Rider injured in hit and run on NE 21st Ave

Note posted 9/4 at 11:40 am: By request of the victim, I’ve deleted the video and all information about this crash from BikePortland. If I hear otherwise from the victim in the future, I will restore this post. Thanks for understanding. – Jonathan

UPDATE: For more on this intersection and the fallout from this collision, see this post and/or watch this video I posted on Instagram.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. 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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Danika
Danika
8 months ago

I wonder if that construction site where NE20th and 21st Cir. meet has any cameras?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago
Reply to  Danika

Maybe PBOT intersection cameras at Sandy & 20th?

Atreus
Atreus
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

That’s way too far away, not even close.

Steve C
Steve C
8 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

It’s a reasonable guess that the car passed through that intersection. Maybe a camera can provide a pic of the rear license plate, if it had one.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Steve C

Steve, Jonathan has updated the story, the police have the suspect and car.

Matt S
Matt S
8 months ago

This video is infuriating. What I would do to that driver if I could drag them out of that car.

BobWellington
BobWellington
8 months ago

If that isn’t a great example of the need for actual protection for bike lanes I don’t know what is. I also don’t know how the cyclist came away as unscathed as she did. Just wild.

Caleb
Caleb
8 months ago
Reply to  BobWellington

It turns out rolling over and over and over again is a good way to spread out the impact force (source: my poor body.)

squareman
squareman
8 months ago

Absolutely horrific. So glad she wasn’t hurt worse. This is why plastic bollards never make me feel safe. Now, had those been steel bollards …

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago

The bicycle front wheel certainly made a noticeable dent on the Honda’s plastic body, on the front right side. Since Oregon requires a front license plate, it’s probably safe to say that the car has out-of-state license plates.

M
M
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Oregon might but Portland sure doesn’t.

raj
raj
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

That’s a fair guess, but I also see vehicles with no plates nearly every day.

Ujkl
Ujkl
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I think it’s been a while since you’ve been in Portland. There are tons of cars that lack front plates. Some of them are unregistered and unlicensed, some of them are people who have registration, but choose to prop the plates inside the window, either to avoid detection by toll cameras or the police. While it is technically illegal to not display a plate on your front bumper, it hasn’t been enforced for years. Police don’t pull people over for vehicle infractions anymore in Portland.

bjorn
bjorn
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

So many cars like this one have no plates. We really need to crack down on unlicensed/uninsured vehicles. Parking enforcement should be impounding any car with plates that are more than 1 month expired/no plates/altered or obscured plates.

Randi J
Randi J
8 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

David,
Portland is a LOT different than where you live in NC. Displaying license plates here has essentially become optional. 🙁

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  Randi J

It’s pretty optional in NC in my experience as well

bjorn
bjorn
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Likely what you meant but North Carolina doesn’t require front plates, which is something they should change.

City Slicker
City Slicker
8 months ago

This is exactly the outcome PBOT engineers for. It’s a choice not to have hard bollards that could stop a vehicle. 

dw
dw
8 months ago

PBOT could make it so this never, ever, ever happens again for only the cost of a couple dozen jersey barriers.

eawriste
eawriste
8 months ago
Reply to  dw

dw, as much as I would love jersey barriers (or anything hardened), I’d be fine with a couple strategically-placed objects. Intersections are where the majority of crashes occur, so a few objects (e.g., bollards, planters) would suffice for the vast majority of potential conflicts.

dw
dw
8 months ago
Reply to  eawriste

Sure, bollards, planters, jersey barriers. Just something that will stop or at least drastically slow down a car.

BD
BD
8 months ago

I was nearly struck by a drunk or high driver in the exact same spot last summer. We need better barriers or someone is going to die.

Allan
Allan
8 months ago
Reply to  BD

It seems like they should add extra protection at curves. They did a little at the couch turn by the Burnside bridge. I’d love to see way more than that way more often

bjorn
bjorn
8 months ago
Reply to  Allan

They removed the plastic wands at the similar curve where cully becomes 57th at the beginning of the summer. I thought maybe it was because of a minor road project around that time, but that is long done and the wands are still gone. Perhaps this corner could be the pilot project for jersey barriers.

VS
VS
8 months ago

Horrific and my worst nightmare. I pray for the cyclist and hope the driver is prosecuted.

