Holiday Sale at Western Bikeworks

Tamar Monhait’s family seeks $10 million from garbage truck company

Posted by on October 11th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Still from surveillance video.

As reported last month by The Oregonian, Tamar Monhait’s family has filed a lawsuit with the company responsible for the garbage truck operator who hit and killed her.

In the early morning hours of August 21st, 41-year-old Monhait was biking north on Southeast Water Avenue at Taylor when the truck operator made a left turn in front of her. She died at the scene from the impact.

Monhait’s lawyers allege that the left turn by the garbage truck driver is the result of improper training by his employer, Republic Services Alliance Group. They’re asking for up to $10 million in damages.

The suit claims that the intersection is well lit and that Monhait was “lawfully riding her bicycle… in a designated bike lane.”

As we shared back in August, the collision was captured by a surveillance camera mounted on a nearby building (Water Avenue Coffee on Taylor).

In that video you can see what appears to be a flashing rear light on Monhait’s bicycle. The truck driver and Monhait collide about half-way through the intersection.

The police haven’t issued any citations in the case because the investigation is still pending with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. We’ve been told that the DA’s office will have a decision about any possible criminal charges by the end of this month.

The case is likely to hinge on how bright the intersection was at the time of the collision, the mental state of the truck driver leading up to the collision, and whether or not the DA feels the driver was able to see Monhait prior to making the left turn.

The surveillance video makes the intersection appear relatively well-lit. However, a video made by a BikePortland commenter at the same time of night as the collision makes it look much darker. Monhait doesn’t appear to have a front light on her bicycle (as required by Oregon law) and the video cuts off the full movement of the truck prior to the collision.

We’ll follow-up with the DA’s office later in the month to get their final analysis.

— 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 — Jonathan

56 Comments
  • bikeninja October 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    The Oregonian displayed the full video. In it, the flashing light appeared to be white, not red as a rear light would be and there was no sign that the turn signal on the truck was on as it rounded the corner. Can anyone else who has seen the video clarify this. Failure to signal a turn in a circumstance like this would be a game changer.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • JeffS October 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      I would have said it was a flashing red taillight without question. The location seems obvious. Knowing that the lighting is so wildly far off on this video helps though.

      The again my brain would never associate a flashing light with a headlight so I’m probably biased.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 12:12 am

        “I would have said it was a flashing red taillight without question. …” JeffS

        Are you saying, on the front of the bike? Or on the rear of the bike? I guess a bright red flashing tail light on the front of the bike would be better than nothing. A bright white light would be better.

        “…Monhait’s lawyers allege that the left turn by the garbage truck driver is the result of improper training by his employer, Republic Services Alliance Group. …” bikeportland

        I wonder how the lawyers came to the conclusion about improper training by the employer, related to operation of the truck on the street, including use of its turn signals . Sounds interesting.

        I have little knowledge of what training for driving a garbage truck on the street, refuse companies require of their drivers, outside of what drivers receive by way of the basic driver’s test, and any additional test that might be required of them by the state to drive a big, heavy vehicle for work.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Gary B October 12, 2017 at 8:24 am

          Well, the cynic would say the lawyers simply came to the conclusion that it’s the company that has the money. But I’d argue that the company is responsible for adequately training their employees to do dangerous work. And I’d argue further that by failing to see a bicyclist in a lit intersection and failing to use a turn signal, it’s de facto evidence that the driver wasn’t well enough trained. Sure, the driver could have been well-trained and chosen to ignore that training, but that’s what trial (or settlement negotiations) is for.

          Just as many believe we need to enforce traffic laws to change car culture, financial liability is generally what causes employers to pay more than mere lip service to training.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

        • B. Carfree October 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

          The training provided by trucking firms, both up-front and ongoing, for commercial drivers runs over a wide range. The best that I have driven for require regular ride-alongs with instructors even long after employment. These instructors give immediate feedback which goes into the drivers’ records. Failure to adjust to the feedback has consequences both in terms of pay and continued employment. In addition, some firms have safety officers who act as spies and go out to watch the drivers in action when the drivers have no idea they are being watched. Those safety officers have the authority to fire negligent drivers, but will also cruise over and offer “helpful” criticism after seeing violations that don’t warrant immediate dismissal but are evidence of poor practices. Personally, I always enjoyed working for such outfits.

