During this past summer, a 23-year-old suffered serious injuries in a Portland bicycle accident that occurred at the intersection of State Street and Cumberland Avenue. Although the cyclist’s injuries were not life-threatening, the incident raised questions for local news outlets about the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in Portland.
The Bangor Daily News first turned to the Maine Department of Transportation, which revealed there were more than 250 bicycle accidents in Portland between 2011 and 2015. Reporters compared this data with the average daily traffic counts from 2013 to ascertain the most dangerous intersections for cars and bicycles.
In that five-year time frame, the Portland intersection with the most crashes was at Park Street and York Street. There were a total of five bicycle-versus-vehicle crashes counted at that location over the five-year period. Reporters conceded, though, that this particular intersection has a high traffic volume. When the numbers were controlled for traffic volume, the intersection with the most crashes-per-volume was Adelaide Street and Read Street at Forest Avenue, which had four crashes during the five-year time frame. The three-way intersection branches off Forest Avenue, which is one of Portland’s most active roadways.
The No. 2 most dangerous intersection in the city was also off Forest Avenue, at the intersection of Hartley Street. That location had three crashes over the five-year time span. (Again, this is factoring in traffic volumes.)
Other hazardous intersections for Portland included:
- High Street and York Street – 3 crashes
- Elm Street and Marginal Way – 4 crashes
- Deering Avenue and Dartmouth Street – 3 crashes
- Park Avenue and Streetate Street – 4 crashes
- Congress Street and State Street – 3 crashes
- Forest Avenue and Allen Avenue – 3 crashes
- Congress Street and Stevens Avenue – 3 crashes
Across Maine, the state Department of Transportation reports there were nearly 1,050 bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles between 2011 and 2015. Of those, seven were deadly, and nearly 1,000 caused an injury to the cyclist.
In fact, Portland sees a similar number of bicycle accidents as Boston, when you factor in population. The Boston Globe reported recently that based on city injury data between 2011 and 2014, there were 520 crashes each year. That’s about 10 times the number reported in Portland, but Boston also has about 10 times as many people as Portland.
Boston has made reducing bicycle accident fatalities a top priority in the city with its Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce traffic deaths to zero. One of the ways officials are doing this is by focusing on arterial roadways, which are high-capacity urban roads. This type of road is disproportionately dangerous for all modes of transportation and especially bicyclists, who are nine times more likely to die on an arterial road than on a local road. In neighborhoods, residents can apply to the city for traffic calming assistance on residential streets, which includes measures to make it safer for bicyclists. This could include the addition of bike lanes, reduced speed limits, and posts to separate the bike lanes from other traffic.
Education of drivers is also key. As The Bangor Daily News reported in July, some drivers express great animosity toward bicyclists, displayed by a range of actions from “buzzing” riders (driving past too close at a high rate of speed), yelling at them, or even throwing firecrackers at them. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine said these incidents often occur because motorists are impatient, and bicyclists slow the overall flow of traffic.
Our Bangor bicycle accident lawyers know cyclists injured in collisions with motorists may have a number of legal options to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you are the victim of a Bangor bicycle accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Portland’s most dangerous intersections for bicyclists, mapped, July 29, 2016, By Samuel Shepherd, Bangor Daily News
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