAJ
Guest
TAJ

I don’t think she was intentionally passing on the right.

Cars going downhill on Mt. Scott have the ROW going straight (north) and going left (west). A cyclist has to take the lane to go left. Otherwise you may get “right hooked” by cars continuing straight. That’s independent of speed.

Only if you intend to go straight can you stay in the bike lane. If you’re turning, you take the lane far enough in advance to make the turn. All at speed on a downhill grade, while trying to signal, sometimes with cars behind.

The account given makes sense if Ms DeBaillie was behind a car going down Mt. Scott, turning left, that stopped such that Ms DeBaillie had no choice but to avoid it by then trying to make a pass on the right.

If there was traffic behind her, the effect would have been to inhibit a lot of slowing prior to this, which would further reduce any chance at stopping.

TAJ
Guest
TAJ

I understand your point, but this may be crossing a line I don’t want to go over. She did avoid the car in front of her, apparently by using the bike lane to the right, which is permissible. It’s the car that then violated her ROW that she could not avoid.

Death by Hook
Guest
Death by Hook

Hooking a biker with your SUV is apparently perfectly legal in Eugene, especially if you are a judge.

http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/34619371-75/man-sues-lane-circuit-judge-mcalpin-over-bicycle-suv-accident.html.csp

Eugene police claim that after passing the cyclist “the judge ‘did not make an unsafe turn. I determined McAlpin did not cause the crash and that it would have been impossible to determine the high rate of speed of the approaching bicycle in his side-view mirror.'”

TAJ
Guest
TAJ

Agree, Kitty

Paikiala
Guest
Paikiala

Chris,
Read the law. A crosswalk doesn’t require a sidewalk. It is a legal space, not a marking.

Jason Borne
Guest
Jason Borne

It’s amazing to see how much people can get wrong and infer things that didn’t happen simply from reading an article. Most of you are wrong. BTW, that is my motorcycle, in the pictures, next to the truck. I was 10 feet behind the truck when the crash occurred. I witnessed the entire thing, I performed CPR on the bicyclist.

Jason Borne
Guest
Jason Borne

You’re right, here are my observations of this message board:

Tom Hardy wrote: “Because the cyclist was a hinderance (spelled: hindrance) to the motorist’s travel the motorized vehicle driver committed vehicular assault on the cyclist by pressing on the gas instead of the brake before crossing in front of the cyclist.” This is the most asinine thing I’ve heard. As if the evil driver had some vendetta against bicyclists and took one out to prove a point. Folks, the lady who turned in front of the bike rider and caused this crash (yes, she was at fault) was absolutely devastated. That’s not to take away from the fact that someone was killed and what her family is going through, and the pain caused there, but don’t believe for one nano-second that the driver was carefree and happy go-lucky at what had transpired; her heart was completely broken at what she’d done.

Soren wrote: “The collision occurred in the midst of a 90 degree turn so the idea that Karla was traveling at 30-35 mph is simply not credible” It’s in the middle of a wide, long turn and cars travel at that speed there all the time. I can assure you, it is possible and she was traveling that fast.

Back to Tom Hardy: “The reason the other cars were stopped on the westbound stretch when the pickup went straight (turned left) in front of the cyclist is because they stopped to let the cyclist through the intersection since she had the right of way. The Pickup disregarded the oncoming traffic and drove in front of the cyclist.” I am not sure where this nugget started but there were no “stopped westbound traffic” Other than the bicyclist, there were no other cars between the truck and the bike. They may have meant traffic from 112th feeder road onto Mt. Scott Blvd was stopped, but there were no cars on Mt. Scott Blvd stopped or otherwise.

Then there was some weird “Gender” thing happening, who cares? I digress.

Kyle Banerjee made some excellent points.

Pdxhobbitmom wrote: “From the photo on KATU it looks like the bicyclist was coming downhill around a curve when a Dodge Ram turned left across her path. However, that left turn was actually straight ahead for the Ram, so there was less incentive to stop or slow down.” The truck was going about 10-15 mph so about 25-20mph under the speed limit. She was not traveling fast at all.

wsbob wrote: “Witness impressions aren’t exact. I say that, with some question in mind as to how close to the mark their estimation was, of the mph speed of the person riding the bike. I’m saying I think there’s definitely a possibility the witnesses may have overestimated the mph speed.” And TonyJ wrote: Does anyone else find the estimated speed to be a bit suspect? I doubt most causal observers are good at estimating the speed of a cyclist (think of how often people are accused of “speeding” on their bikes on flat ground). I can tell you with certainty that the speed estimation is fairly accurate. Not only am I a motorcycle rider, and a very vigilant one at that, but I am also a Police Officer and have been for about 10 years. I am trained in speed estimation and do it on a pretty regular basis as part of my job. I fairly certain of the bicyclist’s speed.

