Bicyclist dies in accident with garbage truck

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A cyclist was pinned and killed today in a collision with a garbage truck in North Portland, the city’s second fatal bike-car collision this month.

The crash occurred around 12:30 pm., as the garbage truck, a white SUV and the cyclist were all headed south down North Interstate Avenue. Police said both motor vehicles had passed the cyclist at the top of the hill. As the garbage truck approached the green light at North Greeley Avenue, it slowed down and started to take a sharp right turn. Police said the truck driver had his turn signal on.

The cyclist, who had gained speed from the descent, was headed straight when the truck turned. The cyclist was crushed by the truck’s rear set of tires.


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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

28 Replies to “Bicyclist dies in accident with garbage truck”

  1. I just drove by the accident site-it was unspeakably sad to see a guy walking a ghost bike down the hill to the spot where a life was snuffed out earlier in the day. You can see where the cyclist locked his brakes up-there’s about 20-30 feet worth to mark his last moments.

    North Interstate is one lane in each direction with light rail tracks in the raised median and marked bike lanes on the right side of the road. The hill mentioned in the article is fairly short and probably about 6-7%-it’s not difficult to ride quite a bit faster than the posted 30 mph limit. There’s also a false flat just before the top of the hill proper that makes it possible to ride at traffic speed with a bit of effort. The intersection with Greeley makes an acute angle-I’m guessing that a right turn is about 120 degrees or so-no way to make it without really slowing down.

    The sight lines are unobstructed-there’s no reason that a driver looking in his rear view mirrors would fail to see a cyclist approaching on the right. Oregon law is unequivocal on the fact that cyclists in marked bike lanes have the right of way:

    811.050 Failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, motor assisted scooter or motorized wheelchair upon a bicycle lane.

    (2) This section does not require a person operating a moped to yield the right of way to a bicycle or a motor assisted scooter if the moped is operated on a bicycle lane in the manner permitted under ORS 811.440.

    (3) The offense described in this section, failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §698; 1985 c.16 §336; 1991 c.417 §4; 1997 c.400 §8; 2001 c.749 §23; 2003 c.341 §7]

    It wasn’t the least bit surprising to hear a Portland cop interviewed on the 11 o’clock news making excuses for the driver.

  2. Oh. I wish I was drunk right now.

    I would so make some nasty comment about right of way going to who/what ever is bigger.

    Gotta be careful out there people. Ride tall but you have to cover your own ass.

  3. If the driver of the garbage truck passes the rider at the top of the hill, the rider should yield when the truck turns, as the rider is now behind the truck. Common sense here people…

    I feel horrible that the guy got killed, especially in the manner, but the rider was at fault here…

    You can’t assume that people in cars see you.

  4. To ride is to Love, to Love is to ride. I will still roll threw
    the mountain passes here in Oregon, Cars see people they just need to really understand others walk,ride,skate whatever around them..slow down and really make better choices..

    my fav is was the person wearing a helmet.. ohh yes this makes
    riding safer,, it helps sure but look at all the results most of the time..look at the root cause..( bikes need thier own ride way
    away from cars..

    Peace all,
    wave if you see a white Sycip :)


  5. My favorite is when they pull next to me at the stop, then turn right and cut me off. If they assume the can pass me in the same lane, they should not kill me at the corner. What sucks is how many times the cop at the corner will watch and let it happen. I hope this guy gets a cool bike to ride in the hereafter. We have to assume that all drivers are not drunk therefore unable to make rational decisions. This leaves all the defensive shit to us.

  6. i’m not drunk-
    fuck that nonsense.
    what’s that- the third bike death in pdx in a month now?

  7. I live in a fairly busy town. 2 major routes connect right down the street and I have to hit them to get anywhere for a ride.

    Haven’t heard of any crashes much less deaths in 2 years here.

    You have to ride defensively. You can’t win an argument with a moving vehicle no matter what your rights are.

    That bike lane he was in made him feel special. That garbage truck proved to him that he wasn’t.

    Which goes to prove. Even sober I’m a prick.

  8. This makes 2 fatalities at the same intersection in the same scenario in less than 2 months. Anybody see a pattern developing? Once is a terrible accident, twice in short order is a problem, any more and it becomes a design defect. Think for a second about having a right turn across a lane of traffic that mostly goes straight, with a big hill that makes for much kinetic energy that must be dissapated, and vehicles that extract a painful toll to acheive kinetic energy most of the time. In other words you have vehicles crossing a lane of traffic that is one of the few places that vehicles inteded for that particular lane can even get close to the flow of normal traffic instead of being much slower, and people wonder why cyclists get creamed there on a regular basis by right turning motor vehicles.


