Walking is a popular mode of transportation. Pedestrians use sidewalks and crosswalks to get from one place to another on foot. Pedestrians also include people in wheelchairs and those using skateboards and roller skates.
Although preventing car accidents and ensuring safer streets is the purpose of traffic laws, thousands of accidents occur every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that pedestrians account for over 16% of fatalities in traffic accidents. During Pedestrian Safety Month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) promotes ways to improve safety and prevent pedestrian accidents.
What is Pedestrian Safety Month?
The NHTSA observes Pedestrian Safety Month every October. The first Pedestrian Safety Month occurred in 2020, intending to increase awareness about safety risks to vulnerable road users and prevent pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Pedestrians face multiple risks when walking. Traffic crashes, bicycle accidents, and collisions with other pedestrians can all cause serious injuries. Tripping over obstacles and poor weather can also cause injuries. Pedestrians can take these steps to prevent accidents:
- Stay vigilant
- Watch for other pedestrians to avoid collisions
- Stay on the sidewalk
- Use crosswalks when crossing the street
- Put your cell phone away while walking
- Make eye contact with bicyclists and drivers
- Watch for uneven payment
- Avoid obstacles to prevent a trip and fall accident
- Monitor weather conditions
Walking at night increases the risk of a pedestrian accident. When walking at night, take these steps:
- Wear reflective clothing
- Carry a flashlight
- Walk in well-lit areas
Driver Safety Tips
According to the CDC, motor vehicles were involved in over 7,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2020. Pedestrians that survive often sustain severe injuries. Drivers can increase safety and reduce pedestrian accidents by taking these steps:
- Stay vigilant
- Double-check for pedestrians when backing up
- Double-check for pedestrians when driving at night
- Double-check for pedestrians when driving in bad weather
- Observe speed limits
- Monitor pedestrians on sidewalks
- Reduce speed when turning
- Do not pass vehicles at crosswalks
- Yield to pedestrians crossing the street
Bicycle Safety Tips
Pedestrians and bicycles often share the same space. Collisions between pedestrians and cyclists can result in serious injuries. One or both parties can fall into a roadway in front of a vehicle, increasing the accident’s severity.
Bicyclists can promote pedestrian safety by taking these steps:
- Observe speed limits
- Stay vigilant
- Watch for pedestrians
- Maintain your brakes
- Slow down when turning
- Obey traffic laws
- Don’t pass vehicles at crosswalks
- Use a bell or verbal cues when passing pedestrians
- Follow pedestrian traffic signals
Steps to Take if You’re in a Pedestrian Accident
States require drivers to report accidents under specific conditions. All states require drivers to report accidents involving injuries. If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, you should take these steps:
- Check for injuries
- Call the police
- Report injuries to the police
- Provide reasonable aid to anyone injured
- Exchange contact information with drivers, bicyclists, and others involved
- Photograph the scene
- Contact a car accident lawyer for legal counsel
- Seek medical care
- Get contact information from witnesses
National Pedestrian Safety Month Safe System Approach
The Safe System Approach is the official strategy used by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to increase road safety. The Safe System Approach acknowledges that human error contributes to traffic crashes and that local, state, and federal governments must act to increase safety.
The Safe Systems Approach adopts a holistic approach, focusing on all crash prevention and response aspects. It doesn’t simply look at one group when addressing road safety. It promotes safe driving by increasing driver awareness of safety risks and how to avoid car accidents. It promotes safe streets by maintaining appropriate speed limits and removing things that limit visibility. The Safe Systems Approach also promotes using vehicles with the latest safety features. It also supports expedited medical care to reduce fatalities.
How Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help
Pedestrian accidents can cause catastrophic injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries (SCIs) may be permanent or require long-term medical treatment. It can take months to recover from internal organ injuries, and you may need surgery to repair internal damage. Fortunately, pedestrian accident attorneys can help you protect your legal rights and receive the compensation you deserve from the at-fault party.
Pedestrian accident attorneys can handle insurance claims and file lawsuits against those responsible for your injuries. They’ll investigate your case and fight to ensure all parties that contributed to your accident are held responsible. Your pedestrian accident attorney will seek compensation for reasonable expenses, such as medical expenses, loss of income, job retraining, and property damage.
CTA: Are you the victim of a pedestrian accident injury? Contact us for a FREE case evaluation. We’ll explain your legal options and determine if you have grounds to seek compensation for your accident injuries.
Pedestrian Safety. (2022).