Walking, running, and bicycling are great ways to promote a healthy lifestyle while enjoying the warm summer weather. Of course, it’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and take a few safety precautions to avoid an accident. During summer, pedestrian accidents rapidly increase as more people head outdoors. Check out these few safety tips to keep in mind while enjoying the outdoors this summer.
Make Sure You’re Visible
Don’t rely on drivers to notice you, make sure you’re seen. Wear bright colors that stand out. Choose reflective colors like yellows if you plan on walking or biking at night. High-visibility clothing and bicycle accessories can also make it easier for drivers to see you at night. You might even carry a flashlight to add another layer of visibility when walking or biking.
Use Approved Walking or Biking Areas
Use approved walking areas, especially in highly populated areas like busy intersections or downtown streets. It may be tempting to dart across the middle of the street rather than walk all the way down to a crosswalk, but this can increase your risk of being in a pedestrian accident. Drivers expect to see pedestrians at crosswalks and are more likely to slow down and avoid distractions. If you have to cross a road without pedestrian crosswalk areas, don’t cross until the area is free of traffic.
Try to stick to sidewalks rather than walking on the road. In addition to using approved walking or biking areas, know the local laws. Many states and cities, including Chicago, Illinois, have laws on how and where pedestrians can cross the road. If you’re visiting a new area, try to brush up on local laws and travel tips to stay safe. While it’s ultimately the driver’s responsibility to yield to you, you also shouldn’t rely on them to keep you safe. Follow all posted traffic signs and traffic lights to ensure you stay safe.
Make Eye Contact
Many pedestrians wrongly assume that drivers see them, and cross, only to find out later that they didn’t. Always make eye contact before crossing the road to know that it’s safe to do so. If you’re riding a bicycle, stop, wait for the driver to acknowledge you, and proceed once it’s safe.
Making eye contact when walking or biking near parked cars can also be helpful. Many pedestrians are injured by a driver or passenger opening their car door and knocking them into the road.
Distracted driving is illegal in 48 U.S. states, including Illinois. If a distracted driver causes you significant injuries in a pedestrian accident, it may be worth pursuing legal action. Pedestrian accidents in Chicago often can lead to expensive damages, and a personal injury lawsuit may help you recover these costs.
Staying alert as a pedestrian is just as important as a driver. Drivers are expected to avoid making phone calls, texting, or engaging in any distracting behavior while driving. However, you can’t always rely on them to avoid distractions. If you’re also distracted, it can prevent you from making safe decisions.
Try to stay off your phone, whether texting or talking, until you’re in a safe location. Avoiding alcohol may also be an important safety prevention tip for pedestrians. In fact, alcohol is one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. While walking home after drinking may be a safer alternative than getting behind the wheel, it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings. Consider alternative transportation if you don’t think you’re alert enough.
Wear Proper-Fitting Safety Equipment
You can’t avoid all pedestrian accidents, so the next best thing you can do is protect yourself if you’re in one. Make sure you always wear proper-fitting safety equipment when riding. Ensure young children are also wearing helmets and padding that fit them snugly. When walking with younger children, make sure they walk the furthest from the road.
Know When It’s Unsafe
In some situations, it may be best to avoid walking or biking altogether. Inclement weather can reduce driver visibility, which often leads to more pedestrian accidents. Rainstorms can also make the sidewalks and roads more slippery, which can make bicycling more difficult and dangerous. Even foggy conditions can make the sidewalks and roads less safe for pedestrians.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. However, it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Make sure drivers can easily see you by wearing bright colors and reflective tape. Equip yourself with proper fitting safety gear to minimize injuries if you are in a pedestrian accident. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, seek immediate medical care and consider contacting a personal injury lawyer.