Many Connecticut residents enjoy walking for exercise. Walking or bicycling is a quick and cost-efficient way to travel around town. While the number of pedestrians has increased, so has the number of accidents.
According to a report from 2010, 13 percent of all traffic fatalities involved pedestrian accidents. The report also states that a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic accidents.
Pedestrians are defined as anyone on foot engaging in a variety of activities including walking, jogging, hiking, or sitting down. The majority of pedestrian accidents occur at night, normally between 8 p.m. and midnight.
However, Connecticut residents taking a walk in New London or Windham counties are fairly safe. These counties are the safest in terms of pedestrian fatalities for those over the age of 60. This information comes from an annual report titled "Older Pedestrians at Risk." The study involved 36 counties and New London and Windham ranked 29 th and 35 th, respectively. Litchfield was ranked the most dangerous county.
The report also states that the Tri-State area is the most dangerous for older pedestrians. Overall, Connecticut has 64 percent more pedestrian deaths than the rest of the country. The rural nature and low population of New London and Windham counties likely contributed to their favorable ratings.
Age also plays a significant role in pedestrian accidents. The chances of being involved in a pedestrian accident increase with age. Specifically, pedestrians above age 64 are 2.4 times more likely to be struck by a vehicle than those under age 60. The chances are three times higher for pedestrians over the age of 75.
Alcohol is another commonly cited factor, for both the driver and the pedestrian. Nearly half of all reported crashes nationwide in 2010 involved alcohol. Previous studies have shown that a greater percentage of pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas. However, there is also a high risk in rural areas without sidewalks.
If walking in an area without sidewalks, always walk facing traffic. It is also important to carry a flashlight when walking at night or wear reflective clothing for maximum visibility to drivers. Additionally, both pedestrians and motorists are reminded to always be aware of their surroundings.
In addition to these safety tips, several recommendations are suggested to improve public safety and decrease accidents. These include adding more sidewalks and also increasing the length of crosswalk signals at hazardous intersections.
An individual injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide guidance and assist with obtaining any available compensation.