A recent report issued by Smart Growth America has been drawing attention to the problem of pedestrian deaths in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland region. The report, which ranks each state, metro region, and county based upon the degree of danger to pedestrians, found that between 2003 and 2012, 843 pedestrians were killed in the Washington, D.C. metro area and 482 were killed in the Baltimore-Towson metro area. The Baltimore-Towson metro area ranked as the tenth most dangerous metro area in the country for pedestrians.
Although walking has many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of coronary disease and lower risk of obesity, it can also be dangerous. Pedestrian deaths account for 18 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. Common causes of pedestrian accidents can include:
- Speeding or reckless driving;
- Distracted driving (such as texting while driving);
- Snow, rain, or other inclement weather;
- Driving under the influence; and
- Pedestrian negligence (such as failure to obey a crosswalk signal).
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, it is important to contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you investigate facts related to your case, negotiate with an insurance company, and – if necessary – bring a lawsuit in court to recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, or other damages.
Some Pedestrian Safety Tips
Of course, the best advice is to avoid a pedestrian accident altogether. There are many steps that a pedestrian can take to minimize the risk of being involved in an accident. For example, a previous post on our blog highlights the importance under Maryland law of crossing only at designated crosswalks. Some other tips are:
- Pay attention. Distracting activities such as texting or talking on the phone can prevent you from noticing if there is oncoming traffic.
- Avoid high-traffic roads. Most pedestrian deaths occur on arterial roads, which are flat, high-speed, high-capacity roads.
- Walk on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less. Only 9 percent of pedestrian deaths occur on roads where the speed limit is 30 mph or less.
- Cross only at designated crosswalks. Because these areas are typically marked with cautionary signs, drivers will be paying increased attention.
- Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. If there is not a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road. You will be able to see approaching vehicles and, if necessary, step off the road.
- Consider alternate transportation. For some populations, particularly those 75 or older, pedestrian accidents are more dangerous because they may have increased frailty and/or be able to react less quickly to oncoming traffic.
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