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PBOT film reminds road users that “Every corner is a crosswalk”

Posted by on June 3rd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has released a new, 3 1/2 minute animated film about Oregon crosswalk laws.

The film, “Every Corner is a Crosswalk” was created to help educate Portlanders about their responsibilities when driving and walking. According to PBOT, 72% of pedestrian collisions in the Central Business District are a result of driver error and 49% of pedestrian injuries happen in a crosswalk.

In a statement released about the new animated film, PBOT also said that one in three traffic fatalities (from 1985 – 2000) is a pedestrian or a bicyclist and pedestrian injuries are the third leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children.

Story continues below


A bike box animation created by
the Animated Traffic Law Center.

The film was created by the non-profit Animated Traffic Law Center. Partly based in Portland (one partner is from Eugene), the Center specializes in using graphical animations to educate people about traffic law. They are also working on a series of traffic-safety related animations that can be viewed on mobile devices.

With “Every Corner is a Crosswalk,” PBOT and the ATLC are focusing in on ORS 811.028, which states that drivers must stop and remain stopped when pedestrians are attempting to cross.

[As someone who rides a bike more than walks, I’ve often considered dismounting my bike (thus becoming a pedestrian) to try and force cross-traffic to stop. I sometimes wish ORS 811.028 was extended to include people on bikes. Aren’t bike riders just as vulnerable?]

Funding for the film came from ODOT, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and from pro bono work by the Animated Traffic Law Center.

PBOT will show the film on their website and it will be shown by Portland Parks & Recreation prior to movie screenings at their “Movies in the Park” events. Other places it will be shown include select Department of Motor Vehicle offices and community centers and other facilities around the city.

Writing on their website, the Animated Traffic Law Center said the film is devoid of text or voice-over intentionally so that it can “reach speakers of all languages.” You can download the film (including one version that’s iPhone friendly) at AnimatedTrafficLaw.org.

For more information about the film or to schedule a viewing of the film contact Sharon White, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, at (503) 823-7100 or sharon.white@pdxtrans.org.

— Read the City of Portland’s official press release here.

NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

  • sabes June 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I was walking through the crosswalk at Division and SE 31st in order to clear it for my wife and son, and a car swerved around me into the oncoming traffic lane without slowing down.

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  • tonyt
    tonyt June 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    There needs to be some sort of campaign that gets this message out. The VAST majority of drivers simply do not know this.

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  • ScottG June 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Very interesting stat about car collisions with pedestrians (72% are a result of driver error). Is there a similar number for car collisions with bikes?

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  • Coyote June 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Of the 72%, how many drivers get tickets for their actions?

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  • sue June 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    What’s the process for getting PPD to monitor a particular intersection? There’s a very busy intersection 2 blocks from my house and almost no one ever stops when I’m trying to cross as a pedestrian. I often wave and holler at people, but they just don’t stop.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) June 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    hey folks,

    just for the record, i have added to the story that the “72%” figure is only for the Central Business District and is not citywide (citywide, the figure would be more like 50/50).

    sorry for any confusion.

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  • indy June 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    How about paint some strips instead of a pointless campaign not many people will see?

    This simply isn’t realistic for the vast majority of streets where traffic goes 30 mph and above.

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  • G.A.R. June 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    We don’t have enough crosswalks. Consider ORS 810.220: “whenever marked crosswalks have been indicated, such crosswalks and no other shall be deemed lawful across such roadway at that intersection.” In effect, a painted one kills any others. For instance, at SE 34th and Salmon (Sunnyside School) peds have the benefit of a crosswalk across Salmon on the east side of 34th but not on the west side. Similarly, on the south side of Salmon but not the north. Why? It is unlawful (Portland City Code 16.70.210) for a ped to cross from the NW corner of this intersection and the ped must yield (ORS 814.040(1(b))) to vehicles.

    Nice movie!

