A man riding a bicycle on SW Pacific Highway (99W) in Tigard was killed last night after a collision with a driver.
Tigard Police say the bicycle user was going southbound when he and the driver of a white Mazda Miata collided. It happened just before 8:30 pm. This section of 99W has seven lanes, including two bicycle only lanes and a center turn lane.
Based on a photo from the scene, the bicycle and car came to rest about 560 feet north of the SW Gaarde Street intersection. The victim’s body is about 150 feet away from where the driver finally stopped. Here’s the statement released by Tigard Police:
Based on witness statements and the investigation, the driver of a white, convertible Mazda Miata was traveling southbound on SW Pacific Hwy in the right travel lane. A bicyclist was also traveling southbound on SW Pacific Highway in the bike lane and then entered the right lane. The Miata struck the bicyclist, causing the individual to hit the pavement. By the time officers arrived, the adult-male bicyclist was deceased.
The driver stayed at the scene and was fully cooperative with investigators. At this time, it has been determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
A Tigard Police Traffic Safety Officer, who is a member of a multi-agency Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team, is leading the investigation to determine the causation of this crash, including whether speed or other factors contributed to this incident.
The victim’s name is being withheld while police work to contact next of kin. If anyone witnessed this crash or the driving of the white Mazda Miata, please contact Officer Rod
Morse at 503-718-2753 or Rod.Morse@tigard-or.gov.
It’s important to note that Oregon Law (ORS 814.420) allows bicycle riders to leave the bicycle lane to make a left turn or to avoid hazardous debris. I will also point out that speed is always a factor in fatal collisions like this because if the driver was going zero miles per hour, the bicycle rider would still be alive.
A woman interviewed by KATU news said the highway is dangerous and people regularly drive 50 mph. Nearby resident and BikePortland reader Ramtin Rahmani rides by this intersection frequently. He told us, “Pretty much no one rides on 99W because it’s a death trap.”
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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I hope there were witnesses other than the motorist who can attest to what happened.
I see more motorists driving in the bike lane than I see bicyclists leaving the bike lane to ride in a general purpose lane.
And then they ask for any witnesses to contact them… so… I’m suspicious.
And by stating the rider left the lane they’re victim-blaming. It’s only an illegal action if you don’t leave enough time for motorists to stop. And it’s possibly there was plenty of time for the motorist to stop but they may have been speeding and distracted. They didn’t state that the witnesses reported the rider leaving the lane directly into the path of the driver without enough response time.
You call it “victim blaming” when he veered into fast-moving traffic?!
Why do people think they have a “right” to be around faster, heavier vehicles and somehow defy the laws of physics? Bicyclists aren’t automatically, smart, safe people by mere virtue of being on a bike, any more than blacks are victims no matter how they endanger themselves with reckless actions around police. This unnamed cyclist could have been some weaving, drunk vagrant for all we know.
I don’t like to ride anywhere near fast-moving cars, and use sidewalks wherever it’s legal and provides a barrier. Drivers simply can’t see you very well; same deal with motorcycles. It’s about human perceptual limits, not inalienable rights. To survive on the road, you have to respect physics and Murphy’s Law.
People need to snap out of their lawsuit-happy fog where insurance or self-righteousness is supposed to protect everyone from personal recklessness, and cyclists are automatically “better” people than drivers.
I regularly ride this street heading up the hill. Just about everywhere else in the same area is just as bad or worse. There has to be a security video from one or more of the businesses along the street. It is a safe bet that the car was doing at least 50+ Speed limit is no more than 35. Odds are the cyclist was not in the traffic lane but the motorist was in the bike lane trying to pass a car, truck or SUV on the right side. No one has mentioned the driver’s name. The driver is completely liable. 150+ feet before he was able to stop indicates the motorist was accelerating when he hit the cyclist.
There are speed cameras on this road somewhere. Do they record every car that passes or only the ones that are exceeding the limit?
