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How is Portland Improving Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety at Crosswalks?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Oct 01, 2020 in Auto Accident

bicycle and pedestrian crosswalk safetyPortland continues to take certain measures to try to make crosswalks safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. As some of the most vulnerable roadway users, when bike riders or pedestrians are struck by a motor vehicle while crossing a street, the resulting injuries are often catastrophic. Although these accidents often occur because of driver recklessness, city safety measures have also come into question.

Rizk Law explains some of the measures that have been implemented to make bicycle and pedestrian crossings safer, especially at busy intersections, as well as safety upgrades being considered. If you have been injured while crossing a street in Portland due to another’s negligent behavior, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation in a complimentary no-obligation legal consultation.

Portland’s Existing Crosswalk Guidelines

Portland has marked and unmarked crosswalks. Some marked crosswalks have stop lines, median islands, rapid flashing beacons and other elements to improve overall safety depending on the location.

In accordance with state law, every intersection and certain midblock locations are considered legal crosswalks. A crosswalk exists at any public street intersection, whether it is marked or unmarked. Crosswalks also exist between intersections, but only if they are marked with white painted lines.

In Portland, pedestrians have the right of way in all crosswalks. Bicyclists, on the other hand, must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks if approaching an intersection. While a bicyclist is not required to dismount and walk his or her bike using a crosswalk, he or she must slow down when a pedestrian or vehicle is present.

Why Crosswalks Can Be So Dangerous

Crosswalks should provide a safe place for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross traffic. However, accidents routinely take place in crosswalks. In most cases, speeding and distracted driving are to blame. Dangerous driving behavior in Portland has unfortunately not declined in recent years.

pedestrian and bicycle crosswalkAside from driver error, crosswalks that are insufficiently marked, lack flashing warning lights, stop signs or other warnings to alert drivers in advance to slow down and yield to people who are crossing the street can contribute to a higher risk of accidents. Crosswalk signs that become dislodged or damaged by motorists should be promptly addressed to help prevent harm to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The photo on the left shows a broken crossing sign at the intersection of S. Gibbs and Kelly at foot of Darlene Hooley pedestrian crossing over I 5.

Efforts Made to Increase Safety, Reduce Accidents

Portland has made more efforts over the years to make the roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians and reduce accidents. This includes finding new ways to expand bike paths and sidewalks.  

The city continues to identify pedestrian and bicycle crossings in certain high traffic areas to improve safety. This has included adding flashing beacons and a refuge island for pedestrians on SE 122nd and Main as well as a protected bike lane connection and better pedestrian access at SE Holgate and 41st.

In streets with more travel lanes, higher speeds and a greater number of people driving, walking or biking, Portland has added extra elements to their crosswalks to help meet safety standards.

Since 2019, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) has also installed new highly-visible crosswalks to increase safety and visibility for those walking or biking. This is under the directive of Vision Zero, which was implemented to decrease the number of traffic fatalities within Portland.

However, not all safety measures are being praised by the community and local advocates. This includes an increasing number of “no crossing” signs and metal barriers that are being placed at intersections leaving many to wonder why the PBOT is closing certain crosswalks in some highly-trafficked areas.

PBOT Communications Director John Brady has stated that, “We do not close crossings unless we absolutely have to,” in an effort to incentivize people to cross nearby where there is better traffic control and less conflict if a pedestrian or bicyclist tried to cross. 

Get the Legal Help You Need Today

At Rizk Law, we are committed to protecting the rights of injured victims and their families. Our dedicated Portland car accident lawyers know what it takes to build a strong case for compensation. To date, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.

An initial consultation with us is free without any obligation to retain our services. If you decide to move forward, we charge nothing up front. We only get paid if we help you obtain compensation. Give us a call anytime day or night at 503-388-5154 or complete our free case review form to discuss your rights.

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