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A closer look at the scene of a fatal crash on NW Nicolai

Posted by on May 18th, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Eastbound NW Nicolai, the Kaiser driveway Feldt was leaving is right near that trash can and bicycle.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Bicycle users aren’t prohibited from the street where 50-year-old Daniel Feldt was fatally struck by the driver of an Isuzu work truck on Tuesday morning; but they certainly aren’t welcome. In fact, no one outside of a car or truck would feel very welcome in the part of the Northwest Industrial District where the collision occurred.

“He was a loving and caring person.”
— Mindy Feldt, victim’s daughter

Based on the description from police and from media photos taken at the scene of the investigation immediately after it happened, it appears Feldt was leaving the parking lot of a corporate office for Kaiser Permanente on 2850 NW Nicolai at around 8:00 am just before he was hit. I went there yesterday to absorb the scene and try to understand what might have happened (caveat: everything is speculation until the investigation and/or a report from the District Attorney’s office is complete).

On my way to the scene I got several clues about how inhospitable this part of Portland is for bicycling and walking. Yellow, “Caution: Watch for Truck Traffic” signs dot the streets leading up to and including Nicolai — even NW 24th, which is technically a “low-stress, family-friendly” neighborhood greenway. I decided way beforehand that I’d use the sidewalk once I got to Nicolai. I thought it’d be a refuge form the high speed truck traffic that dominates the streets. I was wrong. The sidewalk is in terrible shape. Overgrown vegetation, blind driveways that emerge right from industrial factories, traffic poles right in the middle that make it hard pass, torn up sections full of gravel and potholes, and wide driveways all conspired to keep me on high alert. If I could manage the sidewalk, the loud rumble and swoosh of huge trucks passing just inches away from me would occupy my nerves.

(New photo display method below. Click one for captions and gallery navigation, then hit ESC to come back to the post.)

The block of Nicolai where Feldt was hit is between NW 29th/Wardway and 27th. To give you some context, 29th is where the main bikeway route comes through. If you ride in this area you probably know the intersection of 29th and Nicolai because it’s just north of Lower Macleay Park and it’s the route you take to go north on St. Helens Road/Hwy 30/Sauvie Island from NW Thurman.

When I got there yesterday I parked my bike at the Kaiser driveway where I suspect Feldt was rolling down right before the collision. I noted the speed limit of 30 mph. Given that it’s rare anyone drives at the limit, it’s likely most people go 35-37 mph on this section of Nicolai. I was struck by just how close the trucks went by me on the narrow sidewalk. Many of the drivers were just inches from the curb. They’d have absolutely no way to stop if a person — on a bike or in a car — was to roll out of that relatively invisible driveway into the road. There’s just no room for error.

I also noticed the big center turn lane. Those lanes of frustrate me in situations like this. They take up so much precious roadway space, yet most of the time the space is unused. There’s also a strange paved sidewalk on the opposite side of Nicolai. This is where the now-defunct railroad line used to be. It also sits, mostly unused, taking up valuable right-of-way.

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Parking at Schoolhouse Electric/Ristretto Roasters coffee on Nicolai and NW 22nd.

As often happens following one of these tragedies, I heard from a concerned community member who wants to do something to prevent something like this from ever happening again. It was Sara Fritsch, the VP of Product, Brand, Marketing, Digital & Sales for Schoolhouse Electric. “I bike to work almost every day, as do many other Schoolhouse employees,” she wrote in an email. “News of this accident has us all shook up.”

With 165 employees (and 200 total in the building they renovated which includes their retail store and a coffee shop) and very little auto parking, Fritsch told me during a meeting yesterday that she’s worked hard to encourage more people to bike to work and their bike racks are often full. “Now we’re devastated to hear what happened. We’re nervous.”

