Harvest Century September 22nd

Man riding a bicycle dies in collision with truck operator on Highway 30 near Scappoose

Posted by on January 13th, 2019 at 10:39 am


*Photo of the scene via Oregon State Police (Left). Scottie Graser at a ride in 2016.

A man riding his bicycle died yesterday after he was involved in a collision with a truck operator on Highway 30 south Scappoose.

Graser’s Instagram profile pic.

Oregon State Police say around 1:30 pm on Saturday, 40-year-old Dustan Thompson was driving a semi-truck (without a trailer attached) southbound on the highway (toward Portland) in the rightmost lane when he collided with 54-year-old Scottie Graser. Graser was riding in the same direction. The official OSP statement says Graser, “entered the eastbound right lane and a collision occurred.”

This language makes it appear as though Graser left the relatively wide shoulder and put himself into the path of the Thompson’s truck. OSP offered no evidence to support their claim about Graser’s behavior and the investigation is ongoing.

Highway 30 is a very popular bicycling route and it’s known as “Dirty 30” among many in the community due to its debris-filled shoulders.

The crash happened just a few hundred yards north of the turnoff to Rocky Pointe Road (map), a very well-known climb and descent that connects to Skyline Road.

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Thompson, the driver, is from St. Helens. Graser was from Scappoose.

According to friends who knew Graser, he was an enthusiastic and dedicated bicycle rider. He was a veteran of many of the marquee organized bike rides in Washington and Oregon. He had ridden the Seattle-to-Portland Classic, Cycle Oregon, Chilly Hilly, the Bike MS Tour de Farms, and many others.

Graser’s friend Daniel Hoyer shared with us via email that he was a, “Nice guy always with a smile and joke.” “He loved to ride long and hard and preferred open country roads to city riding,” Hoyer continued.

Hoyer is skeptical of the OSP version of what happened. “No way he or any other rider would pull into a traffic lane on 30,” he wrote to us. “This is a terrible tragedy.”

Graser worked as a negotiator for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and he married Peggy Grand in October 2018.

I reached out to Grand via Facebook today. “I have no words,” she replied. “I do know he was the most conscientious rider, he understood how little attention drivers paid to cyclists and was always sure he was extra diligent.”

— 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

140 Comments
  • Avatar
    Dan A January 13, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Horrible. My worst fear when I ride 30.

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      SE 34th January 13, 2019 at 11:43 am

      I love the things you can reach on a bike from Highway 30 (Saltzman Road, Sauvie Island) but dread the contemplation of my own mortality from hearing the cars and trucks coming up behind me. RIP Scottie.

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        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm

        my thoughts exactly.

        I am enraged that many people see this crash and think, “Bicyclists shouldn’t be on that road,” or, “I won’t ride there because it’s too dangerous.”

        Fuck that. This is a beautiful road that was used by bicycle riders long before anyone with a motorized four-wheeled truck came along and ruined it. There was entire neighborhood in that area before someone decided to widen the highway. I refuse to be pushed off this road out of fear.

        The County, the City, and ODOT can all do a much better job making Hwy 30 safer. I’ve sat down with ODOT and served them up ideas on a silver platter, only to see them nod their heads, then ignore me when the time came for action. There is no reason we can’t make Hwy 30 safer for cycling — especially between Portland and Scappoose where most people ride on it. Why not make it an officially-designated “Bicycle Safety Corridor” where “Fines are Doubled” and there’s signage about the presence of bicycle riders and a lower speed limits on the weekends? This stuff shouldn’t be hard or controversial.

        I’m sick over this. It disgusts me that we have to live with this fear.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 13, 2019 at 3:16 pm

          Do you really think “we (and by ‘we’ I don’t mean us personally, but someone else who I’m guessing was similar to me) were here first” is a compelling argument?

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          SD January 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

          We don’t have the option to give up on 30. 30 has its downsides, but it is actually one of the best options for getting in some uninterrupted miles, which is crucial for anyone who wants to get in shape for long organized rides or racing. It is flat, making it accessible to beginners, there aren’t pedestrians, the shoulder puts more space between riders and drivers than most bike lanes, and people have a lot of options like Sauvie, one of the roads up into the hills or further up 30.
          There really aren’t better options, especially if you live in Portland and don’t want to drive somewhere to ride. Marine drive and industrial N Portland are either in a bike lane next to the same trucks on 30 or your on a MUP, Spring water is essentially a sparsely populated MUP with a lot of stops, rides in the Gorge have narrow shoulders and angry locals, Terwilliger, 43, other routes to the South have lots of stops and fast moving traffic, and narrow shoulders. Cornell and Skyline are full of speeding aggro drivers and are intimidating for people who are new or out of shape.
          30 will probably never be beautiful, but ODOT could make it one of the most used, accessible city to rural bike routes in the US. If there were physical barriers to protect cyclists in key areas, maybe some improvements on St. John’s Bridge, there would be a huge increase in the number of cyclists on this route.

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          I wear many hats January 14, 2019 at 9:00 am

          I’m a skilled and fearless cyclist, yet riding on Highway 30 seems asinine. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do something. Yes, we have a right to be there. No, it’s not safe as it is right now. Riding on the shoulder doesn’t make it safer. The speed differential is what kills. RIP Scottie.

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            9watts January 14, 2019 at 9:09 am

            “I’m a skilled and fearless cyclist, yet riding on Highway 30 seems asinine.”

            I’d be more careful.
            There are lots of activities that I would never engage in, or have a very hard time imagining myself agreeing to try: skate boarding down steep grades, getting drunk, playing charades, singing in a karaoke bar, peppering my sentences with the word ‘like.’ But because I recognize that some/many people do happily, deliberately, repeatedly engage in these activities I hesitate to castigate those who do so as asinine.
            I happily bike on Hwy 30, SE 82nd, MLK, Chavez, Sandy, Barbur, Hwys 99E and W and 101. I’ve even biked on I-84 out near La Grande, which was hair raising but unavoidable.

