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Why are bike and pedestrian deaths up when the rest are down?

Did you know that even though total traffic fatalities in the United States declined by 18 percent from 2006 to 2015, pedestrians fatalities and bicyclist fatalities both increased during the same time? That's a jarring statistic that makes it clear that while much is being done to improve road safety overall, it is almost entirely focused on the safety of drivers and passengers in cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles.

Pedestrian deaths increased from 4,795 in 2006 to 5,376 in 2015. That's a 12 percent increase. When you look at the injury numbers, they aren't any better. In 2006, about 61,000 pedestrians were injured, while in 2015 about 70,000 pedestrians were injured. That marks a nearly 15 percent increase in pedestrian injuries.

Bicyclists didn't fare much better. In 2006, there were 772 bicyclists that died, and in 2015 that number jumped up to 818, marking a 6 percent increase. Bicyclist injuries only moderately increased during this time, with about 44,000 being injured in 2006 and about 45,000 being injured in 2015.

We can glean a couple of lessons here. The first is that not enough is being done to protect pedestrians and bicyclists out on the road. These are inherently vulnerable groups of people out there, and officials and advocates simply aren't doing enough for them right now during a time of declining overall traffic fatalities.

The other lesson here is that for the pedestrians and bicyclists who are injured in an accident, they must put their rights and interests first. To protect yourself, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Source: pedbikeinfo,org, "Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics," Accessed Jan. 4, 2017

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