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  • Borgbike June 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    It’s sad that these sort of public-service ads/films are now so rare. What happened to Smokey the Bear, Woodsy Owl, and the Indian crying about the litter on the side of the road?

    It goes without saying that there needs to be more government control over broadcasting for the inclusion of this sort of information. This is one of the most potentially effective tools for maintaining a civil society.

    I keep wishing there could be a some sort of PSA ad/cartoon like the one above about bike lanes and non-right hook yeilding. Maybe that’s in the works?

    The cartoon is awesome. Too bad our laws are so backward that we can’t get it out to a mass audience and it will be relegated to the PBOT website and govenment offices.

    Anyway, cheers to the effort, don’t let me gripe reflect poorly on that!

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  • Oliver June 3, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I liked the way that in the examples in this video it showed the pedestrians walking to the curb, stopping, judging a time appropriate to cross relevant to traffic, then stepping out and crossing. This; instead of the (rather infuriating) habit of walking out from behind a tree or building, purposely looking away from oncoming traffic and stepping out, regardless of whether or not checking their pace by a 1/2 step would have allowed them to cross without unduly interfering with cross traffic.

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  • Tom June 3, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    They have lights for crossings in my city (Melbourne, Australia) otherwise you’d standing there all day waiting for the cars to stop !

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  • mabsf June 3, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I would love to have a purple carpet!
    My thoughts are again that drivers do not receive enough traffic education to actually realize that a) pedestrians are traffic, too (Not just targets!) and that b) they even have the right of way…

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  • Martha R June 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Indeed, pedestrians are traffic-ish in their own right. This idea that pedestrians should try to cross “without unduly interefering with cross traffic” (@ 10) suggests that people using vehicles are more important than pedestrians. In fact, I’d bet that pedestrian trips are more delayed and inconvenienced by cars (or bikes) than vice versa. If only I received a crown, carpet, and soundtrack whenever I crossed the street. Then again, dreaming I’ll get those things is just about as likely as dreaming that I’ll encounter drivers as polite as those in the film.

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  • Oh Word? June 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    This is the best they can do? A big sign on a billboard that says “EVERY CORNER IS A CROSSWALK” wouldn’t be creative enough for Portland.

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  • hanmade June 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I agree with Oh Word? Some billboards might be more effective / reach more people. Posters on the back of buses reach a lot of cars too. Like the See & Be Seen campaign they had.

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  • Doug Klotz June 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    The problem with resorting to painting crosswalks instead of getting compliance with the law as written, is it reinforces the belief by drivers that they only have to stop at painted crosswalks, and the city can never afford to maintain the paint at every corner. And, pedestrians do and should have the right to cross at every corner (unless otherwise signed, etc.)

    At this point, yes, it is more risky at motor traffic speeds above 30 mph. However, more police enforcement actions on busier streets would indeed change this (Note to PPD: try M.L.King Blvd. at SE Washington,at 4:30 PM, for instance!)

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  • hickeymad June 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    During a presentation I made to the Susan keil (PDOT director), Tom Miller (Sam Adams’ Chief of Staff) and Citizen Chris Smith about the unacceptable dangers to pedestrians and cyclists at the Sandy/Fremont/72nd Intersection (and adjacent crossings down Fremont), my suggestion for crosswalk markings were dismissed by the PDOT Director (Susan Keil) on the grounds that crosswalks would only encourage pedestrians to cross when they should not – thus affording them a false sense of safety. For the record, Chris Smith spoke up in defense of additional road markings. I firmly believe that road markings, whether crosswalks or bike lanes, encourage motorists to exercise additional caution. Can anyone tell me whether their presence affords any additional legal defense to pedestrians and cyclists that are injured by careless motorists? My experience with the City thus far trying to advocate for safe streets in our neighborhood has been very discouraging. In spite of the city’s reputation as a cycling and livability nirvana, the city seems more interested in shuttling Vancouver commuters into the city center than slowing traffic to make our streets safe for families.