Plastic bollards have been a problem for years. This is the legacy of PBOT. And for years the commissioner in charge was Hardesty. Maus was a cheerleader for Hardesty. Same for the Street Trust (do they still exist?). Crappy work, bad infrastructure, but who fought back? Post Hardesty we finally critique the work but too little, too late.

Failure of government. Failure of advocacy. Part of why so few ride anymore.

surly ogre
surly ogre
8 months ago
Reply to  VS

It is a failure of the Mayor and any Commissioner who values speed over safety

VS
VS
8 months ago
Reply to  surly ogre

The assigned commissioner for PBOT was Hardesty. Maybe the mayor should have taken the agency away from her. But did the cycling advocacy community ask for that? No.

Ujkl
Ujkl
8 months ago
Reply to  VS

And before her, eudaley, and before her, novick… Did any of them make any serious impact on improving the safety of Portland’s built infrastructure? I think people like to single out hardesty because she was an outspoken advocate that had some controversial policies regarding policing. But it’s pretty hard to blame her for decades of pbot failures when she only had the bureau in her portfolio for two years.

VS
VS
8 months ago
Reply to  Ujkl

Fair point. What is really my frustration is that on the transportation issues in her portfolio the advocacy world failed to ask for accountability. Why? Maus was a big defender of Hardesty and PBOT during the term. Why?

Lowell
Lowell
8 months ago
Reply to  VS

You touch on an important point here. Wheeler decides who gets what bureaus, and for multiple election cycles he’s used PBOT as a dumping ground for his political rivals on city council.

Eudaly ran and won on housing reform, so Wheeler denied her BDS and instead dumped PBOT on her. Same with Hardesty and PPB. I voted for Hardesty and was dismayed when she was put on PBOT, because transportation clearly was not a priority for her.

eawriste
eawriste
8 months ago
Reply to  Lowell

This is a great point Lowell. Regardless of her advantages/faults, Hardesty really was not familiar with a lot of street safety and transportation issues. For example, she did not know about the 2030 bike plan during the Hawthorne Project, and was unsure about the efficacy of speed cameras for a long time. Perhaps the new form of city govt will make this problem obsolete (as well as raise a few other issues).

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
8 months ago
Reply to  VS

Hardesty wasn’t a commissioner for very long, really. Commissioners come and go, but entrenched bureaucratic stasis remains. We’ve got to push and shake up PBOT to make them modernize.

Ruben
Ruben
8 months ago

Hit and run is one of the crimes where the perpetrator shows the least regard for other members of society and should be punished as such. I imagine the perpetrator shows that level of disregard toward others in the course of their daily life. This person should never again be allowed to drive, but sadly, because we have created a society where driving is almost a requirement to be a productive functioning member of society, judges are loath to take away someone’s license. When someone kills with their car, we invariably find out they had previous DUI’s and were still allowed to continue driving.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
8 months ago
Reply to  Ruben

We also frequently find out they’ve already had their licenses taken away, but friends and family continue to “enable” them to drive. And then of course there’s the issue of car theft and “unauthorized use” of cars belonging to friends and family.

cc_rider
cc_rider
8 months ago

Hit and runs should have mandatory minimums of 5 years in prison and a lifetime driving ban. Nothing less is appropriate punishment for leaving someone for dead.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Given how you feel about the police, you are a surprising person to be calling for a law and order and prison solution. Maybe PBOT can make the arrest?

Guy
Guy
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

As Jonathan Maus has reported, PPB held an official press conference two years ago in which an officer from their traffic division falsely announced that “due to defunding” he was the only remaining full time officer assigned to traffic enforcement, and begging the public to be on their best behavior and not break any traffic laws, since police “can no longer enforce the laws”. A very strange message to send if your goal is to deter scofflaws (but a highly logical way to behave if your purpose is political extortion against the public). So I see your point about doubting the efficacy of police, but for very different reasons.

cc_rider
cc_rider
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

LOL how do I feel about the police Watts, please do let me know.

I’m very pro law enforcement and anti-PPB and cops generally because the cops are the biggest barrier to having competent law enforcement. They are essentially a gang who can enforce laws as it pleases them.

Give me better law enforcement and I’d be all about it.

