Senior Pedestrian Safety - Front Range Injury Attorneys

Senior Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of Colorado roadways from the busy streets of Denver to quiet rural towns. Children and senior citizens are among the most at-risk groups of pedestrians, although for different reasons. Each year, Colorado loses nearly 100 pedestrians due to traffic accidents. Although drivers are often the cause of pedestrian accidents, pedestrians can be at fault for failing to follow traffic safety laws. The risk of injury in a pedestrian accident is too great to avoid taking reasonable safety precautions and following pedestrian roadway laws.

Stay safe on sidewalks

Walking along roads without sidewalks increases the likelihood of a senior pedestrian-vehicle collision. That is true both in urban areas like Denver and rural towns. Walking along the side of the road, especially when the road does not have a wide shoulder, places the person walking in the path of traffic. Distracted drivers may not see you walking in their path as they drive, park, or turn through intersections. By selecting paths with sidewalks you greatly reduce the likelihood of impact. Areas with sidewalks often have more pedestrian infrastructure like marked sidewalks and pedestrian traffic controls. Additional ways to reduce the risk of a pedestrian collision by choosing a safe route include:

  • Walking in areas where pedestrians are more easily visible to drivers
  • Choosing routes with slower moving traffic and lower speed limits
  • Avoiding large and busy intersections
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic

Although it is not always possible to select these routes, elderly Coloradans can reduce the risk of injury by taking these steps as much as practical.

Crossing at marked crosswalks and intersections

The majority of pedestrian accidents in Colorado happen when the pedestrian attempts to cross a road or intersection. Seniors should only cross at safe locations including marked crosswalks and intersections. Jaywalking violates Colorado law. Jaywalking occurs when you cross a street in between marked intersections. Drivers do not expect sudden pedestrian crossings away from marked intersections. That can reduce their ability to stop and increase your likelihood of injury. Jaywalking also increases the likelihood that a senior citizen steps off a curb at an unsafe time, especially if the senior suffers from poor hearing or eyesight. The less opportunity both driver and pedestrian have to avoid an accident, the more likely it will occur and cause injuries or death. By crossing at marked crosswalks and intersections, you give yourself the best chance to avoid a collision.

Following traffic laws

As users of Colorado roadways, pedestrians also must follow traffic laws for everybody’s safety. Failure to follow traffic laws is a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. Although drivers often cause pedestrian accidents when failing to follow traffic laws, pedestrians ignoring traffic laws also contribute to these harmful accidents. Elderly pedestrians should walk with the help of a caregiver if they lack the sensory or cognitive skills to determine when it is safe to cross a street. Pedestrians must follow road signs, traffic control devices, road markings and other visible directives to avoid potential collisions.

Wear clothing that is highly visible

Visibility is a key safety issue for pedestrians. The harder it is for drivers, bicyclists, e-scooter riders, motorcyclists and other road users to see you, the less opportunity they have to stop and avoid an accident. Wearing dark colors and walking at night both reduce visibility. Seniors should avoid walking at night as much as possible. Nighttime walks also increase the likelihood of impact by a drunk driver or reckless driver.

Additionally, wearing bright colors or reflective materials while walking in Denver and other Colorado towns can help increase your visibility. If you must walk at night in areas without streetlights you should always use a flashlight and wear a reflective vest to make yourself visible.

Other safety risks

Car accidents are not the only type of pedestrian accident you may face. Pedestrians are at risk of collision with other road users including commercial trucks, public transportation vehicles, bicycles, electric scooters and motorcycles. Areas with bike lanes and bus lanes can be more confusing and require more caution from everybody.

Additionally, senior citizens are at risk of injury from a trip and fall accident. Damaged sidewalks and curbs can cause falls resulting in serious injuries. At night they can be difficult to see, especially in areas without streetlights or to pedestrians with vision impairments. More than one in three seniors fall each year. You can prevent these accidents by:

  • Walking during light hours
  • Carefully watching the condition of sidewalks, intersections and walking paths
  • Wearing nonslip shoes
  • Avoiding medications causing drowsiness before walking
  • Getting eyesight regularly tested
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Using assistive devices as necessary
  • Avoiding icy and wet surfaces

Although many of these safety recommendations are not legal requirements, taking practical precautions to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic injury or wrongful death is worthwhile for pedestrians of any age. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the experienced accident and injury lawyers at Front Range Injury Attorneys. We offer free consultations for all pedestrian accident cases where you can talk to an attorney about your case to understand your legal rights to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.

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