No speed cameras here, unfortunately. Tualatin uses them, on some intersections, but Tigard hasn’t got permission to do it yet. They’re trying, also red-light cameras at certain intersections with 99W.
Your comment contains so much speculation that your conclusion that the driver is liable is laughable. Why can’t people wait for facts before deciding to hang the driver or the cyclist?
What is the speed limit? A 150 feet stopping distance corrollates to 45mph at time of collision.
There’s about a 1% chance that the driver was obeying the speed limit. If you are involved in a fatality while exceeding the speed limit, there should be mandatory penalties.
Such as prison for murder. Same as if I accidentally shoot you.
I think you mean manslaughter or negligent homicide, but yeah.nslauN
Murder requires intent.
A motorist by the act of exceeding the speed limit indicates “Intent”.
Not quite. If anything, speeding indicates intent to speed. At most it could be considered “careless” in the legal sense, but it still doesn’t indicate intent to run anyone over.
The real trouble is that a certain amount of speeding is still considered “safe” driving, simply because everybody does it, and we have a lax attitude about it.
So if the driver didn’t attempt to stop at all before hitting him then he clearly wasn’t looking enough to see the man, thus how does he know the man left the bike lane?
Because maybe the cyclist left the lane so quickly there was not time to stop.
That assumes they applied the brakes immediately. Entirely possible there was a reaction time before they were applied – especially if the bike drifted into the lane and the driver reacted after the collision.
That would mean the driver was going slower.
Ride often? Ride with a mounted camera.
You or someone else got me thinking about it in the past. But on looking into them, no manufacturer seems willing to attest that the footage will survive a crash. What are your thoughts on the memory card making it through a 45+ mph vehicle collision like this one?
SD cards might be offered pretty reasonable protection via the relatively-squishy electronics surrounding them — you can find at least one video from a camera that fell from a plane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrxPuk0JefA .
I personally use a RidEye. It’s designed to hold up in a crash, and automatically saves-off footage 5 minutes before a crash and 5 minutes after and won’t over-write those videos when it loops back. This way if I’m incapacitated and unable to shut off my camera the footage won’t get overwritten accidentally. I often use the footage to contact companies, via social media, when their drivers are aggressive towards cyclists, or I catch them being idiots and they need a talking to. You can also simply push a button on the camera to save-off footage when you catch something on camera that you want to save for later.
And here is ODOTs real responsibility: 500 million to “fix” congestion at the IRQ or putting protected bike lanes and medians on every major highway in the Portland area?
ODOTs last project most similar to IRQ went 300% over budget, so IRQ should be more like 1.5b. In terms of equavalent miles of protected bike lanes this would be 68,000 miles of post delineated bike lanes. There are only 8,000 miles of highway in the state, so they would have way too much money left over.
This makes me very sad. I grew up near here and rode my bike in the area as a teenager, but back in the 70’s it seems that motorists were not as speed crazed or distracted. The other possibility ,besides the likely one that the motorist was passing in the bike lane, is that the cyclist was entering the bike lane to get over to the left hand lane to turn on to McDonald, and the Miata driver was traveling at such a high rate of speed that the victim did not perceive how quickly the motorist would be upon them. Hwy 99 is truly a wretched piece of infrastructure here and ODOT should be ashamed of themselves for creating this death trap.
I don’t think shame ever enters into ODOT’s thinking. They are simply proud of the great four-lane highway they created in the 1960s and have maintained ever since. It’s great for cars and trucks, which is what really matters to them.
Question for the group: How many times have you been riding in the bike lane on a four-lane highway like 99W and needed to make a left turn across two lanes of traffic? You extend your left arm straight away from your body to make the left-turn signal, and then you glance at your mirror and then quickly over your left shoulder to see if the road is clear (it almost never is). Do you decide to chance it and move into the right-hand “travel” lane? (using Tigard Police’s phrase, the bike lane not being for “travel” – whatever). Or do you wait and make absolutely sure the TWO lanes of cars are yielding before you make the move?
