The temperate climate in the Seattle area makes it feasible for people to walk and bike most of the year comfortably. However, many people only engage in such outdoor exercise pursuits in the late spring, summer and early fall.
Therefore, there is generally a noticeable increase in the number of bikes and joggers on the roads around Washington during the warmer months. Those out for a ride or a run may keep themselves safer if they understand how dangerous these scenarios sometimes prove to be.
Pedestrian and biking crashes are on the rise
Seattle-area and Washington state authorities have noted a large number of concerning pedestrian and cycling crashes in recent years. Last year saw the state hit a 20-year high for the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths. This aligns with federal crash data, which shows an overall increase in fatal collisions, including more pedestrian and cyclist deaths. Although cyclists and pedestrians are involved in fewer than one in thirty of all reported crashes in the state, they account for 26% of the traffic deaths.
What causes these crashes?
Every crash has unique contributing factors, but there are some issues that remain consistent in a large number of the pedestrian and cycling crashes that occur each year. Motorists failing to watch for pedestrians and those on bicycles is one issue. Distraction, which is a major collision concern, only exacerbates the issue.
Quite a few pedestrian and cyclist collisions involve alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, drunk drivers cause these crashes. Other times, people try to walk home or bike back to their place after having too much to drink and could make traffic mistakes that lead to a collision. A large number of the worst collisions involving cyclists or pedestrians occur between when the sun sets and then rises again in the morning.
Cycles and pedestrians can protect themselves by following traffic laws, prioritizing their visibility and even traveling on lower-speed roads where collisions may potentially be less severe. Those hit while out for a walk or a bike ride often need to pursue insurance claims or even lawsuits against the drivers who cause their crashes. Compensation claims are often necessary because pedestrians and cyclists can suffer severe injuries in such collisions that lead to both lost income and medical expenses.
Avoiding a pedestrian or cyclist crash is ideal, but Washington residents should also know what steps to take in case they ever end up hurt in traffic.