As reported by the Houston Chronicle earlier this year, Houston has the deadliest roads and drivers of any major metropolitan area in America. It is no secret that Houston's streets are particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Hit-and-run accidents involving pedestrians are significantly more common in Houston than the national average, and we have reported a number of hit-and-run fatalities involving pedestrians in these pages.
According to a recent study, bicycle helmets that are not equipped with the latest anti-concussion technology are more than twice as likely to result in injuries to cyclists involved in accidents. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) spent months studying the manner in which cyclists are most likely to strike their heads in a crash and then developed a dozen test scenarios for simulating head injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires helmets to pass a series of tests before they can be sold in the United States. However, researchers identified a number of shortcomings in CPSC testing. For example, although one CPSC test measures a helmet's ability to prevent head impact acceleration forces associated with skull fractures and severe brain injuries, it does not test lower-level forces associated with concussions, which are more common among cyclists. In addition, the current CPSC tests do not evaluate impacts to the helmet rim, despite the fact that several studies have shown that a larger number of head impacts occur at the side or front of helmets along the rim. Finally, although researchers found that a cyclist's head is more likely to strike the pavement at an angle during a crash, CPSC drop tests require helmets to be dropped perpendicular to the impact surface. As part of the study, researchers developed a test protocol to address these shortcomings.
On the night of January 23, 2017, Thomas "Tommy" Ketterhagen was reported missing by his family in Georgetown, Texas. He was last seen cycling on the shoulder of the road along the 2300 block of Patriot Way. After searching for him all night, his mother found his body and parts of his bicycle in the grass on the side of the road the next morning.
Uber's fully autonomous car program has suffered a serious setback after one of its vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. This is the first time an autonomous vehicle operating in self-driving mode has caused a fatality. The self-driving Uber struck a woman crossing a street in Tempe.
In a jury trial in a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that the bus manufactured by Motor Coach Industries caused the death of Kayvan Khiabani, a Las Vegas surgeon who was riding his bicycle alongside a tour bus manufactured by Motor Coach Industries. On March 23, 2018, a Nevada jury awarded $18.7 million to the teenage children of Dr. Khiabani, decedent, alleging that the lack of proximity sensors, faulty design, and failure to provide adequate warnings about the dangers of riding near the tour bus caused Mr. Khiabani's death.
In 2016, there were 3,400 fatal crashes on Texas highways and 175,000 injury accidents.
Another bicyclist has been hit by a car. And, again, a driver causing a wreck has fled. This time, however, the injured bicyclist has survived, and the suspected driver has been caught.
Everyone knows insurance is available for purchase to cover a car on car collision; it is a state law requirement. So what coverage is available for a bicyclist? Comprehensive bicycle insurance is not sold in the United States unlike some European countries. What happens when a person on a bicycle is injured, or hit by a car? For a car on bicyclist collision the driver's liability insurance can cover the bicyclist's injuries. However, what if the driver's insurance is not enough or the driver doesn't have any insurance? A bicyclist can use their Underinsured/Uninsured motorist coverage.
As part of the increased efforts by Mayor Parker to make Houston a more bicycle-friendly city, the city recently completed the conversion of one lane of Lamar Street downtown to a two-way cycling route. This route connects the Buffalo Bayou trails west of downtown to Discovery Green. The lane stands out with its bright green paint and speed bumps separating it from the car-friendly lanes.
Houston has received significant media recognition over the past year as the new it city. Professionals young and old have flocked here. Construction companies have been unable to keep up with the demand. But what has been most pronounced has been the focus on Houston as a livable city. Publications highlighted Houston's restaurant and art scene and its relative affordability. To the extent that the articles highlighted any negative aspects to Houston it's been transportation-Houston is a commuter city built around the automobiles with a traffic problem. And while true to an extent, the future looks much more diverse.