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  1. #1
    love my Simonds 519
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    Upset Oregonian write up on bike crashes and fatalities and some personal experiences

    Semi-off topic, but I just dropped by the Oregonian's website and noticed they've got a map up of car-biker accidents in Portland along with a compilation of articles on October's two biker fatalities. It's been up for a while, but I thought I'd share it since even if you don't live in Portland it's good information for riding safe whether you're commuting or getting to the trailhead; I was struck by how strongly accidents cluster around arterials and how close the two fatalities are to a crash I was in 1996.

    All three are situations where a car turning right blocked the path of a bicyclist. I guess the reason I'm able to write this today is I got hit by a car and not a truck. Though the driver of the car that hit me didn't signal the turn, I happened to be looking through the rear window of his car and saw him reach for the steering wheel. That split second gave me time to initiate my own turn and, as a result, I was able to bounce off the plastic side panels of his craptastic GM and bail the bike out over the curb without anything more than a couple scrapes. With the high bed on a truck, there's nothing for the rider to bounce off and the bike's likely to get knocked over right in front of the rear wheels. Replaying my own crash, I'm pretty sure what happened to the two riders who died is they were pinned by their frames as the bike went down. With a car I can see the bike getting caught but it seems more likely the path of the wheels would miss the rider so the odds of massive road rash seem higher than death. I ride in an area with a lot a height boosted pickups and SUVs and, man, now that I think about this they make me wonder even though they've a lot less weight over the back wheels than a working truck does.

  2. #2
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    I always assume that a vehicle approaching an intersection near me is going to make a right turn if it's slow enough to do so regardless of whether or not it's signaling. If it's going slow enough to round a corner it's moving slow enough for me to take the lane behind it without impeding traffic. When this maneuver occasionally elicits a honk of the horn from a motorist behind me my one and only thought is "cool, he sees me." I never want to be between a vehicle and somewhere it might want to go on short notice.

    That said, I believe that every day that I leave the road bike on its hook and ride on the dirt instead I have significantly increased my chances of living to a ripe old age.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  3. #3
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    A cornerstone of my approach to riding around cars is if a driver has to see you, you're screwed, but in that situation my only thought would be becoming filling between two cars.

  4. #4
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    Quote Originally Posted by twest820
    A cornerstone of my approach to riding around cars is if a driver has to see you, you're screwed, but in that situation my only thought would be becoming filling between two cars.
    I'd agree that if a driver has to see you you're screwed, but the benefits of being seen vs. not seen can't even be debated. You can't control a lot of what's going on behind you but when the speed of traffic permits, taking the lane makes it impossible for a motorist to execute the "accelerate to pass just prior to a hard right turn" maneuver, plus gives a "bail to the left" option that wouldn't exist otherwise.

    We just had another cyclist seriously injured in the same intersection where a fatal accident took place a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately she'll live to relate the incident from her perspective.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by quaffimodo
    We just had another cyclist seriously injured in the same intersection where a fatal accident took place a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately she'll live to relate the incident from her perspective.
    Well, for a short bit, it looked like the driver was going to get off Scott Free. Specifically: "Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz said no citation was issued because the crash did not “meet the criteria for an investigation” and therefore no fault could be found (which means no citation). He also said that investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves serious, trauma-level injuries".

    However, local attorneys Chris Heap and Ray Thomas are utilizing a process allowed under Oregon Revised Statues (O.R.S. 153.058), to refer the matter to court without the police having to be involved. That is, until the court orders them to pick up the driver and haul her backside into the court.

    More complete details are available on the BikePortland blog of Jonathan Maus.
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  6. #6
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    Yep, saw that on the news last night. I'm not holding my breath on the 153.058 thing-there's still ample opportunity for the ball to be dropped. The fact that you'll be ticketed for a trackstand but permitted to put a cyclist in the hospital or in the ground with your car is emblematic of Portland's "bike friendly" culture. [****MTB CONTENT****] So, for that matter, is the lack of bike access to the trails in America's largest urban park. [/****MTB CONTENT****]
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  7. #7
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    Yep, very interesting.

    Bikers writing tickets, investigating, and then requesting a court date.
    Support mtb'ing in the Portland area, join NWTA with your dollars, hands, and/or voice. nw-trail.org

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PomPilot
    However, local attorneys Chris Heap and Ray Thomas are utilizing a process allowed under Oregon Revised Statues (O.R.S. 153.058), to refer the matter to court without the police having to be involved. That is, until the court orders them to pick up the driver and haul her backside into the court.



    Yah, that sounds great and wonderful until its you who is driving and is involved in an accident that is truely an accident and doesn't have any fault so the police clear you, but then a couple of independent lawyers haul YOUR butt into court.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vernon Dozier
    Yah, that sounds great and wonderful until its you who is driving and is involved in an accident that is truely an accident and doesn't have any fault so the police clear you, but then a couple of independent lawyers haul YOUR butt into court.
    There's no such thing as an accident. Colissions are always the result of negligence or intentional violations. In all cases, drivers and cyclists are responsible for knowing, and obeying the laws of the road. Sometimes both parties are at fault.
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    There's no such thing as an accident. Colissions are always the result of negligence or intentional violations. In all cases, drivers and cyclists are responsible for knowing, and obeying the laws of the road. Sometimes both parties are at fault.


    Really? So if a mechanical failure occurs on a bike or car that is in fact maintained correctly and the car or bike can't stop and hits someone, that wouldn't be considered an accident?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vernon Dozier
    Really? So if a mechanical failure occurs on a bike or car that is in fact maintained correctly and the car or bike can't stop and hits someone, that wouldn't be considered an accident?
    Good point. If proper maintenance is taken, and a mechanical failure occurs, I guess it would be considered an accident. That is typically not the case with colissions, but you are correct. I should not have made such an absolute statement.
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  12. #12
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    Good point. If proper maintenance is taken, and a mechanical failure occurs, I guess it would be considered an accident. That is typically not the case with colissions, but you are correct. I should not have made such an absolute statement.



