Bicycle-car collision near River Road and Beltline

The Register-Guard is reporting on a bicycle-car crash today on River Road. The report says a teenager on a bike was going the wrong way in the bike lane — that is, riding against traffic — and collided with a turning car.

The description of the accident in the R-G story doesn’t quite make sense to me, though:

The teen’s bicyclist [sic] was struck by a northbound Volkswagen Jetta as it turned left from River Road onto Division Avenue. The teen, whose name was not released, was riding south in the northbound bicycle lane at the time, police said.

I suspect there may be an error in the directions here — perhaps the car was actually headed south? Or maybe the cyclist was going the wrong way in the southbound bike lane?

I’m trying to check on the details.

In any case, it seems police were not faulting the driver in this crash. The R-G says the cyclist would probably be cited for going the wrong way in the bike lane. As for the diver, KEZI says she was not being cited. KMTR says she was cited for having a suspended license. The R-G says she was cited for driving without insurance. So we’re not sure.

The KMTR story has a scary photo of the aftermath — broken windshield and bike under the car.

Let’s hope everybody is going to be OK.

18 thoughts on “Bicycle-car collision near River Road and Beltline

  1. I was driving by in the southbound lane just a short time after the accident. Looked like the driver was in northbound land driving north and bicyclist was riding southbound in the northbound land. I see bicyclist riding against traffic multiple times every day. This is the second accident I’ve seen like this one in the last 3 weeks. Most bicylist do not obey traffic laws from what I see out there everyday. I was taught in grade school how to obey traffic laws. What has happened to learning how to ride in traffic. I’ve known that riders are going to get hurt or killed for not obeying traffic laws. I think the police should be pulling over the bicyclist that are breaking the law and give them tickets and warn them about the hazzards of riding against traffic. Then maybe they will think twice about doing it correctly.

    1. kartgo,
      Thanks for the comment. So perhaps the car was attempting to turning *right* onto Division — not left as the report says? Was it in the right-hand lane? As Kevin says below, if you’re coming north on River Road, you can’t turn left onto Division. Anyway, I’m trying to get clarification from the police on exactly what happened.

      Yes, kartgo, riding against traffic is a very bad idea. I agree with you on that. And I, too, see it more than I like. Where I am going to take issue with your comment is: “Most bicyclists do not obey traffic laws from what I see out there everyday.”

      Well, many do. I see more things that make me cringe than I like. On the other hand, many drivers disobey traffic laws, too, and a lot people on bikes do ride responsibly. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but let’s go easy on the blanket generalizations.

      That said, I’ll also agree that cyclists who run red lights or ride the wrong way should be cited.

      Unfortunately there are some people out there who actually think riding the wrong way is a good idea — that it’s somehow safer. It’s not. It’s a recipe for trouble.

  2. How can a northbound vehicle turn left on to division? That’s a right turn. Were they turning on to ruby? Were they southbound? There’s a light at the intersection, what state was it in?

    Riding the wrong way in a bike lane drivers me crazy, particularly if I’m riding the right way in it… but at the same time, if you hit something with the front of your car, you probably failed at least a little bit to be aware of your surroundings and drive in a safe/defensive/cautious way.

    Of course, there’s nobody enforcement of being a safe, cautious or defensive driver. As we’ve seen, you have to do something pretty horrible with a car to lose your driving privileges.

    1. Yeah, see my comment above — maybe the car was turning right? I’ll keep trying to find out. I think it’s hard to armchair quarterback this one at this point. Making a right turn in a car — if that’s what was happening — you’re certainly not expecting a bike coming from that direction. On the other hand, if it was a pedestrian in the crosswalk, you’d be responsible for seeing the person. But it’s hard to judge not having been there, knowing the speeds of each vehicle, and all of the other variables.

      This is also a 16-year-old kid who got sent to the hospital. I have a good amount of sympathy for him. Clearly, he wasn’t taught the right way to do this.

      I think I shouted at a wrong-way bicyclist at least once as he diverted onto the sidewalk to get out of the lane as I approached coming in the right direction. Not sure it did any good, but it is frustrating.

