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Portland Pedestrian Right of Way Laws Explained

Portland’s geography, climate, and year round activities and attractions make the city particularly appealing for walkers, whether out running errands and shopping in neighborhood markets or enjoying the area’s trails and parks. In order to ensure the safety of those both on foot and in vehicles, Portland’s pedestrian right of way laws provide a clear guide for when, where, and how to navigate busy city streets, but these laws only work to prevent pedestrian accidents and injuries if residents are aware of them. We have assembled some information on pertinent laws that every Portland resident should be aware of, as well as some laws that may need to be implemented in order to keep all types of traffic moving in a safe and orderly way.

Portland Pedestrian Right of Way Laws

According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), pedestrian accidents make up roughly 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, which is higher than the national average of ten percent and higher than averages found in cities such as San Francisco and New York. On average there are roughly 10 to 15 pedestrians killed each year in the Portland area alone, and the PBOT states that the majority of these accidents occur when pedestrians are crossing the street.

Pedestrian right of way laws provide a clear guide to help prevent these types of accidents, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) offers the following laws under the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), which all residents should be aware of:

  • Under ORS 814.010, all pedestrians are required to follow and obey traffic control devices, such as crossing only on green lights and following pedestrian walk/wait signals.
  • Under ORS 814.060, pedestrians can also be cited crossing in roadways when pedestrian tunnels and overhead passageways are provided.
  • Under ORS 814.040 and 814.070, pedestrians can be cited for failing to use curbs and other places of safety, such as pedestrian islands, as well as for not yielding to traffic when crossing anywhere other than in designated crosswalks.

According to the ODOT, drivers are required to stop and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Crosswalks exist at any public street intersection, regardless of whether they are marked or unmarked, and also exist mid-block between intersections when indicated by white lines.  

Increasing the Safety of Portland Pedestrians

The Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) advises city leaders on ways to encourage walking while striving to increase the convenience and safety of pedestrians. The PAC holds monthly meetings and is active in documenting concerns and implementing plans that serve the needs of all residents. Upcoming items on the PAC agenda include identifying improvements that could be made to make walking safer along certain bus lines within the city, as well as getting feedback from the public in terms of adding crosswalks, sidewalks, and benches that would help make these areas more easily accessible.   

Let Us Assist You Today

If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our experienced Portland personal injury attorney right away. At the Johnston Law Firm, we understand the serious injuries that can result from these accidents, and can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable to that you can get the compensation you deserve. Call or contact us online today for a free review of your case.


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.