CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The number of fatal accidents on Texas roads involving pedestrians and bicyclists is on the rise, according to TxDOT. Pedestrian crashes account for one in five traffic deaths on Texas roads.
Corpus Christi District
In TxDOT’s Corpus Christi District in 2019, there were 131 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 13 fatalities and 30 serious injuries, TxDOT officials said.
There were 74 traffic crashes involving bicyclists, resulting in two fatalities and five serious injuries. This area includes the counties of Aransas, Bee, Goliad, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio.
City of Corpus Christi
Eight of those 13 fatalities were in the City of Corpus Christi, officials said. There were a total of 94 traffic accidents involving pedestrians in 2019 with eight fatalities and 17 serious injuries.
When it comes to accidents involving bicyclists, there were 55 accidents and two fatalities in Corpus Christi in 2019. Two others were seriously injured.
Safety officials said a primary cause of the increase is people’s widespread failure to follow state laws designed to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. In response, the Texas Department of Transportation is kicking off a new public awareness campaign this month that urges all Texans to drive smart, walk smart and bike smart.
“Whether you’re behind the wheel, on foot, or riding a bicycle, we’re reminding Texans to make traffic safety their number one concern when they’re out and about,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of looking after ourselves and others in our communities, and we’re asking the public to apply that same responsibility to safely sharing the road and obeying traffic laws.”
Almost half of all pedestrians and cyclists who died last year on Texas streets and highways were between the ages of 21 and 49. Most were living in urban areas, and the majority—73% of the pedestrians and 90% of the cyclists --- were male.
Drivers are being asked to take specific steps to protect pedestrians and bicyclists, who are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when involved in a crash with a motor vehicle. State laws mandate stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, yielding the right of way to pedestrians and cyclists when turning, and passing cyclists at a safe distance, and giving them room to ride.
Pedestrians should cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks, obey all traffic and crosswalk signals, and always use sidewalks when available. If there isn’t a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the street or road, facing oncoming traffic, TxDOT officials said.
Like drivers, bicyclists are required to obey all traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights and stop signs. State laws also dictate that those who ride bicycles must use hand signals when turning or stopping, ride with traffic, use bike lanes or ride as near as possible to the right-hand curb, and when riding at night, make sure their bikes have a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back.
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