Finally, a meaningful statement on the TriMet tragedy

Stephanie Routh of the Willamette Pedestrian
Coalition at an Eye-to-Eye campaign
event in 2009.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The leader of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, Stephanie Routh, has written a guest column in The Oregonian that provides a meaningful and important perspective on the recent TriMet bus crash that killed two people and injured three others as they walked across a street in downtown Portland.

In her statement, Routh (who has led the WPC since March 2009) manages to walk the fine line of not playing the blame game while still forcefully pointing out the realities of our traffic safety issues and road culture.

Here’s an excerpt (emphasis mine):

“Traffic fatalities are unacceptable and avoidable. The need for traffic safety awareness is real, and all road users — whether they’re driving or walking — need to be more aware of each other. The number one cause of injury to someone walking in Portland is failure of drivers to yield in a crosswalk. Motor vehicles have the mass and speed to wreak tragedy without warning, without intent. We must all recognize the destructive capacity of vehicles on our roads and the surety of injury to our more vulnerable road users.”

Given that the other statements I’ve read about this crash basically add up to nothing more than expressions of sympathy and admonishments to “be safe out there!” Routh’s statement is a breath of fresh air.

As for the crash itself, everyone’s still waiting to learn more from the Police about what the on-board cameras show us and how TriMet explains what exactly happened that night.

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