The Oregonian highlights an initiative by Beaverton’s police that is good for the public, and could serve as a model for other communities across Oregon. According to the newspaper as part of a pedestrian safety initiative “more than 30 citations were issued and one arrest made” yesterday alone in Beaverton.
“Beaverton police patrolled Southwest Hall Boulevard and Broadway Street between 11 am and 1 pm to raise awareness and enforce pedestrian right of way laws… There were 25 crosswalk-related citations issued Wednesday and another seven for other traffic-related violations,” the paper reports, citing a Beaverton police spokesperson.
Let’s pause and think about that for a moment: more than 30 violations observed and ticketed by police in and around a single intersection over a period of just two hours on a weekday. The newspaper notes that two similar patrols elsewhere in the city during September resulted in “69 crosswalk-related citations and 23 citations for other traffic-related violations,” so it is fair to say that this week’s experience can be called typical. Many Oregon car accidents are avoidable – this kind of activity often leads to the most avoidable accidents of all.
Stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks is one of the most basic rules of the road pretty much anywhere in the world. As we all learned in Driver’s Ed, if not earlier, anyone getting behind the wheel has a responsibility to watch for, and yield to, pedestrians waiting to cross. With the end of daylight savings time and the coming of winter seeing people waiting to cross – or, worse, people crossing in less than ideal light – will be more difficult, but this is something that every one of us lives with every year. It is not, in the end, an excuse for irresponsible conduct.
As a Portland traffic accident attorney these are issues I deal with every day. Since all of us who drive are also, at one time or another, pedestrians it is difficult to understand why this problem never quite seems to go away. Perhaps we all need periodic reminders, like the ones offered in Beaverton this week, to ensure that we do the right thing.