In the last twenty-four hours, I had four poor interactions involving cars. I only covered about eleven miles total, and having four encounters in such a short distance appears excessive to me.
The first encounter was very dangerous. I was driving along a four-lane street ( GoogleEarth 44.055019 -121.271264) plus a center turn lane at about twenty-five mph, about four car lengths behind a car, when a guy came right through his stop sign, on my right, at about twenty mph. He was on a perfect collision course. I reflexively swerved into the center lane without looking, there wasn’t time to look, and he stopped straddled over the lane I had been driving in. It was a close call, and if I had simply hit the brakes there would have been a collision.
The second event was when I was walking across a marked intersection (44.055631 -121.265567) with Debbie, and the traffic wasn’t moving and we walked to the dividing line at the center of the two-lane street. There was a car with its bumper up to the painted pedestrian lane markers but it wasn’t moving because there were stopped cars at the other side of the intersection. As we were one step before stepping in front of the car we both noticed that the person driving the car wasn’t looking at us and did not appear to be aware of us. We both stopped and I waved my hand in front of the driver to get their attention before proceeding. My hand was directly over the left front wheel, but they still didn’t see me, and I kept waving for about three seconds. Then the driver proceeded across the intersection on over to the unmoving cars without ever looking at us. It wasn’t particularly dangerous because everything was slow, and we never went in front of the car, but if we had walked normally across the street we might have been hit.
The third event was with a bicyclist. I was approaching a stop sign (44.056680 -121.315047) and slowing down to stop normally, just behind the pedestrian-crossing white line, when a biker came from my right side at top speed for a bike, probably about twenty mph, and suddenly turning left cut right through where I would have been stopped in about a half a second. I braked quickly and he went by me in a steep tilt into his left turn. If I had proceeded normally, he probably would have swerved to miss me, but would certainly have hit the parked cars. There was never any danger to me, but there could have been a painful event for the biker. Chances are, he doesn’t even remember the event.
The fourth was far more common here in Bend. A pedestrian in dark clothing (44.056033 -121.305642) walks in a place where they could easily get hit. In this case, it was just after sunset near dark, and I was turning left in a dimly lit intersection. Thus my headlights never shone on the guy in black carrying a backpack who stepped off the curb to my left, on the inside of my curve. I only saw him after he was jumping back toward the curb. It wasn’t a close call, but I never saw him until it would have been too late, and I never made any evasive maneuvers. Perhaps if had I been on a collision course he would have stepped back sooner. My point is that he was invisible, and he wasn’t taking that into account when crossing the dark intersection.
A fifth dangerous thing, two days ago, was a guy walking down the center lane (44.059956 -121.300265) with two lanes of forty mph traffic on both sides of him. Drivers here are very courteous, and pedestrians are given considerable latitude, but even so pedestrians need to be aware that drivers aren’t perfect.
I only average about five miles of city driving per day, but on most trips I see people do really dangerous things, stupid things. I call them stupid because the facts are obvious, and they do the dangerous things anyway.
[Update – next day in the Bend Bulletin
Published Oct 24, 2016, at 04:01PM labeled Oct 25, 2016, page A3
Pedestrian killed in Bend incident identified
Pedestrian killed crossing street in Bend
Police have released the name of the pedestrian who was killed Saturday after being struck by a vehicle on SE Third Street at Pinebrook Boulevard. [(44.021407 -121.316131)]
Bend resident Nathan Scott Bernhardt, 38, was crossing Third Street at 7: 40 p.m. when he was struck by 19-year-old Cesar Eligio of Bend, a Bend Police Department news release said. Bernhardt was wearing dark clothing, the release said.
Bernhardt was taken to St. Charles-Bend, where he died.
The accident is under investigation, the release said.