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Man suffers serious injuries in collision with skateboarder on Springwater Corridor path

Posted by on February 15th, 2019 at 10:08 am

View from Oaks Bottom path where it meets with the Springwater. Photo is from 2015 right after wands and striping were installed. Nguyen was coming from the left on the other side of this tunnel.

We regret to inform you about another situation where someone suffered serious injuries at a location with a known history for posing hazards to bicycle riders.

On January 29th just before noon, Hien Nguyen was biking northbound on the Springwater Corridor path. As he rolled downhill toward the intersection where another path intersects with the Springwater (about 1.8 miles south of the path entrance at SE Ivon Street, below the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge trailhead parking lot), Nguyen says a woman on a skateboard “appeared out of nowhere directly toward my path.” Nguyen didn’t hit the woman, but he ran over her skateboard, flew over the handlebars and landed head first on the pavement.

“Parks & Recreation will look into any further possible safety improvements.”
— Mark Ross, PP&R public information officer

Nguyen lost consciousness, suffered a concussion, received multiple abrasions on his face and bruises over much of his body. He was rushed to a local hospital for an MRI and released after a few hours. “The doctors said without the helmet, my injuries could be life threatening,” he shared with me via email.

The woman on the skateboard was coasting prior to the collision and Nguyen claims she didn’t stop at all at the stop sign.

Back in January 2015, following a similar incident at this same location, the Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau set out to improve safety where these two paths intersect. By the end of April they’d installed new pavement markings and plastic delineator wands, along with a stop sign facing Oaks Bottom path users.

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Time for a roundabout?
(Graphic: Paikiala)

Before Parks installed those path safety updates, we shared an idea from a BikePortland commenter who thought a mini-roundabout would be a much more effective solution. Others pushed for convex mirrors to aid visibility.

It’s impossible to prevent all collisions from happening, but I wonder if more could be done in this location. Parks’ Public Information Officer Mark Ross said staff are aware of Nguyen’s incident. A Parks safety manager has been in touch with Nguyen and they’ve scheduled a site visit to make sure all the new safety signage is still in place. Ross also says the agency, “Will look into any further possible safety improvements.” “However it is notable,” added Ross, “That the skateboarder ignored a stop sign at high speed. People simply must act with others in mind when utilizing multi-use paths and trails. It’s common sense, for everyone’s safety.”

For Nguyen, the collision has profoundly shaken his confidence. “I’m an experienced and cautious rider with ten of thousands of accident-free miles over the years,” he says. “And here I was, riding on one of the safest trails when it happened.” Nguyen thinks a speed bump on the Oaks Bottom path and more warning signs might help.

Do you ride this section of the path? Do you think more should be done to improve safety?

— 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

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Lester Burnham
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Lester Burnham

*I* am the best safety device. I always slow at that intersection and assume someone is going to come bombing out onto the path.

Fred
Guest
Fred

Jonathan, there’s a question below I wish you could answer:

Did police show up? Did they take a statement from the skateboarder? Is any action against the skateboarder being considered? How this incident was handled officially seems important. Thanks.

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

I am familiar with this intersection. I flagged this as mondo dangerous the first time I rode the this section of the Springwater. It is one of the places on the Springwater where I drop the bike to walking speed before pedaling through.*

I’m not sure a traffic circle would do much to help. You really need to increase the distance between the tunnel entrance and the intersection. Which means moving the trail over towards the river… A lot.

[*] Slowing means you also need to be aware of who is overtaking you, because getting run into from behind as you slow down isn’t fun either.

PDXCyclist
Guest
PDXCyclist

A few months ago BP posted about a bike-only roundabout somewhere on the eastside that looked pretty pointless IMO. I wish PBOT had just given the money for that silly roundabout that should have been a bifurcating / triangle shape to P&R since it looks like it would be actually useful here.

Al
Guest
Al

Are you referring to the one on SE Milwaukie across from Oaks Bottom Trailhead? I thought it looked pretty pointless at first as well, but I used it after cutting across from SE17th the other day and noticed that it does increase visibility for those attempting to turn left or cross

JP
Guest
JP

Maybe the one on the 21st avenue overpass at 84? I used to ride that stretch often, and my most common interaction with the roundabout was to cut through the middle of it.

JJJ
Guest
JJJ

“Nguyen claims she didn’t stop at all at the stop sign.”

Stop signs do not apply to pedestrians. What does the law say regarding skateboards?

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

It’s a vehicle-free path. The stop sign IS for the pedestrians.

PS
Guest
PS

But they aren’t enforceable are they? I know in many places the yield and stop signs on bike paths are just suggestions, not enforceable traffic devices.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

I’m not sure what the law is as most of what I can find states that a MUP is a sidewalk and there generally aren’t stop signs on sidewalks. I’m not sure that ORS 811.260(15) would apply since it references roadways. Roadways typically include all vehicle facilities open to the public. I can’t seem to connect all the laws.

However, I’ve heard of people being cited for more general violations such a Due Care when stop signs themselves couldn’t be enforced. So although you may not have to stop for it, if you don’t stop for it and cause a crash then you’ll be at fault.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I thought we can ignore the signs that don’t work for us.

