At a Portland City Hall rally earlier this month, a group of bicyclists sought not to accomplish a solely bicycle-oriented policy goal. Instead, the bicyclists focused on a larger objective: reducing the high number of traffic deaths in the city and making Portland’s roads safer for everyone, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. The bicycle accident lawyers at Kaplan Law LLC understand the incalculable human toll that traffic fatalities represent, and support policies that will make our area’s streets and highways safer for all.
According to KGW8’s coverage, the rally included signs honoring the lives of each person killed in vehicle incidents in Portland this year. As of the date of the rally, Portland had already logged 46 fatalities, a pace that could allow the city to surpass last year’s total of 63 deaths.
The protest was organized by BikeLoud PDX. A member of that group told KGW8 that the changes they desired were reasonable and modest goals. Those objectives included enhanced enforcement of speed limits, an increase in the number of traffic cameras (particularly on “high-crash corridors,”) additional infrastructure investment, and campaigns against impaired driving targeted at “bars, restaurants, [and] liquor stores.”
Last year’s total — 63 — matched the number of deaths the city logged in 2021. Those numbers were the highest in nearly 30 years.
Those numbers, while not as high as places like Las Vegas, Detroit, or Phoenix, indicate that there is definitely work to be done. Boston and Washington, D.C. are slightly bigger cities than Portland, yet each had a substantially lower death count last year. (Boston had 26 fatalities last year, while Washington had 35.)
Seattle, despite having a markedly larger population than Portland, also had far fewer deaths in 2022. The total number of fatalities there was 28. Of those, only five were people aboard bicycles or motorcycles.
Pedestrians Often Bear the Brunt of the Danger
One group that has experienced especially high fatality numbers across the country recently is pedestrians. Of Boston’s 26 deaths, 16 were pedestrians. 16 of Seattle’s 28 fatalities were pedestrians. Here in Portland, 27 pedestrians died in 2021 and 28 more were killed last year.
The City of Seattle analyzed its pedestrian death data and concluded that the two leading causes of pedestrian deaths there were speeding drivers and drivers who improperly failed to yield the right of way.
In addition to speeding and failing to yield, drivers can cause harm to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists in other ways. Some of the primary causes of these accidents include driving while impaired, driving while distracted, or failing to maintain a proper lookout. (This last one is especially relevant here, as pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists are — by virtue of their smaller size — inherently easier to overlook as compared to cars, trucks, and SUVs.)
These things — speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, failure to be sufficiently attentive — all have something in common. When proven in court, any of these things may establish that the car/truck/SUV driver operated their vehicle negligently, meaning that they potentially owe compensation to those whom they injured.
Getting much-needed compensation also often involves auto insurance claims. These may include efforts to obtain payments from the at-fault driver’s insurer. They may also potentially include a claim based on your (or your deceased loved one’s) auto insurance policy’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
Whether you’re seeking compensation through legal action or insurance claims (or both,) getting a just outcome often requires a strong mastery of both the law and the facts of the case. If you have been hurt (or you have lost a loved one) due to a driver’s negligence, the diligent Oregon bicycle accident attorneys at Kaplan Law LLC are here to provide you with insightful advice and, when necessary, zealous advocacy. Before you take on the legal system, get the informative answers you need. Call us today at (503) 226-3844 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.