Serious injury right-hook at Vancouver and Columbia underscores known hazards

Serious injury right-hook at Vancouver and Columbia underscores known hazards

Police respond to hit-and-run at N Vancouver and Columbia Monday night.
(Photo: Jason P.)

Monday night around 6:00 pm BikePortland reader Jason P. rolled up on the aftermath of a hit-and-run at North Vancouver and Columbia. A bicycle rider was taken away in serious condition after what a witness described as a right-hook while using bike lanes that have already been identified for safety improvements by the City of Portland.

Many of you are familiar with this intersection because it’s just south (about 900 feet) of the entrance to the popular Columbia Slough bike path and is also a way to get to Marine Drive.

According to Jason, the victim was bicycling north on Vancouver and the collision occurred at the southeast corner of the intersection. It was a classic right-hook situation. “I bike this route a lot, and it’s definitely a dangerous location for right hooks because the lane is tight, there’s often debris, the road is sketch, and bikes will have a lot of downhill speed,” Jason shared in an email.

Jason spoke to a driver who saw the collision who said the bicycle rider was, “In bad shape; unconscious, but breathing.” The driver also said the alleged suspect was driving an SUV and confirmed they right-hooked the victim before driving off. Thankfully, the witness got the license plate number and the information has been given to the Portland Police Bureau officers who responded.



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Northbound Vancouver just before Columbia. Circle marks right-hook risk area.

This section of Columbia is a well-known problem spot. Speeds on Columbia Blvd are very high and it’s managed more like a freeway than a street people outside of cars also need to use. It’s also a major freight route. Thankfully, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is working to make it safer through their Columbia Lombard Mobility Corridor Plan that’s set to be released in draft form later this year and possibly adopted by city council in early 2021.

A draft project list released in November 2019 includes one project that would directly impact this intersection. Project #47 would, “Improve safety and comfort of existing bike lanes on N Vancouver Ave between Stafford Ave (south of Lombard) and provide an enhanced crossing of Vancouver at the Columbia Slough Trail.”

For the victim of last night’s crash, this project is too late.

The bike lanes on Vancouver provide a critical link between the Rose Quarter and the Columbia River. Given the proximity of this intersection to a popular east-west bike path (that will be even more popular as new links are built in the coming years), PBOT must address these basic safety hazards as soon as possible.

This post will be updated if we hear any updates on the case or the victim’s condition. If you have more information about what happened, please call PPB non-emergency at 503-823-3333.

In related news, there was another hit-and-run involving a bicycle rider early before sunrise this morning near NE Prescott and 115th. KATU TV reporter Mike Warner captured images from the scene and he says the victim had minor injuries.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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