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

That was my first thought exactly. We just had a long discussion in which several people argued that they only have to follow the rules that they want to. What is dangerous is not the intersection, but the American culture of lawlessness.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Not sure what discussion you were reading but it does not match one I saw. People who want an Idaho style stop as yield law are not suggesting that yield signs be treated as green lights especially at blind corners.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

They’re referring to the discussion about Ladd’s where people vociferously defended deciding for themselves which traffic control signs to obey. Not everyone is going to make good choices.

Al
Guest
Al

Skateboards are required to follow traffic laws, same as cyclists: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/551265

Caelin
Guest
Caelin

Same laws as bikes in every regard, but we have to keep by the shoulder on roadways and cannot take the lane (dumb), and with additional laws related to noise and property destruction.

9watts
Subscriber

I’m genuinely curious: how do you stop on a skateboard (that is going fast)?
I’ve had a lurid fascination with skateboarding for ever, mostly because having never learned the (apparent) inability to stop in situations like this, never mind going down steep hills, has kept me from trusting myself to master it. What is SOP for a skateboarder in this situation? Or did she do what is the best option, jump off, abandoning her vehicle to continue without her?

Brian
Guest
Brian
Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I use what he calls #10, the ‘I’m too scared to go for this trick’ stop, which is just jumping forward and running to a stop. That causes the board to stop behind you as you jump off.

Or I use one foot pushing on the ground repeatedly to slow down, which he doesn’t show in the video.

The various slides he shows are pretty advanced for using on a blacktop path, and pretty much require you to use the whole width of the path, IMO.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The vid presented 10 options; you only need 1.

9watts
Subscriber

Thanks, Brian. Very helpful.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I should add that stopping on a longboard is a bit different. Not all of these options then apply, and the person in this collision may very well have been on a longboard.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

They may have been on their cell phone as well for all we know.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

On a longboard, you can’t use many of the techniques in that video. My guess is that she jumped off to save herself, which propelled the board directly in front of the cyclist. From his perspective, a giant board essentially shoots out from the alcove and right in front of his bike. I don’t care how fast you are going, if this happens at the wrong time, you are going to crash your bike.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Unless you know how to bunny hop.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

This is why a chicane, a physical barrier, with the ability to stop a runaway board would likely be the best answer in this location… That… or find a way to discourage boarders from riding down that area (such as using “rumble strips”).

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

As this video shows a skilled skateboarder can stop as effectively as any bike. But this requires skill. Footbraking on the other hand, is easy and effective. Even though I can slide fairly well I often footbrake when around car traffic and bikes. I find that throwing out a huge slide kinda freaks everyone out. Using foot braking I can stop about as fast as I can on my road bike with caliper brakes from any given speed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=57&v=TGuqsnuVIHA

Mike
Guest

On a fast-moving skateboard/longboard, you’ve got a few options:

– bail from the board (not optimal, especially on a narrow path where you get situations like this)
– a couple of kinds of sliding stops, either standing or squatting (variably optimal, relatively high-skill maneuvers, and with a kind of physicality involved except among the most skilled that is alarming to be around if you’re trying to judge whether the person doing the slide is in actual control)
– coasting and foot-dragging if you have a lot of time

I longboard on the Springwater and 205 paths, and obey all the signs. It’d never occur to me to come out of this intersection in motion. I’d probably stop and walk up either side of the dip. Same at the 205/Springwater intersection, which is blind for purposes of stopping in time, and where nobody obeys the signs at all, ever.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Here are the actual laws in Portland City code 16.70.410: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/412594

The one you’re looking for is 16.70.410(J) that basically says skateboarders have to obey all the same laws as motor vehicles unless they can’t apply.

So referring to ORS 811.260(15) [Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices] requires you to stop at a stop sign.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

In a general sense, when Portland legalized skateboarding and skating on city streets a few years ago, they effectively gave them the same legal status as bicycles. Stop signs, as inappropriate as they are in some places on MUPs (though this one is very appropriate), certainly do apply to bicycles on MUPs.

Jason
Guest
Jason

A skater is not a pedestrian, by definition. If it’s got wheels, it’s a vehicle! 😉

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

This is a no brainer. Lots of visibility both sides. Someone was not paying attention, and, most likely, going too fast.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Wasn’t the bike rider. I once had a cat, out in the middle of nowhere, jump out of the ditch at a 90 ° angle to me, on my mtn bike. Of course at the worst possible time he decided to run away in front of me. I had no choice but to run him directly over. Due to the fat tires and the soft cat, I didn’t wipe out, and the cat ran off, hopefully OK. Point being, he or she who enters a right angle threat better yield or be responsible for the ensuing carnage. Hope she had insurance.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Does the same logic apply to rioters who step in front of trucks?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

200 and 4000 are both numbers. Therefore they are exactly the same thing.

GNnorth
Guest
GNnorth

I feel for the guy, and something needs to be done at this particular spot. The one reminder I have is there really isn’t a “safe” trail when we are riding on pavement. The inherent nature of this hard surface is obviously a factor in exacerbated injuries vs a softer riding surface. The helmet argument is old, does that really need to be inserted into the article?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Mentioning that the helmet saved him from more severe injury is “inserting an argument”?

GNnorth
Guest
GNnorth

That’s your quote, not mine. Helmets have saved my head more than once, but what about the rest of the body too? Ever see a femur stick out of a leg? I have, mine. The point being that a helmet isn’t the “end-all, saves everything” that we invariably get from the car crowd if we’re not wearing one.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I apologize; the correct quote is “inserted into the article”.