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              I wear many hats January 14, 2019 at 10:31 am

              Thank you for the check. My comment was not meant to provoke. There are so many quiet roads with lower traffic speeds in Columbia and Multnomah County. Highway 30 is covered in debris, with heavy traffic with high vehicle and truck speeds. The speed differential is what kills, and it did again this time. Re-purposing the ROW through the industrial district and along frontage roads would serve everyone better here.

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                JP January 14, 2019 at 12:08 pm

                Sure, but how do you propose cyclists get out to Sauvie Island, or out to Saltzman, or Newberry, or Rocky Point if not via 30? Like John said, there are lots of routes that require the use of highway 30. Should we just give up on ever riding anything that is accessed that way?

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                9watts January 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm

                “The speed differential is what kills, and it did again this time.”

                That surely is not importantly different on this stretch of Hwy 30 than in plenty of other stretches around the metro area. Hwy 101 and Hwy 99W & E all have similar speeds, and iffy shoulders.

                Speed is a huge contributor, as are distractions, poor ability to see well what is going on around the vehicle, inadequate training, vehicle malfunctions, crappy infrastructure, low probability of legal consequences for oopsies, etc. I don’t think we can say what combination of these factors ‘killed’ Scottie.

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                I wear many hats January 15, 2019 at 10:18 am

                Yes, the difference in speed contributed. If the truck had been going 15 mph and bumped a cyclist going 15 mph, or vice versa, the outcome would be different than the 65 mph vs 15 mph outcome. Its physics. Roads that mix vehicle speeds are dangerous, thats why SE 82nd is more dangerous than interstate 5.

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                9watts January 15, 2019 at 10:24 am

                “thats why SE 82nd is more dangerous than interstate 5”

                ?

                Oh, you mean the difference is that there are no bikes on I-5 (in the metro area). The difference isn’t physics, but who is allowed on the two hwys.

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            BradWagon January 14, 2019 at 12:18 pm

            “I’m a skilled and fearless cyclist…”

            The rest of your statement would indicate that in fact you are not.

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              I wear many hats January 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm

              There is difference between fear and assessing risk differently. There are so many flat routes in / around PDX for flat riding that don’t include riding HWY 30. I for one, don’t intend to lose my life by an inattentive driver or a gust of wind. If I ride rocky point, mcnamee, logie, etc etc, I ride to them via skyline and/or other surface streets.

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                BradWagon January 14, 2019 at 11:21 pm

                I mostly avoid it as well but more because it’s just such a hostile environment to the senses… visually bland, audibly assaulting, etc… to me getting buzzed at 50-60 is the same just about anywhere though. At least on 30 the default isn’t driving right into the back of me. I’m far more nervous on even slower roads with no shoulder to escape too… although, history is maybe proving my own risk assement isn’t accurate.

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                I wear many hats January 15, 2019 at 9:07 am

                Narrower roads decrease sight lines, and decrease driving speeds. I have driven 130 mph on an interstate, but wouldn’t dare to do that on a road that was narrow and turned frequently. Skyline is safer because its narrow. Wider roadbeds encourage faster driving, and subsequently also enable these fatal accidents.

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            GlowBoy January 14, 2019 at 12:54 pm

            I’m with Jonathan, not IWMH on this one. I don’t find 30 to be extremely dangerous (other than the narrow-shoulder segment between Linnton and the St. Johns Bridge). The shoulder is wide, traffic is relatively low most of the time, and sightlines back from my handlebar mirror are excellent most of the way. Yes, the speed and noise of traffic make it unpleasant at times, and certainly those factors carry some real risk, but danger is not a binary thing.

            I can think of a lot of far more dangerous roads in Oregon, including many that I would never ever ride, no way, no how. 30 isn’t on that list for me.

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          mike kostick January 14, 2019 at 10:38 am

          My prayers go out to Scott Grasers wife & family. I live in Scappoose and though I didn’t know Scott I ran across him on some of my rides out on the dike. I’d wave or say hi, he did the same and he wore the bright colors to be seen better and that is what I do wherever I ride along with lights; You really have to out on Hwy 30! Trucks are a big problem, there are so many dump trucks on hwy 30, coming in and out of Scappoose, north and south – It’s crazy! They leave a mess, rocks(all sizes) and gravel all over. They should foot the bill and keep the hwy clean! I’m sure most of the drivers are responsible, but I have seen so many drivers on their phone. I hope that there was a witness to this very sad accident. I probably ride hwy 30 as much as anyone although I ride the other direction more often, I’m not going to stop either, but changes need to happen! I will continue to pray for all those out on hwy 30 – bike riders, runners, drivers,etc. – We all need to stay off our phones, be safe and use good common sense out there – God Bless!!!

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      Marty January 13, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      I was on the bike and pedestrian safety committee for the City of St. Helens…. it was a fun and interesting experience. We reach out to kids to encourage safe riding habits and helmet use. We also pinpointed hazards such as lack of signage, bike lanes, crosswalks, and sidewalks to the City to address.

      I’d a like to believe it worked… but in the years since I’ve lost count of how many idiots on bikes and in cars keep doing stupid stuff. What did it for me on US30 is I got hit by a Toyota turning left onto US30 from Millard Rd. I was in the left turn lane on US 30 and on foot when the Toyota struck the back of my bike and pretzled the rear wheel. It was a hit n run, and you would know it.. I left my cellphone at home. At last a stoplight is going in over the number of wrecks there.

      What needs to be done is build a bike lane that runs between the highway and the railroad tracks from Sauvies Island to the path that goes to Columbia City from St. Helens. There are frontage roads from Sauvies Iland that follow the Willamette into Portland, but private property owners have much of it fenced off. I’ve ridden from NW Front up to Wacker just to get turned away by security. But wow what a safe refuge for bikes if it can be done!

      Given I’m sighted in one eye, US 30 is just too scary… and I’ve ridden bikes for much of my 63 years.