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  • matchu June 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Sometimes I do dismount from my bicycle and walk across MLK Jr. Blvd or other high-speed, high-traffic routes that are near impossible to cross via bicycle during peak traffic times. Even then it can be difficult to safely initiate the crossing.

    Oh, here’s a tip I found out from someone who attended one of the traffic safety classes organized by the police bureau: You may cross a street anywhere IF there are not marked crosswalks within 150 feet of your position. This includes in the middle of a block if the nearest intersections lack painted crosswalks. Of course other considerations apply such as you can only step into the street if there is sufficient stopping distance for approaching vehicles and bikes.

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  • Liz June 3, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Nice. I wonder if this could help educate the parents at my daughter’s school who think it is okay to PARK blocking the crosswalk at a T-intersection.

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  • Ben Foote June 4, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Please consider supporting the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition… an advocacy organization as important to livable cities as the BTA.

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  • josh June 4, 2009 at 5:41 am

    “This is the best they can do? A big sign on a billboard that says “EVERY CORNER IS A CROSSWALK” wouldn’t be creative enough for Portland.”


    And why don’t they have a crosswalk on Scholls Ferry Road to connect the fanno creek trail on Hall Blvd. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed there.

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  • jeff June 4, 2009 at 7:04 am

    How about a sting, um, sorry, enforcement action?

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  • beelnite June 4, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I need legal advice… I thought if you were on the sidewalk moving at a reasonable slow speed – like brisk walk speed – you were technically a pedestrian – on a bicycle.

    So when I roll up to the crosswalk and wait… don’t I have the same right of way regardless of whether I am mounted or dismounted on my bicycle? I am standing, albiet straddling. I take a step and then mount in the crosswalk.

    Why does it matter if I have a bicycle with me for right of way purposes?

    A.O. – R U you out there?

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  • Pancho June 4, 2009 at 8:34 am

    This is a cute little cartoon but I dont think it will have any effect to the general driving public.Most drivers just dont care and drive how they want to drive which 99.99999% of the time is carelessly. Sorry I dont mean to rain on everyone’s parade but there are just to many people to many cars. I wish there was a law for bicyclists at cross walks too but some people think that we are in the same catagory as cars and we should obey they same rules that apply to motorists.WRONG! Bicycles are not cars! its simple to see that bicyclists need there own set of rules/laws.
    “Rules are for people with no common sence” Einstein.

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  • Snowflake Seven June 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Remember not to be bike-headed about this subject. We bicycle users often fail to yield to pedestrians too. See comment thread over at the city’s Every Corner is a Crosswalk page.

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  • Brian June 4, 2009 at 9:20 am

    PBOT ought to get the PPB to do the reminding with the giving out of tickets. Why waste money making a film, when you can make money handing out tickets. Nobody watches this kind of thing.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) June 4, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Just so everyone knows.. this video is just one of the fronts of PBOT’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety.

    And guess what… enforcement actions with the PPB are a major part of it. They have a regular program with the PPB where they use ped decoys and give out tickets to car drivers.

    I think education methods like this are a key part of improving behavior.

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  • Paul Cone June 4, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I ride from downtown home just north of Alberta. Once in a while the traffic is so busy on NE Alberta St. so I have to get off my bike and walk across, in one of the numerous crosswalks that were installed last year (and just reinstalled because they just repaved it). It strikes me as ironic that I ride all these major streets home yet I have to often get off my bike just to get across the street that is closest to my house. I think part of the problem is a visibility issue, too… all those parked cars and people driving in a hurry = harder to find a time to cross. Temporarily becoming a ped forces the issue.

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  • Matt Picio June 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

    G.A.R. (#8) – That’s not what ORS 810.220 says at all. Perhaps it’s in another statute?

    Portland City Code 16.70.210 says “crosswalks” and does not specify that they have to be marked.

