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How do pedestrians stay safe on the roads?

Out of all motor vehicle accidents in California, 22 percent have resulted in pedestrian fatalities.  Many more pedestrians are seriously injured by cars operated by distracted drivers, drivers under the influence, or drivers unaware of traffic laws.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has created several guidelines that help protect pedestrians from a collision that can end in serious injury or even death.

What is a pedestrian?

The most common pedestrian accidents involve someone on foot on roads or sidewalks. Roller skaters, stakeboarders, and roller bladers are included in this category because these devices involve use of the feet.

Bicycles are considered vehicles if the cyclist has mounted the bicycle, so cyclists are not categorized as pedestrians if they are not walking their bikes when struck by a motor vehicle. Disabled people using tricycles, quadricycles or wheelchairs are also considered pedestrians.

What are the most dangerous vehicles to a pedestrian?

Any car, truck or bus that pedestrians cannot see is a hazard, and it is important for pedestrians to stay on sidewalks or in marked crosswalks to stay safe. Hybrid and electric vehicles also require extra care because their engines are exceptionally quiet.

How can drivers best avoid accidents with pedestrians?

Drivers should stop for any pedestrian standing or waiting at a crosswalk. Crosswalks are occasionally in the middle of street blocks, or may be marked with signs or only with surface paint, so be aware when you see a pedestrian who appears to be waiting to cross the street.

Do not pass cars stopped at crosswalks, as vehicles may obscure pedestrians. Stopping in crosswalks is also not advised, as blocking the sidewalk can be an  obstruction for pedestrians.

Despite the best efforts of California drivers, accidents may occur. If you are a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle of any kind, you may wish to seek qualified legal advice on your eligibility for benefits or compensation for your related expenses.

Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles, "Laws and Rules of the Road," accessed July 07, 2017

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