Pedestrians and bicyclists are vulnerable on our nation’s streets and sidewalks. Every year, hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists are killed in accidents with automobiles or other vehicles. In 2017 almost 6,000 pedestrians were fatally injured, along with almost 800 bicyclists, accounting for 18.2% of traffic deaths. These numbers aren’t going down, primarily because there are even more cars on the road and conditions haven’t improved any. In fact, the statistics have gone up since 2003, when they were only at 12.6%.
In the 10 years between 2008 and 2017, bicycle and pedestrian traffic deaths went up by 32%, while the overall traffic deaths actually decreased. These numbers are on the low end, as research shows that many pedestrian and bicycle related accidents aren’t even included in the data reported by the police. This shows that pedestrians and bicyclists are always at risk for injury. The best way to stay safe is to follow some basic safety guidelines.
Interestingly, most of bicycle or pedestrian accidents do not occur at an intersections. Time of day and the amount of light play a part in when most accidents occur. Not surprisingly, darkness makes it harder to see someone walking or riding, and more bicycle and pedestrian deaths occur at night between 6 and 9 pm than any other time of day. If you or someone you know has been injured in a traffic accident as a pedestrian, call our pedestrian accident lawyer for a free consultation about your case. If you were injured while riding a bicycle, our bicycle accident lawyer can advise you as to your rights.
The following safety guidelines are from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC).
Be Safe and Be Seen: Make Yourself Visible to Drivers
- Wear bright/light colored clothing and reflective materials.
- Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Cross the street in a well-lit area at night.
- Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
Be Smart and Alert: Avoid Dangerous Behaviors
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.
- Don’t assume vehicles will stop. Make eye contact with drivers, don’t just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, he or she may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
- Don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals. Look before you cross the road.
- Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.
Be Careful at Crossings: Look Before You Step
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.
- Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON’T WALK signs.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.
- Watch for turning vehicles. Make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.
- Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Even if one motorist stops, do not presume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.
- Don’t wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.