Martin Weiner was 81 years young when he was hit and seriously injured by the driver of a car while biking on the I-205 path this past Thursday.
Over the weekend several of Martin’s friends contacted me to share the terrible news that he died in the hospital on Sunday. This collision hasn’t been reported anywhere else and I’m still awaiting a response from the Portland Police Bureau to confirm the details.
According to Martin’s friends the collision happened where the I-205 path crosses Southeast Market Street. It’s a relatively low-volume crossing that’s marked with a crosswalk and a few caution signs (see below). The posted speed limit is 25 mph. Martin was biking north and was in the crosswalk when he was struck by a driver headed west on Market. Martin’s friend Davis Te Selle says police responded and were in contact with driver.(Left: Northbound on the path approaching Market St. Right: Westbound on Market approaching the path crossing.)
Martin was known as vigorous runner and bicycle rider even into his 8th decade. He loved playing music with friends at jam sessions of the “Tillamook Street musicians” in northeast Portland.
Charlie Becker knew him well and shared this remembrance with us:
“Martin was a friend and brother to all of us… a friend and brother of mine who taught me to see the beauty in the poetry of Roots Americana music… he taught me many of the tunes I play… Martin was a Sailor and School Teacher and a Nurse… musician and Artist… avid runner and cyclist… he lived simply with a small footprint on this earth… taking the bus to music sessions with his Mandolin… Guitar or his Cello… he lived with dignity among folks who knew and appreciated him… he lived with his partner Jean and her daughter who were fond of him…
We’ll miss him in our little group of Tillamook Street musicians… his cranky lovable self… he was a mentor and a lighthouse for me… straight up honorable kind man who passed on while doing the things he loved… Yes I am saddened today for the loss of my friend…how fragile this short life is…ephemeral…fragile…fleeting… Bless all of you and bless Martin… I am richer for knowing all of you and feel gratitude for having known him… being touched by his kind gentle nature.”
Lenny Anderson (whom some of you know from our comment section and from his work as Swan Island Transportation Management Association), also played music with Martin. “Martin was so alive, so present with such a great range of songs for us all,” Lenny shared with me this morning. “What a loss for his family, friends, fellow musicians…for the world. And another biker laid low in this town!”
Another friend had this to say when he remembered Martin:
“He was such a sweet guy. just a couple weeks older than me. In great shape really for being 81…or any age really…running 5 or 6 miles many days or riding his bike 2 or 3 times a week for 30 or 40 miles. We had become quite good friends over the past few years. It shouldn’t have happened… He was an accomplished marathon runner with a lot of great runs in his resume… This last season he was really loving his cycling as an outlet from virus confinement, making regular rides out the Springwater to Gresham.”
Martin’s friend Davis Te Selle said he’s “devastated” by what happened and wants the city to make the intersection safer. “There is virtually no warning yellow signage, flashing lights or any other protective infrastructure,” he wrote in an email to me today. “The only signage is the green mileage and directing arrows signage right at sidewalk junction.” Te Selle wants a flashing yellow beacon and more signage to alert drivers of crossing riders. “It is so sad. He was a very safety savvy rider… very prudent at intersections and choice of routes to minimize risks.”
Martin is the 33rd person to die as a result of a traffic collision in Portland so far this year.
His friends plan set out a ghost bike to remember him and will join together on Tillamook Street this Friday to remember their friend and, “sing and play a few of Martin’s tunes loud and strong.”
UPDATE, 7:49 pm: Portland Police Bureau confirmed the collision and shared this statement with BikePortland:
There was a collision at 9:44 am at the bike path on I-205 and SE Market St. From this report, I do not see that a citation was issued.
From witness statements, it appears the driver of the vehicle was traveling westbound Market at a slow rate of speed, 20 mph, and not speeding, when Mr. Weiner rode, northbound, in front of him. All witness to the incident were unsure as to whether or not Mr. Weiner stopped for the stop sign before entering the street.
UPDATE, 9/10 at 11:44 pm: PPB has just issued an official press statement about this crash:
As the cyclist began to cross Southeast Market Street, he failed to stop before entering the cross street and was struck by a driver.