          Then there are the more typical firms. These are the ones that do no training at all, never offer feedback, continue to employ drivers who get citations and cause collisions, flaunt safety equipment rules and generally see crashes as part of the cost of doing business. From what I’ve been told by former co-workers who have hauled rubbish, this is the way most trash-hauling firms operate.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm

            Sounds about right, but aside from your opinion, I don’t really know the situation here in Oregon regarding what obligation people driving for pay, have from state or the companies they work for. I’m probably not going to get to it, but a check of Oregon licensing requirements for people driving for pay, would be a place to start finding out.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Dan A October 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

              Why do we need to know that you don’t have any information to provide regarding driving requirements for garbage truck drivers?

              Recommended Thumb up 5

              • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm

                It may be helpful for people reading here to know that, so that if they know, which I suppose some people reading here do, or are willing to do a little searching to find out, they might post the information about what are the certification requirements in Oregon for a person driving different kinds of trucks for pay.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • are October 12, 2017 at 5:43 pm

          the petition in a civil action makes allegations to support every possible theory of liability. they will learn about actual training in discovery.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • wsbob October 14, 2017 at 10:53 pm

            ‘… they will learn about actual training in discovery.” are

            I think level of training for professional driving, ought to be something perhaps a little more commonly known than it is in the case of someone driving a garbage truck for a living.

            Because of its association with semi’s or 16 wheelers, CDL, or Commercial Driver’s license, is kind of commonly known about through popular culture and commercials on tv. From that people have some idea of the competence they can expect from the driver of a big rig.

            Not so with lesser vehicles like buses and garbage trucks, both very large vehicles that are much more of a challenge to drive safely on the street than are passenger cars or even big pickup trucks. Seems logical to me that training for safe driving of those vehicles ought to be required, and that whatever training is required presently for driving those vehicles, would be something that people would be interested in knowing about. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to wait until a collision occurs in which someone is killed, to find out in discovery in a court case, that the level of training for heavy, big truck drivers, is insufficient for the type of driving that goes along with the operation of big garbage trucks.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Matthew in Portsmouth October 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I was on a criminal jury a few years back where we were shown video of the crime taking place (we convicted so there is no alleged about it). The video was shown to the jury on monitors that were probably 30 inches and a good 20 feet away from the jury members. The bailiff told us that the judge was unlikely to let us look at it any closer. As a juror, I found this evidence hard to see, and difficult to interpret. I don’t imagine that the situation would be that much different for a jury in a civil case looking at surveillance camera footage.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • dan October 11, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Yeah, I really can’t tell if that light is a front light or a back light. I’d say it looks white to me though. Too bad security cameras are still so lo-fi.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Buzz October 11, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    My question as to whether Tamar had any front-facing reflectors or reflective material on her bike has never been answered.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • todd boulanger October 11, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Buzz, It may never be…unless the PPB investigators scoured the crash site thoroughly to look for small fragments or some independent video footage is found from a new source on Tamar’s route. Plus given the good ambient light levels of the intersection it may have less to do with this settlement than in a dark rural area etc. Too bad CoP does not require all commercial trucks with local contracts to have a dash cam etc.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • todd boulanger October 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Since the suit now names Republic as being at fault…I will share this comment from soon after this tragic event:

    Given that Republic Services owns thousands of waste trucks AND that they have a corporate creed to be innovative (Wikipedia “Corporate responsibility, sustainability and innovation: Republic Services puts a substantial percentage of its earnings 45 percent- into developing new technologies and initiating new programs across the US.)

    Then they may be a great partner to implement waste trucks that are designed to be “bicycle friendly” while sharing the road in Portland (local demonstration) and then nationally?!

