Splendid Cycles

Collision on St Johns Bridge kills bicycle rider – Updated

Posted by on October 29th, 2016 at 2:56 pm

View of the west end of the St. Johns Bridge. Despite being a very popular and important bikeway, it’s quite inhospitable for users not inside a motor vehicle.

A man died while riding his bike on the St Johns Bridge today. He became the 37th person to die as a result of a traffic collision in Portland thiss year.

Not many details have been released. I’ve pasted the most recent police statement below:

On Saturday October 29, 2016, at 11:25 a.m., North Precinct and Traffic Division officers responded to the West end of the St. Johns Bridge on the report of a crash involving a bicycle rider and a driver.

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located a male adult bicycle rider critically injured. Medical efforts were not successful and he died at the scene.

The involved driver has remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

The Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team is responding to conduct an investigation.


This hits home for me because I ride at that location at least a few times a week.

The St Johns Bridge is a vital connection point to Forest Park, Sauvie Island, the West Side, and more. Unfortunately it’s a very auto-centric place where biking is high-stress and can be dangerous.

ODOT had a chance to reconfigure the lanes on the bridge when it underwent a major renovation in 2005, but they decided against bike lanes despite an independent traffic engineering study (PDF here) that showed there would be no loss of capacity or operational impact if they striped one standard motorized vehicle lane in each direction instead of two. ODOT sees this facility as an important freight route and wanted to make sure it maintained as much freight capacity as possible.

ODOT’s regional manager at the time was Matt Garrett, who is now the agency’s director. In 2005 I had a tense exchange with Garrett where he essentially admitted that there is nowhere for bicycle users to go on the bridge. The sidewalks are technically not wide enough for bicycle riders and walkers and the main lanes are not safe for mixed traffic.

In 2012 they added sharrows; but those are hard to see and most people in cars and trucks go so fast it doesn’t feel safe to use them.

I’m in Bend this weekend racing cyclocross. I’ll have more to say about this on Monday. I shared more thoughts about it on Twitter. You can read the full thread here.

I’ll update this post as I learn more.

UPDATE: Police have arrested the driver :

The driver involved in today’s fatal crash on the St. Johns Bridge was arrested after a crash investigation by Traffic Division officers.

42-year-old Joel Aaron Schrantz of North Portland was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on a charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide. He’ll be arraigned on Monday.

The bicycle rider has been tentatively identified as a man in his 50s. Family has not yet been notified so the deceased’s name is being withheld at this time.

Investigators learned that Schrantz was driving his 1995 Toyota 4Runner northbound and was stopped at a red light on Northwest Bridge Avenue at the entrance to the St. Johns Bridge. When the light turned green, Schrantz accelerated into the curve and lost control of the vehicle as it began to fishtail as he turned onto the bridge. Schrantz failed to maintain control of his vehicle as it slid into the westbound lanes of the bridge, where he collided with the bicycle rider who was riding westbound across the bridge. The rider was knocked from his bicycle and came to rest underneath the front of an unrelated vehicle being driven westbound.

Investigators examined Schrantz’ vehicle and noted that the rear tires were bald and had no traction. Investigators learned that Schrantz was aware of the bad condition of his tires and other vehicle equipment issues making the 4Runner unsafe to drive.

Schrantz’ driver’s license is suspended and he’ll face additional traffic charges once the investigation is complete. He was not impaired by drugs or alcohol.

UPDATE #2: The man who died was 55-year-old Mitchell York of northeast Portland. The PPB say investigators have learned that, “York was a dedicated bicycle rider, logging more than 500 miles a week.”

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

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  • SD October 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    This is incredibly tragic.

    St. Johns Bridge could be an iconic national landmark for multimodal use given the important access it provides and its scenic attributes.

    An earlier BP article presciently described ODOT’s negligent choice to protect auto speeds that exceed the posted limits at the expense of multimodal safety.

    “To actually make the St. Johns Bridge a place where more people would consider bicycling, the solution would be to have a protected bike lane and one standard lane in each direction. That was actually the recommendation made by consultants David Evans & Associates, who studied the bridge in 2003.
    “Result of traffic operations analysis in 2002,” read David Evans & Associates St. Johns Bridge Transportation Impacts report, “indicates no capacity constraints or operational flaws on the bridge that would prohibit the implementation of any of the striping options.” Even in 2020, the report found that the only bottlenecks that would occur would be at the signalized intersections on each end.
    Despite this study, and despite some advocacy by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and others, ODOT caved to the freight lobby and left the lanes as-is.”

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    • Suburban October 29, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Yea, but Freight!

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    • Bob October 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Until there is some sort of protected bikeway, and I’m all for some kind of bike protection on this bridge, I will continue to choose to ride the St Johns sidewalk, and get off the bike when a pedestrian approaches. Bikes might have a right of way, but the laws of physics are just to harsh on those that are confronted by a fast moving vehicle.

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      • matt picio October 30, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        It’s not clear that any engineering would have prevented this, including protected bike lanes. The driver was operating unsafe equipment in what was apparently a reckless manner. Cars driven in that fashion frequently are able to hop curbs and otherwise transgress on what should be a safe and separated space. Engineering only goes so far, and honestly, there’s no guarantee education or enforcement would have worked here either. It really is a true tragedy, because this was completely avoidable.

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        • Paul Atkinson October 31, 2016 at 1:07 pm

          Plenty of ways are listed here in this thread; your assertion would go a lot further if you could identify the reasons each would have failed in this case.

          Example: the criminal driver had dozens of prior convictions for dangerous driving, yet was continually forgiven and put back behind the wheel. Revoking his permission to drive a car on the roads years ago could well have prevented this.

          Example: physical separation of the bike lane, e.g., with a jersey barrier, could well have prevented this.

          Example: lane configurations that are inhospitable to speeding and dangerous driving, e.g., narrower lanes, could well have prevented this.

          The throwing-up-hands “but criminals will always ignore laws and there’s no way to stop them” crap has to stop.

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          • KH November 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm

            I drove by at approx 2mph in the backed up traffic with my window down to study the man who’s head rested on the sidewalk, helmet intact, legs and left arm in the street, hoping so much to see any sign of life. I knew as I drove on, wiping tears from my eyes, that he was gone. In that moment I thought how desperately he would have wished he’d been riding up on that high sidewalk. Regardless of your “rights,” you have to be smart. Rights won’t save your life in unsafe conditions, period.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2016 at 8:23 am


              Mitch was trying to turn left to go south after riding westbound on the bridge. There is no possible way he could have stayed “on that high sidewalk” to make that left turn. He was completely 100% innocent and deserves zero blame for what happened. ZERO.

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            • Dan A November 14, 2016 at 10:15 am

              Smart people are run down all the time.

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        • SD October 31, 2016 at 3:24 pm

          It is hard to see a brutal, heart wrenching loss like this and consider both the specific circumstances and systemic failures that contributed. Unfortunately, this is the lens that we have had to look through far too often over the past several years.

          Most of the time there are details faulting the driver, or details that point to the person that was walking or biking. Blame is one of the most powerful elements of the story, and in this case the driver made one of many horrible decisions. It is easy to narrow our focus to a single cause like the combination of bald tires and a reckless driver, throw our hands up and say “This is it, nothing else matters, solve this problem by stopping bad drivers.”

          On the other hand, if we step back and look at data compiled from hundreds or thousands of tragic events, we draw broad conclusions like the contribution of speed to fatal outcomes. Even more broadly, there are contributing factors like “culture” that are difficult to isolate or measure.

          Most of the time, I don’t believe that I can look at a tragedy and make a clear case for a singular intervention, nor can I discount other peoples ideas for improvements. What is clear is sadness, anger, a sense of urgency, and that current conditions for cycling and walking are ridiculous. When I heard about this death, I immediately felt the same the same feeling I get whenever I am approaching the St John’s Bridge. The bad conditions on SJB are created by many different factors.

          I agree that one bad driver made one bad choice and if that moment is altered the outcome is changed. But, I am painfully reminded that ODOT chose a design that intentionally discourages cyclists form using the SJB. Then they reluctantly added signs and sharrows when, not surprisingly, thousands of cyclists use the bridge despite the bad design, saying under their breath that cyclists made them add the signage. They shrug off the poor design with a “ride at your own risk” mentality. Like deaths on Barbur, or Powell, they will say that it was a bad human decision beyond their control that caused this death. In doing so they will ignore the fact that they built a road that feels comfortable driving 20 mph over the speed limit while weaving around slower traffic.

          When this bad driver approached the bridge, he did so with the expectation that he was turning onto a fast road, essentially a freeway. It was a horrible decision and he should never drive again. When an engineer designs a road without considering how that road influences expectations or driver behavior in an urban environment with vulnerable road users, they have made a horrible decision. They should never make decisions about roads in Portland again.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. October 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    The sharrows on this bridge are a joke. When will ODOT take safety seriously?

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    • abomb October 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      That’s why I ride on the sidewal on the St John’s bridge. I know I have the legal right to ride in the road but with the speed of the cars it’s not safe. A bike lane in this instance may not have helped. I just wish people would drive slower on this bridge.

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  • Stephen Keller October 29, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I’m sad.

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  • Joshua October 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I live in SJ, and drive across this bridge almost daily. I consciously make sure I drive under the speed limit, which is posted at 35. And yet most cars fly by me, going considerably faster.

    I watch cyclists on the road, and am always worried for them; it seems like such an unfriendly place to ride. I’ve never ridden across the bridge myself, as there’s no way I want to ride on the other bike-hostile hellhole that is Route 30. I’d much rather take the long route through North Portland.

    The bridge and Route 30 should both be made much safer for bicyclists (and other means of human-powered transportation). And the primary way to do that is to figure out some way to slow down the damn cars.

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    • Justin Morton October 29, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      Would it kill ODOT to lower the speed limit to 20 miles per hour on the bridge? I’m always driving slow to get a peek at the amazing view anyway.

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      • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 11:08 am

        If the speed limit was 20 and there was only one main lane each way, lawful drivers would go 20 and unlawful drivers would be stuck behind them.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 8:38 am

        it wouldn’t kill ODOT but it might kill a law-abiding road user… when I’m driving the new 25 mph speed limit on the Morrison Bridge I feel like I’m going to get seriously hurt due to all the people going 35+ mph around me, riding my bumper and cutting me off aggressively as if I’m enemy #1 for obeying the law…

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        • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 9:05 am

          I drive 35mph on Bethany as posted and watch cars go around me at 45-50mph. Sure wish it was one lane instead of two.

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        • Greg Crowe October 31, 2016 at 11:15 am

          I got honked at and flipped the bird by a little old lady in a Prius the last time I drove across that (and yeah, I was doing 25 – 28 mph). I mean, it kind of made my day, but was unsettling nonetheless.

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    • Russ Lowe October 30, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Exactly what you said, Joshua. I live right on the east side of bridge, and got stuck in the bridge closeure yesterday coming back from my son’s morning soccer games. We have both wanted to take our bikes on trips like that, because 30 it actually one of the very last routes in Portland where you can actually at times feel as if you’re taking a ‘short cut’ and avoiding what has become incessant, unavoidable auto traffic. But there is just no way I want to roll the dice with that route, let alone bring my young son along. We were both shaken and saddened to learn of the accident yesterday. Thoughts with Mr. York’S family and friends, and I hope it causes many people to ponder ways we can improve, and incites some positive changes.

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  • kyle October 29, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Damn. Terrible news.

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  • Peter shaffer October 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I only ride on the sidewalks over that bridge.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. October 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Even the sidewalks are terrifying.

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      • Brendan Treacy October 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        They are! I don’t usually have a fear of heights but something about that sidewalk on a bike feels really unsettling. I usually prefer to ride on the road even though that’s obviously not very invited either. Just another pinch point for bikes. Sad to hear about this.

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  • peejay October 29, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    ODOT is criminally negligent for this and for the car murder of Martin Greenough on Lombard at 42nd, and for the many other deaths that occurred on ODOT-operated roads in Portland, because they knew exactly how dangerous their design choices were, and consciously chose those designs over safer options. Lock up Matt Garrett and all top ODOT officials without bail, and let them stand trial for these murders.

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    • Kevin October 29, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      I would never consider nor condone such action, but I hear that non-conspiratorial occupations are all the rage these days.

      In all seriousness, perhaps now is time – again – for public pressure in the form of thoughtful protest and media invocation to help spur change and bring attention to Vision Zero. There’s an election soon, right?

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      • dwk October 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm

        How would vision zero have done anything to have stopped this idiot driver?

