When we walk across the street whether it be in a crosswalk, at a stoplight, or elsewhere, we are putting ourselves in the paths of cars which may or may not be mindful of our safety. The same goes for cyclists who must share the road and face dangers from vehicles passing by or crossing in front of them as well as from drivers of parked cars who may inadvertently open their doors in front of an oncoming bike.
Pedestrians and cyclists not only face shared dangers from cars, they can pose threats to each other as well. Recently, a Fairfield woman walking in New York’s Central Park was tragically struck by a speeding cyclist, leaving her in critical condition.
Increase in Accidents Leads to New Safety Initiative
Injuries and deaths involving pedestrians or cyclists are far too common and are becoming even more so. Injuries and fatalities of pedestrian and bicyclists have steadily increased since 2009, at a rate higher than fatalities from car accidents. From 2011 to 2012, pedestrian deaths rose 6 percent and bicyclist fatalities went up almost 7 percent. This has led the U.S. Department of Transportation to recently launch a new initiative to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities “through a comprehensive approach that addresses infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety and data collection.”
In Connecticut, 351 residents were killed while walking between 2003 – 2012, a figure that represents 12.6 percent of the 2,780 traffic-related fatalities in the state during this period. While numerous state laws, such as one that requires Connecticut motorists to allow at least three feet of separation when overtaking and passing cyclists, are designed to enhance the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, avoiding serious or fatal accidents requires the vigilance and awareness of those walking and biking on or near our streets.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Some key safety tips for pedestrians include:
- Walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks whenever possible.
- Obey traffic lights and walk signals.
- Make yourself visible (wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking at night)
- Be careful of the blind spots around cars, trucks, and buses when walking near or around them, and never walk behind a car or a truck that is backing up.
- Always assume the driver does not know that you are there and that it is up to you to stay safe.
Tips for Cyclists
- Obey all traffic control devices
- Use hand signals to indicate stops and turns other users
- Always wear a properly fitting helmet
- Make sure that your bicycle is in safe condition
- Always ride on the right side, with the flow of traffic
- Ride in a straight line
- Check for traffic before entering street or intersection
- Be visible with brightly colored clothing, lights, or reflective tape
- Make eye contact with motorists
Nugent & Bryant: Your Connecticut Personal Injury Law Firm
At Nugent & Bryant, we have worked hard to build a reputation as one of Connecticut’s premier law firms advocating for accident victims’ rights. We are an exceptional law firm that has been achieving results for our clients over 30 years. If you have suffered a personal injury or catastrophic injury, call us today at (203) 795-1111 for a free consultation.
This article has been prepared by Nugent & Bryant for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.