Recent data shows that the use of e-scooters in Dallas, Texas since city approval of bike share companies have caused a $1.4 million hike in hospital costs since June of 2018. The study by Baylor Scott & White seems to blame the high injury rates on the lack of helmets used by riders of these rentable e-scooters.
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.
On the night of March 18, 2018, a 49-year-old woman named Elaine Herzberg was struck by one of Uber's autonomous cars in Tempe, Arizona. Elaine was walking her bicycle across the street when she was struck by the car and died as a result of this incident. This is believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with self-driving vehicles.
While most were celebrating Thanksgiving and enjoying the holidays, friends and loved ones of two local cyclists were mourning their deaths.
Hit-and-run crashes continue to plague our community. Local news organizations have recently reported two such incidents.
A recent study by Rice University's Kinder Institute found that intersections with stop lights are nine times more likely to have a fatal crash with pedestrians and bicyclists than those without stop lights. The study was prompted by the death of Rice University Professor Marjorie Corcoran who was hit and killed by a METRO light rail train near the Houston Medical Center in February. During the study, researchers examined records of all traffic crashes within the city of Houston from January 2010 to September 2016. Throughout this six-year period, there were 3,952 intersection-related automobile accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Of those accidents, 90 resulted in a fatality, 1,802 resulted in an injury, and 2,060 were no-injury crashes. From 2012 to 2015, researchers noted a 42 percent increase in intersection-related collisions in Houston.