When it comes to making a city safe for cycling, it’s often very minor things that can make the most difference. A pothole, a poorly installed storm drain grate, overgrown vegetation. Or in the case of one very unlucky person, a chain strewn across the road.
On Wednesday night just after 7:00 pm, a man was biking on Northeast Holladay Street under the I-5 overpass near NE 1st Avenue when he was suddenly tangled in a chain and thrown head-first over his bars. The impact led to significant injuries to his arm and both wrists. He also suffered minor impacts to his head, although he (thankfully) was wearing a helmet.
As you can see in the image the rider sent, the chain was nearly invisible and there was no forewarning it was even there. The location is Rose Quarter Transit Center where multiple light rail and bus lines converge. There’s also a major bikeway that runs through the transit center. And although this section of NE Holladay isn’t as popular for bicycling as nearby NE Multnomah, it’s still a designated bike route.
Someone made a huge mistake by putting up this chain! This is a public street that might have been closed for a special event (it’s adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center), but that event was well over before this crash happened. This is a good example of why transportation agencies must pay attention to detail — especially because a mistake that would be a mere inconvenience to some road users can be catastrophic for others.
I’m happy to know that the rider in this case has done his homework and is seeking legal representation.