The Portland and Vancouver areas are known for their bike- and pedestrian-friendly roadways. Both cities have intentionally designed their infrastructure to support a variety of transportation methods, including busses, light rails, cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. However, even with these accessibility improvements underway, accidents still happen. In particular, accidents between drivers and pedestrians in the Portland area are on the rise—many of which result in a pedestrian’s death or serious injury. Let’s take a look at why these numbers may be on the rise and what drivers and pedestrians in the Portland-Metro area can do to keep one another safe.
A Nationwide Uptick in Pedestrian Fatalities
Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise in recent years. According to a recent report by the Governors Highway Traffic Safety Association (GHSA), approximately 6,590 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2019, which is the highest number since 1988. The number of pedestrian deaths has grown by more than 50 percent within the last ten years, with pedestrians accounting for 17 percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2019 (as compared to 12 percent in 2009). Several factors may be responsible for this upward trend, including more unsafe or distracted driving practices, pedestrians who are not visible to drivers or who do not use designated pedestrian crossings, and larger vehicles (like SUVs) that are more likely to cause significant injuries to pedestrians.
Pedestrian Accidents in Portland
At a local level, 16 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the Portland area in 2019—a 22 percent increase from 2018. Currently, Oregon has the 17th highest pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 people in the country. In examining the specifics of each incident, a few commonalities emerged. For instance, nearly 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities took place outside of an intersection. Approximately one-third of pedestrians over the age of 16 who were struck and killed had a BAC level of .08 or higher, while about 16 percent of drivers involved in fatal pedestrian accidents were intoxicated.
Keeping Oregon and Washington Roads Safe
The best way to prevent these unfortunate events is to remain as alert and safe as possible while traveling on any roadway. Pedestrians should make sure they are visible to drivers, crossing the road only at designated intersections and crosswalks. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road and watch for pedestrians who move suddenly into the intersection. Should a pedestrian accident occur, be sure to assess yourselves for any significant injuries. Exchange contact and insurance information, and contact the police if there are serious injuries so that an accident report can be created. As soon as you can, call your insurance company to report the incident. If you have questions or need guidance at any step of this process, reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney for support.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Portland or Vancouver and need help knowing what to do next, contact the dedicated and friendly personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm by calling (360) 737-1478 today.