As the Tennessee grows, tragic accidents between cars and people have dramatically risen. In fact, there have been one hundred and twenty pedestrians and bicyclists killed as of December 29, 2015. Six other pedestrians died in Nashville in November and December raising alarm among advocates and a new round of questions about why some people continue to be injured or killed on infamously dangerous streets, like Harding Place. Mary-Pat Teague, chairwoman of Metro’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee was surprised by the high numbers and stated that, “A couple of these recent fatalities, people were crossing the street mid-block, out of a crosswalk , always very dangerous but they were crossing because that’s where the bus stop was.”
Nashville’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee or BPAC and the on-profit Walk Bike Nashville, has been considering a move toward a “Vision Zero,” program that strives for zero fatalities. Teague stated that he program, as adopted in other cities, typically includes an education campaign about safe crossings, an analysis of speed limits in known danger areas, and engineering changes that try to anticipate driver errors. Mary-Pat Teague also went on to say that the “Police are doing everything they can to investigate and look at these issues, but they need help with policy changes, I believe.” Metro continues to examine crosswalks and police enforcement while the Tennessee Highway Patrol is also making pedestrian safety a priority in 2016. Lt. Bill Miller said he worries about distraction and not just for drivers. He asks, “Is there something that we can do to better educate the public as to the dangers that are involved with walking and being distracted at the same time?” Miller also went on to state that, “It’s an urgent challenge because 10 percent of roadway fatalities now involve people outside of vehicles. We are, unfortunately, being hit very hard with non-motorized and pedestrian fatalities. That is going to be one of our primary areas of focus in 2016.”
The overall rate of traffic fatalities has fallen in recent years to fewer than one thousand people in Tennessee dying in each of the past three years. Since 1982, when federal data are available, the deadliest year for Tennessee pedestrians and bicyclists was 1984, when one hundred and forty-five were killed. That came during a decade that averaged one hundred and twenty such deaths per year.
From a legal standpoint, I will also say that it has become tougher for cycling victims to prevail in court. It seems that people used to have an attitude that we most be extra careful to lookout for pedestrians and bicyclist. Now juries tend to want to blame the victims, especially bicyclists. They often feel that biker should be more careful and take responsibility. When questioning jurors about this position it seems to be product of crowded nature of shared roadways in major cities and experience they have had saying things like “the cyclist almost pulled out right in front of me”. Because of this attitude it is important to investigate these cases quickly. Gather photographs, cell phone records and talk to witnesses as soon as possible.
If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, then it is important that you contact one of our compassionate and experienced pedestrian and bicycle accident lawyers at the Higgins Firm. We understand how hard this must be for you and we will do everything we can to help make the process easier. We will answer any questions you may have. Then, our legal team will gather information about your case and then fight on your behalf to see to it that you get the compensation you are entitled to for what you or your family has been through.