20 August 2020 | Comment | Article by Ellice Harding
This year, the focus for APIL’s Injury Prevention Week is road safety for pedestrians. According to Department of Transport figures, UK pedestrians walked a massive 13.6 billion miles in 2017 and just under 24,000 pedestrians were injured in road traffic accidents.
While pedestrians are arguably the most vulnerable of road users, good safety awareness is paramount for all groups. From car drivers, to cyclists, to pedestrians, all road users have a responsibility for their own safety – and to each other too.
With increasing numbers of us spending more time outside because of the coronavirus pandemic and opting to walk or cycle across town rather than take public transport, these 5 top tips are intended to refresh the minds of all road users:
- Be seen – don’t assume others know you are there
Wear bright clothing and stick to well-lit paths at night, or use a torch if possible; 76% of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2018 occurred at night.
- Avoid distractions – #pocketthatphone
We’re all aware of the dangers of using your mobile whilst driving, yet 72% of drivers report seeing pedestrians stepping into the road while distracted by their phone, which can be equally as dangerous, as illustrated by this video. Keeping the volume down low on your music also helps, as you can hear others approaching.
- Think before you act – don’t just step out
Before crossing the road, think about whether it is the safest, most appropriate place to cross. Are you visible? Avoid stepping out from behind large vehicles, behind which you can’t be seen, and always use a pedestrian crossing when available. THINK!’s 1997 campaign video featuring a family of hedgehogs offers some still very relevant advice for safely crossing the road – and to the tune of ‘Stayin’ Alive’!
- Don’t drive and…walk – alcohol levels aren’t just an issue for drivers
The majority of pedestrian deaths occur on a Saturday, and most of these happen at night. Of the 76% of pedestrians killed at night mentioned above, 38% had alcohol in their systems.
- Stay alert –be aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you
Bear in mind that it’s not just cars and buses that you need to look out for; collisions with bikes and increasingly popular e-scooters can also result in severe injury.
It is also worth noting that whilst electric cars are better for the environment, they are very quiet, particularly when travelling at low speeds. Hybrid and electric vehicles are 40% more likely to collide with pedestrians and so it is important to always keep a look out, as you may not hear a danger approaching.
Hugh James’ specialist Neurolaw department represents many clients who are injured in road traffic accidents, including pedestrians. Visit our page for more information about making a claim for compensation following an accident.
About the Author:
Ellice Harding is a solicitor in the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Team, representing claimants with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Ellice started her training contract in September 2017 and spent the majority of her time working in the Neurolaw department, dealing with both catastrophic injury litigation and Court of Protection Matters. Ellice qualified in September 2019 and now specialises in catastrophic injury litigation.