A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Report released on fatal bike crash

Written September 10th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Looking east on Riverside Drive: Pavement markings on Aug. 30, a week after the crash happened.

The accident that killed an Albany bicyclist on Riverside Drive on Aug. 23 remains “under investigation,” according to a police traffic crash report the Linn County Sheriff’s Office released on Friday.

The report is a standard form to be filled out after any crash. There’s a page for a narrative describing what happened, but the narrative page released by the sheriff is blank.

Kelli Lyn Kennedy, 52, who lived with her family in the Broadway Neighborhood, died in the crash about a quarter past 8 that Tuesday morning. Wearing her helmet, she was riding her bike west on Riverside toward Bryant Drive about 500 feet away.

She was hit by a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, also going west. The crash report identifies the driver as Charish Colleen Yvonne Norberg, born in 1991. The report blanked out her address and date of birth, giving only the year, but the sheriff’s office has said the driver was from Albany.

Three children were also in the pickup, two boys born in 2015 and 2018, respectively, and a girl born in 2020.

The report is silent on what caused the crash. There’s a box that says “distracted” for the driver, without saying what distracted her.

According to the form, the driver said she was going 53 miles an hour, and the posted speed is 45 mph. The vehicle had damage on the right front, but the air bags did not deploy.

The report shows no impairment or cell phone use.

On this blog, I don’t normally report on traffic incidents, but bicycling is one of my main themes, and I have a personal interest in this sad event.

First, it happened on a route I and other cyclists often use.

Also, in Democrat-Herald editorials I had supported widening Riverside Drive to make it safer for cyclists, and when I left the paper in 2012, the Linn County Commissioners voted 2-1 to make it a scenic route named after me.

The accident happened on a segment not included in the scenic declaration, which covers Bryant Way and Drive, and then Riverside from Bryant to Highway 34.

But 2.4 miles of Riverside from Albany to Meadow Road, including the crash site, was widened with the bike route in mind when the county repaved it in 2018.

The county has said that eventually it hopes to widen the Riverside shoulders all the way to Highway 34, where a separate bikeway to Corvallis begins.

Wider shoulders surely help where bike safety is concerned, but unfortunately they are not a guarantee. (hh)



10 responses to “Report released on fatal bike crash”

  1. Al Nyman says:

    As a non-bike rider, I support your efforts to widen the bike lanes. I lived on Bryant Way for over 40 years and the cost to widen bike lines in the country close to Albany is quite low in relation to the monies wasted in other areas. When the Linn County road master quit maintaining roads such as Bryant Way, which at one time was asphalt, they had a $25 million slush fund which they did not want to touch.

  2. Mary says:

    I have lived on Riverside for more then 49 years and have seen many changes. I set my auto on cruise at 45 because is easy to go faster with all the improvements. I have problems with cycles riding 2 abreast. But still give them room. Kids can distract you in cars if they haven’t been taught about how to behave in cars, restaurants, stores, etc. I am saddened by this accident and hope everyone can be compassionate for all concerned. Prayers

    • S Aldine says:

      I am a bicyclist and I also have a problem with 2 abreast in the presence of any car traffic – regardless of the law, a car should not need to cross into oncoming lane to pass 2 side by side bicycles. I will post this in our bike group on FB, I suggest a warning honk… the more folks that voice their safety concern directly to the bicyclists the better.

  3. Sarah says:

    You came to our home over the mail box issues when they were widening and moving our piece of Riverside. I am very disappointed that what we have now is supposed to be a bike lane. Many out here have kids and no good place to ride bikes. They made this a scenic bike way and yet it is so unsafe for bicyclists. Yes people do drive fast but 53 is much slower than most. I am sad for the family who lost a loved one but also for the woman who hit her. What a traumatizing event.

  4. Mike says:

    So sad. Rest In Peace. :(

  5. Lori says:

    When I read comments following posts I am usually left disappointed. There is always someone with a negative attitude or wanting to victim blame. This is not the case here–at least so far. Thank you lovely, compassionate human beings for your heartfelt remarks and consideration for the bigger picture.

  6. Ann Saint says:

    My heartfelt Condolences for all who have been effected by this. You are in my prayers.

  7. Dionne says:

    As a cyclist who also rides this road regularly it was so hard to learn about this. I feel really sad for all involved. I hope that the county and city will see this tragedy as a sign to improve the road soon for everyone’s safety. I want people to be able to enjoy the sport without fear. I feel hopeful that the powers that be will do the right thing.

  8. Wendy.Bikes says:

    Mr Hering- Thank you for keeping track of the information on this situation for us. If not for you, we would have zero news, because our local paper no longer covers these cases in any detail. In the USA, killing a cyclist with your car remains the easiest way to commit manslaughter or second degree murder with very little chance of repercussion. How this is handled by Linn County will be very interesting, if we can get the news.

  9. centrist says:

    In nomine
    Jesu Christi


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