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        • Dan A October 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

          Maybe vision zero policies would have kept this man from driving. He has already been busted for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, and a hit in run in 2014 (for which they suspended his licence for 90 days). Based on his driving history, is it surprising that the’s a terrible driver?

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          • Greenkrypto October 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

            In 2014, he hit me head-on and immediately restarted his car to get away. Left me with $5000 damage. Thankfully, one of the North Precinct cops recognized him from a photo I took with my iPhone.

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            • Kevin October 29, 2016 at 10:39 pm

              What a winner.

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            • Charley October 31, 2016 at 10:39 am

              Amazing. Vision Zero requires laws that would permanently prevent this kind of person from endangering the public again. I’m glad that they got him!

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        • Eric Leifsdad October 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm

          A bike lane behind jersey barriers or a steel guardrail wouldn’t have this problem. This is exactly the kind of unpredictable crash that vision zero should be addressing. Unfortunately PBOT’s approach to it is still half-hearted at best.

          Even without a solid barrier, would the driver have been so zealous with the gas pedal without as much wide-open space to play in? A couple posts or sand-filled barriers would make a difference. Seems like the tires might be bald from habitually stomping too hard on the go pedal after every stop. Fear of enforcement *ever* happening is one thing, but I want infrastructure that stops the vehicle anytime day or night whether drunk, reckless, or just had a blowout. Of course, lots of people are going to run into this infrastructure before they realize they’re not as competent at driving as they thought. The bmw suv with a green scrape of paint down the side could totally be “a Portland thing”, right?

          But the first step is to accept the fact that giving drivers too much ease and convenience is killing people. I’m not sure ODOT or even PBOT are ready to challenge the unquestionable right of “those who can afford to pay $2/gal for gas” to do whatever the hell they want.

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          • Stephen Keller October 29, 2016 at 8:24 pm

            Eric Leifsdad
            But the first step is to accept the fact that giving drivers too much ease and convenience is killing people. I’m not sure ODOT or even PBOT are ready to challenge the unquestionable right of “those who can afford to pay $2/gal for gas” to do whatever the hell they want.

            This is to my thinking the heart of the matter. Reducing speed limits might help some, but people have to obey them. Only those folks predisposed toward lawful behavior will be affected by the change. Same thing with Vision Zero. Those who care, get it and change their behavior. Without draconian enforcement (which has its own, already widely examined, problems), you’ll still see speeds of 45-50 mph on the bridge and vulnerable road users will continue to be at risk. I’d like to see the bridge changed to two lanes with the remainder of the space turned to physically isolated MUP/public space. I’d also like to see Germantown Road broken into two disconnected parts (allowing access to the Leif Erikson trailhead, but no through driving. If Germantown were taken out of the Hillsboro-Vancouver cut-through business, we’d see a lot less congestion on the approach to the bridge.


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          • wsbob October 29, 2016 at 11:37 pm

            “A bike lane behind jersey barriers or a steel guardrail wouldn’t have this problem. …” leifsdad

            It would take that kind of physical barrier between main lane and bike lane to prevent this kind of collision involving motor vehicles and bikes. That is…a collision contributed to in a major degree, by a very irresponsible road user. Rather than a collision occurring despite responsible use by all parties directly involved in such a collision.

            Irresponsible road users exceeding limitations of the protective ability of the infrastructure’s design, is the problem on this bridge. People responsibly using this bridge, by staying within the speed limit, making proper lane changes and so forth, probably aren’t causing many collisions, if any.

            The baseless claims raised against ODOT’s personnel, made in some of people’s comments here, draw away from attention in need of being directed towards coming up with the answer to the problem of what must be done to get control over at least the people that are inclined to drive in very seriously irresponsible ways.

            The major contributing factor to this collision, is far too similar to the collision that occurred out on Hawthorne Blvd some months back. There too, it was someone whose actions as a driver, were very irresponsible, that caused that collision.

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            • Eric Leifsdad October 30, 2016 at 1:37 pm

              I think DOTs don’t understand the psychological effect of lane widths or vertical obstacles/barriers. Or they just don’t take enough advantage of this? Even intermittent bollards or flexi-posts would discourage the antics we see on wide-open roadways. I would prefer immovable objects, but we’ve seen mere cones be more effective at herding drivers than paint.

              People want to avoid hitting things with their cars and yet our streets tend to have more vulnerable people than inanimate things in them. Seems simple: put stationary things near where people might be. But I can’t seem to explain this to traffic “engineers”, perhaps due to the highway design school of thought?

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              • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm

                “I think DOTs don’t understand the psychological effect of lane widths or vertical obstacles/barriers. …” leifsdad

                I think they do understand, well enough, different ways traffic can be affected by road design and infrastructure. One example some of us reading here may have grit our teeth over, is freeway exit lights, or access lights…whatever they’re called. Those lights definitely slows down, or maybe its better to say…regulates…people’s access to the freeway during periods of high congestion. Most everyone stops at those lights, even though there’s no cross traffic, and even when the entrance ramp and the freeway doesn’t seem very busy.

                A number of people seem to think DOT’s just, out of the blue, come up with road designs according to each road departments’ or certain personnel’s personal whim. I’m not saying I know for a fact, but I don’t think this is the way they go about designing and deciding what infrastructure to equip roads with. I believe they have various guidelines…federal, state, county, city…that they rely on for instruction as to what to build. I don’t believe they can just go and put up barriers anywhere someone in the dept, or some city council person or some angy citizen wants them to…unless the desire is supported by guidelines the depts are obliged to refer to and rely on.

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              • Eric Leifsdad October 30, 2016 at 7:58 pm

                We could close the road to cars. In fact, let’s just do that to any road which isn’t safe for all modes. Starting from that premise, I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with something quick and easy to get cars back on the road.

                I’ve heard the line about design manuals and “it’s complicated”. Simple answer is “shut it down”. I doubt it would seem so complicated against that backdrop.

                Are you saying we could never put some kind of barrier on the centerline? I don’t need my engineering degree to say that this would be a place that could have a barrier. Yes, there are end treatment requirements (sand filled barrier is its own end treatment, btw) based on speed and many other requirements but “it’s complicated” generally assumes that cutting or restricting high-speed traffic is not an option. I say we should make that the first option.

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              • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 10:02 pm

                “…Are you saying we could never put some kind of barrier on the centerline? …” leifsdad

                If it was me deciding, I’d have some kind of alternatives to the bridges current configuration. Could be a line of jersey barriers dividing opposite directions of traffic. Can you believe that around, I think, ’65 or so, Hwy 26 between Sylvan and Goose Hollow, only had guard rails on wooden posts? Some bad collisions helped move along the change to jersey barriers.

                The St Johns Bridge is, plain and simple…abused by its use for excessively high speeds for its dimensions. This isn’t a federal highway freeway type bridge like the Fremont Bridge is, but in a sense, it’s that type of bridge that it’s being allowed to be used as.

                Overriding fact though, relative to this collision, is that jersey barriers used as I described, wouldn’t have prevented this collision. Such barriers used to separate bike lanes from main lanes, could do that. That would create a riding situation somewhat like the on the I-205 freeway bridge protected bike lanes…safer, but far from wonderful.

                This bridge should be managed in a way that allows it to be a good driving experience…and a good biking experience. Bring the speed limit down to 25. That’s fast enough to get traffic across the bridge without unduly affecting freight delivery time. Eventually though, a better answer may be to build an additional bridge.

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              • Stephen Keller October 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm

                The lanes on SJB seem uncomfortably narrow to me (when I’m driving), but that narrowness doesn’t seem to have much impact on driving speeds. I don’t think the problem is just the DOTs, it’s the folks behind the wheels who dramatically underestimate their risks.

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              • Eric Leifsdad October 30, 2016 at 7:41 pm

                The lanes might feel narrow, but there’s nothing to keep cars from crossing any of the solid paint stripes. Just imagine if some or all of the solid stripes had so much as a flexi-post on them every 20ft. Would that feel like you could get away with breaking the tires loose without hitting something?

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            • eawrist October 31, 2016 at 7:46 am

              When I see models proposed by many DOTs, I often see a design that starts with the assumption that all road users follow the rules of the road and are predictable, i.e. perfect drivers.

              This is why many traffic engineers fail to provide safe designs. If everyone behaved according to ideals on shared roads, no design would be significantly better than the next. However, a culture currently exists where little benefit is given for safe behavior and virtually no penalty is given for a pattern of unsafe behavior. For example, instead of simulating cars driving perfectly between lines, have x number of cars drive down the bike lane based on observed behaviors in research. Based on research how many simulated drivers should be using cell phones (thus more likely to behave unpredictably)?

              DOTs often simulate monolithic behavior of ideal worlds and point to lack of enforcement and unpredictable behavior as their problem, not their designs. Unpredictable behavior is predictable with probability and research. Designs can increase or decrease the probability of behavior. This is the disconnect that occurs between people using roads and those designing them.

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              • Ted G October 31, 2016 at 1:26 pm

                Ok. So on a any two lane road, at any time, one car could cross over the yellow line and cause a head on accident. What would such a model suggest three DOTS do about that?

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              • B. Carfree October 31, 2016 at 2:35 pm

                Sweden’s approach was to put a barrier between oncoming lanes on two-lane roads. It apparently led to a dramatic reduction in lives lost on such roads.

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              • Eric Leifsdad October 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm

                Engineers use several factors and probability/statistics to decide how to make trade-offs between safety, cost, and performance. A wheel could come off at any time, but traffic volume, speed, and number of vulnerable users can be used to decide how much risk justifies how much infrastructure.

                Then there is the desired mode share in the metro area, which depends on quality bike and walk infrastructure.

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          • Bankerman October 31, 2016 at 12:43 am

            Great idea; put up barriers on the SJB and the thousands of other locations throughout the city where bikes need protection. And where will all of the money come from? Obviously not from the biking community.

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            • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 8:20 am

              Why should the biking community need to pony up money to protect themselves from drivers who are unable to control their vehicles? When you go into Home Depot are you required to wear an orange vest and a helmet to protect yourself from the lift operator?

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            • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 8:51 am

              I would hope that the money needed to protect vulnerable users from drivers would come from the drivers…

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            • Toadslick October 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

              ✅ Conflating “bicyclist” with “poor”
              ✅ Assuming that cyclists aren’t also car drivers
              ✅ Assuming that bicycle infrastructure must be privately funded

              Anyone get a bingo?

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              • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 3:37 pm

                Pretty much nailed it. And that somehow, cyclists on the road are taking something from the drivers.

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            • eawrist October 31, 2016 at 6:02 pm

              And yet everyone benefits from them. People driving don’t have to slow or be on the lookout because of the mixed traffic. People biking aren’t constantly in fear of their lives. People walking now have physical protection to walk at leisure. Safe design doesn’t just benefit the most vulnerable.

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        • Kevin October 29, 2016 at 10:38 pm

          Infrastructure changes to provide protected space for cyclists and pedestrians.

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      • Bald One October 30, 2016 at 11:22 am

        I’m not sure what you’re interested in pursuing on your own time, but I wonder if anybody may attempt an adverse possession of the two outside lanes by some flags and banners on the bridge. I know that it’s pretty easy to climb the bridge and hang banners and flags from the suspension cables, and that sounds like something a concerned citizen might try. It would be a coincidence if other folks had the same independent ideas. I expect folks remain inspired by the occupation of the bridge last year by some people that hung from it in harnesses for several days related to the arctic oil drilling.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 8:41 am

        where on my ballot do I vote for safe ODOT infrastructure changes?

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  • Matt October 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of this fallen rider. It breaks my heart to say it but this does not surprise me one bit. I also used to ride across the Saint Johns Bridge several times a week, but always on the sidewalk. I tried the sharrow once soon after it was painted and that was enough for me. Absolutely terrifying. It makes me so mad that ODOT pays lip service to safety. These sharrows are worse than doing nothing. I hope a law suit will result from this.

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    • Champs October 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      I’ll take my chances with humans over a freak wind sending me over those low guardrails.

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      • Matt October 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

        Indeed. It’s a lousy choice no matter which way you go. All the more reason for protected bike lanes. How many more deaths will it take for that to happen?

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  • Andrew N October 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm


    Matt Garrett would be behind bars in a sane society. He is deeply complicit in the needless deaths of multiple people, not to mention his role in the $175-million-wasting corruption surrounding the CRC.

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    • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      As some form of satire, I suppose your remarks represent humor to somebody. If you’re suggesting them as any approximation of truth, in this country and this state of Oregon, they’re wrong, and at best, are little more than blatant and unjustified animosity.

