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Friday, February 17, 2012

Muertos a mi izquierda

In last night's mow-down of a pedestrian by a Tri-Met bus in Tigard, the bus was reportedly making a left turn. That simple maneuver seems to be quite problematic.

Comments (15)

TriMet ought to outlaw all turns. Problem solved.
Trains seem to be our future, no turning....
Bad rouge busses cause problems.

Really, when you consider the thousands and thousands of miles that Tri-Met buses log, it seems that these accidents occur rarely.
Of course, any accident is regrettable.
Also, I don't know how much you drive, but these days, pedestrians be crazy. They walk out into traffic and just expect that everyone will see them (even if it is dark and they are wearing dark clothes) and stop.

The problem is a design flaw on the outside rear view mirror on the drivers side. It is so large they have to do a "rock and roll" procedure to see around it when they make a left hand turn. Sometimes they still can't see everything...until they feel the bump.Then its too late.

Professional drivers shouldn't hit people in marked crosswalks, no matter how many millions of miles they drive.

They have video cameras on the inside to catch thugs. Why not install a video camera on the left turn "blindspot" to fill in the blanks?

Y'all know that if the PPB had tazed them, drug them into the sidewalk and beat them unconscious, I would still rise to the defense of the Boys in Blue.

I have no such deference to Tri-Met, not until they start getting shot at much more frequently.

LOVE the headline!

Why are left turns a recurring issue on a left-hand drive vehicle? Has anyone asked the drivers who actually operate these pieces of equipment? Either a) they are not professional drivers, b) they are working under unsafe pressures from management, c) there is a visibility issue with the equipment, or d) some combination of the above. Semi-trucks don't recurringly run over people while making left turns.

There may also be a design flaw... If the vehicle was a Gillig low floor bus.

There has been some speculation the left windshield post is positioned so that it obstructs a view of a person crossing from ahead of the bus on the left left turn footprint area. The ttheory is as the pedestrian comes closer to the bus, the left turn angle of the left windshield post continues to obstruct the view of the pedestrian. This may only occur with operators of a certain height from waist to eyes (theoretically - a shorter person does not have the same "visual purchase" capability as a taller person.

I am retired now. But, i served as the Safety Coordinator for a transit agency. We had a long-time, level-headed transit operator with an impecable safety record make a left turn which missed a pedestrian by a hair. This happened in mid-day during a left turn maneuver. We had six cams on the bus, and none were positioned well to help us disect what had happened (we later added a seventh cam on the left forward of the fleet). The pedestrian was scared, the operator was freaked and we were unable to figure out exactly what happened. But, our post-event analysis showed a possible ongoing left view obstruction issue (but, we could not conclude this was the "cause" of our near catastrophy).

Anyway - just saying.

In this case the pedestrian apparently was not in the crosswalk at all and darted across the road.

I know it's not kosher to blame the victim but some responsibility does fall on pedestrians to pay attention to the large moving vehicles.
You can see them, don't count they can see you.

If the pedestrian ran into the path of the vehicle, they are fortunate it was a bus that can stop short and not a train running down the middle of the street that cannot.

Here is the KOIN video report on the crash with a several observations.

"Mow-Down"? Isn't that a premature and loaded characterization of the conduct of the operator and the cause of this accident? If he's in the process of making a left hand turn, and she was 50 ft. north of the crosswalk, as the early reports indicate, his lights might not even have illuminated her before it was too late. The sad fact is many pedestrians (and cyclists) assume that because they can see the headlights, a driver can see them. This is simply not true, regardless of the location of other equipment on the vehicle. Crossing a busy multi lane highway at night, outside a crosswalk, (if that proves true) is an extremely hazardous undertaking requiring a corresponding measure of vigilance and caution. This is a tragic accident, but (in my humble opinion) too many facts remain to be confirmed before implying fault with such charged rhetoric.

A regrettable accident. Nothing much more than that at this point. I'll resist the temptation to make snide remarks and/or equate it with other things...for now.

99W and Walnut is the location of my bus stop and just a couple blocks from my home.

Looking at the recent news reports, it looks like this much is clear:

1. The pedestrian was NOT in the crosswalk,

2. The pedestrian was between 30 and 50 feet east of the crosswalk and thus not legally protected,

3. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing, and it was about 7:30 PM,

4. The pedestrian had "darted" across the highway to go to a convenience store (at the 76 gas station) and then attempted to "dart" back across 99 to meet back with her friends,

5. The bus involved was operating on route 45 Garden Home, which was making a left turn from Walnut onto 99W en route to the Tigard Transit Center at the end of its trip,

6. There is no evidence that the bus had any mechanical problem,

7. There is no evidence the Operator was impaired, distracted, or in any other way unable to perform his duties,

8. There is no evidence the Operator violated any signal. The traffic light at Walnut gives a green signal to left-turning traffic that is protected against oncoming traffic from Walnut Court, but is not protected from the crosswalk. However, the pedestrian wasn't at the crosswalk and thus likely did not activate the pedestrian signal.

I think it's really sad to be blaming the Operator here when all signs point to the fault being at the pedestrian. Had the pedestrian taken the few extra seconds to go to the crosswalk and activate the signal, and possibly wear something that would make her more visible, this whole incident could have been avoided. The TriMet operator had very little potential to avoid this incident - he had just made a left turn so it's understandable he would not have expected a pedestrian to be outside of a crosswalk (marked or unmarked). At the time of night, it would have been difficult for him to see the pedestrian anyways, and overhead lighting isn't exactly great - PGE installed street lights only exist on the north side of 99W, but not on the south side. (Again, I get on a bus here every day.)

Is it a problematic manuever? Sure. Was TriMet and its employee at fault? Doubtful. The pedestrian had no legal protection.

The sad thing is that she was so close to a marked crosswalk protected by a traffic light, and chose not to wait the extra 60 seconds to use it.

She was mowed down. Not intentionally, but she was mowed down.

Would it be a story if it were a vehicle other than a TriMet bus? Would she have been "mowed down" if it were any other truck or car?

Yes, it is a story because it involved a TriMet bus, but it doesn't make it TriMet's fault or a symptom of some problem at TriMet.

(I can't believe I'm actually defending TriMet here...)

I'm with Isaac and I see it far too often. There was a freakin crosswalk right there... She chose not to use it...


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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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