Walking is a popular form of transportation for many reasons. Walking saves money, provides exercise, and helps the environment. Many Americans may also believe that walking is a safer form of transportation than riding a bicycle or driving a motor vehicle, however that is not necessarily the case. Statistics show that pedestrians may be 1.5 times more likely to suffer injuries on each trip than passengers or drivers of motor vehicles. In fact, the Injury Prevention and Control division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) reports that in 2010, 70,000 pedestrians suffered injuries in accidents and an additional 4,280 pedestrians were killed in accidents. This means that one pedestrian was injured on average every eight minutes, and one pedestrian died in an accident once every two hours.
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These numbers are not insignificant, and the CDC considers pedestrian accidents to be a public safety issue for the United States. The CDC spends money, time, and energy researching the circumstances surrounding pedestrian accidents, compiling data to find common scenarios, and designing educational materials for both children and adults to help prevent pedestrian accidents and injuries. The CDC also works to determine the demographic groups of pedestrians who are the most vulnerable to accidents, injuries, or death. Researchers have identified especially high risk groups as:
The CDC advises that these groups be particularly careful when walking on streets or sidewalks, and also offers some general safety tips for all pedestrians. For instance, pedestrians should always use a sidewalk, though if no sidewalk exists, always walk facing oncoming traffic. Additionally, pedestrians should always cross streets at intersections with crosswalks and/or traffic signals whenever possible. Pedestrians walking at night should wear reflective clothing or carry a light to increase visibility for drivers. Finally, if you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you should always call an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to help you recover.