Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Video of Water Avenue collision provides vital evidence

Posted by on August 24th, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Arrow points to Tamar Monhait just before the collision. Note that she is more than half-way through.
(Image taken from video of collision)

The Portland Police Bureau are now have clear video evidence of the collision that resulted in the death of Tamar Monhait early Monday morning.

A camera facing southwest from Water Avenue Coffee caught the tragic incident and owner Matt Milletto has forwarded the video to the PPB investigator working on the case.

I watched the video today. I’m not going to share it out of respect for how it might impact people’s emotions; but I will attempt to explain what I saw.

In the video, Monhait can be seen bicycling northbound on Water Avenue. Her speed doesn’t appear to be exceedingly fast for the conditions. Based on her distance traveled per second, I’d estimate her speed to be around 15 mph. It’s also clear in the video that she had a blinking light on the rear of her bike. No light is visible on the front.

(This collision happened just before 2:00 am. In the video the intersection is very well-lit. Milletto also told me he feels the intersection has plenty of lights.)

Advertise with BikePortland.

As Monhait approaches SE Taylor Street she does not appear to slow down at all. She continues through the intersection and is more than half-way through it before the large garbage truck can be seen. The truck driver then comes into the frame and does not appear to have made any attempt to stop or slow down prior to impact. There is also no blinker visible on the truck.

From my perspective, it appears that Monhait had the right-of-way and the truck operator made an illegal — and potentially reckless — left turn. Monhait was just biking along and would have had no reason to expect that the truck would make a sudden left turn across her path. Furthermore, besides what appears to be the lack of a front light (Oregon law requires one) and pending the results of a toxicology test (standard procedure in cases like this) Monhait appears to have been following all applicable traffic laws.

Keep in mind my perspective is still based just on this video evidence and I’m not a trained investigator. This is speculation on my part, but given the Police statements so far (which have included an admonishment to use lights and wear a helmet) and the victim-blaming comments I’ve read, I felt like I should share what I saw.

From here, the PPB will finish its investigation and then forward the case the District Attorney for review. The DA will determine if there was any criminal negligence on the part of truck operator. Once the DA concludes their analysis, the PPB will make a final decision as to whether or not a traffic citation is warranted.

UPDATE, 8/25 at 3:19pm: PBOT Communications Director Dylan Rivera has shared this comment about the collision:
Vision Zero is our traffic safety goal and we believe it’s the only appropriate goal when it comes to transportation safety. We are aware of the freight conflict with growing bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the Central Eastside and we’re working closely with the community on improvements that could address those safety needs.

We work closely with the Portland Police Bureau to learn as much as we can from their crash investigations. In light of the fatal crash that took the life of Tamar Monhait earlier this week, we are going to review our design for the intersection to see if there are any adjustments that should be made based on the Police investigation.

Every fatal crash is a good opportunity for everyone to reflect on the impact that fatal crashes have on our community. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Everyone needs to be alert and follow the rules of the road. Most deadly crashes happen as a result of dangerous behaviors—speeding, impairment by drugs or alcohol, or violating traffic laws.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

205 Comments
  • Ted Buehler August 24, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    BikeLoudPDX is hosting a vigil for Tamar at the crash site.

    Everyone is invited to attend, come share your concerns, tears, and hopes for safer streets in Portland.

    Tamar’s family is supportive and plans to attend.

    5:30 pm, SE Taylor and Water, Friday Aug 25
    https://www.facebook.com/events/516070375407861

    Ted Buehler
    Co-Chair, BikeLoudPDX

    Recommended Thumb up 24

    • Racer X August 25, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      How did the event go, Ted?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam
    Adam August 24, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    No doubt PPB will use the lack of a front light against Tamar. I fully expect a slap on the wrist for the driver and for them to continue to be able to drive large trucks. There’s never justice for the victim in cases like these.

    Recommended Thumb up 30

    • wsbob August 25, 2017 at 9:33 am

      If the report that Maus is giving us on what’s visible in the video is accurate, both Monhait and the driver of truck were remiss in there use of the road, both legally and from a safety perspective.

      If Monhait definitely did not have a working front light at the time of the collision, that put her at a serious disadvantage in terms of being seen by other road users approaching from the opposite direction. What are the reasons people believe they should display a front light on their bike?

      It’s not just for the reason of complying with the law, that people biking are required to display front lights. Display of a front light is intended to help avoid having this kind of collision occur, by enabling other road user to see in advance, before they’re at collision proximity, the person riding the bike.

      If the driver of the garbage truck did not signal for his turn, well in advance of commencing the turn, that put other road users at a serious disadvantage in terms of their being able to determine the intentions of the person driving, and adjust their own use of the road accordingly. What are the reasons people driving, believe they should have lights, and signal for turns?

      Here again, it’s not just so they’re compliant with the law, and won’t risk being cited. Everyone using the road with a vehicle, needs to signal in advance of turns, so other people using the road have some idea of what they’re going to do before it happens.

      Without its signal on, Monhait may have had little idea that the truck was going to turn, especially if she already was more than halfway through the intersection. It’s always a good idea, to my mind, to anticipate and be prepared for the worst eventuality…but that doesn’t always work out to safe yourself.

      The driver of the truck, possibly in a big hurry to get the job done, as a lot of people tend to be at their job, may very well have missed seeing Monhait if she didn’t have a front light. Even with fair to good lighting at the intersection, if she was visible to someone driving and particularly watching for a vulnerable road user insufficiently equipped for visibility, someone in a big hurry might have not have seen her.

      Bad situation on both sides. It’s kind of silly to try go on about finding fault. More importantly, both of these road users, if the vid and report is accurate, failed in their obligation to use the road safely. Review Oregon’s careless driving law…that’s the one, I think, with the ‘vulnerable road user’ element. The driver of the truck may be subject to it. Maybe not.

      Recommended Thumb up 14

      • John Lascurettes August 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        While both vehicle operators showed errors in judgement — one turning hastily with no signal (how I hate that) and one not with the legal front light (I will never understand ninjas’ penchant for thinking a rear light is more important than the front one) — there’s clearly enough light to have seen her riding in the lane had the driver of the truck taken enough care. If a grainy, low-res security camera video could easily see her from several hundred feet away, the much-more sensitive human eye of the driver could have seen her much more readily. This is haste, carelessness and lack of attention.

        Recommended Thumb up 10

        • wsbob August 25, 2017 at 7:35 pm

          Sounds to me like ‘Careless Driving’, but of course, I’m just armchair theorizing on a minimum of info available to the public at this time. Here’s a link to the oft informally referred to ‘Oregon vulnerable road user law’:

          https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.135

          Class A misdemeanor if an offender seriously injures someone.

          True…lighting at the site of the collision may have been of a sufficient level that an alert, attentive road user would be able to see someone biking on this street location at night, whether or not the bike was equipped with a front light.

          Though as I think I noted in my earlier comment, a road user whose attention, alertness, etc was diminished by fatigue, feeling under pressure from the work schedule and so on, might not see a vulnerable road user such as someone riding a bike, whether or not the bike was equipped with a working front light. This is a situation in which a few seconds, and maybe just split seconds make the critical difference in whether awareness and sufficient adjustment is made to avoid a collision or not. People make mistakes under the best of circumstances.

          Not seeing such a road user isn’t an excuse for a turning road user failing to yield to a through traveling road user…but it is to me, a classic example of the type of worst case scenario all road users should have firmly in mind, anticipating the possibility of them occurring, and being prepared to respond. Particularly important for vulnerable road users because they’re likely the ones to be messed up the worst in the event of a collision.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Dan A August 29, 2017 at 7:57 am

            “Particularly important for vulnerable road users because they’re likely the ones to be messed up the worst in the event of a collision.”

            Yeah, not so important for the professional operator of a 50,000lb vehicle.

            /s

            Recommended Thumb up 4

            • wsbob August 31, 2017 at 12:36 am

              “…Yeah, not so important for the professional operator of a 50,000lb vehicle.” dan a

              Do you think your remark is funny? I don’t.

              Of course it’s important for people driving motor vehicles, regardless of their size, to be alert and prepared to respond to emergency situations, including those involving vulnerable road users. There is no question that this is important for people driving to be watching for. There is at least one person reading bikeportland and posting comments here fairly regularly, and that I believe drives big rigs…el biciclero. He seems to have a fair sense of humor, but I have to wonder whether he’d find your remark about his profession, truck driver, to be funny.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Dan A August 31, 2017 at 7:35 am

                I don’t find it all funny the way some people drive humongous trucks as if they are trying to win a race. I think traffic enforcement and safety messages ought to be proportionate, maybe even directly related to the weight of the vehicle you’re driving. I see no equivalence between a 200lb bike and a 50,000lb truck.

                Recommended Thumb up 2

              • wsbob August 31, 2017 at 10:20 am

                “I don’t find it all funny the way some people drive humongous trucks as if they are trying to win a race. I think traffic enforcement and safety messages ought to be proportionate, maybe even directly related to the weight of the vehicle you’re driving. I see no equivalence between a 200lb bike and a 50,000lb truck.” dan a

                I’m glad to hear you say you weren’t trying to be funny with your remark. It seemed nevertheless, self indulgently sarcastic and insensitive, nevertheless.

                The idea “…traffic enforcement and safety messages ought to be proportionate, maybe even directly related to the weight of the vehicle you’re driving. I see no equivalence between a 200lb bike and a 50,000lb truck.”, rolls off the tongue easily enough, but what do you have in mind for a practical application of that idea in the way of traffic enforcement and safety messages?

                Some people commenting to bikeportland stories have brought forth similar ideas before, but they never really venture into the details of how to apply such ideas. Anyone using the road is a road user, whether they’re walking, skateboarding, riding a bike, driving a semi-truck, a garbage truck, and so on. That’s the basic equivalency common to all of them. They all have some of the same rights and responsibilities associated with using the road regardless of their particular mode of travel.

                I’m not sure about the specifics, but I believe commercial truck drivers have to meet more extensive licensing and permit requirements, and insurance, than road users traveling by other travel modes do. El Bic might be able to offer some input here, since he drives truck.

                Some of the people driving large vehicles on the road, like many other road users, often may find themselves under pressure, trying to make up time, pushing their ability to fully do their job of driving well. Not that I think this really has them driving like they were trying to win a race, but just not as carefully as they need to be in a street environment where other people are using the road also, traveling different directions in relation to each other compared to in a race where everyone is generally going the same direction.

                All road users need to reminded, frequently, of the importance of using the road safely, of concentrating on making fewer road use mistakes. At 2am in the morning, police can’t be everywhere making sure garbage trucks are signaling for turns, and people biking have all the visibility gear the law requires of them, including working front lights. Or other places and times of the day either. Traffic enforcement’s ability to keep the roads safe for use, is limited at best. It’s the road users themselves that have to realize their own efforts are the most important, maybe the only resource for the most part, that they’ve got to rely on to have the road be safe for their own use and that of everyone else.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • El Biciclero August 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

                I do not drive big rigs. I rented a U-Haul once. Once.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Dan A August 31, 2017 at 2:20 pm

                Driving a U-Haul is difficult. I would hope anybody trying to make a living driving a large truck would be very well-trained and take their job extremely seriously.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • wsbob September 2, 2017 at 6:46 pm

                “I do not drive big rigs. I rented a U-Haul once. Once. ” El Biciclero August 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

                Sorry, I must be thinking of someone else that posts comments here, and that mentions from time to time, driving various roads in the state, seemingly as though they were a truck driver.

