If you regularly get around your city by walking or bicycling, do you ever get the feeling that streets and even sidewalks aren’t safe for you? If so, you’re not alone. Pedestrian accidents are a huge problem in New Jersey and across the United States, and they actually seem to be getting worse rather than better.
Between 2010 and 2018, pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. increased by 46 percent. But why are pedestrians at such high risk? That’s the focus of a recently published book profiled in a USA Today article.
The problems pedestrians face
All factors seem to be working against pedestrians, from the way infrastructure is designed to the way traffic laws are enforced to the way that pedestrians are viewed by drivers. According to the book’s author, these are just some of the problems facing those who choose to walk:
- Infrastructure design: Streets were designed for automobiles, with little forethought given to pedestrians
- Car size: Average personal-use vehicles are getting bigger, and more people are driving SUVs. They are heavier and taller than sedans, which means they strike pedestrians harder and higher on the body. Combined, these factors make accidents more deadly.
- Speed limits: Drivers could greatly reduce accidents and fatalities if they just slowed down. Lower speeds give drivers more time to react to dangers and make crashes less lethal.
- Police enforcement: Police officers are not consistently enforcing traffic laws for drivers – particularly problems like distracted driving.
- Pedestrian image problems: Pedestrians are viewed as a nuisance by drivers, even when pedestrians are obeying traffic laws
- Crosswalks and traffic lights: Crossing signals often do not leave enough time for slower walkers to cross streets, putting them at risk.
- Everyone is distracted: This includes drivers and pedestrians. While pedestrians need to pay attention for their own safety, it is incumbent upon drivers to pay extra attention to avoid injuring or killing someone else.
Fighting back if you’ve been injured
As a pedestrian, you have the same right to safety as any motorist. And if you’ve been seriously injured by a negligent driver, you have the right to seek full and fair compensation for your injuries and other losses. To better understand your legal options following a pedestrian accident, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney.