Portland takes justifiable pride in being one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in America. According to US Census figures, quoted by The Oregonian, Portland leads all larger American cities in the percentage of our population that uses bikes to commute to work or school. Bike friendliness can, however, come with a price. According to the same analysis by the newspaper, a recent study by the Oregon Health and Science University found that bike commuters are at significantly high risk for injury than drivers or more occasional riders when it comes to Oregon bike accidents.
According to the paper, an astonishing 20 percent of all Portland bike commuters report being injured in an Oregon bicycle accident during the last year. The good news is that many of those accidents were minor (so minor what the article quotes some local bike advocates complaining that the study used too broad a definition of “accident”). Fully one-quarter of Portland bike accidents, however, were serious enough to require “medical attention.”
Put another way: “Compared with auto commuters, bicyclists are 12 times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash, largely because they are far more vulnerable, the study says.” The biggest thing we can do to lower those numbers, according to the authors, is to “focus on improving the safety of the bicycle commuting environment.” Or, in plain English, we can concentrate not only on improving and maintaining the city’s bike infrastructure, but also on enforcing the traffic laws.
Though Portland is a remarkably bike-friendly city (if you doubt this, try riding a bike around Houston or Atlanta and comparing the experience to Portland), even here in Oregon drivers sometimes need to be reminded that they do not own the roads, and that ‘Share the Road’ isn’t just a slogan – it’s the law.
If you are the victim of a Portland bike accident, especially one involving a car, it is important to consult with an Oregon bike injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced Portland bike attorney can look at the specifics of your situation and help you understand how the court system can help you hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions.