The death rate for bicyclists and pedestrians has increased a disturbing amount in recent years, even as the overall number of motor vehicle collision fatalities has decreased. In fact, according to USA Today, there was a 15 percent increase in fatalities of bicyclists and pedestrians over just a three-year period of time, while there was a three percent decline in other types of road deaths. Experts have indicated they are not certain why the increase occurred.
One problem may simply be that more people were walking and biking during the period of time when deaths increased. Poor economic conditions may have necessitated walking or biking as a less costly means of transportation, which could help to explain why the death toll finally dropped in the first six months of 2013 as the economy has begun to improve. With more people walking and biking, drivers may not be aware of how to respond safely to riders and motorists could make careless choices that lead to fatalities. A Janesville auto accident lawyer could represent bicycle riders and pedestrians injured or killed by drivers who were careless or broke safety rules and who caused an injury or death as a result.
Biking and walking have also become more popular ways to get around in light of an increased focus on being environmentally friendly. Many individuals in urban areas want to escape traffic while reducing air pollution by choosing biking and walking as earth-friendly ways to commute.
Regardless of the specific reasons why more people have begun walking and biking, the sad fact is that the infrastructure in many parts of the United States is simply lacking when it comes to the concern of walkers or riders. The Safe Streets Act of 2014 aims to change that, but it is unclear yet if this proposed law will be passed by federal lawmakers.
The Safe Streets Act of 2014
The Safe Streets Act of 2014 was sponsored by Senator Mark Begich. The Act would require every state to create an explicit policy statement within two years that would require the adoption of “complete streets” principles for most federally-funded transportation projects.
Complete Streets principles already have been adopted in many jurisdictions voluntarily, in an effort to make the roads safer and cut down on unnecessary accident injuries and deaths. Complete Streets principles require that when the development phase of a transportation project is taking place and when the project moves forward, the needs of all road users will be taken into account at every phase.
When Complete Streets principles are utilized, transportation projects aren’t just geared towards making it easier for passenger cars to get from point A to point B. Instead, the road is designed with bicyclists, pedestrians, public transportation systems, freight trucks and other likely road users in mind.
By taking a careful approach to designing the roads to be safe for everyone, hopefully more accidents can be prevented and bicyclists and pedestrians can be spared potentially deadly collisions.
Those who do suffer injury in a bicycle accident, pedestrian crash or any other type of motor vehicle collision should consult with Janesville injury lawyer Steve Caya at Nowlan & Mouat LLP, for assistance pursuing a personal injury claim.