A witness who provided first hand observations stated the vehicle was not speeding at all and had very little, if no time at all, to react to the cyclist crossing the roadway.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
Hi, all – I was riding behind Martin when this accident happened & I can answer some questions that have popped up here. Immediately after the collision, the police asked the driver how fast he was going & he said 40 mph (I heard that conversation). But the investigating officer told me late he didn’t think it was possible the driver was going that fast, given where the car stopped after hitting Martin. I have no idea what speed the driver was going, but I could understand the driver being shaken after the collision & not necessarily knowing what speed he was going (it should also be noted that he was older, about 80, so that could have been a factor).
The neighbor who called 911 said the speed limit had recently been reduced to 25 mph (not sure what it was before) & that people regularly speed in that direction (driving west over the I-205 overpass) because it’s one of the few ways to get over the highway. So they’re still in a fast-driving mindset from being on the other side of the highway, & then they’re suddenly dropped into a residential neighborhood, which would necessitate an immediate change to a slower driving mind frame & pedestrian/biker awareness.
Regarding the police statement saying that witnesses were unsure if Martin stopped at the stop sign on the I-205 bike path: they said that because no one could confirm that he stopped (including me, since I wasn’t studying every move Martin made & was focused on my own riding). So while that statement is technically true, I feel like it implies that he may not have stopped, which I would find VERY hard to believe. As one of his friends mentioned above, Martin was extremely conscientious about safety & cars. Like, blatantly so. Martin had already crossed 75% of the road (all of the 1st lane & 1/2 of the 2nd lane) when the collision happened, so there would have been sufficient time for a driver going 20 mph to see him.
I was just getting to know Martin, but he was a special guy & a unique 81 year old w/ a wide circle of interests & friends. He was my role model for continuing to ride as I age (Martin was a faster rider than me — at 35 years my senior!).
You’ll be missed, buddy!
The other side of the highway is a 4 way stop and either 35 or 25 mph I can’t remember. People speed here because the lanes on the bridge are very wide and there’s nothing to encourage them to drive slower even though they’re just going to stop at the 4 way stop on 92nd. I ride this area regularly besides speeding people frequently blow through the stop signs at 96th and 92nd. From the path your view East is very clear barring some sort of mechanical failure I can only think he assumed the driver would stop. Sorry for your loss.
I am sorry to read this devastating news…
As a facility designer / planner, these types of regional facility intersections always pain me in how they are “finished”. A raised crossing should be the minimum treatment versus just a marked crosswalk. And furthermore, the priority of access should be given to the “regional traffic” on a state travel way, ie. the bikes vs. local neighborhood / district vehicle movement on a city street…ala arterial hierarchy.
My observation elsewhere is that facilities get public support because motorists expect them to keep children and bicyclists from using streets and getting in their way.
Almost all the facilities I see in PA and DE (I was in Portland for about a year, since moved) have stop signs for bicyclists at every road intersection. One of the DOT designers told me that motorists are never legally required to yield to non-motorized traffic. The DOT designs reflected this view. (Technically, the traffic code requires motorists to stop at stop signs and wait at red lights; he disagreed that this gave bicyclists with green lights the right of way and said they were still required to yield to all motorists.)
I found the I-205 path useful on the bridge and used it periodically (only alternative is I-5). The rest of the path was not so useful for daily transportation (limited access and signage, encampments).
My general view is that if facilities were built better than roads for enough bicyclists they would not need to be mandatory. If you know of any that are built to standards that favor non-motorists, I’d love to know about them.
Not sure what we expect when PBOT has effectively build drag strips across the city, PPB has curtailed traffic enforcement, and advertising has glorified the act of people racing around in their vehicles…
Add to that many push for zero enforcement because it’s racist or whatever. Sad as it is this will never change here.
What good were the police situation? The driver was clearly speeding, and they failed to cite them and released a statement that blames the victim.
This is why people want to defund the police. They won’t be there to help you when you need it.
A raised crosswalk here would be 1000x more effective than any kind of enforcement.
Agreed. As with most problems, I think it’s best to focus attention as much as possible on upstream solutions, like infrastructure that impacts behavior for the better.
The police on the other hand typically show up after the fact – and then you can roll the dice to see whether they help, hurt, or do approximately fuck all.