Fritsch, who once lived in Amsterdam and knows what it’s like to live in a city where bikes are truly prioritized, wants to do even more to influence the Bureau of Transportation. She’s already left feedback on the Northwest In Motion project and plans to add more thoughts about Nicolai specifically. Fritsch says she doesn’t ride on Nicolai and takes a more circuitous route into work to avoid it. She’s hopeful road projects in the PBOT pipeline will reach the Schoolhouse building and she’s got her eye on the upcoming streetcar extension as an advocacy lever.

1993 Feldt family photo. Daniel Feldt is in the checkered flannel.
(Photo: Daniel E. Feldt)

If the past is any indication, we can expect to see PBOT to start paying more attention to bicycling in the northwest industrial area — now that a man has sacrificed his life to draw our attention to the problem.

Feldt was remembered by his son Daniel E. Feldt in an article published in The Oregonian yesterday: “He was into classic muscle cars, tinkering on engines and absolutely loved fishing, especially steelhead… He was a great guy. He loved his kids.”

Feldt’s daughter, Mindy Feldt, didn’t feel like sharing much when I reached out to her via Facebook today. “He was a loving and caring person,” she said.

Feldt is the first person to die while bicycling on a Portland street in 2018 and the 16th traffic fatality overall.

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

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

66 Comments
  • rick May 18, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the reporting that few others do. I’m sad to hear about this. Why isn’t this street part of the NW in Motion plan ?

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  • BradWagon May 18, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Not to say this isn’t a horrible area that needs to be changed or to minimize this tragedy but… did you intentionally write this article to downplay your own knowledge of the paved railroad tracks on the opposite side of the street? You call it a “strange paved sidewalk” and seem to suggest there are abandoned rail lines IN ADDITION to the paved over ones despite there being two detailed post about the specific area in the “related posts” at the bottom of the article.

    If you were worried about your own safety enough to ride the sidewalk why not ride the large raised paved path instead of against traffic on a narrow sidewalk? I get we need to draw attention to that side of the street but stuff like it is what gives the “bikeportland agenda” haters a foothold. I didn’t even remember this was the same spot till I was on google street view.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      BradWagon,

      I said it’s a strange paved sidewalk because that’s what it appears to be. The very next sentence explains that it’s a defunct railroad line. The writing might not be crystal clear, but I fail to understand how it could support the insinuation in your comment that I am pushing some type of agenda here. I was riding on the south side because the destination I wanted was on the south side. I’m not going to cross over a super-sketchy road full of huge trucks, just to get to a place with a bit more room to breathe. And because it’s a strange sidewalk/path/paved over railroad thing.. I don’t trust it as much as I would a real sidewalk. That’s because it’s sort of a lawless zone. People drive, load, and park on it. If it were a clearly marked bike path and/or sidewalk, I would trust the space more.

      Again. Sorry for my writing not being as clear as it could be. I was rushing to get this done today before everyone signs off for the weekend.

      And FWIW I really don’t pay much attention to “haters” who think there’s a “bikeportland agenda”. I write the way I need to write and I’m open to criticism. Thanks for the comment.

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      • Bradwagon May 18, 2018 at 7:35 pm

        Yeah I agree with you and know why you focused on the things you did. Not saying you have an agenda, just felt it strange to not identify that as a previously highlighted section of road, but not everything can be about everything I suppose.

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      • Bradwagon May 18, 2018 at 7:37 pm

        Also, I must have misread earlier, didn’t notice the link in that next sentence about the old rail line. Have a great weekend, hope you get out for some miles!

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    • totes May 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      i used to take Nicolai to work and home every day from 2011-2016, crossing scary-ass Yeon (yikes) to get to the Macleay apts on 29th. i always took the “paved roadway/sidewalk” going to and from–i would never ever use that opposite side, not even to walk on! i don’t know what the blog author was thinking taking that on his bike, sheesh

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      • Cpt. Obvus May 21, 2018 at 10:09 am

        Um, context would indicate he was thinking he’d better check out the side of the road where the collision happened.

