Fatal Bicycle Accidents in Oregon
In 2016 alone, 44 people died in Portland traffic accidents. Of these people, five were bicyclists. This is the biggest number of cyclist deaths in the city since 2007. In two of the cases, the bikers themselves didn’t follow traffic regulations. Two cases involved DUIs and one was a crash between a truck and a bike.
Oregon ranks seventh among the US states that are deadliest for bicyclists. Only Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, South Carolina and California rank ahead. The average annual deaths per million residents are 2.8. In 2010, seven bikers lost their lives on the Oregon streets. The number went up to 15 people in 2011 and 10 people in 2012.
Fatal Biking Accidents
A State of Oregon crash summary report for 2013 suggests that the total bicycle crashes was 953. Of these, three had a fatal outcome and 909 caused injuries. Property damage occurred in 41 cases.
To break the number of injuries down even further, 61 cases featured major injuries, 591 – minor injuries and 286 – possible injuries.
The change on an annual basis was 70 percent. In 2012, the state witnessed 10 deadly bicycle accidents. The number of people injured in 2012 was 1,045.
All three individuals killed in the 2013 crashes were young – one person in the 10 to 14 age group, one in the 20 to 24 group and one in the 35 to 44 age group. Two of the victims were male; one was female. The age group and gender distribution are similar as far as injuries are concerned – most occurred in the 25 to 34 age group, and the vast majority was men (702 men versus 239 injured women).
How have things progressed since then? The newest report is from 2015. During the year, six cyclists lost their lives, and 947 were injured. These numbers show that both fatalities and trauma stemming from bike crashes haven’t changed significantly.
The State Response to Increasing Fatality Numbers
According to local reports, 2015 has been the deadliest one on Oregon roads since 2008. The Oregon Department of Transportation presented reports, showing that the total number of deaths was 409 – an increase of 20 percent on an annual basis. This is the second year in which deadly crashes have gone up.
Things didn’t get to be much better in 2016. In April, Portland alone witnessed 13 deaths involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.
One of the problematic fields in the state is the legislature. The so-called Bike Bill was introduced in 1971. The bill states that facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists have to be included in road renovation projects. Both cities and counties are required to spend a reasonable portion of their road renovation budgets on the development and improvement of such facilities.
The Chapter 814 of the Oregon Revised Statutes features the safety precautions and practices aimed at decreasing the risk for bikers on the road.
Apart from laws, it’s also important to examine the state investment in safe and effective biking infrastructure. Local, Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and federal funding are available for the execution of such projects.
Reports for 2016 suggest that the state is one of the US leaders in terms of the execution of bicycle-friendly initiatives. An increase in the number of people riding bikes and safety issues that haven’t been tackled yet contributed to the execution of various projects. A few of these initiatives include the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030, the creation of bike parking areas throughout Oregon, the replacement of car parking areas with bike corrals and the development of additional infrastructures in cities other than Portland.