Last month, a 50-year-old man was struck by a vehicle off Burnet Road in North Austin in a pedestrian accident. He was moved to the hospital to treat serious injuries. However, police said the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
That same night, two pedestrians were struck in a hit-and-run accident. One of the pedestrians, a 20-year-old, sustained life-threatening injuries and needed multiple surgeries as a result. Police did not find the hit-and-run driver.
Just four days prior to both of these accidents, a 30-year-old man was attempting to cross IH-35 on a stretch of roadway that was not particularly well-lit. He was suddenly hit and knocked into the highway lanes near the Riverside Drive exit. Although the man was hit by multiple cars traveling in the northbound lanes, not one car stopped. When emergence response teams were finally able to reach him, the man was pronounced dead.
More Pedestrians are Being Killed in Pedestrian-Vehicle Accidents
In a previous blog, we mentioned there were 30 reported pedestrian accidents in Austin last year. According to an article from the Austin American-Statesman, almost a third of these accidents were hit-and-run accidents. Austin Police Department’s highway enforcement say this could be due to pedestrians failing to yield to cars, suicides or pedestrians being impaired by alcohol.
However, we’d like to think the majority of pedestrian accidents may be caused by reckless drivers, drunk drivers or distracted drivers. And while the city is doing what it can to reduce the amount of pedestrian accidents, such as passing the “Don’t Block the Box” law, the hands-free ordinance and moving forward with the Vision Zero initiative, it is not enough.
The City Needs to Do More to Protect Pedestrians
More people are moving to Austin each year and the city has grown. More people are opting to ride their bikes or walk, rather than face traffic. That said, the city needs to install more sidewalks, crosswalks and reduce speeds in high-volume pedestrian areas. There also needs to be a safer way for pedestrians to cross major highways and intersections, where drivers typically are not expecting pedestrians to cross.