I agree that helmets are no panacea; they are cheap insurance against a relatively uncommon but debilitating and life-changing crash. It sounds like this was one of those types of crash.

And sorry about your leg… that doesn’t sound fun. Probably should have had a helmet on your leg.

GNnorth
Guest
GNnorth

Yes, a leg helmet would have been nice, I broke it again one year later riding at a whopping 4mph on my trials bike, and pavement rewarded me by inserting another five screws and a rod to add to the other twenty, but I digress.

I wasn’t trying to start an argument with you either, just that I have problems with the assertions that once all road/path users abide by the rules we’re considered “safe”. The one comment here by someone about a cat sums up my daily commute in spades, except in my case it’s bunnies, and lots of them. In less than one mile I’ve encountered at least twenty to thirty running amok, the best course of action is to do nothing but cruise ahead. Haven’t hit one yet in five years, but so close!

Now ghost skateboards are a whole other story, I guess bunny-hopping (pun somewhat intended) might be the only solution?

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

The helmet being mentioned is just as bad as when it’s mentioned in a crash with a car.

The quote was “The doctors said without the helmet, my injuries could be life threatening” and the key word here is COULD not WOULD. I don’t think the doctor did anybody a service by making such a conjecture.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

What do doctors know? Sheesh…next time one tells me something about vaccines I will tell them what they can do with their fancy degree.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

So then the doc has the gall to tell my mother a vaccine could protect me from measles, and she says “Look doc, the key word here is COULD not WOULD — you’re not doing me any service by making such a conjecture.” And now I’m covered in these little spots. But on the upside, I had a really good time at the Blazers game tonight!

Champs
Guest
Champs

A roundabout does nothing, but had my suggestion for speed bumps and/or a chicane on the Oaks trail been followed three years ago…

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

I’m so sorry this happened to you, Hien. The design at this intersection could and should definitely be improved but the skateboarder should be held accountable for blowing a stop sign and putting you in harm’s way. Best wishes to our fellow cyclist for a full recovery.

PS
Guest
PS

They should just install a zig-zag of bars you have to weave through at the bottom of the hill before you reach the springwater on the bluff trail. Force riders to come to nearly a stop before they reach the trail. Can’t imagine how much this sucked to wait for an ambulance or have to get up to SE Milwaukie to get to an ambulance.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Skateboarder’s fault, but this is disturbing:

Nguyen says a woman on a skateboard “appeared out of nowhere directly toward my path.”

… and then …

Nguyen claims she didn’t stop at all at the stop sign.

If she “appeared out of nowhere” then there would be no possibility to observe that she didn’t stop at the stop sign. I wish everyone would stop with the “out of nowhere” phrase — “unexpectedly” is the term they’re looking for.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

In this case, isn’t it ‘out of the tunnel’?

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

The tunnel isn’t nowhere.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I haven’t been to this location, but it’s my understanding that the cyclist was proceeding on the main path with the right of way, and the skateboarder came out of the tunnel on the left, where they would have only been visible for about 5 feet before rolling directly across the path of the cyclist.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeportland/16046306519

Is that correct?

I’m not agreeing that the skateboarder appeared out of thin air, because that isn’t actually possible. But if you run a stop sign at a T-intersection where there is maybe a half a second of visibility beforehand, you are might be appearing too quickly to avoid, regardless of the cross-traffic speed.

PS
Guest
PS

Yes, this is correct. There is no sight line of the path as you are approaching on the springwater until you are at the intersection. Coupled with the downhill approach to the intersection and even a cautious rider could have major issues here.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Even that photo shows there is enough sightline for both parties involved that there is no “out of nowhere” blind spot. Also, skateboards tend to make a lot of noise. I don’t know about you, but even with earbuds in, I tent to hear a skateboard long before I see them. Again, the skateboarder is at fault here, but the “out of nowhere” phrase leads me to believe that Nguyen’s ordinary “cautious rider” mode must have been on hold at that moment.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

*tend

Ps
Guest
Ps

Nah, that is southbound, scoot over into the correct lane northbound and there is very little if any line of sight to avoid something like this.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

“Out of nowhere” just means “I didn’t perceive them until it was too late”. Humans have imperfect perception. None of us immune. It happens.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I did not see that comment coming.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

It depends on the wheels. Longboards generally run on larger, softer wheels that are much quieter than regular skateboard wheels.

soren
Guest
soren

i’m very sorry that the person cycling suffered an injury and wish then a complete recovery.

however, i find use of the phrase “appeared out of nowhere” to be unconvincing. imo, the person cycling is **the more dangerous trail user** and it should always be their responsibility to cede right of way to slower and more vulnerable traffic. i believe that in these type of crashes the person cycling should be assumed to be liable unless there is unbiased evidence to the contrary. also, the fact that we are only hearing the account of the person cycling is reminiscent of the way the media only provides the driver’s account following a crash. i personally am reserving judgment until we hear from the skater or another witness.

and, finally, the statement that the person cycling is “…an experienced and cautious rider with ten of thousands of accident-free miles” comes across as irrelevant. even an “experienced cyclist” can be incautious on a trail that is mistakenly treated as a major bikeway.

