October marks the peak month for car crashes in Arizona, many of which severely affect pedestrians and cyclists. Sadly, 25% of all fatalities from car accidents in Arizona are pedestrians and cyclists, giving Phoenix the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the country. With the number of these injuries on the rise each year, we wanted to share our top 10 safety tips to protect you while you’re walking and cycling through our Arizona roads.
1. Only cross streets at crosswalks. This safety tip might seem like a no-brainer, yet 60% of pedestrian injuries and fatalities occur while crossing the road. Whether you’re a pedestrian or cyclist, drivers expect you to cross at these locations and are more likely to keep an eye out for you at intersections with crosswalks than they are in the middle of the road or highway.
2. Walk on sidewalks. Bike on the road. If you’re a pedestrian, walk on sidewalks when available and walk against the flow of traffic when not available. If you’re a cyclist, bike in bike paths or lanes with the flow of traffic. Drivers expect pedestrians on sidewalks and cyclists on the road, so they learn to watch out for you in these places. If you’re cycling on the sidewalk, a driver is less likely to see you coming.
3. Be visible. Wear bright, reflective clothing, especially when out during dawn, dusk, and night. Arizona law requires cyclists to have a white headlight and rear reflector if riding at night.
4. Plan your route. People walk and bike for many reasons – getting to school, commuting to work, exercising, or just for fun! Plan your route ahead of time by looking for the best walking and cycling route for your trip. ADOT provides detailed maps with traffic information for cyclists and pedestrians. Apps like Google Maps constantly update their pedestrian and cyclist maps so you can access the best routes from your phone before you head out.
5. Watch for obstacles. Wet roads, parked cars, divots in paths, and loose gravel are all examples of common obstacles for pedestrians and cyclists. Keep an eye out to avoid obstacles safely without going in front of a moving vehicle.
6. Be a role model. More than 300 kids under 15 years old in Arizona were injured or killed while walking or cycling in 2019. Abiding by traffic laws, wearing a helmet while cycling, looking both ways before crossing, and using proper hand signals help you and your little ones stay safe.
7. Hydrate. Arizona broke its heat record this year with 144 days of over 100-degree weather. Those hot days are lingering well into October, and staying hydrated is especially important if biking or walking. Heat exhaustion can cause confusion and dizziness – two impairments you do not want when on the road.
8. Eliminate distractions. Paying attention to your surroundings is key to staying safe on the road regardless of whether you’re a runner, cyclist, selfie enthusiast, or driver. Avoid wearing headphones so loudly that you can’t hear your surroundings. You should be able to hear cyclists, car horns, traffic signals, and other pedestrians while you’re on the road.
9. Protect your head. Wear a helmet while cycling. Fewer than half of all kids wear a helmet while bicycling; although they aren’t required statewide, several Arizona counties do require helmet use for children under 18 on bikes.
10. Assume drivers won’t see you. Remain alert even if you’re doing everything right. Distracted drivers are the cause of 24% of all crashes in Arizona – that can be anything from enjoying a beautiful sunset to texting while driving. Arizona is full of designated cycling and walking trails, but that doesn’t mean all drivers are paying attention to them.
Even if you do everything correctly and take every precaution, you can still find yourself the victim of a car accident when you’re a pedestrian or cyclist. Most Arizona pedestrian and cyclist accidents happen during the day with clear visibility. These types of accidents are simply unavoidable.
While our top 10 safety tips for pedestrians and cyclists will help you stay safe on the road, we’re here for you when you’re the victim of those unavoidable car crashes. If you are injured in a pedestrian or cyclist car accident, contact the team at Leon Law, PLLC for a free case review and consultation to learn more about your legal options. Call (602) 780-1302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER: The Leon Law, PLLC blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources.
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