Every year pedestrian fatalities comprise over 12% of all traffic fatalities, totaling over 4,000 pedestrian deaths each year. As a Bellevue personal injury lawyer I know that pedestrian injuries and deaths can be avoided if both drivers and pedestrians follow safe driving and walking laws. To avoid a potentially fatal accident, it is important for drivers and walkers to know when and where walkers have the right of way. Even cyclists have to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
Pedestrian accidents are not always the fault of the driver; here is a list of safety tips for walkers that will help avoid unnecessary injuries.
- Walk on sidewalks at all times and if they are not available walk on the edge of the road facing the flow of traffic.
- Always cross at marked crosswalks and intersections. Jaywalking is not only punishable with a $56 fine in Seattle but pedestrians are most often hit when crossing the road at an unmarked location.
- Look left and right, and then look again for traffic, and always obey traffic signals.
- Make sure that you are visible to drivers (69% of all fatalities happen at night).
Recently we have seen a few instances where pedestrians have run out into the road and were hit by a car that was unable to stop in time. Pedestrians cannot expect that drivers will automatically be able to stop in time once they see you in the roadway. Even the most aware driver would have a hard time not hitting someone that bolts out into the road. There are many areas, such as the freeway, that do not allow for pedestrians because of the danger involved. If cars travelling at slower speeds, like 35 mph, have a hard time stopping in time, imagine how difficult it would be for a car travelling 60 mph.
Statistics have shown that children and seniors are more likely to be struck by a vehicle than any other age group. As a Seattle pedestrian injury attorney I know that seniors can sometimes take longer than most to cross the road, but according to Washington State law, it is illegal to start driving through a crosswalk until the pedestrian has crossed the half-way point and are no longer in your lane or the lane next to you. As a pedestrian, the laws are pretty straightforward and simple to follow, but the most important things to remember are to always use a crosswalk and be aware of your surroundings at all times.