With six bicyclist deaths in four months, dozens of injuries from collisions and a rash of public sniping between cyclists and drivers, it’s tempting to say the Portland area has reached a bike safety crisis. Tempting, but wrong, reports the Oregonian. Statistics suggest cycling in the city has become safer. Bridge counts show the number of bicycles on the streets has skyrocketed, yet the number of reported crashes has changed little. That means the chance of being hit while riding has dropped substantially.
The number of deaths — three in Portland and one each in Vancouver, Sherwood and east Multnomah County — are about average for the area. In the past 15 years, the number of fatal bike accidents in Portland has ranged from zero to five annually. Suburban fatalities are more rare. By comparison, pedestrian deaths in Portland over the same period ranged from eight to 20 per year.