EVERY TEXAS TRAFFIC DEATH STEALS A FAMILY AND A COMMUNITY
AUSTIN – At just 14, Alexei Bauereis was shot and killed as he rode his bicycle across a pedestrian crossing in Austin, cutting short his young life and his promising ballet career.
“He was on the verge of that stage where you find out how you compare to the pros,” said Alexei’s father Eric Bauereis.
Alexei is just one of many tragic deaths on the Texas roads each year. Everyone takes someone special from their family, friends and community. This spring, as warm weather brings out pedestrians and cyclists, TxDOT and the Bauereis family are reminding drivers why it’s important to follow traffic safety laws, including stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks.
“We have a shared responsibility to every member of our community — to every family and every individual — to help reverse these trends and reduce road traffic injuries in Texas,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “We ask all Texans to look out for each other whether you are behind the wheel, on foot or on a bicycle. Complying with road safety laws is a fundamental first step.”
In 2021, 935 people died in traffic accidents related to pedestrians and cyclists in Texas, accounting for one in five of the 4,496 deaths on state highways. In the five-year period 2017-2021, the victims of pedestrians following road accidents increased by 34% and those of cyclists increased by 58%.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive smart.” The campaign urges all Texans to know and follow the laws for driving, walking and cycling safely. This includes the Lisa Torry Smith Act, which went into effect in 2021. Named after a Texas mom who was struck and killed on a crosswalk while walking her six-year-old son to school, the law requires drivers to stop and give the right of way to people on pedestrian crossings. Motorists who fail to stop and give way and cause serious injury to someone on a crosswalk can face criminal penalties.
Texas law states that if you are driving:
• Stopping and subsidence for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users on pedestrian crossings.
• When turning, give way to pedestrians and cyclists.
• Pass bicycles at a safe distance and give cyclists room to pedal.
If you are walking:
• Only cross the road at crossroads and pedestrian crossings.
• Obey all road signs and signals, including at pedestrian crossings.
• Use sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
If you ride a bike:
• Always stop at red lights and stop signs.
• Ride in the same direction as traffic and use bike lanes or ride as close to the right side curb as possible.
• Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
• At night, make sure your bike has a white light in front and a red light or reflector in the back.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive smart.” The pedestrian and cyclist safety campaign and initiative are key components of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort encouraging drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. November 7, 2000 was the last day without deaths on Texas roads.