This evening, November 6th, a silver pickup truck veered off of Congress St. and plowed onto old brick sidewalks near Mainely Art Gallery. The status of the driver is unknown at this time, but the vehicle sustained heavy damage, as did the surrounding area.
Such crashes are a jarring reminder to pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-drivers that automobiles, especially trucks and other heavy varieties, are dangerous machines which can threaten the safety of those on the shoulders and sidewalks of roads. This is even more the case when drivers ignore speed limits, drive under the influence of intoxicants, or otherwise put their own convenience above the safety of others.
Moments like these also serve as a key reminder of the intrinsically asymmetrical relationship between automobile drivers and other users of Portland’s streets and roadways. While pedestrians may delay drivers, and cyclists may frustrate other users of the road, only automobiles pose a uniformly life-threatening danger if operated improperly. According to the EPA, the average 2020-model vehicle in America weighs 4,166 pounds, or over 2 tons. Collisions between vehicles and non-vehicles, especially when operated at high speed, are extremely dangerous. U.S. pedestrian deaths reached a 40-year high in 2023, and this figure is expected to continue growing.
While the Portland peninsula is generally a very pedestrian-friendly area, it remains important for non-drivers to remain aware of their surroundings. Drivers should at all times strictly obey traffic laws for the safety of Portland residents and visitors.
Ashley D. Keenan – Ashley is an editor of The Portland Townsman, writer, local small business-owner, and originally a Downeast Mainer. Her work primarily covers the mechanics of local government, the ongoing housing crisis, responsible market economics, and New England culture and history. She lives in Portland with her fiancé and can be personally reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.