Texas pedestrian and bicycle fatalities continue to rise
AUSTIN – Despite a decrease in traffic accidents in 2020, Texas has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people killed on foot and by bicycle on our roads. Last year, 731 people died in crashes involving pedestrians, a 9% increase from 2019, according to a press release from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Crashes involving cyclists claimed the lives of 82 people, up from 68 dead the previous year. In 2020, 25% of fatalities in crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists were alcohol-related. These figures reflect an alarming trend of increasing pedestrian and cycling fatalities over the past five years.
Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities account for one in five of all road fatalities in the state. Safety officials attribute this growing concern to the widespread failure by people to follow state laws designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists. To that end, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching a public awareness campaign this month urging all Texans to walk smart, bike smart, and drive smart.
“Over 800 people lost their lives last year in pedestrian and bicycle crashes on the roads of Texas. One death is too much, ”said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “Whether you are driving, walking or cycling, we remind all Texans to be safe and smart, and that starts with obeying the rules of the road. ”
As Texans make their way to their destinations, TxDOT wants them to know the laws for safe walking, cycling, and driving – and following them. Drivers are required to take specific measures to protect pedestrians and cyclists, who are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. State laws require pedestrians to stop in crosswalks, yield the right of way to pedestrians and cyclists when turning, and pass cyclists at a safe distance and give them clearance. space to roll.
Like drivers, cyclists are required to obey all traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights and stop signs. State laws also require cyclists to use hand signals when turning or stopping, to ride in traffic, to use bike lanes, or to ride as close to the right sidewalk as possible, and, when riding at night, make sure their bikes have a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back.
Pedestrians should cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks, obey all traffic and crosswalk signals, and always use sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the street or road, facing oncoming traffic.
Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can expect to see these safety reminders on TV, billboards, gas pumps, buses and social media as TxDOT reminds Texans to do their part. to prevent pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.
Between 2015 and 2021, TxDOT provided more than $ 300 million in federal and state funding to support locally sponsored projects providing safe routes to schools, multi-use paths, sidewalks and cycle paths in rural areas and small urban areas and to modernize sidewalks, ramps and lanes for accessibility, safety and pedestrian mobility.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart. The Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Campaign and Initiative are key elements of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to do so. safer choices while driving, such as wearing seat belts, limiting speed, never texting and driving, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. November 7, 2000 was the last day without death on Texas roads. #EndTheStreakTX calls on all Texans to pledge to drive safely to help end the string of daily fatalities.