I ride the I-205 path maybe a dozen times a year. I find this seemingly innocuous intersection dangerous. West bound drivers are the worst. They typically top the overpass at high speeds as it appears was the case in this incident.
There’s a similar situation at the Harold Street crossing. Again, it’s the west bound traffic that tends to speed and it baffles me because they are typically approaching a red light there so why the excess speed? That intersection appears to be their focus and you might as well be invisible when trying to cross.
agreed re: Harold St. The Boys and Girls club is close to the street and the visual surprise of coming out from behind the Club to immediately cross Harold catches riders and drivers both.The trail crossing is well marked and signed.
Because most drivers are ***insult deleted by moderator*** and don’t understand basic physics and the factors that lead to increased vehicle maintenance.
This is a bad crossing, and I’ve complained about it before to the city. Market is a primary cut-through for traffic because it has an overpass, and there’s nothing on the road to calm traffic between 96th and 92nd. Lines of sight are obscured as well. I think traffic calming and a hawk light would help.
The I-205 path should be raised concrete here. It would emphasize that the path is continuous, and cars are crossing it. It would also cause fender/suspension damage for anyone going 35+ mph through here.
If anyone goes out there (or knows the answer) I’d like to know whether the speed limit signs are 20 or 25 (currently, not street view). It is supposed to be 20 per Ordinance. The city’s GIS map shows it at 20 https://gis-pdx.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/speed-limits. There is not a speed study (see traffic counts interactive map linked here https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/180473) for this location. However, based on other similar segments, at the midpoint of a 1,200 foot straightaway like this one with no calming and >2,500 vehicles per day I would expect >50% of drivers to be speeding, with several per hour going 35 to 45 mph. This configuration is very similar to the one a half mile away where a driver killed Jessica M. on 1/4/17 in the mid-block marked crosswalk on SE Main just east of SE 100th.
Posted 25 mph. Market across the freeway is a Major ER route. The 2011 count measured the 85th at 32 and 33 mph. 4600 daily trips.
The west end of 4M is part of EPAEE
Thanks all. To be clear on some misinformation that had circulated: Major ER route does not affect 20 MPH posting. They can use sirens and go as fast as they need regardless. Fire Bureau does have to approve some kinds of physical calming on certain routes, but not speed reduction.
It was 25 when I was there on August 10th, following a TriMet truck whose driver didn’t know how to use turn signals.
They probably recently changed it like they did my street but haven’t put up the new signs yet.
Another death on the 4M caused by city delays in funding and building the greenway, long overdue.
I remember being incredulous when cycling activists and nonprofits continued to cheerlead for Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick despite the fact that he had defunded and indefinitely delayed the 4M Neighborhood Greenway.
We cheered him because of the allure of lots more funding for East Portland. Obviously we were taken for a ride, nothing new there. Ultimately I blame PBOT and City Council, since it takes three to pass anything, and they can only vote on what PBOT allows them to vote on, rather than blaming Novick (or any of the other underwhelming transportation commissioners). However Sam Adams was exceptional – what he promised for East Portland, he delivered (or forced PBOT to deliver.)
Road the 205 yesterday. They should just shut it down. The city hasn’t done jack to clean it up and it isn’t worth the hassle riding between glass, garbage, and living structures.
ODOT owns it and the I-84 path, and they typically hire the county to clean it, who in turn bring out prison crews. Clearly they are a bit behind schedule.
I disagree, they should clean it up. Many people rely on it for transportation – for lots of people cycling isn’t just a hobby.
So sad to hear this. This is an intersection where I feel drivers aren’t particularly aware of the bike path, particularly after crossing the freeway westbound.
By the way, there’s an error in the headline – either delete the “by” or add an object for the preposition.
My condolences to his family and friends. I am sorry for your loss.
That police statement is a joke. They have absolutely no way of knowing the exact speed of the driver. It is obvious that they just took the word of the driver, who is clearly lying. If they had actually been going 20mph, he would probably still be alive.
I agree, Chris! That last line of the police statement should be grounds for discipline:
“All witness [sic] to the incident were unsure as to whether or not Mr. Weiner stopped for the stop sign before entering the street.”