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        Marty January 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

        PS- In regard to the accident, it is just that. In my post there is no implying anyone in it was an idiot…

        No, that’s those somehow think they are above the law and think they can ride and drive any way they choose. Like riders blasting down sidewalks and cutting across intersections, at night, and drivers who blow stop lights, text and smoke pot and drink while driving… and who have no use for posted speed limits.

        As a pedestrian too, walking across Columbia Blvd. or even down my shoulderless street in St Helens is as dangerous at times as waiting for a MAX in downtown Portland.

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    B. Carfree January 13, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Like many others, I sure want to know what OSP bases its claim that the cyclist performed a suicide swerve on. Is this yet another single witness suicide swerve case with motorhead investigators? My confidence level isn’t high when they call a bobtail tractor a semi truck minus the semi trailer. Good grief.

    For those who haven’t driven trucks, bobtailing is actually rather unstable. With many tractors, it can be extremely difficult to control a bobtail at highway speeds. Most decent trucking outfits go out of their way to reduce or eliminate bobtail miles for this very reason. Considering the experience level of the deceased and the bobtail configuration, I am highly skeptical of the claim that the cyclist is at fault.

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      soren January 13, 2019 at 11:44 am

      in the absence of undeniable evidence to the contrary., the dead cyclist is almost always at fault.

      dash cams on commercial vehicles should be mandatory (among many other things).

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        JeffS January 13, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        What prompted you to draw the line between commercial and private vehicles?

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          Dan A January 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm

          Gotta start somewhere. Commercial vehicles already have more stringent regulations — it should be easier to mandate black box technology and/or dash cams on them.

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      Jeff January 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Accidents do happen – cyclist could have hit a bump in the road, or an object, reached for a water bottle, etc. It’s certainly worth following up on, but I’m not sure why we’re so suspicious of the State Police that they would somehow try and blame the cyclist if they weren’t at fault….

      Irregardless, it’s a tragedy and condolences to the family.

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        Bjorn January 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm

        history… I think we have all lost count of how many times that we have seen police say that the investigation was not complete, and then immediately make a statement blaming the dead cyclist who is unable to speak to what happened.

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          Bjorn January 18, 2019 at 2:31 pm

          Here is a relevant article about a case in which a truck driver distracted by a cell phone left their lane and killed a cyclist, then told the cops that the cyclist came out in front of him. Seeing story after story like this is largely why when a driver says that the cyclist was at fault and the cyclist is no longer alive to speak that I don’t immediately believe the driver and I do want to see a quality investigation take place: https://www.bikelaw.com/2019/01/death-by-distracted-driving/

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            9watts January 18, 2019 at 2:51 pm

            Thanks for that article, Bjorn.
            Exhausting but important.

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        Dan A January 13, 2019 at 2:44 pm

        “I’m not sure why we’re so suspicious of the State Police that they would somehow try and blame the cyclist if they weren’t at fault….”

        Because there’s a long history of police blaming vulnerable road users for being run over.

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        SD January 13, 2019 at 4:38 pm

        Because police, all over the country, don’t hesitate to put the driver’s account into the police report without any evidence to support it, and it is not unusual for it to be proven wrong when objective evidence has been discovered.

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        B. Carfree January 13, 2019 at 6:59 pm

        My suspicions regarding the OSP stems partially because the law requires that the overtaking bobtail had to have given the cyclist room to fall over towards the truck. That’s a lot of required buffer, so if the cyclist simply hit a bit of a bump or did a bad water bottle grab, he wouldn’t have been struck by a legally passing motor vehicle. Had there been some mention of this, I might have thought they were doing a proper investigation instead of the usual “blame the victim who wasn’t in a cage” that we see all too often.

        Maybe a condition of employment for law enforcement should be documented 5-10k annual miles in the saddle on actual roads. I think it would be highly educational for them. (In other fantasies, can we raise the gas tax by a few bucks per gallon and completely automate traffic law enforcement while adding day fines?)

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        Pete January 13, 2019 at 8:44 pm

        “We’re still investigating and haven’t come to a conclusion yet, but our conclusion is…”

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      mike January 14, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      I rode my bike today on hwy 30 where the accident happened and I’m not so sure Mr. Graser went out of the bike lane at all. I did not notice any skid marks from the truck but you can see what appears where the bike went down, right in the middle of the bike lane! I hope the investigation gets it right!

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        X January 15, 2019 at 10:19 am

        There should absolutely be some marks on the pavement, if the scene is undisturbed and if anyone is looking. This where the preconceived ideas of investigators become important. They won’t see what they’re not looking for, and they’ll see nothing if they are looking in the wrong place.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty January 13, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Maybe vehicles on roads like 30 should have to pull into the left lane when passing a cyclist, just as they do for a stopped emergency vehicle.

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      JeffS January 13, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Is it a pass if a cyclist isn’t even in a travel lane?

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        John Lascurettes January 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm

        Is it a pass if the driver uses the ever-available get out of jail free card: “I didn’t see him”?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 13, 2019 at 12:46 pm

        While I have no doubt about what happened in this situation, without evidence the driver is not being fully forthcoming, it’s hard to proceed further. This is why, in one our rare (but happy) moments of agreement, I support Soren’s idea for dashcams in commercial vehicles.

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      Tom Hardy January 14, 2019 at 9:34 am

      I have ridden Hwy 30 to St. Helens dozens of times, in spit of living near Washington square in Beaverton. 4 times I rode it from NW Portland, escorting Hood to coast runners. I always rode in Pink,Yellow, or some very bright colors with a metallic yellow bike.I rode very close to the fog line and continually motioned to drivers to use the inner lane. I also used my rear view mirror (clipped to sunglasses) constantly. Usually the truckers passed the word all the way both directions about the”Crazy pink biker” and 90 % of the trucks all moved over when they were reminded. Occasionally one came within a couple of inches of grazing me (their wheels were on the fog line) when I was passing a power pole about a half mile east of St. Johns bridge but otherwise nearly all of them went to the inner lane . Pickups were something else. somehow or another I dodged them as some of them were 2 foot to the right of the fog line. Some lost their wide mirrors.