PS
Guest
PS

Is this sarcasm or un/intentional trolling? Have you ever ridden this before? The trail enters the springwater out of a tunnel under the railroad tracks, there is literally no sightline of the trail as you are approaching.

soren
Guest
soren

This is why there are yield indicators for through traffic and also why someone cycling on a multi-use trail should be proceeding at a crawl through this intersection. If the person cycling had “Idaho stopped” this intersection, the collision would likely not have happened. Unfortunately, people cycling habitually scream through this intersection at 20 mph due to the incline preceding the intersection. If I were to think of intersections where people cycling are most likely to severely injure slower moving vulnerable trail users, this intersection would be in my top ten for sure. This a great example of an intersection where we need stop signs specifically for people cycling.

9watts
Subscriber

“This is why there are yield indicators for through traffic ”

That is the first I’ve heard of this.

That would seem to go against the basic rules of how signage is typically paired at intersections. Two-way stop, four-way stop, yield, are some common ones, but combining stop and yield signs is to me not a combination I can recall encountering, nor do I understand how it is intended to work.

PS
Guest
PS

That’s why I routinely try to keep my minimum speed here at 25 mph, spend less time in the danger zone, ya dig?

SERider
Guest
SERider

What about the stop sign for the path joining the springwater? People on the springwater CLEARLY have the right of way here.

And as others have pointed out there is literally less than 6 feet from the tunnel to the intersection with the springwater. So yes, it’s very feasible that someone could come “out of nowhere” (i.e. from the tunnel).

9watts
Subscriber

“it should always be their responsibility to cede right of way to slower and more vulnerable traffic”

Is the skateboarder automatically the slower or the more vulnerable of the two here? Pedestrian, yes; skate boarder, not so clear, at least to me.

soren
Guest
soren

Walking: 2-4 mph
Jogging/Running: 5-8 mph
Skateboarding: 5-9 mph
Cycling: 12-18 mph

PS: I’m aware that some runners can go 11+ mph and some skateboarders can hit 12+ mph on the flat but these speeds do not represent common recreational/transportation speeds.

9watts
Subscriber

This is one of those situations where averages are not only unhelpful but potentially very misleading. You and I know that it is entirely possible for the person biking to be riding slower than the person skateboarding. Certainly we know which vehicle the operator had theirs under control* and which one abandoned theirs/panicked.

*until the collision, of course, but as Hello, Kitty notes, the responsibility to yield right of way was here squarely the escaped skateboarder’s.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It was an Idaho stop.

9watts
Subscriber

More ignorant jeering.

Do you know what an Idaho stop is?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Whoooosh!

soren
Guest
soren

“Certainly we know which vehicle the operator had theirs under control”

We know this based on a one-sided account that is almost certainly to be biased. An emergency stop by someone skating who is surprised by someone biking too fast for conditions would look exactly like this. Given how people cycling habitually harass slower traffic on this pedestrian-centric facility I remain skeptical of a one-sided account.

“the responsibility to yield right of way was here squarely the escaped skateboarder’s.”

The law says that I have the legal right to mow down pedestrians who jump out in front of me on the PSU cycle track. I would never do this and go out of my way to yield right of way. As is often the case in our antisocial and violent society, the law reflects a might makes right position.

9watts
Subscriber

“An emergency stop by someone skating who is surprised by someone biking too fast for conditions would look exactly like this.”

We seem to be talking about two entirely different situations here. I’m trying to understand how to square what you are conjecturing here with how I understand the rules, the logic, governing this intersection.

The skateboarder had a stop sign; where does your idea of an *emergency* stop come from?

The skateboarder didn’t comply with the sign and caused a crash by someone riding perpendicular and with the right of way (still unclear about your claim that Nguyen had a yield sign);

The skateboarder shouldn’t be surprised by anything; it is much simpler: she disobeyed the stop sign.

A parallel would be to claim that the cyclist who blows the stop sign when entering Ladd’s Circle was surprised by a pedestrian walking too fast for conditions…. That would be ridiculous, and frankly your interpretation strikes me as equally ridiculous.

soren
Guest
soren

The skate boarder stops at the sign looks both ways and proceeds. They are then surprised by someone cycling at high speeds downhill and emergency stop (hop off) to avoid a collision. I’ve seen this kind of interaction (largely with peds) multiple times. Given the relatively steep hill and poor sightlines it’s very hard for pedestrians or other vulnerable trail users to react to people descending the hill at high-speeds.

X
Guest
X

This whole argument of soren’s is a reach. Everyone who has legal access to this intersection is a vulnerable road user, speeds are similar, and in a T intersection the person on the vertical leg of the T does not have right of way. If there’s a blind spot I consider that a hazard and try to avoid a hypothetical crash but there just isn’t any doubt who was in the wrong. The skater blew it.

9watts
Subscriber

“The skate boarder stops at the sign looks both ways and proceeds. They are then surprised by someone cycling at high speeds downhill and emergency stop (hop off) to avoid a collision.”

You must be imagining some other intersection than the one shown in the lede photo above. Anyone stopping at the stop sign at the intersection we are talking about would not only have a clear view in all directions, but if as you suggest they then proceed, they would no longer be traveling perpendicular to cross traffic but parallel to in this case the cyclist.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The skateboarder was at the bottom of a hill.

mran1984
Guest

So, the next time you so valiantly run a stop any skateboard that is pushed under your wheels is acceptable?
Yeah, I would have hopped it…

soren
Guest
soren

I stop for people walking violating my right of way all the time. In fact, just the other day I had to screech to a stop and slide to avoid a person crossing the PSU cycle track mid block with their hood pulled over their face. If I had hit that pedestrian I should be held strictly liable. IMO, taking any other position is incredibly antisocial.

