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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oregon has third largest increase in pedestrian deaths

For the first six months of 2010, according to this study by the Governors Highway Safety Administration. Up from 13 in 2009 to 31 in 2010.

Maybe it's the earbuds -- but I doubt that.

Comments (13)

I wouldn't blame the earbuds. Walking out into traffic with no warning, with that "Do you MIND?" expression, though, might have something to do with it. (I don't know about elsewhere, but you have enough former Oregon residents out here encountering jaywalkers with that little Buddha half-smile who yell "Where the hell do you think you are: Portland?")

Well I think some of the blame lies with the government.

For instance Portland Police assigns officers to areas they feel they are needed and let the other areas deteriorates. If you go most places you see a consistent police presence but not in SW Portland. If you need a police officer the only time you will see them out here is at Starbucks or getting lunch... I have no idea where they are besides that. I know that a intersection next to some major residential areas not to far from where I live is never patrolled and cars just zip past the stop sign all day long.

It was just what two months ago that young lady was killed on Barbur and the city has not done anything about speeding or improving the lack of police presence.

I don't think it is lack of police presence.

I think a lot of the blame is due to careless pedestrians.

My anecdotes:
- runners at dusk or night without reflective clothing or lights; same goes for bike riders. When it is raining or foggy, these folks are invisible until the last moment

- runners/walkers doing their thing in the road, or not facing traffic. Remember that old Otto the auto jingle? "Single file, indian style, facing traffic all the while". Sure, not really PC, but certainly safer

- not crossing at cross-walks. My favorite, people crossing near a crosswalk, rather than using it

Sure, drivers have part of the blame, too; especially the ones preoccupied with diversions. But the pedestrians and runners could contribute a bit more to their safety by taking a few corrective measures.

Most pedestrian run downs are due to drivers' lack of attentiveness, impatience, impairment, etc. That being said, it's absolutely death-defying to walk (or bike) around in traffic areas with headphones on. Darwin Awards, anyone?

Mike: Well the place I speak of nobody stops or even slows for pedestrians or the stop sign but instead they cruise past the stop sign and drive right onto Barbur without any slowing or stopping.

The law says their vehicle needs to come to a complete stop at the stop sign but nobody does.

Paging Metro's star reporter...how are we going to spin this to make Portland appear to have the best pedestrian environment in the nation?

Try driving down Division between I205 and 82nd in the early evening. I drive there/then about once a week. It is a rare night when I don't almost hit somebody in dark clothes (no, a gray hoodie does NOT count as a light color) who is sauntering across Division nowhere near an intersection, let alone a crosswalk. For some reason this doesn't happen as often on Glisan, although Halsey is almost as bad. Too many businesses along the street?

That's too far east and isn't really Portland. That's out by the Relocation Zone where those people live. Not green. Not bike friendly. Probably isn't even a New Seasons out there. It's not safe. Don't go there.

In Ashland, peds have the right of way. Some people think that the laws of physics are suspended when they step into a crosswalk. I'm surprised more peds aren't seriously injured or killed. It's a good thing the drivers in Ashland are used to folks walking out in front of them.

I'd blame the poorly written pedestrian law. Most people seem to believe it says "pedestrians ALWAYS have the right-of-way, no matter what". Hence the high number of pedestrians stepping off the curb without giving drivers adequate room to slow down, and against "DON'T WALK" signals. I've even had a wheelchair cause me to slam on brakes by dashing into traffic on a dark rainy night against the signal. Madness!

I believe we need to pass a version of the law that's been proposed before, where the pedestrian has to raise their hand and get drivers' attentions BEFORE stepping off the curb. Not optimal for double-amputees, but it should decrease the number of pedestrians acting invincible and getting killed.

Gotta agree with JD.....the Oregon drivers manual (http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/37.pdf) misleadingly offers a very short pedestrian right of way guide.....leading the naive Oregonians to think they can pop off the curb at anytime, expecting the motorist to yield.

On the other hand, California (http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl600.pdf) spells it out at some length, with the general admonition that the pedestrian beware....cross only when it is safe.

Oregon DMV and Oregonians would be well-served to read the California guide.

Just sayin'

Most pedestrian fatalities are the fault of the pedestrian. A pedestrian may not enter traffic until it is safe to do so.

Look at the statistics:

72% occur at non-intersections
70% occur at night
36% the pedestian was intoxicated

Nearly one-half (48%) of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (16%, 18%, and 14%, respectively).


I came close to being run down by a motorist about 6:30 pm this evening. Though it was after sunset, the area was reasonably well lit, being adjacent to the SE Clinton district New Seasons. I was crossing in an "unmarked crosswalk" which Oregon law, the last time I checked, defines as a corner or the extension of a corner.

I was halfway across, when I observed bright headlights coming at me fast from a vehicle that had just turned off of Clinton Street. I yelled, then bellowed at the top of my voice for the car to stop. It slowed down, then stopped. When I was almost safely on the opposite side, the car continued, but not before the driver whined, "I don't have to stop for you."

This is the second time in as many months in which a motorist has told me that he or she doesn't have to stop for pedestrians. I think this is something new.

Please don't tell me that during the past year the City changed the law so motorists now think they don't have to stop for pedestrians unless it was "safe" for the pedestrian to cross, and the motorist is the one to make that determination.

Finally, at the risk of raising conflict where there should be none, I have to wonder if Portland has rolled out so much red carpet for bicyclists that none is left for pedestrians.


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