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Roadway design measures to improve pedestrian safety

On behalf of Rooz Law posted in Auto-Pedestrian Accidents on Friday, January 2, 2015.

Ontario pedestrian accident cases can be especially catastrophic, as pedestrians are unprotected and thus not easily able to avoid serious injury. There are several different engineering applications that can be implemented in order to lessen the risk to pedestrians with the design of roadways.

Roadway design measures can be as simple as installing improved lighting so pedestrians are easier to see and establishing signs that alert drivers to upcoming crosswalks. Other measures may be implemented to separate pedestrians and traffic, to reduce simultaneous movements of people and vehicles and to lower speed limits through known pedestrian areas.

Roundabouts can help reduce vehicle speeds and thus help lower the risk of pedestrian-involved injury accidents. Studies in Europe have demonstrated a reduction of between 73 to 75 percent of pedestrian accidents following the installation of roundabouts. Installation of raised medians and crossing islands have been demonstrated to significantly lower the risk of pedestrian accidents. A common problem causing pedestrian accidents is obstructed views of drivers due to parked cars. For this reason, vehicle parking near intersections should be restricted to improve visibility. Signalized crosswalks may be helpful as well.

The implementation of engineering-informed roadway design measures is expensive, but the resultant savings in terms of cost of life and other financial losses may far outweigh the initial expense. Even with improved roadway design features, however, it is impossible to avoid all auto-pedestrian accidents. In some instances, a pedestrian will dart across a road. In others, a motorist will be at fault due to negligence, distracted driving or another problem. When a pedestrian has been seriously injured in an accident, he or she may want to have the facts of his or her case evaluated by a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can provide a fair assessment and may then help file a personal injury lawsuit if warranted.

Source: Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, “Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safetyin Canada”, December 30, 2014