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Bicycle rider dies in collision on SE Flavel – UPDATED

Posted by on June 23rd, 2019 at 7:53 am

Looking eastbound on Flavel near 78th. Local residents say this is a popular route for cycling.

A man riding a bicycle was killed this morning. Police say the man was involved in a collision with someone driving a sedan on SE Flavel near 78th.

Ghost bike at the scene.
(Photo: D. Gebhart)

Not many details are known at this point. Below is the police statement:

On Sunday, June 23, 2019, at 3:32 a.m., East Precinct officers responded to the area of Southeast Flavel Street and Southeast 79th Avenue on a report of a person injured in a crash involving a sedan. Portland Fire medics arrived and determined the injured adult male was deceased at the scene.

Preliminary information indicates the male was riding a bicycle and was struck by the sedan. The driver of the sedan remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

The Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team is responding to assume the investigation.

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Southeast Flavel Street is closed from 77-80th Avenues and is expected to remain so for several hours while the investigators conduct the investigation.

If anyone has information about this incident, please call the non-emergency dispatch at (503) 823-3333.

After the deceased is identified and next of kin are notified, his identity will be released.

This location is just a few blocks from where Lydia Johnson was killed in 2016. And another woman, Pamela Seidel, was killed in this area (SE Henderson and 82nd) while biking in October 2018.

This intersection is also part of the route of the forthcoming Seventies Neighborhood Greenway. That project was funded a year ago and is currently still in the planning stages.

In reply to our post about the crash on Twitter this morning, reader Gerik Kransky said, “This is deeply unsettling.” “I ride my bike through here on a regular basis. It’s within a mile of my home and I want to see some physical protection for people who ride bikes on SE Flavel.”

Matchu Williams, an advocate for better transportation in this neighborhood who co-wrote a BikePortland article about gaps in southeast Portland infrastructure last summer, said the lack of protected spaces for vulnerable users is, “a public safety crisis.” “Our most vulnerable community members are repeatedly being killed as a result of unsafe behaviors and missing, safer infrastructure. The street designs offer no protection to the people that need it most in an area that has little political clout to affect change with city, state, and county officials.”

This is the second fatality of a bicycle rider in 2019.

Stay tuned for updates as more information becomes available.

UPDATE, 5:13pm 6/23: Police have arrested the driver in this collision. Here’s their latest statement:

The Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team continues to investigate the fatal crash from earlier this morning. Investigators arrested 21 year-old Nicholas P. Martinez, the driver of the involved sedan (PHOTO).

Martinez was charged with Manslaughter II, Reckless Driving, and DUII (alcohol). He was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center. There is no there other information for release at this time.

UPDATE, 6/25 at 1:27pm: Portland Police have identified the victim as 32-year-old Lance T. Hart.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)AndrewHello, KittysorenEl Biciclero Recent comment authors
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igor
Guest
igor

I used to live in this stretch of Flavel, so the bike incidents in the area always stick with me:
• Lydia Johnson at 82nd and Flavel in July 2016 (https://bikeportland.org/2016/07/30/a-woman-has-died-while-bicycling-on-se-82nd-at-flavel-188700)
• Karla DeBaillie at 112th and Mt. Scott Boulevard (the extension of Flavel) in August 2016 (https://bikeportland.org/2016/08/05/fatal-bicycle-collision-at-se-112th-and-mt-scott-188979)
• I remember another incident at 72nd and Flavel involving pedestrians, but can’t find a link. Maybe someone can refresh my memory.

David Hampsten
Guest

I seem to remember a crash at 92nd & Flavel before I left town in 2015, maybe a year or two earlier, as well as fatal crashes on 82nd nearby. Brentwood-Darlington, while in SEUL, is more like East Portland with all its fatal crashes and traffic injuries.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I just can’t get used to your wording, where you say that a person riding a bicycle collided with a person driving a car. In fact, the car collided with (or made contact with) the rider of the bicycle, causing his death. The person driving the car was untouched, as far as we know.

I know you’re trying to get away from emphasizing the mode of conveyance, but it creates a sense of false equivalence. The fact of the matter is that a person operating an automobile is controlling around 3000 lbs (curb weight of an average compact car) or 3500 lbs (mid-sized car) or 4500 lbs (large car or SUV). The bicycle rider is controlling around 30 lbs, plus his/her own weight, and therein lies the problem. The operator of the vehicle has to control about 100X more mass and associated momentum than the bicycle operator has to control, and however the motor vehicle contacts the bicycle and rider, the bicycle rider is horribly disadvantaged, by the laws of physics. I wish your writing could convey that disadvantage more clearly. I think you can do it without assigning blame to either party. Thanks.

soren
Guest
soren

A person died after being involved with a collision with a bullet. The shooter is cooperating with police and investigations are ongoing.

