Hundreds gathered Friday night for a vigil in honor of the 28-year-old woman killed while riding her bike in downtown Portland.
Kathryn Rickson was riding her bike home from Portland State University Wednesday night when she was killed. Police said a semi-truck driver making a right turn onto Southwest Third Avenue from Southwest Madison Street hit Rickson as she rode through the intersection. There was a green light and Rickson was using the bike lane, according to police.
"I was just telling somebody that this is not the first ghost bike event that I've been to," said Ryan Gaughan, Rickson's longtime boyfriend. "And I never in a million years thought it would be for somebody I knew and loved."
Rickson, he said, was the safest cyclist he knew. Originally from Rhode Island, Rickson was a PSU graduate student studying international languages and relied on her bike to get around town.
"She was an amazing person who it just did not deserve to happen to," said Gaughan.
The vigil was held during the evening commute. People lined the sidewalk holding signs reading "Look Right, Save A Life," "This Was Preventable" and "No More Ghost Bikes."
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is calling for multiple changes to make streets safer for people riding bikes, including improvements at the intersection of Southwest Third and Madison, which currently has a bike lane and a bike box.
BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky said the design of the intersection includes a threat called a "right hook," in which a vehicle turning right must cross a bike lane that a person may be riding straight through.
"Two signs, one for people who are driving cars that lights up and lets people know there is someone in the bike lane and that person in the bike lane has the right of way. So we want that sign installed, if possible, as soon as possible," said Kransky. "Second, an additional sign, in the bike lane, letting folks know to pay close attention to blind spots, especially with large trucks or large vehicles."
Cheryl Kuck, with the Portland Bureau of Transportation, said a review of conditions and traffic controls at the intersection will begin after the police investigation is complete.
Traffic officers are still investigation the crash. The driver is cooperating.
There is an ongoing look at road safety in the city, said PBOT traffic safety specialist Greg Raisman.
"We are currently involved in an investigation looking at circumstances and looking at the needs and really looking for ways to work with the community to partner to find ways of improving general traffic safety in our city," said Raisman.
Gaughan hopes for greater awareness of cyclists on the roads.
"Whether there's a green box in the street or not, it's a two-way street," said Gaughan. "Motorists and bicyclists alike need to be watching out for each other and need to be safe, but people need to realize when you're driving a car or truck, the consequences can be pretty disastrous with the smallest of mistakes."
Copyright KPTV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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