      Why do remarks of the type such as this one of yours, stand on this weblog? I just get through reading someone else’s comment to this weblog, expressing great objection to the generally very poor quality, mean and angry comments typical of the Oregonian’s oregonlive comment sections…and then I come to find remarks such as this one of yours, posted to bikeportland’s comment section.

      It’s dishonorable to post the kind of completely unfounded and unjustified, malicious attacks you have, against ODOT or its director.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 8:58 am

        how many deaths are generally allowed to happen on property you oversee for your job?

        for most people that number is zero…

        it should be zero for all people…

        I’m not sure that I know of a job where deaths are an allowable result and the people in charge of the facility don’t make any changes to prevent it from happening again…

        so, no, their remarks were not out of line, and the upvotes seem to support it…

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      • Chris Anderson October 31, 2016 at 10:10 am

        Matt Garrett is definitely the problem, not the solution.

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  • HJ October 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Sadly I’m not at all surprised. I used to ride the SJB every week going to and from tuesday night racing at PIR. It’s awful. I tried the sidewalks my first time over, never again. With the wind up there they’re even scarier than taking your chances with traffic. Worst part is the whole thing is totally fixable by just adding bike lanes. Since the traffic bottlenecks with that bridge are never because of the bridge itself there’s no reason ODOT couldn’t do it. They just don’t want to.
    Unfortunately my prediction that sooner or later someone would die as a result has finally happened 🙁 My sincere condolences to the rider’s family, that’s a special hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

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    • John Lascurettes October 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Since the traffic bottlenecks with that bridge are never because of the bridge itself there’s no reason ODOT couldn’t do it.

      Exactly this.

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      • dan October 31, 2016 at 9:45 am

        I recall that Amanda Fritz seemed to have an impact by suing ODOT about the stretch of road where her husband died. I would be happy to contribute to crowdfunding a similar lawsuit about the St. Johns Bridge. Ray Thomas, are you out there? How much would we need to raise to bring such a suit?

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        • J_R October 31, 2016 at 12:16 pm

          I’m not a fan of Amanda Fritz, but she did NOT sue ODOT.

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          • dan October 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm

            Thanks for pointing that out – you are correct. She sued two drivers involved (one as an individual, and the employer of the other) and ODOT offered a pre-emptive settlement, apparently because they thought they would lose any suit that was brought. Details here:

            So she took a settlement from ODOT, but never actually filed a suit, though clearly ODOT assumed she was heading that direction.

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            • dan October 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

              Hmm, I guess the way that links are handled has changed. Details of Amanda Fritz’s 1.45 M settlement from ODOT are here: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/12/portland_commissioner_amanda_f_14.html

              For the record, I think that Amanda’s husband’s death received much more high-level attention than when Joe Blow cyclist is killed — which I feel is very unfair — but I don’t have any issues with her bringing lawsuits. Apparently that’s what you have to do to get change these days.

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  • Tom Hardy October 29, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I am with you Champs. I first rode St johns bridge in 1953, on the road, not the sidewalk. This is at the request of my dad, also a cyclist. It is for the same reason you described.
    I do not commute on the bridge but I ride it at least 8 times a year. I have continually been used as a moving target by speeders racing across the bridge. I have complained to ODOT and PPB for years about the total lack of speed enforcement on the bridge.
    At least a flashing radar sign (red for over 35). I know that the Public prosecutors could never be bothered with prosecution of speeders let alone killing a vulnerable user.
    The prosecuters would need to hire a consulting firm and pay them $50 million to $200 million dollars to make a decision on what charges to bring.

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  • Jeff October 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Guys, Guys. That bridge is fueled by excessive speed and motorist entitlement. I’ll be over here thinking about Vision Zero.

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  • NG October 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    If anyone has an old, out of commission bicycle, perhaps it can be donated so that we can install a “ghost bike” on the west end of the bridge?

    I am so sad to hear about this. I live in St. Johns and have only ridden my bike across once — and it was super sketchy… both on the sidewalk and the sharrow lane. I wish this bridge, and the car and truck drivers on it, could be more friendly to cyclists.

    Also, I believe the St. Johns community is getting sick and tired of the bridge and our neighborhood streets being used as an alternative thoroughfare for truckers. I’d be curious though if there is any community organizing going on though.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty October 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    On the plus side, it sounds like the bridge can be fixed with some paint. Now that someone has died, maybe PBOT can be convinced to take action.

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    • PomPilot October 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Too bad PBOT does not the authority to do anything with the SJB, since it is an ODOT maintained bridge. And as those of us in the non-urban parts of the state can attest, Salem often looses sight of things beyond their windows.

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  • Steve October 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I;m amazed. The police arrested a sober driver for hitting a cyclist.


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    • Middle of the Road guy October 29, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Now that is a surprise.

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    • John Lascurettes October 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      My first thought too. But note, they mainly have decided to because he didn’t maintain equipment (bald tires) as opposed to actually driving recklessly. That is to say, they’re bringing the charge because they have the tires to point at instead of just deciding, bald tires or not, you drove too fast for conditions (his equipment and the environment).

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    • Tom Hardy October 29, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Yes the motorist has been charged, but the prosecutor has not decided if the cyclist was fair game or not.
      he will probably be actually charged with a non prosecutable conspiracy charge with the motorist whose vehicle the cyclist wound up under.

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    • 9watts October 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

      I will just point out the difference here between the person driving the bald tired SUV here and Wanda Cortese piloting her minivan into Christeen Osborn on Hwy 101. No hesitation whatsoever to charge with criminally negligent homicide (!) in this case, but in Wanda Cortese’s case, as far as we know, just a $256 ticket for failing to maintain lane. The physical differences in the two scenarios could hardly be more similar, yet the charges are night and day.

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      • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 10:02 am

        If you’ve got police statements about the collision Cortese was involved in, compare them to the police statements for this collision on the St Johns Bridge, posted to this bikeportland story. I think the statements may show there may be big differences in evidence able to have been acquired in the two collisions, allowing more serious citations to issued in just one, rather than both of them.

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      • 9watts October 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

        I meant to write physical circumstances not physical differences.

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        • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm

          With this collision on the St Johns Bridge, apparently the police have statements from the person driving, conceding he was driving with bald tires and knew his vehicle had very little traction. What about in the collision involving Cortese? No similar concession from her in the police statement about that collision. The two collisions and the circumstances of each, physical and otherwise were very different from each other, as I recall.

          The police seem to have strong reason to suspect Joel Aaron Schrantz, the person driving and involved in this collision, was, in words that come to my mind, ‘horsing around’. In other words, he likely was well aware that the vehicle he was driving was an old heap, and that if he gunned it around the corner, he could have some fun…’whe-e-e-!’, sliding the rear end of the vehicle out, like stunt guys do on tv.

          Cops never were able to learn why Cortese’s vehicle left the road and ran into somebody. Correct in your recollection from stories and police statements from the time, several years ago now, or more it seems? No indication she was DUI. No indication she was driving excessively fast. The police could not come up with grounds to cite her for a more serious offense than she got. Disturbing, but that’s the way it sometimes is.

          I don’t want to sound too harsh on Joel Aaron Schrantz, because eventually someday, there should be hope that he’ll be able to become a considerably more responsible person than he is today…but after this most recent collision, and even on the severity of early ones he’s been involved in…Schrantz behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, seems to have all the makings of a rolling disaster area. For the foreseeable future, he should not be allowed, or given any opportunity to operate a motor vehicle.

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          • 9watts October 30, 2016 at 10:17 pm

            We’ve had these conversations before.
            I (still) don’t understand why leaving one’s lane and striking someone with the automobile one is piloting that results in their death or near death isn’t on its face—without recourse to any extenuating circumstances such as the condition of the tires or the veracity of the driver’s statements—quite enough to show that the person behind the wheel failed to exercise the necessary and legally required precautions.
            Curves, straight road, high speed, not-high speed, daylight, night time, tire tread depth, transmission slip, why does any of this matter when it comes to the kind of charge we think is immediately issuable?

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        • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 6:53 pm

          This 42-year-old grown boy has been given opportunities to grow up before and has spurned them. I don’t think he’s going to turn into a mature driver in this decade.

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          • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:05 am

            it can happen… I’m a reformed driver… and I never had to kill anyone to learn…

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            • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 10:27 am

              Was your resume like this?

              1 conviction hit & run
              11 convictions driving with a suspended license
              8 convictions driving without insurance
              2 convictions speeding
              2 convictions operating without required lighting
              2 convictions failure to signal
              1 conviction unauthorized use of a vehicle
              1 conviction failure to renew auto registration
              1 conviction failure to obey a traffic control device
              1 conviction operation without a rearview mirror
              1 conviction failure to drive within a lane

              I have to seriously wonder how he was CAUGHT so many times.

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              • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 12:10 pm

                as many or more driving on a suspended license charges… stemming from speeding, but they always dropped the speeding charges and left me with only the suspended license charges… after a few they result in a couple days in jail…

                a few lack of insurance tickets… maybe a registration ticket…. generally had to have insurance to get the registration so I didn’t stand out enough to get pulled over and arrested for driving while suspended…

                arrested so many times for driving while suspended that the booking agent commented that I was making a career out of it… just got back in my car after they let me out…

                I had a 2 hour commute to work each way so I was going to keep driving unless they made it impossible…

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              • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 3:40 pm

                Bear in mind…those are the times he was caught. How many times did he do something and NOT get caught? Probably about 99% more.

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              • Greenkrypto October 31, 2016 at 8:16 pm

                Lets not forget identity theft and vehicle theft. While they’re not motor vehicle violations, they do show his disregard for others…which he ultimately proved on Saturday

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  • Kittens October 29, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I am sorry but asking cyclists to ride in lanes so narrow as to offer no escape from traffic moving at 35mph is by definition negligent. This death was completely predictable. Had it been for the fact most cyclists use the sidewalks there would have been countless others killed here over the years.

    The fact that this is a freight route only underscores my point.

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  • Davebob October 29, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Prosecutors, please, please, please make an example of this dangerous driver.

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  • Davebob October 29, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    If you search the Internet on the suspect, it shows he was arrested in July 2014 by Portland Police for hit-and-run, reckless driving and identity theft.

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    • John Lascurettes October 29, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Gee, I’m sure it will stick this time … won’t it? Ugh!

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    • Chris I October 29, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      How do we keep drivers like this from getting behind the wheel? This guy has had his license suspended before, and he still drove. Aside from cutting off his hands, what can we actually do to make sure he doesn’t get behind the wheel again?

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      • Mark October 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm

        Cut off his feet?

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      • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

        We have the technology to make cars require a valid license and insurance before the engine can be started. Doubt that it will ever be implemented though.

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        • brian October 31, 2016 at 9:01 am

          In the state of Oregon gas station attendants could check for license & insurance prior to selling gas. I have proposed this before and lawmakers dismiss the idea

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          • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 9:15 am

            My credit cards have to be valid and not blocked to work. I have an electronic parking tag that has to be activated before I can get into my garage. My power bill has to be paid up for the lights to work. Many cars have vehicle immobilizers that disable the vehicle until it receives a code provided by transponder in the ignition key. What if the transponders stored your license & insurance info, which would need to be regularly validated for the key to work?

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    • Greenkrypto October 29, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Yep, the 2014 arrest was due to his head-on collision with my car. He should never be allowed to drive again. I am surprised that he didn’t flee the scene again this time, as he did after plowing into my car while driving 40 mph around a corner near Pier Park

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      • Chris I October 30, 2016 at 6:33 am

        Someone would be doing the citizens of Oregon a great service if they ensured that this guy never is able to hurt someone again. Sometimes, our laws are not sufficient to keep the rest of us safe.

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      • ChrisL October 30, 2016 at 11:03 am

        @Greenkrypto Chris with KATU News. Can you give me a call? 503-231-4264 or cliedle@katu.com // Would like to chat regarding your 2014 hit & run.

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      • Bob Heye October 31, 2016 at 12:22 pm

        Bob Heye with KATU….Chris talked to you Sunday….checking to see if you might want to speak on-cam….please call 503-502-3843

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  • Davebob October 29, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    According to several websites of arrest records, this same suspect was arrested in July 2014 by Portland Police for hit-and-run, reckless driving and identity theft.

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  • Eric Leifsdad October 29, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Nothing about the westbound driver whose car ended up on top of the rider. The driver ran over him, but wasn’t speeding or distracted in any way?

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    • lupin October 29, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      The bicyclist was thrown off his bicycle into the westbound lane. It sounds like the driver had no opportunity to respond.

