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    Categories Pedestrian Law

Pedestrian Accident and Injury Issues in Oregon

A pedestrian accident is all too common unfortunately. Everyone is a pedestrian (as long as you are not in a motor vehicle), and with that comes some legal responsibility in the crash injury scenario between a car and person.  An average of 10-15% of traffic fatalities involve pedestrians each year. In 2004, there were over 550 pedestrians injured, and 45 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the State of Oregon alone.

With more people visiting and living in Oregon, our streets have become much busier and injury accidents involving cars and people have increased. While we must remember that our streets are shared equally by both drivers and pedestrians, it is a priority to understand our responsibility on the streets.  In the State of Oregon, around 75% of motor vehicle/pedestrian car accidents are due to driver miscalculations when yielding to a pedestrian crossing the street.

Here are some safety tips for Oregon drivers to prevent a pedestrian accident:

  1. Under Oregon state law all intersections are considered to be crosswalks.
  2. A vehicle must stop at least 30 feet before the first white line of a crosswalk. This is to help the drivers around the vehicle see any pedestrians crossing.
  3. Never block an intersection. This act makes the pedestrian go around the car and puts them in more danger from passing cars.
  4. Also watch out for children or animals when leaving a place of business. Most driveways go through a crosswalk or walkway. Be on alert when you are driving in a heavily pedestrian area, such as a shopping center or park.
  5. Children and animals are unpredictable. Always go at a slower pace when you feel they might be around. Remember to keep in mind that they might dart out in front of your vehicle at any time.
    Also watch your surroundings. If you are driving around a business like a bar or tavern, be alert for pedestrians who are slowed with impaired judgment.
  6. During low light situations, be alert and ready. Low light makes it harder to see pedestrians, especially if they are wearing dark colored clothing.
  7. A good tip is to always drive slowly and walk carefully to ensure no car/pedestrian accidents occur.

If such an accident does happen, make sure you get the help of an attorney with knowledge and experience. That’s my best advice in having worked on these cases for the last 20 years as an Oregon and Washington injury accident lawyer.

Pedestrian Accident Fatalities

One alarming statistic from a recent traffic safety report is that pedestrian fatalities show a definite upward trend, with 4,280 deaths in 2010 alone.

In fact, pedestrian deaths due to cars versus walkers, which usually occur at intersections, comprise 13% of all car accident deaths.

Having concluded our firms distracted driving campaign recently, it is clear that the main culprit in pedestrian versus car accidents is the use of the cell phone and texting while driving.

Pedestrian injuries and Truck accidents

In previous injury blogs, I have written about the dangers to people trying to cross the road at marked or unmarked crosswalks. There is another aspect of danger one faces at crosswalks, and that is the presence of a semi truck such as a milk truck, semi delivery truck, or an oil tanker semi truck, all of which require much greater care to operate and drive.

Truck drivers in the states of Oregon and Washington will cause more accidents and injure more people if they elect to make turns without accounting for the possibility that someone may be in their blind spots. Given that trucks are so much bigger than pedestrians, the injuries they sustain may be much greater than if they were driving or riding in a car. Commercial drivers in the states of Oregon and Washington have a much higher safety requirement than non-commercial drivers, and must take special courses that non truck drivers are not required to take.

Bike And Pedestrian Accident Injury Claims Involving TriMet Buses And The Max Light Rail

Portland, Oregon is fortunate to have many buses, light rail, and streetcars, which make life better for the public and provide an efficient transportation grid. For this we have many politicians with foresight to be thankful for. These three travel options can take you all around Portland and into the neighboring areas for little cost.  However, what risks do we take when trying to be a model citizen and “bus it”? Though the drivers of TriMet buses, TriMet Street Cars and Max Light Rail have gone through training and safety classes, your safety as a pedestrian is always your number one job.

When you are riding a bike or walking around buses, light rail, and the streetcar, there are many dangerous situations you need to look out for. Watch for signals, yield signs, and any traffic signs that warn you of dangers ahead. These different objects are there to protect those on the bus and those around the bus. Be sure, as a biker or pedestrian, that you always watch out for such danger.