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        Dan A January 14, 2019 at 9:59 am

        Hello Tom, these stories are fascinating, but I have to ask: Are you a real person?

        I’m curious about how these trucks lost their mirrors. Did they get knocked off hitting your elbow at 60mph? Did you notice it when it happened?

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    SD January 13, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Having spent a fair amount of time on dirty thirty, I have seen plenty of trucks drift over the line. On the other hand, I have never seen a person on a bike riding alone go over the line. There are a few tight spots, but this isn’t one of them. Even in groups, no one crosses the line unless there’s a car parked on the shoulder. Unfortunately, it is likely that people without cycling experience will believe without question that a cyclist just rode into a huge loud truck.

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      Paul B January 13, 2019 at 4:46 pm

      Same. 30 is how we get to do the fun, challenging climbs in the West Hills on the roads with far less traffic than those closer to the city. The shoulder is typically wide on Highway 30 but having seen the number of vehicles that drift across the shoulder line at high speeds, I am quite mindful to say a couple feet away from the line, which also gives me a chance to navigate safely around any hazards I see. There are occasions where we might have to enter the car lane because of parked cars (BPA Road and Linnton come to mind), but I have never done it without having plenty of time to slow down and check the lane.

      I am VERY skeptical that Scottie Graser with his years of experience moved into the lane. Mistakes happen, yes, but…I have doubts and want evidence. Stories like this and so many close calls from distracted drivers are getting me very close to purchasing a Cycliq camera.

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        John Lascurettes January 14, 2019 at 12:59 am

        Purchase one. I feel so much more protected with a camera on my commutes. If I end up unconscious in the hospital or dead, my wife will know to ask for my camera. If it’s missing, it’s suspect. I record every ride. Even the little 1/2mi trip I take from work to the burrito cart. It’s digital and totally erasable at the end of an eventless day for no cost.

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          X January 14, 2019 at 1:06 pm

          Is your camera mounted in a really visible way?

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            John Lascurettes January 14, 2019 at 1:47 pm

            Yes, not that a driver would notice it if they can’t be bothered to even notice the bike. If you’re talking about a driver doing something to the camera post-accident, they could hide the camera easily, but the mount takes tools to remove. Again, it’s common knowledge amongst friends and family that I always have the camera. If it’s missing, they have every reason to believe that foul play has occurred.

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    Johnny Bye Carter January 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    We have enough cheap technology that it should be illegal to operate a commercial vehicle without a dash-mounted camera.

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      Tom Hardy January 13, 2019 at 11:40 pm

      I have interviewed over a dozen OHP officers in the last several decades and, without exception, Every one of them is and was an anticyclist who espoused a firm belief that cyclists riding on the street “should be outlawed”, and furthermore, the quoted that “if any cyclists were killed by a car in their territory It would and will be the cyclists fault, even if the cyclist was shot”.
      I reported the last one and he was transferred from Tilamook highway to east Malhuer county.

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        X January 14, 2019 at 11:31 am

        If you don’t mind saying, how do you come to encounter that many OSP officers?

        It seems strange that they would have that kind of attitude about people on bikes. Training, training, training. Oddly, in places like Malheur County people seem to pass well out in the other lane, from way back, as if you were on a horse or something.

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          GlowBoy January 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

          I don’t find it odd. In my experience there’s a wide range of attitudes towards cyclists amongst law enforcement, ranging from avid bike commuters themselves to thinking we don’t belong on the road. I wouldn’t be surprised that as a highway-oriented agency, OSP is going to have officers skewing towards the latter.

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    Middle of the Road Guy January 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    It’s always easier to tell other people that they have to buy something, isn’t it?

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      q January 13, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      What’s your point? That cyclists who may get hit by trucks should be required to have cameras to prove they weren’t at fault? If so, then why not people who walk across streets? Or who walk on sidewalks? Or who own buildings next to streets that trucks may veer into?

      Of course it’s always easier to place a burden on someone besides yourself, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t appropriate.

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      9watts January 13, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      q asks ‘What’s your point?’

      I would also like to know.

      There is certainly a pattern to many of MotRG’s posts; the reflexive inversions and false equivalencies add up to something, but what?

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        Middle of the Road Guy January 14, 2019 at 8:34 am

        Ah yes…when you don’t wish to counter a point, throw in “false equivalency”. That seems to also be a pattern 🙂

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          9watts January 14, 2019 at 8:40 am

          But you presumably agree that there is such a thing?
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

          My pattern of flashing the false equivalence card follows your pattern of proposing them.

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          9watts January 14, 2019 at 8:53 am

          “when you don’t wish to counter a point…”

          As I suspect you know well, I’m as happy as anyone to counter any point here on BikePortland. But a false equivalency is not a point, is not something that is meaningfully countered. A false equivalence is not a rhetorical invitation to deeper engagemeant, to refutation, but a move made in (rhetorical) bad faith.

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          Dan A January 14, 2019 at 10:03 am

          Perhaps you can explain how dangerous operation of a bicycle and a garbage truck are the exact same thing.

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          GlowBoy January 14, 2019 at 1:02 pm

          Maybe there’s a reason you’re often encountering the false equivalence charge.

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    Anne January 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I’m calling it as impairment or distraction. It’s just like when a drunk driver hits the ONE car pulled over in the breakdown lane. It’s that weird reverso logic when you are impaired that tells you to aim for an object instead of avoiding it. SMDH. Very sorry for Graser’s family. And for myself, and other riders. When will OUR number be up?

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    Bjorn January 13, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    So to me this should be a case where ORS 811.065 would apply. So to anyone saying well what if the cyclist hit something and just fell into the roadway, that is exactly why the law says that when passing the driver should move over far enough that even if the cyclist were to fall over to the left that they would still not contact them. In a case like this where there are 2 lanes the driver could have moved into the left lane when passing the cyclist conforming to the the law. If he had done so there would have been no collision. I don’t see how there is even a question about who is at fault here?

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    Liz Jackson January 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Lifting up the family and friends of Scottie Graser….

