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Texas Approves $345 Million for Pedestrian and Bike Safety

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved more than $345 million for various transportation improvements across the state. These improvements will cover different areas, including bikeways, sidewalks, and other infrastructure projects and improvements. The commission, alongside the Texas Department of Transportation, says the funds will help improve safety for all road users and enhance the quality of life for Texas residents.

What Necessitated the Funding?

The Texas Department of Transportation says that the main reason for the funding and the need to complete the different pedestrian and bicycle projects in Houston, Texas (and other areas including Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas) is the rising number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities across the state.

The department notes that pedestrian and bicycle fatalities rose by over 30% over five years from 2018 to 2023. Even though those injured could seek the services of a pedestrian injury lawyer Texas to get the compensation and justice they deserve, any injuries and fatalities resulting from these accidents still significantly and permanently impact victims and their families.

Of particular concern to the department is the number of victims in 2020 where 92 bicyclists and 830 pedestrians were killed. Alvin New, the Texas Transportation Commissioner, said that about 20% of deaths on Texas roadways involve people who bike or walk. He further noted that the funding and completion of different projects across the state will help the state move towards its goal of zero deaths on its roadways.

Robert Vaughn, another person affiliated with the Texas Transportation Commission, noted that the investment in Texas communities would support health, wellness, and active lifestyles and provide alternative transport options other than vehicles.

Project Breakdown

The Texas Department of Transportation says the $345 million initiative will focus on 83 projects meant to improve the safety of people using wheelchairs, walking, or biking. 24 of these projects will be in areas that have historically had a high rate of pedestrian accidents and fatalities.

The department seeks to distribute the funds through public transit providers, city governments, and other local entities.

In the Austin area, the department has allocated $5 million to improve sidewalks and $11.29 million to improve its Metro Bike program. The pedestrian and bicycle projects in Houston, Texas that will benefit from the funding include sidewalks and bike paths, which will receive $52 million.

The Dallas area will receive $10.97 million to improve shared-use paths on the Denton Pecan Creek Tail. The Silver Lane Regional Rail will receive $25 million for pedestrian and bicycle paths, and the Five Mile Creek Trail will receive $6.66 million.

Lastly, the San Antonio area will receive over $33 million for bike lanes and sidelines at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Market Street, and Loop 368.

The Alarming Rise in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents in Texas

The rise of pedestrian and bicycle deaths is alarming enough to cause the Texas Department of Transportation and the National Highway Safety Authority to notice. These accidents are so severe because they cause serious injuries and fatalities in some cases due to their vulnerability. Pedestrians and cyclists do not have the same protection as drivers or passenger vehicles, with the lack of a physical barrier meaning they take most or all of the impact.

In many cases, pedestrians and cyclists are not to blame, which means they can sue for compensation when injured in such accidents. They can do so by contacting a pedestrian injury attorney Texas who will file a lawsuit on their behalf. The best pedestrian accident lawyer can also negotiate settlements with insurance companies and other parties on their behalf to ensure they are adequately compensated for their injuries and damages.

These injuries can be non-fatal and include cuts and bruises, but it is more common for victims to sustain head trauma, broken bones, spinal injuries, and internal injuries. In such cases, a pedestrian hit by car lawyer can listen to their case, find out who is liable, and sue on their behalf.

In the worst cases, these accidents result in fatalities. In such cases, the family can talk to a pedestrian accident law firm to file for wrongful death.

While cyclists are protected by their helmets, these protective devices might not be sufficient in collisions with heavy or fast-moving vehicles. The injury profiles remain the same, and they can also sue for compensation for their injuries and damages.

Why Contact an Attorney After a Pedestrian or Cyclist Accident

There are several reasons why hiring an attorney is crucial in the case of these types of accidents. The most important of these is assessing and proving fault. Determining liability in pedestrian and cyclist accidents is often difficult and requires an in-depth understanding of local laws. You must also be able to interpret accident reports and it is always better to let an experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyer handle that for you.

The second is dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies protect themselves by trying to minimize their clients’ liability and thus offer as little compensation or settlement as possible. They may say anything to blame the victim and, if that fails, provide a low-ball settlement offer. The latter is common for victims with severe injuries and thus large hospital bills they need to pay urgently.

The third is identifying all potential damages. Most people consider pedestrian and bicycle accident damages to only be the medical bills they need to pay. However, these damages can include psychological trauma, loss of income or earnings, loss of property, and other damages and losses. A competent pedestrian car accident lawyer can help you identify all potential damages to ensure you are paid everything you deserve.

Lastly, they can represent you in court. If the insurance company or liable party does not provide enough compensation when discussing a settlement, the victim has every right to refuse it. If these talks break down, their attorney can continue with the lawsuit and bring the case in front of the court. They can then put together all gathered evidence, collect witness statements, and provide a vigorous representation in court.

The Texas Department of Transportation has invested heavily in making its transportation network safer to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries. Even though the state aims to reach zero accidents, injuries, and deaths soon, accidents still happen. Victims can seek compensation with the help of our attorneys at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys. We can discuss your case and then represent you to ensure a fair and just settlement for your injuries and damages.