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Bike and pedestrian accidents can be deadly

The dangers posed by motor vehicles are fairly obvious. We all understand the damage possible when two or more multi-thousand pound vehicles collide at highway speeds. We may naively think other modes of transportation are much safer and that the likelihood of an accident causing death or injury is much lower.

And it is. In 2012, there were 33,561 highway fatalities, but only 4,743 pedestrian fatalities and 726 bicycling deaths. However, "less likely" is not the same as impossible, and last week, a pedestrian accident severely injured a woman in New York City's Central Park. A few days later, she died due to those injuries she sustained after being struck by a bicyclist.

While a location like Central Park attracts much attention and media coverage, there are similar risks in places like Newton, where bicyclists may be lulled into thinking because the it is a small town, they don't have to be a vigilant as they would in a larger city.

Combine that with a pedestrian who is not expecting a bicyclist, and who may not see an approaching cyclist because of their narrow, low profile may be virtually invisible. The pedestrian may also have their attention focused on another distraction, like where they are going or their phone.

They step into the path of the cyclist and there is a terrible collision. Depending on a huge number of variables, such as their age, size, speed of the bike and surface they land on after the collision, they could both wind up with severe, life-threatening injuries.

No matter where you are, walking biking or driving, you need to stay focused on your surroundings, as it could mean the difference between a narrow escape and a lifetime in a motorized wheelchair. Or worse.

NBCnewyork.com, "Woman Hit by Bicyclist in Central Park Dies: Officials," September 22, 2014

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