Study: Portland Drivers Show Racial Bias When Yielding to Pedestrians

By Julianne Hing May 22, 2014

By dressing up three white and three black men of similar age and build in identical clothes and sending them out into a busy Portland intersection researchers at Portland State University and the University of Arizona found that Portland drivers don’t treat all pedestrians equally.

Researchers chose a busy Portland crosswalk "where yielding isn’t influenced by cross traffic or turning," The Oregonian reported, and found that black pedestrians had to wait 32 percent longer than their white counterparts and were passed by double the amount of cars before they could cross the street. 

"It’s amazing to look at something you thought might be subtle and to see it instead so clearly," Portland State University researcher Tara Goddard told the Oregonian.

Turns out that nationally, pedestrian fatalities for African-Americans is 60 percent higher than it is for whites, and Latino pedestrian deaths are 43 percent higher than whites’. That may be influenced by pedestrians taking greater risks to cross when drivers won’t yield to them, researchers theorize. Read the rest at The Oregonian.