In 2021, the Oregon Department of Transportation released a report on the impact of accidents between vehicles and pedestrians on BIPOC and low income community members. The results were startling: BIPOC and low income community members account for 45% of pedestrian injuries from vehicles, but only make up 25% of the population of Oregon.
Infrastructure is often a major contributor to these crashes. Incomplete sidewalk networks or a lack of safe bike paths create conditions under which biking and walking can be dangerous. ODOT has identified equity as a priority in infrastructure management and development, and is actively looking at construction solutions to reduce these crashes.
Infrastructure, however, is not the only contributing factor to crashes with people biking and walking. Even with designated bike lanes, people biking are sometimes injured when a vehicle enters the bike lane, or does not yield the right of way correctly. Even with flash beacons at crosswalks, people walking are sometimes injured when drivers are distracted and do not stop correctly. When a lack of safe infrastructure, and bad driving behavior are mixed in historically BIPOC or low income communities, the impact of crashes disproportionately affect these groups.
It is the responsibility of all road users to do everything possible to make sure everyone gets to their destinations safely. All drivers can help to reduce the disproportionate impact of crashes on BIPOC and low income walkers and bikers by becoming Oregon Friendly Drivers today. The Oregon Friendly Driver course teaches drivers when and how to yield, how to be alert and aware of people walking and biking, and much more.
Sign up for the Oregon Friendly Driver Course today, and help make Oregon roads a little bit safer for all.