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Why were bike and pedestrian deaths increasing?

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is a pressing matter, but when you hear the phrase "road safety" it is unlikely that bikes and pedestrians are the first thing that comes to mind. You will likely immediately think about car accidents, truck accidents, mass transit accidents, and other vehicles that use gasoline and are powered by mechanical motors. And yet, bicycle and pedestrian deaths made up nearly 18 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015.

For pedestrians, there were 5,376 deaths in 2015. That is a steep increase over the 4,795 pedestrian deaths that occurred in 2006. And during that ten-year window, total traffic fatalities declined by 18 percent, while pedestrian deaths soared by 12 percent.

For bicyclists, there were 818 deaths in 2015. This, too, was an increase over the rate in 2006, when 772 bicyclists died in accidents. Again, total traffic fatalities dropped during this same period of time.

You have to wonder why more isn't being done for pedestrians and bicyclists. The death rates in accidents for these subsets of the road-traveling public are increasing, while overall fatalities are declining. That is a damning statement that clearly shows more needs to be done to protect our most vulnerable comrades out on the road.

Traffic accidents are going to happen, and when they do, people are likely to get hurt. Bicyclists and pedestrians are in a uniquely unfortunate position where they have virtually no safety gear to protect them -- unlike passengers and drivers in motor vehicles. When they are involved in an accident, they have to consider their legal options because compensation may be justified in their case.

Source: Pedbikeinfo,org, "Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics," Accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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