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Safe Ride Initiative Urges Eugene-Springfield Revelers To Play It Safe New Years Eve

Oregon State Police

For several years now, Lane County has had the dubious distinction of ranking first – or near first – for traffic deaths than any other Oregon county. With New Years festivities kicking off tonight, safety advocates are pushing several options to make sure revelers get home alive.  

State transportation records show roughly four to five dozen deaths on the road every year for Lane County. Speed and impaired driving are blamed.

Credit Vivian Lee / Flickr.com
One's first resolution might be to arrange a safe lift back home after toasting the New Year.

Now with New Year’s bubbly and other intoxicants flowing freely through the wee morning hours, several groups are promoting safe and sober rides, through Uber, Lyft, and Oregon Taxi.

Claire Roth is the SAFE Streets coordinator for Better Eugene Springfield Transportation, says these services are offering New Year’s Eve discounts.

“I’m hopeful that this campaign will start off sort of a renormalization, making it y’know…almost not even a second thought to get home safely and sober.”

Partiers are also encouraged to arrange for designated drivers, or places to sleep – whether it’s a friend’s couch or a hotel room – rather than brave the roads if they feel even the slightest bit buzzed.

And while it’s common to say, “Don’t drink and drive” on occasions like New Year’s Eve, how about “Don’t drink and bike”?

Credit Thirteen of Clubs / Flickr.com

Roth says safe rides are also available for cyclists who may have had one too many.

“Your judgment’s impaired, you may not be bicycling in a straight line,” she tells KLCC. 

“It’s just being aware of your movement through a shared space.  And your safety in that shared space is very, very important, especially on a night where lots of folks are going to be out there going different directions, and maybe some judgments are on point, and maybe some aren’t.”

Pedaling under the influence can get you slapped with the same offenses as a drunk driver, under Oregon law.

Federal data for 2016 shows more than a third of fatal crashes between bikes and drivers involved alcohol.

Credit William Helsen / Flickr.com
When all else fails, hit up your host for a couch or guest room instead of taking to the roads if you've had a bit too much.

Beginning New Year’s Eve at 8pm until 3am on New Year’s Day, merry makers can receive a $5 discount on a ride from Lyft using app code “NYERIDE18”. Oregon Taxi riders can receive a $10 discount by using app code “SAFERIDE”. Uber riders can use code “SAFERIDE2018” for a $5 discount. This promotion is available to everyone in the Eugene-Springfield area.

Besides Better Eugene Springfield Transporation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Oregon Technology Association, and City of Eugene Parking are behind the Safe Rides Home effort. 

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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