Despite concerted efforts to educate the public on cycling and pedestrian safety, Washington state continues to see a rise in the number of fatalities and serious injuries among cyclists and pedestrians. According to the most recent data, a total of 535 pedestrians and cyclists were seriously injured across the state in 2018. The years leading up to 2018 also showed a steady increase in fatalities and injuries among these populations, and now pedestrians and cyclists make up a full 22 percent of all traffic deaths, compared to 18 percent four years ago. City and state officials are working hard to address root causes of these incidents, concentrating on designing safer roadways and crosswalks in areas across the state. The state has a goal to eliminate all pedestrian and bicyclist death and major injuries by 2030, but major shifts need to happen in order to achieve this goal.
Urban Areas Witness Spike in Pedestrian & Cycling Incidents
According to the report released by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in 2019, 61 percent of pedestrian and cycling fatalities and serious injuries happened in urban areas—typically on city streets. Urban centers tend to see more cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road with other vehicles, increasing the likelihood of crashes or other incidents. Individuals in their 20s were the most likely to suffer injuries when walking or cycling than any other age group. The majority of serious injuries or fatalities took place when a pedestrian was crossing the street on a road with a speed limit over 30 miles per hour, and where there were no stop signs or other traffic controls.
In response, Washington has committed to implementing Target Zero, a safety project that aims to eliminate pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries within the next ten years. Their top priority is to create smarter and safer infrastructure, such as separating pedestrians and cyclists from motorists as much as possible and integrating more frequent and effective traffic controls to reduce roadway conflicts. According to Barb Chamberlain, transportation director for WSDOT, “We need to start with designing a street or road that cues the driver to do the right thing—to slow down where they need to slow down, to be careful going around that corner because someone might be in that crosswalk.”
What to do if You Suffer an Injury
Even if you take every safety precaution while walking or biking, accidents do occur. As soon as you are injured, call for medical attention and contact the police to report the accident. You’ll want the responding officer to issue an incident report that details all the specifics of the crash. This document may prove useful in the future, should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver who was responsible for your injuries. Gather all relevant contact information from anyone involved in the incident or at the scene, including witnesses. Make sure you keep copies of your medical records so that, should you move forward with a lawsuit, you can show the nature and the extent of the injuries caused to you. Then, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process of pursuing and obtaining the compensation you are owed.