Pedestrian Deaths in Oregon Increase Dramatically

Almost twice as many pedestrians were killed on Oregon roads in 2010 as in 2009, The Oregonian reported recently.

Fifty-two pedestrians had been fatally hit statewide as of Nov. 7, representing an 80 percent increase over the 29 killed in 2009. Granted, the state usually sees an average of 50 annual pedestrian deaths; last year’s number was abnormally low due to an unusual amount of snow and ice, which kept people off the roads.

Officials attribute many of the deaths to poor visibility, reinforcing the importance of wearing light or reflective colors when walking on the roads. Nearly 40 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur during October, November and December, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Another potential cause of pedestrian accidents in Oregon is the law’s failure to define the term “crossing the roadway.” While vehicles must yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street, in many cases pedestrians have no way to claim their right of way without stepping out into speeding traffic and hoping the oncoming cars will stop.

Read more about pedestrian rights under Oregon law.