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      • Eric Leifsdad October 29, 2016 at 11:54 pm

        A westbound rider was hit by an eastbound and then a westbound car. Why wouldn’t the westbound driver have been able to respond? Was he passing the cyclist on the right or following too closely in the same lane behind him? Either way, I’m suspicious as to whether that driver was following the law or just not being wantonly reckless and thus they’ve been absolved of creating part of the condition that killed someone.

        35mph is 52ft/s where 45mph is 67ft/s and maybe the road was wet? Was this really the *one* careful driver travelling at a speed appropriate to the conditions? Odds are against it.

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        • Bald One October 30, 2016 at 11:38 am

          There are two westbound lanes, and at the west end of the bridge, they split so that left lane goes south towards Portland, and the right lane goes north towards Sauvie’s island. When I ride the bridge and want to go towards Portland, I occupy the left lane of the two westbound in order to make the turn towards Portland. The left lane is adjacent to the on-coming turning traffic heading east over the bridge.

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          • Stephen Keller October 30, 2016 at 4:00 pm

            Additionally, the right lane almost never has a stop sign, so westbound traffic turning right is moving at a good clip (20 mph or better probably) around the corner while left-lane traffic may be stopped or (in the case of newly minted green light) just starting up. This disparity means that the westbound driver likely had no opportunity to respond when Mitchell York was ping-ponged under the wheels.


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            • Eric Leifsdad October 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

              I have my doubts about “no opportunity”. If you see an out-of-control vehicle heading toward a person on a bike in the lane next to you, and you’re not distracted or driving too fast for conditions, there might be a chance. My point is that we generally don’t treat people like they are responsible for operating their vehicles safely and the report seems overly dismissive about the role of the second vehicle, especially since that seems to be what killed him.

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              • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 12:20 pm

                the assailant’s vehicle could have been 2nd in line and thus only came into view as it was sliding out of its lane sideways into the cyclist and smacking the cyclist into the far lane where traffic isn’t as slow…

                I don’t think much time passed (seconds) between the assailant hitting the corner too fast causing the skid and the cyclist being smacked into the path of the other vehicle…

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              • lyle w October 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

                There’s also the ‘tunnel vision’ or ‘locked in’ aspect to this, that psychologists describe. Where you’re witnessing something incredibly outside of the norm of what you’re processing all day long as you go through hundreds of rote actions… And so as you’re realizing how ‘out of the norm’ something is, witnessing it happen, your brain is processing it and dealing with it, and there’s a delay before you’re able to get back to your baseline and begin to respond with actions.

                I know I see people frequently driving distracted, speeding… etc.. but let’s give this person the benefit of the doubt on this. Sounds like he was incredibly traumatized from some other descriptions of people that were there immediately after it happened.

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              • Eric Leifsdad October 31, 2016 at 3:54 pm

                If you feel bad and you didn’t do it on purpose, but you broke a law and someone is dead, are you at fault? Maybe the second driver was not speeding or distracted, but it sounds like most people are giving them a break because well, most people could have been that second driver, adjusting the radio or something.

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              • rachel b October 31, 2016 at 5:18 pm

                I always think of that as “Cover Your Future Butt Syndrome.” When we excuse or minimize someone else’s negligent or bad behavior because we want the same out in case our own future possible negligent or bad behavior gets us in hot water one day. CYFBS is epidemic in the US. “Nobody’s perfect!” Shrug! That horrid attitude persists, even when someone dies. Jeez. Glad to see they (the authorities) are at least (seemingly) taking this tragedy a little more seriously.

                So sad about this. Poor man.

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        • Bankerman October 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm

          Victim blaming.

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    • HJ October 30, 2016 at 6:05 am

      I’m guessing the westbound driver may have been in the other lane, cyclist got thrown right in front of the car, nothing the driver can do.

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  • Tom Hardy October 29, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    OK Adam. Maybe ODOT may be convinced to widen the sidewalks to 8 foot with a third lane in the middle, so trucks can play chicken in the middle lane :=) Leave the current sidewalk and put a 6 inch rise on the pavement for a bike lane to give the cars a line they do not want to cross. Put 6″ spikes on the curb edge for tires going into the bike lane.

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  • John Lascurettes October 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Just because I am a glutton for punishment (really I like to be aware of the ignorance around me) I went to the O. Naturally, all comment but one puts the blame on the deceased. SMH. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/10/driver_arrested_after_killing.html

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    • Chris I October 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      The dregs of humanity over there.

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      • John Lascurettes October 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

        Yup. I can only hope that most of them actually live elsewhere in the state, but I’m afraid they probably also live among us.

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        • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 11:13 am

          The O has no filter for hate speech on their website. I hold them responsible.

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          • John Lascurettes October 30, 2016 at 2:39 pm

            I’d love to see the O just kill their comments section — like many other of the local TV stations have done.

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            • Kittens October 30, 2016 at 8:25 pm

              Lol their most loyal readers and the majority of their clicks. Bunch of hot heads. The O can’t even state to obvious, that Hillary is the only reasonable choice for president, for fear of alienating those jerks.

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            • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 9:20 pm

              The O does a bad job of editing its readers’ comments for quality. Allows people to simply be mean and angry rather than make efforts to have a constructive discussion. Let that be an opportunity, and some people will take advantage of it, discouraging the likelihood that other people will take the time or effort to try have a good discussion in such an adversarial situation.

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            • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:11 am

              their writers get extra credit for creating comment threads… that’s why they usually post the first comment asking a question…

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              • John Lascurettes October 31, 2016 at 10:27 am


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              • SE Rider October 31, 2016 at 12:51 pm

                It’s not that they get paid extra. They’re actually contractually required to make those posts. I have a friend who worked used to work there.

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              • rachel b October 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm

                You can tell some of them (probably all) hate it, too. What a high school the world’s become. I would like journalists to be able to concentrate on important things. Like journalism.

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            • Chris Anderson October 31, 2016 at 10:15 am

              The trick is to screenshot hate speech next to high dollar branded ads. Then confront the advertiser in public. Worked for WWeek.

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  • dbrunker October 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I ride over the St. John’s Bridge a few times a month to do an out-and-back on Highway 30. It’s the worse part of the ride. Even with a helmet mounted mirror I always prepare myself for death when going over the bridge. That’s not hyperbole.

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    • lyle w October 31, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      The crazy thing is, I’ve recently started skipping the portion of 30 from downtown to the St. John’s bridge, because that’s the part of the highway out to Sauvie that feels the most sketchy to me. So, naturally, unless you wanna climb all the way up to skyline, the bridge is the way to do that. And then this happens.

      Feels like there’s no route out there that’s reasonable and makes me feel safe that doesn’t involve putting my bike on top of my car and driving out.

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  • Teddy October 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    This is horrible to read about and not something you expect to happen. I find it enlightening to read differing views points on this bridge, thank you. When I lived in Portsmouth I felt safer dominating the sharrow lane instead of hugging the sidewalk like many cyclists.

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  • Rich Mackin October 29, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Any movement to making a protest or memorial ride?

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  • DNF October 29, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Any word on a protest? I would love to shut the bridge down at 5pm on a Friday. This is my neighborhood and I’m tired of the “why are you biking there” attitude from so many people. Take back the bridge!

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    • Angel October 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      You mean open the bridge up? To people? Like on bikes and stuff?

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      • Angel October 29, 2016 at 10:59 pm

        Let’s do it.

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    • Kittens October 30, 2016 at 12:12 am

      I am all for civil disobedience but I think the recent BLM protests near city hall (which disrupted MAX/Bus during the evening commute) made a lot more enemies than allies. Like in SF when they blocked the Bay Bridge. The response was overwhelmingly negative.

      Lets not be antagonistic to the very people who likely on our side. It is not he commuters who wanted that bridge two travel lanes in each direction, it was the freight lobby.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:15 am

        hater gonna hate… protest or not we’re not making friends… they’ll hate either way so I say get in their face and make them think about it…

        BLM protests affected my commute… so I was a little later, big deal, their cause is bigger than my dinner schedule…

        shut down every road in town until all the social injustices are dealt with… we’ll all be on bikes and we’ll care a lot more about each other…

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        • Brian October 31, 2016 at 9:19 am

          I felt the same way, and then had a realization. Some people who were running late were probably trying to get to jobs (that they can’t be late for or else risk firing) or were trying to pick up their children.

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          • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm

            the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?

            maybe if the employer is constantly dealing with employees late due to social activism then maybe they’ll start thinking about social activism and how they can help so their employees are on-time…

            or they’ll hire somebody with a shorter or more reliable commute…

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  • christopher October 29, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    This is so frustrating. Hashtag #portlandsucksforcycling Condolences to the family. It’s time to take back the road. It’s time to take back the trails. Ride everything.

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  • Greenkrypto October 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    The driver in this incident is an irresponsible idiot. He plowed into my car head-on, 2 years ago, while speeding around a corner near Pier Park. After wrecking my car, $5000 damage, his first reaction was to back up and fled the scene. I eventuality identified him at a police line up and he was arrested. Sadly, it seems, someone had to die before this jerk gets put in jail for any length of time.

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    • rick October 29, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Where near Pier Park?

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      • Greenkrypto October 29, 2016 at 10:27 pm


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  • Blake October 29, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I have ridden the lane, and it is terrible. ODOT is to blame and I hope they will be held liable. My own experience with the (uselessness of the) sidewalks: I got a flat tire at the bottom of Germantown Road. I walked up to the bridge knowing I could get my tire fixed if I just walked across the bridge on the sidewalk. My decision: walk to downtown Portland instead.

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    • rick October 29, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Is it that bad walking along that sidewalk?

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      • Teddy October 29, 2016 at 10:03 pm

        It can be a bit unnerving due to height, noises, and vibrations, but I enjoy the walk especially when the fog is thick.

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      • Angel October 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm

        Yes, absolutely.

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      • HJ October 30, 2016 at 6:10 am

        For a cyclist in road shoes not really a rational option. They are difficult at best to walk in (without huge wind gusts hitting you!) and you grind down the cleats with every step. Which causes the risk of pulling out of the pedals while riding which can lead to very nasty crashes.
        If it were a real short span I could see making that decision, but there’s nothing short about that bridge. It’s 2067 ft (630 m) long.

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        • J_R October 30, 2016 at 9:34 am

          If your “road shoes” hamper you so much that you can’t walk half a mile, maybe you have the wrong choice of footwear for urban riding. There are all kinds of emergencies that could cause you to walk. If you are so concerned about wearing down the cleats and pulling out of them maybe you should just get new shoes and cleats every few months.

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          • Eric Leifsdad October 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm

            Going for a walk, one probably wouldn’t wear road shoes. Why don’t drivers have these problems with pushing their cars across the bridge wearing heels?

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      • dan October 31, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Different strokes for different folks, I think the sidewalk is fine to walk, and acceptable (not fun) to ride, though you have to go very slowly (walking speed) around a few areas where structural elements of the bridge run through the sidewalk. I always assume there is a pedestrian in the blind spot around the corner and adjust my speed accordingly.

        95% of the time I ride the sidewalk because the lane just doesn’t feel safe to me; that may be getting closer to 100%.

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  • rick October 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Angered, outraged, and saddened.

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  • Joe Adamski October 29, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    As a cyclist in St Johns, I offer the following observations.
    Traffic volume has increased substantially in the past few years all over Portland. SJ is no different. Near gridlock conditions occur most weekday evenings as the majority of users over the often backed onto US30 head to I5 and points North and East. In short, the SJ bridge is an alternative to i5.
    Dedicated in 1931, It featured single lanes in each direction, no sidewalks. Since then, narrow sidewalks are added and the single lanes have been split to 4 10ft lanes. ODOT has long refused to any design mods to the bridge to facilitate any other mode than motor traffic. Only recently, sharrows were added after prolonged pressure. Access to the bridge from westbound US30 requires a fair amount of luck or chicanery. Lets play frogger across 2 lanes of high speed rush hour traffic!
    The reality of the bridge includes a long east ramp,nearly 2/3rds of the total length of the bridge. Slogging up the east side is slow and invites road rage, while heading down the east side can allow speeds near the 35mpg limit. You still will have a car on your butt wanting you to go faster.
    Safe access to the SJ bridge was my class project at the PCC Portland transportation class in 2002.Little has improved.

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    • Joe Adamski October 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      oops.. PSU transportation class..

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    • Teddy October 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      I am surprised the two lanes to access the bridge from the south to head north into Saint Johns narrows down to one just before the traffic light..

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      • DNF October 29, 2016 at 10:45 pm

        I think it primarily serves the purpose of keeping the congestion off of Highway 30.

