Transportation

Study Looks At Houston Bike And Pedestrian Fatalities

Deadly bike and pedestrian accidents in Houston above average for big cities.

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Pedestrians in downtown Houston wait to cross Main Street at St. Joseph Parkway.

A new study shows that despite recent efforts, Houston still has a lot of work to to do to make the city safer for cyclists and walkers.

The study from the Alliance for Biking and Walking ranks Houston in the top half of cities when it comes to how much it spends on biking and walking projects, but the number of people killed in cycling and pedestrian accidents remains high.

The Alliance’s Jeffrey Miller says Houston has about 20 pedestrian fatalities for every 10,000 walking commuters. That’s over double the national average for big cities.

“So typically we’re seeing these high numbers in cities that have very wide and high-speed roads, so it makes it very difficult for a pedestrian, especially a pedestrian who might be moving slower because they’re elderly, they’re young.”

Following a rash of bike fatalities in recent months, Houston is taking the first steps toward developing a bike master plan. Mayor Annise Parker has also unveiled a “complete streets” policy that’s designed to make streets accessible to all users.

Miller says cities with high numbers of walkers and cyclists tend to have far fewer deadly accidents.

“It’s partially the fact that drivers are expecting to see bicyclists and pedestrians and so they start driving accordingly and in a much safer and more calm manner.”

The study shows about 2.2 percent of Houston residents walk to work, while less than one percent commute by bike.

Of the country’s 52 largest cities, Houston ranks 35th in the number of people who bike and walk to work.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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