The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office has completed their investigation of the death of Kathryn Rickson. On May 16th, Rickson was bicycling on SW Madison when a crash involving a large truck taking a right turn on SW 3rd Avenue took her life. The BTA responded to this tragedy with a call for specific changes. In response, the Portland Bureau of Transportation stated that they would have to wait until results of the D.A.’s investigation before implementing any changes.
The investigation is complete. It is time to implement some changes.
Here, again, are the changes the BTA has called for:
- Bike activated sign indicating the legal right of way for people who ride bikes, similar to the treatment at NE Couch and Grand.
- Safety warning in the bike lane to alert people to be aware of the blind spots of turning vehicles.
- Ensure the roadway is properly lit and street lights are free of obstruction.
- Give exclusive signal control to people who ride bikes, similar to NE Broadway.
- Assemble a short-term working group to analyze citywide safety concerns at similar intersections and propose proactive solutions.
- Revisit commercial driver safety education in the context of vulnerable road users. Are current eduction standards sufficient? What improvements are warranted?
- Repeal Oregon’s mandatory side path law.
- Require all commercial trucks operating in Oregon to install mandatory side guards.
During Southeast Sunday Parkways in August, the BTA partnered with Franz Bakery to spread the word about biking around large trucks. Franz brought one of their big yellow trucks and the public was welcomed to sit in the driver’s seat to see the serious limits of conventional mirrors on trucks.
While seeing these blind spots was scary and enlightening, it was also exciting to learn that companies like Franz are starting to equip their trucks with a mirror that directly addresses those blind spots — blind spots like the one in which Rickson was killed. Knowing that these life-saving devices exist, we are calling for one additional safety improvement:
- Require all commercial trucks operating in Oregon to install tripod-mount hood mirrors.
Whether or not criminal wrongdoing was involved, the BTA is firm in our belief that crashes like the one that killed Kathryn Rickson are preventable.