Last night was Portland's fifth annual Transportation Safety Summit, where citizens and leaders got together in Lents to talk about why people keep getting hit by cars, crashing their cars, and crashing their cars into other cars on Portland's streets and what we can do about it.
Below the cut: The bad and the WTF!
• Twenty six people died! Even though it's good compared to other years, 26 people dying completely preventable deaths on Portland's streets is 26 too many.
• Crashes occur on the same streets over and over. Certain streets in Portland are clearly dangerous by design. The city and state identified the 10 "High Crash Corridors" as: Sandy, 82nd Avenue, 122nd Avenue, Division Street, Powell Boulevard, Foster Road, Marine Drive, Burnside Street, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, and Barbur Boulevard. To get a better picture, here's maps of all the bike and pedestrian crashes over the past nine years. Click to make them bigger.
• Victim Blaming. Police traffic division captain Todd Wyatt seems like a pretty cool guy (he joked about the time he got a speeding ticket as "an opportunity to reflect") but when explaining traffic deaths, he pointing the finger at: drunk drivers, pedestrians who don't cross safely, and cyclists who don't wear helmets. For example, referring to Friday's terrible crash involving a woman who turned around to see why her dog was barking in the back seat and careened into a cyclist, critically injuring him, Wyatt said if the guy on the bike had been wearing a helmet, he'd be out of the hospital by now. Yes, it's safe to wear a helmet. But the problem is unsafe driving. Same thing with blaming pedestrians who wear dark clothing or think they're safe in a crosswalk—it's the responsibility of drivers to go slowly and safely enough to make sure they don't run over anyone who's using the road legally.
• Everyone got free ice cream. Seriously, what's a Portland transportation meeting without a cargo bike full of free local gelato?
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