Dan A wrote: “There is an advisory speed of 20. The posted speed is 35, I believe.” This is correct, it is not posted 20 mph.

Spiffy wrote: “legally, this will be the cyclist’s fault… they were riding on the shoulder, which is legally considered a sidewalk (and why we’re allowed to bike on it)… per witness statements the rider did not slow down to a walking speed (~4 mph) before entering the unmarked crosswalk and thus did not leave enough time for the driver to react…” Um, no… Good thing you’re not a lawyer. The bicyclist was not on the shoulder, she was in the motor vehicle lane of travel. The driver made a left turn in front of her. The driver, is the at fault party here.

Side note: SD wrote: “Sincere question: Is this really an unmarked cross walk?” Yes, ORS defines a crosswalk existence as any place where two streets intersect.

Chris I wrote, in regard to Spiffy: “Completely wrong, from a legal standpoint.” Yes, yes he is.

q wrote: “It sounds like you’re thinking the stopped cars were on the straight section of Mt. Scott Blvd., heading westbound, because that would put them to the cyclist’s right, and yes, they would have to stop (at the stop sign) waiting for her to pass, and if they were there, she would not be overtaking and passing them.” You’re assessment is correct, well said

SE Rider wrote: “It bounced off the side of the truck and landed there?
Based on the bike’s placement on the road and the angle of the truck (which would deflect the bike towards the lane) it looks pretty obvious to me that the cyclist was on the shoulder. That makes sense given reports that cars were in the lane, stopped to allow the truck to make a left turn.” The point of impact was the passenger-side headlight. The rider came to an almost instantaneous stop and the bike went past on the passenger side and the rider bounced off the truck and came to rest in front of the truck.

Spiffy wrote: “the article was originally posted with no information about how the incident happened… when the update came out it seemed like the cyclist could be the one at fault for their speed entering the intersection from the shoulder… however, the photo from the scene seems to indicate the rider wasn’t on the shoulder, so now we’re confused as to what really happened and where those cars were at while waiting for the driver to turn…”

In a nutshell, here is what happened. The truck was traveling east on Mt. Scott Blvd with me behind it. As we approached the feeder road (the road where the police van is in the photo), the truck driver turned on her signal to turn left (actually go straight, but still considered a left turn), and I did the same thing. I looked up the hill, and saw the bicyclist coming at a good rate of speed, down the hill, in the lane of travel, as the truck driver made the turn. I heard the bicyclist scream in an attempt to alert the driver, and attempt to stop her bike. However, the speed she was traveling (measure the skid mark, that may give you some insight into her speed), she was unable to stop in time and crashed into the truck that was traveling about 10-15mph. This was a combined speed of approximately 40-50mph. I also know this based on the amount of and types of injuries the rider sustained (I won’t go into detail). The rider was screaming in pain for about 15 seconds before she lost consciousness and quit breathing about 30 seconds after that (which tells me she sustained substantial internal injuries, due to the mechanism of the crash). I attempted CPR for several minutes before medics arrived.

My take away is this. As a motorcyclist I understand how drivers often aren’t alert enough to notice me riding; as a bicyclist, you are even less noticeable. There have been several occasions where I have almost been struck by a less than vigilant driver. That’s an unfortunate reality of how motorists drive, they simply may not see us, even though they should. This was the case here, the driver simply didn’t see the bicyclist and inappropriately made a left turn. As I said at the beginning, she was devastated at what she’d done, and she has to live with the fact that her actions took a life. If you are, in fact, a compassionate person, you should have some compassion for her too. She is not the devil, this was not on purpose, this is not an act of war against bicyclists. A driver made a bad choice and a bad thing happened. Period.

Jason Borne
Guest
Jason Borne

Either cars were at the stop sign on 112th going south, stopped on the short feeder road waiting to go west on Mt. Scott Blvd (I didn’t see either, my focus was on the bicyclist) or there was an error in the story. But yes, there were no vehicles stopped to allow the truck driver to turn. The bicyclist was in the lane of travel going down hill and there were no cars between her and the truck; the driver turning had a clear view of the bicyclist, but simply didn’t see her.