Pedestrians and cyclists are a major part of Washington traffic. In fact, self-propelled transportation is popular in Spokane and across the rest of the state. Experts estimate that somewhere between 25% to 30% of the population in Washington doesn’t drive.

There are a host of benefits associated with walking and cycling, ranging from reduced costs and a lower overall environmental impact to the physical benefits of getting daily exercise. Sadly, with all of the positive aspects of cycling and walking comes the very big negative, which is the risk of getting severely hurt if someone in a motor vehicle strikes you.

While driving has become safer in recent years, it is only safer for the people inside the vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists seem to be at ever-increasing risk on the Washington roads.

Fatal crashes have been on an upward trend for several years

The state of Washington tracks traffic deaths, including pedestrian and cyclist deaths. While there have been occasional annual dips in fatalities, both pedestrian and bicyclist death have generally been on the increase since 2010.

In 2016, the last year with analyzed data available from the state, there were 89 pedestrian deaths and 17 bicyclists who died in traffic. Although the state does not provide a detailed breakdown of the injuries suffered during that same period, the total figure for serious injuries also increased significantly.

Why are pedestrians and cyclists getting hurt so often?

There is no clear answer about why pedestrians and cyclists have to deal with increased risk on the road, but there are several cultural trends that made give at least a partial explanation.

The rise of Crossovers and SUVs have led to more people in larger vehicles. Big vehicles may give drivers a sense of security that makes them feel like they don’t have to constantly monitor the road around them. The rise of mobile technology in recent years has also contributed yet another source of serious distraction to those driving.

Regardless of what may have specifically caused the increase in risk, it is important for pedestrians and cyclists to remain vigilant and to inform themselves about their rights, including the right to seek compensation from someone who injures them on the road.