Whether you take a leisurely stroll on your lunch break or rush to do some errands, the warmer weather may be calling you outside after the long winter. Even if walking is not something you enjoy, chances are you do it more than you think, even if it is just rushing across the street to get to the store, post office or bank before it closes.
While you may have dodged your share of cars in your life, you may find it is not as easy to do these days. Cars travel faster, and there seem to be more of them. These are just a couple of factors that safety advocates feel contribute to the steady rise in pedestrian injuries and deaths in this state and across the country.
Changes on the way
The number of pedestrian fatalities in Ohio dropped slightly last year, but it remains at record-breaking levels. In the past five years, pedestrian deaths have risen dramatically, with a total of 717 people losing their lives. You may have seen recent media coverage of such accidents in your town, and perhaps there is a specific stretch of road or intersection that seems particularly deadly for those on foot. After studying the issue nationwide, the Governor's Highway Safety Association suggests some of the following to combat the problem:
- Redesigning roads with fewer and narrower lanes to slow down traffic
- Widening sidewalks to reduce the time it takes you to cross the street
- Adding speed cameras to deter drivers from going too fast
- Improving lighting so you are more visible to drivers
- Designing crosswalks that protect you as a pedestrian
Many safety advocates blame the rise in pedestrian deaths on the size of vehicles. More people are driving SUVs and pickup trucks that can easily cause more harm than smaller vehicles if they strike you since they will collide with your torso or head rather than your lower body. If an SUV hits you, you are twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries.
The actions of drivers may still be the most important contributors to pedestrian injuries and deaths. Speeding, fatigue, alcohol consumption and distracted driving are major factors in most pedestrian accidents. In fact, at least one report shows the sudden spike in once-declining pedestrian fatalities occurred at the advent of smartphone popularity.
If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one as a pedestrian because of a negligent or reckless driver, you may have many questions about your rights. You can find those answers when you reach out to a legal professional.