The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition have just announced a vigil for Angela Burke:
Community Responds to Senseless Tragedy on SW Barbur
Neighbors and friends to hold vigil for Angela Burke and those lost on our roadways
Portland, Ore. – Angela Burke, a 26-year old woman from New York, was struck and killed while walking her bicycle across SW Barbur Blvd. on Wednesday night. Caleb Pruitt, the driver who killed Ms. Burke, was arrested on allegations of negligent homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
According to the police report, “Investigators learned that just prior to the [crash] Pruitt was driving at a high rate of speed and appeared to lose control of the car before striking Burke and killing her.”
In a crash, the risk of serious injury or death increases exponentially as speed climbs higher than 20 miles an hour. On SW Barbur Boulevard, people riding in the bike lane or walking on the sidewalk are only a few feet away from cars traveling at 50 miles per hour. Wednesday’s tragedy shows us that a death can result from something as simple as crossing the street.
Steph Routh, Director of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition: “Ms. Burke’s death was as senseless as it was preventable. In our community and in our region, everyone should feel safe while walking or biking on our roads. There is no higher priority than preserving life. This tragedy is a mournful reminder of how far we have to go in terms of traffic safety.”
Transportation safety advocates and organizations, including Friends of Barbur, the WPC, and the BTA, have been working to improve safety on the Barbur Bridges (the narrowest and most uncomfortable sections of SW Barbur Boulevard for bicyclists) but these improvements – though critically important – are not enough.
Rob Sadowsky, Executive Director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance: “Our street environment must prioritize the safety of people walking and biking. We cannot tolerate anything less. Speed and crash reduction must play a major role in the BTA’s advocacy initiatives, legislative agenda, and Vision Zero safety campaign. “
We – as advocates, as transportation authorities, as parents, as people who walk and bike and care about the safety of our neighbors – must take swift action to make significant safety improvements along the entire length of SW Barbur Boulevard, and on every street where people are walking and biking near motor vehicle traffic above 20 miles per hour. We call on state and local transportation authorities to make a commitment to lowering speeds and enforcing safe behavior
The BTA and WPC thank the Portland Police for acting swiftly during the investigation and for bringing charges to the man responsible for killing Ms. Burke. The message is clear: people will be held responsible for killing someone as a result of negligent driving.
We mourn the loss of Angela Burke and extend our sincere condolences to her friends and family. We cannot imagine their loss.
In cooperation with Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. and Friends of Barbur, a quiet vigil for Angela Burke and all who have lost someone close to them on the roadway will be held Monday at 5:30 pm, tentative location near the corner of SW Barbur Boulevard and SW Hamilton.
Participants are encouraged to bring a candle, lights, and personal signs commemorating Angela, a loved one or call for safer streets. More information regarding exact venue available on BTA and WPC websites and Friends of Barbur Facebook page as it is confirmed.