Traffic Safety

What do traffic engineers, road maintenance workers, bike and pedestrian advocates, deputy sheriffs and firefighters have in common? A concern for public safety! And traffic safety is a huge component of public safety.

Our goal is to reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage from road traffic collisions.  Contributing factors to road traffic crashes are related to the driver, the vehicle, the pedestrian, the bicyclist, and the road itself. Check out what officials can do and what you can do to help!

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Every intersection is a crosswalk videoIt's summer, which means the streets are full of Oregonians and visitors walking, biking and driving. 

To help everyone get to where they are going safely, Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation and Metro are joining ODOT in the educational campaign with a video that reminds people driving to be alert and watch for people (and furry mythical creatures) walking who want to cross the street. Other partners in the campaign this year include Oregon Walks and the Portland Bureau of Transportation.  

One Oregonian who is joining the educational effort made his way from the deep Northwest forests to help get the word out. Sasquatch comes out of hiding to make an appearance in the video to learn about Oregon's unique crosswalk law and how to cross safely.  If you are driving or biking, you'd stop for the legendary Sasquatch, so stop for anyone walking when they show intent to cross the street. It's the law.  Under Oregon law (811.028):

  • Every intersection is a legal crosswalk. When driving, you must stop for people showing intent to cross the street at a marked or unmarked crosswalk or at a marked mid-block crosswalk.
  • When walking, you have the right of way at marked and unmarked intersections and mid-block crosswalks when you signal intent to cross. Intent is shown by extending your hand, foot, wheelchair, cane, crutch or bicycle into the roadway. For your safety, make sure vehicles moving in all lanes and in both directions have stopped before proceeding.
Fatalities of people walking in Oregon were up in 2015 by 50 percent over 2014. On average, 798 Oregonians are injured or killed by people driving cars while walking each year.  For more information visit: or


What officials can do…

Traffic engineers refer to the 3 E's:  Engineering, Education, and Enforcement. 

  • Engineering tools include road design, pavement markings, warning and regulatory signs, and traffic calming devices, along with all the engineering that goes into the design and manufacture of vehicles. 
  • Education informs people through driver's education classes, media safety campaigns, signage, speed watch programs, and school and neighborhood meetings. 
  • Enforcement techniques include Sheriff's Office warnings and citations, along with radar trailers, speed display signs and radar reader boards.


What you can do…

Motorists today share the road with many more bicyclists, pedestrians, and farmers moving their equipment.  Here are the keys to safety for us all:

  • Speed – watch it!
  • Alcohol – do not drink and drive.
  • Seatbelts – wear them!
  • Helmets – if you are on a bike, a helmet should be on you. 
  • Visibility – when walking or biking, wear light and reflective colors.