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    dwk January 13, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    The report is not believable on any level unless Mr. Graser had a medical condition or something. No way someone with his experience just rode out of that wide shoulder.
    Riding by himself he would have been riding several feet on his side of the line and the truck should have been several feet at least away from it (why not the other lane?).
    Infuriating!
    Since the common response is that cyclists should not be on that road and since it is the ONLY road, provide us another route, should be easy…..

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Everyone should see the official OSP statement. Here’s the salient excerpt:

    Preliminary investigation reveals that a commercial motor vehicle – with no trailers, operated by Dustan Thompson (40) of St. Helens, was eastbound on Hwy 30 in the right lane when a bicycle, operated by Scott Graser (54) of Scappoose, entered the eastbound right lane and a collision occurred.

    That statement has been repeated verbatim by many local news outlets.

    That statement clearly sounds like the OSP has reason to believe that Graser left the shoulder and entered into the adjacent lane prior to being hit by the truck driver.

    Obviously that would be a very strange occurrence. Why would an experienced rider do something like that when a truck driver is coming up right behind him?

    What evidence does the OSP have for making such a claim?

    I hope to get to the bottom of that. As I’ve been saying for many years now, these post-collision statements are very important and powerful because they set the narrative in stone (unfortunately every news outlet simply copy/pastes them and passes them off as “reporting” and never once questions these press releases or makes it clear to readers that they are the words of the police, not of reporters).

    It’s sad how many people on those other sites are right now jumping in to blame Scott Graser for his own death because they think he left the shoulder.

    I’m in contact with OSP to get a clarification about this statement. I hope to share more soon.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 13, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      While I agree this story seems unlikely to be accurate, in the absence of other evidence, what basis is there to doubt (in a legal sense) the story provided by the driver? That’s the problem that keeps recurring with these cases — there is a first-hand witness with a self-serving (and in this case implausible (to us), but hardly impossible) story, with no corroborating or contradictory evidence. “A cyclist would never do that” isn’t actionable.

      I think it’s also worth remembering that people do all sorts of whack stuff on the roads, so to an officer who sees this stuff all the time, someone entering a lane without looking is not so far fetched. Especially a cyclist, some of whom are proud of their flouting of traffic laws and norms.

      I hope we all believe that legal procedures should be evidence based, even if it means some miscreants go free.

      Let’s hope another witness comes forward.

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        dwk January 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

        There surely would be skid marks. They would show where the truck hit the cyclist.
        This should not be that hard.

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          soren January 14, 2019 at 12:14 pm

          skid marks occur when the brakes are applied. there is no certainty that the driver started braking *before* they hit the human being.

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        Gilly January 13, 2019 at 4:35 pm

        It sounds like you are assuming the evidence is all based on the drivers account. My understanding is that the police document the scene and should be able to note where the braking started and other things that help identify where the accident occurred (shoulder or in the roadway)

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

          I am making that assumption (and that’s all it is), because if there was physical evidence contradicting the story, I doubt the cops would give the report they did.

          Nonetheless, I hope you are right, as I share the general sentiment here that the driver’s story was hokum.

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            Middle of the Road Guy January 14, 2019 at 8:37 am

            I also notice that many people have a complete inability to believe a cyclist may have been at fault, and therefore will not accept any other account as being truthful.

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              9watts January 14, 2019 at 8:46 am

              “I also notice that many people have a complete inability to believe a cyclist may have been at fault, and therefore will not accept any other account as being truthful.”

              You are willfully ignoring the existence of bias in our society w/r/t transportation mode. Press releases generated by law enforcement *NEVER* start out assuming the automobilist was at fault, and then must retract when evidence shows that it was actually the person on the bike who was at fault. The opposite, on the other hand, happens all the time. At least if you are persistent enough to stay on the case, as many who comment here seem to.
              This is just not a symmetric dynamic; which is why your statement above is mendacious.

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              Daniel Amoni January 14, 2019 at 9:31 am

              How does someone “notice” that another person has an “inability to believe” something? Does it look different from someone having reasons to be skeptical or believe otherwise?

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              Dan A January 14, 2019 at 10:10 am

              It sounds like you’re suggesting that the driver was giving safe passing distance when the cyclist suddenly swerved 6 feet to their left. Yes, I doubt that. It could have happened that way, but I believe it to be highly unlikely.

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                Brian January 14, 2019 at 10:29 am

                It may be unlikely, but the cyclist could have had a medical emergency.

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                X January 14, 2019 at 12:54 pm

                No evidence of that has been supplied. It’s a guess, and it’s less likely than driver distraction, for instance.

                I really regret this lost life on the road. If some use of technology could help protect lives or even mandate responsible driving it can’t happen too soon.

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              9watts January 14, 2019 at 10:22 am

              “I also notice that many people have a complete inability to believe…”

              MOtRG, care to comment on Mike’s observations here: https://bikeportland.org/2019/01/13/man-riding-a-bicycle-dies-in-collision-with-truck-operator-on-highway-30-near-scappoose-294093#comment-7028646

              Would you characterize him as belonging to the ‘many people’ in your comment above? If not, why not?

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              q January 14, 2019 at 12:12 pm

              Are you noticing that in any comments here? If so, which ones? I’m not seeing it myself.

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              soren January 14, 2019 at 12:20 pm

              A study found that vulnerable road users are blamed in 73% of media-reported crashes.

              http://www.eden.rutgers.edu/~ei60/crasheshandout.pdf

              Perhaps some skepticism is warranted.

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                9watts January 14, 2019 at 12:24 pm

                Brilliant.

                MotRG, care to comment?

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              dwk January 14, 2019 at 12:47 pm

              I think you have stated that you are a regular cyclist and have been for awhile I assume?
              Do you really think Mr. Graser rode in to the highway? Seriously, because this a pretty tragic event and should not be used to just get a rile on this website.
              I cannot even imagine a scenario other than a seizure or something that would cause any cyclist to do something like that.
              No Mechanical I have ever seen anyone have a on a bicycle causes them to veer several feet in any direction.
              Does that make sense to you as a cyclist?