  9. Brett was one of our own. He just podium’d in the single speed cross race (lapped me) on Sunday and worked at one of the top shops in the city.

    We’re devastated up here with all these bike tragedies and I’m at a loss for words…

  10. …drunkenbiker…yer not even close to being a prick…you are right fuckin’ on…

    …despite what the law says or intends, if you don’t ride defensively, you are a fool in this day & age…cell phones, in car entertainment, short attention spans, non-cyclists who don’t “get” just how fast some of us travel…assuming you’re gonna get the right of way, because it’s written as law, is a dangerous fucking assumption…

    …believe me, i’m not condoning what i see on a daily basis, but to assume drivers have your best interest at heart ain’t “real world” thinking…

  11. Hey M in SC-mind browsing through this and pointing out other areas where we should substitute your opinion for the law as written? Sounds like you might have a different interpretation of manslaughter that we could use. The fact that we need to ride expecting motorists to do stupid careless shit doesn’t excuse them for doing it. The cyclist paid his share of the tab here-the fact that the driver wasn’t even cited for a traffic infraction for which there was indisputable evidence speaks volumes about why cyclists remain invisible to some drivers.

  12. John & M: As pointed out in the 200+ comments on the forums (with each death..), they typically don’t cite on the spot on purpose so the DA can fully investigate and charge accordingly.

    You are correct in that we have to be defensive as laws won’t help. Just yesterday I was in a bike lane that a driver chose to use as a traffic lane for a full 5 blocks as he wasn’t happy sitting in traffic and the cop driving next to me did nothing so don’t count on laws being our savior.

  13. A very f*cked up deal….

    The “slot” between the right hand lane & the bike lane at an intersection is DEADLY. I’ve had several near misses in the “slot” myself.

    Ride defensively…All cars are out to get you!

    Another sober prick.

  14. “John & M: As pointed out in the 200+ comments on the forums (with each death..), they typically don’t cite on the spot on purpose so the DA can fully investigate and charge accordingly.

    Here ya go. Unfortunately one witness to the accident didn’t get to tell his story.

  15. what a great forum.. just like this fine site

    keep safe and please watch for non motor traffic,hey its the law
    :) or soon to be.. fuckin cars

    Joe Rider

  16. Okay John, the truck PASSES the guy and starts down the hill. The truck is now leading the line down the hill. It’s the duty of the guy on the bike to slow down and not try to shoot a gap between the curb and the truck as the truck makes a LEGAL turn. Remember “Same roads, Same rules”? You can’t have it both ways.

    If he was on a scooter or motorcycle or in a car he wouldn’t have tried to make a pass on the right…illegally I might ad. If he was on or in one of the aformentioned things, he would have likely been sighted for ‘too fast for conditions’ and ‘following too closely’. The guy in the front owns the lane, unfortunately for the deceased.

    The bike lane doesn’t give you a suit of armor to ride however you wish. It just gives you a couple of extra feet. Hell, I don’t even ride in the bike lanes around here. They’re full and glass and other shit that eats high dollar tires for breakfast.

  17. You are welcome to believe that an experienced cyclist attempted to “shoot the gap” between the curb and a truck that had signaled a right turn if you wish; that doesn’t even pass a test of basic reasonableness for me.

    The cyclist bears responsibility for putting himself in a spot without a way to bail on short notice, but there is simply no way this tragedy could have occurred if the driver of the truck had exercised a reasonable standard of care. By your “the guy in front owns the lane” logic there’s no reason to look in your mirrors prior to a lane change – the last time I checked that’s not how it works.

  18. well said John. I believe distraction and carelessness sum up this tragedy. When my parents taught me how to drive they made it a point to have me understand the responsibility I was taking on. As they told me “It’s like having a gun in your hands”. Folks that’s the bottom line…I don’t give a rats ass about any other line of reasoning. Rest in peace Brett.

  19. So it’s the truck driver’s responsibilty to look in his mirror to make sure the bike lane is clear before making a turn, even though he’s well ahead of the cyclist?

    It wasn’t a lane change either. Of course I look when changing lanes…! Your attempt to correlate the two isn’t even on the map. Do you look and wait everytime you pull into your driveway or a parking lot to make sure something isn’t coming up on your inside? If you say ‘yes’, you’re a liar.

    The cyclist slid into the side of the truck. The truck did not take the cyclist down. Any other type of vehicle does the same thing, and it’s driver’s fault. They were traveling the same direction. Vehicles, including bicycles, must yield/slow down when another vehicle, in front of them, decides to turn.
    Here’s a question…What was the speed limit on the road? If the truck was turning, he was well under. The road was a downhill and as stated above, it is quite easy to pick up speed on the descent. Was the cyclist speeding?
    “Same Rules, Same Roads” sometimes bites you in the ass.

