Pedestrian Safety…Walk This Way!
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, and for good reason! According to national statistics, more than 100,000 pedestrians are injured and nearly 8,000 killed annually (about one death every 66 minutes!) as a result of collisions with motor vehicles. In Washington State, pedestrian fatalities account for 12 to 14 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. The human body was not designed to absorb the impact from a collision with a car that moves many times faster and weighs many times more pounds than a person. Therefore, it is not surprising that car vs. pedestrian collisions often result in very serious and sometimes permanent injuries to pedestrians, such as head injuries, dislocated shoulders, spinal cord injuries, fractures, amputation, or serious soft tissue injuries.
Causes of Car vs. Pedestrian Collisions
Washington law gives pedestrians the right of way at every crosswalk whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked. A crosswalk exists, even if it is not marked, where roads intersect to create an intersection. Drivers of motor vehicles are required to stop in favor of pedestrians at every crosswalk.
However, drivers are often distracted or simply do not notice pedestrians. Some drivers do not obey the rules of the road. Failure to yield, to come to a complete stop before turning, to keep a proper lookout, and to drive at a safe speed are common causes of driver negligence resulting in the striking of a pedestrian. Pedestrian behavior can also contribute to such accidents. Individuals can take proactive steps such as wearing high visibility clothing, especially at night or in poor weather conditions, following road signs and signals and obeying laws, and avoiding distractions like mobile phones when crossing streets.
Pedestrian Safety in Seattle: A Case Study
Pedestrian safety is not just a transportation issue; rather, it’s a public health concern, an environmental consideration, and an essential part of the livability of our cities. As urban areas become denser and the complexity of our transport networks increases, pedestrian safety must be at the forefront of urban planning and public policy. A city’s layout plays a significant role in pedestrian safety. Seattle is an example of how concerted, holistic efforts can lead to marked improvements in pedestrian safety. Its unique challenges such as high population density and varied topography have required innovative solutions. Community involvement through public forums and feedback sessions has shaped policy. Strategic partnerships with tech companies, community organizations, and other stakeholders have fostered innovation.
The complex issue of pedestrian safety in urban environments like Seattle requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing technology, infrastructure, legislation, education, and individual responsibility. Despite progress, Seattle must continue to adapt and innovate to meet its Vision Zero goals, reflecting the dynamic nature of urban environments.
Every case is different. In some instances liability is crystal clear, but in others the insurance companies for the errant driver try to blame the pedestrian for not looking for oncoming traffic. For example, a driver is not at fault if a pedestrian steps off a sidewalk, or the shoulder of a roadway away from a crosswalk, without giving the driver sufficient time to avoid a collision. Washington State is a comparative fault state, which means that each party to the accident may be assigned a level of contribution or responsibility for the accident. Accordingly, any case that may be contested merits careful work to obtain all the available evidence.
BFR’s injury attorneys have extensive experience handling pedestrian and crosswalk collision cases. As specialists in pedestrian collisions, BFR offers expert legal guidance, personalized support, tailored legal strategies that meet individual needs, and advocacy to influence public policy and promote pedestrian safety at the legislative level. BFR’s attorneys are committed to seeking justice for injured pedestrians and advocating for comprehensive solutions! Call Becker Franklin Rovang today for a free case evaluation.