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      q January 13, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      It matters what “preliminary investigation” means. If it means they talked to the driver, and he told them his version of what happened, then even if the statement is very brief, it should say, “According to the driver….”.

      Certainly authorities know that someone who has killed someone else, and who knows the dead victim can’t be interviewed, has an incentive to lie if he had done something wrong. So unless the preliminary investigation has already dug up strong evidence that backs up the driver’s statement, that statement shouldn’t be viewed as meaning much. Writing “according to….” puts the statement in a proper context.

      If the driver had been texting, and veered off the road and struck the driver, he might give a statement exactly like the one he did give. And a preliminary investigation might not be enough to show his statement was wrong.

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        cousin January 15, 2019 at 4:33 am

        lie detector test may be appropriate here….it’s time for a new law to be enacted – “Scottie’s Law” which mandates that you need to move over to the left lane for bicyclists…..enough is enough of senseless deaths. Normal drivers should have been watching a cyclist as they were passing…It’s not like there were too many bikes on the road…..it’s common sense……I’m sickened by this ….if Oregon had an Amish population that truck would have to move over for the horse and buggy……I know that accident would be investigated heavily. Would the truck driver say the horse got spooked and jumped into my lane? This is 2019 and bikes have a right and a place on the road…..this is a fight to take up…..people’s lives depend on ending the insensitivity to cyclists deaths….these are good people going out for a challenge, to promote good health, to feel good……Enough of the madness it’s time to demand laws

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      BradWagon January 14, 2019 at 11:30 am

      I recall seeing immediately after it that either news orgs or a local reporters twitter account described it as a cyclists being hit by a distracted driver. Am I imaging this? Do you remember seeing this at all Jon? It struck me as very different from the usual blame game that it seems we’ve gone back to.

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        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

        I noticed differently worded updates about the crash. I’m concerned specifically about the police statements.

        In general, this is a topic that police PIOs (public information officers) and local media people need to be trained on. I’m for hire if anyone’s reading this. Seriously. I will do consultations.

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          q January 14, 2019 at 2:03 pm

          I’m so glad you’re focusing on these public statements.

          Another disturbing thing I see in many statements (not limited to police reports) is the throwing in of general feel-good, public service-type phrases that imply misbehavior on the part of victims. In police/traffic statements, they appear as (for example) “We’d like to remind cyclists to always use headlights and wear bright clothing”. That might appear in a statement about an incident where there was no evidence the cyclist DIDN’T have those, and/or no evidence they were relevant. But they give the impression that they were relevant, and the victim was therefore partially at fault.

          A non-traffic example recently was the Portland hotel saying something like, “The safety of our guests is a high priority for us” in its statement about kicking a guest out of the lobby because the security guard suspected he was not a guest, for no apparent reason other than his race. In that case, the victim’s lawyers demanded that the hotel explain publicly what reason the hotel had for believing their client was a danger to other guests. It was great to see the hotel getting called out for making that type of insidious statement.

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            Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 14, 2019 at 2:48 pm

            Thanks q. I’ve been focused on these statements for a long time. There are many reasons why it’s hard for police agencies to take the issue seriously. One is that the position of Public Information Officer isn’t exactly widely respected among law enforcement people. In my experience with the PPB, the position changes every several months — that makes it very hard to maintain a level of education and understanding about this. I used to have good rapport with the PPB PIO and had met and talked about this personally with a few of them back in The Day… But they would just move on to another position and a new person would come in and “poof!” all that knowledge was gone. I also worry they see this issue more as just another activist whining at them about something — instead of a serious issue that deserves respect that’s being shared with them from someone with a lot of understanding about it (I’ve worked in marketing and media relations prior to being in the news biz, and now I read more police statements than most people, so I have a solid perspective on it).

            What I need to do is formalize what I now, put it into nice written/graphic form and start doing consultations and presentations about it.

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          q January 14, 2019 at 10:49 pm

          Imagine if hospitals issued statements each time a patient died. If those were done the way pedestrian or cyclist fatality reports were done, families would be suing.

          A death from a brain tumor might be reported as “Preliminary investigation showed the patient was overweight”. True, but irrelevant. But the implication is that it contributed to the death.

          Or tagged onto the same brain tumor-caused death report: “General Hospital would like to remind people to always drink in moderation and avoid mixing alcohol and drugs”. Imagine the victim’s family seeing their parent smeared like that. But it’s done all the time in police statements.

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            Dan A January 15, 2019 at 7:38 am

            When 92-year-old holocaust survivor Alton Wiener was killed crossing the street before 5pm last month, his own son posted this on his Facebook page:

            “Dad was struck by a car at high velocity and was killed instantly; the medical examiner assured us he felt no pain. … He was heading to the grocery store, was dressed in dark clothes on a dark, rainy night, and crossed in the middle of the street. The driver simply did not see him.”

            According to the Hillsboro Tribune: “The 50-year-old driver of the Honda Accord remained at the scene of the crash and cooperated with investigators. He will not face any charges or citations, according to [HPD spokesman] Bunday.”

            More proof that the basic speed law has almost no effect….

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 15, 2019 at 8:29 am

              How fast was the driver in that incident diving?

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              Ryan January 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

              This reminds of a FB post I saw a couple months ago. The person who posted it is a PPB officer who I believe works in the traffic investigation unit.

              The post said, “Pedestrians overestimate the ability of a motorist to see them by 200%. Even adults do this. Walking and crossing streets at night is the most dangerous thing pedestrians do. 4 have been killed in Portland in the last week. Cross the street like everyone is doing 90 MPH and can’t see you. Because that’s closer to the truth than what you were thinking.” And he accompanied the post with a graphic showing ways to “reflect yourself”.

