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Four Common Ways Bicycle Accidents in Portland Happen

People in Portland bike in large numbers, both for exercise and as a part of their daily commute. Furthermore, group rides and special events are planned on a regular basis. Unfortunately, with such a large amount of bicycle traffic, there is also a high rate of bicycle accidents. These can leave you with serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. To protect yourself, be aware of the risks and the common ways bike crashes in Portland tend to happen. 

Four Types of Portland Bike Accidents

Portland continues to make major safety improvements to accommodate bicyclists. However, despite the efforts of local leaders, bicycle accidents continue to happen on a regular basis. According to statistics from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), roughly 250 bicyclists are injured due to collisions involving motor vehicles each year. Four common scenarios in which bike accidents tend to happen locally include: 

  • Bicycle accidents at four-way intersections: Four-way traffic intersections are dangerous in general, but particularly so for cyclists. Failure to yield and confusion concerning who has the right of way is a frequent issue in these crashes. Locally, Oregon recently implemented Senate Bill 998, known as the  ‘Idaho Stop’ rule. This allows bicyclists to treat certain stop signs as yield signs. While it will make it easier for a cyclist to maintain momentum, it may also add to motorist confusion. 
  • Left crossing bicycle accidents: These happen when a motorist makes a left turn onto a side street or into a parking lot, failing to account for bicyclists coming from the opposite direction. Speeding and distracted driving are often to blame. Due to the force and angle of impact, injuries bicyclists suffer as a result have the potential to be severe. 
  • Right crossing bike accidents: These involve right turns while a motorist and a bicyclist are driving alongside each other in the same direction. Generally, the motorist either fails to look and see if anyone is beside them or the bicyclist is in their blind spot. Not coming to a complete stop when required before making a turn is another common cause. 
  • Open door related bike accidents: These happen in areas with on-street parking. As the bicyclist goes by, the driver opens their door. These types of bike accidents are common in many areas of the city and can leave bicyclists suffering serious harm. 

Other Factors That Increase Bike Accident Risks

Reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, aggressive driving, and driving distracted or under the influence are all common factors that contribute to bicycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicycling in urban areas and being out after dark significantly increase the risks. To protect yourself, use caution when approaching intersections (regardless of whether you have the right away), be aware of the actions of motorists nearby, and wear light, bright colors to increase your visibility. 

Let Us Help You Today

At the Johnston Law Firm, P.C., we help bicyclists get the compensation they need to recover when accidents happen. To schedule a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bike accident attorneys online today. 


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.