Portland One of Nation’s Safest For Bikes
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Portland saw an average of 1.1 bicyclist fatalities for every 10,000 daily bicycle commuters between 2009 and 2011, making it the fourth lowest city in the country according to the report.
Slideshow Below: 10 Cities with Lowest Bicyclist Fatalities
Portland has long been considered one of America’s top cities for bikes. The city has over 300 miles of bikeways—off-street trails, boulevards, and separated roadways—that would cost $60 million to replace.
“Bikes are weaved into the web of who the city is,” Rob Sadowsky, executive director of Portland's Bicycle Transportation Alliance, said. “Bicyclists didn’t come first, the infrastructure did.”
Over six percent of Portland’s population commutes by bike, well above the large city national average of one percent. It was the highly ranked bike-commuting city in the report.
Sadowsky said Portland has seen fewer bike fatalities because the city has carefully designed roads make room for bikers, slowed down traffic, and raised public awareness of bicycle rules safety.
“We don’t look at things from one perspective,” Sadowsky said.”Portland takes this seriously.”
More Bikes on the Street Means Less Bike Crashes
It may seem counter intuitive, but the Alliance for Biking and Walking suggested a relationship between cites with high populations of cyclists and low fatality rates. Cites with more bicyclists and pedestrians on roadways generally have lower fatality rates because drivers are more aware, the report said.
The number of US residents who commuter by bike has been slowly increasing over the years, rising by 0.2 percent between 2005 and 2011.
Cities including Portland, Tuscan, New Orleans, and Washington, DC each saw between a 0.6 percent to a 0.9 percent increase in bike commuters between 2009 and 2011.
At the same time bike fatality rates have been dropping, down by 30 percent between 1980 and 2011.
In 2010 there were 312 reported bicycles crashes, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Yet Sadowsky said Portland has only one fatality bike crash in the past three years.
To improve safety for Portland bike riders, Sadowsky said the city should continue to improve its bike infrastructure, adding more protected bike lanes and slow down street traffic.
Sadowsky said awareness is key for bike safety, as most car crashes are a result of distracted driving and speeding.
“We live in a city where cars stop at crosswalks, and there’s a culture of drivers who understand it’s important to look out,” Sadowsky said. “If more people out walking and biking around they are going to look out.”
Related Slideshow: Slideshow: 10 Cities with Lowest Bicyclist Fatalities
Portland has the fourth lowest bike fatalities, according to 2014 report by the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Portland's high amount of bicyclist commuter rates and bike-friendly streets help keep deaths low, according to the study. Find out what other cities have low fatality rates for bikers.
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