    —–
    Republic Services
    PDX Address: 10239 NE Marx St, Portland, OR 97220
    Phone: (503) 253-5656 (Google) or 503-636-3011 (web)

    Our Philosophy: (Republic Services’ web page)
    At Republic Services, we’re guided by five essential core values – to be Respectful, Responsible, Reliable, Resourceful, and Relentless in all we do, every day. Our highly passionate, professional team is reminded of these principles every time they see the five R’s joined together to form the Republic Services Star. It’s what makes us who we are, reminding us to keep our customers at the heart of it all.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Pete October 11, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    What has me wondering is if there is something strategic about filing the civil suit before the DA’s office announces criminal charges. Interesting assertion too about the training by the company, because if a turn signal was not in use than the driver is fully liable as a licensed driver (for that portion of negligent contribution).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • todd boulanger October 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Has anyone read anything about the truck operator having/ had a CDL at the time of the collision?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Buzz October 12, 2017 at 9:37 pm

        Driving a truck that size he certainly should have.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Pete October 11, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Interesting experiment: video turning into that street at that time of night… only add a bicycle positioned in the oncoming bike lane equipped with a compliant reflector.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Dan A October 12, 2017 at 6:56 am

      The video shows something shining on the front of her bike when the truck’s headlights are pointed at it. But by that time it’s too late.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Dan A October 12, 2017 at 7:04 am

    I drive in the early morning darkness fairly regularly. I see unlit walkers in the road all the time in my neighborhood. I think it would be pretty hard to miss a cyclist, in the middle of an intersection I was turning in, with a blinking light attached to their bike, regardless of its location.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • bendite October 12, 2017 at 7:36 am

      You’re probably looking then.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Dan A October 12, 2017 at 8:12 am

        Well, yeah, it’s one of them pesky requirements of driving.

        Recommended Thumb up 9

        • B. Carfree October 12, 2017 at 10:38 am

          Since when?

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Dan A October 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm

            I know you’re being funny, but I actually absorbed some of this when I was studying to become a driver ~30 years ago, from the Oregon Driver’s Manual:

            The Basic Rule Law
            The basic rule states you must drive at a speed that is reasonable and cautious for existing conditions. The basic rule applies on all roads at all times. To obey the basic rule, think about your speed in relation to other traffic, pedestrians, bicycles, the surface and width of the road, hazards at intersections, weather, visibility, and any other conditions that affect safety. The basic rule does not allow you to drive over the speed limit. If you drive at a speed that is unsafe for existing conditions in any area, at any time, even if it is slower than the speed limit, you are violating the basic rule.

            Looking Ahead
            It is important for drivers to scan ahead for trouble spots as far as you can see to help you avoid the need for last-minute moves. Scanning means taking in the entire scene, including the sides of the road. Scanning the road ahead and to the sides helps you see pedestrians ahead, potential hazards, vehicles that may enter your path, or signs routing you to another street or road. Look for clues that a driver ahead may be going to slow down or stop, such as a bicyclist or pedestrian on the road ahead, brake lights coming on, or blinking turn signals.

            Safe and Responsible Driving
            The key to being a safe and responsible driver is to be aware of your surroundings at all times and to be alert for potentially dangerous situations.

            Defensive Driving
            Know how to adjust your driving to allow for problems with your vehicle, the type of road surface, poor weather, heavy traffi c, poor lighting, and your own physical, mental, and emotional condition. You must be able to see what is to the front, sides, and rear of your vehicle. Do not load or equip your vehicle in any way that blocks what you can see. Placing stickers or other objects on your vehicle’s windows can limit your view of the road. You will constantly make decisions every mile that you drive. A defensive driver is always aware of their surroundings and possible escape routes.