                My dad in his working days, had some experience driving truck. Not full time, but travel to and from job sites around the state. Crane rigs and tractors with long trailers loaded with boom. I never heard him speak of the job with anything less than the most serious regard for safety. Not a single accident over the many years in which he periodically drove truck.

                About people driving garbage trucks, and the training and testing they may or may not be required for qualifications? I don’t know. I could search for the info, but it seems I mistakenly thought you were a truck driver, and could offer that info and any insight you may have had from experience driving a truck over years.

                A year or so ago, I heard from a younger guy, late 20’s maybe, that rode with us, up from California and that drove a dump truck for awhile down there, that said that state didn’t require a full CDL. Forget exactly which class driver’s license was needed. Next level above a standard driver’s license? Not sure. Interesting though. Because, what do government and professional people responsible for setting guidelines for training and licensing truck drivers, know and believe is necessary for all truck drivers to have in terms of knowledge and training, corresponding to the type of truck they drive, to be as safe in their operation of their vehicles, for all road users, as reasonably possible?

                Garbage trucks, some u-haul and some other rental trucks, are comparatively big, but aren’t very long compared to ordinary cars and trucks, and definitely not to 40′ semi trailers and doubles and triples. So what does government view as necessary safety training for the operation of the kind of garbage trucks, the regular sized ones, maybe 20-25′ total length? Is it intensive training? Or kind of a formality: ‘if you can drive a big pickup, you’re good to go.’. Sounds like something people reading here, might be interested in, or at least would benefit from knowing something about.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • I Voted For Trump August 26, 2017 at 12:01 am

          I do fear being hit from behind more than the front – I guess because I can’t see what’s coming up behind me – and much of the time I’m on rural roads so the rear is the main threat; but you’re right – we must be vigilant for both front and rear.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Pete August 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm

            I’m always vigilant of my rear.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • El Biciclero August 31, 2017 at 9:59 pm

              I feel like I should chuckle at that, but I don’t know why…

              Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Jack C. September 5, 2017 at 10:36 pm

        Yes, motorcycles (bigger than bicycles) tend to run lights 24/7 because they just can’t be seen as easily as cars and can blend into a background from a head-on view.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Buzz August 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

      I’d be interested in whether or not the bike had any retro-reflective materials on it, either a forward-facing reflector or side-facing reflectors; even without a front light, with either type of reflector the truck driver should have seen the cyclist.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • mike August 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Isn’t the lack of a headlight an important fact? I just don’t understand the logic expressed by most here that discounts any steps taken by the vulnerable road users too decrease risk . It might have made a difference. If it could have saved a life then why does so many people here call it victim blaming to suggest the use of safety measures? I just don’t understand.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Chris I August 24, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    While it can’t be overlooked that she apparently was not using a front light, this will be used to vindicate the driver of the truck. I don’t expect any charges to be filed for failure to yield, or failure to use a turn signal. This area is well lit, so it really is no excuse for the driver, but it will end up being the deciding factor for the investigators. This is all very sad.

    Recommended Thumb up 19

    • John Lascurettes August 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Agreed on all statements here. If she could be seen in the grainy security footage from hundreds of feet away, then the driver’s much more sensitive human eye could have readily seen her had he taken due care.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Ted Buehler August 24, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks to Water Ave Coffee and Mike Milletto for recording this and sharing it with BikePortland and the Portland Police Bureau.

    Based on Jonathan’s report of watching the video, it appears that the Portland Police Bureau should revisit the circumstances of the crash, as their report says that they did not believe the driver was impaired, but implied that the deceased victim was at fault with their reminder to have lights and helmets while operating a bicycle.
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=78428&ec=2

    It seems to me that equal focus should be put on encouraging truck drivers to use their turn signals, be careful when driving at night, keep their dashboards free of clutter and windshields clean.

    Anyone that has similar concerns like this over the PPB’s report on this case should contact Mayor Ted Wheeler and share your thoughts with him.
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/wheeler/
    mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov
    503-823-412

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 23

  • bikeninja August 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    What if a pedestrian had been half way across ( no front light required) and the truck turned and ran them over? The light thing seems like a dodge ( if used) because there are other vulnerable road users that could be in the same position.

    Recommended Thumb up 84

    • BrianC August 24, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Bingo!

      From the video the intersection looks well lit. It appears there would be no excuse to miss seeing a pedestrian or any thing else in the intersection or close to it.

      If nothing else this would seem to provide evidence to build a civil case against the driver and the company he was driving for…

      Recommended Thumb up 24

    • bendite August 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      I’ve been in that position in residential neighborhoods a few time. Run like a mofo, otherwise I would’ve been flattened.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 1:38 am

      True, a light isn’t required for a pedestrian; but it is for a cyclist. This intersection may have been well lit (video would not be a good indicator), but many streets are not well lit, thus the law for cyclists. The only way to determine the lighting level in this intersection is to visit it at about the same time. A camera can make any scene appear brighter or darker than it actually is, so although it may show what occurred, it does not necessarily show how it looked to the driver. Need more evidence.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • HJ August 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

        I used to work a few blocks from there. Would arrive and often leave in the early early AM dark. My route took me through this intersection. It is well lit. As a driver I never had any trouble seeing people regardless of whether they had lights.

        Recommended Thumb up 21

    • lexuh August 25, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you for pointing this out! I’m an early morning runner, and for most of the year I’m running in the pre-dawn dark. I’ve learned from too many close calls (even while wearing hi-viz!) to plan my routes around the garbage collection schedule in my neighborhood. The trash trucks fly around their route, and while I sympathize with the schedules they’re forced to keep, that’s no excuse to drive as if no one else exists or matters.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Shonn Preston August 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      How bright is bright enough? There is a stated parameter in the language of the law,…But lights aren’t going to save your life. A lightless rider endangers only themselves, in general. An uncaring or unaware garbage truck driver could kill dozens, if they chose. Lights or not.

      She missed the eclipse, you guys.
      And I hate this shit.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Aside from observations others have already made, if she did in fact crash into the side of the truck as reported, the truck would have been on the wrong side of the street. If PPD makes statements that clearly imply a series of events, those statements need to be accurate.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Pete August 24, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      This is what I pointed out in my comment about the brake marks being so far into the intersection. JM could likely confirm from his viewing of the video, but my guess is the driver cut the corner short, maybe assuming nobody would be there since it was late at night.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Dan A August 24, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        I’ve nearly been hit by the exact same driver twice in the exact same location, where he cut the corner both times. Apparently he lives nearby and arrives home from work around the time that I go through his neighborhood. Cutting corners is a terrible habit.

        If the garbage truck driver cut the corner he could have easily killed a cyclist waiting on Taylor to cross Water.

        Recommended Thumb up 22

        • Kyle Banerjee August 25, 2017 at 5:23 am

          I have witnessed this driving behavior by numerous motorists, including garbage trucks.

          I try to avoid stereotyping encounter descriptions because I believe they contribute to confirmation bias, but I ride especially cautiously near garbage trucks as I find they’re more prone to faster acceleration, pullouts, and turns than other vehicles of that size. I suspect that it is because they’re constantly stopping and going and pressures on the driver.

          Recommended Thumb up 9

          • Middle of the Road Guy August 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

            I have similar stereotypes about Ford F-150 drivers with WA tags.

            Recommended Thumb up 4

        • igor August 25, 2017 at 7:11 am

          That reminds me of a time I got hit head-on by a bike who was cutting a blind corner on the 205 bike path at 7AM. When we dusted ourselves off, he said “there’s never anyone on the path at this hour”.

          I think we all calculate odds and take risks when biking and driving. The risks are higher when you’re driving a 2 ton truck.

          Recommended Thumb up 10

          • shirtsoff August 25, 2017 at 9:06 am

            Is this by the turn by Airport Way just before the path joins with the Glen Jackson Bridge? I always ring my bell before engaging the turn and speculate if *this time* is the time I see someone else taking it at the same time. I can appreciate the calculated risk angle since I mull over it everytime I ride by there, but the fact that I could contribute to another’s injury keeps me taking the corner slower.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • igor August 25, 2017 at 10:00 am

              No my accident happened as I headed north along the path and was turning East to cross 205 at Burnside. There’s a concrete noise barrier on the East, and I was on the inside turning right onto the sidewalk on Burnside. The other rider cut the inside corner as he was making his left from Burnside.

              That said, I know the turn onto the ramp leading up to the bike path across the Glenn Jackson, and that’s another sketchy turn.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Dan A August 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

          To clarify, I am NOT talking about the garbage truck driver — I’m talking about a car driver I’ve encountered on my way home. The first time I was stopped at the intersection, and he was driving directly towards me as he cut a corner on a left-hand turn while looking at a dog on the side of the road. I yelled loudly, he hit the brakes, then he swerved around and took off. The second time as I was approaching the same intersection he cut the same corner and came within a few feet of hitting me even though I was 15-20 feet away from where one would come to a stop.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Shonn Preston August 25, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Almost like the truck driver saw her at the last second of the turn, and tried to change the apex of the turn before hitting her.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • malegaze August 24, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    First and foremost this is a horrible situation. A woman who is obviously well loved and adored is gone. A community member returning home from work at night. This is me, and this is many of us. I am a fellow cyclist whom often rides with out lights. I am a cyclist that never wears a helmet. I am a cyclist whose family members drive large vehicles for a livelihood. Not one person has of yet even considered the outcome of this event and it’s effects on the driver of the truck. I say this in the full realization that I will be vilified immediately . I can assume with a fair amount of knowledge being In and around large trucks, that no one here commenting has ever driven one. I can also speak to fact that riding without lights at night puts the cyclist in the space that one must be hyper vigilant in their movement. Tragically, the cyclist profile, could have been hidden to the driver by shadows not readily visible from any camera angle we may find. The riders movements could have been sadly synchronized and hidden behind a rear view mirror, or other structure of the cab of the truck. I offer my complete heartfelt love to the friends and family of the victim.

    Recommended Thumb up 18

    • Pete August 24, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Several frequent commenters here often share their perspectives based on their truck driving careers. I’m not out to vilify you, but the facts are starting to fall into place, and I’m sure as a professional driver you’re acutely aware of the importance of signaling intention and not relying on assumptions.

      Recommended Thumb up 21

      • malegaze August 25, 2017 at 7:04 pm

        I am in no way implying that the driver is not at fault, if in fact they failed to signal. As I mentioned this is a tragic outcome of horrible fate. I’m not judging either person. It appears both road users collided while not following the measure of law in different ways. I feel horrible for all parties involved.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Dan A August 24, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      I have never driven a garbage truck. Can someone with garbage truck driving experience explain how it might be beneficial to make sudden left turns into the oncoming traffic lane without signaling, at any time of day? I’m ready to listen to reason.

