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Monday, August 1, 2011

Joey Harrington's banged up pretty good

Some of the media coverage of last night's bicycle accident involving former football star quarterback Joey Harrington has tended to understate the extent of his injuries. According to KPAM Radio, he's been in intensive care at OHSU with a punctured lung and a broken collarbone, and he hit his head (helmeted, fortunately) on the SUV that rear-ended him and sent him flying.

The accident took place on Foster Road, just west of I-205, just before sunset. Obviously, the driver of the SUV was in the wrong, but you've got to be a little nuts to be riding a bike in traffic there. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for Harrington, and other recreational pursuits that he can take into his old age with him.

Comments (20)

It's best to take the side streets anywhere in the vicinity of SE 82nd.

If he was riding west into the sunset, visibility might have been sketchy for the driver of the SUV. I have friends that ride a lot more than I do and do not use a helmet mirror. I do and keep an eye on everyone closing on me. I wish Joey a speedy and complete recovery!

There's no bike lanes; Foster is a mess for pedestrians. I'm hopeful that this doesn't become a rallying point for cycling advocates to push for a Foster "road diet;" if the Lents Town Center is going to be economically successful, pass-through traffic is going to play a key role in bringing Lents customers.

And, Gordon, you're right - these greenways are good because they divert cyclists off of the main thoroughfares. A better east-west greenway in this area could take some of the support from the notion that Foster should be narrowed.

A much bigger problem is the 35 mph speed limit on Foster, coupled with people thinking they're already on the freeway as soon as they're within a few blocks of it. If PBOT would enforce the limit and ODOT would lower it to 30 east of 88th (since, theoretically, it's a commercial district), we'd have a better environment for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and, most importantly, small businesses.

Of course there are countless places that are a mess for pedestrians. Too many boondoggles devouring billions.

What's wrong with Lents? Isn't the leverage/linchpin/catalyst MAX green line spurring a rush of private development?

No? Oh well then we need more light rail and Urban Renewal. And maybe a streetcar added to Lents.

How would Metro know what it takes "to be economically successful" anyway?

Or for that matter how to make Foster safer?

Lowering the speed limit to 30 from 35 would accomplish nothing but slowing down the through traffic.

More traffic calming?

And Nick if you're going to post on blogs some people might think you should identify that you work for Metro.

About Nick Christensen
Nick Christensen is a news reporter for Metro, covering agency issues and decisions from an objective point of view. His stories are not subject to the approval of Metro staff or elected officials, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Metro staff or councilors.

Gosh, Ben. I thought it was Joey who landed on his head.

Ben - Who I work for is irrelevant in this conversation. If I'm posting about something regarding my work, I'll own it; after 5, I'm still entitled to opinions, as a citizen, observer and as a chair of my neighborhood association.

This isn't a conversation about Lents, it's a conversation about Joey Harrington and cycling safety. But I'll still bite. Urban renewal isn't doing much for Lents right now for a variety of reasons; PDC process is exceedingly slow, too many bureaus get involved, the private sector has been challenging to work with.

I think the Green Line has made Lents accessible for more middle-class families, but it's only been open for two years in the midst of the worst recession of our time. Until we have more private sector involvement in filling some of the vacant lots in the Lents Town Center, it'll be hard to say the Green Line was a linchpin or a catalyst.

Lents needs customers; slower, safer streets; more retail pads. Urban renewal won't be the answer for all of that, and I think anyone who thinks urban renewal is a panacea is fooling themselves. Without private sector support, it's not happening.

Judging from the bike map, there's a three block gap between where the bike lane ends and 87th, and designated bike route, crosses Foster. So he was probably trying to get from the I-205 bike path to points north, with a short stretch of tight road.

The news coverage and comments make it sound as if he was just tooling down Foster for dozens of blocks, which seems unlikely.

Why assume that the driver of the SUV was "obviously" in the wrong, even though he's been cited for driving too close to Harrington's bicycle?

According to the Oregonian's article, the accident took place at 8:24 p.m., with both the SUV and Harrington traveling westbound on Foster.

It should be easy to figure out what the angle of the sun would have been at that exact moment, and whether or not that would have affected the driver's visibility.