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        • Anne May 21, 2018 at 2:02 pm

          Lolz. Did you choose your name for this comment? On second thought, it must come in handy often.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 18, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    The other trend that will “solve” much of this area’s ‘un-bike friendliness’ will be commercial gentrification (if there is such a word) as the WW2 era steel mills and fab shops convert to higher uses…and more bikes and less large freight vehicles….just think back to what the area was like before School House Electric etc…

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    • Jim Calhoon May 19, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      So, your solution to better cycling is to put people out of work. Many of the jobs in this area provide higher wages to workers who do not have college degrees. Something this state needs more of not less. Gentrification whether against people or jobs is still wrong. A good transportation system provides for ALL users.

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  • Emily Guise (Contributor) May 18, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    This is such a tragedy. My heart goes out to this man’s family and friends.

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  • Dan May 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Still finding the motorists’ account of the accident a little implausible. Would someone on a bicycle really roll out of a driveway onto a road like that one without stopping/looking?

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    • bikeninja May 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      I agree, I hope we get some more clarification from the accident report. Seems more plausible that he turned in to the street with decent spacing and the truck failed to see him in the lane and hit hime from behind.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      We will likely never know Dan. The entire system is weighted heavily toward the assumption that the bike rider made a “tragic mistake” and all the benefit of doubt goes to the truck driver. And as per usual, we’re unable to ask one of the key witnesses for their side of the story. sad.

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      • Tom Hardy May 18, 2018 at 10:53 pm

        In the case of motor vehicle vs cyclists. The truck hit the cyclist from the rear. The truck drover should be charged with the homicide and liability instead of a “good old boy” slap on the back with a “Carry on”. If the truck had struck another motor vehicle he definitely would have been at fault
        The truck type has a substantial overhang widthwise between the cab and the box. The driver would have missed the cyclist by about a foot but the cyclist would have gone under the rear dualies. By the looks of the wreckage, that is exactly what happened. Of course his excuse would have been “The morning sun was in my eyes”.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 3:35 pm

          To convict someone of homicide (or any other crime), you need to be able to prove what happened. If there are witnesses and video footage that would confirm this was, in fact, a homicide, would the police really cover it up because “he’s a driver”? I understand some level of cynicism, but even I have limits.

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          • John Lascurettes May 19, 2018 at 11:35 pm

            This just makes me wonder, why don’t we require commercial trucks to carry a 2 hour loop dash cam or similar? Seems like that would be in interest of both the public and business owners.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy May 21, 2018 at 8:16 am

              Where does one draw the line on that? Commercial vans? Commercial cars? Private auto being used for commercial purposes? Soup Cycles?

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              • Dan A May 21, 2018 at 10:03 am

                Yes.

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    • Doug Hecker May 19, 2018 at 6:07 am

      Just on my way home last night I had two people on bikes, one was a father and son and the other a was a solo rider, who bothdidnt give a damn about looking out before wanting the bike lane. At 23 mph, there ignorance and blatant disregard for other users instantly pissed me off. I wish we could assume that all bike users were paying attention and ready to ride when they actually pull out into traffic but that has not been my experience. The whole right hand turn while blowing through a stop sign ( while totally not looking what you’re turning into) is not a vibe that would create a safe environment for all users. We have to do better. Clearly, I don’t know what happened in this situation so my comments are my experience and in general.

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      • Dan A May 19, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        One might think you have become immune to the charms of terrible drivers swarming these same streets.

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      • John Lascurettes May 19, 2018 at 11:39 pm

        So what you’re saying is that they “blew a stop sign”, “into traffic”, “making a right turn”, to get to the bike lane that they “wanted” [but aren’t entitled to apparently] that nobody in a car should be driving in? I mean, unless you were doing that 23MPH in the bike lane on a bike, what’s it to you? Seriously.

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        • John Lascurettes May 19, 2018 at 11:53 pm

          By what you described, they would have zero traffic conflict with anyone but another cyclist.

