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Crosswalks May Be Redesigned to Account For Slower Walkers

One common form of roadway accident in large cities in particular involves pedestrians. With several million people moving around a city at any given time, there are many occasions for cars to run-into walkers, often with deadly consequences. This remains one of the costliest forms of Chicago car accident day in and day out. To help curb these incidents, we previously discussed the new state law which requires all drivers to stop and give pedestrians the right of way when they are attempting to cross the street at a designated crosswalk, regardless of whether they have a light or stop sign.

One facet to the pedestrian safety issue that is now being discussed involves the overall aging of the American population and the consequences that will have on foot travel. Older individuals typically walk slower, taking longer to cross the street, and putting them at increased risk of being injured in one of these accidents. For example, analysis in New York and reported by the LA Times found that in one 10-block radius alone, at least a dozen elderly pedestrians had been killed in that last ten years. Nationwide 13% of the population is over 65 years old, but that group represents 22% of pedestrian deaths.

To help tackle the problem many municipalities are launching programs to make the streets a safer place for seniors. The main thrust of the program involves changes the signal timing. Generally the assumption is made for the lighting scheme that a walker can travel 3.5 to 4 feet per second. However, most elderly walkers are actually only capable of moving at 2.5 feet per second. The lag time means that many seniors end up caught in the middle of the street and in the line of fast-moving traffic, even though they followed the lighted signs.

An Illinois car accident lawyer knows that the rules of road are meant to ensure that all pedestrian-including those who take a long time to cross the street-are protected. All drivers must be well aware of this risk and ensure that they take basic steps to drive with care, follow the law, and keep all the travelers around them safe and secure.

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