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PPB: Driver kills person with their car at NE Couch and 9th

Posted by on September 4th, 2020 at 9:23 am

Looking west on NE Couch toward 9th.

Police say a person was killed while using a street in Portland early this morning.

According to a Portland Police Bureau statement the collision happened at about 2:30 am this morning (Friday) at the intersection of NE Couch and 9th.

Here’s the PPB version of events:

“The pedestrian appears to have been walking a bicycle in the roadway when a vehicle travelling westbound on Northeast Couch struck the pedestrian. The driver of the vehicle and witnesses remained at the scene. There were no citations or arrests.”

The name of the person who died has not been released. I’ll update this post when I have more information.

This is the 31st person that has suffered fatal injuries while using Portland streets so far this year.

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On Wednesday the Willamette Week reported that reduced driving due to the pandemic was “good for traffic safety” because there were 27 fatalities through August 28th compared to 36 people dead by the same date in 2019.

But four more people have died since that story was published we are now just six deaths below our number from last year at this same date — despite a significant drop in vehicle miles traveled. In the month following initial Covid-19 shutdowns, ODOT data showed a 40% reduction in freeway traffic in Region 1 (Portland metro). Given the drop in VMT our traffic fatality rate is likely higher than last year.

In related news, PPB says two small children were hit on N Fessenden near McCoy Park. “The children were playing nearby when they ran in between two parked vehicles on North Fessenden Street and into traffic,” the police statement reads. One of the children, a 3-year-old is hospitalized with “life threatening” injuries.

— 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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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astralHello, KittyRyanJFpruss2ny Recent comment authors
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Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

Anecdotally, drivers are driving MUCH faster now than they were pre-pandemic. Despite lower volumes, I do not feel safer while I’m riding.

PNWPhotoWalks
Subscriber

I’m sad to learn about this. Thank you for your continued reporting on these tragic collisions, Jonathan.

Coincidentally, I’m about to walk through this intersection on my way to/from downtown to pick up my new TriMet Honored (Senior) Citizen ID Card.

Joseph E
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Joseph E

The kids who were hit in N Portland were only 1 block from a park, and 3 short blocks from the end of N Fessenden street – it stops at a T intersection just 2 blocks east of the park.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

That’s a 20mph speed limit. Even if I were to assume the pedestrian was clothed fully in black with no reflector on their bike, I don’t fathom how one can’t see and drives their car into that person if only going 20mph, let alone kills them.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

You can’t have enforcement or cameras because somehow it’s all racist. We’ve just got to keep taking our chances out there I guess.

Todd/Boulanger
Guest

Future research will likely report: There are two divergent trends here…less VMT for regional trips (commute etc) while local VMT (outside of old commute periods) has returned to prepandemic periods.

In ‘old’ Vancouver (WA) on the arterials the speeds are likely 5+ mph higher than the old 85th (so >15 posted) … and those driving very aggressively are more in number AND a higher proportion of total traffic. I have not seen a similar frequency of repeated illegal high speed racing, overt engine revving and multi block long peel outs here in the 20 years of my local experience. (In additional to our local problem drivers, our police report a lot of Oregon plated vehicles coming over to race on our old SR501 / Lower River Road due to stronger enforcement on the Oregon side of the river.)

It is as if there is an even deeper mental disease of roadway aggression* than ‘normal’…a behavioural output of displaced anger and high life stress as too many people have been cooped up in packed homes for too many hours in a day (with less to do)…the roadways are all they have now to show their false sense of self importance / independence. [*Intermittent Explosive Disorder / IED(?)]
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373921
https://www.yourhealthmagazine.net/article/category/anger-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-3-lessons-learned-from-road-rage/
https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/neurosciences-articles/individuals-with-rage-disorder-have-smaller-volumes-in-brain-areas-linked-to-emotion

Dagny Taggart
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Dagny Taggart

Although there are fewer cars on the road with the flu bug, many people are walking IN the road to stay away from open windows in homes and away from other pedestrians on the sidewalk. There are pros and cons to everything in life.

Hello Kitty is correct about higher speeds – particularly a couple of months back when traffic volumes were very low.

mark smith
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mark smith

Someday Portland will get rid of their racetracks (ahem, one way streets). Until then, people will keep dying and be maimed.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

How about PBOT try out its new bus islands and add dedicated space for people on bikes on Couch?

Fred
Guest
Fred

Maybe y’all have discussed this elsewhere, but can anyone explain the strange “walking in the street” behavior that is endemic during this pandemic? It looks like this:

I’m riding my bike along any street and I approach a person walking in the middle of the so-called travel lane in my direction. There’s a perfectly good sidewalk to my right (the walker’s left) and there’s NO ONE on the sidewalk, yet the walker continues walking toward me in the travel lane. The walker pauses and we do an odd dance, where I veer left toward the center line and then right again, depending on what the walker is doing. Often the walker gives me the stink-eye, as though I’m somehow impinging on her (sometimes his but usually her) right to walk in the middle of the travel lane.

What is going on here? Why do so many walkers insist on avoiding the sidewalk and occupying the travel lane? I understand social distancing, but can’t people walk on the sidewalk *until* someone approaches on the sidewalk and then weave onto the side of the road (not the travel lane) as needed? I’ll bet these same walkers aren’t giving drivers the stink-eye, yet we cyclists with our cyclist germs pose a threat.

Fred
Guest
Fred

BTW, well done, JM, with your headline:

The person driving killed a person with the driver’s car. Perfect!

JF
Guest
JF

That is a jacked-up headline. It makes the reader think the driver went up on the curb intentionally and took out a poor pedestrian. It looks from the story that the pedestrian was walking in the road in the middle of the night and was hit by a car. You don’t help your cause when you write misleading and loaded headlines like that.

astral
Guest
astral

Love that you can literally run someone over and not get arrested in this dumbass country. But then I guess if cops actually did anything to promote public safety they wouldn’t be cops.