Breaking News
More () »

Portland cyclists demand change as traffic deaths rise to 46

BikeLoud PDX organized the rally outside Portland City Hall Wednesday morning. The group marched around the block with 46 red signs describing those who have died.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Dozens of cyclists were outside Portland City Hall  Wednesday morning, protesting the 46 traffic deaths reported so far this year. This includes 16 drivers, 15 pedestrians, nine motorcyclists, four car passengers and two that are unknown.

Many believe we could surpass last year's 63 traffic deaths if the city doesn't make some real changes. 

"[These are] Portlanders that don't exist anymore that have been sacrificed because we failed to invest in safe infrastructure," said Kiel Johnson with BikeLoud PDX. “We know what we need to do. We know how to design our streets so that they’re safer. We just don’t have the political will to do it.”

Johnson says they're not asking for much —  just three main things. To enforce speeding, add more traffic cameras and protect cyclists and pedestrians with infrastructure the city can invest in.

RELATED: Bicyclist killed by semi while riding on SE Powell identified as well-known Portland chef

"Every time I get on my bike I wonder if this is the day I'm going to be killed or maimed on my bike,” said Taizz Medalia, a Portlander who rides her bike as a main form of transportation. 

Medalia says she was attending this rally for her child who is dealing with a fractured spine, a concussion and three months off work after a hit-and-run incident. 

“One of my kids just got hit biking across a crosswalk in a hit-and-run by a car,” said Medalia. “I have a very personal reason to be here. Plus, while bicycling to my everyday activities I'm having a near miss about once a week from cars."    

RELATED: Portland cyclists demands safety improvements to Southeast Powell Boulevard

63 traffic deaths were reported in both 2022 and 2021 — the highest number in three decades. This, of course, is top of mind for parents with children who also like to bike.

"I have two small kids that are five and six years old,” said Claire Clach, with Oregon Walks. “We bike to school in the morning and every day. I am worried that something is going to happen to them."    

BikeLoud PDX was the organizer that put on this rally. After the group gathered in front of city hall they chanted around the block with 46 red signs for the 46 lives lost this year. Each card had a description of the person killed this year.  

“Getting to your destination five seconds faster is not worth the risk of killing somebody,” said Johnson. “And we all just need to sort of understand our collective responsibility and slow down on our streets.” 

Before You Leave, Check This Out