A man who was riding his bike was hit Sunday around noon on Southeast Division. It happened as a group of riders were crossing southbound on 117th. The driver of the van that hit him didn’t slow down at all, despite having a red signal.
The victim was Mark Linehan, one of the leaders of nonprofit bike advocacy group Bike Loud PDX. In the video above (taken by Amit Zinman), you can see that the van driver plowed right into Mark, just narrowly making full contact. Luckily, Mark was not seriously hurt and was able to get up and walk away from the incident. His bike sustained significant damage.
Also in the video, you can see that the walk signal had at least 15 seconds on the countdown remaining for the bicycle riders as they cautiously made their way across the intersection. Drivers in the two lanes closest to them had stopped, but the van driver continued on their path. The bicycle riders were in legal positions on the road and it’s worth noting that almost everyone on the ride were dedicated bike advocates who are well-aware of both the laws and the dangers in not following them.
Another rider in the group, Paul Buchanan, immediately chased after the driver. Paul told me this morning that he and other road users caught the driver near SE 112th and Powell. They called 911 and the police arrived within five minutes. I’m still awaiting a response from the Portland Police Bureau to confirm, but I’ve heard that the driver has been cited and possibly charged with several misdemeanors (will update this post when I have that confirmation).
Ironically, Mark was in front of a small group of riders who were on their way to the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims event. BikeLoud PDX hosted the ride to help folks get to the location of the ride (SE 122nd and Powell) safely. Most of the riders wore yellow, hi-visibility vests (event organizers asked folks to wear yellow); but even that didn’t prevent this driver from hitting Mark.
I reached out to Mark to hear his side of the story. “I feel shaken up but am otherwise fine. I have a minor bruise that is not bothering me. I was very lucky,” he said.
Mark confirmed they were crossing with the “Walk” signal in their favor. He said he had just hit the “beg” button to activate the signal. The striping and signals at this intersection are only two months old thanks to the recently completed Division Transit Project that was a partnership between TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Here’s more from Mark:
“The crosswalk is well marked with broad white zebra stripes. The cross-traffic in two of the three lanes on SE Division was stopped, but one was clear and a white van came blasting through against a red light. I was most of the way across SE Division when I saw the van out of the corner of my eye and turned sharply left. think that is what saved me. My front wheel was hit (and destroyed) by the van, but I was only brushed by the side of the van. Perhaps I was hit by the driver’s side mirror, which ended up in the street. I was knocked off my bike but not badly hurt.
I’m very thankful it was just me. A few seconds later, and more of the group could have reached that lane – and been mowed down by that driver.”
A TriMet bus was right behind the white van driver that hit Mark, so there should be good camera evidence in addition to Amit’s video if it’s needed for a future investigation.
UPDATE, 9:25 am: The PPB have confirmed for us that the driver has been arrested.
25-year-old Yingzhi Chen, of Seattle, was arrested/cited and charged with Reckless Driving and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit & Run). The van was towed as evidence.
UPDATE, 11:15 am: We’ve uploaded a longer video that shows clearly that Mark and the other riders entered the intersection on a green WALK signal.