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NHTSA reports increase in pedestrian, biker fatalities in 2018

The numbers of bicyclists, walkers and runners hit by cars are going the wrong direction.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently provided data on traffic fatalities in 2018. Although the overall number of traffic deaths decreased, certain areas showed an increase. These included pedestrian and biker fatalities. 

What did the NHTSA find?

The NHTSA reported 35,560 traffic related fatalities in 2018. The agency notes this translates into a 2.4% decrease from fatalities due to traffic crashes in 2017. There were decreases in deaths of children under the age of 14 and speed related accidents. The agency says the decreases are likely due to technological advances that increase the safety of vehicles and increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Even with these changes, the agency reported notable increases in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. Pedestrians deaths were up 3%, the most since 1990, and bicycling fatalities due to traffic accidents up more than 6%. Even more concerning were the numbers from urban areas. The agency reported fatal pedestrian crashes in urban areas increased by 69% and biking fatalities were up by 48%.

How can pedestrians and bikers avoid fatal accidents?

Pedestrians and bikers can help reduce the risk of a fatal accident by paying attention to the roadways and the vehicles around them. Additional steps that can help reduce the risk of a crash include:

  • Pedestrians. Walkers should choose to walk on walkways like sidewalks whenever available. Cross the streets in marked crosswalks and obey traffic signals.
  • Cyclists. Bikers can also reduce the risk of a fatal head injury by using a properly fitting helmet. It is also important to ride a bike that fits, do not use one that is too large or too small as they are more difficult to maneuver. Check the bike before heading out to better ensure it is in working order. Maker sure the wheels are properly secured, and the brakes are in good condition.

Walkers and bikers can also mitigate the risk of a crash by wearing reflective materials and taking steps to increase visibility when out at night. This can include the use of a flashlight or bike lights.

Are remedies available in these situations?

Those who lose a loved one due to a pedestrian or bicycle accident or who suffer serious injuries themselves may be able to hold the driver accountable through a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, this will require the victim or victim’s loved ones establish the driver was negligent. Negligence essentially means the driver failed to do something a reasonable person would do to protect others from danger.

An attorney experienced in pedestrian and bicycle accident cases can review your situation and discuss your options.