      Recommended Thumb up 25

      • malegaze August 25, 2017 at 10:44 pm

        Dan A…. So trite. So predictable.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Dan A August 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

          So….no?

          Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 1:53 am

      malegaze,

      One comment, at least, did take into account the feelings this crash may have caused to the truck driver. If this was an innocent accident, and if he is “normal” then he is probably suffering over it. Here’s the comment:

      https://bikeportland.org/2017/08/21/bicycle-rider-dies-after-collision-with-garbage-truck-driver-in-central-eastside-239577#comment-6822527

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Chris I August 25, 2017 at 5:47 am

      Is it normal for commercially licenced drivers to make turns without signaling? Are the turn signals on garbage trucks difficult to use?

      I’ve driven large rental trucks, and I hate it. The blind spots are dangerous by design, and the entire experience is stressful. I don’t envy these drivers.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • J_R August 25, 2017 at 7:22 am

      You claim that “no one here has ever driven one.” Wrong. I had a CDL and drove tens of thousands of miles before changing careers. I’m definitely not the only one commenting on here with considerable experience driving large vehicles.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

    • Ryan Howard August 25, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Can I ask why you often ride a bike without lights? I’m curious as a cyclist who always uses lights at night but often sees others without.

      Anyone else is welcome to chime in.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 3:43 pm

        I always have a flashing light front and back, day or night – want to give drivers every opportunity to see me.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

    • B. Carfree August 25, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      I’ve driven hundreds of thousands of miles in commercial rigs with about 60% of them being at night. I also spent a lot of time with other commercial drivers. Some of them would be devastated to cause a death, some not. The ones who would be devastated are also the one who are very, very unlikely to do so. They don’t speed (other than on freeways and wide-open great sight-line roads, and never over the basic speed limit), they don’t cut corners, they do look everywhere multiple times for people who could be in harm’s way and they generally are professional in all ways.

      The drivers who clearly wouldn’t be devastated by killing someone (although they may be devastated by the consequences in some cases) speed on surface streets, cut corners and expect everyone else to accommodate them. Sometimes it appears that they think of their truck as a toy rather than as a tool.

      I pretty much expect that someone who kills someone with their rig either doesn’t really care about the harm they do or is so totally lacking in intellect and/or imagination that s/he really couldn’t realize the risk that was being taken. Of course, there is also the matter of the training and supervision that their employer puts out, but even in the absence of proper incentives and detailed training there are definitely two separate sorts of drivers.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • rick August 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    very sad

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Dan A August 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Turn signals aren’t just for the people you can see, but also for the people you can’t see.

    Recommended Thumb up 35

    • Steve August 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      What difference would a turn signal have made? She wouldn’t have expected the driver to turn into her when she had the right of way and the intersection was lit.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • ric August 24, 2017 at 9:49 pm

        I always assume a driver will turn even if I have the right if way. They almost never do, but it’s saved me on the few occasions they have.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

        • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 1:55 am

          Same with waiting a second or 2 after the light turns green before you jump out into the intersection. Wait and see who runs the red.

          Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Dan A August 24, 2017 at 11:29 pm

        Seeing an oncoming driver put on their left turn signal doesn’t signify anything to you?

        Recommended Thumb up 10

        • jh August 25, 2017 at 8:57 am

          That’s the problem. If I saw a turn signal, it might mean that they see me and I’m coming through. It might also mean I’m about to get hooked. It might also mean that I slow down, they don’t turn, I speed up, and they hook me anyway.

          Even if a turn signal is on, I don’t know how much I trust it. Plus, if I have the light, and I’m going straight, and a truck is turning in front of me with or without signal on, I’m going to assume I’m okay to proceed. A turn signal wouldn’t change that perception, and in this case, would have had the same result with me.

          I might, because I’m not fast, pull over to the curb and let the turning truck just go to eliminate risk… but that’s me being paranoid me, not necessarily me being logical or right.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Kyle Banerjee August 25, 2017 at 10:17 am

            Turn signals are just information. You should never trust them nor should you trust the lack of a turn signal.

            That’s not as useless as it sounds. Rather, it hints what else you need to be especially mindful of. For example, a vehicle altering its speed by even 1 or 2 mph or its position by a couple inches is enormously helpful for predicting what’s coming next and what you can do.

            Recommended Thumb up 7

            • El Biciclero August 26, 2017 at 9:51 am

              Wheels don’t lie.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • John Liu
            John Liu August 26, 2017 at 3:06 am

            Your interpretation of turn signals is weird. A turn signal means the driver intends to turn. It doesn’t mean he sees you, plans to yield to you, etc. He may or may not see you – you don’t know. But he sure intends to turn.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • jh August 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

              Except it doesn’t always mean that. I’ve seen people turning left with their right signal on. I’ve seen people drive for miles with a turn signal on. I’ve seen people have their turn signal on through four blocks and start turns at each one of them.

              My interpretation of turn signals is not weird. All a turn signal means to me is that someone turned on the turn signal at some point, and they may or may not be acting on it, and that while I can assume and infer a bit more information than I had before, it does not give me enough information to tell me what the driver intends to do. It MAY. But it also may NOT.

              Recommended Thumb up 4

              • Adam
                Adam August 26, 2017 at 3:15 pm

                Agreed; most drivers are completely unpredictable. Many don’t bother with turn signals and mane use them but don’t turn. It’s a total crapshoot.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Dan A August 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm

                Oddly enough, I saw 4 patrol cars today:

                1 Lake Oswego officer who passed me doing at least 60 on a 40mph road, and then changed lanes twice without signaling before he disappeared.

                3 Washington County officers who were speeding in my neighborhood on a call, 2 of whom didn’t sigal before turning left by my house. None of them had their emergency lights on.

                Recommended Thumb up 2

              • Dan A August 28, 2017 at 10:52 am

                I can’t tell, but it sounds like you’re arguing that it doesn’t matter if drivers use turn signals because they aren’t, on the whole, reliable enough to be of any value whatsoever. So it doesn’t matter to you whether or not the garbage truck driver put on his turn signal before turning left. Is that accurate?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Buzz August 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

          I’ve been left-hooked by a motorist making a left turn without signalling, luckily I escaped injury, but my bike didn’t. I most certainly would have taken evasive action if the motorist had bothered to signal their intention to turn.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Chris I August 25, 2017 at 5:49 am

        What?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dave August 24, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Jonathon, with all due respect, I suggest that you should share it with respect to how it might impact people’s emotions.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Dave August 24, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      To clarify, allow us to decide for ourselves, based on objective evidence, as opposed to an interpretation, no matter how well meaning. I’ve been willing to cut the truck driver some slack based on the implication of lack of lighting, but if that’s not the case, then, in my opinion, Tamar deserves that advocacy.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Kyle Banerjee August 24, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      This should be the family’s call.

      If they support making the video available, hopefully they will consult legal advice first since it could affect the case.

      Recommended Thumb up 11

  • John Liu
    John Liu August 24, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Turn signals on the truck would have alerted her, before she entered the intersection, that the truck was going to turn.

    Jonathon, can you verify if the truck cut the turn (crossed into the oncoming traffic lane at any point of the turn)? Can you estimate the truck’s speed from time and distance? Do the truck’s brake lights come on as the truck approaches the intersection? When the truck enters the intersection, where is Tamar? Where in the intersection is the point of impact?

    Tamar’s family should have retained an attorney and accident investigator by now.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • HJ August 25, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Your comment about the family is insensitive and wrong. The law allows 2 years for a suit to be filed. There is no reason they are under any obligation to do anything at this point other than mourn their loss.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Kristi Finney August 25, 2017 at 9:14 am

        One of the hardest things after our family’s tragedy was being put in a position where we were forced to take our minds off our grief to make other decisions. Looking back, my decisions (and feelings) regarding our case may have been different.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

      • John Liu
        John Liu August 25, 2017 at 11:20 am

        Rapid action to preserve evidence is always preferable.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • John Liu
    John Liu August 24, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    By the way, I question the implication that Tamar had right of way only after she was half way across the intersection. If this a statement based on a legal consultation?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Chris I August 25, 2017 at 5:51 am

      Bingo. Left turning vehicles need to yield, unless they can clear the intersection before the oncoming vehicle reaches it.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

  • buildwithjoe August 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I want to know if they tested the driver’s blood and cell phone? Most vehicles have a black box that can record things like braking and speed and air bag deployment. Was that checked? It may detect blinkers ..

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • John Liu
      John Liu August 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Not sure that applies to garbage trucks . . .

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Pete August 24, 2017 at 10:53 pm

        My consulting company in beaverton built a telemetry system for a garbage truck company back around 2003 or so.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Al August 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Technology makes it possible for all new motor vehicles to be equipped with telemetry like this. It’s beyond time that this is mandated especially for commercial vehicles. I’m surprised that the insurance lobby hasn’t made this a requirement yet.

      TriMET has a policy that during a driver’s probation period, any accident regardless of whose fault it was ends with the driver’s termination. While I personally know someone unfairly terminated due to this policy, I suggest that something like this should apply to drivers with a CDL. Any fatality should terminate the driver’s CDL regardless of fault.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 1:59 am

        Why should a CDL driver lose their means to earn a living because someone else made a mistake? I’d think Trimet could be in legal trouble for wrongful termination, if in fact the accident was clearly the fault of a third party.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Kyle Banerjee August 25, 2017 at 5:43 am

        I’m unclear how such a policy would possibly do any good.

        Maintaining a clean record is a necessity to drive with decent outfits — companies expose themselves legally if they knowingly retain drivers known to be unsafe — a record of infractions would be evidence of that. Tickets bring costs to drivers t and delays that get them in trouble. Crashes cost the company in time and money — even when it’s someone else’s fault. Among other things, it pulls vehicles out of use while they’re being repaired.

        Taking away someone’s livelihood is not something that should be done lightly for many reasons as it hurts anyone who depends on that person (BTW, people who don’t work can’t pay restitution either). Why that would be done when someone had done nothing wrong is beyond me.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Al August 25, 2017 at 9:02 am

          It wouldn’t be done lightly. It would be the result of a fatality.

          A driver would not be losing their means to earn a living. They would be losing their CDL. They would still be able to work in any other industry.

          There is precedent for this in other industries. Law firm partners for example are liable for the unlawful conduct of their peers. Is it fair? Nope. Does it work? Exceptionally well.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • Kyle Banerjee August 25, 2017 at 10:23 am

            So if someone commits suicide, simply steps in front of a MAX train, or slams into a bus while driving drunk, you think they should lose their job?

            The best operators in the world cannot mitigate some situations. I will never favor punishing innocent people. I’ll bet we could drive the crime rate way down by getting rid of defendant rights – murderers literally walk free because of them. Sure, a lot more innocent people might be subject to all sorts of terrible things while they’re figuring out who did what and convicting them, but it’s sure to be effective. Guess it just sucks to be them…

            Recommended Thumb up 5

      • B. Carfree August 25, 2017 at 6:53 pm

        The best trucking firm I ever drove for has a policy of immediately firing anyone who gets into a collision. I can tell you that this definitely changes behavior for the better and there are very few collisions by their drivers.

