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Why are pedestrians at greater risk of death near buses?

A lot of people rely on buses for transportation, but being on foot around a bus stop is inherently dangerous. While statistics indicate that the majority of pedestrian accidents involve a car or pick-up truck, the risk of a pedestrian being killed goes up dramatically when a bus is involved.

Compared to cars, buses are 11.85 times more likely to kill children aged 14 and under. They are 16.70 times more likely to kill those over the age of 85. Additionally, it's important to note that pedestrians in urban areas are 1.57 times more likely to die than those in rural areas.

What makes being on foot near a bus so dangerous? A glimpse into the safety guidelines issued by the Federal Highway Administration and some significant legal rulings that have resulted from pedestrian accidents gives some insight into a few of the problems:

Bus stops may be poorly planned or outright dangerously located. Transit agencies should give significant consideration to the placement of a bus stop to make sure that it's safe for pedestrians to just make it back and forth from the stop to the bus.

If a bus stop requires pedestrians to cross a busy intersection either to get on or off the bus, that could put people at unnecessary risk, especially children who might not be able to evaluate when it is safe to cross or elderly people who can't cross quickly enough. Not only are they at risk from cars, the bus itself may end up rolling forward on a pedestrian who is rushing to cross the road before the traffic signal changes or running late.

Bus drivers need to remember that passengers are still passengers under the law even when not on the vehicle or on property owned by the bus company or transit authority. It's the bus driver's responsibility to see that people transferring from one bus to another or transferring from the bus to a bus stop or sidewalk get there safely.

Moving the bus forward too quickly, for example, could cause the bus itself to hit a pedestrian that's in the vehicle's blind spot. Simply watching to make certain that each passenger is safely off the road could reduce the chance of accidents and death.

If you've been injured by a bus, consider contacting an attorney for help with compensation for medical care and other costs.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, "Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies," accessed Feb. 16, 2017

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Brian Jensen

Representation in the Houston Area with 3 Convenient Locations:

Bellaire Office
Frost Bank Building, 6750 West Loop South, Suite 800
Bellaire, TX 77401

Toll Free: 877-297-7414
Phone: 832-460-3366
Fax: 713-665-6818
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440 Louisiana Street
Suite 2080
Houston, TX 77002

Toll Free: 877-297-7414
Phone: 832-460-3366
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14439 Twisted Oak Lane
Houston, TX 77079

Toll Free: 877-297-7414
Phone: 832-460-3366
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