I’ve tried this exact maneuver many times on this very stretch of road, and almost NO ONE – no driver of any car or truck – slows down and yields to my left-turn signal. I think it has happened one or two times, out of hundreds of times I’ve tried it. Drivers just don’t see bikes – that’s a fact. And nothing in our current system will force them to do so. I’ll bet the Miata driver is back out there driving this morning – no consequences except maybe a weight on his/her conscience. Overall the system continues as it did before.
The only safe option for cyclists is to go to the next light, pull into the crosswalk, and press the “walk” button, right?
You’re not kidding. I tried to take the lane here this morning so that I could turn left into the parking lot, and even though I signaled in advance and tried to drift left into the lane, the driver behind me didn’t yield at all and would have plowed into me if I hadn’t quickly moved back into the bike lane. And this is approaching a stop sign, where her time savings was approximately 2 seconds.
Good luck getting drivers to yield on 99W.
This is horrific. Meanwhile, you can track how the car hit the person by damage to the car (from the pic) pretty clearly shows damage to the right front corner of the car, which also has a busted headlight and a human shaped damage imprint in the windshield. There are no skid marks so the driver did not slam on the brakes. A busted headlight can be helpful in investigations because a filament that’s lit is soft and pliable, but when there’s a collision the circuit is cut and the filament freezes in that shape at the moment of impact. Hope they get that asap and hold onto it. Meanwhile, it’s time to amend ORS 811.065 about passing a bicyclist (have to do it safely and give enough space if bicycle rider veers, but not if car is going over 35 mph, or if there’s a bike lane).
Actually it is if the car is going under 35 but yes I agree. I feel major flaw in this is that it does not apply to when there is a bike lane, like this instance. This safe passing law should apply to roads even with bike lanes. Riding in the left side of the bike lane means your elbows are on the white line, absurd that it’s not a legal requirement to give a safe passing distance.
Edward, does your headlamp condition also include the newer LED lamps? And do you have a link to this research…it is potentially interesting.
More and more cars have anti-lock brakes and so we should be seeing less skid marks. But the stopping distance shows that they were likely going almost 50 MPH.
Or it could indicate they hesitated for a second before applying the brakes. Same overall distance accounted for at a lower speed.
So many possibilities to consider.
I ride this area regularly when I ride my bike to work. Drivers are not regularly doing 50 mph in this area. Another 1/4 – 1/2 mile farther toward Sherwood people are going faster but at that point the speed limit increases from the 35 mph in this crash area to 40 mph at Bull Mountain rd. Generally I find this southbound route to be very safe. It is up hill so you are not riding super fast so you have more time to anticipate the cars making left and right turns in front of you. The northbound route through this area is much more dangerous because you can ride very fast down the hill and there are a lot of people turning in and out of businesses. When I am going northbound I usually skip 99W in this area. Sadly there is not a whole lot you can do to stay safe from being hit from behind.
The worst parts of 99W for bikes is the viaduct over Fanno creek between Greenburg and Johnson where there is no bike lane and the northbound area where it crosses I5.
I made a bunch of assumptions of my own when I read this. Awful, but can we hang the driver of the Miata based on the article above? Nobody can guess how any driver will react in such an event. Two seconds of shocked disbelief? Completely possible.
Driving a car is a problem behavior even when it’s me but about a million people in this town do it. Doesn’t make it right. We have no way to know, right now, if this driver did anything more culpable than the next one ahead or behind.
Don’t get me wrong. When I read these articles, all too often, I do mourn the victims. There goes me next time?
Transportation shouldn’t come with such a regular body count. 150 plane loads of people each year in the US? Travesty.
Hi X, I mostly agree, but I’m going to nitpick this phrase:
“more culpable than the next one ahead or behind”
I don’t think drivers should be judged in comparison to other drivers. That’s a pretty low bar, as we have seen over & over again. Almost all drivers need to be doing a better job of actively watching for vulnerable road users and adjusting their awareness levels to their surroundings. You can’t just blast down a stroad at 50mph, inches away from someone in a bike lane and figure that, hey, you’re probably doing as good a job as the guy behind you.
