Many people, in the San Diego area and across the country are spending a great deal more time at home. While walking has always been a popular activity, now more than ever, people are looking for ways to get outside to enjoy some exercise, fresh air and simply a change of scenery. Unfortunately, most pedestrians share space with motorized vehicles, so walking is not always the safe activity it should be. In fact, California residents who walk are 37 times more likely to become involved in a collision than cyclists and motorists. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation declared October National Pedestrian Safety Month, and Caltrans, the California Transportation Commission and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are all working on plans for changes intended to improve pedestrian safety.
Promoting transportation options and increasing pedestrian safety
The California Transportation Commission has dedicated funds toward improvements aimed to promote transportation options, including new bike lanes, sidewalk repairs, new crosswalks and bus stop shelters. As well, the OTS has provided funding for programs intended to improve road safety for pedestrians. Plans include developing “walking school buses” which allow students to walk to school in groups at the same time as they learn how to safely walk in traffic areas, as well as improving conditions for older adult pedestrians, particularly in high-collision areas.
Promoting safe habits for drivers and pedestrians
In addition to changes to the infrastructure, people should know the equal importance of behavior changes in improving pedestrian safety. For example, drivers are smart to slow down on busy roads and at intersections and crosswalks, refrain from distracting behavior in the vehicle and take extra precautions when driving at night, such as reducing speed and turning on headlights. For their part, pedestrians should avoid using their phone while walking, use marked crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers and wear reflective clothing at night.
Unfortunately, collisions between pedestrians and motorized vehicles do happen. Although, hopefully, this increased focus on pedestrian safety will lead to fewer tragedies, each year in California, and across the country, some pedestrians will be killed or seriously injured. Often, victims or their surviving families of these types of situations seek assistance from an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury law. The lawyer can explain options for legal recourse, which may include pursuing a lawsuit through the civil justice system.