With the change of seasons to spring, the Chicagoland area feels like new. Gone are the icy sidewalks and bone chilling winds that keep most people indoors during the winter. The spring weather also beckons people to starting walking again. Not only is walking good for the body, it helps in maintaining communities.
However, there are dangers to walking, especially in densely populated areas where pedestrians must navigate traffic and cross busy streets. Indeed, pedestrians generally have the right of way in dense traffic, but a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration highlighted some disturbing trends.
Essentially, higher numbers of pedestrians are being injured and killed in car accidents. The report highlighted that pedestrian accidents rose 27 percent between 2007 and 2016 while other types of traffic deaths dropped by 14 percent. The number of pedestrian deaths remains at a 25 year high.
Twenty-three states, and Washington, D.C. had increases in pedestrian deaths over this period. Naturally, pedestrians in densely populated areas were most vulnerable. Additionally, people of color were disproportionately affected. Analysts explored several theories to account for the increase, but one that was prominent was the sight of traffic in downtown Chicago. While pedestrians inched through busy intersections trying to avoid cars, most people (both drivers and pedestrians) were focused on electronic devices.
As we alluded to earlier pedestrians generally have the right of way in Illinois, meaning that if a driver does not yield the right of way and hits a pedestrian, chances are that an injured pedestrian could have a legal claim. An experienced person injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options.