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    • Steve Scarich May 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

      It happens all the time to me, even when I am riding my bike. I look at their body language carefully, and zero sign of even looking my way. I ride a lot, and it amazes me the behavior of some cyclists. They appear to think they lead a charmed life, and that everyone is looking out for their safety. Of course, I see car drivers do it even more frequently, but that is not the point here.

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      • Doug Hecker May 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        I’d love to see Portland step up and clear out our clustered intersections. Less cars, brush/ trees, and property owners signage. I feel that’s why auto users have that piss poor habit. Everyone can do better and probably should.

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        • mark May 20, 2018 at 10:59 am

          ORS 811.550(17)

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  • B. Carfree May 18, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I would never ride on the sidewalk there, that’s just too dangerous for my blood. However, I ride on roads just like that one all the time and don’t find them to be terribly problematic. It’s obvious to motorists why I’m taking the lane and they have that oversize turn lane to pass in so their knickers generally stay loose. Goodness sake, I’d much rather ride on such a road than on a street with a door-zone bike lane, yet many folks cheer on such things.

    Would I prefer a nice seven-foot bike lane (curb top to mid-line, so there’s actually far less than six feet usable) instead of that turn lane? Of course, bring it on. However, if I’m to be offered some sort of two-way plastic-wand protected thing as an “improvement”, I think I’ll pass.

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    • Tom Hardy May 18, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      I never ride on the sidewalk ever. In the daytime when I ride Nicolai, I ride the middle turn lane. If there is someone blocking it I go around them on the right. Only 1 truck has been in the middle lane in many years riding that route on and off.
      The paved over railway should be marked bike path.
      Trucks would then park in the middle lane for unloading with the forklifts. The forklifts use the traffic lanes anyway.

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      • X May 21, 2018 at 4:21 pm

        If I’m operating a vehicle and I see another vehicle in the middle turn lane I expect to see the operator of that vehicle make a left turn at the next street or driveway. They should be signaling a turn. Or perhaps they are a space alien?

        Refusal to use a sidewalk seems to be a VC thing. Are you ware that riding the turn lane is a traffic law violation? And also sort of a meth head thing?

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  • SD May 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    I look forward to the day that enough people have experience cycling and riding a bike is so normal that most people will read a story about a bike rider riding into the side of a truck with disbelief.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      If, instead of a bike, it had been a car, would you still express disbelief?

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      • SD May 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm

        Not at face value, but that would be based on my experience as a driver not my lack of experience. I know that drivers often have a limited sight lines when pulling out of a drive way and have to ease their way forward until they can see, hoping that oncoming traffic will be cautious. I would presume that this was the case, if that is all of the information that I was given, but with the understanding that other scenarios are possible.
        On the other hand, if I knew that the driver was pulling out of a driveway where there was clear visibility, I would question whether I was being told the full story and I would want to see some degree of validation.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm

          Why would you even think that you weren’t being told “the whole story”? The level of conspiracy expressed in reaction to this story is bordering on nuts. It’s one thing to point out the potential for bias, but another to discuss drivers removing bike lights, and the police deliberately covering up homicide to protect “one of their own” (i.e. a fellow driver). It’s absurd.

          There is no evidence whatsoever, however incredible, that anything other than what as been reported, in the barest of outlines we have, is false. Or even implausible — we can see from the photos here the sightlines at the driveway where the cyclist entered the street are terrible, and it seems entirely possible someone, cyclist or driver, could have exited the driveway without realizing a truck was where it was.

          Most the time, things are what they appear. It is entirely possible the truck was exceeding the speed limit, had faulty brakes, or was driven by a homicidal maniac (in descending order of probability), but this isn’t CSI, and I don’t expect the police to bring every resource to bear on this sort of incident, tragic as it was.

          Regardless of exactly what happened, the solution is the same: fix the street so it’s not so dangerous.

