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Keeping Roads Safe For Everyone Using Them

High gas prices, expanding waistlines and a more environmentally conscious society have caused more people to ditch their cars and use alternative forms of transportation. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Secretary Ray LaHood, walking and biking trips have more than doubled in the last 20 years. However, those forms of travel make people more vulnerable to injury and death in accidents with automobiles.

Between 2000 and 2009, the number of people bicycling to work increased by 44 percent. Unfortunately, 51,000 bicyclists were reported injured, and 630 killed, in bicycle accidents with cars in 2009 alone. There is rightfully an increasing cause for concern over bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Just in time for National Bike Month in May 2011, several states enacted new legislation to improve road safety for cyclists and walkers. For example:

  • Georgia passed a law requiring drivers to leave three feet between their car and a bicycle when passing. Driving closer than that, called "buzzing," is a factor in many bicycle-automobile accidents.
  • Tennessee, which already has a three-foot passing law, made it a traffic offense to pass a bicycle without "due care" or not yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
  • Illinois will start tracking "dooring" accidents, in which motorists negligently open a parked-car door onto an on-coming bicyclist.
  • Delaware plans to create a statewide network of pedestrian and bicycle paths for a more "Walkable, Bikeable Delaware."

If implemented properly, these measures will surely increase safety for all cyclists and motorists. Road safety must be a joint effort between those on two wheels and those behind the wheel. However, despite everyone's best efforts, accidents happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your situation and your options.

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