Riding a bike or taking walks are both incredibly popular means of getting exercise or decompressing after a long day. While seemingly innocuous, engaging in these activities at night increases the potential for a bicycle accident to occur. Such was the case for a local Houston teenager, who was recently killed after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike at night. The teenage boy was struck from behind and killed by a vehicle while riding his bike with friends on Greenhouse Road in Harris County. The vehicle fled the scene after hitting the teenager.
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The Dangers of Bike Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, there was a more than 3% increase in the number of pedestrians fatally injured in traffic accidents. The total number of auto-pedestrian fatalities has reached over 6,000 deaths, the most seen since 1990.
When a person is hit by a car or truck, chances are the impact will cause serious injury or death. This is typically due to the speed and weight of the vehicle compared to that of the person. Auto pedestrian accidents can lead to injuries ranging in severity from broken bones to head injuries, internal and external bleeding, and sometimes even wrongful death. These accidents are incredibly dangerous and can occur for a variety of different reasons, including:
Speeding is a direct violation of traffic laws and is a form of reckless driving. As such, pedestrians hit by vehicles traveling at high speed can suffer life-changing injuries or die due to the force of the impact. Speeding also leaves drivers with less time to make a quick correction upon seeing a pedestrian.
Drunk or intoxicated driving is incredibly dangerous. According to NHTSA, drunk driving accidents account for over 10,000 traffic-related deaths each year. Driving under the influence delays reaction times, reasoning, and impairs the overall driving skills of the driver. An intoxicated driver can more easily fail to see a pedestrian with enough reaction time to slow down, especially during bad weather or at night.
When a driver fails to slow down to a safe speed in fog, rain, ice, or snow, he or she can easily fail to see a pedestrian and/or be unable to stop or slow down in time on slick or slippery roadways.
Even when using crosswalks, pedestrians are often at risk of being hit by vehicles turning left. This typically happens when the driver’s attention is focused on navigating the intersection instead of on pedestrians legally crossing the street.
Pedestrian Safety Precautions to Take at Night
While it’s important for pedestrians to take necessary safety measures during the day, at night they are much more difficult to see. Some of the most important safety precautions for pedestrians to take at night include:
Wearing Gear to Stay Visible
When deciding to go for a walk, run, or bike ride at night, it’s incredibly important that pedestrians ensure drivers can see them. Investing in gear like a headlamp, reflective clothing, and/or arm and ankle bands can help keep pedestrians visible at night or even in poor weather conditions.
Not Going It Alone
While COVID-19 has made in-person socializing fairly difficult, those who want to go on a walk or bike ride at night should bring friends or family members along. Doing this will not only provide additional company, but traveling in packs helps keep pedestrians more visible than if they are alone.
Having a Safety Plan
Have a safety plan in mind, including giving out routes to friends and family members, while also letting another person know the return time, to keep safe while walking at night. It’s also important to remember to bring a smartphone, as well as some form of identification in the event authorities or an ambulance needs to be called. Pedestrians can also use one of many route tracking apps to ensure they remain safely on course.
Being Aware of Surroundings
When deciding to take a walk at night, it’s important to do so in familiar areas and/or in a well-lit neighborhood. Being aware of one’s surroundings can help pedestrians maintain a safe, regular route.
Houston Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Bicycle accidents can have devastating effects on victims and their families. The resulting injuries are often life-changing and sometimes fatal. At Ramsey Law Group, our experienced Houston personal injury attorneys can hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. If you or someone you know was injured in a Houston, Texas bike accident and would like to consult with an attorney, contact Ramsey Law Group today.