        A nearby firm hires the drivers let go by that good firm. Needless to say, that firm has a horrid safety record. They haul a lot of perishable ag, so there’s always enough money to be made to overcome the crashes, but some day the state police will finally shut them down.

        Perhaps a compromise is to allow CDL drivers who are involved in a fatal crash that is not in any way their fault (rare though that would be) to serve a suspension during which they must get re-trained and retested before they are allowed to drive commercially again.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Kyle Banerjee August 25, 2017 at 11:05 pm

          I get what you’re saying. I was a driver more than 25 years ago and observed which companies had good drivers and which companies had bad. Anyone who couldn’t keep their MVR clean with mine was toast. Our drivers were good.

          We were paid by the number of deliveries — which sounds like an incentive for speeding. I quickly learned that the key to success was being a rock solid driver who didn’t make mistakes. When I started, I drove fast and hard. Within months, I was a very law abiding driver — by choice — because it was the best way to make money in the long run. I am still a much better driver today because of that experience.

          My skin is thicker than most and I’ve been sent into situations most people here can’t relate to. I’ve been in a shootout, in a riot where vehicles were burned (luckily not the one I was driving, though I was manhandled), and had the windows smashed out of my vehicle while I was working during a robbery (btw, no one was hurt — or arrested).

          Anyone that follows my posts knows I’m all about understanding what the individual can do to avoid problems regardless of who is at fault, but I am categorically opposed to punishing people simply for failing to fix something that no one could fix.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Pruss2ny August 26, 2017 at 5:49 am

            (An attempt at an ill timed moment of levity: if you have been involved in a shootout and a riot where cars were being torched, u perhaps are doing life wrong)

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2017 at 7:12 am

              I would agree with that assessment. I made adjustments and life got a lot calmer 🙂

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • I Voted For Trump August 26, 2017 at 12:16 am

          I’d agree with your solution of retraining if a collision was IN ANY WAY the fault of the truck driver. But if it was IN NO WAY his fault, I see no benefit in punishing him.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

      • malegaze August 25, 2017 at 10:54 pm

        My father’s best friend at work, a Korean war vet and a Union local 47 Teamster nearly had a nervous breakdown and suicidal thoughts for years after a motorcyclist committed suicide by riding straight into his tractor trailer at over 100 mph, while flipping him off. This is a true story. I’m glad you aren’t a legislative decision maker. I’ll refrain further comment. Ha.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Kyle Banerjee August 25, 2017 at 11:48 pm

          Malegaze, nowadays we seem to choose legislators for their total lack of expertise with the law or anything else.

          The hope I have is that this thread has been quite reasonable — I am happy to say my (much lower) expectations have been exceeded by a considerable margin and contributes to constructive progressive that can help prevent this sort of tragedy.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Tom Hardy August 24, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    A wrongful death suit can still be brought, especially if the PPB or DA’s office decides to legalize any function of vehicular homicide.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Maddy August 24, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Can someone explain legal right of way to me? It does not look like she had a traffic light or sign, and the truck crossed a lane of traffic to turn. How would she not have right of way??? As a driver, I don’t stop at every side street I pass unless there is a sign or light (or pedestrian waiting). Tamar was following every rule (with the possible exception of a headlight). This is one of the most clear cut cases of reckless driving I have seen out of the rolling list of tragedies covered by this sit. Complete senseless loss of a life.

    I went down this afternoon in a similar situation. I was riding in the bike lane on SE 28th when a driver going the opposite direction turned left across both the car and bike lane without warning. I managed to miss the car, and just ended in some scrapes and bruises, but the lady didn’t even stop when she saw me on the ground.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 2:02 am

      She may have had right of way, but if the driver could not see her for whatever reason, particularly if the cops think “no front light” was a factor, he may not be charged with a serious crime.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Chris I August 25, 2017 at 5:53 am

      She had the right of way. Jonathan should update his comment. I really hope that people don’t think they can turn in front of oncoming vehicles just because they “got their first”. Although, that would explain a lot of the behavior I’ve seen out there lately…

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • J_R August 25, 2017 at 7:25 am

        Agreed. Jonathan’s comment is absolutely bizarre. I provided the actual ORS language about left turns a few days ago but he seems stuck on this interpretation that being there first dictates the legal right of way.

        Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 25, 2017 at 7:35 am

        I based my statement that Monhait had the right of way because of where she was in the intersection prior to the collision. In my interpretation she had clearly established right of way and therefore the other vehicle operator had a legal duty to yield to her. Happy to change my assumption and edit the story if I’m missing something. Thanks.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • J_R August 25, 2017 at 8:08 am

          Jonathan: Your picture caption states in part “Note that she is more than half-way through and has therefore established her legal right-of-way.”

          In fact, under ORS 811.350, the law requires the driver of the left-turning vehicle to yield if “a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Your picture caption suggests that right of way begins once the through vehicle is more than half-way through.

          Recommended Thumb up 11

          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 25, 2017 at 8:57 am

            Thanks for explaining that to me J_R. I’ll review the caption and my other statements right away and make adjustments for clarity and accuracy as needed. I regret the confusion I’ve caused.

            UPDATE: OK. I deleted the part where I said she has established her right-of-way. I still think it’s very clear she has the right-of-way but I agree that my statement linking that directly to her being half-way through was confusing. Sorry.

            Recommended Thumb up 5

            • Chris I August 25, 2017 at 9:04 am

              Sorry, I should have clarified that it was the photo caption. The article itself was correct. Thanks for updating.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Ed in Arlington September 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          Jonathan Maus, Chris I and [W]sbob are all utterly incorrect in their assertion that Ms. Monhait had the right-of-way during her collision.

          What all bicycle riders need to understand is that Oregon law establishes that any vehicle driver violating the law loses whatever right-of-way they may otherwise have had. Thus Ms. Monhait, because of her lack of a front light, had no right-of-way at the time of her saddening and maddening unfortunate death. The PPB will undoubtedly find accordingly.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • q September 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm

            Can you cite that law? I’m not disagreeing, I’m curious.

            It sounds suspicious, though. Does it matter what law is being broken to lose your right of way? Do all speeding cars lose their right of way? What about a car with expired registration? What about Ms. Monhait had had a working front headlight, but no rear reflector? I’m having a hard time believing that would have caused her to lose the r.o.w.

            And how much would it really matter, anyway? If the driver didn’t see her because of her lack of headlight, that’s one thing, and then the fact (if you’re right) that she didn’t have the right-of-way would be irrelevant. But if he had seen her, but she didn’t have the right-of-way, he’d still be required to avoid hitting her, and it would still be irrelevant who had the right-of-way.

            If he’d seen her, and right-of-way laws (the basic law, not this special wrinkle you mention) required her to yield to him so he could turn in front of her, then his turning in front of her would be understandable, since he would have had a right to assume she’d yield. But would the driver ever think, “Typically, she’d have the right of way, but she’s got no headlight, so I’m going to turn in front of her, because surely she realizes she doesn’t have the right of way, so surely she’ll yield”? No, never.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Ed in Arlington September 14, 2017 at 5:22 am

              The bicyclist’s voiding of her right-of-way doesn’t mean that the truck that hit her therefore had right-of-way; neither had any right of wzy due to what appears to be both of their illegal behaviors. Both are at fault legally speaking.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Dan A September 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

                And he, apparently, made a left turn in the dark in his 50,000lb truck without signaling.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • q September 14, 2017 at 9:32 am

                Again, I’d sure like to see a link to that law. As it sounds from your description, half the cars on the road have no right of way. On any major street or freeway here, outside of rush hour half or more of the cars are speeding or their drivers are holding phones. So they’ve all lost their right of way rights.

                But again, it still doesn’t change how anyone should be driving. You can’t say, “That guy coming up behind me is speeding (or on the phone) so I can cut in front of him (as long as I signal) and he needs to yield to me”.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • wsbob September 14, 2017 at 10:51 am

                Ed…I saw your comment yesterday, but I didn’t reply, basically because I don’t think there’s any basis in Oregon law to support your claim, and I suspected that before posting your comment, you didn’t check those laws to see if there were any of them that support your claim.

                There’s no law on the books I’m aware of, establishing that an area of required vehicle equipment out of compliance, invalidates a road user’s right of way to the road in traffic situations such as at intersections. I’m just a coincidental reader of the law, from stories and articles and little bit of direct web search, but again, I’ve never heard of any law that supports your claim.

                This isn’t a situation like for example, in a private business where the management has some liberty in establishing rules not entirely prescribe by law, someone bringing food or alcohol into a movie theater where that’s prohibited, and getting kicked out, without getting their money back, losing their right to see the movie they paid to see.

                Despite what appears to be the situation of her not having had a front light on her bike, Monhait because she was a through traveler, had the right of way over the driver of the truck that turned onto a side street.

                Beyond this basic fact, attributing responsibility for the collision gets messy and harder to figure out, to my mind, because it seems neither road user was fully in compliance with the rules for using the road. If Monhait truly did not have a working front light on her bike at 2am in the morning…(people have debated here about what is the level of ambient lighting on the streets where the collision occurred)…that likely made it harder for someone driving to be aware of her presence.

                What I know about the law and courts, which I don’t claim to be a lot…is that this lack of compliance would have to be considered as a mitigating factor that would probably reduce the level of fault most reasonable people would likely assign to the person driving, for not having avoided being involved in the collision.

                Not in favor of the person driving is…that if true as some people have found cause to believe…is that the person driving the truck, didn’t indicate his intention to turn by displaying a turn signal, either by required vehicle equipment or by a hand signal. If true, this left through traveling Monhait on her bike, at a dramatically critical disadvantage.

                Monhait had the right of way. The rest of this, theory: She probably realized she didn’t have a front light. I guess it can happen, but it’s kind of hard to forget that you don’t have that piece of equipment hanging on your bike, shining a light ahead. Sounds like she may have seen the truck coming and seeing no turn signal displayed from the truck, likely felt her right of way was safe to ride on. Then ‘Bam!!’…the guy driving, who knows why, whips his truck so quickly into a left turn after she’s already almost half way through the intersection, that he’s blocked her right of way direction of travel, and she consequently broadsides the truck without enough time to safely stop the bike. As murky as it is, thank heavens for security video that was able to record some of all this having happened.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • q September 14, 2017 at 11:27 am

                Are you saying that this law would have meant that if the driver had signaled, seen the cyclist, and turned anyway, that that would have been legal?

                Recommended Thumb up 2

            • wsbob September 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm

              “Are you saying that this law would have meant that if the driver had signaled, seen the cyclist, and turned anyway, that that would have been legal?” q

              I’d say, don’t ask Ed that question, but instead, just say outright, what you believe the law provides for in such a situation.

              In this exact situation as readers here know of it at present based on slim details offered in a few news stories, the initial police report, and the private security video…the driver of the truck would not have had the right of way over Monhait if he had displayed a turn signal according to the specs of the law, 100′ before the intersection.

              Monhait was the straight through road user thus giving her the right of way over a turning road user. With one particular exception: if a turning driver or other type of road user has reached an intersection sufficiently in advance of a through traveling road user such that they can safely make their turn safely without unreasonably affecting the oncoming road users use of the road, the turning road user may proceed.