    I’m not sure why you think we don’t have enough of them – there are crosswalks at every intersection, and we certainly have plenty of those. Some longer roads with no intersections may warrant a marked crosswalk (or three) – some stretches in outer SE come to mind when I think about that.

    matchu (#18) – You can cross (PCC 16.70.210), but you must yield to all vehicles when doing so (ORS 814.040(b)) – the City Code does not supercede State Law. Personally I think that’s messed up, but that’s what the statute says.

    and I second Ben Foote (#20) – please support the WPC, they’re doing some good work, and people need to help get them noticed.

    beelnite (#23) – I’d like clarification from a lawyer on that one too, I always thought that as long as you were straddling the bike, it’s a vehicle, and while you are authorized to use the pedestrian space, you are otherwise subject to vehicular laws while mounted. It’d be great to have that clarified.

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  • jv June 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

    As an operator of a bicycle, car, and feet – I actually learned something from this video. What I learned is that I have been giving pedestrians way too much room when they are crossing MLK – I don’t really need to stop when the pedestrian steps off the far curb on a 4 lane road like I currently do; I can wait until they are one lane away and then stop. All sarcasm aside, I am surprised that the law is written this way, I thought all 4 lanes had to stop at pretty much the same time, and that is how I have been operating – giving plenty of room and stopping traffic for pedestrians. I often switch on my hazards quickly too, so that cars next to me know that I am not just turning or slowing down for no reason.

    On the topic of whether people riding bikes should get the same treatment as pedestrians, I really don’t think they should. A bike can move across an intersection about as fast as a car from a dead stop, and also has the advantage of being able to merge into traffic (remember – bikes are traffic) and turn left at another street rather than proceeding straight across an intersection. I do this fairly often. Also, saying that car traffic should stop to let a cyclist across an intersection brings up other issues. Should cars have to stop to allow a cyclist to take a right or left turn too? How are motorists to know the intended direction of travel?

    On 4 lane roads when crossing on bike I sometimes have motorists stop for me. When that happens I almost always wave them on to keep going, as I fear getting halfway out in the intersection and then not having the far lane of traffic stop. I would rather wait until all lanes are clear (like a car would) or go up to another crossing than be caught in the middle of a 4 or 5 lane road with my bike. If I were a pedestrian it would be easier to change direction, stop, or get out of the way of a car, but with a bike you are sort of stuck going forward in straight lines– not nearly as mobile as a pedestrian. Anyway….great video and I hope that this message about every intersection being a crosswalk gets out in public.

    Another item not brought up is that cyclists should yield to peds at intersections too! I see negligent behavior on this issue all the time – buzzing pedestrians way too close or treating the bike lane as an unrestricted lane of travel when people are trying to cross. Also, if you are not going to stop, at least use some common sense and pass behind pedestrians rather than moving into their path of travel while they are crossing. And communicate and say hi too…that is one of the advantages of not being in a metal box.

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  • a.O June 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Beelnite (#23), I don’t know the answer to your question. I suspect that the rule does not apply to bicyclists. The statute requires auto drivers to stop for pedestrians, and the term “pedestrian” is defined as anyone walking or in a wheel chair.

    Sometimes, when I’m nearing my destination and I need to cross a busy intersection, I’ll pull to the curb, dismount, hit the sidewalk, and walk my bike across the street. That way, I know I’m a “pedestrian.”

    This is indeed a ubiquitous traffic law violation. Many motorists do not know the rule, which is something the State can easily fix by making them learn the rule to get a driver license.

    But I know many people — some of them really reasonable people — who just don’t stop because they don’t agree with the rule or who are paranoid about getting rear-ended.

    Compliance seems to vary substantially according to whether drivers are in a part of town where they “expect” to see a pedestrian. I really hope efforts like this help change that.

    Pedestrians feeling safe crossing roads is essential to having a liveable city. It makes my doggie a lot happier, too.

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  • Doug Allen June 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t think bicyclists should be reluctant to dismount and use a crosswalk. It works for me. I cross SE Division at 41st, and formerly used the street. I could wait a long time for a gap.