            Night Driving
            At night, your response to hazards is slower because you cannot see what is beyond your headlights. You can reduce the danger if you adjust your driving habits accordingly. Following are suggestions for safe driving at night:

            * Look slightly to the right of oncoming lights and watch the road edge or fog line. This will help guard against headlight glare.
            * Check your headlights, taillights, and turn signal lights often to make sure they are working and lenses are clean.
            * Be careful when passing at dawn or dusk. If an oncoming vehicle does not have its headlights on, you may not see it until it is too late.
            * Be alert for bicycles and pedestrians as they are harder to see especially if wearing dark clothing.

            Recommended Thumb up 6

            • GlowBoy October 17, 2017 at 11:53 am

              Good stuff Dan, but if you studied the Drivers Manual that carefully, you also know that it is a guide and not a statement of law.

              Of all the text you copied (Basic Rule Law, Looking Ahead, Safe And Responsible Driving, Defensive Driving, Night Driving), the Basic Rule is the only part that is a legal requirement of drivers.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Dan A October 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm

                Yes, sadly, I’m aware of that too.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bikeninja October 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

    While not generally a fan of the overly litigatory nature of modern society, I do think that large suits and awards against trucking companies for killing and injuring pedestrians and cyclists due to poor driving procedures, training or equipment is the best way to get these companies to pay attention and improve these things.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Stephen Keller October 12, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Dan A
    Well, yeah, it’s one of them pesky requirements of driving.p>

    Thank you. So few people seem to practice the art of looking while driving.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • BradWagon October 12, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Also worth noting that the surveillance video shows the intersection much more lit than the linked video of driving through the intersection… surveillance perhaps overexposed due to low lighting at night? Video from inside the car underexposed due to lighting coming from the dash?

    Either way, A. Driver should be watching for others in the intersection before making their turn (that’s what headlights are for) and B. The turning radius and speed through the intersection was clearly negligent given the size of vehicle and low visibility conditions.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • John Liu
      John Liu October 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I made and posted the second video. The brightness of scenes in video cameras can differ from what the human eye sees, and different people can perceive brightness differently. Security cameras are often designed for low-night conditions so they can show a dark scene as brighter than human eyes see it. My video was shot with an iPhone 6, it is closer to what I perceived when I was driving through that intersection, maybe a little bit darker – but everyone’s night vision will vary.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • John Liu
      John Liu October 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Sorry, forgot to add – either way, I am convinced that she was visible when 1/2 to 2/3 way through the intersection, which is where she was hit and killed.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Buzz October 12, 2017 at 9:38 pm

        maybe the driver was new and he was checking his route on his phone…?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu
    John Liu October 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for posting the link to the full video from the security camera. This is the first time I’ve seen it. It is so upsetting. Here’s my comment.

    I drove out there late at night after the vigil. There is a street light that illuminates the intersection itself. The illuminated area doesn’t extend too far into Water Ave south of the intersection, which leaves the bike lane on Water Ave northbound rather dark. When you’re in a car approaching the intersection on Water Ave southbound, it would be hard to see a cyclist in the bike lane 50 feet or 100 feet from the intersection. But It is not hard to see a cyclist who is *in the intersection* itself or is nearing the intersection. Tamar was fully in the intersection, indeed she was at least 1/2 of the way through it, when she was hit. She would have been visible there, even if she were totally unlit/nonreflective.

    Apparently the trucking company claims she had no light and was intoxicated. She did have a white blinking light, it may not have been on the front of the bike, so that could be a contributing factor. If she was indeed intoxicated, which has yet to be shown, I don’t think it was a contributing factor because she didn’t lose control, make an unsafe maneuver, or ride in any improper manner. She simply rode in a straight line through an intersection, where she had the right of way, and since the truck driver did not use his turn signal, she wouldn’t have had any reason to think he was about to turn into her path.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      “…She did have a white blinking light, it may not have been on the front of the bike, so that could be a contributing factor. If she was indeed intoxicated, which has yet to be shown, I don’t think it was a contributing factor because she didn’t lose control, make an unsafe maneuver, or ride in any improper manner. …” liu

      Where the white blinking light was on the bike or the rider could have been a major contributing factor to the collision. Was it mounted in such a way that a road user approaching the intersection from the opposite direction, would have seen it from 50′-100′ from the intersection or closer? The video I’ve seen only a still from, shows an angle from the side of the rider.