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  • Bradwagon October 29, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I have seen multiple cars this fall intentionally accelerate out of intersection corners to slide their vehicle sideways. Not that that’s what happened here but I hope people who do such stupid maneuvers and think them harmless at the time start thinking about where it is they are sending their uncontrollable car…

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    • rachel b October 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      Just happened to me, minutes ago, as I turned into our driveway. I was driving the speed limit in front of the guy but people regularly go 20 mph over the limit on SE 26th, nowadays. He fishtailed and did a huffy little “VROOM!” in his truck to punish me. I’m duly chastened (not). Stupidest part is that he had to stop immediately after his grand gesture, at the four-way intersection of Clinton and 26th. People honk their horns more and more at folks driving the speed limit here. It’s gotten crazy, everywhere. DESPERATE for some enforcement.

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  • Angel October 29, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Invite ODOT.

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  • Newberry October 30, 2016 at 5:31 am

    Again it is time to look at GPS controlled speed limiters that initiate in the metro area.

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  • Mike October 30, 2016 at 5:49 am

    Why take chances. Just ride on the sidewalk.

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    • HJ October 30, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Have you ridden the sidewalk on that bridge? It’s even scarier than the road with traffic!

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      • Caesar October 30, 2016 at 8:03 am

        I have ridden both. They both suck. But the danger on the sidewalk is mainly psychological, due to the proximity to the edge and the relatively irrational fear of falling into the river. The danger from the street is real and tangible, from cars speeding next to the cyclist with no margin for error whatsoever . The safest of two bad options is to ride on the sidewalk.

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        • TJ October 30, 2016 at 8:15 am

          Until you see the photos of cars that have breached the sidewalk this year alone.

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        • JBone October 31, 2016 at 7:25 pm

          On a windy day the sidewalk is a very bad idea, unless you want to walk it. I usually ride/walk the side walk uphill, then hop down to the road on the downhill pushing 30 mph, but I still have cars wizzin by at 50+mph. There have been multiple times I have been in the left lane climbing and the approaching driver did not switch lanes within 50 yards of me, forcing me to hop off and up onto the sidewalk (good cross practice:) Protected bike lanes are the only way to go.

          In the meantime, at minimum, I suggest ODOT immediately:
          1) install big signs at both ends of bridge educating drivers that cyclist have full legal right to left lane, even if going significantly below the speed limit.
          2) install speed signs that flash driver speed in 2 locations each way.

          Additionally, PPD should have very consistent enforcement in place.

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    • SD October 30, 2016 at 9:22 am

      I ride over the SJB frequently in the summer. I have ridden both on the sidewalk and on the road going west and on the road going east. Both options are sketchy and I usually make the decision when I get there. I take into consideration things like traffic, visibility and time of day. Most of the time I will ride on the road.

      This decision is mostly influenced by a few bad experiences on the sidewalk. I have been surprised by wind gusts that brought me close to the sidewalk edge and I have encountered families with strollers that were uncomfortable when I passed them, despite me walking my bike. Also had a large man yell that I shouldn’t be on the sidewalk when he was arms length away from me. I was unclipped and scooting. The height of the drop from the sidewalk to the road would make it hard to keep control of your bike if you went off the edge.

      My biggest concern about riding on the road is that a speeding overtaking car will go around me at the last minute and the speeding car behind them will not “see” me in time to avoid hitting me.

      I don’t feel it is my place to tell people that they should be on the road or the sidewalk. There is no clear “right choice.” It depends a lot on the rider and what they are comfortable with. Most cyclists that I see when I ride on the weekends ride in the road. The east bound lane feels safer because cars go slower on the initial stretch and a cyclist can go close to the posted speed limit on the downhill.

      What is clear is that ODOT/ Matt Garett made a horrible decision when they went with a road design that maximizes speed at the expense of every thing else. The disconnect between the 35mph speed limit and the road design shows the immense denial/ cluelessness at ODOT.

      ODOT’s repeated refrain that driver behavior, death and injury on roads is independent of road design is a refusal to do their jobs.

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  • Jeff October 30, 2016 at 6:44 am

    I have to say, I kinda love the sidewalk. Just for the views.

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  • esther2 October 30, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I would think the solution for the St John’s bridge would be fairly simple. 3 lanes of traffic and one lane a divided bikeway separated with a solid barrier.

    The middle lane could go in either direction, according to traffic flow. Into the city during the am, and towards st johns in the afternoon.

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    • TJ October 30, 2016 at 8:52 am

      I do agree from a desire perspective. But STJ Bridge has changed dramatically in the past two years. While three lanes of auto/bus/freight travel might work today, an alternative bridge is needed.

      Also good to note, buses are already slowed hugely at rush hour. It is not just bikes and pedestrian, North Portland needs improved transportation option across the board.

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      • wsbob October 30, 2016 at 11:28 am

        “…an alternative bridge is needed. …” tj

        Yes…a bridge in addition to the St Johns bridge, near to that crossing would be a solution. Either an additional bridge to be used with motor vehicles, or one exclusively used by walking, biking, and mass transit, such as the Tillikum Crossing. Cost: $134.6 million.

        Architecturally, the St Johns is very beautiful. Probably higher maintenance than a newer designed and constructed bridge. It’s most likely inevitable that a new bridge will eventually be built in this area. Just a question of when.

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    • Bankerman October 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      ODOT claims 4 lanes are needed to accommodate the slow truck traffic as they climb towards the summit. One solution put forth in 2002 was to start with 3 lanes at each end, 2 for uphill traffic and 1 for downhill. Then have the 2 uphill lanes merge into one near the summit, and continue with one lane to each end. Removal of the 4th lane would allow a bike lane on both sides.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:23 am

        no… that will just cause people to race for the merge… needs to start and end as 1 lane…

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    • q October 30, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Seattle has that with its reversible-direction freeway express lanes. But those have complete separation from other traffic. It had it on the old floating bridge, where traffic lanes weren’t separated, and it was deadly, even with signals everywhere. One person used to crossing at 8 AM comes in late one day, drives in the center lane out of habit, and plows into someone because the direction changed a half hour before. It’s a good idea in concept, but rarely practical.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu October 30, 2016 at 9:49 am

    It’s not just the bridge. Getting to or from the bridge on the west side is “advanced riding” on Hwy 30 or Germantown Rd. The east side is fine.

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    • Angel October 31, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      I’m an advanced rider, been riding forever.

      I won’t ride dirty thirty, I have enough experience to know it wasn’t designed with people on bikes in mind.

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  • Cycledadpdx October 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

    A few questions/thoughts:
    1) ODOT has the distinct pleasure of trying to keep an old
    Infrastructure in tact while a trimet bus load of people move into Portland daily. They don’t really seem like an organization who is is very forward thinking or innovative. Just reactionary.
    2) How do you enforce behavior?
    3) If we want enforcement and infrastructure change where is the money coming from?

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  • brotherfromanothermother October 30, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I’m not sure how long Portland can claim top cycling city after this many deaths and injuries. Been here for two years and it’s by far the worst city I’ve ever commuted in. Both from an infrastructure POV and attitude of motorists towards cyclists. All that BS I read about this place before moving was all MYTH!

    Sad, very sad.

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    • Mike October 30, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Hype by tourist promotion agencies, city and state. Pedal Oregon, Cycle Oregon, Oregon Scenic Bikeways, Pedal Bike Tours…. There’s a million of ’em.

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    • SD October 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      The real bummer is that the number of people interested in riding and dedicated to riding is huge in Portland. Most elected and appointed officials have underestimated demand and overestimated backlash. Not to mention the disproportionate access and influence that freight has with state and local govt.

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    • KTaylor October 31, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      FWIW, it did used to be better. I’ve been bike commuting here since 1993 – – used to be a great way to get around.

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      • rachel b November 1, 2016 at 12:07 am

        Yes, it was. Portland of today bears no resemblance to what it was. Too. Many. People. I dream of some other city becoming the idealized It Girl of the ravenous FOMO lifestyle hordes.

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  • Chadwick F October 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

    So sorry to hear of this. A knot of sickness in my stomach as this could have been me or any of my friends or former neighbors or co-workers at Powell’s. My heart goes out to this person’s family & friends.

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  • Craig Giffen October 30, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Any protest needs to happen at ODOT and/or outside PBOT..the people directly responsible for making change.

    Holding a protest/shutting down the bridge isn’t going to change anything. No driver is going to think “wow, I should slow down and completely change my driving habits” If anything it is going to piss them off even more. The drivers are not going to change on their own. They will only change when they are made to.

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    • DNF October 30, 2016 at 11:36 am

      If you go to the St Johns facebook page, you’ll see that there’s plenty of people blaming the cyclist for merely being there. ODOT needs to change but plenty of folks in the neighborhood need to take cyclists seriously. I’m happy to tie up *our* bridge for a few hours to make the point that we have a right to be safe on it, too.

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      • Craig Giffen October 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        That is my point. They are not going to take us seriously and shutting the bridge down for an hour will not change their opinion at all. They aren’t going to listen to cyclists nor change their behavior.

        They however will listen when it becomes commonplace to get tickets for speeding, driving while on the phone, mandatory jail time for driving with a suspended license, etc. To do that we need to be in the face of the people making the actual decisions and laws.

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        • Joe Adamski October 30, 2016 at 5:47 pm

          A large group in our community have been concerned about general safety in our community for some time. This is only one of may incidents that have occurred that include loss of life. This is not unique to St Johns, but a huge problem throughout our City. I agree that electeds and policy makers need to hear our voice about enforcement, design and equity in transportation. The outcry following the senseless death of Fallon Smart on Hawthorne recently illustrate that if you make the City move, they do. Left to their own, they will study it to death and find reasons to no do anything. ODOT is worse, on a much larger scale.
          The old union slogan, “don’t mourn, organize” needs to be ours.

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          • TJ October 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm


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        • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

          “To do that we need to be in the face of the people making the actual decisions and laws.”

          directly in front of them? in their way on the road? where they can’t ignore you? yes, we agree!

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    • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:48 am

      you stating that we shouldn’t further anger the mob that just killed one of us is laughable… we should be taking the bull by the horns and grounding it until it’s no longer a threat… we don’t just keep allowing the killing to continue because it’s convenient…

      you should be ashamed for your complacency…

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      • Craig Giffen October 31, 2016 at 12:51 pm

        I could care less if car drivers get more pissed off…I’m saying you are just wasting your time in doing so by going after the wrong thing.

        You want to “take the bull by the horns”…the “bull” is PBOT and ODOT, and here you are wanting to grab the wrong end.

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  • Jessie October 30, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Suspended license? Prior hit & run? I’m all for improving road infrastructure so biking is safer, but this guy is so obviously a danger to society we need him to be locked up and off the streets. And then we need to vote for more resources to be channeled into examining how and why a human being can get to the state where he lives his life with such complete disregard for others.

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    • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:52 am

      if nobody cares about you why would you care about others or what happens to you? it’s annoying when they’re asking your for spare change… it’s deadly when they’re driving on the same road as you…

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  • brotherfromanothermother October 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Hype by tourist promotion agencies, city and state. Pedal Oregon, Cycle Oregon, Oregon Scenic Bikeways, Pedal Bike Tours…. There’s a million of ’em.
    Recommended 0

    Oregon is great to ride, spectacular in fact! It’s just Portland that I have a major problem with.

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  • JCG October 30, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Bald tires and heavy throttle foot do not equal an “accident”. It was a preventable fatal crash and the responsibility lands squarely on the driver of the Toyota. Any comments putting even 1% of the blame on the cyclist are completely irresponsible and illogical.

    As a TriMet busman, I see every day the aggressive and inattentive/ distracted (cell phone) driving that leads to this and other crashes, property damage, injuries, and deaths. I witness first hand from an elevated big screen viewpoint, the dozens of close calls and near misses involving cars, delivery trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers, etc.. In every case, there is one, or both of two common denominators, speed and inattentive/distracted (cell phone) driving in play. And yes, the cyclists and pedestrians need to not be aggressive, or inattentive as well. But neither group will cause the fatality of a driver if hit.

    As ODOT and PBOT and an untold number of smaller citizen organizations continuously work to improve the roads, lanes and sidewalks we all travel on, all we can do is move amongst one another within the conditions at hand. Be conscious of the road conditions, weather, condition of your vehicle and all the different forms of traffic around you.

    “It’s better to be late than to be in jail, in the hospital, or dead.”

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 30, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Accident means neither unpreventable, nor unattributable. It means unintentional. Unless you think the driver intended to hit the cyclist, it can be considered accidental, without contradicting the facts that driver intentionally undertook a dangerous course of action. The driver can still be 100% at fault, and 100% culpable.

