Older Travelers at Greater Risk: Whether Driving, Biking, Walking, or Motorcycling

Older travelers are at risk no matter what mode they are in, and no matter what method of transportation you may have chosen. As traffic incidents continue to rise in Florida and around the US, much to the consternation of the government and infrastructure experts everywhere, we must take time to think about those who are more vulnerable. And while older citizens or anyone whose vision or faculties have diminished may need to think about discontinuing driving at some point, we must still share the road with them as they may be crossing near their homes, exercising on bicycles, or be traveling in public with the assistance of someone else.

As a rule, motorists must be especially careful when approaching others who may be less protected in traffic—mainly at intersections and crosswalks. While the safety of other motorists is always a big concern because there are more of them, those traveling on foot are always at greater risk—and along with that fact, seniors and kids are more likely than any other age groups to be involved in fatalities or sustain serious injuries during an altercation with a vehicle.

Florida currently ranks at the top of the list for pedestrian deaths, with travelers on foot over 65 being more likely to be involved in an injury or killed. As experts continue to investigate why fatalities are increasing rather than decreasing, infrastructure issues are blamed for much of the problem, pointing out that if roads, highways, and congested areas near crosswalks were designed better, there would be less catastrophe overall.

No matter what your age is, though, practice these safety tips in traffic so that you are not at greater risk:

  • Be visible. Always wear brightly colored clothing, and at night, use reflectors. You can tape them to your bike or hat or coat, or even your shoes.
  • Make eye contact with motorists before walking straight ahead or turning in crosswalk areas.
  • Know and follow all traffic rules, and never take risks in traffic, no matter how much of a hurry you may be in at that time. This includes avoiding rushing across the street when cars are coming or ‘jaywalking,’ due to a sense of urgency to get to your destination.

If you or a loved one have been injured 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!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Please Be Careful as a Pedestrian at Night—Dark Clothing is a Bad Idea

While any mode of travel has undeniable dangers, you probably don’t worry too much about traveling on foot; after all, you are getting great exercise—building muscle, working your heart, and burning calories—and there is the perception that you can control your participation in and proximity to traffic. Unfortunately, fatalities continue to rise for those on foot. Florida is considered to be the most deadly state for pedestrians, meaning you must be extremely careful when walking—whether making that short commute through traffic, exercising, window shopping, or enjoying any type of pedestrian activities.

The most important step you can take is to stay visible. While you may not be considering safety when you make your fashion choice for heading outside, keep in mind that if you are walking at night, wearing dark clothing is a very bad choice. Without any type of bright colors or reflectors, you may be completely invisible to a car or a large truck.

Other tips:

  • When walking at night, seek out brightly lit areas. Many fatalities occur in rural pedestrian areas that have insufficient illumination.
  • Always walk with a flashlight at night. This is not only a great way to see your path, but also to be seen.
  • Be very careful at crosswalks. Even cars that travel these areas every day may forget to slow down, causing fatal accidents or severe injuries. Assume they are not watching out for you.
  • Make eye contact with vehicles before you cross or turn. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you are indeed being seen.
  • Remember that you also are beholden to traffic rules, even when on foot.

Recent news coverage shows data stating that pedestrian deaths increased by a staggering 35.7 percent between 2008 and 2017—with over 49,000 people dying.

“It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people dying every single month,” the report says, noting that if 5,000 Americans per year died in plane crashes, air traffic would come to a halt until safety solutions were implemented. “Unlike traffic fatalities for motor vehicle occupants, which decreased 6.1 percent between 2008 and 2017, pedestrian deaths have been steadily increasing since 2009.”

If you or a loved one 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!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Increased Pedestrian Deaths Becoming a Sustained Trend

Car accidents send over a million individuals to emergency rooms around the US each year, with hundreds of thousands hospitalized too. Many others escape unscathed—sometimes just the victims of mild collisions or fender benders yielding no damage. When a car hits a pedestrian, however, there is a much greater chance for serious injury or death due to the vulnerability of an individual walking on foot in comparison to a moving vehicle that weighs 4,000 pounds.

As we have discussed in previous blogs regarding motorcycles too, lack of visibility is a common problem, leading to far too many catastrophic accidents. Being seen is also often a major challenge for pedestrians, as motorists may be used to making swift right turns in traffic near crosswalk areas without thinking ahead to the potential for pedestrians walking across the road—and they have every right to do so. Motorists who are engaged with cell phones, other electronics, and multiple distractions in the car are at fault for thousands of deaths each year—and pedestrian fatalities are now continuing to rise, and so predictably so that Jonathan Adkins of the Governors Highway Safety Association notes the issue as an unfortunate and ‘sustained trend.’

This trend marks a new high throughout the country, and government officials are not only concerned, but they are trying to make changes to any infrastructure possible that will help keep pedestrians from being injured or killed. Some areas just aren’t set up very well for pedestrian travel, whether there is a lack of proper crosswalks and signage, or necessary illumination at night.

“In addition to encouraging individuals to behave safely, those responsible for designing the vehicles and roadways need to work on making it easier for people to choose the safe behavior,” says Laura Sandt, the director of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at UNC., “and to be sure that they are investing in infrastructure and creating policies that support safe walking.”

Classic problems are still to blame though, from drivers who aren’t paying attention to those who are speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While it is important that those who are responsible for accidents are held accountable, continual education and expanded public awareness is necessary.

If you or a loved one 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!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.