              A driver of a vehicle properly displaying a signal to turn, would not qualify fo right of way over a through traveling road user whose vehicle happened not to be in full equipment compliance.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • q September 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

                I asked the question that I wanted answered.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

      • wsbob August 25, 2017 at 8:44 am

        Monhait did have the right of way at that intersection, because she was a straight through road user, while the person driving the garbage truck was a turning driver.

        Monhait would have had the right of way by virtue of being a straight through road user, even if she had not reached the intersection before the garbage truck did. Turning road users are obliged to yield to straight through road users, if they can’t safely make their turn without interfering with the straight through road user’s travel through the intersection.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

      • El Biciclero August 25, 2017 at 9:28 am

        This is a confusing aspect of how other right-of-way-related laws are written. The “Appropriate Driver Response” to a green signal involves “[yielding] the right-of-way to to other vehicles within the intersection at the time the green light is shown.” (ORS 811.260 (1). This phrase seems to confer right-of-way on drivers who are running their red light or have “blocked the box”—both illegal actions. I don’t think any such topsy-turvy rule applies in this case, but there is enough confusing wording in The Law to make one think there is probably some loophole somewhere that would have given the truck driver right-of-way.

        I’m curious to know whether, based on the video, the bicyclist indeed collided with the side of the truck, or whether the truck ran into/over the bicyclist, leaving her in the intersection while the driver completed the turn.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Dan A August 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

          It’s also possible the truck driver was on a path to hit her head-on and steered further left to try and avoid her.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Ed in Arlington September 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm

        You’re utterly incorrect.

        What all bicycle riders need to understand is that Oregon law establishes that any vehicle driver violating the law loses whatever right-of-way he may otherwise have. Thus Ms. Monhait, through her lack of of front light, had no right-of-way at the time of her collision; the same goes for the garbage truck driver too via his lack of signaling a turn. The PPB will undoubtedly reach the same conclusions, though the garbage truck driver may still be cited for reckless driving. Ms. Monhait will “escape” citation through her saddening and maddening, unnecessary death.

        When they do publicize their conclusion, it will not be an instance of their giving the truck driver a slap on the wrist; it will be an instance of their applying existing lawto the facrs of the matter so far as they can be determined after the fact.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • jh August 25, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Legal right of way is always weird, in the sense that most state laws (and admittedly I don’t know about Oregon) never really establish who has it, but instead who must yield it and what conditions they must yield it under. 811.350(c) refers to such a case where right of way is yielded to the bike in this case. But, a similar law might state that a vehicle without proper legal gear must yield right of way to other vehicles, and so on and so forth. Nothing ever seems to outright say “This type of traffic has right of way and others do not.” It’s always seemingly something that gets given/yielded.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Chris I August 25, 2017 at 9:07 am

        I’m not aware of any law that requires users to yield in all cases if their vehicle is not properly equipped. She could have been cited for not using a front light. The driver could be cited for not signalling. The driver probably will not be cited for failure to yield, because the cyclist did not have a front light. That is my guess, at least.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Ed in Arlington September 14, 2017 at 5:28 am

          The truck driver will be cited for his failure to signal his turn at the very least.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mike Quigley August 25, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Keep in mind that Trump has cut (or is cutting?) the basic standards for being a truck driver and locomotive engineer. Including past criminal record and drug use, training and skills required for the job, and “time in the saddle” (length of time on the job without a break).

    Gonna get a lot scarier out there.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      I know he stopped proposed mandatory testing for sleep apnea that had not taken effect yet; but since they had not gone into effect we should see no changes. Are you aware of any other changes to basic standards?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Pete August 25, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      In 2011 a heavily-armed truck driver went on a shooting rampage at a quarry in Cupertino and a manhunt ensued, leading to a shelter-in-place where he was shot while hiding among residences near Apple’s new campus. I was surprised to learn he was given a job as a professional driver with five previous criminal convictions of driving while his license was suspended or revoked.
      http://wikibin.org/articles/cupertino-quarry-shooting.html

      I guess good help is hard to find.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • J_R August 25, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Here’s the applicable law. Read it yourself.

    811.350 Dangerous left turn; penalty.

    (1) A person commits the offense of making a dangerous left turn if the person:
    (a) Is operating a vehicle;
    (b) Intends to turn the vehicle to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, driveway or place from a highway; and
    (c) Does not yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
    (2) The offense described in this section, dangerous left turn, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 626; 1985 c.16 313]

    There is nothing in the law that gives priority to the operator who “gets there first.”

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Todd Boulanger August 25, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Jonathan, yes your speculation may be premature… it will be interesting what the final PPB investigation says about the absence or presence of a headlamp on this bicycle in court…especially a small one that is only ‘elastically secured’ to a set of handlebars, etc…and which thus could be easily ejected and lost at a traffic crash with a large truck (a potential scenario)…

    …additionally from the video still this section of roadway looks to be very well lit (so good to allow one to be able to read a newspaper in the intersection), potentially diminishing the visibility of some of the smallest headlights (< 10 lumens) sold on the US market today (Knog Frog, etc.) and thus may not show up well in a CCTV video taken through retail glazing especially when not viewed from the front of an approaching cyclist.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • ray thomas August 25, 2017 at 9:46 am

    It is important to keep in mind that the ROW statute ORS 811.350 is designed to cover the situation where a person gets stuck in the intersection and, for example, is in the process of turning so an approaching vehicle has its ROW limited since there is a vehicle occupying the intersection. This is not at all what happened here. ALSO the commenter who notes “this driver” had a previous habit of cutting the corner is very important and should be reported to Portland Traffic Division investigators. In the civil law negligence world we call this “Other similar Incident” (OSI) evidence and it is admissible and important evidence.

    Finally the bike light may be invisible at that angle but even if there was none and there was a technical violation of the bike law statute (ORS 815.280(2)(b) then it merely establishes a technical violation which while admissible evidence may have had little to do with the actual legal causation of the crash in that well marked intersection where the bicycle and rider were clearly visible to an attentive driver. The driver violation of the ROW statute is the major cause of this collision and Oregon negligence law allows an allocation of fault such that any comparative negligence can be taken into account and wrongful death damages reduced by that percentage. A technical violation of a statute does not defeat a negligence claim it is just one factor for consideration so long as it is not the major (over 50%) cause of the collision.

    Recommended Thumb up 25

    • Todd Boulanger August 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Ray – thanks for the detailed experienced comments…helps us all better understand the law and the process of interpretation…

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Paul Atkinson August 25, 2017 at 10:23 am

      We’re lucky to have you in Portland. Thanks for this, and I hope the DA sees it as clearly as you do.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Buzz August 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

      I once filed a police report on a dangerous driver, not long after that he was arrested for a DUI and my report was used as OSI to convict and sentence the driver to a prison term.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • emerson August 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Thank you for the information and explanation.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      ray,

      I had to read that comment about “this driver” cutting the corner a few times before I concluded that he meant that a particular driver, not THIS truck driver, made the same unsafe turn repeatedly. It’s possible he meant THIS truck driver, but I didn’t read it that way.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Pete August 25, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      OT, please let me know if you can refer a good bicycle lawyer in the south bay area. My colleague was right-hooked by a minivan a few days ago and now has some unexpected medical bills (stitches), an ambulance, and a totaled bike to deal with.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • wsbob August 26, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      “…Finally the bike light may be invisible at that angle but even if there was none and there was a technical violation of the bike law statute (ORS 815.280(2)(b) then it merely establishes a technical violation which while admissible evidence may have had little to do with the actual legal causation of the crash in that well marked intersection where the bicycle and rider were clearly visible to an attentive driver. The driver violation of the ROW statute is the major cause of this collision and Oregon negligence law allows an allocation of fault such that any comparative negligence can be taken into account and wrongful death damages reduced by that percentage. A technical violation of a statute does not defeat a negligence claim it is just one factor for consideration so long as it is not the major (over 50%) cause of the collision.” ray thomas

      I would hope that people take away from thoughts shared about this collision, and the range of factors that possibly contributed to its having occurred, some ideas for themselves being able to personally do what they can to be certain their own riding practice is as reasonably safe as it can be.

      It’s claimed that Monhait may not have had a working front light on her bike. Maybe that’s just a technical violation…not having proper equipment…though, given that the bike was in use, being ridden on the street without such equipment, that arguably may also constitute violation of Oregon’s ‘Careless Driving’ statute, https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.135

      True, Monhait was riding rather than driving, but in Oregon, bikes are regarded as vehicles subject to the same rights and obligations as are people driving motor vehicles. I’m not sure what percent of the public may not feel that a bike being ridden at night without a legally required front light, constitutes ‘Careless Driving’. In fact, I’m not sure many people even think about such a consideration, perhaps until a collision with very serious consequences, such as this one was, occurs.

      I feel that with a growing population, it’s becoming increasingly important with a growing population and more people possibly choosing bikes as their mode of travel, to emphasize to people riding, especially those new and not yet having a lot of experience riding in traffic, the importance of being well prepared to achieve the best level of safety they can reasonably manage for travel by bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ted's Wheels August 25, 2017 at 9:46 am

    We’re always quick to blame the vehicle. Inner his lights were on.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Dan A August 25, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      The vehicle only did what it was told to do.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Maria August 25, 2017 at 10:11 am

    The lights and helmet admonishment is beyond gross. It’s similar to this:
    “A woman was raped. Women are advised to wear long pants and have a man accompany them.”

    Recommended Thumb up 21

    • Dan A August 25, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      “The Portland Police Bureau wishes to remind all women that 70% of rapes are committed by people known by the victim. Therefore, women should avoid making friends.”

      Recommended Thumb up 12

      • Adam
        Adam August 25, 2017 at 2:32 pm

        Hah, that reminds me of when the PPB, dressed in full riot gear and pointing “less-lethal” rifles as us, gets on the LRAD to remind us that “PPB respects your first amendment rights to peacefully assemble”.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • wsbob August 26, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Why equate rape with a collision, likely no one intended to have happen, unlike rape, in which someone definitely intends and does assault another person?

      I realize people are upset about any collision involving the death of a vulnerable road user. Following such a collision, attacking people for their feeling compelled to offer reminders of the importance of using basic safety equipment for riding, does nothing to help vulnerable road users avoid collisions in future.

      Despite the many people experienced in biking on the road in traffic with motor vehicles and knowledgeable about the importance of using basic equipment to enhance safe riding, many people biking apparently have not accepted the importance of equipping themselves and their bike for visibility in using the road. The people that haven’t accepted the importance of having this equipment, stand a good chance of benefiting from hearing reminders about having themselves and their bikes equipped to enhance safe riding.

      Assignation as ‘victim blaming’ of some kinds of remarks in response to various types of incidents, has its place, but urging people to have their bike and themselves equipped legally at least, for safe riding, after a collision in which the absence of such equipment may have been a factor in the collision having occurred, works against safer conditions for biking.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Matthew in Portsmouth August 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    While I always wear a helmet while riding, it is not mandatory for adults. So while I personally encourage the use of helmets, it would not have made a difference in this case.