It saddens me to see people on BP take the account by one party in the collision as the gospel truth when we all know that people habitually bike dangerously fast on the Springwater. We also know that people cycling blow through* this intersection at high speeds often. There are yield signs for people cycling here, as I recall, but they are almost never respected by people cycling.

I personally hate using trails, such as, the Springwater because people cycling behave in such a rude and dangerous manner. In fact, I essentially never use them.

*blowing through an intersection is a violation of the Idaho stop law

9watts
Subscriber

“It saddens me to see people on BP take the account by one party in the collision as the gospel truth…”

But is that what is happening here? I’d that the takeaway?

My sense is different: this is a tee intersection and the person passing through on his bike with the right of way was caused to crash by someone flagrantly violating at least one and perhaps more rules. Do we need to know more? What would any particulars change about this assessment?

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“My sense is different: this is a tee intersection and the person passing through on his bike with the right of way was caused to crash by someone flagrantly violating at least one and perhaps more rules. Do we need to know more? What would any particulars change about this assessment?”

the idea that liability for a collision should rest on who was most vulnerable rather than who was culpable/wreckless seems untenable.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

A vehicle with no real brakes probably has a Large chunk of liability under the Oregon insurance system, like 99.9 %? Yes, the cyclist bears .1 % for breathing and being present, I guess.

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

Skateboards can stop just as easily as a bike. It is not difficult and doesn’t require much practice. I would be happy to demonstrate for you in person if you like. Many car drivers think that bikes are out of control vehicles that have no business being on the road. I hope that my cyclist friends won’t use a similar argument against all skateboarders.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It is very possible to “appear out of nowhere” here if someone traveling fairly fast (either on a bike, skateboard, or a pair of running shoes” blasts out from that underpass without slowing down or looking. This is more akin to darting out into traffic between two parked SUVs.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This is a major (i.e. important) bikeway. The skateboarder was clearly in the wrong; there is a stop sign, and how could the collision have occurred if the skateboarder had stopped and yielded the right-of-way?

9watts
Subscriber

We agree!
😉

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

If a cyclist were to blow a stop sign and is hit by a car in the intersection, I’d wager many of the folks here would argue the driver should have been more alert as to not hit the scofflaw.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

No, but I’d argue that the visibility at the intersection could be improved by not allowing parking on the corners of an intersection.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I actually don’t think a single person here would make that argument.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I agree with Paul. No one here would argue that, if it were clear that was what happened.

9watts
Subscriber

So do I.

This is a familiar trope that some here try, over and over:conflate Idaho stop with blowing stop signs with excusing anything and everything someone on a bike does, no matter how foolish or illegal or dangerous. I can’t think of anyone here (any regulars) who Puts those words together, who argues that way.
Mr. False Equivalence is now also Mr. Misconstrue Others.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

“I actually don’t think a single person here would make that argument.”

actually, a single person is making this argument just 5 inches north of your comment.
arguing that bigger more lethal modes have a DUTY to cede right of way to smaller vulnerable modes…”IMO, taking any other position is incredibly antisocial.” and clearly drawing argument that if they are in an accident with a more vulnerable mode who recklessly stepped in their path, that they should nonetheless bear full liability as the more lethal mode.

i’m not saying that people in general on this board wouldn’t accept responsibility for flagrant missteps from someone on a bike, but to say no one would make that argument here is simply disingenuous

soren
Guest
soren

The springwater is not a bikeway at all, it is a mixed use facility where people cycling are, at best, guests. IMO, people cycling should behave with the same courtesy that many of us expect from cars on a greenway. On the springwater people cycling should always yield right of way, always cycle slowly, and always slow down to a near crawl at intersections (where there are yield signs).

9watts
Subscriber

Guests.

Seems like that is the best we get to hope for.
Bike lanes not continuing through intersections – guests.
Where do we get to be hosts? And don’t say Greenways,mbecause that is not how I feel on a greenway.

Platinum…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“IMO, people cycling should behave with the same courtesy that many of us expect from cars on a greenway.”

If I completely ignore a stop sign on a greenway, I expect to be hit be cars travelling across my path with the right of way.

soren
Guest
soren

We have one person’s biased account. I seem to recall that the BP commentariat did not buy the tow truck driver’s claim that Mark Angeles blew a signal (and it turned out that he had not).

X
Guest
X

I’m confused. Are you passing for a bike user here, or a caricature of a liberal, or what? I stop for people who are pushing their baby carriage out against a flashing Don’t Walk signal but that’s not because they are in the right or have made a bunch of good decisions. The skater seems to being going against ORS, common law, good sense, and the unwritten ethic of most active sports: take risks (or calculated chances) as you dare but keep other people safe. Who thinks it’s a good idea to fly down a hill with no runout and no skills?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Which point are you arguing? That the skateboarder is allowed to blow through the stop sign and the cyclist is strictly liable for anything that happens after that? Or that it might not have gone down that way because we only heard from the victim? If your first assertion is true, your second assertion doesn’t matter.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

