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Intersection Accidents In Portland Pose Major Risks To Motorists, Bicyclists, And Pedestrians

Car accidents in Portland pose major risks to drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When it comes to the most serious types of crashes, one of the most common places for them to happen is in busy city intersections. 

Confusing lane configurations, lack of traffic signs and signals, and reckless behavior on the part of drivers combined to increase the odds and the chance of serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Our Oregon car accident lawyers explain more about the problem and what efforts city officials are proposing to decrease the risks. 

Intersections Most Frequent Place For Car Accidents

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), more than 50 percent of all major car accidents happen at or near intersections. These can end up involving multiple drivers, as well as other road users, and often result in devastating personal injuries. Among the most common types of intersection crashes include: 

  • Rear-end collisions, often due to sudden stops and tailgating;
  • Head-on crashes, which can happen when passing other motorists or when confronted with confusing lane changes;
  • T-bone or side impact accidents, due to running red or yellow lights, speeding, and other aggressive driving behaviors;
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents, due to failing to yield at crosswalks and swerving into bike lanes.  

What Are Common Contributing Factors In Portland Intersection Accidents? 

Statistics from the Portland Bureau of Transportation show that of the more than 60 fatal crashes involving motorists that occurred over the course of 2021, the majority occurred at local intersections. These locations also pose major and potentially life-threatening risks to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists in these areas as well. 

Dangerous behavior on the part of drivers, such as disregarding traffic rules and regulations, aggressive driving, and driving distracted or under the influence, often play a major contributing role in intersection crashes. However, other factors that make intersection accidents more likely to happen include: 

  • Narrow lanes that fail to accommodate all types of road users;
  • Failure to look all ways before making turns;
  • Lack of adequate traffic signs and signals;
  • Lack of sidewalks and crosswalks for bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the road.  

Reducing Portland Intersection Accident Risks

As part of its Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic deaths in our area, the City of Portland has placed more than 30 local intersections at the top of the ‘high crash’ list. This means they are a top priority in terms of proposed safety improvements and other changes as a result of the high rates of car accidents in these areas and the threat they pose to all road users. 

Most of these intersections share the same basic configurations. There are generally multiple lanes, two of which allow for travel in each direction, as well as a left and right lane for making turns.  Some of these areas do provide sidewalks for pedestrians, but bicyclists must often share the right lane with vehicles making turns, as well as with buses either in transit or stopping for passengers. To add to the confusion, cars may either make a right on red or turn when the light changes to green, which often coincides with when pedestrians are attempting to cross the road. 

This type of lane configuration requires a high level of alertness on the part of all drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. It also poses obvious personal injury risks. To address the situation and reduce the risks, the city is proposing the following safety and infrastructure improvements: 

  • Providing separate traffic lights and lanes to accommodate motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians;
  • Programming traffic signals to allow additional time for pedestrian and bicyclist crossing;
  • Installing islands, to make crossing easier;
  • Restricting vehicles from making a right on red;
  • Removing some right turn lanes, in order to make other lanes larger and safer;
  • Increasing driver awareness and law enforcement efforts to target those driving engaged in speeding and other reckless behavior.

Injured In An Intersection Crash? Contact Our Portland Car Accident Lawyers 

If you or someone you love is injured in an intersection accident in Portland, reach out to the Johnston Law Firm. These are complex cases, as personal injuries suffered have the potential to be severe and multiple parties may share a portion of the blame. 
We thoroughly investigate your case, determine who is liable, and take the actions needed to get you compensation. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland car accident lawyers online today to request a consultation.


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.