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Man riding a bicycle dies after collision with a truck driver in Goose Hollow

Posted by on February 18th, 2020 at 9:07 am

Looking southbound on SW Vista at SW Park (direction truck driver was traveling).

Portland Police just announced that a male bicycle rider died after he was involved in a collision with the driver of a truck in southwest Portland early Monday (2/17) morning.

Here are the details from the PPB:

On Monday, February 17, 2020 at 12:28am, Central Precinct officers were dispatched to a crash at Southwest Vista Avenue and Southwest Park Place. When officers arrived they discovered a vehicle struck a bicycle. The bicyclist suffered a head injury and was transported to an area hospital and was listed to be in critical care. Later in the day, the medical examiner notified the police bureau the bicyclist did not survive.

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Officers from the Traffic Division investigated the crash. The investigation preliminarily determined the driver of the truck was driving southbound through the intersection on a green light. The bicyclist entered the intersection with neither a helmet nor a light on. The driver of the vehicle was traveling at an estimated 25-30 miles per hour and was unable to stop before hitting the bicyclist. The driver of the vehicle was cooperative with police and was not determined to be impaired.

We will update this post when we get more details.

The intersection of SW Vista and Park is relatively straightforward. Driving southbound on Vista however, you can see that a large concrete wall creates a bad sightline with traffic coming from the right. Also worth noting here is that SW Park is very steep just before Vista. Park is the street that heads downhill and is often used by bicycle riders as an exit from Washington Park (which is just three blocks away from this intersection).

Given the time and day of this crash, I am curious if the person riding was taking part in the weekly Zoobomb ride. I’ve contacted someone who was on the main Zoobomb ride at that hour and they’ve confirmed the group was not on this route at that time.

If anyone has any information, please get in touch.

This is the first fatal crash involving a bicycle rider so far this year.

— 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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Chris I
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Chris I

12:28am would be too late for a Zoo Bomb, right? I would guess that the cyclist was impaired somehow.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Please don’t guess about something like that.

Al
Guest
Al

Exactly! I know someone hit this same way who was knocked unconscious. When he came to in the ambulance, the police already got “everything they needed to know” from the driver. There were no other witnesses and both driver and rider said they entered the intersection on a green light. Driver was never cited. Rider was in critical condition for a week and took a year to recover from the accident.

Dan M
Guest
Dan M

My husband Dave witnessed the accident while on security watch at Park Place Tower and was the first person on the scene. It occured as reported.

Genuine Human
Guest
Genuine Human

Genuine question, no intention of being snarky. Are you familiar with the person that said their Husband witnessed the accident? If so, okay, ignore me. If not, don’t you find it a tad odd that you questioned the PPB report (rightfully so) but then 100% believed a lone comment from a stranger on the internet?

Jason
Guest
Jason

Pictures or it never happened.

Joe Fortino
Guest
Joe Fortino

buddy of mine provided first aid he said 🙁 huge concern is why is it getting crazy riding at night now? RIP

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I ride very early in the morning (5am), and haven’t noticed a difference. I don’t run red lights, though.

The Dude
Guest
The Dude

Sometimes, man, reading some of the things you say here, particularly this, is difficult. It seems to me like maybe you grew up under power lines, or your mom was a heavy drinker, or maybe were dropped on your head as a child. I don’t know.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

No need for personal insults.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Wow.

Rain Waters
Guest
Rain Waters

Mom sez it takes one to know one

crotchrocket
Guest
crotchrocket

Far less drunkies at that hour

Joe Fortino
Guest
Joe Fortino

Chris I
I ride very early in the morning (5am), and haven’t noticed a difference. I don’t run red lights, though.Recommended 0

are we sure he ran a red?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

No — the cyclist could have entered the intersection northbound on a green and turned left across the path of the truck (which sounds like it was traveling straight through the intersection in a southbound direction, which, if it had a green light as was stated in the report, would have given it the right-of-way).

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

According to PPB the vehicle only struck a bicycle, wonder how the cyclist injured his head… /s

Jon
Guest
Jon

This once again reinforces for me that wearing a helmet is a critical part of bicycle safety. I know plenty of people will say “I’ve been riding for 20 years without a helmet and I’ve never had a head injury so I’ll never let someone tell me what I need to wear.” Statistics are clear. Wear a helmet and you reduce the chance of death from a bicycle crash.

Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

Seems like brakes were the key piece of safety gear here. I focus on avoiding collisions, not surviving them. Surviving them is a game with poor odds.

Joe Fortino
Guest
Joe Fortino

well sorry this touch a nerve with me but timing is a huge factor with some intersections and also that area speed is a huge factor with car traffic and bike traffic..

q
Guest
q

Jonathan, I’m glad you mentioned not only the obvious sightline issue for people coming up Vista to that intersection–the concrete wall on the right–but also the uphill steepness. It’s steep enough that you have no visibility of the intersection until you’re close to it. You can see how different the view is here just a few yards downhill from the view you chose: https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5216886,-122.698215,3a,75y,166.81h,86.99t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sIKwZuMRiY4AlAwlbzXyA2Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

And the walls’ visual blockage would be even worse if the view were taken from the uphill lane, close to the wall. Also, it could be relevant that the wall blocked views by the victim of the truck approaching–if he did run the light, he might not have if he’d seen the truck coming.

Ultimately, the wall and steepness may not have been important factors in this crash as far as the driver’s actions went. But I appreciate them being brought up in the article.

billyjo
Guest
billyjo

the bike should have seen the headlights, and cars make noise. I can’t really imagine a scenario where a bike that was paying attention would not have known there was a car coming, wall or no wall.

On the other side, a bike makes no noise, and an eyewitness described the light the bike had a a crappy one, and the police report says there wasn’t a light.

Every day. Every. Single. Day. I could be hit by someone that isn’t paying attention. It wouldn’t be my fault, but I would be the one to pay.

It’s an imperfect world. We cannot make it perfect. Pay attention people.

q
Guest
q

“Every day. Every. Single. Day. I could be hit by someone that isn’t paying attention. It wouldn’t be my fault, but I would be the one to pay.”

So when there are things that might work to reduce the likelihood of you being hit, why wouldn’t you want to see if those can work?

Joe Fortino
Guest
Joe Fortino

hey The dude you attacking me and my mom? if so you better stop it.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

No, the comment appears to be directed at me. It is, however, a clear violation of the commenting guidelines on this page, and will be deleted.

q
Guest
q

I just saw this map that shows the speed limit on that section of SW Vista is 25 mph:
http://gis-pdx.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/speed-limits/data?geometry=-122.727%2C45.516%2C-122.659%2C45.527
The police report says, “The driver of the vehicle was traveling at an estimated 25-30 miles per hour and was unable to stop before hitting the bicyclist.”
I don’t know how that was estimated other than from the driver’s opinion (it would be nice if the report said, “According to the driver” or “according to the driver and witnesses” or whatever).

If it was the driver’s opinion, it could have been faster, and even 25-30 is still above 25, and it’s in the dark approaching an intersection with almost no view (due to the wall) of anyone approaching from the steep westbound downhill that the victim came from, so perhaps too fast for the conditions.

So although the main fault may still have been the victim’s, there’s also a chance driving a few miles per hour slower (under the limit instead of over) would have prevented the crash. At the least, the report should have mentioned “25-30, which is over the limit of 25 mph”. By not mentioning that, the implication is, “The driver was within the standard 5-10 mph over the limit that we allow”.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I don’t understand how police can just brush aside clear traffic violations in cases like this. You have a fatality, and a driver admitting to exceeding the posted speed limit. It’s looking like the cyclist ran the red light, but that doesn’t absolve the driver. The police should have cited them for speeding.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Did the driver admit that?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

While I would not be surprised if the driver were exceeding the speed limit (most drivers habitually do), we just don’t know about this driver at this moment. A witness (or driver) estimating speed at 25-30 does not strike me as super reliable, but does tell us that the speed was within the bounds of expected behavior (whether legal or not).

