The truth is, we don’t yet know exactly what happened. So why do most people blame Graser? Because the Oregon State Police said so.
The official crash statement released by the OSP a mere six hours after the collision read, “Preliminary investigation reveals… Graser… entered the eastbound right lane and a collision occurred.” [Read more…]
Based on observations from the scene it was a classic right hook. The truck was stopped a few dozen feet from the intersection and Marsan and his bike were lodged just in front of the rear wheels.
That collision was just the latest in a long line of right hooks that have left bicycle riders dead in Portland over the years. As I stood at the scene of Marsan’s death, the names of other people who’ve died in fatal right hook collisions with trucks flashed through my head: Tracey Sparling, Brett Jarolimek, Kathryn Rickson, Kirke Johnson, Lydia Johnson (no relation).
Bicycles, large trucks and right hooks is one of Portland’s most vexing traffic safety problems. It’s maddening that we haven’t made more progress on it in the past decade. [Read more…]
What happened this morning. Be thankful you weren’t in that car, in that daycare or under that power pole. (Images: Portland Police, Tigard Police)
The amount of daily destruction and disruption in our region caused by peoples’ inability to control their cars and trucks is staggering.
Between 2:00 am and 6:00 am this morning there were two incidents that illustrate what has become an all too common occurrence on our roads.
Around 2:00 am on Hall Boulevard in Tigard (adjacent to the skatepark and Burnham Street) a man who had been drinking while driving failed to maintain control of his van and he struck a large power pole. According to the Tigard Police Department, the power pole fell over and a woman riding a bicycle became entangled in the wires. She sustained life-threatening injuries and burns and was taken via ambulance to the hospital. [Read more…]
Just some of the Oregon driving carnage of the past two weeks. (Photos: Oregon State Police)
This is an editorial.
The Oregon State Police issued a relatively rare safety message to the media today. In light of three collisions in the past nine days that resulted in the death of someone trying to walk or roll across a state highway, they included the following message in a press statement (emphasis theirs):
***This is the third fatal crash involving pedestrians that OSP has investigated in the past week*** [Read more…]
I was looking for the crash report form. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
As advocates and even the Associated Press move away from calling all traffic incidents “accidents” there’s one important state agency that shows no signs of ridding itself of the controversial word. And unfortunately it just so happens to be the one agency that every single licensed driver has contact with: the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to the DMV office in downtown Portland. As I walked in I noticed a wall rack full of forms and one of them stared back at me: “Accident Report” it read. It made my language and activism hairs stand on end. As many of you already know, there are a lot of reasons why the word “accident” should never be used in the context of vehicle interactions on streets. For starters, calling something an “accident” makes a huge assumption that the crash was unavoidable and unintentional. And if that isn’t reason enough, the term dismisses the pain of crash victims.
When I got home from the DMV I pulled up the DMV website and there was that word again, splashed all over the page. From local to regional to statewide government, I haven’t seen any transportation-related agency use the term “accident” so much. I had to ask the DMV about it. [Read more…]
OregonLive.com coverage of a fatal collision this month.
“Accident”? “Crash”? “Collision”?
The Oregonian’s director of news says the newspaper’s unofficial practice has been, for years, to avoid “accident” in the absence of information because that word suggests that a traffic incident was unpreventable.
But the copy desk chief says the opposite: his preference is to go with “accident” in the absence of information because he feels “crash” and “collision” are favored by “activists” and the newspaper needs to remain neutral.
Reporters, meanwhile, don’t seem to be sure what to do. Last week, a business reporter was taking her turn on a weekend cops shift when an allegedly drunk driver killed a 17-year-old; her report described this as a “bike accident.” After a local lawyer emailed her to suggest different phrasing, she first described the word choice as “fine” based on the advice of one editor, then later apologized based on the advice of a different editor.
Language Matters is an occasional column about the ways we talk about bikes and biking.
When bike believers get political, they often struggle with talking points. People who know the argument for biking in their bones can forget that those who don’t ride won’t be convinced without words.
David Plouffe has never struggled with talking points.
People for Bikes, a national advocacy group funded by the bicycle industry, wants to change cycling in America by coming up with a new name for it. Specifically, the group wants help figuring out what to call everyday cycling in order to differentiate it from recreation and fitness riding.
Here’s the set-up from People for Bikes via an email they sent out today:
“Lots of people ride bikes for recreation, exercise and sport. But there’s another kind of bicycling that’s becoming more and more popular in communities across the country. It’s difficult to quantify, because folks call it a lot of different things. And it doesn’t have an official name…
Imagine you’re rolling out on your bike right from your garage—no spandex involved, you’re wearing normal, everyday clothes.
Are all road users equally served by traffic advisories?
We think the words people use say a lot about their perspectives and priorities. That’s why I always enjoy reading traffic advisories and press releases from our local transportation agencies.
When it comes to severe weather warnings, I have communicated directly with both the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that their statements should not ignore the fact that many people in this region ride bicycles in winter. Yes, even when it snows and rains.
So, with this week’s big snowstorm on its way, I sat back and waited to see how each agency would handle the inevitable bad weather road advisories. I’m happy to report, that while not perfect, both agencies have improved a lot in recent years! Let’s start with ODOT… [Read more…]