On behalf of Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2012.
The Oregon Department of Transportation knows from long experience that it is good policy to achieve a substantial separation of cars and bicycles whenever possible. With bikes in their own designated and protected lane, bicycle accidents can be reduced, if not eliminated, on certain stretches of dangerous road. A case in point: Portland’s SE Powell Boulevard between SE 111th and 174th. According to the ODOT, this section of Powell has eight intersections that are among the top 10 percent of high-crash locations in the entire region. That high crash risk includes bicyclists who currently must travel this stretch of Powell using standard-width bike lanes which drop off and then start up again. By next summer, however, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s plans call for a six-foot wide bike lane and a two-foot buffer zone for a total width of eight feet. Also under consideration for this wide bike avenue is a physically separated bicycle track placed on a separate grade from auto traffic. The agency is strongly encouraging public input on the best plan for bike access and safety on Powell Boulevard. The new state-of-the-art protected bike lane joins other improvements, including new pavement, two new pedestrian crossing treatments, new sidewalks and a possible reduction in the posted speed limit. In its latest release of statistics, the ODOT indicates that 15 people on bicycles were killed last year in all of Oregon. That represents a 114 percent increase from the seven lives lost in 2010, and the number ties the highest bike-fatality total since at least 2003. Furthermore, there were 321 reported bike crashes in the city of Portland in 2011, with two bike fatalities. Bicycle traffic in Portland, which is already a big biking city, grew by more than six percent in 2011. Despite the best and most earnest urban planning, tangles between heavy automobiles and the ever-increasing number of bikes and their riders unfortunately still occur, often with tragic results. When these accidents happen because of a driver’s negligence, it’s extremely important that injured riders are fairly compensated. Source: Cycle Path, “A cycle track on SE Powell? ODOT wants your feedback,” Jonathon Maus, Oct. 15, 2012