Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accident

No matter who you are, you have probably used public transportation at some point in your life. Chicago is the railway hub of America, and at any one time it probably has a couple hundred buses, commuter and local trains transporting people all over the metro area. Public transit is ubiquitous in most major urban areas in the United States, and when so many modes of transportation are combined with an even greater number of people, serious accidents are always a possibility. This week multiple families are mourning the loss of loved ones as a result of what has become a string of tragic public transportation accidents.

The most recent victim, a Downers Grove man, was killed after being struck by an inbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train while crossing the tracks Tuesday morning. This pedestrian accident is the third fatality involving a Metra train in just 5 days, and the fourth time a Metra train has struck a pedestrian in the same amount of time. Illinois is currently ranked 6th in the country for what is being loosely termed ‘trespassing fatalities’ on train tracks, but transportation experts say they have “never seen so many-in such a sort time.”

On Thursday, a 56-year-old man was killed by a Milwaukee District West Line train near Bensenville station, and the following day a Metra Union Pacific Northwest train hit a fifth grader near Lake Cook road as he was crossing the rails near Illinois Route 59 near Lake Cook road. The final accident occurred just two days ago, when a 56-year-old woman was killed when a Milwaukee District West Line train struck her not far from the Bensenville Metra station. “Metra is gonna have to look…to see what they haven’t tried yet,” said one official. “Whether it’s security guards at some of these crossings at peak times…sound signals when trains are coming, or slowing down trains…this can’t continue.” (CBS News)

We will start with the good news. That news is that total traffic fatalities are continuing to fall, and the number of roadway deaths last year has dropped to the lowest level since 1949. That means overall our roads are getting safer; we have more safety regulations and amped up enforcement in areas such as driving under the influence and driving without a seatbelt, and are doing everything we can to eliminate unnecessary dangers behind the wheel.

However, the bad news is according to federal safety officials, fatalities for bicyclists and occupants of large trucks have risen sharply since last year. Bicyclist deaths jumped nearly 9 percent, while deaths involving large trucks increased a staggering 20 percent. A deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association commented that this increase in bicycle deaths is most likely a reflection of the fact that more people are riding bikes to work and for pleasure in the United States than in previous years. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Urban areas under study, reported a 175 percent increase in bicyclists during their early morning and evening rush hours since 2004, and many urban areas have had to increase their bike-lane networks in previous years to keep up with this trend. “Our culture is beginning to move away from driving and toward healthier and greener modes of transportation,” said the deputy executive. “We need to be able to accommodate all these forms of transportation safely.”

Our Chicago car accident attorneys were very upset to learn that a shocking number of children struck my cars in the Chicago area were hit near schools. According to the Chicago Tribune, about 1,700 school age children were struck by cars in Chicago within a block of a school, during the years of 2007 through 2011. This is about half of the total number of children that were hit by vehicles in the Chicago area during that time period. The number of incidents where children were almost struck by a vehicle near a school is even higher. The areas that have the highest percentage of school children being struck by vehicles are the West and South sides of Chicago.

Chicago has a higher incidence of children hit near schools than many other major metropolitan areas even though the City of Chicago has tried to implement certain safeguards such as, pedestrian safety programs, stricter enforcement of laws and trying to reduce the level of traffic in these areas. At least in the Chicago area, statistics show that the most common cause of pedestrian accidents are drivers failing to yield in time to avoid an accident.

There is at least one crossing guard assigned to each Chicago public school. When asked, Chicago school crossing guards have said that drivers often honk, swear at them, give them the finger, barely slow down, wait until the last minute to stop and give them impatient looks while stopped to allow the people to cross the street. One crossing guard even said that she has been struck by a car that did not stop when she held up a stop sign to allow school kids to cross. Another Chicago crossing guard stated that she constantly see drivers talking on their cell phones and texting while they are driving through the school zones.

There are hundreds of thousands of people living in Chicago that don’t own cars, and who can blame them? Our city has one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the world, and this allows many people to get where they need to go without having to make a monthly car payment. Still, with the good comes the bad. Increased foot traffic inevitably comes with increases in Chicago pedestrian accidents. In 2010 4,280 lives were lost in pedestrian motor vehicle crashes. To put that in perspective, that’s one fatality every 2 hours, and this is on top of the 70,000 pedestrians who are left with serious injuries. (Walking Info)

But don’t lose hope yet Chicagoans, there’s good news. The Illinois Governor announced on Wednesday that Chicago and its suburbs are set to receive $25.6 million to construct and expand bicycle and walking paths around the region. This is just the tip of the iceberg, if you define an iceberg as 54 statewide projects with a cumulative budget of $49.4 million in federal transportation enhancement funding.

According to state officials, a little over half of the projects will directly affect the Chicago region, here are just a few:

Being active outdoors is essential for living a healthy lifestyle. Whether you choose to walk, jog, ride a bike, buy a Segway, or use a low flying jet pack, being out and about has a way of making you feel better, both physically and mentally. But let’s not kid ourselves; living in Chicago is very different than living anywhere else in the state of Illinois.

