Woman riding Lime e-scooter hit and killed in east Portland

Posted by on May 8th, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Crash scene. View is looking east on Sandy.
(Photo: Portland Police Bureau)

A woman was hit and killed while riding a Lime shared electric scooter just after midnight on Saturday. The Portland Police Bureau says the crash happened on Northeast Sandy Blvd at 149th at around 12:30 am.

The person who hit the scooter rider did not remain at the scene and police are asking the public to help find them (the car in the photo above does not belong to the driver who hit the scooter rider). If you have any information about this crash please contact Traffic Investigations Unit Officer Chris Johnson at Chris.Johnson@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-2213.

I visited the scene of this morning’s crash to get a better sense of the area.

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Looking east on NE Sandy at 149th.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

This sections of NE Sandy Blvd is part of US-30 Bypass, which makes it a state highway owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation. On the ground it’s a relatively narrow street at the edge of a residential area in the Wilkes Neighborhood. There are two general travel lanes and one center turn lane. The shoulders are about four feet wide and are not marked as bike lanes. The speed limit is 40 mph.

On the south side of the street there are houses and businesses, on the north side there’s a heavy railroad line and industrial land-uses. The intersection with 149th is easy to miss. 149th is a small street that ends at Sandy. There’s an odd, bifurcated median at the intersection which appears to have been installed to prevent left (westbound) turns out of the residential area onto the highway.

From markings on the ground it appears the car/truck driver made contact with the scooter user at the western end of this intersection. More precise details about what happened are not yet known.

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Portland launched shared electric scooters in July 2018. The Portland Bureau of Transportation manages the e-scooter program. In a report published last fall, the agency found that cycling-specific infrastructure is key to boosting scooter ridership, especially in places with high-stress streets like east Portland.

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Lime has held a permit to operate in Portland since the beginning. Asked to respond to this crash, a Lime official said, “We are devastated to learn of this tragic incident. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time. We are in contact with the authorities and have offered to assist in their investigation however we can.”

In a statement today the PPB wrote, “This incident marks the grim milestone of doubling the number of traffic related fatalities as this time last year. This is the 26th traffic fatality for 2021 in the City of Portland. This is a 100% increase over this time last year when there were 13. Despite reduced traffic numbers in 2020 due to COVID-19, it was still our highest number of traffic fatalities in 3 decades.”

According to the BikePortland Fatality Tracker — which includes a more expansive definition of traffic fatality than is used by the police or other city agencies (whose totals do not include suicides, homicides, deaths that don’t involve cars/trucks, and other criteria) — this is the 30th fatality of 2021, or an increase of 130% over this same date last year.

This morning’s fatality comes just two days after Portland’s most recent traffic death. On May 6th — just 2.5 miles west on the same section of Sandy Blvd — 25-year-old David Dentler died as a passenger in a car after it was driven recklessly and slammed into a pole. The driver now faces manslaughter charges.

UPDATE, 5/9: PPB say the deceased person was 32-year-old Portland resident Meagann M. McComb.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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The DudeChris IsorenOpus the PoetAlex Recent comment authors
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Guest
 

This is so sad to see, and my heart goes out to the rider’s family and friends.

Unfortunately this area has no grid system and thus cyclists, walkers, and scooter riders are forced onto a wholly inadequate road. I feel like this stretch of road would be perfect for a two-way cycletrack on the north side of the road. The railroad makes it so that there would be limited crossings, and this collision would have been prevented.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I fail to understand how having a grid system or not has any relevance in this crash; most of the world, Europe and eastern USA included, has no grid system. Many scooter users are not former cyclists but rather car drivers who use scooters recreationally on the same streets they drive on, and from what I’ve observed is the scooter users rarely use low-volume parallel streets even when they are available. I do agree that given the too-fast posted speed limit that barrier-protected bike lanes would be far better than the narrow painted lines there now, which clearly offer absolutely no protection whatsoever; but was the user on the street at all, or on the sidewalk crossing? I also agree the railroad limits crossings on the north side, but alas the railroad also severely limits the right-of-way width of Sandy when ODOT tries to expand the roadway (note the extra pieces of grassy right-of-way on the south side beyond the sidewalk.)