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          • SD May 19, 2018 at 10:17 pm

            You’re overreacting and reading too much into my comment.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 10:43 pm

              I didn’t mean to imply that you said (or even thought) all those things. My post was instead a reaction to the readiness some people (not necessarily you) have to question a generally plausible barebones statement without even a single shred of evidence the account is inaccurate.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy May 21, 2018 at 8:19 am

                Completely agree. Objectivity is in rare supply here at times, especially when a fatality is involved. The levels of bias are amazing at times…but when other people have the same bias it does not seem abnormal to them.

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              • SD May 21, 2018 at 10:18 am

                So much for sincere constructive dialogue.

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              • Cpt. Obvus May 21, 2018 at 10:18 am

                The complication is that there’s also not a shred of evidence that it’s accurate. It’s just the word of one person (who has a clear incentive not to get in deeper trouble) against the tragic lack of word from the other person. Or if you have evidence that the police conducted forensics, please cite it.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 21, 2018 at 10:20 am

                Sorry, you must be thinking of OregonLive.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

                Not a shred of evidence the account is true? Why do you think the police have no evidence other than the account provided by the driver?

                Personally, I have no information about what evidence there is to support or refute the minimal account provided by the police. In those circumstances, it is irresponsible to accuse the someone of botching the investigation or covering up homicide. Usually you only go there once you have good evidence to substantiate the charges.

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              • Cpt. Obvus May 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm

                If the police have no evidence other than the account provided by the driver, that likely means they haven’t rounded up any witnesses or done any forensic investigation — or are doing those things but haven’t released results. But if you have a path of logic that confirms the driver’s account based solely on the current lack of police evidence, please lay it out for us.

                Agreed this doesn’t call for accusing the police of anything at this point, but it’s naive not to harbor skepticism about an account from someone involved in the collision who has an incentive not to get in further trouble and can’t be contradicted by the other party.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 21, 2018 at 12:04 pm

                How do you know the police did nothing besides take a statement from the driver?

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              • Cpt. Obvus May 21, 2018 at 12:37 pm

                Um, please see my previous comment, which had this: “…or are doing those things but haven’t released results.”

                Meanwhile, and once again: If you have a path of logic that confirms the driver’s account based solely on the current lack of police evidence, please lay it out for us.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm

                I have no independent knowledge of this investigation. Since nothing has been reported besides a terse statement of initial findings, none of us has any idea what has been considered. If the police did nothing besides take the driver’s statement, they would be remiss.

                I understood your comment to be critical of the police, suggesting their investigation was only based on the driver’s statement. If you are withholding judgement until the full details emerge, then please accept my apology.

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              • Cpt. Obvus May 21, 2018 at 1:16 pm

                You may be confusing me with SD; I chimed in later. But thank you.

                Let us all note that included within “withholding judgement” is refraining from blaming the (silenced) rider, and refraining from assuming the word of the other (highly incented) person to be accurate.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

                >>> The complication is that there’s also not a shred of evidence that it’s accurate. It’s just the word of one person (who has a clear incentive not to get in deeper trouble) against the tragic lack of word from the other person. <<<

                Those are your words. You assert there is no evidence the police story is accurate, and that they are going only with what the driver has told them. I don't think you can support that statement at this point.

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            • Cpt. Obvus May 21, 2018 at 3:18 pm

              Here’s the thread of what the police have said to this point: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=159093

              Note that the driver was “cooperating with the investigation” — that is, telling his story. Note the repeated requests for “anyone [else]” to come forward with information — suggesting that no one has. Note that a forensics team is mentioned in the earliest release, but not the later ones — suggesting that forensics weren’t conclusive. Note that four days have passed since last word from the police, and nearly a week since first word. Given that this is a fatality covered by much of the metro area’s media, that may be kind of a long time to sit on conclusive info — unless, of course, there just isn’t any on hand (so far). The concept that the rider ran into the truck (not the driver having run into the rider) is apparent in the earliest release. That concept could only have come from he who had told his story by that early point: the driver.

