AUSTIN – Crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists are on the rise in Texas according to new data released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The department launched their annual "Drive Friendly. Drive Safe" campaign Monday.
TxDOT says 5,000 pedestrians were hit last year resulting in nearly 3,000 serious injuries and 481 deaths. Officials say 2,000 bicyclists were also hit, seriously injuring 1,450 and killing 56. That represents a 13.2 percent increase in pedestrian deaths over 2011 and a 19.1 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities.
"When you drive friendly and drive safe, you're doing your part to help save lives," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "Being responsible behind the wheel is especially important in and around school zones, and other areas where vulnerable pedestrians and bicyclists interact with vehicles."
Nationwide one pedestrian is killed every 119 minutes. One was injured every eight minutes in 2012. In 2011, 677 bicyclists were killed and 48,000 were injured.
Drive Friendly. Drive Safe tips from TxDOT:
- Pay attention - put your phone down.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists on the highway and at intersections.
- When passing a bicyclist, move to another lane, if possible, and offer plenty of room.
- Watch for bicyclists who may need to maneuver around potholes and debris.
- Be on the lookout for - and yield to - pedestrians, especially when approaching crosswalks, intersections and buses.
- Watch for children who may dart across the street to catch a school bus.
- Regardless of which direction you're traveling, always stop for school buses with flashing red lights.