When Sue Bartlett was hit by the driver of an SUV on August 30th, she was on a gas-powered motorized scooter; but that fact hasn’t stopped active transportation advocates from organizing an event to remember her life.
“Light individual transportation (LIT) with low carbon footprints are the most vulnerable and exposed users of our public space,” reads the description of an event co-organized by The Street Trust, BikeLoudPDX and the St Johns Scooter Club.
Bartlett’s death is one of the 22 traffic fatalities on Portland streets this year where the victim was a vulnerable road user. That’s over half the total number of people (40) that have been killed so far.
Bartlett had deep connections to our community and her death has sent ripples through many different circles of Portlanders.
What’s also notable about the memorial event planned for tomorrow (9/26 at Terry Schrunk Plaza) is that it shows the increasing trend among biking and walking activists to build coalitions beyond the usual suspects. The idea of “LIT lanes” has emerged in the past year as we’ve seen a variety of vehicles seek refuge from car and truck users in what have traditionally been called bike lanes. While some people bemoan this influx of traffic in “their” bike lanes, many activists think if they embrace these new users it will strengthen their voice and give them newfound political and cultural power.
It’s also interesting that organizers have made an explicit connection between climate change and safe streets activism. “LIT action is climate action and climate action is LIT action.” That’s yet another way biking and walking advocates are looking to strengthen their hand as the urgency for transportation reform grows with each passing week — and with each new fatality.
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