As the autumn season moves along and winter is just around the corner, the temperatures drop and the number of daylight hours that people in Wisconsin enjoy reducing. Many people find themselves going to work in the dark and leaving the office again in the dark. For people who have made the choice to ride their bike to work or use public transportation and walk a short distance to the office from their stop or station, this can increase their risk of being hit by a car when there is limited light on the streets.
These realities are actually faced by people in all states. New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the number of pedestrians and bicyclists dying on American roads is on the rise. Even more interesting is that the great majority of these deaths happen during the dark hours. In the winter, dark does not have to mean the middle of the night as it can be completely dark by 5:30 p.m., a common time for people to be leaving the office on their way home from work.
The Verge reported that pedestrian deaths jumped by almost 3.5% between 2017 and 2018. In that same time period, deaths among bicyclists increased by more than six percent.
Many new vehicles today come equipped with systems to detect pedestrians or bicyclists and even to automatically brake before hitting them. However, studies conducted by AAA found that these systems work all but useless in the dark and only moderately effective in the daylight hours.