Middle of The Road Guy
Guest
Middle of The Road Guy

to channel my good friend 9Watts, that’s a blatant false equivalency.

soren
Guest
soren

For decades MADD have fought to make ignition interlocks mandatory but we, as a society, have fiercely resisted this inexpensive safety feature. Sadly, it’s not only voting adults who pay the ultimate price for this “individualistic” narcissism. Cars/trucks and are the top killers of children.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/291043.php

The study results suggest that 85% of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths and 84-88% of nonfatal injuries in the US could be prevented over a 15-year period through installation of interlock devices in all new vehicles.

soren
Guest
soren

and that comment should not have nested.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Your bullet analogy is bad. Just because it may be rare that the cyclist crashes into the car doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Off the top of my head: A cyclist bombing a hill crashing into a car stopped at a stop sign.

David Hampsten
Guest

I’ve crashed (rear ended) into parked cars before. Not on purpose of course, but the sun was in my eyes and I wasn’t paying attention. Totaled the fork and tacoed the front wheel.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

This is very sad. I wonder if the cyclist was difficult to see or lacked appropriate lighting?

David Hampsten
Guest

I wonder how far over the speed limit the car driver was going as they left their lane and swerved into the bike lane – was there even time for the driver to stop before they hit the cyclist? Was the driver impaired or distracted? Were their headlights and brakes working properly?

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

3:32 a.m. Driver remained at the scene and is cooperating. This says bicycle rider is most likely responsible. Dark clothing? No lights? Stay tuned.

mark
Guest
mark

“Driver remained at the scene and is cooperating.”

That does NOT indicate that the bike rider was likely responsible. That’s the trouble with the police press releases including this statement, it allows people without well-developed critical thinking skills to make broad assumptions.

David Hampsten
Guest

DUII, apparently, according to police charges.

Mike Q, had this crash occurred on a street without bike lanes, the possibilities you list might normally seem reasonable. But the fact that there is a clearly marked bike lane on the photo, any sober driver driving within 5 mph of the speed limit even at 3 am would have seen the lanes very clearly and know perfectly well to not cross the lanes except for a right turn, whether the victim had bright clothing or not (which isn’t required by law) and a rear red reflector (which is required). A front light is neither here nor there. The fact the driver quite likely did illegally change lanes indicates that the driver was most likely going too fast, which is often caused by distraction or in this case impairment.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Even when approached from behind, a front light makes a cyclist more visible.

David Hampsten
Guest

This is true. But we know that since the crash was fatal, the speed of the driver was well over 30 mph, likely 40+. Had it been 20, the chances of it being fatal would have been nearly nil (let alone the likelihood of the driver swerving into the victim). Given the higher speed (and driver intoxicant level), what difference does a front light versus street lighting make at this location, at that time, in this case? Even if the driver saw the victim, how could the driver react given his speed and befuddled state of mind?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In the general case being seen vs not being seeing can make all the difference. My point was not to be dismissive of front lighting for vehicles approaching from the rear.

David Hampsten
Guest

Depends on the light (blinky versus a fully-charged 1100 lumen LED for example), it’s angle (high beam versus aimed towards the ground), its mounting (handlebar versus helmet), and of course if it was on or not. But I get your point.

l walker
Guest
l walker

And the fact that the vast majority of cyclists killed on their bikes over the last twenty years in this city being the fault of the person hitting them with a car means nothing, right? Just because someone does the humane thing and does attempt to flee like an absolute lowlife, that absolutely and totally absolves them of any likely responsibility in the crash.

Man, you sound like a freaking intellectual heavyweight.

SD
Guest
SD

Thanks for pointing out that people believe what you just said when cops put this in their official statements as boilerplate text. And, as usual, it was misleading.

SafeStreetsNow
Guest
SafeStreetsNow

The driver was arrested for drunk and reckless driving. Way to immediately jump to victim blaming. You defaced the death of an innocent and vulnerable road user. I hope the victim’s family doesn’t see these comments.

Matt
Guest
Matt

So, the driver was actually drunk and the police arrested him.

We’re all awaiting for your apology for victim-blaming.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Toby Keith
This is very sad. I wonder if the cyclist was difficult to see or lacked appropriate lighting?Recommended 0

Blaming the victim didn’t take long…

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Neither did making assumptions about who the victim was.

Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

Generally the dead guy is the victim, I feel pretty confident saying. Even if it was an “accident” and “nobody” is at fault. The guy with dents and inconvenience, claiming HE’S the victim, when someone lies dead, would ordinarily be the perfect example of a narcissistic douchebag. Unless:

– he was attacked by the guy on the bike, so ferociously that he not only feared for his life, but for some reason couldn’t just drive away, and had to run the guy down in self-defense

– the guy on the bike intentionally committed suicide by car

Can’t think of any more, and both of these are already a little on the outlandish side.

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

JeffS
Neither did making assumptions about who the victim was.Recommended 0

The “victim blaming” opportunists are a plenty on this blog. I rarely see them add anything besides the cliches.

l walker
Guest
l walker

Because they’re always small minded bullies who like to harass cyclists and make us feel uncomfortable. Seriously, who would hear about a cyclist being hit and killed and have the first thought that goes through their mind be ‘How can I make this the fault of the person killed, without any evidence?’

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Hate to hear about this happening so close to where I live. Glad the driver stayed.

Chloe and PBOT have been clear about BD, subpar upgrades are what we get despite a tremendous disadvantage from what the rest of this city is afforded. I guess the upside is that we don’t suffer from over the top, unnecessary changes that they are so quick to bless other ‘hoods with like diverters, “meandering travel ways”, and protected bike lanes.

jeff
Guest
jeff

you have ZERO idea if the rider was at fault…blowing a stop sign…drunk…high….so lets stop blaming anyone until there are more facts, including the driver.

Edward
Guest
Edward

If the driver was “drunk” or “high” … we do this collective category of automatic blame. But why? Because we all view ourselves as “good sober drivers” so we would be more likely to sympathize with and maybe forgive a sober driver who messes up and gets into a fatal collision? The driver definitely plays a role. I don’t want to minimize that at all. But focusing on the driver and whether he was drunk or high minimizes how truly unsafe our system is. It’s entirely predictable that humans will keep behaving like humans and do stupid stuff, make horrible mistakes. The system should be built safer. This is an absolute tragedy.

JP
Guest
JP

At the time you wrote this, you’re right. There was no information on who might be at fault. Now, we know. The driver was under the influence and was also charged with manslaughter and reckless driving. I know it’s frustrating when folks jump to conclusions, but I hope you’d agree that this type of scenario is more common than virtually any alternative. I invite you to peruse the 2019 traffic fatality tracking page here: https://bikeportland.org/fatality-tracker

Edward
Guest
Edward

Now that more information is out, I’m going out on a very long limb to double down on what I said earlier. When we focus our judgment on the wrong things one bad actor did (and it does look very bad and I do not want to minimize that at all, because those truly are horrifically awful details), our moral judgment doesn’t help us fix anything. There’s still a dead human being. And every person who rides a bike is at risk of being the next dead human being when it happens again … and it will happen again because humans make predictably bad choices. The system should be built so that when one human makes bad choices, another human does not end up dead.

l walker
Guest
l walker

I bet a lot of these guys see these stories, and enjoy coming here and making us feel even worse than we already do when we hear about cyclists being killed. Think about the type of person who would intentionally do that.

Middle of The Road Guy
Guest
Middle of The Road Guy

Sometimes we contribute to the negative outcomes we find ourselves in. Doesn’t mean anyone deserves to get hurt, but sometimes we contribute to the cause.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Thank goodness we have you to remind us just one day after a cyclist has been killed by a drunk driver that dead people sometimes contribute to being killed. What a noble purpose that comment serves.

l walker
Guest
l walker

I’m sure if you’re ever killed by a drunk driver, your family will make sure to have that in the preamble at the funeral before the service starts.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

For sure, since the motorist stayed on the scene, the motorist’s insurance will pay for his/her damage to his/her vehicle, and will assuredly not receive a ticket.
If it would have been a police bicycle or motorcycle the motorist hit, the motorist would have been in jail charged with attempted murder or premeditated murder.
As it is, there will likely not be any mark on the motorists record, except possibly an endorsement.
If the motorist was coming home from a pub. There will be only an attaboy.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Now that the driver has been arrested, do you still believe this?

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Very sad in any case. 78th and Flavel is the crossing of the 70s Bikeway and where it slides west to Flavel Park to a new MUP south. Having worked on this project for years, I hope that PBOT takes this opportunity to remove a row of Parking and modernize and potect the bike Lanes from 80th to 72nd.

This Bikeway will provide two crossings between 82nd and 72nd where currently there are none, a speedway design. When we get more details we can assess wherever these coming improvements 2020-2021 would have prevented this death.