There are no “bikeways” anywhere in the Portland metro area. One of my pet peeves is we keep calling things “bikeways” and then calling on bicyclists to putter along, yielding to everyone else not using a bike on the “bikeway”. Pedestrians have exclusive rights to sidewalks downtown, automobiles have exclusive use (OARs notwithstanding) of limited-access freeways, bicyclists have exclusive use of nothing. Even bike lanes are seen as sidewalk alternatives, turning lanes for cars, delivery parking, pick-up and drop-off for automobile passengers—and bicyclist right-of-way when in a bike lane is almost completely disregarded, even by law enforcement (and judges). When riding a bicycle, one is considered to be the interloper and the troublemaker everywhere. If you ask the average non-bicyclist, the only place bicycles “belong” is “out of the way”—that way, we can always come out of nowhere, causing our own demise by materializing Star Trek-transporter-style directly in the paths of unsuspecting motorists. Trouble. Nothing but trouble.

pixie
Guest
pixie

comment of the week

soren
Guest
soren

We have a mile or two of genuine “bikeway” but much of that is intentionally designed to slow people cycling down (e.g. the S-curve every block on the Cully cycle track).

It’s illegal to build a roadway without fully separated and signaled sidewalks but, even, today this city calls a line of paint near car doors a “major bikeway”:

https://goo.gl/maps/2eAQSLkpVrw

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Well, I guess I stand corrected RE: Cully, but even there, the street view caught this guy, and I’d hate to see garbage day.

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

I really dislike the Cully cycle track. It shows a disregard for bicycles as transportation. The constant back and forths of those S-curves seek to turn a practical, get-there-efficiently, bike ride into a Sunday stroll. I just take the road. So much more efficient. And I hate that the cycle track creates the expectation that that’s where I have to be. It functions very well as a garbage can storage lane.

Phoenix
Guest
Phoenix

Seems you’re ignoring that the skateboarder had a stop sign & the cyclist did not…

Person using a Skateboard Device
Guest
Person using a Skateboard Device

Did a man operating a bicycle collide with a “skateboarder” or a skateboard?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Did the skateboarder stay at the scene? Are they cooperating with investigators?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Did the skateboard?

esther 2
Guest
esther 2

was the skate boarding wearing a helmet? How about ankle and knee guards?

Phoenix
Guest
Phoenix

A solution: ? a couple of staggered jersey barriers in the underpass requiring those traveling west toward the Springwater trail to actually slow down… as they are the ones joining a more major path.
Or something like they do at MAX crossings where you just can’t run directly across the tracks, but sort of zig-zag around something to cross.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Swing gate!

X
Guest
X

/s? — put some Jersey barriers on it, and maybe a bird on the Jersey barriers because Portland? Since we’re veering into motor vehicle traffic control, how about a runaway skateboard ramp before the tunnel? Just a cubic yard of pea gravel should do it.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

That collision sounds brutal, and 100% the fault of the skateboarder.

Incidents at this intersection are, fortunately, extremely rare. I go through this basically twice a day (on a bike and while running) during prime commuting hours, and have never seen anything go wrong. Thank goodness 99.99% of the population can recognize the lay of the land and act accordingly.

ric
Guest
ric

This is a particularly bad intersection, but redesigning it isn’t going to make any difference if behavior doesn’t change as well. I regularly see near misses at intersections with great visibility simply because one of the cyclists/joggers/skateboarders/whatevers can’t be bothered to look for other trail users. It’s like they think that because there aren’t any motor vehicles on off-road paths, they don’t need to watch where they’re going.

Rob
Guest
Rob

That’s a real bummer for the rider, I hope he’s doing better.
I been riding through this intersection just about every workday since the trail opened. It’s definitely a safety concern (as is almost every intersection), but the situation was much improved with the upgrade they did a while ago.
I definitely do not like the idea of a traffic circle here – it will likely make the intersection worse by putting north bound riders closer to the bridge abutment. As mentioned by a commenter above, a much better solution would be to move the trail over (west).

David Hampsten
Guest

I do remember this underpass when it was just a trail. It seems to me that paving this section has simply encouraged all users to go fast, like a freeway for cars. How about removing the asphalt from the Springwater’s edge, under the railroad, and maybe about 10 feet on the other side, and replacing it with coarse “railroad” gravel and a few potholes to boot, the kind that both bicyclists and boarders would have to walk unless they have dual suspension?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Wheelchair users could walk as well.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Add chaicane gates that could still be navigated at slow speed on a bicycle… http://tinyurl.com/y4eru2os

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

And at a stopped speed by people with child trailers. Sometimes it would take me several minutes to get my bike and the trailer with kid and supplies through one of these things. On a popular trail it’d cause a lot of traffic jams. Better if people just stop at the stop sign and proceed into the blind intersection cautiously.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes, it would be better if they did that.

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

I’m a regular user of the ‘cut through trail’ (my own words). While I understand the perspective of the folks who want to put some sort of diversion on the cut through trail to slow people down, I’m afraid of how difficult it would be to navigate when merging OFF the Springwater onto the trail. I’m always really nervous headed southbound when I turn left onto the trial — I ALWAYS signal but I’m so afraid that someday someone is going to pass me on the left as I’m turning left there — putting barriers in my way once I make this turn will be additional stress. Also, when heading westbound there’s already a pretty good curve to the trail to slow you down anyway.

The sight lines there turning onto the Springwater are terrible. I slow to practically stopping because you canNOT see. I and I think the bollards have made it worse, but that’s one person’s opinion. Some mirrors there would be awesome.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Placing gates/bollards/whatever back a ways, perhaps under the bridge, would address this; having them back a ways would give people coming off the Springwater trunk line room to slow after turning, but would still make it unlikely that someone coming from the cut through as you call it would be entering the trail at speed.

