Video captures dramatic left-cross collision in Milwaukie

Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on October 10th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Source: Bike Portland

It’s always jarring, and sometimes educational, to see a bike-related collision from a third party’s vantage point.

In a video captured last week by a Halloween-themed “graveyard” security camera and published last night on Bike Milwaukie’s Facebook page, it’s easy to see how fast a nasty crash can happen.

According to Jeff Davis of Davis Graveyard, whose camera captured the video, this took place at the corner of SE Johnson Creek Boulevard and 43rd Avenue, a fairly small intersection just south of the Milwaukie-Portland city line.

Davis wrote on his own Facebook page that the man riding the bike “landed on his helmet and was unconscious for a bit. Chipped a finger bone and dislocated 2. He is fine. There were many people at the scene to help him and police and EMTs arrived within minutes.”

As you can see from the video, auto traffic was backing up and the person on the bike was passing cars on their right, presumably riding in Johnson Creek Boulevard’s marked bike lane. (As with most Portland-area intersections, the bike lane’s stripe doesn’t extend through the intersection.) Though the bicycle operate has the right of way in this situation — it’s moving straight ahead — the operator of the left-turning car presumably didn’t see the person on the bike (or vice versa) because of the cars in between.

In this situation, of course, a car driver shouldn’t turn until he or she is certain the intersection is clear. But Google Street View for the intersection, seen from the driver’s perspective, gives a hint of the problem:

We’re glad to know the man who was injured is recovering. It’s not clear whether anyone, public or private, might be taking legal action. But incidents like this are unhappy reminders of an old truth: graveyards are full of people who had the right of way.

Clarification 4:01 pm: Edited to make clear that Davis Graveyard isn’t an actual cemetery.


TakeAways

The bike appears in the frame at about 05:29:37 according to the digital timestamp on the video. It travels at least two car length (approx 8.24 meters per car length) in about a second. This would make the speed somewhere around 18.43 MPH. Not excessive but clearly faster than appears to have allowed the rider to stop in time to avoid collision. Cyclists it would seem to me are apt to be overly optimistic about their braking ability. Assuming that the distance covered was more like 2.5 car lengths that makes the speed close to 20 MPH. At that speed most bikes have a fairly long delay before coming to a full stop. With the exception of tandems and long wheelbase recumbents few bikes can stop quickly at speeds above 18 MPH without tossing the rider over the handlebars. The best advice to bikes in traffic is slow down!