              This was on his personal FB page, but I’m sure most of his FB friends know he’s an officer so when he posts stuff like this it carries more weight. This is also someone who used to be very into cycling, but everything about this post is basically saying if you can’t go outside at night protected by a car then you shouldn’t go out. This is the prevailing attitude we see from most of the public as well as the police, that it’s automatically assumed the VRU is at least partly at fault simply for having the audacity of trying to get somewhere without being in a car! If pedestrians overestimate their visibility by 200% then should we not assume that drivers overestimate their ability to see clearly with their headlights by about the same amount? Shouldn’t the Basic Rule then mandate that the applicable speed limit at night is about half the posted speed?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 15, 2019 at 1:55 pm

                I read that as “if you go out at night, be careful”. Which sounds to me like good advice, however you get around.

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                9watts January 15, 2019 at 2:43 pm

                Ugh.

                I don’t suppose this will surprise anyone, but I disagree with Hello,Kitty.

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                Dan A January 16, 2019 at 10:24 am

                “If you go out at night, you are waiving all legal protection from motor vehicles.”

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    Bobcycle January 13, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Wondering if skid marks were made by truck which might point to location at impact? Like many here I’m hoping to learn more. Distracted driving? Distracted cycling? Medical emergency? Side wind effect? Regardless, it’s a tragedy. RIP.

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    Cousin January 13, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Scott is an avid rider with thousands and thousands of miles logged in different parts of the country…..it will never be in the best interest for the driver to tell the truth….never….I’m not buying the story…..guilty….prove you are innocent….check the phone for texts….check the phone for anything….pretty sure you will find the answer……Passing a bicyclist you should always be making sure that you are clear….always

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    Erica January 13, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I had the pleasure of meeting Scottie when I rode Cycle Oregon back in 2014. As a newbie to the ride, Scottie was incredibly welcoming and encouraging. I enjoyed riding some miles with him and appreciated the support. He was a great ambassador for riding! I am so very sorry to hear he died. My thoughts go out to his friends and family.

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    AndyK January 13, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Rest in peace Scottie!

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    Derek January 14, 2019 at 12:01 am

    I don’t know what happened here, but I drive that road every day. 2 things I notice. Even with all the accidents and deaths, people still drive like jerks. Its not speed, its going too slow in the left, and then riding peoples bumper who arent going 80mph. And then I don’t know if its a culture thing with bikes, they always seem to ride that white like regardless of how wide their shoulder path is. I don’t get either. Riding a bike on HW30 on that section is like riding a bike through Cornelius pass, or through Skyline up on the hills. Don’t do it. Its not worth the risk.

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      hotrodder January 14, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Cyclists are forced to “ride the white” because of all the jetsam and flotsam in the bike path. Simple as that.

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      BradWagon January 14, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      Skyline is some of the best riding there is close to Portland. I rode down Cornelius Pass then out to Scappoose the other weekend. Not bad at all on a Saturday morning save for a couple lunatics who seem to prefer nearly killing themselves and others while driving rather than exhibit some patience.

      What’s “not worth it” would be keeping cyclists from being able to ride where they want or need to go because we can’t possible infringe on unfettered auto abuse.

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    Mike January 14, 2019 at 12:48 am

    There was a gusty wind out of the East on Saturday, but Scottie was riding South, so a sudden gust would have blown him away from the traffic lanes. However, the bobtail tractor would have been blown towards the shoulder by the same effect. Bobtails are more susceptible to wind gusts than tractors pulling trailers:

    https://www.chrishudsonlaw.com/library/the-dangers-of-trucks-without-trailers.cfm

    And remember Willard Tow exclaimed “He swerved right in front of me!” immediately after fatally striking Andrzej Kurkowski a couple years ago in the bike lane on SW Multnomah. Witness testimony proved otherwise, and Tow (who was DUI) was subsequently sentenced to 6 years in the state pen:

    https://bikeportland.org/2016/05/30/someone-has-died-in-a-collision-on-sw-multnomah-184606

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      9watts January 14, 2019 at 7:42 am

      Some great sleuthing there, Mike. Thank you!
      Why can’t we get this kind of forensics from law enforcement who supply press releases?

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    Dave January 14, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Count me as still not irrationally afraid to cycle Highway 30-but terrified to drive it. At motoring speeds, the ability to see about-to-be cross traffic coming out of many small crossing roads is really limited. I’m many times more afraid of potentially t-boning another driver even when driving below posted speed, than of getting hit from behind while cycling that road.

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    Joe January 14, 2019 at 9:31 am

    HWY 30 can be crazy and most are driving way over speed limit. RIP 🙁

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    Joe January 14, 2019 at 9:33 am

    I was caught on HWY at night this past weekend and wasn’t feeling very comfy. :/

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    Brian January 14, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I am very sorry to read this. Regardless of fault, it looks like our community lost another good person too soon. My condolences to his friends and family.

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      9watts January 14, 2019 at 10:29 am

      ‘Lost another good person’

      I’m allergic to this common phrase.
      If the cyclist were a homeless person, or had a criminal record, or exhibited a disagreeable personality, or had no family, would we feel less bad about his death? I certainly hope not.
      Can’t we focus on the injustice of a preventable death rather than ranking those killed on a virtue/likability scale?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

        I agree, which is why I find the death of an auto driver as regrettable as that of a cyclist.

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        Brian January 14, 2019 at 2:22 pm

        I agree with the message behind your post and thank you for sharing it, but I feel you may be reading into my comment a bit. Sometimes the focus can (and should?) simply be a kind sentiment to those who are impacted the most by a loss, and after reading some of the comments above it sounds like he positively impacted the lives of many he came across.

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          9watts January 14, 2019 at 2:32 pm

          I didn’t think you meant it in any other way, and applaud this sentiment. My only objection is that the phrase ‘good people,’ by suggesting its opposite, takes us down other, unhelpful, roads.

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    Jason H January 14, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Was dreading finding out who the victim was when I first saw saw the news story this weekend. Any vulnerable road user losing their life is tragic and to learn it was as avid a cyclist as Scottie is terrible.

    A sobering reminder to actually write that “cyclist’s manifesto” I’ve been meaning to for a while. To detail my own rules of conduct while cycling, so it can speak for me and no one can claim the BS that I randomly swerved or took erratic or illegal motions into their path should the worst happen.

