Lisa T’s Smith Act: Drivers Who Injury or Kill Pedestrians Have Priority Punishment After Houston Bicyclist Murders

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – A 73-year-old man was shot and killed while cycling in southwest Houston.

His death is bringing to light a new bill signed into law from September 2021 that now makes the driver involved liable for injury or death.

Ko was riding his bicycle across the crosswalk near Bellaire Avenue and Osage Street on Monday morning when he was hit by a car.

Police said the driver was stopped to assist and did not appear to be intoxicated or on his phone at the time.

Although, due to the new Lisa T–Smith Act signed by Governor Greg Abbott, this driver could face a felony charge.

The new law is named after Lisa T’Smith, a Fort Bend mother who was driving her son to school in 2017 when she was hit by a car and died. The boy survived the accident.

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The driver, in Smith’s case, was not charged. Although, Ko’s death may be the first case where a driver has been charged with a felony.

“The act is a necessity, especially in a city like Houston where people want to be able to walk and bike safely. However, a lot of our streets are not designed by design. for that,” Joe Cutrufo told BikeHouston.

Compared to cities with populations of more than 500,000, Houston had a total of 256 deaths with 81 of them pedestrian-related, according to 2019 statistics from the US Department of Transportation.

Mayor Sylvester Turner mentioned his Vision Zero initiative during a zoom meeting Friday afternoon. He said Vision Zero strives for zero fatal pedestrian crashes by 2030.

“I know some people will say, Oh Mayor, that’s impossible,” Turner said. “But it happened. You have to design roads with that in mind. You have to encourage people to share. It’s not just for cars and trucks, but for multiple uses: pedestrians, their cyclists. But we’re changing the way it’s designed so the Vision Zero plan is extreme. important. “

RELATED: Man in wheelchair gets hit by multiple cars while crossing FM 1960 north of Houston

Cutrufo says a collision with a pedestrian can’t happen if the driver doesn’t take pedestrians and cyclists seriously. “We don’t consider crossing the road a serious part of our traffic system. If drivers are allowed to speed, if drivers continue to distract us, we will have serious problems on the street. mine.”

He says that keeping pedestrians safe is up to the person behind the wheel. “There are many different causes of road death, but when you’re driving a 5,000 lb. vehicle, you have to slow down and pay attention.”

Follow ABC13 reporter Patrina Adger on Facebook and Twitter.

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Dais Johnston

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