No matter who is at fault in a pedestrian accident, it is likely that the person on foot or on a bike will suffer the worse consequences from the incident. In Houston and across the country, many motor vehicle drivers fail to share the road or yield to pedestrians, causing serious injury or even death. Unfortunately, recent data shows that these incidents are on the rise.
Houston’s bike community is pushing for change, especially following four cyclist deaths over the course of the past month. Recently, cyclists conducted a public demonstration in front of Houston City Hall to support the enforcement of the Safe Passing Ordinance, which requires a 3-foot buffer for passing a cyclist and at least 6 feet of space between a vehicle and a bicycle in front of it. The cyclists at City Hall lay next to their bikes for four minutes, representing hundreds of people who are hit on bikes every year.
The Texas Department of Transportation released numbers regarding how many motorist-pedestrian and motorist-bicycle crashes occurred in 2014. Last year, there were 13 incidents involving vehicles and bicycles per every 100,000 Houston residents. That is up from nine such incidents per 100,000 in 2010. An even larger jump comes in pedestrian-vehicle accidents, as out of every 100,000 residents in Houston, 30 pedestrians were hit by a vehicle in 2014 and in 2010, that incident rate was at 18 per every 100,000.
While the Safe Passing Ordinance is in place, advocates say the local police department has done little to enforce it. Allowing vehicles to run the road is dangerous for public safety. Anyone who has been involved in such an incident should contact an attorney.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Motorist collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists jump in Houston, data show,” John D. Harden, July 1, 2015