              Meanwhile, for the third time: If you have a path of logic that confirms the driver’s account based solely on the current lack of police evidence (or at least, lack of _released_ police evidence), please lay it out for us.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 21, 2018 at 3:32 pm

                I don’t suggest the police did (or did not) collect evidence beyond a statement by the driver. I simply don’t know. Nor do you. But what I do know is that police officers are at least vaguely that people lie to them, and tell self-serving stories that tend to exonerate those telling the tale. Cops are pretty good at detecting bullshit.

                That said, the fact that the cyclist seems to have been struck directly at the point where the driveway entered the street supports the account presented by the police, and is hard to account for otherwise. So there is at some evidence to support their account.

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  • Spiffy May 18, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    “I also noticed the big center turn lane. Those lanes of frustrate me in situations like this.”

    they annoy me as well… not for the space they take away from bikes so much as the space they solicit for large vehicles to break the law and park in them… they’re supposed to give turning trucks a place to get out of the way of through truck traffic (because drivers are even annoyed at other drivers slowing them down to turn) but they are often filled with delivery trucks for businesses that didn’t create an actual delivery plan… you see these on Hawthorne all day long reminding you of the casual abuse that led to Fallon Smart’s death…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      And yet… if one of those trucks had been parked in the center lane, Fallon would not have been struck.

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      • Chris May 20, 2018 at 6:30 am

        Wow. That is not okay.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 20, 2018 at 8:20 pm

          Why not? Spiffy’s “casual abuse” may be annoying to people who like their streets orderly, but it is not a safety issue. It can, in fact, make things safer by adding an element of chaos (thus slowing traffic) and reducing options for people to drive recklessly.

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  • q May 18, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    The thing that struck me, and probably everyone who saw your photo approaching the Kaiser driveway, is how poor the visibility is between people approaching the driveway and people exiting it.

    I think the Portland Zoning Code contributed to the death. Don’t hold me to this, because I looked quickly, but the EX zoning requires a “5’/L2” landscape buffer between vehicle areas (parking and driveway) and the street. That’s a 5′ deep planting area with a solid evergreen 3′ minimum high continuous hedge, plus trees every several feet.

    A 3′ tall hedge isn’t bad in generic, flat situations, because most anyone biking, walking or driving has their eyes above that. But here, the parking area is already up about 3′ from the sidewalk, so adding a 3′ solid hedge above that means anyone coming out of the driveway is coming out from behind (or trying to look through) a solid barrier 6′ high.

    The shrubs along the sidewalk actually look a bit lower than 3′, but the ones turning inward along the driveway, where the cyclist was exiting from, look about 3′ high. (There’s also a solid sign doing more visual blocking.)

    The grade change makes the 3′ required solid hedge dangerous, but the code requirement still applies. Ideally, the code would reduce the requirement for situations like this, but it doesn’t. Or, the site’s owner and architect could have requested an adjustment when the parking was developed, citing the vision problem. Or, when Transportation or Zoning staff reviewed the plans, they would have flagged the problem, and required the adjustment to be filed. But they probably didn’t even notice the grade change on the site plan.

    On top of all those missed chances to improve the poor sightlines, I bet people driving out of that lot have had visibility problems for years, but nobody ever took the initiative to do anything about it. I can’t believe that the sightline problem didn’t at least contribute to this death.

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    • Doug Klotz May 18, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      And the Transportation System Plan requires a 12′ sidewalk or sidewalk corridor on a City Walkway like NW Nicolai. If the curb were 12′ out from that retaining wall, there would have been enough room for the cyclist and/or the driver to have seen each other. When this parcel redevelops, they should be required to dedicate land to put in the 12′ sidewalk corridor (with a 4′ planting strip near the curb to make it more pleasant to walk along there, or even to bike on the sidewalk). Both requirements are needed to make things safer.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 3:48 pm

        BDS rarely “flags problems”. They generally don’t let zoning regulations stand in the way of people building what they want.