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    Fred January 14, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I rode on 30 on Friday, up to Newberry. No work has yet begun to fix the slide, so Newberry is still a gorgeous, car-free, breathtaking ride to Skyline. I noticed several rigs (tractors towing trailers) did in fact pull into the left-hand lane to give me room, when they could; I waved to each one who did this.

    Also an ODOT sweeper was out, cleaning the shoulder, heading north around the St John’s Bridge, with a left-arrow truck to move traffic into the left lane. So there is some effort to keep the shoulders clean. Again I waved a thank-you to these hard-working folks.

    Very sad to hear about Scottie – so easily could have been me, or any one of us.

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      Paul B January 14, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      The sweeper beta is good to know. I was intending to head out there today but after this story posted, I changed my plans and did laps on Tabor instead. There was quite a bit of rock and debris my last trip out and Scottie Graser’s death just made me think to myself, “not today…”

      Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s how often this seems to happen, but I am becoming more cautious.

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    Jimmywoo January 14, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    This is why I quit cycling on roads. Distracted driving, whether the cause or not, is rampant. EVERY VEHICLE I see seems to have a phone out. Advocacy, rules, laws…not a bit matter. Folks are crossing the lines all over. I won’t bike on car paths until there is a tech solution.

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    Ryan January 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    I read that as “if you go out at night, be careful”. Which sounds to me like good advice, however you get around.Recommended 0

    Except that the wording is directed only to people outside of cars. The graphic that was included in the post shows a runner, a cyclist, and someone walking their dog, all with reflective pieces. I’m not saying this is bad advice (I normally wear these myself when running/cycling), but it infers that the VRUs are the ones acting dangerously. Even the mention of poor driving is stated more as a casual fact, not as the root cause of the danger. I understand the intent, but it just illustrates the general public perception in regards to transportation – it’s normal for people to drive inappropriately so it’s your fault if you don’t go above and beyond what’s required if you’re not in a car. Maybe crappy driving wouldn’t be so common if we didn’t treat it as being normal? Heck, people even brag about it…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      I hear what you are saying, and don’t disagree, but it’s still good advice. And it would be good advice in places where people are more skilled at driving, like Germany.

      Maybe a more morally correct message would be “don’t drive at night”, and I would encourage anyone involved with street safety to run with that message.

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      q January 15, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      You took the words out of my mouth. I didn’t mind the information about pedestrians overestimating their visibility (don’t know if it’s true or not, though). I also didn’t mind the reflective advice.

      What was missing was, “What this means if you are a driver is that you have to assume that pedestrians are thinking you can see them when you can’t. So you need to adjust your driving accordingly, by slowing down/paying more attention/etc..”.

      I do understand that there’s the possibility that a police officer may come to feel that telling people to change how they drive is hopeless, so directing the advice only to pedestrians would make sense to him, But if that’s his feeling, I would have liked him to say it.

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        9watts January 15, 2019 at 3:47 pm

        “A police officer may come to feel that telling people to change how they drive is hopeless.”

        What I think is hopeless is that attitude. When we’ve gotten to that point we need a reboot.

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        Ryan January 15, 2019 at 3:57 pm

        I guess what bugs me the most is that he’s someone who investigates car-VRU incidents, and where his mind might be when doing so. He’s a nice guy, smart, but does he show up to a crash site and see a pedestrian wearing dark clothes and start making assumptions about the pedestrian being at fault – even partially – before looking at any other evidence? I know that could be reading too much into this one post, but if there’s an assumption of risky behavior simply because a person decided to walk to the store without a flashlight and reflective vest, that could affect how the rest of the investigation is handled.

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          9watts January 15, 2019 at 6:45 pm

          What you are inferring is highly likely. A facet of what has been called Car Head.

          A dreadful scourge.

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          q January 15, 2019 at 7:35 pm

          Yes, exactly. I probably should have written that what he said WOULDN’T have bothered me IF he had gone on to give advice to drivers. As it was, I think it’s almost certain he’d be biased in an investigation as you described.

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        Dan A January 16, 2019 at 10:30 am

        When you drive at night on any non-restricted-access roadway, regardless of the weather or lighting conditions, you must always expect that there will be humans outside of vehicles using the roads. Pedestrians, by nature, act less predictably than motor vehicles, and special care must be taken to avoid hitting them with your multi-ton vehicles, especially in adverse conditions.

        This is one reason for the basic speed rule.

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    Ted Buehler January 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Jonathan wrote:
    ” I’ve sat down with ODOT and served them up ideas on a silver platter”

    Jonathan — can you make a list of your ideas public?

    I haven’t bicycled US 30 to Scapoose since 1990, nor have I driven a car on it.

    Ted Buehler

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    q January 15, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Yes, exactly. I probably should have written that what he said WOULDN’T have bothered me IF he had gone on to give advice to drivers. As it was, I think it’s almost certain he’d be biased in an investigation as you described.

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      q January 15, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      Replying to Ryan above.

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    Martin Vandepas January 18, 2019 at 8:39 am

    I wear many hats
    Yes, the difference in speed contributed. If the truck had been going 15 mph and bumped a cyclist going 15 mph, or vice versa, the outcome would be different than the 65 mph vs 15 mph outcome. Its physics. Roads that mix vehicle speeds are dangerous, thats why SE 82nd is more dangerous than interstate 5.Recommended 2

    Since you mentioned physics: A truck going 15mph would never bump a cyclist going 15mph in the same direction. The truck would follow the cyclist forever.

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      9watts January 18, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Made me chuckle, the image.

      Thanks for that.

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    Vicky Tate January 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Scottie was my friend. I am devastated by his death. I really hope that the truth comes out. He was a highly skilled rider who was always safety conscious. He was newly married and happier than ever. Please keep the pressure on about the investigation. I am not local so I don’t know the road. I do know truck drivers having been a Teamster for 25 years. The driver’s livelihood likely depended on his denial of any fault.

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