When pedestrians cross paths with a motor vehicle and an accident happens, those on foot tend to suffer more serious injuries than those in the involved vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, one out of six people who died in crashes were on foot.
While anyone can suffer a pedestrian injury, age, location and mobility can all play a factor and increase the risk of injury or death.
1. Elderly pedestrians
When the elderly travel on foot, even for short distances, they have a greater risk of injuries caused by motor vehicles. They tend to cross streets more slowly or become confused by traffic signals. Those who use walkers or other types of mobility assistance devices may find certain types of terrain difficult to navigate, which can cause a vehicle to strike them if they pause in an intersection.
2. Young children
Toddlers and young elementary school children often become involved in pedestrian accidents because of their size and tendency to dart out into the road while chasing toys or pets. Their small stature can also make them difficult for motorists to see, especially when driving larger vehicles, such as trucks or heavy SUVs.
Those who run or job at dawn or dusk have an increased risk of pedestrian injury. Low visibility at these times of day, coupled with the distraction of running with earbuds in place, may make these individuals less aware of their surroundings. Motorists can reduce the chance of striking joggers by reducing speed in areas where they must share the road with those running.
Pedestrians can protect themselves by avoiding the use of headphones or earbuds in high-traffic areas and by obeying all directional signs at intersections.