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How Coronavirus Pandemic Can Increase Your Pedestrian Accident Risks

Weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has brought about massive changes in Portland. With schools and businesses closed, residents are staying at home to reduce the chances for community spread. While traffic is greatly reduced in the city and surrounding neighborhoods, there are still plenty of people on the road. 

In addition to motor vehicles, walking provides a form of transportation as well as a recreational outlet. Unfortunately, it also exposes you to certain risks. During these uncertain times, drivers are likely to be stressed and not on their best behavior. This increases the likelihood of pedestrian accidents. During the pandemic, it is important to be aware of the dangers and to take the steps needed to protect yourself. 

Pandemic Takes a Toll on Portland Residents

According to a March 27, 2020 report by KGW 8 News, efforts at social distancing in Portland and throughout Oregon appear to be helping to combat COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Public officials say while there are still an increasing number of cases, reducing the overall spread means hospitals are less likely to be overwhelmed. At the same time, concern over the situation is continuing to take a high toll on residents. 

People are worried about their own health as well as that of family members. With so many businesses closed, many are grappling with financial insecurity due to unemployment. Parents are facing pressure trying to occupy children who are home from school. All of this makes people more likely to be distracted or to act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. 

This can put pedestrians at risk. The circumstances surrounding the pandemic and the stress people are under make dangerous driving behaviors that cause pedestrian accidents more likely to happen. These include: 

  • Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
  • Running red lights or disregarding stop signs;
  • Failing to yield at crosswalks;
  • Driving distracted;
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. 

Protecting Yourself Against Pedestrian Accidents

During the early days of the pandemic, a pedestrian accident claimed the life of a local resident. A March 17, 2020 news report by Oregon Live states the unidentified victim was struck by a drunk driver, who then fled the scene. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are likely to become more common. Reckless driving behaviors increase during stressful times while fears of contracting the coronavirus make drivers less likely to stop. Ways you can protect yourself include: 

  • Stay alert when walking. 
  • Make sure other drivers see you before stepping into the road.
  • Do not automatically assume a driver will stop for traffic signals or crosswalks. 
  • Keep as far to the side of the road as possible. 

If a pedestrian accident does happen, try to get the license plate number, a description of the vehicle, and notify police immediately

Our Portland Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Are Here To Help

At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we protect you when pedestrian accidents happen. To discuss your rights in filing a claim, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys online and request a consultation 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.