Urban areas here in California continue to grow. This means more vehicles and more pedestrians have to share the same space. The time when pedestrians and vehicles tend to have the most interaction is at intersections, which means those on foot are most vulnerable to injury in these locations.
Many intersections here in the state need updating or a redesign in order to make them safer. Altering or better controlling the flow of vehicles and people may help, but other efforts may be a requirement.
Changes to intersections that may make them safer
Engineers suggest one or more of the following changes to intersections to make them safer:
- Timing adjustments could allow pedestrians more time to cross before turn lights allow traffic to begin moving. Walkers would have additional seconds in which to cross without vehicles turning at the same time.
- Smart traffic signals could make adjustments for the amount of traffic, the time of day and the presence of pedestrians.
- More crashes happen during left turns than right turns. Adding protected left turns to lights that don't currently have them could allow drivers to pay more attention to pedestrians in crosswalks rather than focusing on oncoming traffic.
- Narrowing the curbs at intersections shortens the distance that pedestrians must walk in order to cross the street. It also forces turning vehicles to slow down.
These are just some of the ways that intersections can be safer for pedestrians. Other innovations require elaborate redesigning of intersections, which may be necessary in some cities, but not all.
Changing intersections doesn't change drivers
As much as intersections need changing for safety purposes, they may not change drivers' behaviors. Driving distracted, drunk or too fast remain common causes of accidents, even if a pedestrian isn't part of the equation. Even with stricter enforcement of traffic laws, some drivers simply won't take additional precautions in areas where people tend to be on foot.
If you ended up injured in a crash while crossing the street, you may have suffered serious injuries that will take some time to recover from, which means incurring significant medical expenses and lost income. It may be possible to recover those financial losses through the filing of a personal injury claim against the driver. If the court rules that the driver's negligence caused your injuries, you could receive the compensation you deserve.