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Foot Traffic

Pete Springer/OPB

Autumn is the deadliest time of year for pedestrians, according to the National Pedestrian Crash Report (pdf). Perhaps this is because it’s beginning to get dark earlier and most accidents involving people on foot occur at night. Whatever the reason, recent accidents in Portland, Eugene and Salem show that Oregon is not exempt from this unfortunate trend.

Whether you drive, bike or take public transportation to get around, almost everyone travels by foot at some point in their day, but do you know all your rights as a pedestrian? For example, did you know that every corner is a legal crosswalk, whether or not it’s marked with white lines? Maybe you knew that one. But were you aware that if you walk over railroad tracks in a place not marked for pedestrian crossing, you’re not only endangering yourself, you could be tresspassing? Railroad tracks are technically private property.

Clearly, if you’re walking, you’re more vulnerable than someone in a car and it behooves motorists to watch out for people on foot. But that equation goes both ways. Oregonian transportation columnist Joseph Rose brought up the touchy subject of pedestrians’ responsibility after two people were struck, and one was killed, on Foster Road last year .

Have you ever been involved in an accident — or a really close call — as a pedestrian? What’s your relationship like with pedestrians when you’re driving or biking?


  • Joseph Rose: Columnist, reporter and blogger for The Oregonian
  • Ray Thomas: Bicycle and pedestrian attorney
  • Marie Dodds: Director of governmental and public affairs for AAA Oregon/Idaho
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