Vehicles are dangerous for occupants and anyone near them. Thousands of people die in preventable crashes every year, and many more get hurt. Concern about collisions might motivate you to choose walking as your preferred mode of transportation around town.
If you live close enough to where you work, you could potentially avoid even owning a motor vehicle by walking to work every day. You can save money, avoid commuter stress and even get in a little low-impact exercise.
Recent safety trends have shown that it is slowly becoming safer to drive. Is it also now safer than it was a few years ago for you to walk in California?
Is California a safe or dangerous state for pedestrians?
Plenty of people walk in California, both to get to work and for exercise. The climate makes walking a viable choice for your commute to work or daily workout year-round, all without special equipment. Still, quite a few people get hurt because they walk near roads. Some people die because of crashes between vehicles and pedestrians.
In 2018, there were 893 pedestrian deaths across California, which the state notes represents a 26% increase from 2014. That same year saw more than 14,000 injuries to pedestrians in crashes involving vehicles. Although pedestrian deaths have trended upward in most states, California has a fatality rate that is about 25% higher than the average in the United States. Even worse, California has the highest number of annual pedestrian deaths out of any state.
What are the rights of pedestrians hurt in crashes?
When someone in a motor vehicle doesn’t pay close attention, they can cause life-altering and sometimes fatal injuries for nearby pedestrians. As someone who walks near roads, you need to make sure that you make yourself visible and follow all traffic laws. Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, a driver could still fail to notice you and cause a serious injury.
As a wounded pedestrian, you will likely have the right to bring an insurance claim against the driver that strikes you. You may also have grounds for a personal injury suit if the expenses you incur because of the pedestrian accident are higher than the coverage carried by the driver.