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Oregon Pedestrian and Motorcycle Deaths on the Rise

Every time a person is harmed in a car or truck accident, the potential for serious long-term injuries is present. When the injury victim is struck in a motorcycle crash, pedestrian accident or bicycle accident, the lack of external protection and restraints more frequently means catastrophic injuries or a wrongful death. A review of recent statistics from the Oregon Department of Transportation shows a significant increase in pedestrian deaths over last year. With a pedestrian death on the Hawthorne bridge in Portland in late October, Oregon marked its 48 th fatality of the year and matched the entire total from 2011. The fatality resulted when a man who was watching his wife participate in a rowing event on the Willamette River was struck when a car skidded on the bridge’s metal decking. He died soon after of traumatic head and chest injuries. The full extent of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes in Oregon may surprise many people. In 2011, 310 people died on Oregon streets and highways. That represents less than one percent of the total number of reported crashes in Oregon, which reached nearly 50,000 in 2011. Nearly half of all reported motor vehicle accidents resulted in non-fatal injuries to drivers, passengers or others such as bikers and joggers. While the overall injury rate from vehicle crashes in Oregon is less than 50 percent, that figure goes up considerably when pedestrians or bicyclists are involved. In 2011, nearly 94 percent of pedestrians involved in accidents with cars, trucks or buses were injured, and five percent were killed. The corresponding numbers for bicyclists were 95 percent and just under two percent. As pedestrian and motorcycle deaths have risen considerably over the last year, bicycle fatalities have gone down more than 40 percent. While many actions and independent factors can play a role, a range of driver errors are commonly involved in motor vehicle accidents, including:

  • Disregarding traffic signals
  • Following too close to other vehicles or bicycles
  • Wandering out of the lane
  • Left turns into oncoming traffic
  • Failing to yield right-of-way to those who have it

After an Oregon pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcycle rider is injured or killed, a host of legal complexities can emerge. A personal injury lawyer can explain the likelihood that another driver or other party can be held accountable. From crosswalk violations to defective car parts and other factors, a full review of the circumstances can assist in recovery of damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other harm.  


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.