Did you know that pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities make up 19% of all traffic-related deaths annually?
This is due to the fact that pedestrians and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable when it comes to vehicle crashes – even a minor one with a slow-moving vehicle can cause severe harm. Unlike vehicle occupants, pedestrians and bicyclists lack protective structures against impact.
To decrease these fatalities and protect everyone on the road, compliance with traffic laws is crucial. However, not all motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists obey traffic laws.
Therefore, it’s vital to take steps to prevent you or someone you know from being involved in a pedestrian collision. Whether you’re a driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, here are some ways to protect yourself and others on the road.
What state laws protect pedestrians and bicyclists?
Motorists need to be aware of the risks they pose to pedestrians on roadways. Distracted driving, lack of knowledge of traffic laws, alcohol or drug impairment, and speeding contribute significantly to collisions.
Even small increases in vehicle speed can increase the risk of severe injury or fatality. The average risk of severe pedestrian injury increased from 10% at an impact speed of 17 mph to 90% at 48 mph. It’s important for drivers to obey posted speed limits, particularly in areas with high pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
To protect pedestrians in Texas, the Lisa Torry Smith Act was enacted in 2021, requiring drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections when turning. Pedestrians also have the right of way when crossing driveways or alleys where a vehicle is emerging.
When passing bikes, drivers should keep a safe distance and give cyclists plenty of room to ride.
Drivers must be aware of these risks and exercise due care to ensure everyone’s safety on the road.
What steps can pedestrians and bicyclists take to stay safe?
Despite traffic laws and precautions in place, pedestrian fatalities remain high in Texas. In fact, pedestrian accounted for 17% of total traffic fatalities, while bicyclists accounted for an additional 2%.
To stay safe as a pedestrian, it’s essential to cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks, obeying all traffic signals and crosswalk signs. Crossing at locations not designed for crossing increases your risk of being hit by careless or distracted driver. Take steps to ensure your safety, such as always using sidewalks or walking on the left side of the road when there is no sidewalk available.
On the other hand, cyclists should always stop at red lights and stop signs, ride in bike lanes or close to the right-hand curb, and use hand signals when turning or stopping. Low-light conditions can significantly increase the risk of collisions, so bicyclists should use lights or reflectors when traveling at night to improve safety.
Contact a Qualified Attorney
Raising awareness of pedestrian safety rules is a critical part of preventing auto crashes. Remember to cross the street only at designated crosswalks, obey all traffic signals and laws, and ensure drivers yield the right of way.
Still, if a pedestrian collision occurs, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to get your life back to normal. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, we recommend contacting a qualified personal injury attorney today.