    Damn, someone on the interenet who isn't afraid to concede a bit? I am VERY impressed.

  13. #13
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vernon Dozier
    Yah, that sounds great and wonderful until its you who is driving and is involved in an accident that is truely an accident and doesn't have any fault so the police clear you, but then a couple of independent lawyers haul YOUR butt into court.
    That's a specious argument. 153.058 deals with the criminal system-it does nothing at all to increase one's exposure to civil litigation. Given your hypothetical "truly an accident" scenario an investigation compelled by the statute would almost certainly reach that conclusion-it's very hard to see anything more serious than a pain in the ass resulting in that instance.

    There is no way on earth that an attorney contemplating civil litigation would risk prejudicing his case with an unimpeachable investigation contradicting his claim, so that angle's out as well. It's a little much to hope that 153.058 is the "silver bullet" the cycling community in Portland has been hoping for, but from where I sit its potential benifits vastly outweigh any other considerations.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by quaffimodo
    That's a specious argument. 153.058 deals with the criminal system-it does nothing at all to increase one's exposure to civil litigation. Given your hypothetical "truly an accident" scenario an investigation compelled by the statute would almost certainly reach that conclusion-it's very hard to see anything more serious than a pain in the ass resulting in that instance.

    There is no way on earth that an attorney contemplating civil litigation would risk prejudicing his case with an unimpeachable investigation contradicting his claim, so that angle's out as well. It's a little much to hope that 153.058 is the "silver bullet" the cycling community in Portland has been hoping for, but from where I sit its potential benifits vastly outweigh any other considerations.



    How often would you say the police fail to bring charges against someone that should have been brought? In other words, just how bad are the detectives up that way?

  15. #15
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vernon Dozier
    How often would you say the police fail to bring charges against someone that should have been brought? In other words, just how bad are the detectives up that way?
    It's not the detectives, it's a cultural bias against bicycles in Portland's political center of gravity. In the last month we've had two fatalites plus another serious accident at the same spot one of the fatalities occurred without so much as a ticket being written. BikePortland.org is a good source of information.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by quaffimodo
    It's not the detectives, it's a cultural bias against bicycles in Portland's political center of gravity. In the last month we've had two fatalites plus another serious accident at the same spot one of the fatalities occurred without so much as a ticket being written. BikePortland.org is a good source of information.



    So the cultural bias is influencing the detectives then?

  17. #17
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    Absolutely. Talk to Ray Thomas. He can tell you story after story of this kind of thing happening. He'll tell you about cyclists who not only got hit by a car (whose driver got no ticket even though he/she was at fault), but who ended up having to pay $2k for repairs to the driver's car. Lawyers will often advise cyclists to avoid jury trials at all costs, because even in clear-cut cases the cyclist will lose because the jurors will decide that the cyclist must have done something wrong, and besides didn't he know he was taking his life into his hands venturing onto the roads on a bicycle? Even here in bike-crazy PDX, cyclists are a very small fraction (4% of commuters) of the community. Your average joe thinks cyclists are a bit nuts, and doesn't have much sympathy for us.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  18. #18
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    I had no idea it was that unfair up there.

  19. #19
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    I imagine others got this as well

    Bike Gallery Newsletter — November 2007



    Bike Gallery Establishes Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund
    New fund will support the cause of bicycle safety, awareness and education.

    On Monday October 22 2007 - three weeks to the day, today - Bike Gallery co-worker Brett Jarolimek was killed in a collision with a truck while riding his bike in Portland. Brett was a Portland resident and an active member of the cycling and art communities. The news of his death came as a terrible blow to all of us at the Bike Gallery, as well as to many customers and friends in the community.

    The Bike Gallery - with the support of Brett's close family and friends - has decided to establish a memorial fund in honor of Brett's life. The Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund will be sponsored by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), which in an initial phase will administer the collection and distribution of donations under its charter as a 401 C-3 nonprofit organization. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is based in Portland Oregon and exists to support bicycle and pedestrian safety and transportation concerns throughout the state.

    Donations made to the Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund will be used to support the cause of bicycle safety through strategic partnerships and direct support of projects intended to 1) enhance motorist awareness and education, 2) enhance the awareness, visibility and education of bicyclists, and 3) enable bicycle safety infrastructure projects on a selected basis. This will include funding of grassroots projects initiated by individuals in the community.

    Funds collected will be managed by a committee or board of individuals who will represent the concerns of cycling safety, visibility and awareness in the Portland area. Organizations and individuals will be invited to submit proposals and grant requests for the fulfillment of specific projects that are consistent with the mission of the fund. The committee/board will meet at regular intervals to review applications, distribute funds and work on development and fundraising projects. The committee/board will also consider opportunities for strategic alliances with City and State agencies and other nonprofit organizations.

    You can make a contribution to the Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund, by sending a check to:

    Bicycle Transportation Alliance
    c/o Brett Jarolimek Memorial Fund
    PO Box 9072
    Portland, OR 97207-9072

    Bike Gallery has pledged to match first-year contributions towards the fund, up to a total of $10,000.

    For any questions about the fund, please contact Barb Grover, Bike Gallery Community Relations & Outreach Director.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vernon Dozier
    I had no idea it was that unfair up there.
    And we're rated #1 for bike friendliness, with a (mostly) reasonable level of awareness among motorists, an active bike advocacy organization and a bike friendly mayor. Imagine how it must be in most other cities.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

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