Anyone who's driven anywhere -- and not just in Portland -- knows that there are times in the late afternoon, or early morning, when visibility due to glare is reduced to practically zero.

If you rear-end a bike, or a motor vehicle, you're in the wrong, 24/7/365.

Nick Christensen,
Thanks for drawing attention to the proposal to narrow Foster to one motor vehicle lane each way.

Personally, I think it's a great idea. This collision draws attention to why - there is simply not enough space for bike and pedestrian infrastructure currently. That lack of safety infrastructure means I am terrified of hitting a person biking or walking every time I drive on Foster.

My driving experience on Foster would be much improved with one fewer motor vehicle lane each way and more space for people to walk and bike safely.

Here's hoping that Mr. Harrington is going to be all right. I've broken a rib in a bike crash, and my youngest brother was left in a coma after a jerk made a righthand turn from a left turn lane and my brother's bike helmet became a permanent part of the driver's minivan. I wouldn't wish that on anybody, and I hope he makes a full and reasonably painless recovery.

"... you've got to be a little nuts to be riding a bike in traffic there..."

Wrong! You have a right to be on the public thoroughfare. Just because you choose something other than an F-150 for your mode of transportation does not make you "nuts." However, a society which allows inattentive people to "drive" two tons of mass on a public thoroughfare is definitely crazy.

Nick Christensen -

Realizing that you are a government paid "journalist" and all, I recognize that to you facts are never as important as the overall message but....

"If PBOT would enforce the limit ..."

Ahhh, PBOT doesn't have anything to do with speed enforcement.

Try PPB, not PBOT.

Nick might have Freudian'd some future plans there, Mousey.

At least Nick is posting under his actual name. Steve/Ben, I'm pretty sure you're not, and that you have some credentials and political involvement that you do not disclose very often. There's plenty enough material here that we should all be able get by with just disagreeing with what others have to say, rather than getting all personal with it.

Nick, Alex: It certainly makes sense to take Foster's two lanes each way down to one. Same with Barbur. And we should add SE Powell, SE Grand, Burnside, SW Macadam, Naito Parkway...the list goes on. Vehicle traffic is absurd and not needed for commerce or convenience. There certainly isn't any degradation in capacity when two lanes are reduced to one. Huh?

In fact, those mentioned above are actually being considered to be one lane arterials by PBOT and ODOT. And then when the People realize what is happening the politicians will say, "too bad, where were you in all the earlier public hearings, neighborhood meetings? We can't turn back. You're out of order". This comment is exactly what some Clackamas Co. Commissioners recently told citizens about MLR.

The second I figured out how to ride a bike my dad sat me down for a saftey talk. He explained the meaning of "Dead right". Just because I have the rules on my side doesn't make me any less injured or dead. He told me to always assume drivers don't see me (he said it again when I started riding motorcycles).

Non-motorized- That's exactly the attitude I have problems with in a lot of todays bicycle crowd. Yes they have the right to ride there but is it really a prudent place to ride your bike? Many bicyclist appear to turn their saftey over to car drivers and blind chance instead of watching out for themselves.

Hoping that Mr. Harrington has a graceful recovery... If we continue to let our city put us into a perpetual road rage by closing freeways on the weekends and proposing narrowing roads and limiting commuter traffic to one lane... We create horrible messes... especially with the person who now will go 24 miles an hour holding everyone behind them hostage. When that happens, there becomes a lot of angry drivers... The answer is not to hold traffic hostage... We can not legislate what kinda vehicle is sold or bought but we want to legislate road rage to quicken the public's choices? Why are we catering to a few road warriors who do not use the new bike lanes... over a biker's convenience we create a bigger mess with the mental health of our public.
There would be too much repercussion on this one, boys.

When I lived in Southeast, I didn't even want to drive my car on that section of Foster. Way too many morons, combined with terrible road quality. No thanks.

Besides, didn't they just pound through a massive "Bike Boulevard" project somewhere around there and who-knows-what expense to the property-owning public?

"Dead Right." Yep. The most important rule of the road is: tonnage rules.


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