Increases in traffic congestion and the costs associated with operating a motor vehicle have prompted cities throughout Oregon and Washington State to become more ‘walkable’. Infrastructure improvements have worked to make certain neighborhoods in Vancouver more pedestrian-friendly. However, there are still plenty of dangerous locations throughout the city where pedestrian accidents are more common. In the aftermath of a recent pedestrian fatality, it is important to be aware of the risks.
Pedestrian Fatality on Interstate 5 and Other Dangerous Places to Walk
A recent fatality on Interstate 5 highlights the importance of avoiding areas inherently dangerous to pedestrians. A November 3, 2019, Fox 12 Oregon News report states that a woman was struck and killed by a semi-truck while walking along the road on the previous Sunday evening. Police have not publicly identified the woman or the trucker, but they stated that alcohol or drugs were not involved and no charges have been filed in the case.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), highways and interstates are just one of several places were pedestrians face greater accident risks. Other locations to either avoid or use greater caution when walking include:
- Intersections, especially during peak traffic hours;
- Bridges, particularly those that do not have pedestrian walkways;
- Rural roads, which often fail to have proper lighting or sidewalks;
- Parking areas and near lot entrances or exits.
Factors That Increase Pedestrian Accident Risks
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), roughly 100 pedestrians are killed each year in Washington while hundreds of others end up suffering serious injuries. This is more than in the neighboring states of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana combined. Factors that often contribute to these accidents include a lack of sidewalks, street lights, traffic signals, and designated crossing areas. In addition to infrastructure issues, actions that can end up increasing your pedestrian accident risks include:
- Walking on dark roads at night;
- Wearing dark colors while walking;
- Not using available sidewalks;
- Texting, talking on cell phones, and engaging in other distractions;
- Walking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
To protect yourself against pedestrian accidents, avoid the above behaviors. If an area you are considering walking in does not have sidewalks or other pedestrian features, consider taking public transportation or a ride-sharing service instead. As a general rule, never assume that drivers see you walking or that they will stop, even if there is a traffic signal. Motorists face heavy fines and can be held liable for injuries you suffer as a result of speeding, running red lights, or other reckless driving behaviors, but these are still among the most common causes of pedestrian injuries.
Let Us Help You Today
While taking steps to protect yourself when out walking may reduce your risks, pedestrian accidents can still occur. At the Johnston Law Firm, P.C., we hold drivers accountable for the injuries you suffer as a result. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Vancouver pedestrian accident attorneys online today.