      An ambient level of light at the intersection, markedly higher than some distance away from the intersection is of some help to other road users in seeing other traffic, allowing for last minute evasive measures…but it’s illumination of the visibility gear of other road users that’s particularly important towards helping all road users avoid collisions.

      I hope toxicology results prove that the rider of the bike wasn’t intoxicated, or if so, under the legal limit at least. Intoxication impairs people’s judgment. In any collision, but particularly the type of collision like this one was; low traffic, late at night/early morning, intersection, the question has to be raised as to whether the road users’ judgment of the traffic situation they were in, was possibly impaired by drugs, alcohol, fatigue, and so on.

      Some people get sloppy, late at night, and let them themselves think things like, ‘Well, there’s not much traffic, streets are empty, I got so much to do and I’m tired, I just want to get the hell home and go to bed.’. So they do stupid things like maybe taking a nip or two while riding or biking, to kind of ease the pain. Forget or neglect to turn on turn signals or hand signal for turns. Cut into oncoming lanes of traffic instead of making a proper radius turn. They often don’t look carefully enough through the murky dark down the street they’re traveling on, for hard to see road users riding or driving.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • bikeninja October 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm

        I agree, it is certainly the duty of all vulnerable road users including cyclists and blind pedestrians to keep an absolutely calm head and to cultivate the reflexes of a trained ninja so that when motorists and truck drivers, who we know have slow reflexes, bad eyesight and low IQ’s from too many hours in motorcars, execute rapid, unexpected, un-signaled turns in front of them in well lit intersections they can execute acrobatic Jackie Chan style maneuvers and leap over the dangerous vehicle to safety, or slide beneath the wheels of the truck like in “Premium Rush”. Any of these poor saps not fortunate enough to ride about in motorized vehicles is duty bound to have the agility of an olympic gymnast, the mental clarity of a chess grand master and the vision of a fighter pilot. If not, they deserve what they get.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • dan October 13, 2017 at 11:09 am

          You’re right of course, but it’s part of defensive riding – I’ll do what I can to reduce my risks, even if that includes thinking about things that should be the driver’s responsibility. Like “Is this driver going to pull out in front of me even though I am clearly visible and have the right of way?” Best be prepared to evade or stop, etc.

          I don’t like it, but I’m fond of staying above ground with all my limbs functioning in the manner to which I’m accustomed.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Dan A October 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

            What’s your go-to move when you’re halfway through an intersection and a garbage truck suddenly crosses your path without warning? I’d like to learn more about how I can protect myself.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

            • dan October 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm

              I think your snark is uncalled for, but I will try to help you become a more well-rounded rider. I wasn’t thinking about this incident specifically, I was thinking about my ride home last night, on which someone did in fact pull out from a side street and cut me off. In that case, it’s pretty much the standard stuff: try to make eye contact, if you have a helmet-mounted light, point it at the driver, cover the brakes and get ready to use them, watch the car like a hawk and prepare to take evasive action. If someone is not at a full stop, I will often stop before passing in front of them and make sure I have eye contact.

              Recommended Thumb up 3

              • Dan A October 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm

                When approaching a blind intersection, I move towards the middle of the road so that I can’t be hit by a driver who stops late (as many do). But you simply cannot plan for every eventuality. If a vehicle suddenly turns into you, I’d say it’s unlikely that any evasive action to avoid being hit from the side will be effective, just as it wasn’t in Tamar’s case, or David Garcia’s, or Mark Angeles’, or Alistair Corkett’s, etc.

                You seem to be suggesting that Tamar could have done something in this case to make sure she could avoid being hit by the truck. The only way I see for her to have done that would be to stop before the intersection and make sure the truck continued straight before she went through it.

                Recommended Thumb up 3

              • 9watts October 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

                …and in the process yielding her right of way….

