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Pedestrian safety: Steps to take to avoid injury

In Oregon, a pedestrian is any person who is walking on foot or traveling while confined to a wheelchair. These individuals are at risk of serious injury if they're hit by a car, truck, bus, or other kind of vehicle. The injuries they suffer are directly related to the speed the vehicle is traveling, making it possible for even moderately quick vehicles to cause life-threatening injuries in a collision.

To keep safe, pedestrians should know some of the rules of Oregon's roads. For instance, if you're facing a traffic control device with a green light, you can cross the road unless another signal is telling you not to. If there is a crossing signal, then you must obey what it says. If it says "walk," then you can walk. If it says, "don't walk," or "stop," then you should not enter the roadway. If you're already in the roadway, quickly finish crossing while being particularly careful to watch the roads for oncoming traffic and drivers who may not expect you in the roadway.

Remember, even if you have the right to cross the street, drivers may not be paying attention. Negligence is more common than you may think; eating behind the wheel, feeling drowsy when driving, or texting friends can all lead to collisions. Always look both ways and make sure to listen for oncoming traffic. If a driver doesn't appear to be slowing or isn't looking up, wait to cross until that vehicle has passed.

If you are hit, know that you have every right to seek compensation. The driver should have insurance that you can file a claim with, so you can receive the money you need while you recover.

Source: Oregon.gov, "Oregon Pedestrian, Bicycle and Driver Rules," accessed July 01, 2016

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