As recently as last week officials at TriMet, metro Portland’s transit company, dismissed as impractical suggestions that the city should stop allowing busses to make left-hand turns. Criticism of the practice emerged in the wake of an April Portland fatal bus accident that left two people dead and three others injured after they were struck by a bus turning left through a crosswalk. The bus had a green light at the time, but the pedestrians also had a ‘walk’ signal, according to local media reports.
Since the accident it has emerged that federal safety data indicate that eliminating left turns from bus routes can have a significant effect on safety, as can other measures such as requiring drivers to honk their horns. An article in The Oregonian last week listed several cities in different parts of the country that have taken the study’s recommendations to heart, but noted that Portland is not among them. As recently as a few days ago Portland transit officials dismissed the idea of instituting similar changes here, claiming our city’s street grid makes such measures impractical.
Late last week, however, TriMet reversed itself. On Friday the authority announced that following last month’s Oregon bus injury crash changes are being made to routes 12, 17 and 44. According to an article in The Oregonian, “more operation, training and route changes are expected as part of a sweeping safety review.” The announcement follows the paper’s revelation that TriMet recently settled a Portland personal injury lawsuit with a woman who lost her leg in 2008 when she was struck by a bus making a left turn.
Quoting TriMet officials, the newspaper noted that the new route changes do not eliminate left-turns entirely, but cut down on their number and “will make some left turns much safer.”
This acknowledgement by TriMet of the potential danger of left turns is a reminder of how important it is for citizens injured in a Portland bus crash to seek the assistance of an Oregon bus crash lawyer. Getting your due in the wake of a Portland fatal or injury-causing bus accident is rarely easy. A skilled Oregon personal injury attorney familiar with this complex area of law can be your most important ally as you seek justice through our court system.
The Oregonian: TriMet changes triggered by left-turn crashes start Monday