      1. I’ve definitely stopped yelling at the salmon…. at some point I realized that I don’t really want to get beaten up by a kid on a bmx bike.

  3. My six year old son witnessed the accident. The car was turning right and the bike was going the wrong way in the bike lane. The car turning right was behind the car my son was in.

  4. Thanks for pointing out that not all people on bikes break the law, but I’d say it’s not just “many” drivers who break the law. From what I see every single day it’s A LOT of people in cars disobeying traffic laws. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say “most” people in cars break the law and endanger other people on a regular basis.

    Driving over the speed limit (even by just 2 MPH)? Illegal.
    Rolling through a stop sign, even at very slow speeds? Illegal.
    Not stopping before a stop line or crosswalk? Illegal.
    Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk? Illegal.
    Failing to yield to a person riding in a bike lane? Illegal.
    Using a bike lane like a turn lane? Illegal.
    Stopping in a bike lane like it’s your personal parking space? Illegal.
    Driving with your lights off at night? Illegal.
    Holding your cell phone while talking (whether it’s on speaker or not)? Illegal.

    1. I was riding up Agate on Sunday and a car and I rolled through the stop sign at exactly the same speed. He started faster, and drove away faster than I rode, but as we were “stopping” we were completely in sync.

      Scofflaw humans? Illegal.

      Everyone breaks traffic laws, the important thing is not hurting people!

    2. “Using a bike lane like a turn lane? Illegal.”

      Man, I’ve seen this so many times. Blows me away how automobiles squeeze in there and don’t notice the lane’s width has shrunk.

    3. This is getting a bit off-topic, but in Oregon, it is legal, and some would argue safer, for an automobile to use a bike lane as a turn lane. If done well, it should reduce the likelihood of a right-hook crash, because you don’t have a vehicle turning right from what is essentially the left lane. ORS 811.440:

      A person may operate a motor vehicle upon a bicycle lane when:
      (a) Making a turn;
      (b) Entering or leaving an alley, private road or driveway; or
      (c) Required in the course of official duty.

      And parking in a bike lane is also allowed under a (too-broad) variety of circumstances:
      – school buses loading and unloading
      – any vehicle “stopped, standing or parked momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger.” (ugh)
      – any vehicle “stopped, standing or parked momentarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers.” (this is the big one)
      – [and my favorite…] “vehicles owned or operated by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife when stopping, standing or parking is necessary to enable employees to release fish.”

      By my reading, 811.560 allows the UPS guy to park in the bike lane.

      One excellent benefit of the Alder St. cycletrack is that people no longer stop/park their cars in the bike lane(s) on Alder, as far as I’ve seen. It seems like there used to be at least one car parked or stopped in the bike lane between 13th and 18th at all times. I haven’t seen one on the cycletrack in months (I saw a few in the first few weeks, before everyone figured out the new traffic flow).

      Drive sensibly out there, everyone.


  5. So I’m a little behind in commenting here, but I’m going to do it anyway. I agree that the teenager seems to have been riding the wrong direction, but possibly the driver was driving on a suspended license and without insurance. As far as I’m concerned, if that’s the case, then she had unauthorized use of a deadly weapon. Someone elsewhere said this was totally the fault of the person riding the bike. I don’t agree, because if the woman hadn’t been illegally driving (if she was suspended and had no insurance), this collision wouldn’t have happened. I’m not saying the bicyclist is without fault, but I believe the driver has a greater responsibility on her because of the weapon she was wielding. I think the laws for driving while suspended need to be harsher with more consequences. How is it that someone driving with a suspended license can’t be charged with homicide or assault if they kill or injure someone unless there is proof of negligence and undue care for others? It just seems to me if you’ve already been caught driving dangerously or illegally and then you drive again and hurt someone, that’s proof of negligence and undue care for others right there.

  6. I was heading West on Division shortly after this happened (traffic stopped just as I pulled out of the Fred Meyer parking lot and the police arrived about one minute later). The bicyclist was lying in the road on the right hand side (just after the driveway into the other shopping complex…close to Burger King).

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