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      • Middle of the Road guy October 30, 2016 at 9:48 pm

        You’re being logical again.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 9:56 am

        I know you’re not new here and I know that you know that many (most?) people equate “accident” with “unpreventable”… you must be feeling feisty to have posted that…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 10:26 am

          I’m not sure I agree. Look at other contexts in which accident is applied; it’s often used in the context of an airplane crash, and no one thinks those are unpreventable. And even in other every day contexts: “I threw the form away by accident” does not at all suggest that it would have been impossible not to throw the form away, nor does it shield the actor from culpability. It doesn’t even suggest the actor was not negligent in the act. It is simply a declaration that the outcome was unintentional, and, usually, regrettable.

          I do try to say “crash” because I simply like it better (I prefer kinetic language), but I am getting kind of tired of the standard lecture posted in response to anyone who uses the a-word; it is based on an analysis that is simply not correct.

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          • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm

            “it’s often used in the context of an airplane crash”

            except that it’s almost never used in that context… their air travel industry tries very hard to avoid that term and tries very hard to make it so there is never a crash…

            if there is a 1 in a million chance that something could cause a crash then they act to prevent it… that’s a very high threshold…

            and why would I apply it to another context when it’s THIS context we’re talking about and you know that it’s use in the context of a motor vehicle crash is an assumed lack of ability to prevent said crash…

            we don’t have accidental manslaughter… it’s negligence… it’s unintentional… but it’s not an accident…

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          • Angel October 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm

            There’s more than one definition for the word “accident.” An internet search reveals that it can be a random/happenstance event without apparent cause.

            Because the word “accident” can have this dual meaning, and because it is extremely inaccurate (to the point of painful, imo) to call something like this tragedy random/without apparent cause/happenstance, it may be more appropriate to use other, less ambiguous language that doesn’t have these implications.

            Words such as “crash” and “collision” convey the same information without making potentially ambiguous implications about the circumstances surrounding this man’s death.

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        • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 10:30 am

          HK is obsessed with semantics. It’s not worth the effort.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 11:20 am

            Perhaps so; but the whole argument about crash v. accident is based on semantics, no?

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            • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 11:45 am

              Our language is flexible and changes over time.

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            • Rain Panther October 31, 2016 at 4:17 pm

              I don’t want to get sucked in again, but dangit I can’t help it. The fact that “accident” is technically correct by definition does not make it the most useful or constructive term in a given context. E.g., certain remarks made by a certain political candidate have been referred to as “locker room” banter- and while it may technically fall under that broad heading (at least in some locker rooms), it is not a particularly helpful and transparent use of language. At best, it is inexact and at worst, deliberately misleading.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 1, 2016 at 10:18 am

                I don’t claim it is “the most useful word”. I only claim that its use does not deserve a reprimand. I prefer crash and collision myself, generally.

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          • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm

            That’s why I like her. Someone has to bring the conversations back from being overly emotional. They have a tendency to assume the use of provocative words as normal.

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            • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 8:43 pm

              ‘Crash’ isn’t provocative.

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        • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 3:49 pm

          Groupthink is a dangerous thing, even if you agree with the issue.

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          • Dan A November 1, 2016 at 7:17 am

            ‘Groupthink’ is a provocative word for people who agree on common sense ideas.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 1, 2016 at 10:22 am

              In my History of Government class, I read that JFK asked his brother to argue against him in meetings, in order to create space for others who might disagree, to avoid groupthink. A devil’s advocate plays an important role in any conversation.

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              • Dan A November 1, 2016 at 10:46 am

                Monty Python taught me that an argument isn’t just contradiction.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 1, 2016 at 2:42 pm

                Yes it is.

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      • Jonathan Gordon October 31, 2016 at 11:10 am

        So if I’m juggling chainsaws on a busy sidewalk, and I’ve dropped them before (never on purpose, mind you, but I’m not a very good juggler) and I just happen to drop one on someone I get to call that an accident?

        There are quite a few different definitions of the word accident. Some of them include the word “unforeseen”. You can propose that the special definition you choose doesn’t include that notion but don’t act surprised when plenty of us disagree. It’s a loaded word and to pretend otherwise at this point seems silly.

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  • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Just saw this commercial on TV.

    This is how car companies are encouraging people to drive.


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    • setha October 30, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      I clicked the link. It led to the Dodge Charge when it rains it roars ad. Youtube incremented the view count for the ad because I clicked on it. I’m guessing that the people who own the ad think that more views is a positive thing. To try to make up for the extra view I gave it a downvote. But I’m also guessing that the ad owners don’t care about downvotes.

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    • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I’ll summarize so more people don’t need to see it:

      It’s dark and the rain is pouring. There are large puddles in the road. So naturally, the driver stomps on the pedal as hits the apex around a corner and sends water spraying 15 feet into the air as he speeds down a city street at 40-50mph on the wrong side of the road.

      Tag line: When it rains, it roars.

      We don’t have gun commercials on TV, but I have to wonder what they would look like if they were similar to car commercials?

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  • ZFG October 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Don’t watch much TV, but you must be new to this phenomenon because it’s been going on since.. forever! I can remember way back in the 80 VW used to “encourage” people to jump their GTI’s.

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    • Dan A October 30, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      I’m not new to it, just more aware of it lately. They basically encourage people to drive in a manner known to kill people by the thousands, with small disclaimers at the bottom. Do we advertise anything else this way?

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    • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 10:02 am
  • Peter Hass October 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    What a sad event. I feel so much sorrow for the victims family, friends and love ones. I heard he was 55…same age as me…and he rode a lot…same as me. I don’t usually have to cross the St. Johns bridge but it sounds very unpleasant and of course, dangerous. I think of my own commute across the Burnside bridge and the thin white line separating me from fast moving cars and trucks passing a foot off my shoulder. I do my best to manage the risks but I want our city/state to do more to improve safety and lower the risks we all face. And do it soon.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate October 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Please. Car commercials have nothing to do with this tragedy. Let’s keep the blame on the idiot behind the wheel.

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    • Caesar October 30, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Car commercials are designed to influence human behavior. That’s why companies pay millions to get them on the air or online. So please don’t tell me that a car commercial cannot influence human behavior in a negative and dangerous manner. And that is absolutely relevant to this tragedy.

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    • Matt Meskill October 30, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Car commercials contribute to the car-centered culture we live in. They most certainly play a part in tragedies like this. Of course the focus and blame are on this motorist but the culture of car advertising definitely contributes.

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  • Chad October 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    The solution to making this bridge safer for vulnerable users while still maintaining necessary vehicle capacity already exists. If ODOT were willing to look north to Vancouver Canada and the Lions Gate Bridge.


    It’s an older, historic bridge connecting suburbs to Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. Jersey barriers protect both sidewalks and the lanes are reversible so that inbound traffic still gets two lanes in the morning rush and outbound gets two lanes in the afternoon. They could even make the bridge one-way in a time of evacuation or extreme traffic pressures.

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    • Stephen Keller October 30, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      I’ve often wondered what it would cost and whether it were feasible to cantilever cycling and pedestrian lanes outside the cables. Nice to see someone has managed it on another similar bridge.

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    • eawrist October 30, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Or, as the bridge above, have three lanes dedicated for cars with signals to switch the center lane based on time. One lane fully dedicated to bicycles with a continuous physical barrier.

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    • Chris I October 31, 2016 at 7:14 am

      We don’t even need to go to that level of complication. The traffic bottleneck for this bridge are the signals at each end, not the throughput at mid-span. Single lanes in each direction that widen to two just after mid-span will provide the same traffic capacity and instantly eliminate most cases of reckless driving on the bridge. A few speed cameras on the downhill sections would be a good idea. This would free up enough room to stripe 4.5ft wide bike lanes in each direction. Sub-standard, for sure, but it would be a huge improvement.

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  • RH October 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Portland used to be a hidden gem 10 years ago. Folks could drive and cycle pretty well together….a nice balance. The increase in car traffic has really put a strain on things….the gem has lost a bit if it’s luster.

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    • Middle of the Road guy October 30, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      I’ve noticed the same thing on many roads that used to be ‘rural’ out in the Hillsboro area.

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    • KTaylor October 31, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      I miss my city. 🙁

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      • rachel b November 1, 2016 at 12:14 am

        Ditto. Loved it, all my life. Have grown to hate it in the past 8 years.

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  • Rob October 30, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I road down Germantown on Saturday and had planned to cross the St. John’s Bridge but the police had it closed off. It looked to me (and based on subsequent media accounts) that the driver tried to speed through the light on the west end of the bridge. He could not negotiate the turn due to his speed and, apparently, his bald tires. If the speed limit had been lower, perhaps the driver still would have been speeding but at a lower rate. Every bike route in this City should have a speed limit of 20. Every study has confirmed it’s so much safer. I bike NE Knott St. during my daily commute. Even that street – which is purely residential – has drivers going 10, 15, 20 mph over the limit. Reducing speeds to 20 mph should be the central issue for the so-called “Vision Zero.” 20 is plenty.

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    • Bankerman October 31, 2016 at 12:25 am

      20mph on every street used as a bike route? Utterly unrealistic. Car drivers will never put up with it and there are not enough cops to enforce such a ridiculous idea. Focus on ways to improve safety that are embraced by all road users and that respect the role of each mode of transportation.

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      • BB October 31, 2016 at 10:12 am

        In the early 20th century, Police officers were utilized to provide traffic control at intersecting streets. Instead of accepting that crashes at intersections are inevitable because there aren’t enough cops to perform signal duty at every intersection, William Potts invented the modern lighted traffic signal, a now ubiquitous part of our built environment. Today the technology exists to keep motor vehicle operators within certain constraints – To prove that they are sober and licensed before the car can start, to limit the operation of the vehicle while in motion, and to track and punish users who operate outside the existing constraints of the system. These technologies are at this point no more complex than creating signal lights was a hundred years ago, but we don’t use them, and we are less because of that.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 10:18 am

        20 mph on EVERY street in the city is not unrealistic or ridiculous… it’s the future that cities are moving towards…

        stop driving for a year and then tell me how we should continue allowing drivers to violate the law to death…

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      • Eric Leifsdad October 31, 2016 at 11:16 am

        The role of walking and biking is that everyone has a right to walk and bike safely everywhere except the freeway. Let’s start with respecting that and then figure out what’s realistic.

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  • Asher Atkinson October 30, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Reading about this tragedy makes me shake with emotion. While I didn’t know Mitchell York, I’m sure we’ve crossed paths on road. I imagine he felt the same joys I feel when riding and it’s crushing to realize how quickly and cruelly those joys can be taken away.

    I use the St Johns bridge often and I believe I can reconstruct what happened. In doing so, I don’t understand why so many direct their outrage at a perceived lack of adequate cycling infrastructure. Mitchell York was killed by a criminal named Joel Aaron Schrantz who should not have been driving. He wasn’t killed by all the drivers in Portland who use the bridge and he wasn’t killed by poor transportation options for crossing the bridge. On Strava alone there are 30,000 westbound and 47,000 eastbound bridge crossings recorded and none to my knowledge resulted in injury. Is it perfect, no. Could it be made better, maybe. Would any physical improvement discussed have prevented this death, unlikely.

    While many have opinions on how to rebuild the St Johns Bridge, few have ideas on how to keep known dangerous drivers off the road. What I find outrageous is how, with technology today, an unlicensed driver can be on a road undetected. How is it that someone who is drunk, high, or has a suspended license can even start a car? How is it that an uninsured car can start? How is it that modern toll roads are able to send a bill, yet we won’t issue a meaningful number of speeding tickets in the same way? How is that most drivers are connected to myriad social networks, yet we can’t muster the will and means to have all drivers connected to their insurers and have their rates and driving privileges set by their actual behavior behind the wheel.

    Play armchair civil engineering with endless piles of imaginary money all you want, and you still won’t be able to completely protect the 500 miles of road Mr York covered in a week. We have a vast network of roads to make safe for all users, and all the concrete, asphalt and paint imagined still can’t achieve Vision Zero without changing how a few people choose to drive on those roads. We need more teeth behind laws and more technology around enforcement if we are serious about saving lives like Mitchell’s.

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    • Middle of the Road guy October 30, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Very good analysis.

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    • Brian October 31, 2016 at 7:27 am

      Very well said. Thank you.

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  • K'Tesh October 30, 2016 at 6:29 pm


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  • TJ October 30, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Is there a planned ride in the works?

