Excerpt from 6 part series – Houston Chronicle Out of Control Part 4 -Walking, cycling in Houston region can be risky by St. John Barned-Smith and Dug Begley
In the past 16 years, Houston-area drivers have mowed down nearly 2,000 pedestrians and cyclists. That’s more than 100 deaths a year, with the number increasing in the past three years to more than 150 fatalities annually and an average of more than 350 serious injuries.
That death toll makes the Houston region one of the deadliest major metro areas in the country for people walking, biking or using a wheelchair along area streets, a Houston Chronicle review of federal data shows. The nine-county region ranks fourth per-capita for bicyclists killed in roadway crashes and fifth for pedestrians — even though a small percentage of people here walk or bike as a way to get around.
The reasons for Houston’s high injury count are as varied as the types of people being struck: Lack of adequate space for pedestrians and bicyclists; impassable sidewalks that stymie wheelchair users; long distances between safe crossings that compel people to dash across freeway lanes; a lack of lighting along many roads.