Regular walking is a basic form of exercise. Medical professionals and publications tell people that they should get 10,000 steps a day or more if possible. Most adults also realize that walking is cheaper and better for the environment than driving every time they need to take a short trip somewhere.
Whether you walk for exercise or practical reasons, you take personal risk when you share the road with motor vehicles. Pedestrians have always borne the brunt of the risk in a crash between a person and a vehicle, but the risk currently is higher than it has been for many years.
Crash data shows an alarming increase in pedestrian deaths
Tracking traffic deaths by state and grouping them by cause and type of crash help policymakers and drivers make better safety decisions. Pedestrians seemingly have more risk now than they did 10 years ago in the United States.
When you look at overall motor vehicle crash rates, you see that the number of collisions has only gone up 5% over the last decade. However, when you look at pedestrian crashes specifically, the increase is a shocking 46% compared with 10 years ago. In 2010, there were a total of 4,302 pedestrian deaths nationwide. In 2019, that figure rose to 6,301. A federal analysis of 2020 and 2021 data is not yet available, but the chances are good that the increase has continued in the last two years.
It is worth noting that 2020 saw a significant increase in crashes and traffic fatalities, and preliminary data shows that 2021 likely kept that trend going strong.
How can you protect yourself as a pedestrian?
You obviously can’t just give up walking anywhere because people in vehicles can be irresponsible. Still, you can make choices about how to reduce your risk. Choosing to walk on streets with lower speed limits could save your life, as higher speed have an association with a greater likelihood of death for pedestrians.
Choosing to cross at marked locations and to wear illuminated gear or bright colors if you frequently go out to walk for exercise would also be smart. Taking extra care when walking during early morning hours, evening hours and after the sunset can also help you avoid a pedestrian crash.
If you do get hurt by a driver, you can likely make a claim against their motor vehicle insurance policy. Injured pedestrians in their family members may also have the legal right to file a civil lawsuit if there isn’t active insurance on a vehicle or the coverage isn’t enough to pay for all the losses suffered. Knowing your risk for a pedestrian crash and your rights if you experience one can protect you when you go out for a walk in Louisiana.