Pedestrian Accidents: 5 Ways to Stay Safe
On February 13, 2016, a man was struck by a vehicle on Fifth Avenue in downtown Anchorage. The 65-year-old man was crossing the street with two other men when he was struck by a 2011 blue Toyota RAV4. According to the men who were walking with the deceased, they had a ‘do not cross’ hand signal and the traffic light was green for oncoming traffic.
The other two men stopped at the median, but the deceased continued into the next lane right in front of the Toyota. The driver of the Toyota tried to miss the man but could not. Emergency personnel pronounced him dead at the scene of the pedestrian accident.
This is the third pedestrian death at Fifth Avenue and Concrete Street in the last year and a half. According to a police spokeswoman, the man who died while crossing the street is at fault for the accident because he should not have been in the crosswalk at that time. However, executive director Lisa Sauder of Bean’s Cafe said many refer to that intersection as a “particularly deadly intersection.” She said that Fifth and Concrete has a hazardous reputation among the regulars at Bean’s.
Even though the police have issued a statement blaming the pedestrian for the accident, a pedestrian should never rely on the determination by the police as to whether he or she is at fault for the pedestrian accident. While pedestrians can be at fault for not crossing at cross walk, being intoxicated, wearing dark clothes and the like; a driver should always be on look out. There is a code in Alaska that states drivers are not to collide with other people in the roadway. Pedestrian safety is a two way street. A pedestrian accident victim in downtown Anchorage and throughout Alaska should always consult with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to learn of his or her rights under Alaska’s personal injury laws.
Pedestrian Accidents Drop Only Slightly from 2012 to 2013
Pedestrian collisions are traumatizing to all involved because so dramatic and risk of serious injury and fatality high. No one wants to live with knowledge their driving conduct seriously injured or killed someone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 4,743 pedestrians were killed in 2012 with another 76,000 pedestrians injured in pedestrian accidents that year. These numbers average to one vehicle-related crash fatality every two hours and one vehicle-related injury every seven minutes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of pedestrians killed in 2013 virtually remained the same (4,735).
Even if we reduce pedestrian accidents to one fatality or one injury per year, this is one incident too many for the family of the accident victim. Therefore, both pedestrians and drivers need to take action now to prevent pedestrian accidents.
Tips for Pedestrian Safety
According to AAA, pedestrians need to be extremely careful because they cannot trust that drivers are watching for them, will try to avoid them, or will stop for them. Distracted drivers, speeding drivers, and drivers who are simply driving recklessly can change your life and the lives of your family forever. When you are walking, keep the following tips in mind:
- Be Visible – Wear brightly colored clothing, stay in well-lit areas, and make eye contact with the driver before you begin crossing the street. If you are walking at night, wear special neon reflective clothing, carry a flashlight, and/or put reflective strips on your clothing.
- Remain Alert – As a pedestrian, you should also avoid things that will distract you from the task at hand. Do not wear headphones or use electronic devices while walking. Avoid reading books or other material as you walk. Keep your focus on the road and on the cars travelling on that road.
- Follow Traffic Rules – Cross in a crosswalk whenever available and only cross when directed to by the light (still look both ways before crossing). Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If sidewalks are not available, walk as far as safely possible to the side of the road facing traffic.
- Do Not Drink and Walk – Drinking does not mix with walking any better than it mixes with driving. According to AAA, almost half of all pedestrian accidents involve alcohol consumption, and in 34 percent of those accidents, it was the pedestrian who was intoxicated. Call a cab or call a friend, but don’t drink and walk.
Tips for Drivers to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers should also take steps to avoid pedestrian accidents by following many of the same tips for pedestrians. Drivers should always remain alert and avoid anything that can distract the driver from the task of driving (i.e. texting, reading, eating, etc.). Drivers should also obey all traffic rules including obeying the speed limit and traffic signals.
Drivers should slow down where there is heavy pedestrian “traffic” – near parks, downtown area, and green belts. In Alaska, particularly where you know there are impaired walkers including children that can not appreciate the danger of drivers or where there are homeless camp sites.
When approaching a crosswalk, drivers should slow down and always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk because you may not see the pedestrian crossing in front of the other vehicle. When stopped at a crosswalk, leave enough room between you and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians who are crossing.
The same rule applies to drivers as it does to pedestrians: never drink and drive.
Safety Tips for Young Pedestrians
Children are at a higher risk of being the victims of pedestrian accidents; therefore, parents must take extra precautions to protect their children when they are out walking. Pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related deaths for children between the ages of five and 19 in the United States. The death rate for teens is twice that of younger pedestrians and that number accounts for half of all child pedestrian deaths.
Safe Kids Worldwide provides tips for teaching children how to avoid pedestrian accidents in addition to providing excellent resources to use when talking to your children about pedestrian safety. TheNHTSA also provides a variety of materials for parents to use when teaching their children about pedestrian safety.
Have you or your child been injured in an Anchorage, Alaska, pedestrian accident?
If so, you need an attorney who understands Alaska traffic laws that pertain to pedestrians in addition to understanding Alaska’s personal injury laws and Alaska’s wrongful death laws. The attorneys of Kelley & Canterbury LLC have the experience, skills, and resources you need to ensure your pedestrian accident case is handled in the best manner possible. We want you to focus on your recovery, your health, and your family while we focus on holding the driver who caused your injury accountable and liable.