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Safety Tips for Pedestrians in Portland

Portland is a great city to experience on foot. Over the last decade, the city has been encouraging people to walk both for fitness and as a means of transportation to work, school, or to do errands. There are numerous trails and guided walks offered by the city, and neighborhood walking is encouraged as a way to get to know and become involved in the community.

Despite all the improvements, pedestrian accidents can and do continue to happen at an alarming rate, with often tragic consequences. Recently in the news, three children were killed and a woman was injured while crossing a busy intersection in Springfield, on a two-mile stretch of road that has seen multiple pedestrian fatalities over the last decade.

Dangerous conditions, such as inadequate sidewalks and multi-lane intersections – as well as speeding motorists – continue to be a major factor in pedestrian deaths, and it’s important to be aware of simple things you can do to increase your safety when out on a walk.

Safety Tips for Before and During Your Walk

While you can’t change road conditions or stop motorists from speeding or running red lights, there are things you can do while out walking to minimize your danger of being in a pedestrian accident. The Portland Bureau of Transportation publishes several brochures outlining simple precautions pedestrians can take to keep themselves safe. The Portland Pedestrian Safety Guide advises pedestrians to do the following:

Before Taking A Walk

  • Make Yourself Visible: Dress in bright, contrasting colors so that motorists will see you.
  • Eliminate Distractions: Put away your cell phone and don’t use earbuds when walking.
  • Be Alert: Alcohol and drugs – even prescription drugs – delay your reflexes and may cloud your judgment. Refrain from using them if you know you’re going to be walking.

During A Walk

  • Make eye contact with drivers.
  • Don’t cross the street until all cars have stopped.
  • Be cautious; don’t step into the street until you are sure it’s safe.

Make Use of Crosswalks

Crossing highways and multiple lanes of traffic is always risky. Avoid jaywalking by using pedestrian crosswalks anytime you need to cross the street. Pedestrians have the right of way to cross at intersections regardless of whether crosswalk lines are painted or not, and walkers may also cross mid-block provided a crosswalk is over 150 feet away.

As the tragic fatalities in Springfield prove, simply using a crosswalk won’t always insure your safety. Be vigilant, and always remember to show your intention to cross the street by standing and waiting at the crosswalk. Be sure to allow time for drivers to notice you and come to a complete stop before stepping into the intersection, and be aware of drivers who may be speeding or driving erratically. Pay attention to traffic light signals and walk signals, too. It is better to wait a few extra minutes for a walk signal than to rush and get caught in oncoming traffic.

While Oregon laws provide for pedestrian safety, it is still up to pedestrians themselves to take steps to ensure safety while out walking.

Contact Our Crosswalk Injury Attorneys

Despite precautions, pedestrian accidents do happen. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a pedestrian or crosswalk injury, it’s important to consult with an experienced Portland pedestrian accident attorney.  At the Johnston Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in handling pedestrian and crosswalk injuries. Contact us today; we’ll review your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve.


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.