Of course peeling off the trunk line and entering the cut through at speed would also be dangerous to someone walking there.

What about a mirror?

Jolly Dodger
Guest
Jolly Dodger

I HOLLER LOUDLY. “COMING DOWN, COMING DOWN!!! DING, DING DING!!! COMING DOWN!!!”
I can’t believe I have to remind this crowd it is the law for cyclists to give audible warnings in exactly this situation. Why has no one mentioned this? Nobody wants to admit being wrong.

If I’m coming down the hill to the stop side, I stop.
Maybe if the skater had HEARD an approaching cyclist, they may have had time to at least try for a safer bail out? (devils advocate)

But really, having more signs telling people to YELL LIKE HELL OR RING A FRIGGIN BELL!!
Won’t stop or slow folks down the cool boot scoot thru there at full speed cuz it’s too much fun to ride it slow, or safe. I guess.

But a couple of round corner mirrors might help remind people of blind corners without audible warnings.

Jolly Dodger
Guest
Jolly Dodger

And I might add, ive been nearly clipped at the stop sign by cyclists making the turn off of spring water at full tilt on a tight swoop, with absolutely no regard to their recklessness. No signal, no slowing…just pinching so tight they almost clobber you.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I believe the proper thing to holler is “HOT PIZZA!!!!”

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…it is the law for cyclists to give audible warnings in exactly this situation.”

I think it’s only the law “…before overtaking and passing a pedestrian…on the sidewalk.” (ORS 814.410).

This was not a case of overtaking and passing, the bicyclist wasn’t “wrong” for not yelling and screaming down the path.

The more interesting question comes from the part of the above ORS quote that I cut, which reads “…and does not yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians…”. Does that mean a bicyclist has a duty to yield to anyone considered a “pedestrian”, regardless of signage or visibility? I couldn’t find the law specific to skateboarders, but the same law I reference above contains the language, “Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.” I can only imagine a similar principle would apply to skateboarders, so when operating on a MUP, are bicyclists and skateboarders “vehicle operators”, or “pedestrians”? If both are considered the same thing, then would a bicyclist ever be required (other than by prudence) to give an audible signal or yield to a skateboarder?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

This is absolutely not the overtaking-a-pedestrian situation where Oregon law requires an audible warning.

Giving an audible warning is still a very good defensive-riding idea at this location. I may ride past there tomorrow. I’ll remember to give a shout.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’d love to see this. It sounds hilarious.

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

Middle of the Road Guy
They may have been on their cell phone as well for all we know.Recommended 1

They could have been praying the hail mary for that matter. No use in conjecture.

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

This intersection, and others like it, are dangerous by design. No amount of speed bumps or bollards are going to fix the part where the tee intersection happens at the bottom of a trough, the place where you would have the most kinetic energy.
High energy, zero sight lines, and a tight constrained space make it unlikely that the average rider would be able to avoid a collision. Unless you slow to a crawl, how would anyone be able to see a person approaching the intersection in time to slow?

If you were to rebuild the intersection from scratch, the way to do it would be have the tee at the top of a rise, have the paths widen 50-100% and have wide enough lines of sight to see and be seen with 2-3 seconds to react appropriately (idk, 30-50 feet, how about?)

That would be ideal; the topography makes slow the default without adding actual obstacles, there’s time to react, and there’s more than zero space to dodge, if necessary .

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’m curious whether there are any T-intersection roads in the US where the intersecting T is the opening of a tunnel, and is the only side with a stop sign.

9watts
Subscriber

The first one that comes to mind is Homestead Rd S. as it meets River Rd. S. in Salem. The tunnel is an underpass like in the story we’re commenting on, but it is further back from the intersection than here.
https://goo.gl/maps/vuk4SrcFS742

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

My suggestion… remove the tunnel, and then lower the strip of land on the waterfront side. Next, split the trail on the eastside into a “Y” shape, and install two tunnels, one oriented “upstream”, and one “downstream” at an angle that Springwater Corridor users can see into (perhaps even lit at night). This would have the advantage of eliminating the blindspot, and give users a chance to see the merging trail users.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Also make sure that the lowered riverside strip is long enough to allow Springwater Corridor users a chance to slow down before approaching the intersections.

oliver
Guest
oliver

” one oriented “upstream”, and one “downstream” at an angle that Springwater Corridor…”

No can do, that sounds suspiciously like a slip road. The bible says that bicycle infrastructure will have 90 degree transitions at all intersections.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I’d also like to wish Hien a complete recovery. Concussions are no fun. I know… I’ve had 3, and I’m sure that there’s some permanent damage up there.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Another idea… Long stretchs of “rumble strips” made from the plastic used to mark roads on the Oak’s Bottom trail might dissuade skateboarders from bombing through the tunnel. Nothing so high as to stop them, but make it a lot less fun, and a lot more noisy. It would also have the additional visual advantage to remind the Oak’s Bottom trail users of the hazard.

