Walking is supposed to be a good thing. It improves our health in many ways, from acting as a stress reliever to burning calories and helping us stay in good shape. Walking is good for your heart, your balance as you get older, and can even help diabetics and individuals with heart disease to manage their conditions. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day, or several ten-minute increments, which is often more realistic for individuals with busy schedules.
Some prefer to get exercise on their lunch hours, running errands nearby, while others walk back and forth to work on a regular basis—especially in larger cities. Caution should always be taken when walking near or in traffic, especially when considering that the average car weighs around 4,000 pounds more than the average person. Because of such vulnerability, walking excursions and routes should be planned not only with ease of travel in mind, but more importantly—safety. Collisions between cars and people (as well as bicycles and motorcycles) have been on the rise all around the US, as well as in Florida which was ranked fifth in pedestrian fatalities last year. As traffic accidents continue to rise too, concerns abound regarding how to better educate and protect citizens. Cars colliding with people on foot is even more distressing however, because the chance for injury or death is so much greater as the average car weighs over 4,000 pounds.
Crosswalks are a common area for pedestrian accidents. Although these are designated areas for walking, usually equipped with detailed signs for crossing interludes, speeding motorists may careen through them before they realize pedestrians are present. Turning left or right at crosswalks is a common issue as distracted motorists may not be aware of such areas ahead, and pedestrians may not be expecting to have to walk as defensively as is required these days.
Many cities and states are examining how to lower the pedestrian fatality rates (the GHSA shows that for 2016 in Miami/Dade county alone there were 83 fatalities!) and taking measures to make changes where needed. Pedestrian injuries and deaths often occur at night, so better illumination of crosswalks (and other areas where pedestrians are walking) is in the works for many areas, as well as improved markings and signs alerting motorists.
While pedestrians should be able to venture across crosswalks safely in the US, many motorists make this difficult due to elevated levels of distraction via smartphones, GPS devices, and other electronics in the car. Speeding, driving while impaired, and other forms of recklessness play a big part in the rising fatality rates for pedestrians. Those walking should follow all traffic rules, try to wear bright colors or neon vests or markings at night, and watch carefully for motorists—making eye contact with them before crossing.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!