As more and more people move back into central cities from the suburbs, walking and biking have become much more popular means of getting around. Walking has several benefits over driving; it’s healthier for you, better for the environment, and much less stressful than dealing with traffic jams and road rage. While walking is generally a much safer way to get around than driving (which is by far the most dangerous activity regular people engage in), it’s not completely risk-free. Walking can be especially risky in many urbanizing neighborhoods in the Atlanta area because there are more people walking around, but the pedestrian infrastructure has not quite caught up to the demand. In fact, a 2014 study in the report “Dangerous by Design” placed the Atlanta metropolitan area at number eight on its list of the 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians.
Below, we’ll take a look at pedestrian accident statistics and go over a few ways that you can protect yourself from being the victim of one.
Pedestrian Accidents in the US
While it is statistically much safer than driving, walking can still be a risky activity in the United States, especially in areas that were not designed with pedestrians in mind. On average, a pedestrian dies in a traffic crash every two hours in the United States. Between 2003 and 2012, crashes killed 47,025 pedestrians nationwide and injured another 676,000, according to the aforementioned 2014 “Dangerous by Design” report on pedestrian safety. Older people bear a much higher risk of injury and death in pedestrian accidents than younger Americans. People aged 65 years and older make up about 13% of the population but account for 21% of the pedestrian deaths. The consequences of nonfatal accidents are also more severe for older victims.
Tips for Safe Walking
Although you can’t completely protect yourself from being the victim of a pedestrian accident, there are several steps you can take to minimize your chances.
- Use crosswalks: Besides being illegal in many areas, jaywalking can also be quite dangerous. It might be tempting to scurry across the street wherever you see a break in traffic, but resist the urge to do so. It is always safer to cross at marked crosswalks with signal controls.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Vehicle drivers face plenty of justifiable criticism for looking at their phones or otherwise being distracted, but distracted walking can be just as dangerous. If you’re not paying attention to what’s going on around you, you might step out in front of a car before you realize it’s too late.
- Wear reflective clothing at night: If you’re walking at night, you are going to be harder to see for drivers. To maximize your visibility, wear reflective clothing, carry a flashlight, and always stay on the sidewalk.
- Obey traffic laws: Just because you are not driving an automobile does not mean you are exempt from traffic laws. Always pay attention to whether you have the right-of-way in any given situation and don’t expect that drivers know what your next move will be.
Contact an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to driver negligence, you might be able to recover for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Atlanta, Roswell, and Sandy Springs.