Clearly driving a few MPH slower (or even faster) would have prevented this particular crash (a 2 second earlier or later arrival time would have made all the difference). That does not tell us whether speed was a meaningful factor in what happened, or whether other factors such as better tires, brighter headlights, or more coffee might have made a difference.

q
Guest
q

Yes, all true, and fits in with what I wrote. I agree 25-30 is within the bounds of expected behavior, but only because I know what the speed limit is at that location. If he were driving up Park a few yards away, 30 (within the 25-30 estimate) would be quite a bit over the 20 mph speed limit. If he were a couple hundred yards away on Burnside, 25-30 would be well under the 35 mph limit. When a police report mentions the speed someone was traveling, it really needs to include the speed limit for the speed traveled to have real meaning.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

The article in the Oregonian also said the cyclists did not have lights. That might have helped, too.

q
Guest
q

Yes. The police report noted that (and should have) and also that the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet (not required, but seems relevant given the head injury). But it didn’t note that the estimated speed was above the limit, which is as basic a piece of information as there is in a crash.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Wow. The messaging hidden within the message can be extremely subtle. The report says
“[t]he driver of the vehicle was traveling at an estimated 25-30 miles per hour…”, with no mention of whether this was over/under the limit for that area, and we assume it to mean the driver is absolved of responsibility for following speed limits.

The report also says, “[t]he bicyclist entered the intersection with neither a helmet nor a light on”, with no mention of whether either thing is illegal, and we construe that to mean the report is conflating two things—one legal, one illegal—to make them both sound illegal, thereby piling on to the presumed guilt of the victim.

Or….do we…?

It’s almost as hard to read a report/story without bias as it is to write one.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think some of those are good questions. I also ask why information about estimated vehicle speed, which is notoriously unreliable, was included. Rather than assign quantities and units that sound more precise than they are, it might be better to say “very fast” or “normal speed” or something that doesn’t tempt us to make a legal judgement with insufficient information.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Don’t get me started on “…the bicyclist appeared to be traveling at a high rate of speed…”, which turns out to be 12 mph.

Relative speed estimates, of “fast”, “slow”, whatever, are still meaningless unless we know what the contextual speed expectations/limits are. Maybe, “appeared/estimated to be traveling over/at/under the posted/statutory speed limit of X” could be helpful.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Including the speed limit seems quite reasonable (though it is available elsewhere), but depending on witnesses to make a determination about whether a vehicle was above or below that limit seems fraught in all but egregious cases.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

That’s why it helps to read multiple sources if they are available.

q
Guest
q

That seems like an odd response in this discussion. Of course it’s always good to get news from multiple sources. But in this case, I don’t know of any news source–even bikeportland– that mentioned the speed limit. I brought it up in a comment.

The real issue is that the police reported the estimated speed without mentioning that it was over the speed limit. News sources then repeat what police reports say. Bikeportland is unique in analyzing crashes, and going beyond simply repeating what the reports say.

So to a large extent, if you read one news source about a crash (excluding bikeportland) you’re read them all. If the police report is faulty, they’re all faulty. The solution isn’t reading more sources, it’s having the police provide proper basic information.

J_R
Guest
J_R

In 2015, the PPB did an exhaustive analysis to “prove” that Mark Angeles, the cyclist who was killed by a tow truck making a left turn, was going 28 mph. That was pretty clearly an attempt by PPB to blame the cyclist and excuse the truck driver.

Now, we have a motorist who may well have been exceeding the posted speed, but you can bet there will not be any further mention of any fault by the motorist.

Double standard?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That’s exactly what it is.

Joe Fortino
Guest
Joe Fortino

Middle of the Road Guy
The article in the Oregonian also said the cyclists did not have lights. That might have helped, too.Recommended 1

the Oregonian always tries to lay facts down but is sometimes way outta bounds :/