        In this particular case, when the site is redeveloped, the developer will apply for an adjustment, and BDS will dutifully grant it, and nothing will change.

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      • Doug Klotz May 20, 2018 at 11:57 pm

        When I said a wider sidewalk “should” be required, I meant that current PBOT practices will attempt to get the wider sidewalk, if they have a nexus to require it, such as increase in intensity of use. It may mean requiring a dedication to move the ROW line into the property, leaving the curb in the same location, to get a wider sidewalk.

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    • Dead Salmon May 19, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Very poor visibility exiting the driveway in the photo and the light pole does not help either. Because of this, the only way to safely exit the driveway is to slowly roll down the driveway incline, stop, and look before proceeding. Because there is no room for bikes on that street, if I saw a truck coming 200 yards away I would wait until he passed before getting into the street. It’s possible that the cyclist figured the truck would see him and pass in the middle turn lane so he pulled out when the truck wasn’t that far away; the truck may not have seen him until it was too late and hit him. OR, perhaps the cyclist was in a big hurry, sped down the driveway incline (using the advantage of gravity assist) taking his chances and lost that bet.

      On that street, best to ride the sidewalk, rough or not – at least until you see that no vehicles are approaching, then jump in the street and MOVE! 🙂

      Good riding weather now. Enjoy. Be safe!

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  • John Liu
    John Liu May 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    In an area like that, I often ride in the center lane.

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  • q May 19, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    I really appreciate these photos and the descriptions. I wish every street and path could be analyzed this way, showing the good stretches, the overgrown plants, fire hydrants in the middle of sidewalks…Photos presented with some informed comments about what’s going on really show what’s working and not working. In this case, geez the sidewalk is pathetic.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 19, 2018 at 11:05 pm

      What would be pretty awesome, actually, would be a way to annotate PortlandMaps with things like this, to crowd-source public documentation of problems that PBOT may not know about, but are obvious when you see them.

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  • Babygorilla May 21, 2018 at 11:10 am

    q
    The thing that struck me, and probably everyone who saw your photo approaching the Kaiser driveway, is how poor the visibility is between people approaching the driveway and people exiting it.I think the Portland Zoning Code contributed to the death. Don’t hold me to this, because I looked quickly, but the EX zoning requires a “5’/L2” landscape buffer between vehicle areas (parking and driveway) and the street. That’s a 5′ deep planting area with a solid evergreen 3′ minimum high continuous hedge, plus trees every several feet.A 3′ tall hedge isn’t bad in generic, flat situations, because most anyone biking, walking or driving has their eyes above that. But here, the parking area is already up about 3′ from the sidewalk, so adding a 3′ solid hedge above that means anyone coming out of the driveway is coming out from behind (or trying to look through) a solid barrier 6′ high.The shrubs along the sidewalk actually look a bit lower than 3′, but the ones turning inward along the driveway, where the cyclist was exiting from, look about 3′ high. (There’s also a solid sign doing more visual blocking.)The grade change makes the 3′ required solid hedge dangerous, but the code requirement still applies. Ideally, the code would reduce the requirement for situations like this, but it doesn’t. Or, the site’s owner and architect could have requested an adjustment when the parking was developed, citing the vision problem. Or, when Transportation or Zoning staff reviewed the plans, they would have flagged the problem, and required the adjustment to be filed. But they probably didn’t even notice the grade change on the site plan.On top of all those missed chances to improve the poor sightlines, I bet people driving out of that lot have had visibility problems for years, but nobody ever took the initiative to do anything about it. I can’t believe that the sightline problem didn’t at least contribute to this death.Recommended 3

    I’ve lived in the area the last couple of years and occasionally use Nicolai (walking the dog, driving, riding a bike). The picture on the perspective approaching the driveway does not reflect what I saw when I drove it over the weekend approaching from the west. Beginning slightly before the stoplight, I had a clear view of the driveway egress and ingress which actually surprised me, between knowing that certain parts of the sidewalk in this area are in horrible shape and reading this article.

