When you cross the street, walk to and from your office on your lunch break, or traverse Seattle’s sidewalks as you enjoy a night out on the town, just how safe are you? Whether or not you follow pedestrian traffic laws such as crossing at crosswalks instead of ‘jaywalking’, pedestrians are at risk for all kinds of injury and even death – just by walking down the street.
Luckily, ours is one of the safest national cities for pedestrians. Earlier this year, the Seattle Times reported on a study that found, “Among large U.S. cities, Seattle has the second-lowest fatality rate for pedestrians and cyclists, according to a new report … Seattle came away with the second-lowest fatality rate for pedestrians.” (Click here for a map of collisions involving pedestrians and/or bicyclists from 2007-August 2014.)
However, walkers still need to practice caution while they go about their travels throughout the city – particularly if they are elderly, as a 2011 local Crosscut article noted. More than half of the 62 traffic fatalities from 2008-2010 involved pedestrians, and the average age of the 25 pedestrian fatalities was 64.
As the numbers of people biking and/or walking to work only increase, there is more risk for personal injury and fatality. But there are ways that pedestrians in particular can improve on the safety of their commute. Here are some tips for avoiding pedestrian accidents in Seattle…
- Follow pedestrian traffic laws. Many walkers know that vehicles and even cyclists must always yield to pedestrians. While this is certainly true, that doesn’t make it safe to assume or trust that drivers and cyclists will – or can – do so. Don’t cross the street where there is not a marked crosswalk or pedestrian crossing sign. Even then, look both ways and wait for drivers and cyclists to come to a complete stop before crossing in front of them.
- Walk with others. Research has shown that accidents and fatalities resulting from pedestrian-car accidents are reduced in areas where there are more people walking. As you commute, choose routes with higher pedestrian traffic.
- Be noticeable and alert. When walking at night, wear reflective and bright clothing, and if you can, carry a flashlight. Do not walk and talk on the phone or text-message – especially when crossing the street. Stay alert and take note of vehicles that seem to be speeding, allowing them to pass or stop before you cross the street in front of them.
If you or someone you love is a pedestrian involved in an accident with a car or bicyclist, please contact our offices to acquire the guidance and expertise to seek justice.
Featured photo source: Flickr.
Cyclists can save a lot on their monthly and annual costs by biking to work instead of driving, and it also improves their health and fitness! Seattle and the Greater Seattle areas are popular for cyclists of all levels of skill. Approximately 20 percent of Washington State residents rode a bicycle in 2001, and it is the fastest growing mode of transportation in our region, according to the Cascade Bicycle Club.
The Seattle Department of Transportation reports that more than 158,000 Seattleites ride bikes – either for general recreation or to get to a destination (such as work). Seattle is ranked number two in the nation for urban walking and bicycling, as the Seattle Times reported this spring. However, hundreds of bicycle collisions still happen each year – more than 1,800 accidents involving a cyclist were reported between 2007-2011. Click here for more bicycling safety statistics.
Cyclists of all skill levels need to be alert, follow traffic and safety laws, and know their rights to avoid and protect themselves from car accidents and the repercussions.
Here are the important steps to follow when you get into a bicycle accident – particularly if it’s an accident involving another motor vehicle:
- Call the police. If you are able, call the police immediately after the bike accident and wait for them to arrive. If the police are involved, you can be sure that correct contact information will be exchanged. Additionally, the police will write an accident report so that there is documentation of the incident – you may need this later, to press insurance claims. Make sure to report all personal injuries even if they seem to be minor – after an accident, adrenaline in your body may trick you into thinking you are uninjured, so be aware. If there were any witnesses to the accident, it is helpful to also have them report what they saw or heard.
- Exchange information. Of course, you should get the contact information for everyone involved in the accident – the driver of the car(s), and any witnesses. For any vehicles involved, obtain the driver’s name, insurance information, phone number, home address, and driver’s license number. You should also get the contact information for any witnesses to the bicycle accident.
- Contact a Personal Injury Attorney. Before you contact the insurance companies, you should find and choose a personal injury attorney to help you with your case. These kinds of lawyers are skilled in this kind of situation, to ensure you receive the fullest extent of just compensation for damages to yourself, your bike, and future costs associated with the accident. If you talk to an insurance company before speaking to a lawyer, you may not receive the full recompense you are eligible for under the law.
Click here for some more tips on handling bicycle accidents with cars, according to a blog at Bicycling.com. Should you get into a bicycle accident with a car, contact Martin Law, PLLC for excellent, skillful support and guidance through the after-accident process.
Featured photo credit Flickr user Fort Greene Focus.