Figures published recently in The Oregonian paint a distressing picture of the safety situation for pedestrians here in Oregon. Citing data compiled by the Oregon Department of Transportation the paper reports that “pedestrian deaths in Oregon are up 23 percent over last year.”
With the death in late October of a 58-year-old man on the Hawthorne Bridge the total number of Oregon pedestrian deaths for 2012 reached 48. “That matches the total for all of 2011,” the paper reports, citing an ODOT spokeswoman. The victim of this latest fatal Oregon car accident involving a pedestrian was struck by an eastbound car as he crossed from one side of the bridge to the other. He had been using the bridge to watch his wife compete in a rowing race.
The sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities is especially surprising since bicycle-related deaths have fallen over the same period. The Oregonian reports that bicycle deaths have dropped 41 percent: seven this year compared to 12 during the same period in 2011.
This latest pedestrian death is a reminder that as dangerous as our roads can be for drivers and passengers they are often far more dangerous for those who are walking, riding a bike or operating a motorcycle. Keeping the roadways safe for everyone ought to be everyone’s concern.
As a Portland pedestrian accident lawyer one sees too many accidents like the recent one on the Hawthorne Bridge. The best way to avoid such tragedies is for everyone to exercise caution and vigilance whenever they are on the road (or, in the case of pedestrians, crossing one). Crosswalks, lights, bike boxes and other measures put in place by city and state governments to make driving, biking and walking safer are all important – but the final responsibility lies with each of us. Our cities are as safe as we make them.