According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,092 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2009. This represented 12 percent of the nation's total traffic fatalities, yet was a numerical improvement from the 4,414 pedestrian deaths in 2008. Alabama fared slightly better than the national statistics with only 64 fatalities in 2009, or 7.5 percent of statewide pedestrian deaths.
A significant portion of these fatalities (630) came from cars, trucks and other vehicles striking cyclists as the rode alongside traffic or on seemingly safe sidewalks.
Unfortunately, this issue is far for problematic that the numbers suggest. For example, roughly 51,000 bicyclists were hurt or seriously injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009, many of which were lucky to survive. As a result, Alabama local authorities recently initiated a "Share the Road" campaign to increase awareness of pedestrians and cyclists.
Huntsville's Recent Cyclist Collisions
The Huntsville Times reports that 19 bicycle accidents occurred in Huntsville, Alabama in 2011, an improvement over recent years.
Officials give partial credit for this improvement to raised awareness of bicycle safety, better safe riding habits, as well as improved communication between motorists and cyclists. In fact, a local police officer told The Huntsville Times that cyclists have been more willing to pull over to let vehicles pass and to use extra caution at dangerous areas such as crosswalks.
More Improvement Ahead
Despite the marked improvements, it is almost impossible to completely erase pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Alabama. Wet roads, poor lighting and distracted driving will continue to make riding alongside traffic a risk for cyclists, especially as smartphones and other electronic devices increasingly divert people's attention from the road.
It is everyone's responsibility to create a safe roadway environment, but motorists must be particularly vigilant and exercise due care while in control of such powerful machines.
A pedestrian or cyclist injured in an accident may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and legal options.