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Memorial is 1 step toward ending cyclist, pedestrian fatalities

Imagine you are out for a pleasant evening stroll or a bike ride along a stretch of League City Parkway. All of a sudden, a car gets too close to the curb or jumps it. As fast as you might react, there's still a chance someone is going to be struck, be injured, or worse, be killed.

Negligence on the part of the driver may have been a cause. But as we noted in a post in December, sometimes accountability may extend beyond just the incident to broader conditions. In that item, the focus was on the fact that suits had been filed against the organizers of the South by Southwest music festival.

The allegation in the suits is that planners failed to do all they could to protect people attending the popular attraction last March. As a result, the suits say, four people died and many more were injured when a car careened through a crowd during a police chase. The driver stands charged with homicide. This year, authorities took greater measures to beef up public security for the event.

Meanwhile, bike safety advocates used this year's SXSW activities to refocus attention on the lives lost and victims injured in that 2014 crash. They dedicated a memorial at an Austin intersection. It features a white obelisk with the names of the four people killed that night. It replaces a white "ghost bike" that had marked the site in memory of one of the victims -- a bicyclist -- until it was removed.

At ceremonies at the site, one speaker observed there is a growing sentiment in Texas and across the nation that more needs to be done to prevent fatal biking and pedestrian accidents in the future. But he said it starts by remembering what has happened in the past.

Remembering is important. Where misconduct or negligence is apparent and can be proven, turning to the legal system for full accountability may also be part of that process.

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