Road safety is a primary focus throughout Virginia and this is especially important for bicyclists and pedestrians. The risk to riders and walkers has become so concerning that September is dedicated specifically to their safety with a targeted campaign, “Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Month.” There has been an uptick in fatalities involving bicyclists and pedestrians and everyone should know about it when they head out.
Virginia DMV statistics show risks pedestrians and bicyclists face
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were nearly 1,400 accidents in which pedestrians were involved. Of those, 125 lost their lives. For bicyclists, there were 544 accidents. Sixteen lost their lives. There was an increase across the board except for the number of auto-bicyclist accidents, which were nearly identical. There were twice as many bicyclist deaths. Pedestrian deaths increased by almost 10%.
The Virginia Farm Bureau issued a news release discussing the month-long campaign for safety and laments the spike in accidents. A manager for the entity says that there was a parallel to the rise in crashes and other trends. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, there was a 63% increase in pedestrian fatalities in the commonwealth.
Laws are in place directed toward pedestrian and bicyclist safety. That includes drivers being obligated to stay three feet away from them when driving. Riders and pedestrians must also follow certain rules such as riders going in the same direction as traffic and pedestrians walking facing traffic. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections and limit their speed to a maximum of 35 mph.
Pedestrian and bicyclist vulnerability leads to serious injury and death
Since they have no protection, any accident between an automobile and a pedestrian or bicyclist can cause catastrophic injuries and death. When faced with personal injury or losing a loved one in this type of collision, it is imperative to know what can happen in the aftermath. Medical expenses can be extremely costly, there may be lost income and family members could be tasked with caring for a loved one with severe limitations. If there is a fatality, every challenge is made worse. Knowing what options are available is key and calling for experienced guidance should be a priority.