TriMet buses in Portland, Oregon can legally travel into the bike lane if they are pulling over to let someone on or off the bus. All bus operators in the State of Oregon are required by law to use their turn signal to move into another lane or come to a stop. As a biker, stay a good distance behind the bus to ensure you see a signal. With this constant stopping, remember never to pass a bus on the right. Always pass on the left. If a bus pulls over into the bike lane, the best thing to do is to pull your bike as far over to the curb as you can. Get off your bike and stand on the curb. This way you are always safe from any danger of a car.

When you do go to pass a bus, light rail, or streetcar, try and make eye contact with the driver. If necessary, wave so they can see you and make the correct decisions based on the knowledge you are there.

Be sure to always look for signs that can alert you of danger. There are many “Bus Only” signs around the Rose Quarter and Beaverton Transit Center. Those signs are there for your protection.

When it comes to the MAX Light Rail, the light rail tracks can be very slippery even if they are dry. It is best to always walk your bike across the tracks. There are track beds that the MAX travels on. When you decide to cross those track beds, make sure you ride straight on and not at an angle. If you ride at an angle, it is possible for your tires to get caught. There is additional safety information at www.trimet.org

Just recently a bike rider in Portland slipped and fell while riding her bike across the MAX track located at I-205 and Burnside. This biker is now trying to lobby TriMet to take a more serious look at their track beds and what they use to keep pedestrians and bikes from slipping.

TriMet is taking all safety concerns seriously. As posted on this website:
http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec058/08_02_Irwin.pdf

“Safety treatments included additional signage, swing gates, channeling, detectable warnings, “Stop Here” markings, audible-visual warning devices, and automatic pedestrian gates. Risky behavior was monitored before and after installation of the safety treatments.
While difficult to measure, TriMet concluded that the treatments increased pedestrian safety awareness in certain applications. This led to the development by TriMet of “Light Rail Crossing Safety” criteria. The criteria standardize certain devices and treatments so that they are
consistent within the TriMet light rail system.”

Above all else, be safe. Always watch out for all forms of transportation and follow signs that warn of danger. Those signs are there to help protect you.

Oregon Pedestrian Crosswalk Laws written to prevent pedestrian accident injuries

Oregon pedestrian crosswalk laws were written to provide a buffer of safety for pedestrians on the roadway. Unfortunately, pedestrians are the losers in any collision with a car . Studies show that a walker hit at 40 mph has an 85% chance of dying from car accident trauma in the State of Oregon.

Currently Oregon pedestrian crosswalk laws are as follows: A crosswalk is located at any public street junction marked by paint. A crosswalk maybe also be located between junctions but marked by solid white lines.

As a driver in Oregon state, you must remember that you have responsibilities to pedestrians.
1. Remember to stop and continue to remain stopped until the pedestrian has cleared your lane and at least up to 6 feet into the following lane.
2. Do not continue across a crosswalk if a crossing guard is present and you are being directed not to continue.
3. Always remain stopped when a blind pedestrian is crossing. A blind pedestrian will either have a white cane or guide dog for assistance. Do not start to move until they have reached the other side of the crosswalk.

If the pedestrian is in a safety buffer when you enter the crosswalk, it is possible for you to be fined for any amount over $200.00.

As a pedestrian in Oregon state you must remember that you have responsibilities to drivers. Obey all traffic lights and signals. Never walk in front of a car or truck without first watching what they are doing. Though a car or truck must stop for you, it is your responsibility to make sure you are given the OK by the signal to cross into the crosswalk.

The best advice is to always make sure the walker is on the other side of the street before you continue your movement through the crosswalk. Saving your life or theirs is worth the couple of minutes it will take for them to safely cross the street.

Given that pedestrians are always the underdogs it is best to consult with an experienced injury lawyer to determine your rights and how medical bills will be covered.

Parking Lot – Backing Up And Pedestrian Injuries

When a car backs up in a parking lot or any similar location (in the State of Oregon or the State of Washington) and hits a pedestrian, the driver will, in most cases, be liable for the injuries which result. With more hybrid-type cars like the Honda Prius backing up, injuries may escalate as most pedestrians are use to the typical sounds made by a full carbon gasoline car.