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  • Greenkrypto October 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I commute to & from Beaverton M-F via the SJB. If you’re observing the speed limit, staying a safe distance from the car in front of you and watching the road instead of your phone, it’s a safe journey for all. This applies to any road, not just the St Johns Bridge. Unfortunately, on the SJB, as well as Germantown road, there are a number of idiots who drive well over the speed limit and ride the bumpers of safety conscious drivers. When /if PPB and OSP start writing tickets, I bet we see some improvements on the thoroughfares.

    A few days prior to Mitchell’s death, a large westbound pickup truck drove onto the bridge’s sidewalk and plowed into a lamppost…and a compact car plowed into the truck’s bumper. After the events of the past 5 days, I sincerely hope law enforcement takes a good look at how they can improve safety.

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    • Chris I October 31, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Speed cameras!

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  • John October 30, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I saw that we use white privilege and some guns to occupy the outer lanes, giving them back to their original owners (pedestrians, cyclists, and buggies). Maybe wear some cowboy hats for extra media attention.

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    • Charley October 31, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Our Constitution’s First and Second Amendments guarantee this kind of civil disobedience. Our right to bear arms shall not be infringed as we exercise our right to free speech.

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  • matt picio October 30, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    ODOT is criminally negligent for this

    Well, no, in this case they are not. Jonathan’s later edit makes it clear that the proximate cause was how the driver was operating his vehicle, and that it’s completely irrelevant to the engineering on the bridge. Yes, the design on the St. John’s is substandard, and ODOT’s excuses for not making the bridge better for bikes are spurious, have faulty logic, and are completely unsatisfactory. That said, this specific crash has a cause completely unrelated to the current or potential engineering of the bridge.

    Let’s argue for a better bridge, and let’s use examples, but let’s use examples which are valid and inarguable examples of poor engineering.

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    • Angel October 31, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Frankly, I still think it’s the infrastructure. Sharrows on roads with speed limits that high? Should be highly illegal. It didn’t have to be like this.

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  • LockHimUp October 30, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Next to “POS” in the dictionary, should be a picture of Schrantz:

    “According to court documents, Schrantz was convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in 2014. He also has 11 separate convictions for driving with a suspended license.

    Schrantz’s history of driving infractions also includes eight convictions for driving without insurance, two for speeding, two for operating without the required lighting equipment, two for failing to signal on a turn or stop, and one for each of the following: unauthorized use of a vehicle, failure to renew auto registration, failure to obey a traffic control device, operation without a rearview mirror and failure to drive within a lane.
    In addition, Schrantz has other criminal convictions, including for burglary, theft and identity theft.”

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    • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 7:19 am

      Was it white privilege that allowed this man to continue driving?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 10:30 am


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        • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 12:10 pm

          Do you think if he was black he would have still been driving? I have to wonder if he would have been shot by now.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 1:49 pm

            It’s interesting that where you have a white man killing another white man in a terrible traffic crash, your go-to explanation is racism.

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          • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 1:57 pm

            It’s interesting that you think that wondering if a white man is given more freedom to be a bad driver than a black man is my “go-to explanation” for what happened in this case.

            And, why are you calling this a crash? It’s not an accident anymore?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 6:37 pm

              I called it a crash because I generally prefer that word (but it really doesn’t work so well to describe an auto striking a person). I have absolutely no objections to you using the word “crash” (though I slightly prefer the Australian term “smash”). What I don’t like is chastising people who choose not to use the word by declaring that “accident” means something out-of-the-blue happened and that it implies no one is responsible and nothing could have prevented it.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm

        it could have certainly helped…

        cops will be more likely to run your plate if you’re a minority so you can’t drive unlicensed in the bad part of town if you own the car…

        would a minority be able to have all the interactions with police that this person did without ending up dead or in jail for a long time on inflated charges? he likely was let off easy at a much higher rate…

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    • El Biciclero October 31, 2016 at 9:20 am

      “Schrantz’s history of driving infractions also includes eight convictions for driving without insurance…”

      I was just reviewing my own auto policy last night and noticed my uninsured motorist protection premium went up significantly. I really loathe systems where the responsible are made to pay for the foolishness of others.

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      • El Biciclero October 31, 2016 at 9:23 am

        Sorry, that sounded kind of cold. The victim of this crash and those he knew have paid far more than my measly insurance premiums; my sincerest condolences to all who have been made to pay in this particular situation. My only intent above was to point out one additional way that the costs of irresponsible driving are foisted on the rest of society.

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        • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 10:32 am

          I’ve just upped my uninsured motorist policy to $1 mil. Seems logical these days.

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      • Chris I November 1, 2016 at 7:38 am

        It is absolutely outrageous that our insurance minimums are so low in this state. A significant portion of driving costs are externalized: insurance premiums that we all pay, public space stolen, healthcare costs for those injured and poisoned by emissions. I could continue…

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  • Scott H October 30, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    The man did not die, he was murdered by another man.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Murder implies intent, of which there is no evidence.

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      • J_R October 31, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        The motorist intended to drive recklessly. He intentionally drove a vehicle with known mechanical deficiencies. He has a history of driving without insurance. He has a history of hit-and-run. He has intentionally violated the law on numerous occasions. I’d say that he intended to drive in a manner that directly led to the death of another. Murder seems right to me; the intent was there.

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        • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 3:53 pm

          I think you just described manslaughter, actually.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm

          I agree that the driver was reckless and that this recklessness could not possibly have been inadvertent. I do not disagree that the outcome was completely predictable. But was it the driver’s intent to kill?

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        some states have laws allowing you to charge murder when your actions are known to lead to death, such as DUI… if you knowingly drink and drive then you know that those actions have a high risk of resulting in death and therefore you intentionally created a risk of death…

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      • Tom October 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        Sorry, but wrong. There is something called the Felony Murder Rule, which does not require intent to kill. See…

        Oregon also has this rule…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule_(Oregon)

        In some states (not OR), Reckless Driving can be a Felony. If Reckless Driving was a Felony in OR, and also included 163.115, and if the Reckless Driving definition was updated to be something closer to what most people would consider reckless, then yes the incident in question could be considered a Murder.

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        • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          Tom, I’m not seeing any conditions in the statute you listed that would indicate this qualifies as murder.

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          • Tom October 31, 2016 at 8:32 pm

            I never said that it did. The claim above was that Murder implies intent. This is incorrect as the law clearly allows Murder charges with no intent in certain cases. The reason why this case would not be considered murder in OR is for other reasons, as I pointed out.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

              I see your point. I’m going to reflect on this a bit regarding my murder requires intent remark.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 1, 2016 at 10:35 am

                After reading the article, I should note that this rule has been abolished or ruled unconstitutional in many countries (though it still applied widely in the US), which suggests that many societies have determined that murder does in fact require intent. The US is, once again, a bit of an outlier in this part of our law.

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  • Bjorn October 31, 2016 at 8:43 am

    My friend was badly hurt last year on the bridge. He was riding in the right hand lane and a full size pickup truck passed so closely that he was hit by the mirror and knocked up onto the sidewalk. He was lucky that he wasn’t thrown off the bridge which probably would have resulted in his death. Instead he has had a long recovery because ODOT refuses to make the bridge safe even though they easily could by eliminating one of the eastbound lanes and creating separated bicycle facilities. The flow of motor vehicles is limited by the signal at the east end of the bridge and having the bridge be 1 lane instead of 2 would have zero impact on travel times for drivers, ODOT’s own study shows that. I still feel the BTA should have sued ODOT over the bridge project, and that not doing so has emboldened ODOT to not improve bike facilities on other projects since.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 10:33 am

      This is one of the reasons I stopped supporting the BTA. We need an advocacy organization with the means to sue, and the guts to do it.

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      • Craig Giffen October 31, 2016 at 10:51 am

        But….awards dinner!

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  • Greg Spencer October 31, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Good reporting on this incident, in this blog and here: http://www.kptv.com/story/33520052/cyclist-killed-along-st-johns-bridge-identified. It’s hard to imagine general precautions that would protect us all from a bonafide public menace like Mr. Schrantz. But it is a good occasion to look at some widely applied, proven measures that have prevented lots of harm: http://en.30kmh.eu/2015/12/07/how-road-safety-in-european-cities-is-increasing-thanks-to-30-kmh-20mph/

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  • James Devaney October 31, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Tragic. Sounds like a rogue driver who should have been locked up long ago. The bridge need speed bumps to slow traffic down to 15 mph. How many more cyclists must die? Manhattan,NYC has dropped its speed limits to 15 mph for motor vehicles everywhere and commerce is doing fine and motor vehicle deaths are near zero. Can’t Portland do the same?

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    • pruss2ny November 1, 2016 at 9:45 am

      NYC has dropped speed limits to 15mph? what?

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  • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Man, the comments on the St John’s facebook page are horrible. And these are your neighbors.

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    • TJ October 31, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Hi- I wrote one of the primary posts regarding (b&w photo). There are of course a few trolls and those who lack empathy, but I am actually proud of how the conversation in the neighborhood is changing. I have had to change my language or code switch (most noted in the below context for Traffic Safety Forum) to appeal to all users (I’ll still unload sometimes). Hopefully, with this approach we can further gain allies and awareness. –Travis

      St. Johns’ diversity, small town feel, and role as a freight/commuter corridor all inherently present very different transportation truths and experiences among neighbors. We commute via bike to Portland’s SW and NW business districts. We commute in cars to Oregon’s global facing employers in the suburbs. Others both work and live in the neighborhood. We depend on public transportation, but have long desired more access and options. Some neighbors are fortunate enough to walk to schools, grocers, parks, transit malls, local restaurants, and iconic Main Street’s businesses. While others are further disconnected by distance, dangerous arteries, and residential streets not improved for all people. During rush hours St. Johns inherits 1,000s of temporary community members – or so respectfully they should consider and be considered. St. Johns is an integral hub for freight and the community’s blue collar history is a source of pride. Oft forgotten among the busy streets is our immediacy to nature and a system of walking/bike paths to explore. It is important ALL residents’ truths and experiences are heard as we consider St. Johns’ legacy, beneficial improvements, and paramount to all: people safety and appropriate residential comfort in a quickly evolving transportation landscape. Within this context the St. Johns Neighborhood Association is hosting a Transportation/Traffic Safety Forum for the considered benefit and well-being of neighbors from all backgrounds and experiences. November 14, 2016 at the Community Center 7 – 8:30pm.

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  • esther2 October 31, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Another solution would be to ban truck traffic on the bridge. There are alternative routes for trucks. Let them stick to the freeway and Columbia.

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  • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 9:35 am

    A 2012 study in CA indicated that drivers without a valid license were 3 times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 10:35 am

      I’d expect this; if you are a reckless driver, you are more likely to have your license revoked. If you disregard rules, you are more likely to drive after you’ve lost your license. If you are reckless and disregard rules, you are more likely to be involved in a serious crash.

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      • Kevin October 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm


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        • lyle w October 31, 2016 at 2:32 pm

          Still doesn’t matter. All it takes is one girlfriend/wife/parent that doesn’t care, and you have access to a car.

          And what effort does the government make to really make sure people like this aren’t driving? Do probation officers have the right to search you for car keys?

          At the end of the day, for someone like this guy, the only way you can prevent them from killing someone on the road is to put them in prison for life. That’s the ONLY thing that would have prevented this man from somehow getting behind the wheel of a car on Saturday.

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          • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 2:45 pm

            You don’t think 11 crushed cars would have slowed him down?

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    • El Biciclero October 31, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      All the more reason to confiscate cars from those caught driving w/o a valid license.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        I’m inclined to agree. If the car is owned by someone else, let them get it out of impound.

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        • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm

          and let them be charged as an accessory to the crime for supplying to car…

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        • Paul Atkinson October 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm

          If you loan your car to a friend, it should be your responsibility to ensure that friend has a valid driver’s license. Failure to so verify should result in a significant fine, and a larger fine if damage results.

          If someone without a license is caught driving your car, I’m trying to figure out how a mandatory choice between “prosecute that person for auto theft” and “find the person who handed over the keys guilty of loaning to an unlicensed driver” goes wrong. Under what circumstances is neither of those things true?

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          • Dan A October 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

            If your car is crushed, that’s a pretty good fine.

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        • El Biciclero October 31, 2016 at 2:38 pm

          Um, not impound: sale at auction. Let them buy it back at auction price.

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      • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 1:04 pm

        that’s a start… but there’s nothing to stop them from buying a cheap car and continuing to drive without a license or insurance…

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      • lyle w October 31, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        Like i said elsewhere, All it takes is one gf/wife/parent/brother/whatever who doesn’t care, and you’re behind the wheel in no time. Illegal, but still as deadly as ever.

