As vehicles have gotten larger and overall faster, being a pedestrian has become more dangerous. Even at low speeds, a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian can cause severe injury. At higher speeds, such collisions are often fatal.
People who walk for exercise or to minimize how much they use their motor vehicles are in danger, especially when they are in the actual road or crossing the road to reach another section of path or sidewalk. It takes efforts from many people, including drivers, to keep pedestrians safe.
How can society reduce pedestrian risks?
Individual pedestrians can protect their own safety with good walking habits, like crossing at marked crosswalks, wearing visibility gear and double-checking for vehicles before entering the street. Drivers can reduce their likelihood of causing a pedestrian crash by actively watching for pedestrians and always yielding the right of way when they see a person walking or even biking near them in the street.
The state of New Jersey helps by imposing traffic laws on drivers and penalizing those who hurt pedestrians. Local communities can also help keep they are pedestrians safer by adopting certain policies.
Cities can prioritize the creation and maintenance of sidewalks
Adequate sidewalk access and proper maintenance are crucial to the walkability of a community. Planning new areas and redeveloping old ones with sidewalks as a priority is important. So is investing local resources in maintaining those sidewalks.
Pedestrians can easily get hurt if they trip over uneven sidewalks caused by tree roots or frost heave. Properly maintaining sidewalks, especially in areas with high levels of pedestrian traffic can reduce the likelihood of a tragic pedestrian collision.
Local authorities can also fund placing signage and enforcing traffic laws. Using signs to indicate pedestrian crossings and speed limits can help remind drivers to be aware of others in the road. Having police officers out patrolling and citing those who endanger pedestrians can also help deter local drivers from unsafe practices.
When communities prioritize pedestrian safety, they protect not only the members of their own municipality but also visiting tourists. Recognizing how many parties play a role in preventing pedestrian crashes can help those affected by these kinds of wrecks explore their opportunities for justice.