When a car backs into a person the issue will be whether the driver was negligent by failing to keep a proper lookout. Every driver has a legal duty of care to turn their head and look over their shoulder before backing up. Most backing up pedestrian injury cases occur when the driver fails to look over their shoulder. With a new age in driving now arriving with hybrid electric cars and other non gasoline powered cars, the pedestrian once again faces a perhaps uncertain future as cars become quieter and less noisy.

Pedestrian Injuries From Bikes In Oregon – Bicycle Injuries To Walkers

We often see an unfortunate pecking order in getting to and from in Oregon- cars over bikes and bicycles over pedestrians. The reality is, cars, bikes, and walkers all have legal liabilities to each other, but those liabilities depend upon where they are located at the time.

In Oregon, pedestrians on public sidewalks have the right of way and bikes must ring a bell or other noise maker when they pass walkers.

Who has the right of way between bikes and cars in Oregon? The traffic code limits bikes to go “no greater than a walking speed” when driving in front of driveways, cross walks, and entry ways.

Bikers also must (under Oregon law) yield to walkers who try to cross the road in a crosswalk whether marked or unmarked.

With these laws in mind a pedestrian may recover money damages from a driver.  However, getting money from a bicycle rider is often much more difficult, as many bikers don’t carry insurance that will cover such injuries. As always its best to go over your case with an injury lawyer in order to figure out what steps to take if you have been in an accident.

Pedestrian Injuries By Cars – Statistics And Legislative Changes

If you are an Oregon pedestrian and are struck by a car, truck, or bus like Tri Met or C Tran, you likely have suffered a serious soft tissue injury or may be facing broken or fractured arms or legs.  The situations in which pedestrians are injured can be varied – they may be running, walking, in a wheelchair, or sometimes just standing on a sidewalk or street corner.

In Portland, Oregon one-third of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians.  According to the Oregon State Transportation Safety Division, yearly in the state of Oregon approximately 11 pedestrians die and more than three hundred are injuredafter being struck while in a crosswalk. The Oregon State Senate considered a bill in 2007 that requires Oregon drivers to stop for walkers who signal from the curb. This has long been the law in progressive areas like Toronto, Canada. The purpose behind the bill, which empowers pedestrians against cars, is to reduce the dangerous guesswork that often marks communication between people on the street and drivers.

Current Oregon state law on the pedestrian/car relationship provides that drivers must stop and stay stopped if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. Car drivers under current state law in Oregon don’t have to stop if the pedestrian is not in the crosswalk.

Insurance Coverage For Bicyclists And Pedestrians

Few people are aware that your car insurance will cover you if you are injured on a bike or when walking on the street. Many in the bicycle community commute to work- like I did for over one year- and have cancelled their car insurance.

It is unfortunate that the only way to get upfront payment of your medical bills while injured on a bicycle or while a pedestrian, is either to have your own private health coverage or to pay for a car insurance policy. Believe it or not, there is no insurance company that currently will sell you a liability or medical Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy for your bike alone.

Bicyclists or injured pedestrians in Oregon state and Washington state may be able to obtain coverage if someone living with them has a car insurance policy. It’s better to check your situation with a lawyer who knows injury and bicycle law well. With many serious car accidents caused by uninsured drivers, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Oregon pedestrian crosswalk laws were written to provide a buffer of safety for pedestrians on the roadway. Pedestrians are unfortunately the losers in any collisions with a car . Studies show that a walker hit at 40 mph has an 85% chance of dying from car accident trauma in the state of Oregon.

Currently Oregon pedestrian crosswalk laws are as follows: A crosswalk is located at any public street junction marked by paint. A crosswalk maybe also be located between junctions but marked by solid white lines.

As a driver in Oregon state you must remember that you have responsibilities to pedestrians.
1. Remember to stop and continue to remain stopped until the pedestrian is cleared your lane and at least up to 6 feet into the following lane.
2. Do not continue across a crosswalk if a crossing guard is present and you are being directed not to continue.
3. Always remain stopped when a blind pedestrian is crossing. A blind pedestrian will either have a white cane or guide dog for assistance. Do not start to move until they have reached the other side of the crosswalk.

As a pedestrian in Oregon state you must remember that you have responsibilities to drivers. Obey all traffic lights and signals. Never walk in front of a car or truck without first watching what they are doing. Though a car or truck must stop for you, it is your responsibility to make sure you are given the OK by the signal to cross into the crosswalk.

