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Eight years ago, Kate Parker suffered serious injuries after a careless driver threw her nearly 60 feet from a crosswalk. Parker was with her Great Dane, Riley. This spring, Parker joined the Texas Department of Transportation’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign to raise awareness of the dire consequences of driving without paying full attention to pedestrians and bicyclists.

SBG San Antonio reported the details of Parker’s disturbing car accident. In the summer of 2016, Parker and Riley were on a morning jog. They entered a pedestrian crosswalk. An oncoming driver failed to yield. The resulting wreck was totally devasting to Parker.

“I’m lucky to be alive. I’m just one of thousands of pedestrians or bicyclists seriously injured or killed in crashes every year on Texas roads,” Parker said.

A Great Dane and owner shown in black silhouette sunsetting sky in background
KuderM via iStock

Amazingly, Parker credits Riley for her survival.

“Sadly, my dog, Riley, did lose her life that day and save(d) me. I don’t think I’d be here without her. She (Riley) was on the side where the car hit us. Everyone who was there, at the crash scene, said that Riley jumped and took the impact of the crash instead of me,” Parker explained.

While Parker survived and is mostly physically healed, she continues to suffer from unease when walking or driving.

November 7, 2000, was the last day on record without any deaths on Texas roads.

The TxDOT press release contained a safety list to remind drivers of current Texas state laws. It includes the following:

  • Stop and yield for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users in crosswalks.
  • When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Pass bikes at a safe distance and give bicyclists room to ride.
  • Always follow the speed limit and drive at a safe speed.

If you’re walking:

  • Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals, including at crosswalks.
  • Use sidewalks. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic, unless the left side is obstructed or unsafe.

If you’re riding a bike:

  • Always stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic and use bike lanes or ride as near as possible to the right-hand curb.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • At night, ensure your bike has a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back.

TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign page includes safe driving tips and links to three other campaigns under the “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” umbrella.