TriMet re-tests ‘Talking buses’ to warn other road users about turns

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NE Couch bike lanes (with changes)-17

Four years after one of its bus drivers fatally collided with two women in a downtown Portland crosswalk, TriMet is testing a few devices that use sounds and lights to show when a bus is turning.

One uses flashing LED strobe lights and the announcement “pedestrians, bus is turning,” repeated twice by the voice of a slightly alarmed woman. Another uses only a softer audio warning: “caution, bus is turning” three times. They started operating on 45 buses on five of TriMet’s frequent service lines on Monday: the 4, 8, 15, 33 and 75.

The folks at Oregon Public Broadcasting uploaded each file to Soundcloud for easy testing over the web. Here’s the first one, which isn’t being tested with LED accompaniment:

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The 10 Portland streets where collisions claimed walkers’ lives in 2013

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Southeast Division and 148th Avenue, where Renee Bates was killed while crossing the street with her husband.
(Image: Google Street View)

Portland has some of the safest streets in the country, and in general, they’ve been getting safer as our use of cars has continued to decline — not just for people on bikes but those on feet and cars, too.

But as a string of street deaths and a vigil Friday remind us, that safety isn’t evenly distributed across the city.

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Family of woman killed while walking across SE Foster sues for $3.7 million

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Traffic Safety action on SE Foster-7

A makeshift memorial near the site of the collision.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Oregonian reports that a lawsuit has been filed by the family of Lindsay Leonard, the 23-year old Reed College graduate who was killed by a man who struck her with his car as she walked across SE Foster Road back in November.

The suit seeks $3.7 million and the defendants include the driver, Tito Jose Feliciano, and his employer (he was driving a company car); the City of Portland (for allegedly not keeping the crosswalk maintained); and Portland General Electric (who was responsible for the streetlights).

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