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What We Need to Know About Pedestrian Safety

People walk for many reasons, including exercise, leisure, and transportation. Walking has fantastic health benefits and is an environmentally friendly form of transportation.

Despite its benefits, walking can put you at risk of a potentially fatal traffic accident.

Were you or a loved one injured in a pedestrian-vehicle crash? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are legal advocates for adults and children injured by the negligence of others.

crosswalk-for-pedestrians-to-stay-safe

Call our pedestrian accident lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team about your car accident remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Statistics on Pedestrian Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrians accounted for around 17% of traffic-related fatalities in 2019. Statistics on pedestrian fatalities in accidents have only increased over the past ten years.

Statistics also demonstrate differences in risk between different age groups as pedestrians between the ages of 45 and 74 make up about 20% of traffic-related fatalities.

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities

Urban areas are unfortunate hot zones for traffic fatalities involving pedestrians. Ten percent of all pedestrian fatalities annually occur in four counties, with the largest cities in the United States, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Houston.

In 2020, around 800 bicyclists died in traffic crashes. There is a seasonal pattern to bicycle-related incidents, with the highest number of incidents occurring in August. February represents the month with the fewest bicycle incidents.

Traffic Crashes

Statistics on pedestrian involvement in traffic incidents are grim. Pedestrians are more likely to suffer fatal injuries in car crashes than passengers restrained in cars.

The number of pedestrian deaths in traffic incidents occurred every 88 minutes in 2017. Non-fatal pedestrian injuries sustained in car crashes totaled around 130,000.

Keeping Pedestrians Safe

What can begin as a healthy choice to improve your mood and physical health can end in tragedy. Pedestrian safety results from a shared responsibility between both pedestrians and drivers.

Still, you can take steps as both a pedestrian and a driver to reduce your risk of serious injury.

There are a few simple safety tips to keep adults and kids safe, regardless of the circumstances. There are several factors affecting the potential severity of a traffic incident.

These factors may include the time of day, whether the incident occurred in an urban or rural area, and the vehicle's speed. Higher speed means a higher risk of death or severe injury.

How to Safely Cross Streets

Many pedestrians are seriously injured or killed each year when they do not utilizecrosswalks. Crosswalks are meant to alert drivers of the possible presence of pedestrians. It is, therefore, always advisable to use one when crossing the street.

Get in the habit of looking left, right, then left again before crossing the street. Doing so ensures you have a solid familiarity with the environment and lessens the risk of a car coming "out of nowhere."

You can increase your safety as a pedestrian by making eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets. Although anyone walking automatically has the right of way, drivers are often distracted.

Making eye contact ensures that the driver is aware of your presence, and if you're not sure whether the driver sees you, do not attempt to cross the street.

Stay Alert

Although you may be tempted to listen to music or a podcast while walking, doing so can be distracting. You may miss critical environmental cues alerting you of possible danger.

Staying alert is especially important in parking lots and when preparing to cross streets, as these are times when pedestrians are especially vulnerable to accidents. You can avoid injury by not using your cell phone while walking.

Doing so is a distraction and can lead to judgment errors with severe consequences. It can be easy to miss safety hazards such as cars exiting driveways while you're distracted by your cell phone.

Impaired Driving

Alcohol use in pedestrians was a factor in around 27% of traffic-related pedestrian deaths? Although you may assume the alcohol use was on the driver's part, it is the pedestrian under the influence in most cases.

Alcohol use in pedestrians compares to driver impairment at around 8%.

Use Extra Caution in Hard to See Conditions

Although dusk and dawn can be beautiful times to walk, the sun's angle often makes these times of day somewhat riskier for pedestrians. Stick to sidewalks and be extra cautious when crossing the street.

Use the pavement, and if you must cross the street, use crosswalks and make eye contact with drivers before doing so.

Wearing reflective clothing is essential if you choose to walk in the dark or during bad weather. You can improve safety by wearing brightly colored apparel while out on a walk, regardless of the time of day.

Always choose the sidewalk but walk on the side of the road facing traffic if not available. Walking during bad weather such as a snowstorm or even while it's raining decreases driver visibility and increases the chances of a pedestrian-related accident.

If you must walk during these times, carry a flashlight and stay on the sidewalk.

Special Pedestrian Populations

Pedestrian safety for both younger and older populations includes the basic principles listed above and a few additional considerations.

Although the burden of pedestrian safety falls partly on the pedestrian, both the younger and older populations have unique factors which may impair their ability to consistently follow through on safety tips.

Children can be highly impulsive, while the elderly may have cognitive impairments which affect their judgment. As a fellow pedestrian or driver, it's important to be alert for signs that someone out walking may be in an unsafe situation and be prepared to intervene accordingly.