    I almost always use my bicycle lights (day or night) to make me more visible to other road users. My lights, like most bike lights these days, are the kind that are easily removed so that they won’t get stolen if I lock my bike up in a public place, the downside of this is that they can easily become detached if my bike goes over a nasty bump (more the rear than front), in fact I’ve lost two rear lights on the Springwater this month alone. I could easily see a bike light becoming detached in a collision with a truck, and it might never be recovered by investigators.

    Unfortunately, I think that civil damages are much more likely than criminal sanctions, which is a shame because it sends the wrong message to the community. I hope that if the garbage company’s scheduling caused the driver to take unnecessary risks, they are hit with significant punitive damages.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Dan A August 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      The community is ALREADY getting the wrong message. Check out this headline, and the comments below, if you can stand it:

      https://www.facebook.com/KGWTV8/posts/10154670540215736

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Mr. Know It All August 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Isn’t that exactly what the police reported? They’re just reporting the news. Same as JM.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Dan A August 25, 2017 at 9:35 pm

          “A woman died at a hospital after she crashed her bike into a garbage truck early this morning.”

          Seriously??

          Recommended Thumb up 7

          • I Voted For Trump August 26, 2017 at 12:35 am

            This is copied from the first BP article on this crash:

            “Perhaps based on those skidmarks, the Police statement makes it sound as though it was Monhait who rammed into the garbage truck. “While [the truck was] turning onto Southeast Taylor Street,” reads their statement, “a northbound bicyclist… collided with the side of the garbage truck.””

            OK, BP did not say anything about the hospital, but the bike colliding with the side of the garbage truck is what the police reported. Sounds to me like they just reported what the police said, except perhaps no mention of the hospital. No?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Dan A August 26, 2017 at 11:29 pm

              Do you believe news reporters aren’t supposed to use their brains when interpreting a traffic incident and writing a headline? They are just supposed to regurgitate bits and pieces of a police statement?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Pete August 26, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        Yeah, made the mistake of checking out the comments. My respect for humanity continues to wither.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • q August 26, 2017 at 5:55 pm

          The comments would have been bad enough anyway, but writing the headline like that only made things worse. It gives the reader the impression that the woman must have been drunk or totally careless to have crashed her bike into a truck like that. If KGW’s goal had been to incite anti-bike fever, I’m not sure how they could have written a better headline.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Pete August 26, 2017 at 9:29 pm

            And I thought the PPB admonishment was bad enough. I wrote to express my opinion to them and will do so to KGW as well.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Cynthia F. Newton August 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    As a mother, daily bicycle commuter and lawyer representing the families of Kathryn Rickson and Mark Angeles, I am concerned about commercial vehicles operating on Portland’s streets. I am talking about semi-trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks and garbage trucks. These types of vehicles have significant potential for causing death and serious bodily injury, especially when making right and left turns. These vehicles are deadly when operated without adequate vehicle safety equipment and operator training. Depending on the weight of the truck, a commercial driver’s license may not be not required to operate a large truck, allowing companies to hire drivers with little or no commercial driving experience to drive them. Portland streets are especially busy with bicyclists, yet some companies still fail to equip their large trucks with equipment allowing them to see cyclists (e.g. mirrors). These companies also fail to train their drivers how to operate their very large and heavy vehicles safely around cyclists, draft safe driving practices for their employee drivers to follow and insist that their drivers in fact follow them. Dan A’s comments suggest that this driver may have driven unsafely in the past and his comments should be investigated. Companies who drive their commercial trucks in our city (for profit) should be required to hire experienced commercial drivers and train and supervise them to ensure that they operate these vehicles in a safe manner, with the necessary awareness of Portlanders’ cyclists so that they can pay the required attention to us as vulnerable roadway users and yield to us when we have the right of way, just as they would if we were driving a car.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Todd Boulanger August 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Good points…perhaps these base level (Vision Zero type) driver training safety requirements should be included in any City contract (waste hauling) or other City provided $ (capital construction contracts: concrete hauling, etc.)…

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • John Liu
        John Liu August 26, 2017 at 1:02 am

        That seems like a workable initiative.

        Any commercial transportation or haulage provider that is doing work for the city could be required to train its drivers on pedestrian and bike safety, and have certain equipment (sideguards, dashcams, etc).

        If that works, expand to other providers operating locally in the city.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    UPDATE, 8/25 at 3:19pm: PBOT Communications Director Dylan Rivera has shared this comment about the collision:
    Vision Zero is our traffic safety goal and we believe it’s the only appropriate goal when it comes to transportation safety. We are aware of the freight conflict with growing bicycle and pedestrian traffic in the Central Eastside and we’re working closely with the community on improvements that could address those safety needs.

    We work closely with the Portland Police Bureau to learn as much as we can from their crash investigations. In light of the fatal crash that took the life of Tamar Monhait earlier this week, we are going to review our design for the intersection to see if there are any adjustments that should be made based on the Police investigation.

    Every fatal crash is a good opportunity for everyone to reflect on the impact that fatal crashes have on our community. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Everyone needs to be alert and follow the rules of the road. Most deadly crashes happen as a result of dangerous behaviors—speeding, impairment by drugs or alcohol, or violating traffic laws.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Adam
      Adam August 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      I have no idea how PBOT plans to get around the fact that literally every street inside 12th Avenue is a designated freight route. And they surely can’t remove that off-ramp, as it’s likely under ODOT’s jurisdiction. “Working closely with the community on improvements” likely will mean finding a bandage solution that caves to auto and freight interests in the end. PBOT will install a crosswalk here just like they did for Fallon Smart, then call it a day, while the rest of the street is still dangerous and these incidents continue to happen elsewhere. We need to fix our streets before people die.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • CL August 25, 2017 at 11:56 pm

        Let’s not forget that Ms. Smart’s killer got off without even a slap on the wrist. He will never go to trial or serve time.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

    • jh August 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      So I get that you’re the messenger, so don’t take this the wrong way, but I read this as :

      “We have lofty goals and that should count for something. We’re going to continue doing what we do and not doing what we don’t do, and maybe some day Vision Zero will surprise us”

      It’s like they have this statement prepared and trot it out everytime.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Adam
        Adam August 25, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        Oh, absolutely. PBOT and City Council got all the backpats and photo ops after passing their Vision Zero plan, and since then nothing has changed but a few catch phrases and taglines in police reports and PBOT press releases. PBOT championed a project that allocated exactly zero dollars toward safety improvements. A plan is meaningless if if it’s just a piece of paper.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Pete August 25, 2017 at 11:27 pm

      “Every fatal crash is a good opportunity”

      It’s an opportunity, however, I wouldn’t label it “good.” With every turn of the crank we’re already reflecting on impact – we don’t need more opportunities.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • pdx2wheeler August 25, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I often feel collisions are a result of 2 parties cutting safety corners at the same time. 99.99% of the time each gets away safely with their behavior and habituate. However, it’s that .01% when both parties intersect where things turn deadly.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • bendite August 25, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      Good thing feeling something is different than facts.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • pdx2wheeler August 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        Share your facts please, you seem to have them but are holding back?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • I Voted For Trump August 26, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Your numbers are not hard statistics, but your gut feeling is correct. Most drivers, maybe all drivers, break some driving rules every day they drive – and most of the time they get away with it. If we were cited for every traffic violation (or failure to act safely) no one would have a drivers license. By the time you had driven for a year you would have your driving privileges revoked for life. 🙂

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Dan A August 26, 2017 at 11:31 pm

        Or you would be a better driver.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • huh August 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    my experiences with garbage truck operators as a rider during the wee hours of the morning are extensive, spanning about 7 years.

    i have encountered drivers who had plenty of time to exit parking lots after gathering their waste to pull out into the road, yet always waited to pull out without caution and great speed to try to ram me off my bike.

    and then there are the fun chaps who could go through a green light at intersections downtown, but waited until it turned red to try to run me over when i got the green.
    yes, you read right, they run red lights with the intent to crush me.

    it is all good however–i can thank my spidey sense and inability to trust my fellow road users which has kept me alive so far, and my troll skills which i utilize to fake them out to NOT proceed forth on my bike leaving them to try out their whack attempts on those less wary.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • q August 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Does the law requiring bike headlights specify how bright they must be? The reason I ask is that the intersection seems well enough lit that anything less than a fairly bright headlight might not have made the cyclist much more visible.

    So no, she didn’t have a headlight, but if she’d had a minimally-legal headlight, would it have made any difference? I hope that can be considered in regard to citing the driver.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Todd Boulanger August 25, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Yes and no…[US} state laws have a very antiquated method of measurement…the ability to see it in the dark at X feet away to the front (generally 500 feet etc.)…but this code does not control for how dark the environment is…a simple candle light can be seen for hundreds if not thousands of feet at sea or in the backcountry…

    …one could assume the streets were very dark back when this rule was developed as bike lamps were either carbide lamps or 2.4 watt bulbs powered by rudimentary generators or lead acid batteries…back in the last century.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Mike Ardans August 25, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    I’d just like to remind drivers to look before turning, and not to plow into other users of the road.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Kyle Banerjee August 26, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Everyone should watch where they’re going. I wear reflective gear and lights just to walk at night. I never did that in my life before moving to PDX.

      The main reason I do this isn’t because of cars which are easy to spot and avoid, but rather because of cyclists who I sometimes can’t see or hear until they’re very close.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu
    John Liu August 26, 2017 at 2:21 am

    After going to the vigil today, I couldn’t stop thinking about this accident. So at about 1:30 am I drove to the intersection of Water & Taylor and, with my iPhone, videoed what a driver sees making that left turn at about the same hour of the night when Tamar was killed. I also got out and walked around there for a little while.

    The video is here. I apologize if it is shaky or possibly turned sideways. I was simply holding the phone in “landscape” orientation, just above my steering wheel, as I drove. And my car clearly needs new shocks.

    https://youtu.be/vPztwBDYAO0

    The video shows pretty much exactly what I saw driving through, and what any other driver would see. Specifically, the brightness or darkness of the video is very similar to what I observed in person. The shadow areas in the video are slightly darker than how my human eye saw it, but pretty close. My night vision is not as good as some, but is within the normal range.

    What I observed, and what you can see in the video, is that even with the streetlights, the intersection and the roadway leading to the intersection is not what I’d call a very well lit place. From a moving car approaching the intersection, if the driver is not being very attentive, it would definitely be possible to overlook a cyclist with no front light. It will depend how light or dark the cyclist’s clothing is, whether the bike or clothing have any reflectives, how bright your headlights are, and how intently you are paying attention. Also depends on the weather, but it was dry and clear tonight and I think it was the same when she was killed.

    A front light on the bike, especially a blinking one, would make a significant difference.

    If a northbound car on Water were preceding the cyclist, that car’s headlights would make it very difficult to see an unlit cyclist.

    If you’re standing on the sidewalk, it’s a different story. Stationary, you have a better chance of seeing an unlit cyclist there. And of course, if you are looking intently at the bike lane because you know there was a woman killed there not long ago, then you are probably going to see an unlit cyclist. It’s not pitch dark.

