Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Portland OR, Reports Zero Bicycle Fatalities in 2008

Bike Back the Night-20.jpg
Originally uploaded by BikePortland.org

BikePortland.org reported zero (0) bicycle fatalities in Portland in 2008. Could it be that paying attention to the needs of bicyclists and the presence of more bicyclists makes it safer for bicyclists?

Maybe, there have been several years since 2000 where Portland has hit the zero mark. But its not perfect in 2007 Portland recorded six traffic fatalities. Still a comparison of bridge counts suggest and census figures suggest that the city which is less than half the size of Philadelphia has about 4 times the bicycle traffic.

Portland DOT Traffic Safety Guru Grag Raiseman was quoted on BikePortland.org - “We are definitely seeing positive crash trends in Portland. All modes have seen reductions in crashes and fatalities over the past decade. 2008 was a potentially record-breaking year for having the lowest number of traffic fatalities on record in Portland"

Let's compare that to New Jersey doubling bicycling fatalities in 2008. Although it appears that a bicycle education campaign will be a priority for the Dept of Traffic Safety in 2009, a more holistic approach to reducing bicycle deaths by improving road conditions and strengthening aggressive driver laws does not appear to be on the horizon.