EL PASO, Texas -- The Texas Department of Transportation is taking its safety campaign for pedestrians and bicyclists to different cities around the state.
The campaign's goal is to remind everyone to know and follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other. Laws apply to everyone driving, walking or riding a bike.
Many of the life-saving laws the campaign highlights include those outlined in the Lisa Torry Smith Act, named after a Texas mom who was killed after being hit in a crosswalk while walking her six-year-old son to school.
The law went into effect in 2021 and requires motorists to stop and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Those who fail to stop and yield at crosswalks and cause serious injury can face criminal penalties.
Fatalities from traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists continue to rise in the state. Last year in El Paso, there were 158 traffic crashes involving pedestrians. 15 were fatalities and 37 resulted in serious injuries, according to TxDOT.
“Year after year, we’re seeing fatalities from traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists climb,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams.
That's why TxDOT will deploy highly visible "walking billboards" in high traffic areas carrying messages to remind everyone of the laws to follow to safely share the road.
Some of the laws and rules that TxDOT wants you to follow are the following:
Texas law states if you’re driving:
- Stop and yield for pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users in crosswalks.
- When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Pass bikes at a safe distance and give bicyclists room to ride.
If you’re walking:
- Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
- Obey all traffic and crosswalk signals.
- Use sidewalks. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
If you’re riding a bike:
- Always stop at red lights and stop signs.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic and use bike lanes or ride as near as possible to the right-hand curb.
- Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
- At night, make sure your bike has a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back.