September is observed as California Pedestrian Safety Month and the goal of this to bring down the numbers of pedestrians being injured or killed on California’s roadways. Several state agencies, law enforcement agencies and community partners statewide including here in Southern California are urging pedestrians and drivers to be aware of each other at all times and to share the road responsibly.
The Seriousness of the Problem
This awareness is important because pedestrian deaths are on the rise both in California and nationwide. According to the Office of Traffic Safety, in 2016 alone, 867 pedestrians were killed and more than 14,000 were injured on California’s roadways. Since 2012, pedestrian fatalities have increased by nearly 33 percent, growing substantially faster than any other type of traffic-related death.
The OTS has launched a campaign called “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor,” which highlights the importance of pedestrian safety, both for those on foot and those behind the wheel. The campaign features everyday pedestrian dressed in body armor made from car parts to symbolize the fact that pedestrians don’t have protection when they are struck by a vehicle, regardless of who is at fault.
Tips for Pedestrians and Motorists
If you are a pedestrian, it is important to make sure you walk in areas that are designated for foot traffic such as crosswalks and sidewalks. Make eye contact with motorists. Don’t assume they’ve seen you. Look out for cars that are backing up. Avoid all types of distractions and don’t use your phone while you are walking. Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night so you are more visible to motorists.
Drivers should be alert and look out for pedestrians especially at crosswalks and intersections where pedestrians have the right of way. Motorists should slow down especially at school zones where children are walking. Put down the cell phone and focus on the roadway. Exercise extra caution when you are backing up. Look out for approaching bicyclists or pedestrians. Even if you are not at an intersection, be watchful for pedestrians.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages and losses. Contact an experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer who can give you more information regarding your legal rights and options.