Anyone that has walked or ran downtown has been a victim of "that person." "That person" is the person that feels the need to make the selfish move of entering the crosswalk in heavy traffic as the light is turning red. That Person's car is now stopped in the middle of the crosswalk acting as a barrier for those that are trying to lawfully cross the street.
You can see it in That Person's facial expression as the anxiety and embarrassment sets in. The light turns yellow and traffic isn't moving. You can observe That Person check their mirrors looking for a place tor drive their car. Sometimes That Person is able to get out of the way by pulling quickly into a parking spot off to the right or left side of the street. Other times they simply stare straight ahead actively ignoring the chaos around them that they have caused.
Usually by pulling ahead at the last minute while the light is turning red, "that person" has blocked the crosswalk and may be blocking traffic that is trying to move forward on the cross street. This creates a very dangerous situations for pedestrians that may result in personal injury or wrongful death. Last, but not least, blocking the crosswalk is also a violation of the law. (See ORS 811.028)
Pedestrians see the "walking sign" illuminated, but then see their path is blocked by a vehicle. This is obviously an issue. Pedestrians then have the option of 1) going in front of the car, 2) going behind the car, or 3) waiting until the car has cleared the intersection until it is safe to cross. Some of these are bad options for the reasons stated below:
Option 1) Going in front of the car: If the car is blocking the crosswalk it may seem like the safest option to walk in front of the car. Walking in front of the car usually involves leaving the safety of the crosswalk. In doing so, the pedestrian is now in "no man's land" where there is not any law to protect them. If they are injured the bad driver will argue they left the safety of the cross-walk. Additionally, the pedestrian must hope that the driver who is blocking the intersection does not suddenly pull forward. I have seen this occur, as it seems the driver is so worried about getting out of the crosswalk they have blinders on as to who is crossing the sidewalk in front of them. Obviously Option 1 is not a great option. It also may result in a violation of violation of ORS 814.040 (failure to yield to a vehicle.)
Option 2) Going behind the Car: The pedestrian may think that going behind the car may be the best option for safely crossing the street without getting injured. However, similar to crossing in front of the car, crossing behind the car will result in the pedestrian leaving the crosswalk. Going behind the car also presents a unique safety issue, because now the pedestrian may be susceptible to being hit by a car crossing the intersection from the cross street. Also, cars that are turning onto the street where "that person" has blocked the crosswalk may be pulling forward to get close to the car that is blocking the crosswalk. Obviously, this puts the pedestrian at risk of being hit or sandwiched between the two cars. Again, similar to Option 1, leaving the crosswalk may result in a violation of ORS 814.040 (failure to yield to a vehicle.)
Option 3) Waiting for the Car to Clear the Crosswalk: Waiting for the car to clear the crosswalk is probably the best option. Most lights in Portland and other Oregon Cities don't take that long. At most you may lose a few minutes of your day by waiting for it to be safe to cross the street. It is my opinion that it is best to wait until the cross walk is clear and it is safe to cross the street. This is the only way to attempt to mitigate the risk of injury from being struck by a car while crossing the street.
If you, or a person you know, has been hit by a car while crossing the street, please call Portland Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Jeremiah Ross. Ross Law LLC is happy to provide you a free personal injury consultation. Please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Please also remember that each situation is different do not solely rely on this post to ensure your safety.