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Will ‘Greenway’ Speed Limit Reduction Affect Portland Car Accident Injuries?

Motorists navigating some neighborhood streets in Portland will have to ease up on the gas pedal. The Portland City Council recently approved a 20 mph speed limit on nearly all of the 70 miles of neighborhood “greenway streets.”

The greenways will see a reduction in the speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph under the new law, which does not cover Portland’s suburbs. “We’re examining the possibility,” Tina Bailey, a Hillsboro traffic project manager, told The Oregonian, “but we’re waiting on Portland to take the lead and to see how they develop their policy. I can’t say for certain that we will do it.”

Portland personal injury lawyers urge officials in the suburbs and elsewhere to approach a reduction in speed limits with an open mind. While we understand that lowering speed limits will cost money to put up new signs, and could upset drivers who are worried about getting ticketed for going 30 in a 20 mph zone, we know too well the role speeding plays in serious or fatal accidents.

Accidents can happen fast and may involve pedestrians, bicyclists and others sharing the roads in Portland. Our car accident lawyers in Portland have seen first-hand the devastating impact of serious injuries and fatalities.

If you think a reduction from 25 mph to 20 mph sounds insignificant, consider the research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, pedestrians have a 40 percent chance of being killed when struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph – and they have a 5 percent chance of getting killed when struck by a car going 20 mph.

The new law in Oregon changes the speed-review process by allowing cities to lower speed limits on some neighborhood streets. Before the Legislature created the new law, cities had to obtain permission for a speed reduction on a street-by-street basis through an Oregon Department of Transportation review panel.

Under the new law, cities can arbitrarily lower the speed limit on streets with average speeds of less than 30 mph and with 2,000 or fewer daily car trips. Additionally, the reduction can be no more than 5 mph. Each speed limit reduction would require passage of an ordinance.

This PDF file contains a full list of the designated 20 mph Neighborhood Greenway Streets in Portland.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact the Portland injury attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis. Call (503) 287-5000.

Zbinden & Curtis
817 NE Broadway St.
Portland, OR 97232

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