If you are new to Oregon or even a lifelong resident it is fair to ask whether you know and appreciate the law regarding the rights of pedestrians in the state.
Pedestrian rights and their safety are subjects that get a good deal of focus. Indeed, it recently was the subject of a feature item in the Statesman Journal. The peg for the story was that there had been a string of deadly motor vehicle-pedestrian crashes.
The question posed was whether the accidents represent a negative trend. The answer suggested, and supported by data from local and state sources, is that the numbers are not out of the norm. And officials quoted for the story said the way to improve things is for both drivers and pedestrians to do more to see and be seen.
Anyone who suffers catastrophic injury or a death due to a driver's negligence should know that the pursuit of fair and just compensation is a right. Whether a case can be made for such a claim is something to determine in consultation with an attorney.
Meanwhile, in hopes of contributing to the effort to reduce the numbers of such accidents, here are some safety tips from Portland government sources.
- Know your signals. Every intersection is a crosswalk whether it's marked or not. But not every intersection has signals. Where they do exist, it's important to know what they are and to follow them.
- Be visible. Most deadly pedestrian accidents happen after the sun goes down. To reduce risks, wear bright, maybe even reflective, clothes. Before you cross any street, try to signal your intentions and make eye contact with drivers.
- Be patient. After being seen, give drivers the time and distance they need to come to a full stop for you. One way to reinforce patience is to remember that the pedestrian is never going to come out ahead in a collision with a motor vehicle.
- Share the road. Drivers and pedestrians both have responsibility for the safety of walkers, but Oregon law puts a little more burden on drivers.
- Be aware. If you see a car stopped at an intersection, take it as a sign that a pedestrian is near and stop yourself. And stop before the crosswalk.
- Be patient. After stopping, stay stopped until the pedestrian is clear of your lane.