The prevention of pedestrian collisions has become a top priority as data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continually shows an increase in the number of walkers killed in accidents. Even as other types of crash deaths decline, pedestrians are dying in ever-larger numbers with increases in the death toll almost every year. NHTSA data from 2012, for example, showed a six percent increase in pedestrian fatalities from the prior year and there were more pedestrians killed over the course of that year than in the five years before.
There are many factors explaining why pedestrians are becoming more likely to die in accidents even as drivers are less likely to be killed. One issue is that infrastructure is still generally designed to accommodate vehicles rather than to prioritize pedestrian safety. Driver negligence is also another big factor leading to pedestrian deaths, especially when drivers operate their vehicles in a manner unsafe for the conditions of the road.
After a collision, an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer can provide assistance to victims in determining if road design was the crash cause or if driver carelessness was to blame. Determining who was responsible is essential for recovery of compensation for collision losses.
What Road Features Make Pedestrian Crashes in Atlanta Less Likely?
While efforts are made to improve road safety for pedestrians, it is not always clear exactly what makes a road safe for someone to walk on. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) provided a road safety assessment checklist in a recent presentation about improving conditions for pedestrians.
Some of the key factors that determine whether a road is a safe place for pedestrians to be include the following:
- The presence or absence of sidewalks. When no sidewalks are present, a road shoulder that is wide enough for people to walk on can also provide a safe walking space.
- The condition of sidewalks. Sidewalks need to be maintained adequately and shouldn’t have debris or other temporary or permanent obstacles that prevent safe passage.
- The design of sidewalks. Sidewalks about be designed to ensure they are not too steep for people to walk on. There should be clear signs pointing to pedestrian crossing areas and to access ways.
- The continuity of sidewalks. Sidewalks should be continuous without large gaps. There should be minimal driveways that people could come out of to hit pedestrians on the sidewalks.
- The accessibility of sidewalks. Sidewalks should be accessible from mass transit areas and should be accessible to residential areas. There should be steps taken to ensure those with visual impairments can identify where sidewalks begin and end. If there are stairs, ramps should be available to allow for the passage of people with handicaps.
- The visibility of sidewalks. Sidewalks should be clearly visible and there shouldn’t be obstacles that make it harder for drivers to see people walking on the sidewalks. There should be plenty of light on the sidewalks, including street lights, both so pedestrians can see and so drivers can see them.
- The size of sidewalks. Sidewalks should be big enough to accommodate all pedestrians, even during peak times.
Far too many streets fail in many of the key criteria. Steps need to be taken to design infrastructure with pedestrian interests in mind if crash prevention efforts are to be effective.
The Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC can represent you after an injury while you are walking. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.