 
Guest
 

What qqq said below (said it better than I could) is why I think grid systems are the best for all modes.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

And yet it’s only the Midwest, western USA, and parts of Canada that have grids. The Danes and Dutch generally don’t have them. The problem of the grid in transportation planning is that it encourages cities to try to create separate-but-equal parallel systems for bicyclists that are a block away, meaning that bicyclists will simply never be allowed to have full facilities along the main streets to access businesses and amenities. The battle over Hawthorne was lost long before it began, specifically because there’s already a set of parallel routes nearby.

qqq
Guest
qqq

That’s a good insight. Much of outer SW Portland is similar–no grid, so it’s difficult to impossible to find connecting routes that aren’t busy streets or highways (Barbur, Beaverton/Hillsdale, Canyon Road, etc.). So people walking, biking or on scooters are forced onto those streets, which often are designed only for driving. Roads like this that lack alternative routes should get high priority for adding accommodations for other users.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

All main commercial and arterial streets need safe connections to local businesses, amenities, and neighborhoods, but with our very limited funding we have to rank our priorities as opportunities arise. I agree with you that stroads lacking alternative parallel options should get a higher priority for adding accommodations for other users, but you can easily imagine the violent reaction of BP readers to the notion that a street like inner Hawthorne which does have lots of immediate parallel streets nearby should actually be rated much lower than an ODOT roadway like 82nd or outer Sandy or a city stroad like 122nd or outer Division for alternative accommodations.

soren
Guest
soren

“should actually be rated much lower than an ODOT roadway like 82nd or outer Sandy or a city stroad like 122nd or outer Division for alternative accommodations”

Your ratings fail to take into account the fact that someone who lives near outer Sandy will someday use the Wealthier Hawthorne Protected Bike Lane. Please donate to the “Wealthier Hawthorne For All” lawsuit fund: [url missing intentionally]

Sophie Markowitz
Guest
Sophie Markowitz

Tragic. My condolences to the family and friends of the victim. A “hit and run” adds extra pain to the family. We need our traffic police back as there is an “air of lawlessness” that has settled over Portland. 🙁

Maddy
Subscriber
Maddy

Or just create a traffic safety patrol separate from the PPB. Same effect, and doesn’t need to be part of the PPB.

Skid Lid
Guest
Skid Lid

How would a “traffic safety patrol” work differently than the PPB?

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

They would be PBOT employees wearing yellow safety vests. Instead of arresting speeders, they would mercilessly torture them to death by reading them various city ordinances, handing them free bike and walk maps and blinky lights, explain in utter detail to drivers how roadways are funded, and finally invite them to various upcoming public meetings and open houses.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex
Opus the Poet
Guest

For one thing fewer people shot by panicky/racist cops with guns after pulling people over. Also, tickets by mail to the registered owner instead of pulling someone over in traffic. Less chance of a physical confrontation with racist cops, and if they screen out racists/sociopaths zero chance of violent confrontations.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I agree, Sophie. And just remember never to use the phrase “vehicle violence,” which is so offensive and hurtful to some of our state legislators.

X
Guest
X

There aren’t going to be enough police to enforce lawful behavior, in this case meaning strict observance of traffic law. Cannabis use had severe legal penalties but there weren’t enough police to enforce prohibition equally on a population that did not, on average, find the law to be useful or just. Police can seek out offenders but they can’t prevent behavior.

We have roads that don’t serve all people. We have vehicles built to go very fast and project an aura of power and danger. We have a cultural attraction for motor vehicles and their reckless use. Tragic death is baked into the system.

Police are not the answer.