    The security camera still image in the post is quite a bit brighter than what you see with human eyes. Video cameras can have much better night vision that human eyes.

    I’m not suggesting that the truck driver was not at fault. I have a strong opinion about that. I’m posting this to suggest to BP readers that, if you are in the habit of riding at night without lights, you should re-think your practice. You’re really not as visible as you may think you are.

    By the way, on the way home I encountered an unlit cyclist in a much darker section of road. I wish I’d videoed that. I couldn’t see him (?) at all until he rode under a streetlight.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • John Lascurettes August 26, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      “if the driver is not being very attentive” — and that’s the main crux of this collision. Had there been a pedestrian there it would have been the same results. I’m not excusing the lack of a front light (I wish more riders would do it, I think most of us do).

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Mr. Know It All August 26, 2017 at 10:08 pm

        A pedestrian may have been in the slightly more lit-up intersection the entire time the truck was in the area, thus perhaps making it more likely to see them. A cyclist, moving more rapidly, could suddenly pop out of the blackness in front of the moving truck. So, not necessarily the same outcome.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • pdx2wheeler August 28, 2017 at 2:12 pm

          That’s what I thought. There’s a law that bike entering an intersection from a sidewalk must enter at walking speeds. Why? Well pedestrians and bikes move at different speeds. A bike can enter an intersection much more rapidly than a pedestrian and can appear unexpectedly to a driver. Potentially this cyclist, with no light, entered the intersection much more quickly than a walking pedestrian and this driver was caught off guard? Equating this cyclist to a pedestrian is a false equivalency.

          Yes, I understand this cyclist wasn’t on the sidewalk… but did enter the intersection at biking speed with seeming no light. Surprise!

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • q August 28, 2017 at 3:08 pm

            Yes, speed works against the cyclist for visibility. On the other hand, people on bikes are typically coming into an intersection from fewer directions than people walking, and from more visible places (i.e. they’re in the open street). Pedestrians might enter an intersection from any of four corners, going 2 ways from each. A second or two before being in the path of a vehicle, they might be invisible, behind a parked car or building corner or telephone pole.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Mr. Know It All August 26, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      JL,
      I’ve seen cyclists on the sidewalk – no reflector, no lights, with dark clothes. Even knowing they were there, with my car lights on, traveling behind them in the same direction, they come and go in my view. Lights at night are an absolute requirement.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • wsbob August 26, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      John…haven’t seen your video, but thanks for giving thought to the level of street lighting at the collision location, and going out there at close to the same time of early morning the collision occurred to see it for yourself.

      Lascurettes….if this one we’re all in were a perfect world, all road users would be fully alert and watching for vulnerable road users all of the time, even the vulnerable road users whose person and bikes aren’t legally equipped for visibility by other road users. This isn’t a perfect world. People make mistakes. I doubt that any fine or penalty imposed on the driver of the garbage truck, is going to be able to scare other road users enough to have them never ever make mistakes again in road use while driving.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu
    John Liu August 26, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Above is SD. Here is the HD video.

    https://youtu.be/B_c56Akqxig

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Pruss2ny August 26, 2017 at 5:03 am

      Watched both videos a couple times…each time, while i was trying to focus on how brightly lit the road is/isnt, my attention kept getting drawn to the lights…the street lamps, the reflective tape…away from the road itself

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Mr. Know It All August 26, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      WOW! Very dark. The police comment about having lights was spot-on.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • q August 26, 2017 at 11:48 pm

        Half-spot on. What difference would a rear light that the police mentioned have made?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Mr. Know It All August 27, 2017 at 5:19 pm

          May have prevented her from being hit by another vehicle that very night. If you ride at night it may save YOUR life. I doubt cops like investigating dead cyclist accidents – they’re trying to help us. Serve and protect. That’s their job.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • q August 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

            So, if you die because you swerve your car to avoid a cyclist or pedestrian who’s just shot out from behind a parked car and into your path, would you like the police report to say, “Drivers–PLEASE do not drive while intoxicated or distracted by texting. It may save your life”. That’s just as good advice, and would save hundreds of times more lives than telling people to wear bike helmets or use bike lights.

            Or, more specific to this case, why didn’t the police tell drivers to always use turn signals, to look carefully before turning, and not to cut corners? We all know police want to save lives, so why don’t they give advice to drivers the way they do to cyclists or pedestrians? That’s the issue.

            Recommended Thumb up 6

          • Dan A August 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm

            They are definitely serving and protecting a certain road user group.

            Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 26, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for doing this John. You’re right. The intersection looks much different from this vantage point than it does in the video of the collision I’ve seen from Water Avenue Coffee. In that video the intersection appears to be much brighter than in your video above.

      I’ll consider sharing this video in a separate post on Tuesday (I’m away from my desk on Monday).

      One other thing: I agree that reminding people to always – always! – use lights is a very good idea. That’s not under debate. What I have a problem with is that the PPB needs to be more sensitive and they need to consider the context of their statements. When family/friends/community are grieving and someone has just died, it is extremely insensitive for the PPB to make statements that assign blame to one side… Especially in a collision like this where it’s unclear where the fault lines will be drawn.

      I’ve been through this before. When Brett Jarolimek was right-hooked by a similar type of truck on Interstate & Greeley in 2007, the police went on TV and talked about how Brett’s “speed might have been a factor”… That was a terrible thing to say so soon after his death given the context and circumstances. In the same few weeks Tracey Sparling was also killed when a truck driver failed to see her and rolled over her at Burnside and 14th. Again the police made inappropriate statements to the media about Tracey’s actions and where she positioned herself on the road. Even though the statements had some value and truth — it was the absolute wrong time to be saying them.

      Ultimately because we raised the issue publicly, the officers who made those statements were re-assigned out of the Traffic Division. But the problem persists. In my opinion, victim-blaming and even veiled assignments of guilt from the PPB is inappropriate and needs to stop.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • wsbob August 27, 2017 at 10:06 am

        “…When family/friends/community are grieving and someone has just died, it is extremely insensitive for the PPB to make statements that assign blame to one side…” maus

        Jonathan, and to everyone that cares about people having the road be safer for them to use… I don’t feel the police have been insensitive to family, friends and community in their appeal to the entire public, to use basic gear for visibility and head protection when riding a bike. My feeling is based on the advice the police have given to the public following this most recent collision, and your posting of the departments statements in your two stories so far on this collision.

        I don’t believe that in those statements, most people would find indication that the police have cast blame upon Monhait for the occurrence of this collision. Did the police say that Monhait rode into the truck? Sure, they did, but in the very brief police statement describing the collision with very limited details available before a full investigation, that statement in itself, does not have them blaming Monhait, or anyone for this collision having occurred.

        If it were true that all members of the public were fully familiar with safety practices in using the road with their particular mode of travel, and all of them consistently used them, then I suppose agreement might easily be made by everyone, to hold off offering reminders for people about safe road use practices, following a collision when someone involved in a collision was seriously injured or passed away, out of concern of being somehow insensitive to people wrought with emotion over injured and died people involved in collisions.

        Fair to say, I think, that many people aren’t familiar with all that they must do to safely use the road. Collisions happen, not onlyt because some people don’t care about other people using the road, but because probably most people make some mistakes throughout the course of a day, everyday. Reminders help people know about situations they may not know about, and helps those that do know, counter whatever tendency they may have to slip from concentrating on avoiding mistakes, in their use of the road, and in other situations too.

        There’s likely not going to be any easily come to common agreement about when the police or anyone else should hold off following collisions resulting serious injuries and fatality, offering reminders about safe road use. If such and agreement were arrived at, upon what standard of discretionary time would it be accompanied by? How would people decide how long after consideration for people wrought with emotion after a collision with terrible consequences, should pass before public dept’s like the Police, and people of the public in general, can resume again offering advice and reminders about related safe road use?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Todd Boulanger August 28, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        Additionally – about the PPBs written communication concering the presence or absence of a headlight on Tamar’s bicycle…again it was likely premature since the investigation was likely not concluded by then.

        Discovering such is more complicated for bicycles as vehicles vs automobiles/ trucks as vehicles since the equipment is temporal / an aftermarket accessory*.

        *[We are now living with this legacy on our roadways…thanks to poor outcomes of decisions made by the Bicycle Safety Standard of the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission in the 70s…vs. other European nations with update rules and a higher utilization of bicycles as transport and thus better traffic safety outcomes.]

        Recommended Thumb up 1

      • wsbob August 28, 2017 at 1:01 pm

        “John,

        I was down there at twilight, and I had the opposite conclusion as you.

        The street is well lit. Evenly lit. The bike lane is straight. …” ted Buehler

        Ted…when you went down there at twilight (that’s not 1:30 am, but much earlier, immediately following sunset. In other words, not fully dark.), to check out the area at and leading to the collision site? Were you driving and taking the same route the person driving the garbage truck did, so you could visualize the collision site from his perspective? If you were driving, were you driving a big truck, and at what speed did you approach and make the left turn?

        So the scene to you that may have seemed well lit before the sky was completely dark, may well have not seemed similarly so to someone working under pressure to get their job done. Not to excuse the person driving from whatever wrongs it may eventually be determined he has made, but to emphasize to people riding that people make mistakes, and they along with everyone else using the road has keep this in mind in order to have their use of the road be as safe as possible.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Dan A August 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm

          “working under pressure to get their job done”

          Wow, I really couldn’t care less.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • wsbob August 30, 2017 at 9:27 am

            ” “working under pressure to get their job done”

            Wow, I really couldn’t care less.” dan a

            If you hope to safe your life, you’d better care. Think about it. People driving and working under pressure means their ability to fully concentrate on attending to all the responsibilities of driving, biking, walking, and so on, is diminished, leaving them to possibly make mistakes in road use.

            Saying this is not to invoke sympathy for the people working under pressure, but to make it crystal clear that all vulnerable road users, especially vulnerable road users, need to be fully aware of and prepared for the actions of other road users that may not be in a frame of mind to do the safest job of road use they should be.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • q September 2, 2017 at 11:50 am

              Everyone here understands that they have to watch out for themselves, and that drivers drive poorly due to various circumstances. The point isn’t that anyone should let themselves be oblivious to that, it’s that those circumstances–working under pressure or whatever–are the driver’s responsibility to get under control.

              The law agrees. dan a is responding exactly how a traffic cop or judge would if they were citing a driver for not signalling, and the driver pulled out a letter from their boss showing that they had a tight schedule to follow. The cop or judge would say, “Wow, I really couldn’t care less”.

              Recommended Thumb up 2

              • wsbob September 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm

                “Everyone here understands that they have to watch out for themselves, …” q

                I doubt very much that everyone reading here, and those that post comments, does understand that they have to watch out for themselves while riding on roads where motor vehicles are in place. How you can so confidently presume they are, I’m not sure, but if you take some comfort in that, I suppose that’s good for you.

                Dan A’s one line “…Wow, I really couldn’t care less. …” response to my full comment, and not just the short piece of it he copied and pasted into his comment, leaves me with the impression that he doesn’t understand the importance of his watching out for his own safety while biking. Either that, or maybe it’s his effort to express sarcastic disregard for another road user, the person driving the garbage truck, about whom, like most of reading here, he most likely knows very little about. Nothing commendable in what he wrote.