                Recommended Thumb up 1

      • John Liu
        John Liu October 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm

        In this case, the security video shows Tamar didn’t make any dangerous maneuver, all she did was ride in a straight line through an intersection where she had the right of way. Since the truck driver didn’t signal, there wasn’t any way for her to know that it was about to turn into her. And when it did, few cyclists whether sober or not could have evaded in time. That’s why I said whether she was intoxicated or not is not a contributing factor.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • wsbob October 12, 2017 at 9:57 pm

          “… the security video shows Tamar didn’t make any dangerous maneuver, all she did was ride in a straight line through an intersection where she had the right of way. …” liu

          John…you must realize, that if a toxicology analysis reveals Monhait was intoxicated, depending upon the level, that will bring into question whether intoxication reduced her ability to be prepared for a dangerous situation like somebody without activating their turn signal, turning their truck across her direction of travel. If the analysis does not indicate intoxication, that’s good, because then, intoxication wouldn’t be available to mitigate errors made by the person driving.

          bikeninja….Please don’t make jokes about issues factoring into collisions like this one, especially given the fact that someone lost their life. Safety on the streets is a serious issue for everyone. People need to do their due diligence, however they’re using the road, whether they’re driving, or walking, biking, skateboarding.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • John Liu
            John Liu October 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

            Defense will try to prove she was negligent, based on alleged lack of bike light or alleged intoxication. If case goes to trial, jury will be asked to assign percentages of fault to Tamar and to the defendants (driver and trucking company, presumably). If Tamar is found >50% at fault, her estate will lose the case and recover no damages. If Tamar is found =50% or <50% at fault, then her estate will recover damages, reduced by Tamar's % of fault.

            For example, suppose the jury determines that damages for Tamar's death are $1 million (just picking a round number here) and determines she was 30% at fault and the driver/company were 70% at fault, then her estate can be awarded a judgment for (100% – 30% ) x $1 MM = $700K.

            I'm simplifying here but that is basically how it works. (Former trial lawyer here.)

            See https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/31.600

            Recommended Thumb up 3

            • Dan A October 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm

              And remember, a jury of humans will probably assign some blame to her for being on the road at night.

              Recommended Thumb up 2

              • John Liu
                John Liu October 13, 2017 at 8:49 pm

                Perhaps. But plaintiff simply needs fault assigned to Tamar to be no more than 50%.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Dan A October 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

                Supposes jurors assign her 10% of the blame for riding at night (judging by comments I’ve seen on news sites for this story, I don’t think that’s far-fetched). By your example, 10% of the blame is worth $100K.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • wsbob October 13, 2017 at 7:41 pm

              John…thanks for that info. I’m not a lawyer, but am interested how the law and the courts work, as I’d hope at least some people reading here, are also. That might be an interesting trial to attend. Learning what details about the collision and related details were able to be discovered by investigation could be very interesting too. The defense may well try to show that the rider was negligent, and while on some points the rider may have been so, evidence may show that the driver was negligent to a considerably greater degree.

              In a lot of ways, there’s nothing very extraordinary about this collision. In the traffic situation, hazards aplenty existed, of which both road users likely had some awareness of. Human nature being the imperfect thing it is, both road users may have made mistakes that contributed to the occurrence of the collision.

              On the limited knowledge of the details available to readers of stories on the collision here, even if the rider of the bike didn’t have a front light, and did happen to be somewhat intoxicated, I would think the driver of the truck made the greater of the mistakes made. It was he that turned across another road users direction of travel, and it was he that it seems didn’t use his vehicles turn signals to indicate an intended turn. In addition to the fact that his vehicle running over a vulnerable road user, could certainly cause such a person’s either serious injury or death.

              Road users are obliged by law to display turn signals in preparation for making turns, even if they’ve checked the road ahead and don’t think they’ve seen anyone proceeding towards them. The reason for this, I think, is to help compensate road users for those eventualities in which despite having watched to see the way is clear, somehow due to other factors, an approaching road user was not seen or was very difficult if not virtually impossible to be seen. The displayed turn signal allows that road user to possibly see that the vehicle approaching them is preparing to turn, so that they can take measures to avoid a collision.

