Drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists throughout Kansas need to stay alert and share the road with increased use of multiple modes of transportation. The responsibility to follow the rules of the road and safety practices applies to everyone and is especially prevalent this summer.
Pedestrian and bicycle traffic rises in the summer, both for recreation and as an essential means of transportation. Higher gas prices have also increased purchases of bicycles and other alternative, non-motorized transportation, particularly in urban Kansas.
Preliminary data from KDOT indicates four bike and 46 pedestrian deaths, or about 10.8% of all deaths in 2021. The National Safety Council reported a 16% increase in preventable cyclist deaths in 2020 and a 44% increase in the past ten years.
A cyclist or pedestrian is likely to suffer serious injury or death from a vehicle collision. The speed of the car at the time of impact plays a big role in its survival. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently reported that a partial increase in pedestrian deaths is due to an increase in SUVs and the speed of high-impact vehicles involved in an accident.
“Failures are preventable, and KDOT has always focused on reducing fatalities,” said Chris Herrick, Director of Planning and Development at KDOT. “As an avid bike rider, I know it’s everyone’s responsibility to share the road, stay alert and avoid distractions.”
Help reduce accidents and follow these safety guidelines:
• Wear a helmet and reflective or flashy clothing
• Follow the rules of the road and bike with the flow of traffic
• All states require cyclists on the road to follow the same rules as motorists
• Indicate your movements
• Look for hazards, such as towing cars and pedestrians
• Look for pedestrians everywhere, especially at crosswalks
• Do not overtake cars at the pedestrian crossing, they may be stopped for pedestrians
• Slow down, prepare to stop
• Pass cyclists at least 3 feet away
• Walking on the sidewalk or designated pedestrian path
• Be visible and predictable, crossing streets in well-lit areas
• Stay alert and avoid distractions like your phone
• Don’t assume drivers and cyclists can see you
For more information on pedestrian safety, state bike route maps, and bicycle laws, visit https://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burRail/bike/default.asp