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Is Biking Getting More Dangerous in Portland?

Monday, June 01, 2015
GoLocalProv News Team

In 2013, Portland had zero deaths among bikers, but in 2015 there have been a recent series of bike-car accidents that have resulted in a number of serious injuries and one biker’s death.

Since mid-May there has been five serious accidents and just last Friday 37-year-old Peter Anderson was injured and was treated at a Portland hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Later on Friday, Traffic Division officers  cited the driver, 25-year-old Noah Gilbertson, for Careless Driving with Serious Injury to a Vulnerable Person. 

Based on the police  investigation, officers determined that the bicycle rider,  Anderson, had the right of way and the green light. 

In late May, the Dean of Students at Reed College had to alert the Reed community about the death of Mark Angeles’ death.

It is with great sorrow that I report the tragic loss of a 2015 Reed alumnus, Mark Angeles. While riding his bike near SE Gladstone and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, Mark suffered fatal injuries in an accident involving a tow truck on Wednesday, May 27. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Causes - What is Behind the Increases

The recent number of accidents may be tied to more bikers biking as the weather getting better and drivers not adjusting to the increased biking traffic or it may have deeper roots. The ever increasing growth of Portland means more auto drivers and more bikers. More specifically, more auto drivers who are less experienced driving in a city with such a high volume of bikers.

Portland #1 in Biking

As GoLocalPDX recently reported, Portland is the number one most bike-friendly city in the U.S., according to a study by BetterDoctor.com. The study ranked 52 American cities based on the percentage of commuters that bike to work, the number of bicycle-related fatalities in each city, and the amount of state funding allocated to biking infrastructure. 

Portland is the leading bike commuting city - 6.14% of commuters travel by bike and the death rate per biker is just 1.1 per 10,000 riders. This pales in comparison to 41.9 per 10,000 in Fort Worth, Texas - which ranks as the worse of the 52 cities analyzed.

 

Cover Photo by Grey World via Flckr

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