Streetcars Involved in Numerous Accidents with Vehicles and Bicycles in Phoenix, Portland, Seattle


We heard from a resident of Portland Oregon, who is a summer intern living in Arlington, that there are 'lots of streetcar accidents in Portland'. So we did a Web search on 'streetcar accidents'. We found an investigative report that was published in the Arizona Star newspaper on February 19th. So here are the first few paragraphs.

Streetcar tracks heighten accident concerns here

"In addition to figuring out how to engineer, build and operate a $200 million new modern streetcar through the heart of town, Tuscon faces an additional challenge: how to prevent accidents with cars and bicycles.

Phoenix's new light rail experienced more than 100 accidents with cars and pedestrians in the first three years, causing more than $2.3 million in damages to the light rail forcing officials to launch a nearly $275,000 public education campaign. The Arizona Daily Star created a database of all 106 light-rail crashes at

Meanwhile in Portland, the bicycle community has ramped up a campaign to get riders to report accidents because hundreds of cyclists have crashed on the tracks, mainly by getting their wheels stuck in the gap between the tracks and the street.

In Seattle, a group of six cyclists filed a class action lawsuit against the city, saying they crashed on the streetcar tracks and were injured.

Despite the fact only a miniscule portion of Tuscon's streetcar tracks have been installed, they have already contributed to a fatality - something that hasn't happened in Portland in its 10 years of operation."

Dennis M. McKinney, 47, was riding on East Congress Street near the Fourth Avenue Underpass when he lost control of his bike as it got caught up in the streetcar tracks, according to a police report of the July 2010 incident. He lost control of his vehicle and was struck by a truck in the next lane. He was pronounced dead at University Medical Center."