              After the fact, all this is not a heckuva lot of consolation. I would hope more than anything, that someone reading the stories about this collision that did not well understand before, maybe has a greater appreciation of the hazards to vulnerable road users at intersections, and makes a point to check their procedure for riding through intersections, to maybe see ways they can improve their level of safety going through them.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • 9watts October 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm

            “whether intoxication reduced her ability to be prepared for a dangerous situation like somebody without activating their turn signal…”

            My, my. Here we are again. w.s.b.o.b. looking for ways to pin imagined microscopic errors onto the dead cyclist.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

            • wsbob October 18, 2017 at 11:47 am

              If Monhait did not have a front light on her bike, that’s not a microscopic error…It’s a major error, one that possibly contributed significantly to the occurrence of the collision.

              If Monhait happened to be intoxicated while biking, that also was a major error. I hope we eventually read a story on bikeportland with a report from findings, that Monhait wasn’t intoxicated.

              Many people more closely associated with the two people involved in this collision, in the investigation or discussed in court, than most of us reading here are, will likely be going over the type of questions, some of them apparently not so popular, that I’ve raised in my comments to bikeportland stories about this collision. It makes sense to me that people reading here should also be considering all questions associated with this type of collision and the circumstances of the traffic situation that were factors in the collision having occurred.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

      • John Liu
        John Liu October 12, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        The light and whether it was on the front or rear on the bike, and whether she had reflectives – that could well be a contributing factor. Possibly a jury would find her contributorily negligent. But that only reduces an award against the driver/company.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Joe October 12, 2017 at 10:59 am

    large commercial trucks seem to be huge struggle these days, I live in Wilsonville and one section near Coke plant semi too large for lane swerve into on coming lane just to get out of a lot… * city is getting choked out with auto traffic *

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • BradWagon October 12, 2017 at 11:27 am

      I commute in and out of North Wilsonville area and often see spots where the infrastructure even in a freight / shipping / industrial area is inadequate for large trucks. Like when a truck will just have to sit in the road or bike lane before entering into a massive parking lot / shipping dock area. Very unfriendly place to bike, always a debate between crossing I-5 at North Wilsonville overpass or Boeckman and then dealing with trucks going up 95th. And yes, the days I ride from the WES stop you are just instantly dropped into a very industrial area.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Buzz October 12, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      N Interstate and Tillamook sees a huge # of tandem trailer sand/cement trucks daily. Not aware of any incidents yet. May depend on road design/conditions and driver training.

      It doesn’t really seem to me that lighting was particularly a problem in this incident, but maybe presence of highway off ramp and driver inattention is.

      What if ODOT got sued for making local streets unsafe due to proximity to highway on and off ramps? That would make my heart skip a beat!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe October 12, 2017 at 11:43 am

    BradWagon
    I commute in and out of North Wilsonville area and often see spots where the infrastructure even in a freight / shipping / industrial area is inadequate for large trucks. Like when a truck will just have to sit in the road or bike lane before entering into a massive parking lot / shipping dock area. Very unfriendly place to bike, always a debate between crossing I-5 at North Wilsonville overpass or Boeckman and then dealing with trucks going up 95th. And yes, the days I ride from the WES stop you are just instantly dropped into a very industrial area.
    Recommended 1

    yup I’ve been living there for 9 years now and car free, its changed a lot since I ride to Portland from Wilsonville Rd its rather nerve racking these days.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu
    John Liu October 15, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Dan A
    Supposes jurors assign her 10% of the blame for riding at night (judging by comments I’ve seen on news sites for this story, I don’t think that’s far-fetched). By your example, 10% of the blame is worth $100K.
    Recommended 0

    Yes, that would reduce the hypothetical award against the trucking company from $1 million to $900,000 – again, just using made-up numbers.

    Recommended Thumb up 0