How Does Volvo Plan to Improve Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety in Vehicles?January 14, 2021
Vehicles have gotten safer in the past 40 years. Not as many people are injured in vehicle-to-vehicle crashes today; newer cars have a 22 percent lower risk of injury and a 66 percent lower risk of death, according to decades of research by Volvo. Automakers are therefore turning their attention to the most vulnerable road users of today, which are pedestrians and bicyclists. Anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian or a bicyclist should contact an experienced car accident lawyer for assistance.
How Common are Car Accidents with Pedestrians?
In 2018, a total of 6,283 pedestrians were killed in car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most deaths since 1990 and an increase from the previous year. The 2017 Traffic Safety Facts from the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis reveals that 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes that year in the United States and that on average, a pedestrian was killed every 88 minutes.
Researchers analyzed traffic crash data from 2017 to learn more about the circumstances surrounding pedestrian fatalities in car crashes. They studied various environmental characteristics and found that most pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas and that most did not occur at intersections. The report also examined pedestrian fatalities in relation to factors including the following:
- Time of day. The NHTSA reports that 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark, 26 percent of which happened between 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- Age. The age groups of 55 to 59 and 75 to 79 experienced the highest overall pedestrian fatality rates, according to the study.
- Gender. Of all the pedestrian fatalities studied in 2017, 70 percent of victims were male.
- Alcohol. Alcohol was a reported factor for the driver and/or the pedestrian in 47 percent of traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian fatalities.
- State. The number of pedestrian fatalities was highest in California and lowest in North Dakota. In Maryland, there were 114 pedestrian fatalities, accounting for 20.7 percent of the total traffic fatalities, which was 550.
- City. The number of pedestrian fatalities was highest in Los Angeles and lowest in Washington, DC, and Boston. In Baltimore, there were 17 pedestrian fatalities, accounting for 44.7 percent of the total traffic fatalities, or 38 deaths.
How can Pedestrians Stay Safe?
Anyone traveling by foot should exercise caution around vehicles. There are several ways pedestrians can reduce their risk of being involved in a traffic accident. The NHTSA’s Safety Countermeasures Division provides the following safety tips for pedestrians:
- Walk on a sidewalk or path instead of the road; if none is available, walk on the shoulder facing traffic.
- Stay alert and avoid distractions such as electronic devices.
- Never assume drivers see pedestrians; they may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or they may be distracted.
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible.
- When crosswalks or intersections are not available, cross the street in a well-lit area and at a time when there is a gap in traffic, allowing adequate time for safe crossing.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night to increase visibility.
- Avoid using alcohol and drugs, which can impair judgment and coordination.
How can Drivers Move Safely Around Pedestrians?
Drivers must also do their part to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities. Many car-pedestrian accidents happen because drivers are distracted and do not notice the pedestrian until it is too late. The NHTSA provides some tips for drivers:
- Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially when they may be hard to see, such as at night or on poorly lit roads.
- Stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and where crosswalk signs are posted.
- Be prepared to stop for pedestrians when making a turn.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Follow the speed limit and slow down for pedestrians.
- Avoid driving drowsy and stay alert, especially in school zones and neighborhoods.
How Common are Car Accidents with Bicycles?
The NHTSA reports that there were 857 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2018. As bicycles grow in popularity as a means to commute to work or to exercise, so does the number of car-bicycle crashes. As with pedestrian fatalities, most bicyclist deaths occur between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. in urban areas. Bicycle deaths were also higher for men than women, and alcohol was involved in 37 percent of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
What are Some Bicyclist Safety Tips?
The NHTSA encourages bicyclists to ride responsibly and remember that they are considered motorists, which means they share the same rules and responsibilities as other drivers on the road. Some safety tips for bicyclists include the following:
- Choose the appropriate size bike so that it is easier to control.
- Ensure that the brakes work.
- Wear protective equipment such as a helmet, bright or reflective clothing, a white front light and a red rear light, and reflectors on the bike at night.
- Ride only one person per seat and keep both hands on the handlebars.
- Carry items in a backpack or strap them to the back of the bike.
- Tuck tied shoelaces as well as pant legs into shoes so that they do not get caught on the bike chain.
- Plan the route ahead of time and choose safer routes away from traffic or ones that have a bike lane or path.
- Ride with the flow of traffic and obey all street signs and signals.
- Look ahead for potential hazards such as potholes or debris.
- Stay alert and focused on the road.
- Do not ride on the sidewalk whenever possible.
- At first, practice riding in a safe environment away from traffic.
How can Motorists Drive Safely Around Bicyclists?
Traffic accidents involving bicyclists often occur because drivers fail to yield the right of way at intersections. The NHTSA reminds drivers that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road and therefore must be given the same courtesy. Some ways drivers can share the road with bicyclists include these guidelines:
- Yield to bicyclists and do not attempt to turn in front of them.
- When backing out, be on the lookout for bicycles as well as other vehicles.
- Stop completely at red lights and look both ways before turning right.
- Follow the speed limit and reduce speed according to road conditions.
- Give cyclists plenty of room.
How is Compensation Obtained for Personal Injuries in Maryland?
A pedestrian or a bicyclist who is injured in a traffic crash may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver who caused the accident. However, Maryland is one of the few states that follow the contributory negligence rule when it comes to personal injury cases. The contributory negligence rule holds that plaintiffs may receive compensation for their injuries only if they bear no fault for the accident. Therefore, the defendant must be 100 percent responsible for the accident for the plaintiff to receive compensation. If the plaintiff is even one percent to blame, he or she is entirely barred from compensation.
Victims in Maryland who are not at fault may be able to recover damages from responsible parties, including the driver of the vehicle. Such damages may include compensation for economic losses such as medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitation, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. In the case of a fatality, other types of compensation may also be available, including burial and funeral expenses as well as lost companionship and other losses associated with the loved one’s death. Hiring an experienced lawyer to help with filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim can help ensure that the accident victim’s rights, and the rights of their family, are protected.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Injured Pedestrians and Bicyclists
If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton for expert assistance. We can help determine the cause of your accident, identify the responsible parties, and fight for the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.