Pedestrian collisions are a serious public safety problem throughout the country. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that nearly 6,000 Americans are killed in pedestrian accidents each year. Many tens of thousands more people suffer serious injuries.
Five states, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona account for half of all U.S. pedestrian accident deaths, although only having 32.8% of the population.
Pedestrian safety is front-page news in the City of San Jose where pedestrian accidents are on the rise.
According to a report from KPIX CBS San Francisco, 2019 was the deadliest year for pedestrians in San Jose in several decades with 28 dead. While the San Jose Transportation Department says its “first priority” is improving the safety of our streets for everyone, as of mid-September of this year, the San Jose Police Department already has confirmed 13 pedestrian fatalities, no doubt reduced as a result of the pandemic shut-down and reduced traffic, but nonetheless significant.
Strategies to Reduce Pedestrian Collisions
Here are three specific strategies to improve pedestrian safety in San Jose and other large cities:
- Reduce Traffic Speed: San Jose can reduce pedestrian collisions (and other accidents) by reducing the speed of traffic and enforcing it. It is especially important to focus on limiting the speed of vehicles in areas with a large amount of pedestrian foot traffic. When drivers slow down, they are less likely to strike pedestrians. Further, if an accident does occur, it is less likely to be fatal.
- Create Dedicated Spaces for Pedestrians: San Jose has already committed to investing additional resources into creating protected spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists. When pedestrians and bicyclists have dedicated areas that are protected from traffic, the rate of pedestrian accidents fall. Indeed, even relatively simple steps like marking off crosswalks can make a dramatic difference. Better yet, installing flashing strobes embedded in the crosswalk and crosswalk warning signs activated by pedestrians.
- Collect Data and Identify Problem Areas: Finally, San Jose should focus on improving its data collection. Police investigations of all pedestrian events, including those with non-serious injuries, will provide details of collisions that is not available from SWITRS, the statewide traffic collision information system collected by police departments and maintained by the California Highway Patrol. SWITRS reports identify the time and location of collisions, but lack specific data on the movement of pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and other vehicles leading to a crash. When traffic engineers know exactly how and why pedestrian accidents happen, they are, in a better position to provide safety solutions.
Of course, pedestrians must protect their own health and safety by following these rules of the road:
- Cars always win – pedestrians do not.
- Stop signs and red lights don’t stop cars.
- Cross only at intersections; no mid-street crossings.
- Never enter a crosswalk on a yellow light: its legal for cars but not pedestrians.
- Before crossing in front of a car, get the driver’s attention by waving.
- Always make eye contact with a driver before crossing in front of a car.
- Wear white at night or carry a light to increase your visibility.
- Never use a black umbrella – especially dangerous at night blocking a driver’s view of your face and worse at night.
- Use a striped bright umbrella.
- Never text while walking on a street or crossing an intersection.
- When there are no sidewalks, walk on the left facing oncoming traffic.
Contact Our San Jose Pedestrian Accident Attorneys for Immediate Help
Alexander Law Group, LLP attorneys are available to answer questions and share our knowledge of the law and the results of our research and experience. Our goal as personal injury lawyers is to make a difference for our clients. Every day we deal with a range of health and safety issues that most people do not encounter until after an injury occurs. As safety lawyers we are committed to providing our clients and the public with information for safer and healthier living. Call 888-777-1776 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you.