The best advice is to always make sure the walker is on the other side of the street before you continue your movement through the crosswalk. Saving your life or theirs is worth the couple minutes it will take for them to safely cross the street.

Given that pedestrians are always the underdogs it is best to consult with an experienced injury lawyer to determine your rights and how medical bills will be covered.

Parking Lot – Backing Up And Pedestrian Injuries

When a car backs up in a parking lot or any similar location (in the state of Oregon or the state of Washington) and hits a pedestrian the driver will, in most cases, be liable for the injuries which result. With more hybrid type cars like the Honda Prius backing up injuries may escalate as most pedestrians are use to the typical sounds made by a full carbon gasoline car.

When a car backs into a person the issue will be whether the driver was negligent by failing to keep a proper lookout. Every driver has a legal duty of care to turn their head and look over their shoulder before backing up. Most backing up pedestrian injury cases occur when the driver fails to look over their shoulder. With a new age in driving now arriving with hybrid electric cars and other non gasoline powered cars the pedestrian once again faces a perhaps uncertain future as cars get quieter and less noisy.

Pedestrian Injuries From Bikes In Oregon – Bicycle Injuries To Walkers

We often see an unfortunate pecking order in getting to and from in Oregon- cars over bikes and bicycles over pedestrian or those who walk. The reality is cars, bikes, and walkers have equal legal liabilities to each other but it depends upon where each of those are.

In Oregon, pedestrians on public sidewalks have the right of way and bikes must ring a bell or other noise maker when they pass walkers.

Who has the right of way between bikes and cars in Oregon? The traffic code limits bikes to go “no greater than a walking speed” when driving in front of driveways, cross walks, and entry ways.

Bikers also must (under Oregon law) yield to walkers who try to cross the road in a crosswalk whether marked or unmarked.

With these laws in mind a pedestrian can recover money damages from a driver but getting the money in your pocket may be difficult as many bikers don’t carry bike insurance if they injure someone. As always its best to go over your case with an injury lawyer in order to figure out where you go after being injured.

Pedestrian Injuries By Cars Statistics And Legislative Changes

If you are an Oregon pedestrian and are struck by a car, truck, or bus like Tri Met or C Tran you likely have suffered a serious soft tissue injury or may be facing broken or fractured arms or legs. A pedestrian could be either running, walking or just standing there on the street or corner.

In Portland Oregon one-third of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians. Throughout the state of Oregon some 11 pedestrians die and more than three hundred are injured after being struck while in a crosswalk according to the Oregon State Transportation Safety Division.

The Oregon State Senate just passed a bill on April 20, 2007 that requires Oregon drivers to stop for walkers who signal from the curb. Lets hope the house passes it and Governor Kulongowski who is a lawyer signs off, as I think he will. This has long been the law in progressive areas like Toronto Canada.

The purpose behind the bill which empowers pedestrians against cars according to Senator Ginny Burdick is to reduce the dangerous guesswork that often marks communication going between people on the street and car drivers.

Current Oregon state law on the pedestrian car relationship provides that drivers must stop and stay stopped if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. Car drivers under current state law in Oregon don’t have to stop if the pedestrian is not in the crosswalk. I will keep you posted on development.

Insurance Coverage For Bicyclists And Pedestrians

Few people are aware that your car insurance will cover you if your are injured on a bike or when walking on the street. Many in the bicycle community commute to work- like I did for over one year- and have canceled their car insurance.

It is unfortunate that the only way to get upfront payment of your medical bills while injured on a bicycle or while a pedestrian is either to have your own private health coverage or to pay for a car insurance policy. Believe it or not there is no insurance company that currently will sell you a liability or medical Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy for your bike alone.

Bicyclists or injured pedestrians in Oregon State and Washington State may be able to obtain coverage if someone living with them has a car insurance policy. Its better to check your situation with a lawyer who knows injury and bicycle law well. With many serious car accidents caused by uninsured drivers its better to be safe than sorry.

Todd Peterson :

View Comments (1)

  • It is important that people be extremely vigilant in being aware of their surroundings. People need to make sure to keep their phones out of their hands and their minds on operating their vehicle properly. Thanks for sharing!