Intervening may mean alerting the person of a safety hazard or notifying the authorities where it may not be safe for you to personally involve yourself in the situation.

Child Pedestrian Safety

Keeping kids safe often comes down to the adults around them. Children younger than ten years of age are impulsive and may lack the ability to follow basic safety principles.

Children should learn how to cross safely but may not always remember how to keep themselves safe. As a driver, it's essential to be aware of school zones and closely follow all posted speed limits.

Drivers can also keep children safe by carefully watching for school bus stops and giving children plenty of room to get to safety. As a driver, watch for crossing guards, especially in residential areas near schools.

Always follow the direction given by the crossing guard, and when stopping your vehicle, allow for plenty of room for the children to cross.

Safety Tips for Older Adults

Older adults may be more susceptible to serious injury while out walking regardless of the presence of vehicles. Osteoporosis can make bone fractures more likely in a fall, and arthritis can significantly limit movement, putting walkers at greater risk for injury.

Cognitive impairment can also reduce safety awareness, making someone more likely to take risks around vehicles that they may not otherwise take.

Driver Safety

Drivers share the burden of protecting pedestrians by staying alert and obeying all traffic laws. Inattentive, impaired, or negligent driving can result in severe injuries to pedestrians, including spinal and other fractures, severe lacerations, and traumatic brain injuries.

Specific injuries can forever alter a pedestrian's ability to live and function independently, so pedestrian safety should always take prior whenever you are behind the wheel.

Use of Traffic Signals

Traffic safety involves the appropriate use of traffic signals to maximize motorist and pedestrian safety. Using a traffic signal increases traffic safety for pedestrians and drivers by clearly communicating intentions to turn the vehicle when it may not otherwise be expected.

Avoid Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is unsafe, but it's also illegal. Driving under the influence slows your response time and puts everyone else in danger, regardless of whether they are behind the wheel or on foot.

Substance misuse is a significant contributor to traffic crashes, as is fatigue. Research shows that driving while drowsy is similar to driving while under the influence of substances.

Staying up for at least 18 hours is similar to a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.05%. If you stretch it to 24 hours, it's comparable to a BAC level of 0.10%, over the legal limit in most states.

Adding even small amounts of liquor to sleep deprivation is a deadly combination that can affect coordination, judgment, and reaction time. It's, therefore, crucial to ensure you're getting the sleep you need before getting behind the wheel.

Speed Limit Awareness

Speed limits are posted to improve pedestrian safety, especially in residential areas and school zones. When driving in residential areas, always stay alert for the presence of pedestrians who may suddenly cross the street with little or no warning.

Staying alert is essential in residential zones where children who don't always display safe behaviors may abruptly run into the road after a wayward ball. Although pedestrians should walk facing traffic, adults & children out walking may not always abide by this rule, so be cautious on any street without designated walking areas.

Following the speed limit is a simple way to help keep any pedestrian strolling the streets safe.

Other Safe Driving Considerations

Remember that drivers must always yield to pedestrians. As a driver, you need to be alert to the possibility of a pedestrian suddenly darting out in front of you in urban areas.

If visibility is limited, make sure your lights are on so both walkers and other drivers can see you.

Be extra cautious when considering whether to pass vehicles stopped on the road as there may be pedestrians in the very near vicinity. Other concerns for pedestrian safety involving children and adults include:

  • Walking past parked vehicles
  • Crossing in front of stopped vehicles
  • Walking safely around cars entering or exiting a parking lot
  • Recognizing that motorists may not yield to pedestrians on a two way street with large medians
  • Watching children and adults' behavior on sidewalks near the curb
  • Motorists failing to give the right of way to anyone on foot even if the walker is violating traffic laws

In most instances, walking provides a safe and enjoyable exercise and an earth-friendly form of transportation. But it can quickly turn deadly if principles of safety on the part of either pedestrian or driver are not followed.

What starts as an enjoyable activity can instantly turn tragic if crosswalks or sidewalks are misused or the driver is under the influence of drugs. Injuries while walking are on an unfortunate rise in urban areas where accidents are more likely to occur.

The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pedestrian Injuries

If you are injured by a vehicle while out walking, you may be entitled to compensation. The compassionate and experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are prepared to listen to your case and advise you on the next steps.

Their attorneys can assist you in several ways following a severe injury sustained as a pedestrian and help you recover lost compensation for medical bills and other costs related to recovery.

Call today us toll-free at (8880424-5757 for a free consultation with a team of seasoned attorneys who have recovered millions of dollars for their clients injured in similar accidents.

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