Arizona’s rapid expansion over the past few decades has unfortunately led to many roads being built without key pedestrian safety features like sidewalks or street lighting. This inadequate infrastructure leaves pedestrians dangerously exposed, making them far more vulnerable to being struck by vehicles. If a dangerous intersection led to your pedestrian accident, speak to our Phoenix personal injury attorney today.
The Risks of No Sidewalks
Roads lacking sidewalks force people to walk along the shoulder or directly adjacent to traffic. This removes the crucial physical barrier and separation that sidewalks provide between vehicles and pedestrians. Many drivers do not expect to see people walking on the road itself and may not notice them in time to stop, especially at higher speeds or at night.
In addition, road shoulders often have steep slopes or deep drainage ditches just feet from the traffic lanes. This gives pedestrians very little safe space between fast-moving vehicles and treacherous drop-offs and waterways by the road’s edge. Losing footing can easily lead to catastrophic falls into flood channels or getting trapped in brush while trying to avoid an oncoming car.
Insufficient Lighting Greatly Increases Danger
Besides infrastructure shortcomings, insufficient lighting is another major risk factor for pedestrian collisions and fatalities. Extensive research shows over 50% of all pedestrian deaths occur on dark roads nationwide. Without adequate street lighting, drivers experience severely reduced visibility and often cannot spot people walking near or across the road until it is too late to stop.
Why High Speed Limits Endanger Pedestrians
Higher speed limits also disproportionately endanger pedestrian safety. Vehicles moving at faster speeds have much longer stopping distances. At just 30 mph a car travels over four times further to stop than at 15 mph. Higher speeds give drivers less reaction time to spot hazards and pedestrians as well. Tragically, research shows a pedestrian is killed 90% of the time if hit by vehicle moving over 40 mph.
Curved Roads Reduce Visibility
Winding or hilly roads with limited sight lines also contribute to pedestrian risk. Vehicles approaching around a bend or hill may not even glimpse walkers near or crossing the road ahead until they crest it. High crown roads reduce visibility as well.
Insufficient Crossing Opportunities
Marked crosswalks with signals or stop signs provide sanctuary for crossing roads with heavier traffic. Many Arizona roads force pedestrians to walk directly alongside vehicles lack designated places for safely crossing. This leaves the onus fully upon the pedestrian to try and dash across faster moving traffic.
What Arizona Can Do Better – Pedestrian Safety Recommendations
Add Sidewalks & Pedestrian Refuge Medians
Begin infrastructure projects adding both sidewalks and pedestrian refuge medians to provide safe crossing opportunities along hazardous roads currently forcing walkers into traffic. Refuge medians give protection mid-way across busy streets.
Invest in Street Lighting Improvements
Allocate funding to install highly visible, bright LED pedestrian street lighting along currently unlit routes with speed limits over 30 mph. Prioritize rural roads and large highways with pedestrian traffic but no lights.
Lower Speed Limits
Reduce speed limits to 25 mph on 2-lane roads in areas with pedestrian activity but lacking sidewalks or lighting infrastructure. Consider speed limit reductions on all roads lacking designated safe crossing points.
Increase Use of Speed Feedback Signs
Expand solar powered radar enabled speed feedback signs along pedestrian-traveled corridors plagued by speeding. Alerting drivers when they are exceeding the limit can effectively slow speeds.
Add Crossing Signals & Signage
Accelerate projects adding more smart pedestrian detection crosswalk signals, lighted crossing beacons and stop signs at key crossing areas on busier arterials. Enhance road paint making crosswalks more visible. Add signage alerting drivers to expect pedestrian activity.
What to Do If You’re Hit by a Car as a Pedestrian
Seek Medical Care Immediately
If you are able, immediately call 911 to report the incident and request emergency medical assistance after getting struck as a pedestrian. Adrenaline often masks internal injuries, so it is vital to get checked out by professionals even if you feel able to walk away unscathed. Certain traumatic injuries like internal bleeding, spinal damage, brain injury or broken bones often have delayed reactions but can swiftly become life-threatening without urgent treatment. Seeking medical care quickly is crucial for both physical recovery and documenting wounds.
Save Evidence from the Scene
While waiting for first responders, try to safely take photos of any vehicle damage, skid marks on the road, your injuries, blood on the pavement and the exact location of the collision if possible. Having timestamped images of these could help validate and strengthen your case later. Also, try to hand write down the license plate of the vehicle that hit you and the name of the insurance company decals. If any passersby witnessed the incident, get their contact info too.
File a Traffic Collision Report
When the police arrive, fully cooperate and provide a thorough statement on every detail you can recall related to the crash. Be completely truthful about precisely where you were located when the vehicle impacted you, whether crossing or walking along the side. If the driver fled the scene without stopping, supply the officers with any possible details on their vehicle like color, make, model and body details along with the license plate details. This key info aids police in identifying and charging hit-and-run drivers.
Execute Healthcare Provider Forms
Make certain to comply with all administrative paperwork required by healthcare providers. Submit detailed injury reports fully outlining the traumatic event and all symptoms you develop post-collision. Grant release forms allowing your medical team to share health reports related to accident injuries with your insurance provider and personal injury attorney to incorporate into your legal claim.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Pedestrian accident law can be highly complex. Thus, it is strongly advisable to hire an experienced personal injury attorney like Monge & Associates to represent your unique case. We understand state negligence laws and procedures for claiming damages related to medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and more on your behalf. Our attorneys manage communication with insurance companies and negotiations while you focus energy on healing. Meticulous documentation and experienced legal guidance are invaluable for reaching the maximum deserved settlement.
We have offices in 32 locations and 19 states, including Arizona, Nebraska, and Utah, so you are sure to find one near you.
Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if they have been hurt in an accident (or similar).