BikePortland

Tragedy turns into action in Beaverton


traffic safety awareness action
[The media helped us spread the word.]

Concerned citizens from Portland and Beaverton came together last Friday for a traffic safety awareness action. The event took place just a few yards from the intersection where Mike Wilberding was killed on August 1st.

Mike’s death sparked heated emotions from many people in the community who were outraged that the driver was initially only charged with a $242, “failure to yield” citation.

[She’s with us.]

About 25 people showed up at SW 5th and Hall streets to stand with signs, wave at motorists, and do their part in making Beaverton a safer place to ride a bike. The event was very positive and motorists were supportive of our message; we got many honks, waves and smiles.

Ironically, several people waved to us with one hand while talking on their cell phones with the other. This prompted someone to make a sign that read, “Hang up and Drive!”

I passed out “I Share the Road” stickers to drivers as they waited at the red lights. The lady in the photo above was especially supportive because her husband rides to work and she worries about his safety.

[Bill Alsup]

Bill Alsup is a Nike employee who told me Mike’s death “really hit home” because he rides these roads all the time. When I asked him what brought him out to the event he said,

“This sort of thing isn’t usually my personality, but when you here about this recent crash and someone getting water thrown at them and then being run off the road…it just gets your attention.”

The event also got the attention of the media; both KATU-TV and The Oregonian gave it solid coverage.

It’s very inspiring to know that in the course of just one month, community activist Brian Scrivner was able to start a new Traffic Safety email list (which now has 108 subscribers) and use it to organize this event.

It felt good to be on the streets in Beaverton. It seems the energy for change is high and the time is right to start working with local advocates and cyclists to have a greater impact in the future.

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