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Bicycle rider involved in collision with a MAX train in southeast

Posted by on March 13th, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Looking north on SE 17th at Rhine.

We’ve received preliminary details about a collision this afternoon between a bicycle rider and a MAX operator.

According to TriMet it happened on the MAX Orange Line near SE 17th and Rhine. Rhine is a busy bicycle corridor because it’s the street used to access the Lafayette Street Bridge over the railroad tracks.

Portland Police say the bicycle rider was an adult male and has been transported to a hospital with “what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries” (which can be a very wide range of severity). The collision is still under investigation and we’ll update this post as we learn more.

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

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Clicky Freewheel
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Clicky Freewheel

It was bound to happen eventually. The design of the bike path along the MAX tracks is dangerous and confusing. It creates conflict between modes, encourages cyclists and walkers to ignore the perpetually-running train signals, and doesn’t give cyclists a clear area where they are supposed to be riding or make obvious which signals they are supposed to pay attention to.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Trains only travel on train tracks; two possible directions. You have to be pretty careless to get hit by one

just one skip remount
Guest
just one skip remount

Hope he’s okay. Before we blame the infrastructure, let’s find out why he rode into a train’s path. There are many distractions these days…

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

My teen was running in the area and he said the collision was where the MUP crosses over the tracks just west of Rhine. As a daily user of this path, I’ve got to say this is actually a good crossing from a signal/sight lines perspective. Way better than crossing the car off ramp riding South East bound. Terrible thing regardless.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

Sorry but that headline is just wrong!

Saying the bicyclist collided with a MAX train operator makes it sound like a pedestrian accident. I think it is safe to say MAX train was the object while discussing the accident. The vehicle is just too big. Just like you would not say “sea captain runs into dock” but, “ship runs into dock”

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I’ve watched BP headlines evolve over the years and as far as i can tell, these are the rules.
– All actions must be attributed to the human who is in control of the object, not to the object itself. Cars don’t collide with pedestrians, drivers do.
– All actions must be in the passive voice, lest active voice be interpreted to imply intent or fault. Cyclists don’t run into obstacles, there are collisions.
– The word “accident” is prohibited as it might imply absence of fault. The word “crash” is also banned, rationale unclear. Everything is a collision.
– The verb “to operate” and the noun “operator” is preferred “to drive” and “driver”. This seems to apply to all modes of travel involving powered equipment. Thus we are all operators, unless we are bike riders or pedestrians. It is unclear how ebike operators are to be referenced.

Therefore, the typical accident in Portland is
“A collision involving a motor vehicle operator and a pedestrian”
“A collision involving a bicycle rider and a MAX train operator”.
“A collision involving a pedestrian and a lamppost”.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

This “z” style crossing of the tracks by the MUP has a very awkward and cramped design. It is poorly made and shoe-horned into the hardscaped path. I do not like crossing it by cycle, at all, especially when it is wet. It can be a bit challenging to see trains approaching from the west/north as they come around the bend from behind the raised wall with some speed, although trains coming from the south/east leaving the nearby Max stop are pretty easy to see. To see approaching trains, you either have to turn and look 180 degrees behind you, or maneuver to turn and immediately stop your bike in the very tight and cramped spacing allowed here (stopping very close to the rail tracks) so you can look to the left 90 degrees to see the train. If you have trouble cranking your neck 180 degrees while maintaining control of your cycle, this spot can be a bit tricky, by design.

Champs
Guest
Champs

This becoming a vent post all, may I add that “collision… MAX… southeast” conjured images not at Rhine but on 12th, where someone chose the worst possible time to try portaging through stopped freight cars? I have seen at least one person do this at various times of day on literally every occasion I’ve been held up there.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

The access on 17th is abysmal. Its a mode share nightmare. Cross walks take 30 seconds for pedestrians, even though most navigate the road in 10 seconds. Its an incredibly frustrating mix of modes that preemptively forces vulnerable road users to wait for inordinate amounts of time. If you waited for every bike or ped signal here you would spend your life in these intersections. The defacto status quo is to run them all and look both ways. Perhaps the victim operates like these and didn’t look well.

SD
Guest
SD

I really don’t understand the sentiment, “I don’t know the details of the collision, but I can’t resist an opportunity to call someone stupid while they are lying in the hospital.”

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I saw this happen. I was in my car going northbound on 17th when I was stopped by the gate for the Max train to come through. After about 20 seconds, I saw the train slowly coming down the tracks getting close to the intersection, then saw a biker biking what seemed fairly slowly perpendicular to the train (biking northbound as well (I was at the curve starting to go west)). A second later confusion started to sink in that he was still biking towards the track with the train coming. Then I saw him casually (and I mean super casually like a jogger could have easily kept up or passed him) keep going over the tracks and then get hit. Endorphins instantly raced through me and I shouted out OH MY GOD, which shocked my wife (registered nurse and has worked in Behavioral Health) who was in the back seat with our 19 m/o son. She said WHAT HAPPENED and I said a biker just got hit by the max train and she said LET ME OUT! She ran to him and was the first on the scene. I stayed with my son. She said the biker just wanted to get up and said he had things to do and needed to go but she convinced him to not move a muscle and kept him down until an off duty fire fighter showed up to help and then shortly after a fire engine showed up. She said he was most likely on something but maybe just in shock and completely out of it from getting hit, maybe even just alcohol but he smelled quite bad, was wearing not so great clothes to put it nicely, and the bike was quite old and beat up as well (not just from this incident). Yes, there is a chance he could have been homeless. I really do hate making assumptions but perhaps it should be know to help piece the story together? Now I’m going to feel bad saying this if the guy is a good man who was just down on his luck having a rotten day and his shower hasn’t been working for days, but that was his current situation. Her description of him went along with my guess that he was on something because how could he have not seen the train coming with him going so slow and the train going quite slow too. It made no sense to me how that could happen. Seemed like there could have been a hundred signs, gates, bells, and lights and this guy still would have gotten through it all to finally meet the front of the train. I do hope to hear the final report about him. I’m so so glad he survived. Who knows what his situation is and I never look down on people that have been dealt a bad hand in life. I hope he comes out of this ok and has a good recovery. And looks both ways next time.

Mike
Guest
Mike

“It’s all very confusing and inconsistent and these are a recipe for danger.” As a year-round bike commuter for the past 10 years, I couldn’t agree more. It’s confusing & dangerous for cyclists & motorists.

I’ve already noticed too that some of the new bicycle infrastructure isn’t designed to handle the current amount of bike traffic in safe way.