Roberto Melina
Guest
Roberto Melina

X,
It has been shown that police reduce crime. Here’s a good article from Scientific American. I got to say I am getting a little bit tired of the repeated refrain of many anti-police Portlanders that keep saying that police can only respond to crime, not reduce it. Of course I do want them to respond to crime if I call 911 but they can also reduce it.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/science-says-these-police-tactics-reduce-crime/

X
Guest
X

Roberto,
There’s nothing in there about people inside cars running over people outside of cars and driving away. What’s the plan for that? Post a cop at NE 149th/Sandy Blvd?

What would help is if all the people moaning about traffic enforcement start driving their cars inside the speed limit, making a full stop behind the crosswalk, quit pushing yellow lights, and actually give themselves time to make their trips without aggressive driving.

I hear you, bike riders break laws all the time, earn my respect, etc. How are bikes special? If a bike rider runs over and kills a pedestrian that’s a national news story. It’s rare. If car drivers run over and kill 20 people that’s called a Tuesday.

If one in five, or even one in ten people who drive cars would consciously change their behavior it would change the tenor of the traffic on our streets. You would not see people driving 40 in a 25. (A crash at 40 mph kills over 90% of pedestrians)

The Dude
Guest
The Dude

This is an incredibly misleading citation for your assertion that “police reduce crime.” Quoting from the article:

“The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a report released Thursday that certain “proactive” policies aimed at preventing crime before it happens—including stop and frisk—show mixed results.”

The article goes on to say that these “proactive” police tactics basically target racialized people who have committed no crime, an thus police “must also consider the real-world risks of applying these approaches in ways that are racist, biased or illegal.”

And, of course, state targeting people who have not committed any crime violates their Constitutional rights. In other words, if police *can* prevent crime they can also cause crime! Indeed, crime “prevention” is often itself a crime!

I got to say I am getting a little bit tired of the repeated refrain of many anti-justice Portlanders that keep saying that police can help the situation when all available evidence (especially those of us recently subjected to unlawful use of police power) proves the opposite.

Police power, as it exists now, is definitely not the answer.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

When did you move here? Hit and runs have been the norm in Portland for a while. Considering PPB officers speed and play on their computers while driving, I’m not sure how they would prevent something like this.

M. Hines
Guest
M. Hines

“…speed and play on their computers while driving”

Any proof of this cmh89? They do use computers for their job of law enforcement. I don’t think they are “playing” on their computers. They do respond to urgent calls. So I think it’s reasonable for them to exceed the speed limit at times when warranted. If some crazed meth adict is breaking into someone’s home I think most of us would say it’s fine for them to get to a location as quickly as possible.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It all depends on the political game they are playing that day. I am sure you can google for more examples and details, but here’s a couple:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/portland-police-ignored-911-calls-summer

https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/12/17/31102623/portlanders-question-police-priorities-as-911-response-times-lag

The Dude
Guest
The Dude

I’ve seen it with mine own eyes on many occasions.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Police should never speed without lights and sirens on, yet we see it all the time. Same goes for the patrol vehicle computers. How can we expect them to fairly enforce traffic laws if they don’t follow them?

The Dude
Guest
The Dude

“If some crazed meth adict is breaking into someone’s home I think most of us would say it’s fine for them to get to a location as quickly as possible.”

Count me out. I say endangering lives to protect someone’s personal property is dehumanizing and bad policy. I think this sort of casual disregard for the safety of others using the public roads is at the core of the carnage on Portland’s streets.

Drs
Guest
Drs

The regularity with which vulnerable road users are run down and killed by people in cars is just sickening. When will we collectively decide as a society that we have had enough?

The Dude
Guest
The Dude

It seems like the people of Portland have already decided that, but the people who control the governmental organs like PBOT and ODOT and the Mayor’s office are nevertheless able to successfully prevent any change in the status quo. In my view, this situation is common to several critical issues (eg, police violence, climate change) and similar in many ways to the conditions that caused the (First) American Revolutionary War.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

There is always must discussion of which science fiction narrative will best predict the future. Is it Star Trek, Hunger games etc. But if we are too get these violent traffic criminals under control I think the future we may need is predicted by “Judge Dredd”.