Large urban areas, because of their abundance of cross walks and bustling traffic are responsible for roughly 75 percent of all pedestrian car accident fatalities. This subject is especially pertinent this week, as the news has reported on four different incidents of pedestrian fatalities in just two days. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Yesterday in an article from the Chicago Tribune, Aurora police asked for the public’s help to find a man involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed a 57-year-old woman on Monday night. Later in the day another article spotlighted the charging of a 24-year-old Logan Square man in connection with another fatal hit-and-run car accident that occurred in November. Yet another released on Tuesday featured the latest in a court case involving the tragic death of a young boy in Lake County. The last article reported on the death of a 73-year-old woman killed by a truck accident in the Illinois Medical District earlier this week.

We hear about car accidents all the time. They appear in the news so often that sometimes it is easier to simply accept each new one as just another distant story. This blog is a source for a great deal of information, from statistics about traffic fatalities to how many people were injured last year by drunk drivers, but again, to some these accidents may just coalesce into a steady stream of indistinct statistics and information.

To many of you these are just numbers, and rightly so; many people reading this blog will never truly know that heart wrenching sensation, that nauseating tightening of the gut that accompanies a phone call informing you that your loved one has been in a serious accident. Make no mistake, these are not just numbers, each and every one represents a real person, and each one is a tragedy in it’s own right, with profound effects on entire families, and in some cases, entire communities. Earlier this week, Chicagoland was reminded of just how real the gruesome effects of car accidents can be.

Over the weekend, a Downers Grove teenager who was severely injured after being struck by a truck last year lost his long battle on the road to recovery. The teen had struggled to combat a traumatic brain injury, and endured multiple surgeries in the months following being hit while riding his bike home on February 26th 2012. It was not until the summer that he was even able to return home, still confined to a wheelchair and having lost nearly all of his motor functions. Since the accident, the organization established in this honor has chronicled the strength and perseverance of him and his family. This story truly goes to show how real these accidents are, and how much impact they can have on not only the victim, but on everyone around them.

When a car hits another car there is always a chance for serious injury. However, when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian it’s another story entirely. Pedestrian vehicle accidents take a serious toll, especially in the United States, resulting in 5,000 fatalities and another 70,000 injuries every year. That works out to an average of one pedestrian injury in a traffic accident every 8 minutes. With no steel framework to protect them, people hit while walking or riding their bikes are extremely vulnerable to head, leg, and arm injuries, and are often left unable to return to work, or pay their mounting medical bills. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

That’s why earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stressed the importance of having electric and hybrid vehicles make more noise when traveling at low speeds. While they may be great for the environment, these new cars and trucks are much quieter than their gasoline and diesel counterparts, and the NHTSA argues that their low hum may not be enough to warn walkers, bicyclists, or the visually impaired. (New York Times)

The agency’s proposed rule would require additional noise at speeds under 18 miles an hour to become standard, with automakers being able to pick the sounds the vehicles make from a range of different choices. The NHTSA says their biggest concern is to making sure pedestrians can easily hear electric cars over background noises, especially in cities.

In 2010, 4,280 lives were lost in pedestrian car accidents. Although this is down significantly from the roughly 5,600 killed in 1995, it is still too many. When we see statistics like this it is easy to view them as just numbers, but if you have ever lost a family member to the recklessness of a motorist, you know that these numbers have faces and families. However, just because an accident isn’t fatal doesn’t mean it can’t damage a family. (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration)

A 26-year-old woman is still in critical condition this morning after being hit by a taxicab over the Thanksgiving weekend. According to reports from the Chicago Police Departments News Affairs Officer, the woman was crossing the intersection of Clark and School streets just before 1 am, and was taken to a local hospital for immediate medical attention. (Chicago Tribune)

In 2010, there were an estimated 70,000 pedestrians injured, and we know from research and hospital records that a majority of all pedestrian crashes go unreported. These accidents can cause permanent injuries, with many months passing before a victim has the ability to work and earn money to pay their medical bills.

Count to 14.

Now count to 14 again.

Since you started reading this article, two people have been injured in a car accident somewhere in the country. If last year was any indication, by the end of the year, this number is will have climbed to more than 3,000,000 people. However, the real tragedy lies with the 2,000,000 people that will have to deal with a permanent injury for the rest of their life due to a motor accident. (Reckless Drivers Statistics)

With Halloween almost upon us, many of your children are probably spending their school days thinking of a cool costume, or arranging plans to trick or treat together on Wednesday. Halloween is one of the most fun nights any kid has during their year, but it may also be one of the most dangerous. Whether you are a parent, a child, or simply a motorist driving on Halloween, our lawyers want to remind you that it is important to stay safe and alert while out on the streets.

Halloween can be as scary for parents as it is for children; and while stories about tainted candy and child abductions seem to be prevalent, they are very rare. Most of the time, the real Halloween headlines involve children being hit by vehicles while out trick or treating.

The mixture of the early onset of darkness in October, and the estimated 40 million dark costumed children flooding the streets on October 31st can be a deadly combination. In fact, statistics show that kids are four times more likely to be hit by a car on this night than any other night of the year. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

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