Mar 13, 2024 - News

Report shows areas where kids get hit by cars

Illustration of a stop sign with a memorial wreath.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A new report shows 21 children were hit by cars and killed while traveling on foot or by bike in a five-year span in Houston.

What they found: Baker Institute researchers analyzed state crash data to find how many children were injured or killed on Houston streets from 2018-2023 while participating in active transportation like walking, biking or other non-car transportation.

  • There were 629 such incidents in that time frame, according to the study.
  • 159 children suffered serious injuries.

Of note: There were 640 fatal crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists overall in that time frame.

Zoom in: Houston's four worst hot spots are located in three of its most underserved neighborhoods.

  • That includes Beechnut Street near Wilcrest Drive in Alief, Glenmont Drive from Renwick Drive to Royalton Street in Gulfton, the Sunnyside Square Mile in the heart of the Sunnyside neighborhood, and Hillcroft Avenue in Gulfton.

The intrigue: The study chiefly recommends that the city enhance its high-injury network map to include data on children so policymakers can easily see where the problems are worst.

  • The researchers also suggest building out sidewalks, crosswalks and shared-use paths across the city.
  • "Most young people's active transportation is on foot or via bicycle," authors Zoabe Hafeez and Shruti Natarajan wrote. "This means that widening sidewalks into shared-use pathways, minimizing unsignalized conflict points, and creating pedestrian friendly intersections can have outsized benefits."

They also say the city should work on changing drivers' and children's behaviors to help reduce collisions.

  • That would include enhanced law enforcement and educating kids on safe biking and pedestrian practices.

The study pointed to improvements along Hillcroft Avenue in 2022 that added bike lanes and wider sidewalks as ways to improve pedestrian safety.

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