TriMet has been under increasing scrutiny after the recent left-turn bus
accident that left two dead and three injured. The agency was initially
hesitant to change bus routes to eliminate or decrease left turns but
has since changed its tune and implemented changes to three of its downtown routes.
There is plenty of evidence that left turns by buses are more dangerous
than other turns. In fact, a study by the Federal Transit Administration
found that accidents between buses and pedestrians are more than twice
as likely to occur during left turns.
Other agencies, such as those in Des Moines, Iowa, and Cleveland, Ohio,
have altered routes to eliminate left turns. In addition, buses making
right turns are required to sound a warning honk. The transit agency in
Richmond, Virginia, will soon have buses that verbally warn pedestrians
of impending turns.
Let’s hope TriMet continues to review its safety procedures to make
buses safe for pedestrians as well as drivers and passengers.