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Harmonizing Road Safety: Bicycle Riders and Portland Drivers

Although Portland has been named America’s Best Bike City in the past according to, bicycle riders still face many risks on the roads because of careless drivers. In fact, a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that the number of bicycle accident deaths has increased nationwide. 

Even as more bicyclist lose their lives in collisions, some drivers are assembling a long list of grievances against bike riders. Drivers are being forced to adjust to an ever-increasing number of bike lanes and ongoing demands from bicycle riders to be given equal consideration on the road.

Unfortunately, when bicycle riders and drivers don’t share the roads in a safe manner, serious consequences result. Collisions can occur and it becomes important to determine who is to blame for causing the accident. A personal injury lawyer can provide assistance to victims of bicycle accidents.

Are Bicycle Riders Not Sharing the Road?

The Washington Post recently published a series of articles with a litany of complaints about how bicycle riders are essentially being bullies, demanding too many accommodations and not being respectful of drivers.

One issue is that parking areas are being adversely impacted by the creation of bike lanes, resulting in an insufficient number of places to park in popular areas.

Also of concern was the fact that bicycle riders are riding in the wrong direction in bike lanes, riding slowly during rush hour traffic and cutting to the front of the line when there is a line of traffic waiting at a red light. The bicyclists pedal to the front and then move along slowly while drivers are forced to wait for them after the light changes.

Bicycle riders may also be endangering pedestrians. Some are riding on sidewalks instead of staying in bicycle lanes. Bicyclists who ride at night without lights on their bike may be an especially significant hazard for pedestrians and may also increase the chances of a collision occurring with drivers.

Although some of these complaints are legitimate, bicyclists also have reason to worry that drivers are not doing a very good job sharing the road. According to a recent NHTSA report, the number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle collisions increased six percent between 2011 and 2012. Bicycle riders made up two percent of people killed in traffic accidents and two percent of people injured in traffic collisions. A significant majority of the accidents that killed bicycle riders – 69 percent – happened in urban areas.

Both riders and drivers will continue to be at risk of dangerous collisions until they get better at sharing the road safely. Drivers need to respect that bicyclists have a right to be on the road with them and bicycle riders need to follow the rules of the road and be considerate to drivers. If everyone pays careful attention, follows safety rules and obeys all of the rules, hopefully drivers and bikers can learn to coexist and the streets can be a safer place for everyone.

Portland accident victims should contact Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys at Law, by calling 1-503-287-5000 or visiting

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