In 2021, 935 people died in bicycle and pedestrian-involved crashes on Texas roadways. This figure represents a 34% increase in pedestrian deaths and a 58% increase in cyclist deaths compared to 2017.
What is causing this trend and how can pedestrians and cyclists stay safe?
Reasons fatalities are increasing
The top causes of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in crashes are:
- Pedestrians not yielding the right of way to vehicles
- Drivers not yielding the right of way to pedestrians
- Driver inattention
Other contributing factors include an increase in dangerous driving behaviors and a trend toward larger, heavier vehicles that cause more serious injuries in crashes. Additionally, many parts of the state are building roads that give priority to fast-moving traffic and do not have enough crosswalks, sidewalks and lighting.
How to stay safe
Texas authorities say obeying traffic safety laws is the most important thing drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can do to reduce fatalities. Texas residents can also lobby local officials to push for more safety measures, such as refuge islands, sidewalks, underpasses, overpasses and barriers to keep pedestrians safe.
Lower speed limits on roads, better lighting and improved signal timing at intersections can also save lives. The Texas DOT advises drivers and pedestrians to cross the street only at intersections or crosswalks, put away electronic devices, make eye contact with drivers, yield for pedestrians in crosswalks and follow posted speed limits.
Because pedestrians and cyclists have little protection against vehicles, they are vulnerable when accidents happen. Taking appropriate safety steps can reduce the number of avoidable crash deaths in the state.