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

View from Oaks Bottom path where it meets with the Springwater. Photo is from 2015 right after wands and striping were installed.

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.


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

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