                That kind of…tough guy attitude or whatever is, hardly seems to be anything positive on a bike weblog that for the most part seems committed to encouraging people to work together with each other to have the roads become safer for all road users. Particularly so for vulnerable road users, being as they are in a traffic environment, at a disadvantage safety-wise, where often many motor vehicles are in use at various times of day.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • q September 5, 2017 at 1:22 pm

                Let’s put it this way–I can’t remember ever seeing a comment here that showed that the commenter didn’t understand that they need to watch out for themselves while biking. Expressing unhappiness about having to isn’t the same as not understanding the need for it.

                And I believe Dan A was responding to the line he quoted from your comment, not your whole comment–hence his quoting that one line. I don’t see how you’re able to interpret his comment as being sarcastic disregard for the truck driver. All he was saying–as I read it–is that a driver’s excuse for driving poorly is irrelevant to him. I agree. and as I wrote, I think police and judges generally also agree. If a truck driver has time pressure, or a commuter is late for a meeting, or another driver has a barking dog in the back seat, those are their issues to solve, and cannot be considered valid excuses for poor driving.

                Recommended Thumb up 3

              • Dan A September 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm

                Yes.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • wsbob September 6, 2017 at 1:55 am

                “Let’s put it this way–I can’t remember ever seeing a comment here that showed that the commenter didn’t understand that they need to watch out for themselves while biking. Expressing unhappiness about having to isn’t the same as not understanding the need for it.

                And I believe Dan A was responding to the line he quoted from your comment, not your whole comment–hence his quoting that one line. I don’t see how you’re able to interpret his comment as being sarcastic disregard for the truck driver. All he was saying–as I read it–is that a driver’s excuse for driving poorly is irrelevant to him. I agree. and as I wrote, I think police and judges generally also agree. If a truck driver has time pressure, or a commuter is late for a meeting, or another driver has a barking dog in the back seat, those are their issues to solve, and cannot be considered valid excuses for poor driving.” q

                I’ve read far too many comments from people on bikeportland, leaving the impression they have very little comprehension of how important it is for them to look out for themselves when biking in traffic that includes motor vehicles.

                This, and not recognizing that mistakes road users make whether they be people on foot, bike, or motor vehicle, are a reality people on foot and bike and other modes of travel that make them vulnerable road users, must as much as possible, be constantly aware of and prepared for, to maximize their own safety in using the road.

                It’s a reality relating to the level of safe road use existing at any given time of day or road conditions, that a range of different elements can potentially affect how safe road users will be to be in their use of the road…whether or not some road user tries to use that reality as an excuse for their particularly bad manner of road use.

                Maybe nice of you for the effort, but you shouldn’t have to try explain for Dan A, what you think he was trying to say. He could have done that himself in his first comment to which I replied, rather than leaving it to the one-liner he posted instead. Another line or two and he could have simply and clearly explained his feeling that work pressure is not an excuse for either bad driving, making mistakes while driving, or any other type of bad road use.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob September 6, 2017 at 1:57 am

                correction:

                “…that a range of different elements can potentially affect how safe road users will be in their use of the road… …” wsbob

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • q September 6, 2017 at 10:18 am

                I think you’re misinterpreting comments that you believe are showing that people don’t understand the need to watch out for themselves.

                And I said what I thought Dan A was saying to reassure him that your negative interpretation wasn’t shared by me, at least. I thought his meaning was clear, and that he didn’t need to explain it further.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Dan A September 6, 2017 at 10:52 am

                Not to beat a dead horse, but bob has brought this theme up repeatedly, of the driver under pressure to beat some arbitrary deadline, and how we all need to do a better job of being aware that there are people on the road like this.

                “The driver of the truck, possibly in a big hurry to get the job done, as a lot of people tend to be at their job, may very well have missed seeing Monhait if she didn’t have a front light. Even with fair to good lighting at the intersection, if she was visible to someone driving and particularly watching for a vulnerable road user insufficiently equipped for visibility, someone in a big hurry might have not have seen her.”

                “Though as I think I noted in my earlier comment, a road user whose attention, alertness, etc was diminished by fatigue, feeling under pressure from the work schedule and so on, might not see a vulnerable road user such as someone riding a bike, whether or not the bike was equipped with a working front light. This is a situation in which a few seconds, and maybe just split seconds make the critical difference in whether awareness and sufficient adjustment is made to avoid a collision or not. People make mistakes under the best of circumstances.”

                “Some of the people driving large vehicles on the road, like many other road users, often may find themselves under pressure, trying to make up time, pushing their ability to fully do their job of driving well. Not that I think this really has them driving like they were trying to win a race, but just not as carefully as they need to be in a street environment where other people are using the road also, traveling different directions in relation to each other compared to in a race where everyone is generally going the same direction.”

                This whole ‘racing around in my 30-ton truck because I’m in a hurry’ stuff is a problem that the city and its contractors need to resolve. We can treat all vehicles as if they are being piloted by people in a hurry to get somewhere and under a lot of stress but it isn’t going to stop you from being run over if the driver of a huge truck turns right into your path without warning.

                What’s your take on the kids who started the fire in the Gorge? We must all remember that teenagers face a lot of stress these days, and the trees should be more aware of this?

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • q September 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

                OSHA has considered the issue of tight project deadlines in its construction safety regulations. It requires 100% compliance for safety regulations (tieing off when working on roofs, shoring at excavations, etc.) for projects that meet its definition of “standard schedule”. For “moderately intense schedule” projects, it allows 90% compliance, and 80% for projects with “intense schedule pressures”.

                Thus OSHA recognizes that you can’t establish what’s reasonable for safety without factoring in real-world construction schedule issues.

                None of this is true, by the way, because OSHA rightfully couldn’t care less about schedule pressures, other than to acknowledge in its (actual) regulations that schedule pressures are irrelevant.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Jack C. September 5, 2017 at 11:47 pm

            That could be expanded into another topic about the problems of this growthist economy, with so many things focusing on speed over quality. Americans in general work too much, and most of it just amounts to depleting resources and destroying nature at a faster clip.

            Bicycles vs. cars is a good analogy to the (un)need for speed. You can enjoy a bike more than a fast car or motorcycle, even though a bike’s top speed is leisurely for them. Society should slow down and get smaller to solve a number of problems. Of course, those who are all about money will never get the point, and some people are just adrenaline freaks.

            “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry!” (Brooks Hatlen)

            Recommended Thumb up 0

        • q August 28, 2017 at 4:48 pm

          Yes, if the truck driver was speeding, and distracted by having a tight schedule, it’s really not fair to compare his experience to that of someone driving through the intersection undistracted and at a more reasonable speed.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Ted Buehler August 27, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      John,

      I was down there at twilight, and I had the opposite conclusion as you.

      The street is well lit. Evenly lit. The bike lane is straight.

      If you look at Jonathan’s screen shot at the top of the post, Tamar was already across the double yellow lane of Taylor when she was hit. As he states:
      “She continues through the intersection and is more than half-way through it”

      This means the garbage truck was cutting the corner. Jonathan doesn’t mention the speed of the truck, cutting the corner is often an indicator of speed and reckless driving. And other posters have said that they often observe garbage truck operators do this in the wee hours of the morning.

      Keep in mind that we don’t know whether Tamar had a headlight. But we know she had a tail light, and a taillight would have illuminated the street and objects in the street behind her.

      The fact that the street is dark, and the truck driver is likely barreling around a corner at an unsafe speed without using his turn signal, and that Tamar had a blinking tail light indicate to me that your video confirms that the person driving the truck was operating it in a way that he would run into things on dark nights on Portland’s busy streets.

      Based on the various videos and anecdotes, it appears to me that
      * Tamar may not have had a headlight, but did have a blinking tail light, which does something to illuminate the street with a “bicycle signature”
      * The truck driver was going too fast for circumstances (as your video illustrates, it’s pretty dark there and the truck driver certainly knows that there are pedestrians in areas like this at 2:00 am).
      * The truck driver didn’t use a turn signal
      * The truck driver cut the corner, turning into an opposing lane.

      If Tamar had
      – had a bright, highly visible headlight, the truck driver might have seen her.

      If the truck driver would have
      – Driven at appropriate speeds for a night-time urban neighborhood,
      – Used a turn signal
      – turned into the correct lane
      he wouldn’t have hit her.

      That’s just my assessment, based on Jonathan’s accounting of the Water Ave video, my assessment of standing at the intersection at twilight, and seeing your video.

      Ted Buehler

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • John Liu
        John Liu August 27, 2017 at 3:58 pm

        I’ve never said the truck driver was not at fault. I’ve tried hard not to opine on who is to blame. Yes, I have a strong opinion about who is responsible for this death. But I don’t see the point of piling on.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Mr. Know It All August 28, 2017 at 12:29 am

        How is “twilight” similar to 1:30 am? There are no similarities.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Dan A August 28, 2017 at 10:57 am

          HJ August 25, 2017 at 8:36 am
          I used to work a few blocks from there. Would arrive and often leave in the early early AM dark. My route took me through this intersection. It is well lit. As a driver I never had any trouble seeing people regardless of whether they had lights.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mr. Know It All August 26, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Saturday at 6:14 pm. Bill Handel is now on AM radio at 1190 KEX. His show is Handel on the Law. He’s a lawyer -you can call in and ask your legal question. His website will recommend a lawyer for you. The show is based out of California so it may be most helpful for people down there. Someone in a previous comment was looking for a lawyer in California. His show is normally very humorous.

    http://handelonthelaw.com/

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • John Liu
    John Liu August 26, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    John Lascurettes
    “if the driver is not being very attentive” — and that’s the main crux of this collision. Had there been a pedestrian there it would have been the same results. I’m not excusing the lack of a front light (I wish more riders would do it, I think most of us do).
    Recommended 4

    I agree with you.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Fred August 30, 2017 at 8:08 am

    There is a serious problem with aggressive drivers of trucks along Water Avenue. Last week I stood on the street for four hours during HTC and watched as truck drivers – esp of Ross Island Sand and Gravel trucks – aggressively honked their horns and bore down on cars ahead of them, gesturing wildly for cars to speed up (the cars were slowing for bikes and walkers and runners). PPB needs to crack down on aggressive driving on Water Ave. It’s amazing that only one cyclist has been killed there.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Todd Boulanger August 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Jonathan – any updates?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • El Biciclero September 14, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Citation, please.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • El Biciclero September 14, 2017 at 10:10 am

      ^^^^^^^meant for Ed in Arlington, RE vehicle operators lose ROW when violating the law.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • q September 14, 2017 at 11:19 am

        Yes. Under that law, wouldn’t it be true that if the driver HAD signaled, then he would have had the right of way, even if he’d seen Monhait? That doesn’t make sense. Or, since (I think) there’s a law that a driver must try to avoid a collision regardless of whether he or she has the right of way, then as soon as he DOESN’T try to avoid the collision, then he’s also lost his right of way? In that case, this r.o.w.-loss law becomes irrelevant anyway.

        Recommended Thumb up 0