The number of pedestrians and bicyclists is on the rise in the U.S. as people are looking to make healthy choices for themselves and the environment. Unfortunately, that means the amount of accidents and deaths involving pedestrians and bicyclists is also on the rise, and the statistics are not good.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 16% of all traffic fatalities involve either pedestrians or bicyclists, resulting in about 5,000 pedestrian deaths and approximately 800 bicyclist deaths a year. Explore the best practices when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle safety so that everyone is safe on the road.
Tips for Vehicles
It is a driver’s responsibility to avoid pedestrians and bicyclists, giving them the right-of-way. Follow these tips to ensure you are never the driver in a traffic fatality involving a pedestrian or bicyclist:
- Never drive distracted! Ie: don’t look at your cell phone, eat, focus on the radio, shave, put on makeup, change your clothes, etc. while driving. Nothing is as important as someone else’s life.
- Look for pedestrians and bicyclists everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t expect them to be.
- Never pass a stopped vehicle without using extreme caution; that vehicle may be stopped for pedestrians.
- Follow the speed limit. An area with a really low speed limit likely has a lot of pedestrians.
- Give bicyclists a lot of room.
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Pedestrians and bicyclists can also take steps to ensure that they are not part of the statistics of traffic fatalities. While pedestrians and bicyclists may have the right of way where vehicles are involved, being in the right does not cure the severe injuries or death that can be part of a traffic accident. Pedestrians and bicyclists should follow these safety tips to avoid danger:
- The FHWA maintains that most pedestrian motor vehicle deaths occur at uncontrolled crossing locations. Pedestrians should try to cross the road at crossing facilities wherever possible and proceed with extreme caution when choosing to cross at uncontrolled crossing locations.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists should wear brightly colored clothing and utilize reflective tape and lights, especially when walking or biking during dawn, dusk, and darkness. Most pedestrian accidents occur during the dark of nighttime.
- Pedestrians should walk facing traffic, so that they see vehicles coming at them, and they should refrain from distracted walking, meaning don’t look at cell phones, read, or give your focus to anything other than the road.
- Bicyclists should ride with traffic and use universal road hand signals to let others know which ways you will be turning, using bike lanes wherever possible.
Being in the paving business requires that we drive some really big vehicles and construction equipment. Whether we are driving a large piece of equipment or our private vehicles, we know that the safety of all should be our first concern.