EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In 2019, there were more than 3,000 traffic crashes involving pedestrians in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, resulting in 287 fatalities.
These cities also saw more than 1,100 bicycle crashes that resulted in 30 deaths and 113 serious injuries.
In El Paso in 2019, there were 232 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 31 fatalities and 37 serious injuries.
That same year, there were 78 traffic crashes in the El Paso area involving bicyclists, resulting in one fatality and three serious injuries.
To help make Texas roads safer for pedestrians, bikers and drivers, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching a public awareness campaign 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 No. 1 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.
No matter how Texans choose to travel, TxDOT wants them to know and follow state laws for safe driving, walking and biking. Drivers should 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.
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.