The number of cyclists killed last year in 2018 went up by 10% according to estimate for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Pedestrian deaths rose 4%. The number of auto drivers and passengers killed in accidents went down for the third straight year, down 1% compared to 2017.

According to an article by Chris Woodyard in USA today on July 4, 2019 entitled “Cars gets safer, but not for people outside them”. The cyclist and pedestrian deaths percentages estimates a sharp reversal from decline the previous year, underscore a troubling trend! While cars have been getting safer for occupants, they remain potentially deadly for those outside the vehicle. It is much safer for people inside the car according to Bill Nesper, executive director for The League of American Bicyclists. Yet a steady stream of bicyclists and pedestrians are being killed.

Automakers backed by Government Safety regulators have filled cars with features such as airbags, front and side and advanced child restraints to protect passengers in crashes. However, improvements to protect walkers and bikers have moved more slowly.

A handful of automakers have started using pedestrian and bicycle detection as a part of their automatic braking systems but most haven’t. When the automakers do offer it, it is an extra cost option despite its potential to save lives. One boost for the spread of pedestrian and cyclist’s detections technology is that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will require automakers to have a high functioning pedestrian detection system as standard equipment on a model in order for it to earn the most coveted rating top safety pick starting in 2020. The insurance institute estimates automatic emergency braking will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries by 2025.

Volvo has improved the detection system. It was introduced for pedestrians in 2010 and for bicycles in 2013. The automakers moved the sensor from the grille, where it gets blinded by snow or rain to behind the windshield. Safety development continues on systems that would allow vehicles to electronically talk to each other in traffic including warnings about hazards ahead such as walkers or bikers.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian or cyclist, contact the law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or on the web at

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