A man was seriously injured in a collision with a MAX train on Friday. It happened around 2:00 pm at the intersection of North Interstate Avenue and N Willamette Boulevard.
When I rolled up on the scene, a man was being tended to by first responders on the sidewalk of N Interstate in front of Ivy School while several TriMet workers were trying to dislodge a bicycle from underneath the front of a northbound Yellow Line MAX train. The train was stopped several yards into the T-intersection with N Willamette, right before the southern crosswalk that leads to the Killingsworth MAX station.
The man was conscious but seemed dazed and he was holding his right sight arm and shoulder very gingerly. I could see many scrapes and abrasions on his right side.
I’ve since heard from two people who say they witnessed what happened.
One person said the bike rider was in the northbound Interstate Ave left turn lane prior to the collision (this is a very common movement here because Willamette is a popular neighborhood greenway and many people access it by turning left off of Interstate). A southbound train was coming toward the northbound rider and when it went past him, the rider apparently began to turn. “He did not see the train coming the other way,” the witness said. “The train was hitting the horn and slowing down.” By the time the bike rider realized what was about to happen, he tried to stop but it was too late.
The other witness said he was walking his dog and heard the MAX come to a screeching halt. After seeing the aftermath, the dog walker approached the bicycle rider and “He told me he was hit from behind and didn’t know what really happened.” It’s unclear if the bike rider recalls being hit by a separate car driver from behind or if he was speaking about the MAX train hitting him. Given the fog of trauma around crashes like this, it’s hard to know exactly what happened.
What is clear is that the bicycle rider is very lucky he was not more seriously hurt! And thank goodness this is a slow-speed area for the MAX, given the urban context of this section of the line and that it was approaching a station.
Also a good reminder to take extra care when you are around double tracks. You have to clear both tracks in both directions before you are safe to cross.