Bicycle Attorney Michael A. Colbach Attorney at Law, PC  is a Portland, Oregon bicycle accident attorney and trial lawyer with proven results.

I am a Portland bicycle accident lawyer who is a bicycle commuter. People want to ride a bike, it's simple. Here's to 2024 and hoping we have a better year, it will be a while before we see the data.

In 2023 we actually saw bicycle rides declining in Portland by a whopping 46% according to Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) between their 2016 and 2022 bicycle counts, "In 2022, Portland bicycle traffic dropped more than a third compared to 2019, to levels not seen since approximately 2005-2006."

Why would Portland bicycle ridership decline by such a large amount?

"It is easy to argue that Portland's bikeway network is of higher quality and reaches into more parts of the city than in 2014-2015 when bicycle commute mode split and the number of people biking to work peaked," the report says. (KGW News)

The reasons for Portland's bicycle ride decline are complex. I know that cyclists are getting hurt badly on our local roads and that it is happening too often.

As a former bike racer myself, and currently a bicycle commuter, the bicycle accident cases that I handle are particularly meaningful to me.  When I opened my own personal injury law practice in 2002, I started getting calls from cyclists who knew me and pretty quickly my practice evolved into a bicycle practice. I still do a number of motor vehicle cases and motorcycle cases, but the bulk of my practice is cycling cases. Our Portland roads can be dangerous and inhospitable to people who are not inside of cars.

While bicyclists and pedestrians enjoy some protections under the law as vulnerable road users, insurance companies do not give money away, and very often they try to pay cyclists unfair settlements and try to blame bicycle riders just because they are on two wheels. This was the case of a former injured Portland cyclist I represented who recovered $667,000 with a jury verdict but her final offer before trial was $130,000 as reported in Portland's Willamette Week Newspaper,  Cyclist vs. New Seasons. 

2 years ago I was involved in an accident while commuting home from work on my bicycle. [...] I was left unconscious in the road for over 3 hours until my wife came looking for me. She found me unconscious, laying in a pool of blood and vomit with my helmet cracked from impact. I was left with a TBI, fractured hand and multiple contusions and lacerations that required immediate care. I suffered memory, speech, vision and auditory impairment that continues today. -->More

client Steph Johnson a cyclist seriously injured, review on Google business profile for Portland bicycle accident attorney Michael Colbach. Steph Johnson
5 star review posted on Google about Portland bicycle accident attorney Michael Colbach handling of their bicycle accident case
Google Review

The PBOT Vision Zero Portland bicyclist traffic death and injury map, shows the safety concerns facing Portland cyclists.

Table Data Sources: Portland Vision Zero map data, Oregon Department of Transportation; chart data, Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau

Portland bicycle accident deaths and injuries DEATHS INJURIES
2023 * data not available 1  
2022 * data not available 4  
2021 * will be added late 2023, last update October 31, 2023 0 67
2020 5 80
2019 1 221
2018 2 243
2017 2 218
2016 5 274
2015 2 291
2014 0 309
2013 1 322
2012 2 358
2011 2 288

Serious and fatal bicycle crashes in Portland by the worst roads with Broadway having the highest of all crashes on Portland Roads and included by PBOT in their High Crash Network.

It is shocking that Portland Bureau of Transportation PBOT had plans to remove the recently completed Broadway protected bike lane in downtown Portland between SW Salmon and NW Hoyt in the fall of 2023. As covered by the Portland State University newspaper:

This plan would have resulted in less safe bike lanes on Broadway—a highly populated urban area that PBOT has included in their High Crash Network—a list of streets where crash-related severe injuries and fatalities occur at an above-average rate. Though PBOT has now rolled back its plans to change the Broadway bike lanes, the proximity to the Portland State campus raises concerns among many students and staff. Considering our status as a commuter campus, where many students rely on bikes for commuting, the potential for increased safety risks heightens the recognition of this issue as a significant problem.

This has caused concern and confusion among Portland area cyclists. It only became publicly known because of Bike Portland's bicycle news coverage. Not long after the Broadway protected bike lane incident, a second already paid for and completed Portland bike lane was subsequently removed on NE 33rd.

Portland most dangerous streets where people riding bicycles were killed or seriously injured from 2017 to 2021.

