In Augsburg, Germany, city officials noticed pedestrians were routinely walking into intersections even when the traffic light was red, putting themselves and others at risk of being injured in accidents, according to a recent report by CNN.
It was easy to see why pedestrians were ignoring the traffic lights: They were too busy using their smartphones to look up and see them.
In an effort to prevent pedestrian accidents, the city opted to install traffic lights in the pavement. So, pedestrians who use their phones do not have to look up to see the color displayed on the traffic light, The Washington Post reports.
Augsburg is not the first city to acknowledge the needs of smartphone-using pedestrians. In 2014, Chongqing, China, created a segregated area on one of its sidewalks for individuals to use their phones while walking.
In both Augsburg and Chongqing, residents had mixed responses. Some praised the forward-thinking of such initiatives. They were happy to see that the number of pedestrian accidents could potentially be reduced. Others expressed disdain, stating that such measures wasted public money and encouraged socially irresponsible behavior.
In the U.S., we do not have such measures in place – yet. However, as more Americans suffer injuries due to distraction while walking, some of our cities could potentially see the value of installing such protections.
Until then, we need to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves from being injured in pedestrian accidents.
Texting and Walking Accidents
It is widely know that driving while distracted is dangerous. As studies show, it is equally as dangerous to walk or bike while distracted.
A 2013 study by Ohio State University found that the number of people injured in accidents because they were using their phones while walking doubled between 2005 and 2010. Of these victims, approximately 1,500 had to go to the emergency room.
Avoid a Pedestrian Accident
If you are a parent of a teen, you know how much your teen loves to text and use apps on his or her phone. Make this a subject of safety discussions and impress upon your teen the importance of being aware of his or her surroundings at all times.
A distracted teen walking down the street can fall over an obstacle or get hit by a car. Protect your son or daughter from injury by encouraging him or her to only use the phone while he or she is not otherwise moving around.
Part of teaching a child or a teen a certain behavior is modeling that behavior yourself. If you do not want your child to be involved in a pedestrian texting accident, do not text when you are a pedestrian.
When a pedestrian is involved in an accident with a vehicle, it is nearly always the pedestrian who is injured or killed. Think about it: A driver in a car has the protection of a heavy machine complete with seatbelts and airbags for his or her protection. A pedestrian has nothing.
Although the most obvious way you can avoid a pedestrian accident is to abstain from using your phone when walking, you can take other steps to protect yourself. These steps include:
- Walk with the flow of pedestrian traffic rather than against it. Stick to the right when walking – just as you do when driving.
- Make yourself visible at night by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing. When visibility is low, it can be easy for a motorist to miss a pedestrian.
- When a sidewalk is available, use it instead of walking in the street or the shoulder.
- Always cross the street at designated crosswalks. Do this when the lit sign on the traffic pole tells you to cross rather than crossing when cars may be passing through.
- Hold children’s hands when crossing the street or walking through a parking lot.
What You Can Do If You Are Injured in an Accident while Walking
You can still be injured in a pedestrian accident even if you practice all of the safety precautions above. If this happens to you, making the right choices in the moments following your accident can be crucial to your physical recovery and your recovery of compensation for your losses. If you or another party is in need of immediate medical attention, call 911 to have an ambulance dispatched to the scene. This should always be your first concern.
If there is no need for emergency medical personnel, calling 911 will get a police officer to the scene to file an official police report. This report will be an important source of information in the investigation of your claim.
Take photos of the accident scene and exchange insurance information with the other party involved, if there is one. If your accident was due to an unmarked hazard on the sidewalk, your claim may need to be filed against the government agency charged with maintaining the sidewalk where your accident occurred.
Do not leave the scene without contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
Your next order of business should be to have your injuries examined by your doctor. Only after you have been diagnosed and started to receive treatment should you consider filing a personal injury claim.
Work with an Experienced Goldsboro Personal Injury Attorney
If you or your child has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you could be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. To learn more about your rights and options as a personal injury victim, schedule your free legal consultation with Strickland Agner Pittman.