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Pedestrian accidents still a major problem nationwide

After decades of depending on cars to get around, a growing number of Americans are rediscovering the benefits and joys of walking. It's good for your health and good for the environment. Unfortunately, more often than not, being a pedestrian in most major U.S. cities is dangerous or even deadly.

Because America's infrastructure was designed and built around the automobile, our city streets are not just inconvenient for non-automobile travelers; they are actually dangerous. This problem is the focus of an annual report from an advocacy group called Smart Growth America. The report "Dangerous By Design" highlights pedestrian death statistics and discusses how poorly designed infrastructure is largely to blame for these accidents.

According to the report, an average of 13 pedestrians are killed each day in the United States. For the year 2014, that amounted to 4,884 pedestrians killed after being struck by motor vehicles. Pedestrian death rates are higher in poorer neighborhoods, and the most likely victims are the elderly, people of color and people without health insurance.

The good news for our state is that no Maryland cities were included in the 12 deadliest metro areas for 2016. But like most of the country, Rockville and other Maryland cities suffer from infrastructure designs that could be contributing to accidents. These include wide, straight roads running through residential areas and commercial areas with foot traffic. These highway-like roads encourage drivers to travel faster than they might otherwise go.

Other problems that could lead to pedestrian/bicycle accidents include:

  • Intersections with poorly timed crossing signals
  • Unclear or faded crosswalk lines on the pavement
  • Lack of dedicated bike lanes
  • Lack of sidewalks, or sidewalks that are obstructed
  • Large intersections that make it difficult for left-turning and right-turning drivers to see pedestrians

In any collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to be injured or killed than an occupant of the vehicle is. In light of this, it is ironic that so much work in recent decades has gone into making auto travel safer, while very little work has been done to improve safety for pedestrians.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, the crash could have been the result of poor infrastructure design, driver negligence or a number of other factors. To learn more about your rights and legal options, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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