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
8 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Punishment won’t bring back anyone from the graveyard. We need a city designed for humans not cars.

eawriste
eawriste
8 months ago
Reply to  Dusty Reske

Exactly Dusty. As much as it might seem like the right thing to do, consequences like that are not really a great deterrent. Speed cameras work fairly well as a deterrent for speeding though. TBH I would also like to see “awards” given out to any road goers who frequently do not speed. Positive reinforcement works a lot better than punishment.

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
8 months ago
Reply to  eawriste

I’m semi-hopeful the speed cameras can bring down the number of crashes a bit, but if the City and PBOT are serious about Vision Zero (are they?) our streets need physical barriers between humans and streets designed to slow cars. People don’t drive 20 on Ainsworth just because they changed the signs to say “20 MPH”. The “awards” idea is getting a little too close to a social credit system for my liking, but I see your point.

surly ogre
surly ogre
8 months ago

It is asinine that these kinds of curves are all over Portland and there are so many crashes that some people put boulders or want to put boulders in their yards. https://bikeportland.org/2023/01/20/closer-look-s-curve-at-se-woodstock-and-69th-369511 The city can put concrete barrels at NE & Rodney & NE Ivy or a concrete median and bumpout at SE 42nd Ave & Division but instead plastic wands are installed… Recockulous engineers, a terrible mayor and weak commissioners.

David Stein
8 months ago

This is horrific and clearly wands aren’t a long-term solution, here or anywhere. I hope that the person who was hit has a full and speedy recovery.

For all of the talk about how PBOT should bolster this section of road I’m not sure they can, on their own. Since it is an overpass, crossing I-84, that would signal that it’s actually under ODOT’s jurisdiction and we know how much they care about safety when given the choice (https://bikeportland.org/2019/06/18/odot-is-shrinking-the-bike-lanes-on-north-rosa-parks-way-301382).

Here’s the relevant quote from that linked article:

And ODOT has jurisdiction to all streets and intersections that cross interstates and interstate access ramps.

It would be great if ODOT took a stance that was more than greenwashing when it comes to infrastructure that doesn’t directly benefit the speed and throughput of cars and trucks but I’m not holding my breath.

Going back to the start of this comment wands can be helpful for easing the general public into a change in street configuration as it is easily reversible. However once that hurdle has been cleared, if the wands are being regularly damaged it’s a clear indication that more is needed to make it a sustainable change. This isn’t the first time those wands have been knocked down and it won’t be the last.

Tying this all back to the decline in cycling around the city, it doesn’t take too many stories like this one to convince people that it’s unsafe to ride around town. This happened on a two way cycle path that had some separation and is technically better than a lot our infrastructure. While riding a bike is statistically safer than driving, the numbers don’t always matter.

Atreus
Atreus
8 months ago
Reply to  David Stein

This bridge is owned by PBOT, and since it has no freeway ramps or anything it is under the full control of PBOT. That article is very incorrect in how it describes the situation. ODOT has nothing to do with this bridge or street.

One thing people might not realize is that you can’t really add weight to a really old bridge, and this bridge is probably around 100 years old. Things like heavy bollards or jersey barriers most likely are way too heavy.

eawriste
eawriste
8 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

Thanks for the insight Atreus. It’s not in the ODOT bridge condition report, so yeah it’s likely PBOT’s. I don’t question the age of the bridge, but I’m skeptical that a few strategically-placed physical barriers (e.g., planter) at key intersections would tip the scales.

dw
dw
8 months ago
Reply to  Atreus

A couple planters: nah

Multi-ton suburbitank SUV’s: A-OK

Randi J
Randi J
8 months ago

Terrible! Wishing the victim healing, both physically and mentally.

Fred
Fred
8 months ago

I got to this story a day late, and the video and injury photo have been removed. But a detail has been added about how friends of the victim located the car and driver.

I’m curious about whether you got the victim’s permission before uploading the video and photo? Maybe you don’t need permission but then why would you remove them?

Also I hope you’ll follow up on the police response. I hope the victim’s friends didn’t take justice into their own hands, as people often do in Portland when they feel the police response is inadequate – which it usually is.

