October is National Pedestrian Safety Month
The start of October marks the beginning of fall, the start of Halloween season (yes, we already have the witches and skeletons up at our house!), and the kick-off of National Pedestrian Safety Month! How appropriate for our eager trick-or-treaters!
Colorado is becoming more dangerous for pedestrians
Sadly, this month promoting awareness of people on foot and in wheelchairs who share our roads also coincides with a particularly deadly year for Coloradans. Over just the last weekend of September, four pedestrians were killed in the Denver metro area, putting our state on track for another record-breaking year for pedestrian fatalities. Last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recorded 115 pedestrian deaths on Colorado roads, 15% of our state’s total traffic fatalities. This year, as of the end of September, 81 pedestrians have been killed.
Just today, as I was working on this blog, I saw a news alert that a pedestrian in Colorado Springs was hit by a car and injured (luckily, not life-threateningly) at one of the city’s busiest intersections, South Academy Boulevard and San Miguel Street. This person unfortunately just became one of tens of thousands of pedestrians across the country who are injured on roads each year.
What are the deadliest Colorado counties for pedestrians?
Not surprisingly, our most populous counties have the most foot traffic and the highest numbers of pedestrian deaths and injuries. In 2023, Denver, El Paso, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties have had the most pedestrian fatalities, with many happening at night. In fact, three of the four fatalities from that tragic weekend in September were in Denver and Arapahoe Counties.
We can reduce pedestrian injuries
There are some easy safety tips that all drivers should follow to keep pedestrians and wheelchair users on roads and sidewalks safe:
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Obey the speed limit, especially in areas with a lot of pedestrians, school zones, and neighborhoods where children may be present (most pedestrians, nearly 84%, are injured in urban areas and nearly 23% are injured in crosswalks at intersections)
- Approach crosswalks with caution and with a high level of awareness
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from crosswalks to give other vehicles the opportunity to see pedestrians and to prevent a rear-end collision from pushing your vehicle into someone in a crosswalk
- Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk or for a school bus
- Use extra caution when backing up or in poor driving conditions, such as rain, winter weather, or nighttime (only 19% of pedestrians are injured in full daylight)
- Minimize distractions while driving. Taking your eyes or attention off the road can be fatal. Look for pedestrians everywhere.
Which pedestrians are most commonly injured?
Older adults, pedestrians aged 65 and older are among the most commonly injured pedestrians. While this group makes up about 17% of the U.S. population, older adults accounted for 21% of all pedestrian deaths in 2021. Children are also vulnerable. Although not more common than adults, children account for around 7% of pedestrian fatalities. In 2021 alone, there was an average of 185 fatal and non-fatal pedestrian injuries among children per week across the U.S. Minority groups are also particularly vulnerable as pedestrians, with Black and non-Hispanic Native Americans having the highest pedestrian death rates among all ethnic and racial groups, despite being a minority of the population. Citizens who are in lower socioeconomic groups are also disproportionately affected by pedestrian injuries, as they are more likely to rely on walking to get where they need to go.
Kinds of injuries pedestrians can suffer in an accident
Pedestrian injuries can obviously be very severe and are often fatal. Severity of injuries can be affected by many factors, including speed and the size of the vehicle, with SUVs and trucks causing more damage. Pedestrians will often experience an injury from the contact with the vehicle and then injuries from contact with the ground. Among adults, the most common injuries were musculoskeletal, such as broken bones, severe bruising or scrapes, or dislocations, followed by head injuries. In children, head and neck injuries are most common following impact with a vehicle. For pedestrians experiencing musculoskeletal injuries, many experience severe injuries to upper and lower legs and to their knees, which can lead to long-term disability. Depending on the force of the crash, many life-threatening injuries may occur, from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to spine dislocation to internal organ trauma.
Victims of accidents like these can also experience significant emotional and psychological trauma. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, survivors of traffic accidents often experience some level of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety.
Call me today if you have been injured as a pedestrian
If you or a loved one has been injured while navigating Colorado’s roads and streets as a pedestrian, I may be able to help. You will want to focus on your physical and emotional recovery, and if your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, I can take the burden of fighting for justice off your shoulders. You are not alone, and we can navigate your journey to recovery together. Consultations are free, and there is no obligation to do anything other than talk about your options. Call 303-339-8846. You can also schedule your free consultation with me at my office, at your home, or on Zoom/Facetime/Webex by clicking here.