Then why are you bringing it up?! Oh, let me guess: you want to raise the possibility in people’s minds that Marty rode irresponsibly – probably broke the law – and was therefore responsible for his own death.
Let’s try it the other way:
“People who lived nearby were unsure as to whether or not the driver was exceeding the speed limit when the car plowed into the cyclist who was in a marked crosswalk.”
See the impression that sentence creates?
The implication is clear: If a driver kills a cyclist, the police will believe the driver. The cyclist’s view will be disregarded b/c he can’t speak for himself.
And Martin would have had to cross a full lane of Market before being hit, so this wasn’t a line of sight issue. If I had to guess, it would be that he assumed the car would see him and stop before the crosswalk. Given the number of cars I’ve seen speeding in that block, I wouldn’t be surprised if speed were also a factor
Age of persons struck is a factor in survival. Older persons are more fragile and less able to recover. The 20 mph speed at impact translates to a 90% survival rate for all ages. I would expect the 10% that die are very young or very old.
Orrrrr they weren’t going 20mph.
Occam’s Razor when it comes to cars: speed is always a factor.
Nonsense. Have you ever cycled at 20 mph? It is actually quite fast, like going full out on a bike. Now imagine riding as fast as you can right into a car or a wall – and imagine that you’re eighty years old. I’m not shocked he lost his life to a car going 20 mph.
Not the same thing at all. The physics of a pedestrian/cyclist – car collision are very different from hitting a wall.
The very old and very young are certainly a big chunk of the 10% group, but it is far more likely that the car was exceeding the speed limit because:
1. Everyone does it.
2. Witnesses (including the one posting here) say the driver was speeding.
3. Cops constantly lie.
There is zero chance that the driver was going 20 mph. Disgusting on PPB parts. Defund the police, fund safe road infrastructure.
The community lost a great one. Rest in peace Martin.
Also from the police report “All witness to the incident were unsure as to whether or not Mr. Weiner stopped for the stop sign before entering the street.”
He is not required to stop at the stop sign, he is required to yield. And I believe the driver is required to yield someone in the crosswalk. It seems pretty clear that the driver did not yield. Did Martin hit the side of the car, or did the car strike him head-on? That police report is infuriating. Also, why does the police report say that from witness reports, the driver was going 20 mph and not speeding, when the person riding with Martin estimates the car’s speed as 40 mph? Shouldn’t the police report acknowledge that witness reports on the speed of the car differ and speed may have been a factor?
Please investigate the speed discrepancies reported by the “witnesses” since the one that reported here says the driver was going 40 and the police say they were going 20.
Is it possible that the person riding with Martin left with him in the ambulance and wasn’t there to talk to police?
We’re so used to the police lying
about these thingsthat I find it hard to believe anything they report.
Hey, Jonathan, a guy in his eighties is in his ninth decade. Ask me how I know.
This is heartbreaking news. While I did not personally know Martin, I have seen him around the Montavilla neighborhood for years, often jogging up Mt Tabor, riding his bike by my house, or getting a coffee at Bipartisan Cafe. I’m sorry that his rich life was cut short doing something he obviously loved.
In my 25 years experience cycling in Portland, drivers are likely to speed everywhere, and will routinely run intersections, including those with stop signs.
I notice this when riding with friends in cars – they run stop signs, speed, text while driving, as a matter of course. And I have to nag them to slow down, get off the phone, etc. Every time I’m a passenger in a car.
So when I’m out on the streets on my bike, which is every day, I tend to assume drivers are not going to stop, including in my neighborhood where EVERY FREAKIN DAY I nearly get hit by distracted morning commuters routinely running stop signs on their way to work.
The speed limit debates on this forum are in my opinion purely intellectual. The fact is, No matter the speed limit, you get hit with 3000lbs of steel in motion, you could get severely injured or killed. You just have to be extremely careful.
RIP, this coulda been any one of us.
Speed kills. The science is clear on this.
Bike/ped signage in the area has been missing/damaged for years. Parking near path crossing should be regulated. If I parked in a lane on 205, you bet I’d be moved quicker than one week. Maintenance seems to be a series of folks looking the other way.