Pedestrian Accidents Rise Throughout Oregon

Walking is a healthy activity that many Oregonians enjoy, whether they're exercising for their health, out to enjoy our state's beautiful scenery or simply need to get somewhere on foot. Unfortunately, pedestrians are at particular risk for being injured or killed by drivers in Oregon, says KGW News. While pedestrian accidents have decreased in most areas of the U.S. in recent years, they have actually increased in Oregon. In 2011, 47 pedestrians were killed and 831 were injured in accidents, according to the latest statistics by the Oregon Health Authority.

The population in Oregon has increased dramatically over the last couple of decades, and funding to make our roads safe and friendly for pedestrians is barely beginning to catch up. While there have been grants in many communities to plan new and updated community roads to make them safer for people walking, especially students walking to school, many areas have yet to make changes. Oregon.gov says more grant funding is needed to increase pedestrian safety across the state. Also, some jurisdictions have been reluctant to install such safety measures as marked crosswalks because of liability concerns.

Deadly Months For Pedestrians

October, November and December are the deadliest months for pedestrians, says Oregon Live. Almost 40 percent of pedestrians killed are during these three months. With increased traffic on the roads because of the weather, as well as more people living in the state, those who are out walking are at greater risk. Driver distractions, such as texting and driving, continue to increase at an alarming rate, and drunk driving has always been an issue. And with the increasing popularity of large vehicles such as SUVs and trucks, some drivers simply don't see people walking near them until it's too late.

Many drivers also fail to obey the rules of the road, which can be bad for pedestrians. For example, the Daily Astoria reported on a sting last September to catch drivers who could potentially hurt pedestrians. 7 people were issued tickets for failing to follow traffic rules, including one driver who failed to stop for an officer in plain clothes crossing the street, but instead swerved around him.

Walking Info stresses the health benefits of walking for exercise and enjoyment, but warns that about three quarters of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas where traffic is congested and road planning may not yet be updated to accommodate the increase. People who have been hurt in an accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

Health experts don't suggest avoiding exercise to keep from getting hurt in an accident. There are risks with every activity, and when it comes to walking, the benefits may outweigh the risks. However, pedestrians who have been affected by a negligent driver should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their options.