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PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

With the current Covid-19 situation, there is no question that people are choosing to walk more versus driving, taking Uber or using public transportation. If you are going to a store, or just getting some fresh air, at some point, you will find yourself walking. Find out on today’s blog the importance of pedestrian safety for walkers and for drivers.

Why are pedestrian accidents on the rise during Covid-19?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA has launched the first National Pedestrian Safety Month in October of this year. The goal of this program is to increase awareness regarding pedestrian safety.

People are choosing to walk as a relaxing activity, a form of transportation or just to stay healthy during the pandemic due to fear of indoor gyms. Unfortunately, with more people walking, there has been an increase in the number of pedestrian accidents.

Is walking a dangerous activity?

One would think that walking is not dangerous; however, data from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed a surprising 11% increase in the number of pedestrians killed. For example, just from 2015 through 2016, there were almost 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. With more walkers, one would expect the 2020 statistics to be even higher.

With the rise of cell phone usage around the globe, combined with the increased number of people choosing to walk versus driving, it is no surprise that yes, walking can be a very dangerous activity. This is especially true if one is not paying attention to crosswalk signals, traffic flow, or the designated pedestrian crossing at intersections. Also, it is not uncommon to see people looking at their phones while walking. To a pedestrian, cell phone use while walking can be just as dangerous and distracting as a motorist texting and driving.

Who is at Fault for Pedestrian Accidents?

One Florida Statute governing pedestrians gives some guidance to pedestrians about their legal responsibilities.  It states in relevant part, that “Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

However, it is a fact that a high number of pedestrians do not obey this portion of the Statute. One can just observe pedestrians daily, crossing roads anywhere they see fit, and many times right into traffic. Children are especially known to do this. This type of activity is not only dangerous, but it is also unlawful.

Because this is an every-day occurrence, drivers need to be on the look-out for pedestrians. Indeed, should a driver strike a pedestrian in Florida, the pedestrian could be killed or suffer catastrophic injuries. Moreover, the driver may get sued for striking the walker, even if the walker was also distracted.

Rules for safety for pedestrian

Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, you should pay attention to your surroundings. Being distracted by cell phones is something to avoid when driving or walking. The warning “Don’t Text and Drive” is very well known. Educating the public with the warning, “Don’t Walk and Stare at your Phone” is something we should remind ourselves and our loved ones about.

Also, follow these common sense rules for walking safety:

• Do not walk and stare at your phone
• Be aware of your surroundings
• Always use the sidewalk
• Always use the crosswalk
• Be aware of hidden driveways
• Avoid distractions while walking
• Do not use earbuds while walking, or at least only use one (being able to hear cars or anything coming towards you could save your life)

Rules for safety for drivers

• Do not text and drive
• Always watch for pedestrians, especially at night
• Obey the speed limit
• Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
• Be extra cautious when backing up

Unfortunately, accidents involving pedestrians happen every day. It is important to learn and practice safety while walking and driving to try to avoid pedestrian accidents. However, if you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian accident in Jupiter or Port St. Lucie, Florida, it is very important to obtain representation that is knowledgeable regarding these unique cases.

 


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