PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE DEATHS ROSE IN 2015

The number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed in Tennessee in 2015 rose to its highest rate in almost 20 years. According to Nashville Public Radio, last year 120 people were killed in bicycle and pedestrian accidents as of December 29, 2015. That number represents a sharp rise from the 93 deaths recorded in 2014.

Considering the fact that of all roadway deaths 10 percent of them now involve individuals who are not in vehicles, this issue is very important to many Tennessee residents and legislators. It is not just a problem in urban areas, as rural and country roads present a risk for people walking or riding bicycles as well.

One major factor that may have contributed to the increase in fatalities is distraction. This issue applies to both drivers and pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that pedestrians refrain from using electronic devices since both clear vision and good hearing are required to walk safely. The NHTSA also recommends that pedestrians use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible and wear bright or reflective clothing so that they remain visible to drivers.

There are also other precautions that drivers can take to limit bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. Anyone operating a vehicle should always remain aware of their surroundings, especially when driving in inclement weather. Speed limits should always be obeyed, but this is particularly important in busy areas and in school zones. Finally, drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians any time they are in reverse, as someone could easily slip into the car's path while it is backing up.

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