Pedestrians and Pedalcyclists
Vulnerable Road Users
Pedestrians and pedalcyclists — non-motorized pedal-powered cycles (e.g. bicycles, tricycles, unicycles) — are more likely to sustain fatal or severe injuries in crashes than occupants of motor vehicles. Virtually everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day. Recommendations for increasing safety include dressing in visible colors and reflective clothing and obeying all traffic laws. Pedestrians should always cross at crosswalks and look twice when crossing, and pedalcyclists should follow the rules of the road and always wear a properly fitted helmet. Motorists should drive to conditions and look for pedestrians and pedalcyclists, especially around schools, crosswalks, and where bike lanes are present.
Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in Texas and are a serious concern. TxDOT continues to work on enhancing safety for pedestrians by engineering safer crosswalks and road systems, educating pedestrians and the public, and increasing motorists’ awareness of pedestrians.
Pedalcyclist Fatalities Also Trending Upward
State law requires drivers to yield the right of way to bicyclists when turning, passing bicyclists at a safe distance, and giving them room to ride. Bicyclists are also required to obey all traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights and stop signs. By law, pedalcyclists must use hand signals when turning or stopping, ride with traffic, and use bike lanes or ride as near as possible to the right-hand curb. When riding at night, cyclists must also make sure their bikes are equipped with a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back.
Mapping Pedalcyclist and Pedestrian Fatalities
Pedalcyclist and pedestrian fatalities occur in all areas throughout the state but are more concentrated in urban areas. Find more in-depth data analysis by visiting the pedestrian and pedalcyclist Fatalities and Injuries dashboards on TxDOT.gov.
What TxDOT is Doing
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons
Pedestrian hybrid beacons (PHBs) are used at crosswalks that are not controlled by a traffic device such as a traffic signal. They are a pedestrian-activated warning device located on the roadside or on mast arms over mid-block pedestrian crossings. This device provides an additional tool for improving the safety of crosswalks when traffic signals do not meet warrants.
Safe Routes to School
In 2021, TxDOT’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program provided support to Texas schools to teach students how to walk and bike safely. This one-time program offered encouragement and inspiration to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. When students make walking and/or biking safely to school a part of their daily routine, traffic congestion is also reduced around schools.
The 2021 Safe Routes to School educational toolkits offered a wide range of resources for integrating pedestrian and pedalcycle safety into the classroom, schools as a whole, and the broader community. SRTS educational toolkits were distributed to 80% of Texas elementary and middle schools in August 2021 and included:
- A curriculum handbook with TEKS-aligned classroom activity sheets, safety tips, and detailed instructions for holding school-based events such as Bike Rodeos
- Campus banners, posters, and yard signs
- Bilingual educational handouts for students and their families
- Incentives and prizes such as wristbands, stickers, notepads, and reflective items to encourage students to walk or bike safely to school
The curriculum included fun, educational activities for the classroom and special events. Download the toolkit and watch Walking and Biking Safety Tips videos by visiting the Safe Routes to School program page.
Be Safe. Walk Smart.
Pedestrian deaths are continuing to rise in Texas and now account for nearly one in five of all traffic fatalities. Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users because they are not buffered by protective equipment such as airbags, seat belts, and bumpers. We all share a responsibility to follow the rules of the road to help bring the number of pedestrian fatalities to zero. Visit our Pedestrian Safety campaign page on TxDOT.gov.