Nationwide, more than 70,000 pedestrian injuries occur every year. An additional 6,000 pedestrian deaths also happen yearly. California often ranks higher in both pedestrian deaths and injuries than any other state. If you spend a lot of time in California, you should understand these facts about pedestrian accidents.
Definition of pedestrian
The term “pedestrian” refers to any person using the road or sidewalk without the use of a bicycle or a motor vehicle. Walkers make up a large percentage of pedestrians, but the category also includes people who use the following:
• Roller skates
Common causes of pedestrian accidents
The first step to protecting yourself from pedestrian accidents involves understanding why they happen. The common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
• Intoxicated vehicle drivers
• Nighttime walking
• Not using a sidewalk
• Drivers going above the speed limit
• Distracted walkers
• Bad weather
• Crosswalk use by children without supervision
Determining right of way
A common misconception involves the belief that pedestrians always have the right of way. That is not the case. All pedestrians must obey specific traffic laws, including safely crossing the street. If a pedestrian does not observe the laws, they may face legal and financial responsibility for causing an accident.
In California, motorists and pedestrians must follow these right-of-way laws:
• Motorists may only drive on the sidewalk when it’s required to cross the street.
• Pedestrians must obey traffic rules.
• Motorists must yield to pedestrians.
• Motorists must yield to blind pedestrians using a cane to cross a sidewalk.
• Drivers should stop five feet from crosswalks.
• Drivers should slow when approaching intersections.
Long-term consequences of pedestrian accidents
Pedestrian accidents may result in severe injuries that can create lingering health problems. In these circumstances, victims may choose to file personal injury claims seeking compensation for their losses.