Portland worst streets where people riding bicycles were killed, injured or seriously injured 2017 - 2021 Death Serious Injury Injury
Broadway   4 44
Burnside St. 1 2 30
SE Powell Blvd.   1 23
SE Division St.     22
SE Stark St.   1 22
Sandy Blvd.   3 21
82nd Ave. 1 4 18
N Interstate Ave. 1   17
SE Hawthorne Blvd.   4 17
Lombard St.     16
SE Foster Road   2 15
SE Glisan Street   13 13
Killingsworth Street 1 1 12
122nd Ave   2 12
NE Columbia Blvd.   3 11
SE 7th Ave.     11
SW Barbur Blvd.     11
SW Capitol Hwy     11
Fremont Street     10
NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd   1 10


In 2021, 73 of the 440 Oregon injured cyclists were injured while riding in Portland on Portland's roads. (data from May 2023 says 67 but later 2023 data has the 73 figure).

The deaths of Oregon cyclists hit a high mark in 2021 which we haven't been at for a long time. The cyclist fatalities are especially concerning. Our most recent complete data is 2021.

2021 18 440
2020 14 465
2019 12 724
2018 9 825
2017 10 761
2016 10 846
2015 8 957
2014 7 955
2013 3 922
2012 10 1026

ODOT Bicycle Injury 2021 Motor Vehicle Accidents in Portland

Crashes with multiple contributing circumstances are counted in ALL applicable categories.

This helps to understand the most recent data, and where and what types of roadway factors contributed to the cyclist vs. vehicle crash.

1. Speed too fast 1   1
2. Failed to yield 54   54
3. Passed stop sign 16   16
4. Disregard traffic signal 11   11
5. Drove left of center      
6. Improper overtaking      
7. Follow Too Close / FailAvd 1   1
8. Made imporoper turn 2   2
9. Had been drinking 1   1
10. Other improper driving 9   9
11. Mechanical defect 1   1
12. All Other Causes 8   8
TOTALS 104   104

2021 Portland Bicycle Crashes Contributing Factor Data, Note Doored Bicycle v. Car Accidents Are Not Tracked in Oregon Nor Portland Accident Report Data (Illinois maybe the only state that tracks dooring incidents in their crash data in the USA)

We know that doored bicycle vs. car crashes are some of the most common on all roadways, but especially urban environments where bike lanes and road riding commonly place cyclists in the door zone. Cyclists simply have little to no room to move when they try to avoid a crash when a car door is suddenly opened. Sometimes cyclists endour the crash with the vehicle door only to go down and into car traffic, which is another reason why this road conflict is so serious. This is also a conflict that can be so greatly reduced with things like fully protected bike lanes.

I have handled several Portland bicyclist car doored cases with seriously injured cyclists.

Mike worked with me settle to a claim after I was doored and hospitalized while riding my bike. Mike and his team helped me navigate the complex insurance and claim process and ensured that I received a fair settlement. -->More

Portland personal injury lawyer former client Trig Rogers, bicyclist who was doored and hospitalized for his injuries Mike represented and got him a fair settlement. Trig Rogers
5 star review posted on Google about Portland personal injury attorney Michael Colbach handling of his bicycle accident case where he was doored and injured badly
Google Review

Another cyclist doored case was reported in Portland's Oregonian newspaper after I filed a lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

 Cyclist sues after Uber, private insurance fail to cover crash

The case was further complicated because the driver was working for Uber at the time of the accident. The driver was cited at the accident scene by the Portland Police for the dooring improper opening of a door when it was not safe.

Lucas Root says he doesn't remember seeing the door that opened up in front of his bike, knocking him to the pavement and breaking out three teeth. [...] Indeed, two months after the July 2 crash for which the driver was cited by police, the driver's personal insurer declined to cover the loss. Three months later, Uber says its insurer is still reviewing the claim [...] according to a police report, 55-year-old Viktor Pavenko stopped to pick up a passenger. He opened his driver's side door, he told police, and Root, 30, crashed his bicycle into the door and fell to the pavement. Pavenko was cited for improper opening of a door.

Going Forward

Things are looking at least interesting going into 2024 with the new bicycle infrastructure legal case which might literally pave the way for Portland's cyclists to get more bicycle infrastructure that would make a huge difference for all road users.