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News Advisory: Commissioner Novick serves as pedestrian decoy for Oct. 15 crosswalk education and enforcement action highlighting White Cane Safety Day

(Oct 13, 2015) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau advise the traveling public that a crosswalk education and enforcement action is scheduled for Thursday, October 15th at the marked crosswalk on SE Belmont Street at SE 46th Avenue from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to raise awareness of traffic safety and Oregon traffic laws specific to people who are blind and using a white cane or guide dog.

City Commissioner Steve Novick will be the designated walker for part of the event and Sharon White of PBOT will be the designated walker for the remainder of the mission. Two people who have low or no vision will plan to attend and speak with members of the media about the traffic safety challenges they face each day.

Vision Zero Portland logoEducation and enforcement actions such as the Oct. 15 event are a key part of the City of Portland’s citywide effort to reach its Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

White Cane Safety Day, celebrated each October 15th, recognizes the achievements of people who are blind and visually impaired in the United States and reminds everyone about how the white cane is an important tool in helping people who are blind and visually impaired live with greater independence.

“The City of Portland’s crosswalk enforcement efforts supplement our engineering, education, and outreach efforts to foster a more walkable city,” said Novick, who oversees PBOT.  “I’m proud of the collaboration between City bureaus that makes these crosswalk actions possible.”

Each crosswalk enforcement action involves a pedestrian decoy positioned at a marked or unmarked crosswalk while police monitor how people driving, biking and walking adhere to traffic safety laws. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.

Oregon crosswalk law (ORS 811.035) states, “A driver approaching a pedestrian who is blind or blind and deaf, who is carrying a white cane or accompanied by a dog guide, and who is crossing or about to cross a roadway, shall stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway.”

In recognition of White Cane Safety Day, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation remind all drivers to be aware pedestrians in the crossing and knowledgeable of the specific laws related to pedestrians who are blind.  Commissioner Novick says “Drivers should continually scan their environment looking for pedestrians in the crossing and about to cross.  Leave adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you to increase your cone of vision and be prepared to stop and stay stopped for any pedestrian including people using a white cane or guide dog.”

Chris Cooke, Rehabilitation Instructor for Oregon Commission for the Blind, reminds all drivers to “Watch for those with vision loss sharing the roadway every day.  People with white canes and dog guides have the right-or-way from curb to curb when they cross the street.”

Image of crosswalk on SE Belmont at 46thThis SE Belmont Street and SE 46th Avenue location was selected because of the proximity to the SE Multicultural Service Center that provides social connections and service opportunities to a diverse group of community members including people with low or no vision.

Crosswalk education and enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate traffic laws to people driving and walking. The transportation and police bureaus do education and enforcement actions about once each month in response to requests by community members, city traffic safety engineers, and Portland Police to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings.

Learn more about rights and responsibilities for walking safely across a street. View the results of previous actions. Find out more about PBOT’s safety work and Vision Zero, PBOT’s goal of making our transportation system the safest possible and moving towards zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2025. www.visionzeroportland.com.

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The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation                  

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