    The southern sidewalk is deficient in general, but most deficient the few blocks east of Rejuvenation until the intersection with 23rd/the highway. I’ve walked it during morning hours, but prefer to cross to the northern sidewalk, which feels expansive with the paved over rails as a buffer. The sidewalk section at this driveway seems fairly standard width wise. I could see how there might be a minor sight line issue for motorized vehicles exiting the driveway , but I’m not sure how the sidewalk at this driveway would have prevented a clear view from someone exiting the driveway on a bicycle.

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    • q May 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      It’s good to know that sightlines to and from the driveway may not be as bad in person as they look in the photos (where they look quite compromised looking from both the street and the driveway). The bushes certainly make visibility worse than if they weren’t there. And per my point about the zoning code, most of the shrubs are shorter than the 3′ required, so a code-compliant situation would be even worse. The last thing driveways need is a code requirement that restricts visibility.

      I didn’t say anything about the sidewalk, although I agree with another commenter that a wider sidewalk would improve sightlines, because a bike or car would have several feet more to see and be seen after in came out from behind the wall and bushes, but before it entered the road.

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  • Babygorilla May 21, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Dead Salmon
    Very poor visibility exiting the driveway in the photo and the light pole does not help either. Because of this, the only way to safely exit the driveway is to slowly roll down the driveway incline, stop, and look before proceeding. Because there is no room for bikes on that street, if I saw a truck coming 200 yards away I would wait until he passed before getting into the street. It’s possible that the cyclist figured the truck would see him and pass in the middle turn lane so he pulled out when the truck wasn’t that far away; the truck may not have seen him until it was too late and hit him. OR, perhaps the cyclist was in a big hurry, sped down the driveway incline (using the advantage of gravity assist) taking his chances and lost that bet.On that street, best to ride the sidewalk, rough or not – at least until you see that no vehicles are approaching, then jump in the street and MOVE! Good riding weather now. Enjoy. Be safe!Recommended 0

    I would think that the only way to safely exit a driveway is to stop and look before proceeding, no matter how fast the person approaching the exit is going or how steep the grade of the driveway is.

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    • Dead Salmon May 21, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      “I would think that the only way to safely exit a driveway is to stop and look before proceeding, no matter how fast the person approaching the exit is going or how steep the grade of the driveway is.”

      100% agree with you. Although the visibility isn’t great exiting this driveway, it is the responsibility of the driver or rider exiting, to stop, look both ways, make sure it is safe to enter the street before doing so. In this case, someone made a fatal error – could have been the cyclist or the truck driver – the intersection did not make the error and it did not contribute much to that error, if any.

      Intersections with poor visibility are the rule, not the exception. Trees/buildings/shrubs/parked vehicles on a street near a driveway make it tough to see so you have to creep slowly out until you can see far enough to know you can make it. At a stop sign, do your required legal stop AT the sign, then creep ahead slowly until you can see around obstacles. Standard procedure at most intersections everywhere – urban, suburban, industrial, rural or residential.

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      • q May 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

        Yes, of course people should be careful leaving driveways, driveways don’t make errors themselves, and they do often have poor visibility.

        But while maybe the driveway didn’t “contribute much to the error” in this case–since the error was human–its compromised sightlines certainly may have contributed to the outcome. I agree with you also about stopping and creeping ahead until you have good visibility is standard procedure, but it shouldn’t need to be.

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  • Mark May 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    The root cause is the industry itself. Ask any professional driver. It’s all go, go go…. I know this, I am in the business. This truck literally ran down a rider. That should out chills down your spine. Unless there is a law that states killing another in cold blood with a vehicle gets you five years, this will go on…..and on…and on.

    By the way, there should be bike Lanes. Not turn lanes. Or better yet, as a biker just ride down the middle Lane. What the cops gonna do? Run you down?

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