We founded EndDD.org after our daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver. She was a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk with stop signs during daylight hours. She was nearly at the other side when the driver, who was reaching for something and looking away from the road, hit her with his car. Casey was smart, ambitious and kind, but she was taken from us because of a careless mistake by a driver.
What is Endangering Pedestrians and Bicyclists?
People walking and riding bicycles near motor vehicles are extremely vulnerable to dangers. They do not have the speed or metal to protect them like drivers do. To make matters worse, crashes causing pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are on the rise. Nearly 6,000 pedestrians and 840 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2016 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported.
To prevent these tragedies, we need to understand why they keep occurring. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), supported by the NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration, have noted patterns in many pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The PBIC created four videos that show some common situations that lead to a crash involving a driver and a person walking or riding a bicycle.
The above video illustrates an unfortunate and all too common scenario: drivers are waiting to turn left, and they strike pedestrians in the crosswalk when they turn. The video shows the crash using a number of views. It also shows how the collision was preventable.
How to Stop Pedestrian and Bicyclist Deaths
The message is clear in all four videos: we all need to be safer on the roads. A report by the National Safety Council noted that major factors contributing to the annual death toll of 40,000 are: distracted driving, speeding, and failure to use a seat belt. But how can ALL drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists prevent crashes?
First and foremost, pedestrians and bike riders share a responsibility with motorists to stay distraction-free on the road. Anything can be a distraction if it takes a person’s eyes off the road (visual distraction), hands off the wheel or handlebars (manual distraction), or mind of the task of driving, biking, or walking (cognitive distraction).
So, whether on foot, on a bike, or in a car, we can all prevent collisions by:
- Driving without distractions.
- Walking without distractions. That means walking without looking at a cell phone and pausing music or podcasts when crossing the street.
- Bicycling without distractions.
- Making eye contact with drivers before we cross the street as pedestrians, even if we have the green light or “walk” sign.
- Speaking up when we see friends and family members walking, driving or biking while distracted.
By working togeter to eliminate distractions, we can each do our part to prevent crashes involving pedestrians and bicycle riders.
Resources for Bicyclists and Pedestrians
The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) is a national organization committed to the education of bicyclists, motorists, and the general public about bicycle safety. They promote bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and advocate for bicycle-friendly roads.
ThinkFirst has been active in bicycle safety since 1986. The organization emphasizes everyone’s role in safe bicycling – from riders to caregivers, community members, elected officials, schools, health care professionals, and others.
The League of American Bicyclists is a leader in the movement to create safer roads and stronger communities and preserve the freedom of bicycling.
Perils for Pedestrians is a monthly TV series that examines the problems confronting pedestrians and the solutions to those problems locally, nationally, and globally.
The PBIC offers information about coalitions, alliances and partnerships that are working to create change to improve safety and increase the number of people walking.