AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pedestrian deaths are on the rise in Texas. In 2020, 731 people died walking or biking on Texas roadways — a 9% increase from 2019 — according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
TxDOT says 25% of fatalities in pedestrian and bicyclist-related crashes involved alcohol in 2020.
In Austin, 395 traffic crashes involved pedestrians, resulting in 64 fatalities and 87 serious injuries. There were 264 crashes involving bicyclists, which resulted in nine fatalities and 32 being seriously hurt, TxDOT says.
Safety officials attribute the growing numbers to people not paying attention to the law. This goes for drivers, walkers and riders not using crosswalks or obeying road signs.
State laws require stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, yielding the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists when turning, and passing bicyclists at a safe distance and giving them room to ride.
TxDOT is launching a new campaign to remind people of the law and prevent deadly crashes. The “Be Safe, Drive Smart” campaign uses TV, billboards, gas pumps, buses and social media to remind Texans to make smart decisions behind the wheel.
On Sunday, a person died after they were hit by a vehicle in Austin near Airport Boulevard.
Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways, TxDOT says.