Pedestrian Accidents Increasing
In Colorado and throughout the United States, the number of accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians is on the rise. According to Streetsblog, pedestrian fatalities have increased 35% over the course of 10 years nationally, with approximately 5,000 pedestrian deaths and over 70,000 pedestrian injuries in 2018 alone. In Colorado, pedestrian fatalities have increased by a shocking 75% over the past decade. Sadly, the pedestrians most likely to be struck are children, the elderly and the impoverished.
What Is Causing The Increase In Accidents?
Many believe increased cellphone usage is at least partially to blame for the increase. Most states, including Colorado, have passed bans or restrictions on cellphone usage while driving. Notably, Hawaii has even passed a “distracted walking” law that prohibits pedestrians from looking at their cellphone screens while walking. This law is an exception in the legal landscape, at least for now.
Another often-cited reason for the rise in pedestrian deaths is the national increase in vehicle size. Because of its extra size and weight, an SUV is more dangerous to pedestrians than a traditional sedan. Additionally, the large majority of American roadways and cities are still designed for cars, not people. When sidewalks are absent and the next crosswalk is miles away, the risk to pedestrians is obviously higher.
Denver Adopts Vision Zero
In 2016, Denver attempted to improve safety for pedestrians by adopting Vision Zero, a travel safety program that aims to prioritize equity (pedestrians have a right to travel safely, too) and human life in all transit design decisions. Vision Zero is a comprehensive approach to traffic safety that involves data analysis; collaboration between traffic planners, engineers, policymakers and public health professionals; roadway restructuring; and speed management to prioritize human life over travel speed. This program is the force behind many of Denver’s road and sidewalk improvements over the past few years.
Some people wrongly assume that if a pedestrian is struck while crossing a street outside of a crosswalk, known as “jaywalking,” the accident will automatically be considered the pedestrian’s fault. This is not true. Pedestrians have a responsibility to watch where they are going, but drivers also have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and pay attention to the road. Every accident is different.
Injured In A Pedestrian Accident? Call Us.
Sadly, the injuries involved in pedestrian accidents are often debilitating, permanent or fatal. Common injuries, such as broken bones, internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often require lengthy hospital stays. Complete recovery is rare.
If you or a loved one has been injured while walking, you will need a fighter by your side. At Shafner Injury Law, we are Denver personal injury attorneys who have negotiated many successful recoveries for pedestrians who have been struck by motor vehicles. We want to help you, too.