By now, readers of this blog know that driving around these parts is dangerous. And, as it turns out, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, the number or pedestrian and bicyclists deaths is also increasing. This means that one does not even have to necessarily use the roads to be put in danger by vehicles. This is why TxDOT has launched a “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign to help reduce the number of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.
Increasing number of deaths
According to TxDOT, the number of car accidents actually went down in 2020. However, the number of deaths as a result of those crashes dramatically increased. Specifically, 731 pedestrians were killed in Texas last year, which is almost 10% higher than 2019. Another 82 bicyclists were also killed, a 20% increase from 2019.
Behind the numbers
TxDOT claims that alcohol played a part in at least 25% of these deaths. In addition, many of these deaths can be attributed to drivers and pedestrians not following state laws.
The “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign
In recognition of the increase in deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists, and in recognition of National Pedestrian Safety Month (October), TxDOT launched “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” This new campaign’s goal is to encourage everyone on or near the road to pay attention to protect everyone. This means following all traffic laws, staying aware of everyone else on the road and driving sober.
Reminders for drivers
TxDOT is reminding those in Austin, Texas, and throughout the state to actively protect each other. Specifically, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and passing bicyclists safely, including at a safe distance. In addition, they are reminding drivers to yield to pedestrian and bicyclists when turning.
Reminders for cyclists
They are also encouraging bicyclists to also follow the law, like obeying traffic signals and using hand signals when stopping and turning. TxDOT stated that state law mandates that cyclists must ride with the flow of traffic, use bike lanes, when available, and ride as close to the right-hand curb as possible. Finally, at night, they want bikes to be equipped with a white light on the front and a reflector or red light on the back of the bike. Of course, when car accidents occur though, a personal injury lawsuit is always available.