In some ways, the roads are getting safer. Unfortunately, that’s not true for cyclists or pedestrians, both of whom face some of the greatest safety risks in years — and it’s only getting worse.
In a government report on the 2018 fatality statistics, researches found that deaths among pedestrians and cyclists went up by approximately 7,000 fatalities. That was from 2017 to 2018. The combined increase meant they saw the “highest annual totals since 2009.” They made up roughly one out of every five highway deaths, or 20%.
The big risk for both pedestrians and cyclists is a lack of protection. Cyclists may have a lightweight helmet. Pedestrians have nothing at all. If they get hit, even at low speeds, they face very high fatality risks. All it takes is one mistake by a driver. One moment of inattention. One critical error on a dark street or during a rainstorm.
People in other cars have some room for error, especially at low speeds — such as in a parking lot or on a residential street. Pedestrians and cyclists do not. That shows up in the fatality totals. Far more people use cars than bikes as their main means of transportation, so having 20 percent of fatalities linked to cyclists and pedestrians is much too high.
If you ever go for a jog on the road, walk to work, use your bike to commute or ride for fun, you have to know that this risk exists. You also have to know exactly what legal steps you can take to seek out compensation for your medical bills and other costs you may face.