Pedestrian and bike collisions are a policy failure

An 8 year old in Texas was struck and killed this week and police blamed the kid for “riding in an area that isn’t safe for pedestrians or people riding bikes”

Katelyn Burns

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Google street view of the stretch of road where the child was struck

According to a KHOU report, an 8 year old child was riding his bike near his home in the Houston area when he was struck and killed by a driver. The media report said that police claimed the boy was riding in an area not safe for bicycling or pedestrians.

This detail jumped out to me when I first read initial reports on Twitter this week, so I decided to take a closer look at what happened here. You can see in the title image above and the following image below that the crash happened in a pretty standard residential neighborhood. The street is not a major thoroughfare and expensive looking newish construction line both sides of the street.

Google map view of the neighborhood where the crash took place

This neighborhood is, by all outward appearances, to be the American dream. The street is wide enough for two way traffic going either way, as well as street parking. There’s a wide median between home and street and a standard sidewalk lines both sides of the street.

The length of road where the crash took place is relatively short, and it’s puzzling that a driver would have been able to build up a lethal amount of speed before striking the child.

But a closer look at the layout of the street and neighborhood gives us clues as to how the crash happened. There are no bike lanes in this particular neighborhood, though there appears to have been room to build them if the developer so chose or the city required it.

The next development lot over features a wide network of bike lanes as seen below.

Google map overview of the crash site and the neighborhood next door. Bike routes outlined in green.

There’s no reason why this street couldn’t have been designed for children to safely bike on them. There could have been raised crosswalks at intersections to slow…

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Katelyn Burns

Political journalist. The first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in US history. Writing about more than just trans issues. Follow her on Twitter @transscribe