Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 23rd, 2017 at 1:30 pm
“Omar veered out of the bike lane and collided with Duffus’ vehicle causing him to crash.”
— Portland Police Bureau
Here’s something you don’t see every day: Both people involved in Wednesday’s critical injury collision on SE 122nd Avenue appear to have been operating their vehicles illegaly.
According to an update just released by the Portland Police Bureau, the collision involved 35-year-old named Abdikadir Ahmed Omar and 33-year-old Nicolette Ivy Duffus. Omar was riding his bicycle southbound on 122nd Avenue approaching Division when police say he, “Veered out of the bike lane and collided with Duffus’ vehicle causing him to crash.”
This use of the word “veer” is interesting. It’s legal in Oregon to leave a bike lane due to a hazard in the roadway and for other reasons. Given Omar’s current physical state, it’s doubtful the police have been able to question him about the incident. Therefore the “veer” allegation most likely comes from Duffus’ perspective and/or that of witnesses — none of whom are likely to appreciate a cycling perspective. “Veer” is a very judgmental word and it creates a perception of blame in a case where clearly the investigation isn’t complete. I also mention this because I read a lot of police statements about motor vehicle crashes and whenever someone crosses over the centerline or drives off the road, the police say that it was done, “for an unknown reason” — which is a much more neutral and fair thing to say compared to “veered out of their lane into oncoming traffic.”
The PPB also notes that Omar was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and that he remains in the hospital in serious condition with head injuries. (Note: Adults are not required to wear helmets in Oregon.) The PPB also found that Omar was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. Omar was not cited for any violations at the scene; but PPB says he might receive criminal punishment or traffic citations once their investigation is complete.
The driver in the case remained at the scene. She was given three traffic citations for: Driving While Suspended, Driving Uninsured, and Failure to Register a Vehicle.
This was one of three serious injury collisions involving vulnerable road users that happened in east Portland this week.
Early Tuesday morning a 70-year-old woman with a walking device was hit while in the crosswalk at SE 122nd and Division. She’s expected to survive her injuries and the man who hit her has been arrested after he fled the scene following the crash. Then on Thursday, 26-year-old Erin Brenneman was hit while crossing walking across SE Pine at 80th. She remains in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The person who hit Brenneman with their car fled the scene and has not been found.
Correction: I initially reported that the man who was riding the bicycle was “drunk” when the police only said he was “under the influence of alcohol”. I should not have used the word drunk. I regret the error.