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Traveling by foot or bicycle in Texas? Read these safety tips

You might be one of many Texas residents whose 2019 life goals include getting more outdoor exercise. To accomplish this, perhaps you've been traveling as a pedestrian more often or riding your bicycle as often as you can. The good news is that it doesn't take long to notice improvement in your health and physique when you become more active and get lots of fresh air. The bad news is that you are at risk for injury whenever you travel on foot or by bicycle. 

Knowing how to reduce the risk for injury as a pedestrian is critical to helping you arrive safely to your destination. In a perfect world, every motorist would adhere to traffic regulations and drive with the utmost caution and alertness behind the wheel. In reality, there are a lot of negligent and reckless drivers on the road and if one crosses your path while you are walking or riding your bike, you may suffer serious injuries. 

Visibility is a key safety factor

Not only is it important for you to be able to see where you're going when you travel on foot or by bicycle, it is equally important that nearby motorists can see you, as well. The following list includes tips for how to make yourself as visible as possible to motor vehicle operators when you are a pedestrian: 

  • Flashlights are handy tools that can help you avoid tripping in the dark, but can also cast a ray of light that allows passing motorists to spot you more easily. 
  • What you wear may save your life. Brightly colored clothing with reflective material is always the best choice if you are walking where there might be motor vehicle traffic. 
  • You may think you're less at risk if you're standing still. However, it is important to make sure you are standing in clear view, not behind a bush or too close to a parked car, which could make it difficult for passing motorists to see you. 

Just because you can see a car does not necessarily mean the driver of that car sees you. If you're riding a bike on the road in traffic, try to avoid getting caught in a driver's blind spots. It's also a good idea, whether riding a bicycle or walking, to try to make eye contact with a driver who is approaching as you are preparing to cross a road. 

What not to do

You can reasonably expect that motor vehicle operators will avoid reckless behaviors that place themselves and anyone nearby at risk for injury. The following list shows behaviors you'll want to avoid if your goal is to improve safety as a pedestrian or bicyclist:

  • Stepping out or pedaling into a road without waiting for a crosswalk light to signal your right of way greatly increases the likelihood that a collision might occur.
  • Riding or walking while intoxicated is just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel of a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Hand-held electronic devices, earplugs or headphones are best used before or after you have safely arrived at your destination. If you use these devices while traveling on foot or by bike, you greatly increase your risk for injury. 

If a Texas motorist hits you while you're walking or traveling by bicycle, there's a good chance you'll be admitted to a hospital with severe injuries. Surviving a pedestrian accident can have lasting, traumatic effects. In fact, the emotional trauma associated with such incidents is often so severe that victims may list it as a compensable damage when filing a personal injury claim.

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