Portland Bike Accident Puts Spotlight on Bike Boxes

The death of an avid cyclist in a Portland bike and car accident earlier this month has turned a spotlight on bike boxes – the green areas at intersections that the city began adding several years ago in an effort to make Portland more bicycle-friendly.

As I noted last week, a 28-year-old Portland woman died in an Oregon bike accident when she was struck by a semi-truck making a right turn from Madison onto Third Avenue. A recent article on KGW’s website noted that there is a bike box at that intersection, and that accidents like these are exactly what the bike boxes are designed to prevent.

“The green boxes painted in the road with a white bicycle symbol inside are located at several intersections around Portland to help prevent bicycle-car collisions, especially between bikes going straight when cars turn right,” the station reports.

The timing of the accident is especially poignant. As the Portland Tribune noted a few days after the fatal Portland bike accident, our city recently reclaimed the title of ‘Most Bike Friendly City’ from Minneapolis in the annual rankings published by Bicycling magazine. The newspaper reports that the magazine cited the growing network of bike boxes in explaining Portland’s ascent back into the top spot.

As a Portland bicycle accident attorney it is good to see the city’s efforts at bike safety being recognized nationally. One can only hope that the recent tragedy at Madison and Third is a reminder to everyone that for all the progress Portland has made, much still remains to be done. Bike boxes are an effective way to improve safety for everyone on our roads. They are only, however, a passive reminder, designed to prompt drivers to do something they ought to be doing anyway: watching out for cyclists, and taking care to share the road.

KGW.com: Bike box at scene of deadly downtown crash

Portland Tribune: Portland again ranked top biking city in nation