Summer is here which means more people are out walking or riding their bikes. This also means that there more pedestrians and bicyclist are at risk of being struck by a motorist while enjoying their activity. Preliminary data shows that pedestrian and bicyclist accident deaths increased last year, even though there was a slight drop in the number of traffic accident fatalities recorded in 2018.
The agency projected estimates of the total number of traffic accident fatalities for 2018, and believes that that number may be in the range of 36,750. That is a one percent increase from the number of deaths that occurred in 2018.
That is the good news. The bad news is that there was a significant 4 percent increase in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities recorded last year. Overall, pedestrian accident deaths increased from 12 percent of all traffic accident deaths in 2017, to 16 percent of all deaths in 2018. Further, bicycling accident fatalities, according to agency data, are projected to increase by 10 percent.
Georgia’s record on pedestrian safety is coming under the scanner. Earlier this year, a report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that Georgia, along with four other states, accounted for a staggering 40 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.
These statistics are alarming, and should spur transportation agencies in Georgia to take some action. The fact that more people are dying as they walk or bike through our streets should be a matter of concern. Motorists need to be more vigilant about the fact that there are more pedestrian and bicyclists on our roads now, and drive accordingly.
Lock out for pedestrians at all items while driving. Sometimes, pedestrians are not crossing the street or standing where you expect them to be. This is especially true for younger pedestrians. The roads were not made for motorists alone, and as a driver, you must take responsibility of this fact.
Drive at safe speeds. Speeding simply makes it difficult for you to stop in time to avoid a pedestrian who suddenly darts out in front of you or to stop in time at a crosswalk.
Always respect crosswalks. The pedestrian has the right of way on the cross walk. Wait for all pedestrians to cross and to get the all-clear before you move forward. Do not assume that you have the right to move ahead because there are no pedestrians on the crosswalk.
Be especially careful about looking out for pedestrians during poor visibility, like during rains or bad weather. Also remember that most pedestrian accidents occur in the dark. Look out for pedestrians while driving at night.
When a pedestrian, or bicyclist, is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the result can be very serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer and discuss whether you have legal options for a claim. Remember, you may be eligible for damages even if you were at least partly to blame in your accident. Discuss your options, and find out the kind of damages you might be entitled to receive. These could include medical costs, lost income and pain suffering damages.