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        • El Biciclero October 31, 2016 at 2:49 pm

          Under my notions of a confiscation rule, that friend would need to be willing to lose their car permanently if they knowingly loaned it to a suspended/revoked driver. If I made the rules they would be thus:

          Get suspended, park your car and hitch rides/take the bus/walk/ride your bike until the suspension ends. To be re-instated, you must re-take the drivers’ test, both written and driving portions, and pass them with high marks.

          If you get caught driving while suspended, your license is revoked for at least 10 years, and the car you are driving is seized, unless it has been reported stolen. Seized, not impounded; there is no getting it back, as it will either be crushed or sold at auction.

          If you get caught driving while revoked, the car you are driving is seized, unless it has been reported stolen, and you are subject to 5-digit fines and/or jail time.

          If you injure or kill someone while driving suspended/revoked, the car you were driving is seized, unless it was reported stolen, and you go directly to jail.

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        • Kevin October 31, 2016 at 4:06 pm

          And so one does nothing?

          This isn’t a simple problem, and there is no magic bullet.

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  • Kyle Banerjee October 31, 2016 at 10:45 am

    At least they got the charges right. Bald tires or not, how the heck does someone lose control on normal pavement simply when pulling away from a light?

    Given the specific circumstances in this crash, I’m not sure what reasonable measures could protect a cyclist from a driver like Schrantz. However, SJB is not much fun to ride and I see more aggressive driving there than most places.

    If anything good comes from this tragedy, I hope that it is that one particularly dangerous driver is permanently removed from the road, other drivers become more aware of the safety issues cyclists face, and a serious look is given to making SJB safer for the many cyclists who have no reasonable alternative for crossing the river.

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    • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      “other drivers become more aware of the safety issues cyclists face”

      that’s hilarious!

      no, the main take-away for drivers is “the cyclist was an idiot for riding there”… they’re a much better driver… this would never happen to them… etc…

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      • Kyle Banerjee October 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        That many drivers will blame the cyclist is certain, but focusing only on the negative and emphasizing areas of conflict only sets things back. Most drivers are actually quite decent. If they weren’t the death count would be orders of magnitude higher.

        Awareness can and sometimes does sometimes improve following a tragedy. For example, after an art student was killed on a right hook some years back, a significant improvement of driver awareness of the dangers of the right hook followed. More greenboxes started appearing.

        For all the kvetching here, Portland drivers are actually quite good. If you don’t believe that try riding in a bunch of other areas around the country and see how things work out.

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        • rachel b November 1, 2016 at 12:45 am

          Perspective is everything, I guess. You’re comparing Portland to other cities. I’m comparing Portland now to Portland not so long ago, which seems appropriate. My perspective is that the quality of drivers here has deteriorated to a large, very noticeable extent in the past 8-10 years. It led me first to ditch my car (4 years ago) and more lately to curtail my own riding and to fear constantly, daily, for my family members and friends who still commute regularly by bike. This, after I experienced years and years of happy, intrepid riding (I was always comfortable taking the lane and I rode everywhere).

          Portland’s highly touted “success” has made it more and more of a prison for me, with far less freedom of movement (comparatively) and—due to people people people everywhere, all competing for the same stuff—actually less choice, less convenience, despite the growing plethora of said stuff.

          The newcomers and tourists we attract now—esp. as of the past 5 years or so—are a vastly different breed on the road than those who came before. Aggressive, fast, pushy drivers who think nothing of “multitasking” while driving at high speeds. There is a sense of entitlement—a level of it—unprecedented, and palpable. It (and they) have done much to destroy the once lovely vibe of Portland. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Portland’s rather sudden (TravelOregon/TravelPortland-fed) shift from contemplative bookish introvert magnet to frat boy trend-seeking extrovert lure has led to an influx of the kind of drivers who think little of others in their constant me-first quest to follow the latest trend and get to the hottest party. Or wherever the hell they’re going and need to get to, before you.

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          • pruss2ny November 1, 2016 at 9:59 am

            disagree with the “portland as victim” narrative regarding the soiling of the city by newcomers. the world changes, and i’m not being a jack_ss when i say its not fair…but thank god pdx is not some stagnant cesspool (i’m looking at u st louis) that no one wants to move to. yes…transplants happen. but a quick accounting of recent accidents suggests oregon or nw natives are culpable just as much as visitors. were local drivers really better 8-10yrs ago?? or were there just fewer of them in the metro area, and perhaps social media less of an issue?
            i think pdx is experiencing a vibrant re-awakening, and it needs to embrace that and bring infrastructure up to speed

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            • rachel b November 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm

              I never get the oft-repeated “newcomers as saviors” narrative. I.e.: “…thank god pdx is not some stagnant cesspool (i’m looking at u st louis) that no one wants to move to.”

              Portland was never a stagnant cesspool. The idea that we NEEDED the fairly recent, devastating, infrastructure-crushing flood of eager NY Times-reading transplants is, sure, a soothing narrative to newcomers, but it’s simply false. We’ve been growing at a steady clip for decades and no one was complaining (or far fewer, at any rate). It’s the frenzied recent dramatic change. And yes–the actors have changed, though you’re absolutely right that sheer numbers play a factor too.

              I’ve never seen people drive like they do now, and I’ve lived here all my life but for a handful of years. It’s a big, noticeable difference upon which many have remarked, news media included. Many more impatient, pushy drivers, and way more willing to speed and drive recklessly than drivers here in the past. It seems to get worse by the month. My saying this wasn’t meant to exonerate long-time resident awful/dangerous drivers–the point is that new, very bad habits of driving have been brought here recently on a large scale, they’re catching and and they’re having a terrible impact on our citizens and quality of life here.

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              • pruss2ny November 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

                point of order: never claimed newcomers were “saviors”…just a natural and welcome occurrence in a vibrant metro culture.

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              • rachel b November 2, 2016 at 12:10 am

                Got it, pruss2ny. We disagree about whether what’s happened here is “natural and welcome” and whether or not what it’s led to is “vibrant” or “culture.” Yours is a popular view but I don’t see vibrancy: I see frenzy, trendiness, stress, homogeneity…not to mention crowding, pollution, overwhelming traffic and higher and higher costs of living. A well-off white person’s playground, perhaps, but I wouldn’t call that something to cheer (and that crowd’s the antithesis of original or ‘vibrant’).

                You can have too much of a “good thing” and too many (affluent, white, rapaciously self-entitled and acquisitive) people can destroy good things. Like Portland. And Austin. And Seattle. And San Francisco. And San Diego. And Boulder. And Brooklyn. And (fill in blank here). Syrian (and other) refugees? I say AOK! More annoying rich white people fleeing their lives and seeking the end of the rainbow and some beaten-to-death, shellacked idea of ‘weird!” + a wacky donut? No thank you.

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              • pruss2ny November 2, 2016 at 7:04 am

                rachel b. as a rich white person, who ultimately moved here from NYC (but who grew up in eugene) i’m kind of offended.

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              • rachel b November 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm

                pruss2ny–Hah! 🙂 Well, you get a pass for Eugene. 🙂 p.s…I like New Yorkers. But we’re becoming (even more of a) a real monoculture, here. I’m sure you can see my point.

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  • bikeninja October 31, 2016 at 10:54 am

    It seems like a simple change to unify the drivers license/ auto registration system would solve the problem with repeat scoflaws. Make it required to have a valid drivers license to buy or own a car. Then when someone gets their license revoked confiscate or crush all the vehicles tied to that license. If they are caught driving without a license put them in jail, and crush the car they are driving. Pretty soon their friends and relatives will get the message not to loan cars to driving criminals.

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    • dan October 31, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Good suggestions that might even make it as a ballot measure! Anyone want to take this on?

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    • Spiffy October 31, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      we can’t even pass a low requiring people to go through a check when they buy something whose only purpose is to kill people… it’ll be a long time before we require the same kind of checks for driving…

      but I’m all in favor of background checks for licenses and for cars and to deny those that raise any suspicions…

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  • Shetha October 31, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Aside from infrastructure concerns, which are valid, why doesn’t Oregon require vehicle safety inspections along with the emissions inspections? I remember in Texas one was required a safety inspection in order to register their vehicle to operate on the roads. For a passenger vehicle that included the following items to pass safety inspection:
    1. Horn
    2. Windshield Wipers
    3. Mirror
    4. Steering
    5. Seat Belts
    6. Brakes (system) (Parking – beginning with 1960 models)
    7. Tires
    8. Wheel Assembly
    9. Exhaust System
    10. Exhaust Emission System (beginning with 1968 models)
    11. Beam Indicator (beginning with 1948 models)
    12. Tail Lamps (2); (1) if 1959 model or earlier
    13. Stop Lamps (2); (1) if 1959 model or earlier
    14. License Plate Lamp (1)
    15. Rear Red Reflectors (2)
    16. Turn Signal Lamps (beginning with 1960 models)
    17. Head Lamps (2)
    18. Motor, Serial, or Vehicle Identification Number
    19. Gas caps on vehicles 2-24 model years old
    20. Window Tint.

    While the above items can’t account for people driving in an unsafe manner, it would probably save more than a few people from driving inherently unsafe vehicles.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 31, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Safety inspections are communist; in Oregon, we don’t want any of that commie bunk.

      In all seriousness, I support the idea. It would be interesting to see some data about how many problems safety inspections actually prevent.

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  • jeff October 31, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I love cycling almost more than anything, and it’s stories that make me want to just freakin’ quit altogether. One more car for your gridlock Portland, sorry.

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    • RH October 31, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      I’m with ya Jeff. I’ve been telling my wife the past 6 months that cycling in Portland is no longer as much fun as it used to be.

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  • AJD October 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Seems like a good solution would be to convert St Johns Bridge to three lanes, with the center lane changing direction depending on rush hour traffic direction. This would keep vehicle capacity high and would leave room for separated bike lanes. In conjunction with jersey barrier or guard rail would be safe for bikes. This would of course cost money, but would meet the needs of all parties.

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  • RH October 31, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Why does the Portland Bike Map code this bridge the same as the Broadway, Steel, Morrison, Hawthorne, Sellwood, and Tilikum?!! “Multiuse path closed to motor vehicles”


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    • John Liu
      John Liu October 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      They are referring to the sidewalk.

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      • Joe Adamski October 31, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        One only needs to see photos of numerous cars and trucks and dropped freight on the sidewalk to dispute the SJ Bridges status of ‘protected MUP’.

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  • David Lewis October 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I keep waiting for the headline:

    “Negligent sober driver arrested despite operating a fully insured and sound operating motor vehicle, for threatening the life of everyone else around him”

    Guess it’ll never happen, huh?

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  • Jason Van Horn October 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Is it possible (any cycling friendly lawyers presents?) to create and join a class action against the city holding them/ ODOT responsible for this?

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  • JF October 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    The person riding the bicycle was not hit from behind and infrastructure improvements would most likely not have saved him. In this case, the car was stopped, turned onto the bridge, he lost control and skid out into the other (oncoming) lane. It is completely the driver at fault; due to being a bad driver, driving a vehicle deemed unsafe, and knowingly driving an unsafe vehicle on the road putting everyone at risk.

    All road users should be doing the best they can to minimize the risk to themselves at others before using the roadways. In this case, the person driving the car knew the vehicle was unfit for the road and did not fix it.

    This driver should be made an example of. I hope the district attorney and judge throw the book at him.

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    • Bjorn October 31, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      I think a grade separated bicycle path could have protected the cyclist here. The driver was completely out of control and was breaking the law just by being behind the wheel, but we could be talking about how he slammed into a concrete barrier rather than how he killed a person.

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    • David Lewis October 31, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      If all bad drivers were to be make examples of, most drivers would be made examples of, because MOST DRIVERS ARE BAD DRIVERS.

      Beside reeducating every single automobile driver, we need police that uphold the law instead of look the other way or don’t look at all. My observation is Portland is a city of self-regulation, to which most people could not be bothered.

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      • JF November 1, 2016 at 8:42 am

        It is not only he was a bad driver, but he knew he was driving a vehicle with bald tires and “other vehicle equipment issues making the 4Runner unsafe to drive.” I agree some people can’t help it and are just bad drivers. But in this case, the driver knew something is wrong with the vehicle which puts himself and others at an immediate risk. This is why he should be made an example. Because of his negligence, he killed someone. If the media keeps pushing this point, and others in the community decide to check their tires or fix a braking issue they have with their vehicle, that makes everyone a little safer.

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  • Caroline November 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

    37?! My respects for Mitch, another too many. I hope as many people show up to town halls, courtrooms, and to vote as they do to comment on this blog.

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