Bicyclists protest after rider's leg severed in Powell Blvd. crash
PORTLAND, Ore. - About 100 Portland bicyclists gathered Monday afternoon to hold a protest where a fellow rider was hit Sunday morning and lost a leg in the crash.
The driver of a pickup truck struck 22-year-old Alistair Stephen Corkett, who colleagues say is also an experienced rider with the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, near the intersection of SE 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard. Corkett was hospitalized at OHSU with life-threatening injuries and lost one of his legs. As of Monday evening, an OHSU spokesperson said Corkett is in serious but stable condition. Friends have set up a fund to help cover medical costs.
After word spread on social media about Corkett's crash, fellow bicycle riders decided to hold a "slow-down" protest Monday starting at 4 p.m.; they want the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to enforce more safety regulations for bikers along Powell, a road that technically qualifies as a "highway" and falls under ODOT's jurisdiction.
Just last month the Oregon Department of Transportation began the design of $3.8 billion worth of changes that would include a dedicated left-turn light for traffic turning from Southeast 26th on Powell Boulevard.
That's what police said the truck involved in the crash was doing when it hit Corkett.
The redesign will take another year with construction after that.
Some people have called for longer yellow lights at the intersection and more enforcement with bike boxes.
Dan Kaufman, the organizer of the "Super Legal" bicycle demonstration, said changes should be happening faster on Powell to make it safer for everyone.
"These are our right of ways, and we should all be able -- including cars. Motorists are getting killed on Powell all the time, and injured. So this is happening on a daily basis so the safety of the right of way needs to be paramount," he said.
The cyclist took an eight block loop around 26th and Southeast Powell Boulevard.
Some drivers became irate.
"They're not paying for any part of the road," said Dan Hunter. We're supposed to share the entire road with them and yet they pay nothing."
At one point during the peak of the protest one man got out and yelled at cyclists after one smacked his car with his hand.
Other protesters on foot paced up and down in a crosswalk to force drivers to yield.
"There's got to be a better solution than jamming traffic like a gumball," Hunter said.
Officials haven't released the specifics but initial reports say the driver, 42-year-old Barry Scott
Barry Scott Allen. Mug shot from 2008.
Allen, was heading north on 26th Avenue while Corkett and a friend were riding their bikes south on the same road.
Police say Allen turned left and collided with Corkett. He remained on scene following the crash, and police do not believe drugs or alcohol were factors. Police have not filed any charges against the 42-year-old. Though, according to public records, Allen has several prior driving violations, which include careless driving and operation of an unsafe motor vehicle.
Shortly after the crash, Corkett's OBRA colleagues organized a GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs. Friends say the 22-year-old has at least two more surgeries and months of physical therapy ahead.
"It's really great to see this outpouring of support because Alistair really needs it at this moment. It's a dark time in his life. At 22 years old, to lose his leg is emotionally draining. He's a tough individual though. He's come back and one of the first things he said to his friend is, 'Will I be able to race my bike again?'" OBRA Executive Director Kenji Sugahara told KATU News.
According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the intersection where the crash occurred is the most dangerous along Powell Boulevard between 7th Avenue and Cesar Chavez. From 2004 to 2013, 73 people were injured in the area, including eight cyclists and five pedestrians.
GoFundMe: "Put Alistair back on his bike"