    When I am dismounted, at the crosswalk, the motorists know for sure that I am a pedestrian, and seem to behave accordingly. When the far lane has also stopped, I remount mid-crossing, and get on out of there without any significant delay.

    Regarding the bike box animation, I wish the first-to-arrive bikes at SE 39th and Clinton would dismount and move to the far left in order to make room for later arrivals (when a car prevents them from just riding up to the leftmost spot). I hate being caught back in the bike lane to the right of a car (which often has no turn signal on, and can’t be trusted to yield to me) when the light turns green, because the first-to-arrive bike is blocking the way. Perhaps the animation could be supplemented in some way to indicate this courtesy.

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  • Dave Thomson June 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Oregon law gives bicyclists the same right of way in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) as a pedestrian, as long as the bicyclist does not exceed walking speed. Check out this great article by Portland bike lawyer Ray Thomas at:

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  • a.O June 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Well, there you have it. Ray Thomas. As usual.

    Who wants to build a geothermal power plant?

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  • G.A.R. June 6, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Matt Picio #29, I hope you see this. I am late in replying. You’re right, it is not 810.220, but 801.220.

    Everybody seems to think that there is a crosswalk wherever a sidewalk, if extended, would cross the street. What the statute says is that this is false if there are painted ones. In that case, only the painted ones exist across that roadway at that intersection.

    This changes the situation for peds for the worse.

    Please explain your understanding of 801.220 if it is different from this.


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  • Vance Longwell June 7, 2009 at 10:17 am

    According to Wiki the number one cause of death in a motorist/pedestrian accident is a head injury.

    So all you helmet nazis wear your helmet while you are a pedestrian, right? Or are you just a bunch of control freak hypocrites?

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  • Vance Longwell June 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

    sue #5 –

    What’s the process for getting PPD to monitor a particular individual? There’s a very nosy citizen 2 blocks from my house and almost no one ever stops when she’s trying to control everybody on Earth. She often waves and hollers, and distracts drivers creating unsafe driving conditions!

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  • Vance Longwell June 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Because of the, “Same road same rules”, mantra that is the old paradigm, the act of dismounting a bicycle at a controlled intersection is an attempt to, “Evade a signaling device”. Very similar to pulling through private property, like a store parking lot, to avoid a signal. Doesn’t matter, as is usually the case, what your intent was.

    In true Nanny State fashion, the old, practical, and well thought out paradigms mean nothing compared to the war on the Personal Automobile, personal liberty, and growing the congregation of the Church of Green. Now, violating existing laws and paradigms to sate an irrational demand for absolute safety at all times, and grow the bicycling industry, and the profits derived from such, renders all sensible approaches to safety null and void.

    All hail the Nanny State! Kneel and bow your head toward Amersterdam five times a day and repeat the following prayer (On an Organic/Free Range hemp prayer blanket of course.):

    Al Gore is God. Cars are the only source of GHGE on Earth. My addiction to fear controls my every move, and legitimizes my ever whim. I will shred the Constitution, and the entire notion of personal liberty, in pursuit of my God and it’s teachings.

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  • donkey hater June 7, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Vance #38 thats the friggen best!! LOL are you a cage operator?

    We live in the “ME FIRST” generation and the one thing that will help this whole situation of Peds/Cyclists/Cagers is stiff enforcements and big fat FINES for the donks in cages who seem to think they are always in the right because they are wrapped with the most armor. Fine them BIG where it hurts…the pocketbook.

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  • jeff June 8, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Nanny state, helmet Nazi. You whine about how you are so smart but yet so disenfranchised – perhaps it’s because your delivery precludes anyone listening to you?

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  • kurt June 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Appreciate all the comments on the film. PDX bike/ped community has got it going on. Animated Traffic Law Center hopes to continue working with PBOT and the many voices for vulnerable road users.

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