PDXCyclist
Guest
PDXCyclist

Reminder to everyone commenting that the family and friends of the deceased may be reading this news article including the comments section and we should all strive to be respectful in our comments.

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

This area has a history of fatal outcomes. There is a pattern of unsafe driving here with cars driving at excessive speeds upon exiting 82nd Ave and accelerating on the approach to I-205 and 82nd Ave highways on the collector streets (i.e. Johnson Creek, Flavel, Duke, Woodstock, Holgate). Flavel St, where the most recent vulnerable road user died, is a streamlined route to the Happy Valley communities including Rock Creek and the actual Mt. Scott peak. It is also two blocks away from Whitman Elementary and next to a Department of Human Services location adjacent to frequent service bus lines on 82nd Ave.

Lydia Johnson was killed here by a right turning truck on Flavel St eastbound at the intersection with 82nd Ave. Pamela Seidel was one block north of Flavel St at the intersection of Henderson-Knapp at 82nd Ave. The intersection of Seidel’s death will be upgraded with Safe Routes to Schools funds in 2020 with the completion of the Knapp-Odgen neighborhood greenway.

This is a public safety crisis. Our most vulnerable community members are repeatedly being killed as a result of unsafe behaviors and missing, safer infrastructure. The street designs offer no protection to the people that need it most in an area that has little political clout to affect change with city, state, and county officials.

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

78th & Flavel St is where the 70s Greenway will be constructed. Unfortunately, a number of the crossings at collectors are “paint only” in many locations with high Average Daily Traffic counts (e.g. SE 77th Ave & Woodstock). The Duke crossing leverages an existing signalized pedestrian SRTS crossing at 78th & Duke. If the person on the bike was attempting to turn left from Flavel St, the other person driving must not overcome a turning vehicle, but until more details emerge we have just a brief police description for now. 🙁

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

It seems like the police actually arresting and charging a deadly motorist with felonies should ease some of the pain. Unfortunately, it does very little in this regard. The fact is we have created and continue to support a transportation paradigm that says, “Get in a car and drive with utter disregard for others if you wish to move about.” It’s deadly, destroys communities and, in a much shorter time-frame than we thought just a few years ago, is likely to kill hundreds of millions (billions?) more innocent people.

When we stop calling transit, walking, wheel-chairing, scootering and cycling “alternative transportation” then maybe we’re on the road to a reasonable transportation system.

Fred
Guest
Fred

COTW (comment of the week).

Middle of The Road Guy
Guest
Middle of The Road Guy

There seems to be a lot less actual comeuppance regardless of the crime.

Is it the DA office, lack of prison space, societal values?

Sheilagh Griffin
Guest
Sheilagh Griffin

Two lives “lost” in this collision. So sad for the deceased and family. This will be very difficult for the driver, 21 is a young age to face this much – not an excuse, just an observation. This collision is heartbreaking in so many ways!

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

“[…] it appeared the crash started at 78th and the bike was dragged about 150 feet.”

I’m so saddened by all of this.

https://www.koin.com/news/crashes/bicyclist-dies-in-crash-with-sedan-in-se-portland/2094051786

David Hampsten
Guest

Thank you for the link. Judging from the images and damage to the car front, I’d say the driver was going over 40 mph when he hit the victim, then dragged the bike 150 feet.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

The next article after the one you linked illustrates just how bad of an idea amateur operation of multi ton machinery is: https://www.koin.com/news/crashes/car-flips-in-nw-portland-driver-not-hurt/2093171493

Tom
Guest
Tom

The “Safe Ride Home” program should be expanded to include at least every weekend, not just a few holidays, with funding coming from existing liqueur license and TNC fees. Bartenders should be given the ability to give out the voucher codes as they feel warranted, and the codes should time-out if not used to prevent abuse. Currently the Vision Zero program seems very week on drunk driving.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I suspect that most terrible drunk drivers start out as terrible sober drivers.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Reading this stuff is tough. I ride to work every night in outer east Portland. I do as much as I can to remain visible, I take the lane when needed for safety, light myself up like a Christmas tree, behave predictably, but it’s always in my mind that it may not even matter and a ghost bike might be placed along my commute one of these days. Riding my bicycle to my $14/hr night watch job is a life threatening activity. This death happened on flavel, could have easily been Prescott, or Glisan. Riding home at 6am is the worst. It seems like everyone is just a little more pissed off in the morning, and it really shows. All I want to do is make it home in one piece so I can continue to do the things I enjoy. And I’m sure drivers want to get where their going without killing anyone, or being killed by another driver. I get it, living is inherently dangerous. But death by car seems to be an acceptable inevitability.