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Why being a pedestrian today is no walk in the park

While certainly the oldest and most environmentally-friendly and economical mode of transportation, walking can also be dangerous. This is especially true in urban and congested areas like San Diego and its neighboring communities where pedestrians are involved, injured and killed in traffic accidents with far too much frequency.

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that during 2010 alone, more than 4,200 pedestrians succumbed to fatal injuries suffered in accidents involving motor vehicles. Frequently fatal pedestrian accidents involve children under the age of 14 or adults over the age of 65. A large percentage of fatal pedestrian accidents also involve individuals who are considered to be legally drunk.

Individuals who choose to walk or bike in and around San Diego should take steps to protect against becoming a victim of a pedestrian and car accident. Walkers and bikers would be wise to heed the following safety advice.

  • Stay alert, watchful and vigilant - never cross the street without looking or assume drivers will obey crosswalk or other traffic signals
  • Don't walk or bike while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Avoid wearing headphones, talking on the phone or engaging in other types of distracting behaviors while walking or biking
  • Walk on sidewalks and use designated crosswalks when crossing the street
  • Be visible - wear reflective or brightly colored clothing and avoid walking during diminished daylight hours

Today's drivers are frequently distracted and many engage in unsafe driving behaviors like speeding and running traffic lights. Drivers who engage in these types of distracted and dangerous activities pose a great risk to other drivers and passengers and especially to pedestrians.

In cases where a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle, resulting injuries are likely to be serious and debilitating in nature. In accidents where a driver is believed to have been at fault, an individual or his or her family may choose to take legal action to recover compensation.

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, "Safety Tips for Pedestrians," 2014

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