Spring brings warmer weather and plentiful sunshine. More people are inclined to get outdoors and enjoy their days, so there is an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic in Georgia and elsewhere. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, GDOT, 236 pedestrians were killed in 2016. That number is up from the previous years when in 2014 there were 168 deaths and in 2015 there were 206. This steady rise in pedestrian fatalities may be due to a number of factors including distracted driving and walking. However, only about one-third of the deaths were caused by the pedestrians involved.
Injuries Caused to Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Injuries in pedestrian and bicycle accidents can be extremely serious because the victims have little or no protection against a vehicle. Speed plays a large role in the survivability of these types of crashes. The faster a vehicle is traveling when the impact occurs, the more severe the injuries are likely to be. About nine out of 10 people are killed when hit at a speed of 40 MPH.
Even being hit at a slow rate of speed can have devastating results. The most serious injuries include head trauma, back and neck injuries, broken bones and injuries to internal organs.
Bicyclists should wear protective gear including helmets, knee pads and adequate shoes. However, a helmet will only go so far in protecting a rider from a head injury. Victims of these types of crashes should get medical care immediately following the accident. Even if you don’t feel your injuries are serious, you could have internal injuries that must be quickly diagnosed and treated.
Prevention of Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
The best way to prevent pedestrian and bicycle accidents is to increase everyone’s awareness. GDOT launched a campaign called “See and Be Seen” aimed to educate the public about pedestrian safety. They offer some tips for both pedestrians and drivers. Drivers need to slow down and watch for people on foot. 93 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents happen outside of crosswalks so it is particularly important to watch for pedestrians on the side of the road. Pedestrians should only try to cross the street in designated areas. Most fatal accidents occur at night. Pedestrians and bicyclists should wear reflective clothing and bike riders should always ride at night only if they have a working light. Most importantly, pay attention to your surroundings and don’t walk, pedal or drive while distracted.
What to Do After a Pedestrian or Bicycle Accident
Immediately following an accident you should make sure that the police have been called. They will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and take witness statements. Obtain the name and insurance information from the driver. Always get checked out by a medical professional after a crash. It is often best to be transported to the hospital where you will receive a full medical evaluation. Keep all medical records and details about your care and recovery. Speak to an Atlanta accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident. Your lawyer will help file a claim to ensure that you obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact The Bader Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.