bicycle and pedestrian traffic sign

Statistics show pedestrian and cyclist deaths from traffic accidents are the highest they have been in nearly three decades. With all of the focus on safety awareness, why do these numbers continue to climb and what can you do to protect yourself from either causing an accident or becoming a statistic?

Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths Due to Motor Vehicles

By March 3, traffic fatalities in Portland had already reached double digits, continuing a trend of increasing traffic deaths in recent years – 49 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2019, the highest number in decades.

This also continues a national trend, particularly among pedestrians and bicyclists, who have a much higher risk of dying or being seriously injured in traffic accidents, as they have much less protection than those in cars. In October 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an annual report showing 857 bicyclists had been killed in 2018, which was the highest number in three decades.

Below learn more about these alarming statistics, in Portland and around the nation.


On the afternoon of March 3, 2020, a 36-year-old woman in Northeast Portland became the latest victim of a motor vehicle hit-and-run accident and the tenth pedestrian fatality in this city this year. The accident happened at the intersection of Northeast 42nd Avenue and Halsey Street. As the woman crossed the street, she was hit by a car that was traveling through a green traffic light. The motorist continued driving westward without stopping. A police investigation is ongoing, but to date, the identity of the driver is unknown, and the vehicle has not yet been found.

Portland is not the only city affected by increasing pedestrian fatalities caused by distracted, impaired or aggressive drivers. In March 2019, NPR reported that in 2018 alone, as many as 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the U.S., with the largest number of these pedestrian fatalities occurring in Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Florida and California. These states also saw an increase in their overall population in the same year, which according to the report, is considered to be a contributing factor.


The number of cyclist deaths from motor vehicle crashes is also on the rise. According to a recent NHTSA report, there were 618 cyclist fatalities in 2010, but that number increased to 857 in 2018. Additional NHTSA statistics revealed that there are a greater number of fatalities amongst female and urban riders.

Why Are The Numbers Increasing

Multiple studies show there are a variety of factors contributing to increasing deaths:

  • More Americans continuing to buy bigger and heavier vehicles, increasing the likelihood of more serious injuries or death for pedestrians and cyclists hit by these small trucks.
  • Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who continue to be distracted by smartphone use while commuting
  • Increasingly heavy traffic
  • A greater number of residents choosing to walk or ride

How You Can Avoid Becoming a Statistic

Being a defensive commuter, whether driving, walking or cycling, is still the best approach. This means following all laws for traffic safety and being proactive for your own protection as well as for the protection of others.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, Rizk Law is prepared to help. Contact our experienced Portland personal injury lawyers to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. This meeting is an opportunity to find out if you have a claim and to get answers to your legal questions. We take cases on contingency, which means no upfront costs and no charges unless we first obtain compensation for you.

Author: Rizk Law

Were you injured in an accident that was not your fault? Are your bills piling up while your pain and suffering seem to never end? Is an insurance carrier standing in your way of the money you need to get your life back on track? Then you need a lawyer who knows how insurance carriers think — and can fight them for the maximum compensation you deserve. You need Rizk Law.