Each year, around 4,500 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents around the United States. Around 8 percent of the deaths take place near roads, where people have to walk along the roadways. The unfortunate fact is that many of these accidents are preventable with safety precautions and foresight.
What would help reduce the risk of a pedestrian accident?
Simply adding walkways to busy areas of towns or cities creates a safe place for pedestrians without putting them at risk of being hit by being too close to vehicles. While many roads have shoulders that pedestrians can use, it doesn't place enough distance between them and the vehicles.
Do sidewalks really reduce the number of crashes that take place?
Sidewalks reduce the number of pedestrian crashes that take place. When a road doesn't have one, it is more than twice as common to see a pedestrian injured in a crash. Realistically, the more distance there is between people and vehicles makes pedestrians feel safer, and having these walkways keeps communities walking and active outside.
How much does having a paved shoulder affect crash rates?
By adding a paved shoulder alone, the number of head-on crashes can be reduced by 15 to 75 percent. Sideswipe crashes are reduced by 15 to 41 percent, and pedestrian crashes involving pedestrians walking on a roadway are reduced by a shocking 71 percent.
If you're a pedestrian, the safest way to walk is always on a sidewalk or paved shoulder facing traffic. When one isn't present, walk as close to the side of the road as possible while facing traffic. Drivers should not swerve out of lane or onto sidewalks, and if they do, you have a right to file a claim.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, "Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders," accessed Feb. 19, 2017