As Maryland and Washington, D.C., personal injury attorneys, it’s not uncommon for individuals to approach our firm following a serious car-, truck- or motorcycle-related traffic accident. Quite a few of these individuals have likely received some type of serious bodily injury as a result of the collision in question. While more people survive car and trucking-related wrecks, there is a percentage of victims who do not make it home to their loved ones.
For those families who lose a parent, spouse, or child to a preventable traffic collision, there is not much anyone can say to alleviate the pain and loss that the relatives mush endure for years to come, if not a lifetime. Car accidents take many lives each year, but what many people don’t thing about when it comes to traffic-related fatalities is the pedestrian component of those statistics.
Based on numbers coming out of various agencies, it has been said that 100 people or more are killed every year as a result of being struck by an automobile or commercial delivery truck. This group of individuals includes those who may have been traveling on foot, standing near a street corner, or riding a bicycle in or near vehicular traffic.
With the number of individuals seeking more and more healthy lifestyles, walking and bike riding are becoming even more popular than in past years. It has been said before that a future increase in the number of fatal pedestrian crashes may be in the offing. Based on past traffic accident statistics, almost three-quarters of all pedestrian deaths occurred on Maryland highways. With more and more people moving to urban centers, one can only ask if the trend may shift to a larger percentage of city-based fatal bicycle and pedestrian incidents.
With the nation’s economy slowly coming back from the brink, growing affluence may contribute to the growth of people enjoying a new-found lifestyle in our cities. While the numbers of individuals who choose to save money by walking or riding may fall somewhat, many who have discovered the enjoyable aspects of human-powered travel may stick with it, joined by those who walk or bike for pleasure.
The end result could be more people on foot or cycling near or within close contact to those larger more dangerous motor vehicles. Numerous commentators have suggested that our roadways are not well designed for foot traffic and cyclists. For some, the highway engineers who created our current system of roadways likely gave little or no thought to the safety and convenience of pedestrians and bicyclists when designing our roads. As anyone who follows bicycle news in Maryland probably knows, there are a lot of similar voices out there as well.
For a state such as Maryland, with a population in the five million range, 100 or so deaths every year may seem statistically small, but tell that to the families who have lost someone to a pedestrian- or bicycle-related traffic accident. Whereas the poor or under-employed may have been over-represented in these statistics, it is a fair bet that numbers may begin to skew the other direction at some point.
As Maryland auto accident lawyers, we have the skills and experience to represent victims of traffic-related personal injury accidents. Almost anyone who is hit by a car is going to need some amount of medical care, which doesn’t come cheap. If he or she is lucky, they won’t be looking at a lifetime of limited mobility and chronic pain symptoms. The families of those killed by car or truck driver may have ability to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who hit their loved one, especially if that driver was distracted by a cell phone call, texting, or intoxicated by alcohol or drugs (illegal or prescription).
We can only hope that with an increasing emphasis on bicycle and pedestrian safety, that newer roads and revamped older thoroughfares will see improvements that focus on the safety of non-vehicular traffic. Regardless of the progress, people should not let down their guard; motorists and pedestrians alike must continue to be vigilant and watch out for each other. Never take your safety for granted, especially in dense urban traffic situations. Be safe and live to walk (and bike) another day.