Tennessee Sees Increase in Pedestrian and Bicyclist Deaths in 2015
Pedestrians and bicyclists have always been at high risk on roadways throughout Tennessee, and the number of people who were killed while traveling on foot or on a bicycle increased in the state in 2015.
A report by wkrn.com and the Associated Press says that the number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities was higher in 2015 than any year in the past two decades. A report by WPLN shows that 120 pedestrians and bicyclists combined were killed in Tennessee as of Dec. 29, 2015, compared to 93 deaths in 2014.
The chairwoman of the Metro Nashville’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee said she was surprised and concerned by the number, and both she and the committee are striving to find ways to make streets in Nashville safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
A lieutenant with the Tennessee Highway Patrol also said that agency’s primary focus will be on improving the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone who travels using a non-motorized vehicle in 2016.
A total of 145 people died while walking or riding bicycles in Tennessee in 1984—the highest recorded number since 1982.
How Can You Improve Your Safety as a Pedestrian or Bicyclist?
Traveling on foot or via bicycle in and around Middle Tennessee is a great form of exercise, but people who share the road with motorists can put themselves at risk of being involved in serious accidents. And when pedestrians and bicyclists are involved in accidents, the consequences can be severe, with disabling and even life-threatening injuries being common outcomes for victims.
While it’s impossible to completely eliminate your risks as a pedestrian or bicyclist, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your chances of being injured:
- Walk against the flow of traffic and ride with the flow of traffic.
The rules for staying safe as a pedestrian and a bicyclist are completely different, and it’s important to remember them whenever you set out on foot or on a bicycle. If you’re walking, always walk against the flow of traffic to make yourself more visible to drivers. If you’re riding a bicycle, ride with the flow of traffic and maintain a steady speed at or near the speed limit at all times.
- Cross the street at crosswalks when on foot.
As a pedestrian, one of the biggest dangers you face is crossing the street. Crosswalks are by far the safest places for pedestrians to cross streets—especially when they’re located at intersections with stop signs or traffic lights. Before crossing, make sure you have the right of way by either making eye contact with drivers at stop signs or waiting for a “walk” signal at the traffic light.
- Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
Bicyclists have little to no protection when riding, which makes them susceptible to suffering serious injuries if they are struck by vehicles. That’s why wearing a helmet is extremely important for all bicyclists. Head injuries are one of the leading causes of death for bicyclists who are involved in accidents involving passenger vehicles or trucks, and a proper, well-fitting helmet can significantly reduce the risk of suffering a debilitating or fatal head injury.
Whether you’re driving a car, riding a motorcycle, riding a bicycle, or walking to your destination, you are assuming some degree of risk simply by being on or near a roadway that’s filled with other travelers. However, following the tips above can make you less likely to be involved in an accident in the first place or suffer serious injuries if you are involved in an accident.
The Nashville pedestrian accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law know that people who get injured while on foot or on bicycles often have long roads to recovery and may be unable to work. If you or someone you love was hurt by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. To find out how we may be able to help you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.