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Bike vs. police car on Powell, but no citation issued

On the evening of Wednesday, September 21, The Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division was called to investigate a low-speed crash between a Portland Police Bureau Forensic Evidence Division vehicle and a bicycle rider on Powell Boulevard.

The bicycle rider, 22-year-old Derek Edward Poitra of Southeast Portland, was riding eastbound on the sidewalk on the north side of S.E. Powell Boulevard, after crossing S.E. 50th Avenue.

Police Criminalist Jess Morgan, a 20-year-veteran of the Police Bureau, was pulling out of a parking lot on the northeast corner of 50th and Powell, with the intent of turning westbound onto Powell. He pulled forward to see if any traffic were coming from the east, and after believing the road and sidewalk to be clear, he pulled forward to enter Powell.

The bicycle rider, who was travelling eastbound on the sidewalk at a speed of 10 to 12 miles per hour according to a witness, collided with the police vehicle (a Chevrolet pick-up), estimated to be moving at 5 miles per hour.

Poitra suffered small abrasions as a result of the crash, and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. He was not wearing a helmet, but did have an operating bicycle light.

Based on the independent witness statement that the bicycle rider was travelling at 10 to 12 miles per hour, traffic investigators concluded that the bicycle rider was responsible for the collision.

That's because, under Oregon Revised Statute 814.410 ('Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk'), 'a person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway, or crossing a curb-cut or pedestrian ramp, and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb-cut or pedestrian ramp.'

However, officers chose not to issue a citation for the infraction.