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Sidewalk Obstructions a Common Hazard, Increase Portland Pedestrian Accident Risks

Many Portland residents rely on walking for recreational purposes, to stay physically fit, and as a primary means of transportation. The city has made major infrastructure improvements over the years to accommodate them and to prevent pedestrian accidents. In addition to more crosswalks, traffic signals, and other controls, there has been an effort to increase the number of sidewalks throughout the area. While these play a major role in public safety, obstructions create a common hazard and increase Portland pedestrian accident risks.

Sidewalks Play a Crucial Role In Reducing Pedestrian Accidents

According to statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 4,000 people across the country are killed each year as a result of pedestrian accidents while tens of thousands of others suffer serious and potentially disabling personal injuries. Considering the number of people who rely on walking in our area, pedestrian accidents in Portland are a particularly common and alarming problem.

Local headlines report on pedestrians being struck by motorists on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. The FHWA states that making sure there are adequate sidewalks available, especially in high traffic areas, can significantly reduce the risks. Studies show that sidewalks, as well as raised medians and other pedestrian refuge areas, have the potential to decrease pedestrian accidents and injuries by as much as 75 percent.

Obstructed Sidewalks a Common Problem in Portland

Following the advice of traffic safety officials, the City of Portland has made a concerted effort to increase the number of sidewalks and other pedestrian aids. In addition to adding more pedestrian walkways, city workers are also focused on making improvements to existing sidewalks that have fallen into disrepair. Chipped, cracked, and uneven sidewalks not only discourage pedestrians from using them, but can also increase slip and fall risks.

Unfortunately, disrepair is not the only problem. Despite local ordinances designed to prevent sidewalk obstructions, it is a common issue throughout the city. The problem is so widespread, that Oregon Walks has a sidewalk obstruction bingo card, designed to raise awareness. The group created it in October 2020 as a way to encourage pedestrians to keep an eye out for common sidewalk obstructions and to report them to city officials. Among the most common include:

  • Cars parked or pulled over illegally on sidewalks;
  • Bicycles and scooters abandoned by owners;
  • Trash and litter, which increase trip hazards;
  • Low-hanging tree branches or tree roots that make sections of sidewalks unusable;
  • Signs placed on sidewalks by business owners, which end up blocking pedestrian traffic;
  • Outdoor seating, which can significantly reduce sidewalk space.

All of these and other common hazards force pedestrians off sidewalks and onto open roads, increasing their risks for serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.

Contact Our Portland Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

When pedestrian accidents leave you suffering serious injuries, the Johnston Law Firm P.C. helps you hold those at fault accountable so you can get the compensation you need to recover. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys online to 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.