    Again, I feel bad for the cyclist and his family, but he was, at a minimum, partially to blame here.

  20. So it’s the truck driver’s responsibilty to look in his mirror to make sure the bike lane is clear before making a turn, even though he’s well ahead of the cyclist?

    Uh, yeah.

    It wasn’t a lane change either. Of course I look when changing lanes…! Your attempt to correlate the two isn’t even on the map. Do you look and wait everytime you pull into your driveway or a parking lot to make sure something isn’t coming up on your inside? If you say “yes”, you’re a liar.

    I operate my bike in such a way to absolutely minimize the possibility that someone who shares your attitude about driver responsibility could injure me, and I operate vehicles in such a way that even the most clueless fuck on a bicycle can do nothing to make me injure him. If I’ve passed a bike recently you’d goddamn better well believe I want to know where he is before I make a right turn. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d have better luck trying to explain this concept to my cat. C ya.

  21. Wow! Head in the sand…what more is there to really say…

    Oh, there’s this to say. Riding a bike doesn’t make you immune from laws, be they ‘de facto’ or ‘de jure’. You can’t just ride around willy-nilly and blame everything on the evil car. As a rider, you have to take responsiblity for yourself and your actions. When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you.

    By your warped rationale, if you ran into the back of a parked car, it would be the driver’s fault for parking it and somehow it would be parked illegally.

    I’m walking away now, shaking and scratching my head simultaneously.

  22. …john & m in sc…you guys are like the doublemint twins or miller beer…STOP, yer both right…less filling, tastes great…
    …in a (reasonably) perfect world, both cyclists & drivers would have a better awareness & regard for each other & the laws, at all times…

    …not likely to happen immediately, so ya, it’s incumbent on all of us as cyclists to not only pay full attention but to also never take anything for granted, traffic-wise…

    …ain’t as fun & free as we might like it, but hopefully it ain’t gonna lead so many of us to die on our bikes…too much a’ that goin’ on…

  23. …doesn’t change anything i said, but it certainly adds merit to the fact that most “authorities” don’t seem to give a rats ass…

    …lotta ugly facts stated there…obviously biased against cyclists by virtue of the fact that we are the physically vulnerable ones in these confrontations…hey, we all knew that…

  24. M in SC, the law is different in Oregon because they don’t allow a bike in a regular traffic lane except to make a left turn if there is a bike lane on the street. Because of this and the fact that bike lanes are placed on the far outside of the street, the law in OR is that making a right turn across a bike lane is just like making a left turn, you have to make sure the lane is clear of oncoming traffic before you procede. It is entirely possible that the cyclist in this case saw the turn signal and was going too fast to stop in the space available (not exceeding the speed limit). This means the driver of the truck cut him off and did not follow the law to make sure the bike lane was clear before proceding. Aviolation of that law and also about 3 others pertaining to vulnerable road users.


  25. M in SC,

    You need to check your attitude. As a claimed rider yourself, I sincerely hope no driver ever runs you over and some prick argues with everyone behind the guise of the internet that it was your fault.

    In most cities a bike lane is just like any other lane of traffic. If you are in the center lane you can’t cut over to the right in front of a car in the right lane just because “you’re ahead of him”. Just as you can’t cross a bike lane in front of someone just because you get a little bit ahead of them. The bike, being in an official lane of traffic, clearly had the right of way.

    It disappoints me that whenever someone loses their life to a pointless and tragic accident, there always has to be some jack*ss coming online proclaiming how he would have handled the situation better.

  26. I live in portland, and know the hill, it’s a horrible tragedy. Outside of what the laws say, and the rights of way discussions, we really are speculating on the exact situation. We don’t know the speeds at which people were traveling, or the distances between them. Just because the rider was skilled and experienced doesn’t make him perfect, and just because the driver has a checkered past doesn’t make him simply in the wrong. Did he have a reasonable expectation of a safe turn? How much distance was between them? Was the rider off his game at that moment? How far in advance was the turn signal given? That’s one of the biggest problems, drivers not useing the turn signal properly. Let’s stop pointing fingers, and start trying to get everyone to be more aware.

    But as always, it doesn’t matter how small the vehicle is, bicycle loses.

  27. Marked bike lanes are death traps. Do not assume that you have the right of way. Citing the law after you have been taken down still leaves you injured. Ride like a courier and screw the bike lane; ride where it is least likely for you to get hit.
    Here in the Boston area, the bike lanes are some of the most dangerous spots to ride in. I usually forsake them, choosing sidestreets with less traffic, but no marked lane.