Drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists across Kansas need to stay alert and share the road with increased use of multi-transportation modes. The responsibility to follow the rules of the road and safety practices applies to all and is especially prevalent this summer.
Summer spikes pedestrian and bicycle traffic, both for recreation and as a primary mode of transportation. Rising gas prices have also resulted in an increase in bicycle purchases and other non-motorized alternative transportation, especially in Kansas’ urban cities.
Preliminary data from the Kansas Department of Transportation indicates four bicycle and 46 pedestrian fatalities, or about 10.8% of the total fatalities in 2021. The National Safety Council reports an increase in preventable cyclist deaths of 16% in 2020 and a 44% increase in the past 10 years.
A cyclist or pedestrian is more likely to sustain serious injury or death because of a crash with a vehicle. A vehicle’s speed at the time of impact plays a big role in survivability. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recently reported a partial increase in pedestrian fatality is due to the increase of SUVs and speeding high impact vehicles involved in a crash.
“Crashes are preventable, and KDOT is always focused on reducing fatalities,” said Chris Herrick, KDOT Division of Planning and Development Director. “As an avid bicycle rider, I know it’s everyone’s responsibility to share the road, stay alert and avoid distractions.”
Help reduce crashes and follow these safety tips –
- Wear a helmet and bright or reflective clothing
- Follow the rules of the road and bike with traffic flow
- All states require bicyclists on the roadway to follow same rules as motorists
- Signal your moves
- Look for hazards, such as cars pulling out and pedestrians
- Look for pedestrians everywhere, especially at crosswalks
- Never pass cars at a crosswalk, they may be stopped for pedestrians
- Slow down, be prepared to stop
- Pass bicyclists with at least 3 feet of space
- Walk on sidewalk or designated pedestrian path
- Be visible and predictable, crossing streets in well-lit areas
- Stay alert and avoid distractions such as your phone
- Don’t assume drivers and bicyclists see you
For more information on bicycle-pedestrian safety, state bicycle route maps and bicycle statutes, visit https://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burRail/bike/default.asp