Right-hook risk drops with flashing “Yield to Bikes” sign on NE Couch

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
New safety signal at Couch and Grand-5-8

The right-turn warning at NE Couch and Grand is the only such sign in the country.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As Portland edges closer to possibly adding protected bike lanes to its downtown, a new study has found that one of its most unusual bike-lane intersection treatments seems to be working.

The LED sign above the intersection at NE Couch and Grand that flashes “Turning Vehicle Yield to Bikes” seems to have reduced right-turn conflicts by more than 60 percent since its 2011 installation.

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Bike riders and bikeways loom large in Burnside Bridgehead development boom

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
419 e bunside approach from couch

A 158-unit building proposed at 419 E. Burnside would feature a “bicycle lounge,” possibly with free coffee and video games.
(Images: Myhre Group Architects)

After two decades of waiting for Portland’s bike network to arrive downtown, it looks like downtown is headed for Portland’s bike network.

Now that life on the city’s eastside grid has exploded in popularity (and therefore in expense), major developers are making a lunge across the Burnside Bridge in an effort to bring 9-story living to the east side of the Willamette.

And as construction start dates approach for the first projects of the so-called “Burnside Bridgehead,” the excellent bike access is turning out to be central to their plans.

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With shouts and smiles, Breakfast on the Bridges expands to the Burnside

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Lance and Becky Poehler attempt to find takers for a very large Voodoo Doughnut.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The Burnside Bridge often goes unsung and unappreciated by bikers: Blame the slightly hairy merge with turning traffic on its west landing, or the awkward approach from the east. But as of today, the Burnside won’t be going unfed.

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Lawsuit filed against United Rentals in 2010 right-hook incident

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Scene of right hook NE Couch and Grand-1

Jen Michaelree’s bike where it came to rest after the collision.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Lawyers for a woman injured in a right hook collision in September 2010 at the notorious NE Couch/Grand intersection have filed a lawsuit against United Rentals Northwest alleging that one of their drivers was not properly trained.

The suit has been filed by Portland-based Shulman DuBois LLC. According to a statement, they allege that United Rentals was “negligent in their failure to train [driver Drue] Kearsley properly and prevent this accident.” The suit seeks over $178,000 for Jill Michaelree, who suffered a broken foot and other injuries after she was struck by the truck while riding through the intersection in the bike lane.

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To reduce right-hooks, City turns on illuminated bicycle sign at Couch and Grand

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

New sign went up yesterday.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) turned on an illuminated bicycle sign on NE Couch at Grand Avenue. As we reported last month, the intention of the sign is to reduce the risk of right-hooks at an intersection where several injury collisions have taken place.

A bike box has already been installed at the intersection, but collisions have continued. The problem is that, even though there’s no right turn on red allowed, that law — and the presence of the colored bike box and lane — don’t work as effectively to deter right-hooks during green lights. This sign is an attempt to address that issue.

The new sign was turned on yesterday and it’s the first of its kind in Portland. I observed it in action as people streamed down Couch during this morning’s rush hour.

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PBOT to install new sign at notorious NE Couch/Grand intersection

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Mock-up of new sign coming to
NE Couch at Grand.
(Image: PBOT)

Back in August, Portlander Owen Spencer was right-hooked while traveling westbound on NE Couch at the intersection of NE Grand. Unfortunately, Spencer’s experience was far too common. That intersection is well-known by riders and by the Portland Bureau of Transportation as a hot-spot for bike/car collisions.

PBOT had already installed green pavement markings and a bike box at the intersection, but after Spencer’s collision — and the community outcry that followed — they realized more needed to be done.

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Thoughts on Burnside/Couch after the grand opening

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Bike traffic on Grand

Traffic on Grand Ave. north of Burnside.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Mayor Sam Adams emceed an event this morning to mark the official grand opening of the East Burnside/Couch Couplet project. The project (which is still not quite finished) began nearly eight years ago and the estimated cost is about $17.8 million. Adams touted the project as a beacon for everything Portland stands for, saying it’s now a multi-modal, “green” corridor that will reduce traffic crashes and boost local businesses, all while being easier to navigate on foot and by bike.

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Sadowsky will join Adams and Blumenauer at East Burnside/Couch ribbon cutting

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

This just in from City of Portland Bureau of Transportation:

East Burnside/Couch Couplet ribbon cutting will be Oct. 12

The City of Portland is hosting a celebration of the East Burnside/Couch Couplet with elected officials and local leaders. The project invested in E Burnside and NE Couch on the Central Eastside, changing them from two-way to one-way streets and enhancing the opportunity for redevelopment and business growth in the Central Eastside.

Tuesday, October 12, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Mayor Sam Adams, business owner Bob Wentworth, Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Rob Sadowsky and a member of Friends of Burnside Couch will address the audience.

The event will be at the northwest corner of E Burnside St. and NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Truck operater cited in this morning’s crash (and other thoughts from the victim’s husband)

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

As we continue to discuss the right hook crash that happened at NE Couch and Grand this morning, I thought I’d share a comment just left by the victim’s husband. He includes new details (which I’ve put in bold) as well as a piece of his mind about safe driving habits.

“As the victim’s husband, I can assure everyone she’s shaken up and in pain, but will hopefully be fine, with only three broken bones in her foot and a few nice lacerations.

Her brand new KHS will need extensive repairs. And one of her socks, a very nice and beloved sock, was also ruined. Miraculously, her shoe was pulled off her foot before the blood started gushing.

The driver was cited for a bike lane violation and the police, in my opinion, did a pretty fair job of handling the case. One was even so kind as to transport the broken bike to the hospital for me, so I could attend to my injured wife.

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Woman injured in right hook at NE Couch and Grand

Scene of right hook NE Couch and Grand-1

Scene of a right hook at NE Couch
and Grand this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The morning after PBOT called it their #1 priority location to receive a bike box, a woman on a bike was hit at NE Couch and Grand. Based on interviews with the victim’s friend and the driver of the truck, the crash was a classic right hook. According to her friend who was at the scene, Jill Michaelree sustained a broken foot and/or shin and will undergo surgery.

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