Tragedy struck the Oregon bicycling community this week when a 28-year-old woman died after a Portland bicycle accident in which she was hit by a semi-truck. According to The Oregonian, the Portland truck accident took place last Wednesday evening as “the truck was making a right turn from Madison onto Third Avenue “ when it hit the cyclist, “who was traveling eastbound on Madison,” the newspaper reports.
The cyclist was transported to an area hospital following the accident, but died of her injuries the next day. The newspaper also reports that both police and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office are investigating the fatal Oregon bike accident.
Accidents like these are the saddest sort of reminder how important road safety is for cyclists and drivers alike. The circumstances of this accident are also telling. A vehicle, especially a large one, is arguably most dangerous to cyclists when it is making a right turn. Drivers are keenly aware of traffic around them when turning left, because this generally involves crossing a stream of oncoming traffic. Right turns, however, are all too easy to think of as essentially ‘safe.’
In fact, a right turn requires special care, particularly in a city like Portland where many bicycle riders share the roads with cars. Cyclists, of course, must also be careful to follow the rules of the road at all times, but the fact remains that cars and trucks can do far more damage to bike riders than vice-versa. That places a special burden on drivers to take care: checking mirrors and turning one’s head to be sure there is no sign of bicycle or pedestrian traffic before making a turn or going through a crosswalk.
A Portland bicycle accident lawyer sees too many cases like this on a daily basis. The goal of everyone on the road must be to make travel safer. We can only do that if drivers learn the lesson of this week’s tragic accident and exercise extra caution at all times.