This story is the best evidence I’ve seen yet of the performative nature of those plastic wands. On B-H Highway, every single wand in certain sections has been snapped off. That alone should tell highway engineers the wands don’t work.

Fred
Fred
8 months ago

Very good – thanks for following up.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

Hi Jonathan,

From reading your article, I gather that this was a hit and run. However you never actually state that (unless I somehow missed it?), and I feel that that is a pretty important fact in understanding what happened.

Would you please clarify?

Thanks!

**EDIT: after a third reading, I did see that you wrote that the driver kept on driving, but that still feels a bit ambiguous. **

Ujkl
Ujkl
8 months ago

I understand removing the photo and the video and other identifying info, but deleting the entire article does a disservice to the community. This was a major vehicular assault by a person that poses a real and present danger to the community. It is also a case in point that goes to the heart of why we need better separation between transportation modes and tougher enforcement of vehicle related offences and infractions. We need our leaders and our fellow community members to understand the violence that is inflicted by people driving cars and trucks in Portland and around the country. We get inadequate or windshield biased coverage from all other community news outlets. Removing this article is the wrong move, regardless of the wishes of the victim.

buckets
buckets
8 months ago
Reply to  Ujkl

I agree. I watched the video in horror yesterday. The victim’s safety and recovery were my first concern followed by a strong inclination to find the (expletive of your choice) who did this. But, following what I believe to be both of those things occurring, I really wanted this to be an opportunity for people to see the risks we take as cyclists on a daily basis. I kept checking the Daily O and local news sites hoping this was getting covered Metro-wide. I respect the rights and wishes of the victim and your decision to take it down but I hope the footage will be available at a later date to tell the story of what happened.

Mark Remy
Mark Remy
8 months ago
Reply to  buckets

The impulse to defer to the victim in a story like this comes from a good place, and making edits here and there to protect privacy, etc. is totally understandable.

The decision to delete the entire article here, though, was a mistake. 

Ujkl’s comment that memory-holing the story “does a disservice to the community” is correct. Reporting the facts of a story like this, and preserving them online, is important—precisely because it is so awful.

Journalism often requires tradeoffs and balancing competing interests. It can be very tricky. But erasing an entire factually reported article serves nobody. Not even, ultimately, the victim.

I think you’re a great guy, Jonathan, and I truly appreciate the work that you do here. But this time you made the wrong call.

SD
SD
8 months ago

All according to PBOT’s design of only “break away” objects next to roads so that cars are not damaged. Unfortunately, break away objects includes humans. If people walking and riding bikes caused significant damage to cars, would PBOT prohibit them from being in places that drivers can crash into them?

John
John
8 months ago

Just chiming in that it’s frustrating that every bit of info was removed. Except the headline. Maybe that’s all I need to know for now, as it says what and where. A description of where the driver came from etc, would be useful.

But more specifically to the point (and the above would be relevant for this too) but how do we influence PBOT? How can we make them change, or do we need to start doing vigilante work? Do concrete planters need to start appearing in places overnight? This is absolutely insane and the people in charge of PBOT should be disgraced and not allowed to work in their field anymore (at the least). This is on PBOT no matter what the specifics of the situation show.

Contrary to some commenters, I think plastic wants are not useless, nor is paint. They are a useful way to communicate something in a hard to miss way. But I think as someone has mentioned but maybe not clarified, as soon as even one gets broken off, that’s a sign it should be replaced with steel and concrete since it was only luck that a person wasn’t on the other side. Drivers need to think of these things like immovable objects no different than a stone wall, not a warning that they need to avoid it but won’t get any serious consequences if they mess up. Especially at low (non-highway) speeds, a concrete/steel barrier will have no safety impact on drivers.

How do we influence PBOT? It cannot possibly be expensive so I don’t believe this is a funding issue. This is just cowardly leadership and inept engineers.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  John

 …as soon as even one (wand) gets broken off, that’s a sign it should be replaced with steel and concrete since it was only luck that a person wasn’t on the other side. 

Good point. It’s like the old (and valid) approach to designing where paved paths go between buildings on campuses. Instead of building them right away, wait, and look at where people have worn the grass out. Then put the paths there, because the wear is telling you where they’re needed.

In this case, like you said, put up the plastic wands and paint. Then replace them with concrete and steel in the locations where they’ve been run over or hit.