Fred
Guest
Fred

Jonathan, I know you are trying to emphasize the *people* involved, always. But the cyclist did not die in a collision with the truck driver; the cyclist died following his collision with the *truck*. I know it’s difficult to write the headlines in a way that keeps the humans in the picture, but it’s just not accurate to say the cyclist collided with the driver. The driver was protected by a huge steel cage. Anyway, maybe some other readers can suggest better ways of phrasing (“Cyclist dies in collision with truck operated by a human”?). Thanks for your reporting.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Seconded. The humanizing of those involved in horrible incidents like this is a huge plus; let’s give the responsibility of operating multi-ton equipment in proximity to other people the proper focus, which is so often lacking in “normal” coverage of these things. But it does sound awkward to say anyone collided with the driver of a vehicle. You could try, “A bicyclist [collided with | was [struck | run over] by] an estimated 8,000-lb. work truck loaded with tools operated by an unidentified driver.” “The bicyclist suffered leg and head trauma despite wearing a helmet, while the driver, insulated inside a giant metal safety cage, was uninjured.” (Examples only, NOT representative of this particular incident)

Maybe a more detailed description of the vehicle (if available) would lend extra “weight” to the level of responsibility that should be borne by any vehicle operator, identified or not. IMO, we should be emphasizing the power disparity, and the attendant responsibility of wielding the vastly greater power.

You’ve done a great job of calling out the biased wording in police reports, and it appears to be having a positive effect. I’m hoping this momentum can be parlayed into more accurate/ethical/humane characterizations of vehicle operator responsibilities.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Tragic story all around. But no lights, no helmet, probably wearing dark clothing, and probably under the influence as well. Now the poor driver has to live with this.

q
Guest
q

“Probably wearing dark clothing, and probably under the influence as well.”

Total speculation. Unhelpful. Why not also create some negative “probably” guesses for the driver while you’re at it?

Scott Kocher
Guest

From: Scott Kocher
Date: October 26, 2019 at 12:36:00 PM PDT
To: “visionzero[at]portlandoregon.gov”
Cc: “Kelly, Matthew”
Subject: Speed signs on SW Vista, SW Broadway, and NW Cornell

Dear Friends at PBOT,

Please add to your list of collectors in residence districts that need to be posted at 20 MPH:

SW Broadway south of I-405 (longstanding 25 MPH signs remain);
SW Vista (longstanding 25 MPH signs remain); and
NW Cornell west of 25th (there is a new 25 MPH sign on the NWC, which is incorrect, and possibly others farther up?).

These are all non-arterial streets in residence districts that are incorrectly posted with 25 MPH signs. I noticed these in particular as discrepancies between the current 25 MPH on-the-street signage and what is already showing as 20 MPH on your GIS Speed Limits map:
https://pdx.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3fa0c89b2387435e967612772d3ca7b1

Thank you for your important work getting on-the-street signage corrected and completing implementation of the “20 MPH Ordinance” on the GIS map and with signs throughout the city.

Scott

Scott F. Kocher │ Attorney at Law
Tel: 503.445.2102 │ Fax: 503.445.2120
811 SW Naito Parkway, Suite 420 │ Portland, OR 97204
scott[at]forumlawgroup.com │ forumlawgroup.com

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Can collectors be posted at 20MPH (absent a business district)? I was under the impression that the 20MPH rule only applies to local service streets.

Scott Kocher
Guest

As of 10/28/19 SW Vista was on PBOT’s list to get updated [20 MPH] signs.

q
Guest
q

Scott, I also referenced that PBOT map, but it shows SW Vista at the crash location as 25 mph. Are you saying the map is wrong?

If it’s wrong, that’s bad on PBOT’s part. Also, it adds a PBOT component to this fatality. So many times with Portland traffic fatalities, we find out (usually only on bikeportland) that a crash site has been identified or even scheduled for improvements that may have prevented the crash, but they weren’t done yet.

Also, the reporting (if the street really should be 20 mph) should state that the current speed limit is 20, but the signs haven’t yet been changed. It also means the driver’s estimated speed of 25-30 could have been 33% above the limit.

Dwayne
Guest
q
Guest
q

Great article–brings up many of the problems caused by inadequate reporting, starting with poor, biased police reports.

Jason
Guest
Jason

“…officers arrived they discovered a vehicle struck a bicycle…”
Remember kids, bikes aren’t vehicles. According to PPB.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I think it’s safe to say that bias was the determine factor in this investigation. If camera footage surfaces, I’ll withdraw that statement. But I don’t trust victim blaming eyewitnesses.