A recent pedestrian accident in downtown Royal Oak reminds drivers to driving carefully in dense pedestrian areas. It is also one more grisly example of the importance of crossing at crosswalks.
On May 29, 2015, a minivan struck a 56 year old pedestrian near West Sixth Street and South Washington. The minivan driver was backing up into a parking space when he struck the pedestrian who had stepped into the parking spot. The police were quick to note:
“The victim was not legally crossing the street when the accident occurred.”
The man suffered significant head and back injuries and was taken to William Beaumont Hospital.
A Message to Drivers
This accident, along with the 76,000 pedestrian accidents that happen every year, remind drivers to drive particularly carefully in areas with high pedestrian activity. Downtown areas, full of bars, restaurants, and shops, pose special hazards, particularly on weekends. And the problem is not going away. Last year, pedestrian deaths rose 40% during the first 6 months.
Pedestrians are most often a traffic risk on the edges of the roadway – like in this recent accident, which happened in an on-street parking lot. Particularly at night, be sure to keep a sharp look out between the parked cars along the side of the road. You never know when someone might step out into traffic.
How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can be very serious. Every year, over 4,000 people die after being hit by a car. But there are some things pedestrians can do to avoid becoming part of that statistic.
A dark coat and pants can all but disappear at night. If you are going to be walking at night, wear bright colored clothing or reflective patches, and carry a flashlight. Drivers’ eyes are adjusted for headlights, so by creating your own light, you make yourself more likely to be seen.
Major intersections almost always have lined and lighted crosswalks available for pedestrian traffic. This is where drivers expect pedestrians to be, and will be looking for them. By crossing at a crosswalk you minimize the risk of surprising a driver and being hit before he or she has time to react.
Crossing at a crosswalk also has the benefit of being legal. While very few people get ticketed for jaywalking outside of an accident, if you are struck while crossing in the middle of the street, you could risk losing your Third Party lawsuit benefits including pain, suffering, and disability. That is because you will be at fault for at least part of your injuries.
Pedestrian accidents can result in serious and life changing accidents, for both driver and walker. Especially in busy downtown areas, make sure to pay extra attention to avoid these catastrophic crashes.
David Christensen is a pedestrian accident attorney for Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team help injured walkers get benefits from their no-fault insurance and the at-fault driver to cover their medical expenses. If you or someone you know has been struck by a car, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.