Every time an unfortunate story like this is published here, a lynch mob mentality develops.
And then you and HK swoop in to defend mediocre motor vehicle operation. Yes, we’ve been here before.
you mistake pushing back on a lynch mob mentality as being supportive of the other side of the argument.
Remaining objective is not being supportive of drivers – it’s simply not being supportive of you.
Your objectivity is flawed when you’re clearly in favor of people dying over disallowing people driving motor vehicles to break the law.
you are clearly ascribing values to me that you cannot confirm I have.
This smacks of “fine people” on both sides. Either you believe you’re objective which would make you mentally defective, or you’re just a troll.
Or you have a bias you are unaware of.
Someone who is actually objective would realize not everything is an “either or” scenario.
There is no way to ascertain fault based on the information in the post. Those of you ascribing bias to MOTRG for pointing out this fact are only showing your own.
You say that as if a lynch mob is a bad idea.
I think over 30,000 deaths a year deserves a lynch mob to wipe out the threat. But let’s not forget that the monster here is the vehicle.
Not forming a mob seems like compliance that we’re all OK with these deaths. It seems perverse to not eradicate this problem.
A white convertible with the top down.
Hmmmmm. I’m *sure* they were obeying the speed limit and fully aware of their surroundings!!!! *insert world’s most enormous eyeroll*
Ahh yes, the youthful zest of top-down motoring.
I can’t exactly tell what you’re going for here, but I used to drive a Miata, same generation as the one in the photo. With the top down, you are indeed much more aware of your surroundings.
Miatas also a relatively small cars – they don’t take up much space in a lane.
Miatas aren’t very fast when stock, although we may never know how this particular driver was driving at the time of the collision.
The powers that be help us if you ever end up on a jury. Somebody who is “sure ” that someone is speeding because of the type of car they drive has amply demonstrated that they are unqualified to be determining anyone’s guilt or innocence or assigning liability.
I witnessed the unfortunate and tragic event. The driver was in excess of the 35 mph speed limit for this area, but the cyclist definitely left the bike lane looking as if they were going to try to cross to the other side of the road when they seen a break in traffic. From my perspective of at about 150 feet behind the car, the cyclist made a sudden turn into the traffic lane about 15 to 20 feet in front of the car leaving little to no reaction time for the driver. So driver was wrong for speeding, and cyclist was wrong for suddenly leaving bike lane with no warning. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Al, Have you reached out to the Tigard police?
I ran by this site yesterday morning. There are many skid marks on the ground, paint indicating tire positioning, and a big yellow circle on the ground where, presumably from the picture above, the bike ended up.
Southbound drivers between Park and King City are accelerating– the speed limit is 35 but the only time you’ll catch anyone doing it is if they are turning into a driveway or road, or the light is red, or it’s rush hour traffic. At 8:30 at night, it’s not that congested and it is very easy with green lights from BiMart up to Bull Mountain to be well in excess of 45mph. Even unintentionally, most drivers’ speed will drift up with multiple clear lanes in front of them– there are three lanes from just before Gaarde to Bull Mountain, it looks like a freeway and people drive accordingly.
I live about a mile and a half from where this crash happened. I used to ride my bike up 99W but in the last few years the bike lanes have been choked full time with gravel, glass, garbage, landscape debris, road construction signs, etc. Tigard is usually very good about cleaning up bike lanes, their Public Works Department is very good, but they can’t do anything about ODOT’s roads (Hall, Upper Boones, 99w, Scholls) but pass on the request and hope someone does something about it.
I presumed the bike rider in this incident left the lane because there’s so much crap in it, or to turn left although I would never try that maneuver across that many lanes (4 including the left turn lane and not including the bike lane). I am very sorry for this loss of life, I found out this morning that a friend was very good friends with the rider and that this carelessness was atypical.
Thank you for your objective, eyewitness account. It helps bring clarity to what happened and helps eliminate wild, biased speculation.
