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What are vulnerable road users, and why do so many die?

Vulnerable road users (VRUs) is a term used to cover pedestrians, wheelchair users, cyclists and those who ride motorcycles or scooters. Together, they represent the majority of people killed on the world’s roads at 54% of all traffic fatalities.

When you think about measures suggested or implemented to keep these people safe, they often target the VRUs themselves. For instance, laws that force cyclists and motorcyclists to wear helmets or recommendations that cyclists wear reflective or fluorescent clothing.

Less focus is given to what drivers and manufacturers of four-wheeled vehicles should be doing to prevent these deaths.

Drivers and vehicles kill most VRUs

While there are certainly a few pedestrians who have been knocked over and killed by a cyclist and numerous people on two wheels who have killed each other, most deaths of VRUs occur when a four-wheeled vehicle hits them. It’s the drivers and the vehicles they drive that pose the biggest threat to VRUs, not each other.

Technology to keep VRUs safer already exists

Vehicle manufacturers have come up with ways to improve safety for those outside the vehicle. It’s just that too many of the vehicles on the road do not carry it. There is much more focus by legislators, auto manufacturer’s marketing departments and consumers on preventing the death or injury of those inside the vehicle than on the RVUs it might hit.

If a driver injures you, you should understand they made choices that led to your injuries. If they had chosen to prioritize your safety when driving and choosing a vehicle vehicle, you might still be uninjured. While you cannot change the decisions they took, you can hold them responsible for compensation.