Ruben
Guest
Ruben

Since there will always be someone who rides, bikes, walks, drives unsafely, the answer to inherently dangerous areas is to redesign to minimize the risk. In this case, because visibility is poor you either need to increase visibility by moving the bike path farther west, or slow the speeds of the people coming from oaks bottom by severely narrowing the path. I ride up Tabor a lot and to get to the top circle you have to go through a narrow opening between the gate and a post. Everyone slows down, a lot. Narrowing the path with a gate is cheaper and easier than moving the Springwater trail.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Narrowing the path though is problematic due to standards (such as ADA). But your idea of a gate probably could be done to force Oak’s Bottom users to stop without violating those standards… Maybe something like what TriMet does to prevent people from blithely wandering out in front of the MAX at the Beaverton Transit Center.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

It would also have the added benefit of preventing Springwater Corridor users from trying to do a hairpin turn onto the Oaks Bottom Trail.

Ruben
Guest
Ruben

I forgot to add “skate” to my list of activities 🙂

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Presuming a chicane was added using fencing material, I’d suggest that some kind of low barrier set at skateboard height be added to prevent a runaway skateboard from flying out into the Springwater Corridor should a skateboarder wipe out there.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

comment image

Batty bat
Guest
Batty bat

PLEASE NO MORE ROUNDABOUTS ANYWHERE. I don’t know why making bike infrastructure slower and tedious to use seems like a solution.

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

This, time 1000! (yes, 1000 factorial)

Roundabouts are good when they are applied to traffic that is homogenous, high-ish speed, and when the circle is very wide.
Roundabout make zero sense when they are small diameter, or mix vehicle types of varying speeds.
http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-roundabout-design-for-cyclists.html

But the whole idea of making the bike infrastructure slow is baffling to me.
Biking is good, bicycles are good, riding is fun and everybody should get to enjoy it. We should be doing everything we can to get more people to ride and make it quick and convenient to do so.
Clunky, forced slow or stopped features just don’t fit with bicycles.
If you need to get bikes to slow down, don’t use chicanes, bumps, or gates, just use an INCLINE.
A gentle little incline, followed by a gentle little descent means that any rolling object will naturally lose momentum as it approaches an intersection, then gain back the momentum after the intersection.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

While I agree about the roundabout… I would hate to see that. the idea of an incline though might be tough to pull off (kind of like my two tunnels idea)… A chicane resolves the issue. There are some places that we (cyclists, and other wheel users) need to slow down. Upon saying that, I suddenly realize that for maintenance and emergency vehicle access to Oaks Bottom, any changes need to allow for them too.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Another thing to think about when it comes to inclines is ADA access. Any slope would need to meet ADA standards.

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

You’re absolutely right! The ADA access would need to consider both wheelchairs and 3-wheel recumbent cycles.
Maintenance vehicle access being designed in would probably solve the corner radius and line of sight issues, since any corner a long bed pickup could get around is also wide enough for bikes and peds to easily navigate.

X
Guest
X

Exactly that. Bikes need: visibility and a little space to maneuver. In this case a blind corner justifies the stop sign but most signs on bike trails are farcical.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Conflicts are significantly reduced with this design:

https://goo.gl/maps/2smph1A33JR2

Holtz
Subscriber

I can understand why so many comments focus on individual fault, but that discussion won’t make the dangerous intersection any safer. It needs to be redesigned.

I’m not going to jump to conclusions about the details… other than to say the paint and candlesticks aren’t working. My guess is that a safer design would include extending the pavement west (away from the underpass) far enough to allow people using the bluff trail to clear the underpass, so they can see and be seen before entering the north-south main trail.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Rode through this the other day, coming into it from the Oaks Bottom side. There’s more space between the tunnel and the main path than I remembered. Plenty of room to install a chicane. Don’t put it right at the tunnel exit (where the stop sign is presently located) because visibility to the path from that spot is poor.

Put a chicane a few feet closer to the trail, with a stop sign on it clearly indicating ROW, and you’ve solved the problem.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Someone call up Trimet. I am sure they got some spare swing gates lying around.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Freeway conflicts are solved with interchanges, not swing gates. Why should this be any different?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Because it’s not a freeway?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

The correct answer is that alternate modes of transportation are not taken as seriously as cars. There should be off-street paths that allow higher bicycling speeds (15-20mph) and smooth merges. Instead we get poor visibility at intersections, 90-degree angles, paths that are shared with pedestrians, pets and campers, and stop signs whenever our path crosses a driveway.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That may be, but it is also true that the needs of cars traveling at 65mph on a limited access route are different than bikes on a narrow bike trail, especially at this location. If people respected the stop sign, and (in this case) skated within their ability, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Ruben
Guest
Ruben

Since there are always people who do stupid, inconsiderate things, or go beyond their abilities on whatever mode of transport, the best we can do is to use design to minimize the risk of people doing stupid inconsiderate things. I ride the Springwater regularly and I always assume someone will come through that intersection from Oaks Bottom going too fast. Slow that access to the Springwater with good design. In some ways the Springwater is like a freeway; limited access and higher speeds than in most places. We slow traffic at freeway entrances with stop lights, so let’s slow traffic entering the Springwater at that blind intersection

J. Inscoe
Guest
J. Inscoe

What about a gate chicane at the end of the tunnel to slow down Wildlife Refuge Trailhead traffic that is approaching the Springwater traffic?

Something like this: http://www.greatstreetsmv.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/bike-chicane.jpg

I’m sure someone in the comments above has already mentioned this idea, but just in case…

tyea
Guest
tyea

Perhaps a more graphic collision warning sign would work better. I feel a little fear from those railroad track signs showing a cyclist going over the handlebars.