MOTRG, you really should ask yourself seriously whether you’re all about objectivity. It’s pretty clear the deck is stacked against cyclists in our transportation system – there’s a reason they are called VULNERABLE road users. If you are working to uphold the status quo, you are working against safety for all cyclists and all VRUs. When a cyclist is killed, we should all be asking how we can change the status quo, not uphold it. It’s kind of like the media’s obsession with finding the “motive” for a mass shooting: who gives a s**t! Take away his damned guns.
Where did I say uphold the status quo? You are putting words in my mouth that I did not say and then projecting other things based on it.
I simply choose not to go along with the assumption and supposition in individual circumstance – you know, being analytical instead of doing emotional thinking.
Is it tough to be a cyclist and can drivers be jerks? Absolutely! But that does not mean each and every event is a result of a driver being a jerk. I’ve made a bad decision here and there (very similar to what the cyclist in the story did) as a cyclist/VULNERABLE road user that increased my risk as well. In that case it was my fault. Other times I’ve been buzzed by trucks or cars too close – not my fault.
If it were up to the majority of posters on this site, there would be no analysis of each crash and they would lynch the driver regardless of circumstance. This is why we have juries instead of trials by mobs.
No, we have a system where the crash analysis is performed by people who exclusively get around by car. There is inherent bias in the system. Your repeated defense of this flawed system betrays your bias as well.
On the other hand Chris, your perception of yourself as a vulnerable user also distorts your perception.
Just like a dog that has been abused its whole life, it will perceive the hand raised to pet it as one raised to abuse it.
Also, just because a system may have bias does not mean everything that occurs within the system is a result of bias. Policing may be biased, but a minority can still commit a crime, no?
Without more information, I’m not sure how you determined the drive was speeding, but if true, and if the cyclist also acted negligent, this becomes a case of comparative negligence. The cyclist’s survivors would still be entitled to damages, but they would be reduced by the percentage of fault that was determined to be the cyclist’s.
When you drive the speed limit it’s easy to tell when people are speeding because they’re passing you.
Al Lester’s post does not say he was passed by the driver of the Miata. Like others, you assert your own speculation as fact to serve your biased narrative. Not surprising from someone who said lynch mobs are okay if they are in service of a “good” cause. I prefer that decisions on fault and consequences be made on the basis of evidence and the rule of law.
Politically-correct cyclists continually try to pretend they can win a battle of vehicular mass.
Even though it’s legal to ride on roads, it’s literally a life or death situation to be anywhere near fast-moving traffic, much like being stuck on the side of the freeway. It doesn’t matter how anyone feels about the situation. You know speeders exists and you know sh-it happens, so you have to be realistic.
Cyclists (I’m one too) need to drop all sense of self-importance and deal with the limited sight-lines and much higher energies of cars and trucks vs. people on flimsy frames with two wheels. That’s why I keep as far away from cars as possible on streets with any sort of traffic density, or speed limits over 25 MPH. The sidewalk is legal to use in most cases (outside of downtown Portland) and should be used wisely when needed.
Okay, what is done is done. Unchangeable, let’s all pray for the family and loved ones.
I think what people really want is thorough analysis, followed by action to make things safer. Many times even if a incident such as this is analyzed, no or little action occurs to prevent future deaths. Lynching is not what people want here, just change for the better of all.
All of Washington County and the cities inside of it should stop allowing construction of drive-thrus and construction of car dealerships.
I’m very disappointed in all of this blame for the driver or the person on a bike. The traffic engineers need to be called out to answer for allowing and maintaining the situation where cars are going fast enough to kill when someone makes a mistake.
In the real world, that requires an endless amount of blame. Nothing involving mass and speed can be totally safe. Bikes near cars with no physical barrier are gambling with their lives in any situation. A line of paint only means as much as the carefulness of rider or driver, and this rider was documented swerving into the road (most of the blame).
I saw this I was driving back from my school talent show and we saw it the dead body
I’m not blaming the victim, but riding at night is vastly more risky than during the day.