Are Ohio pedestrians more at risk of being hit by cars?

The numbers of fatal pedestrian accidents in Ohio have dramatically risen in recent months. Several factors may contribute to the risk for those on foot.

Drivers may be used to seeing children walking to and from school between fall and spring, but the start of summer does not mean fewer pedestrians. In fact, more people than ever will be sharing the roads on foot in Cleveland from June to August. During the summer months, children often play outside and walk to their friends' houses; older residents may choose to walk to work instead of drive, or get out to enjoy some exercise by walking or jogging. As a result, there is an increased risk for traffic-related pedestrian accidents in the summer. In 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 86 pedestrians were killed in Ohio.

According to News Net 5 Cleveland, more people are being hit by cars and killed across the country than in recent years. Ohio, however has seen more fatal pedestrian accidents lately than anywhere else. There was a 124-percent rise in pedestrian deaths in Ohio during the first six months of 2015, compared to the first half of 2014.

Risk and injury factors

Why is Ohio seeing so many more pedestrian accidents? It is believed that increased cellphone use while driving or walking distracts people and leads to fatal motor vehicle crashes. Also, many more drivers are on the road due to lower gas prices, better job stability and warmer weather.

Anyone can be hit in a pedestrian accident, but children, the alcohol-impaired and senior citizens are among those most at risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of pedestrian accidents occur in the following areas:

  • Heavily populated communities
  • Sections of road lacking sidewalks or designated crosswalks
  • Poorly-lit roads at night
  • Non-intersection areas
  • Locations near schools, playgrounds or homes

While it is true that pedestrians who are not paying attention or following safety rules may put themselves at risk, motorists are mostly the ones responsible for their safety. The National Safety Council states that drivers should be aware that there could be pedestrians sharing the road at any time. Therefore, they should always look for people walking before backing out of a driveway, turning onto a street from a side road or crossing an intersection. Drivers should be extra cautious when navigating a parking lot, where they may encounter numerous pedestrians. They should especially be careful in school zones and never try to move around a school bus or other vehicle that is stopped to let people walk past. Finally, it is important to realize that children often do not understand how to recognize traffic hazards, or they may take sudden, unexpected risks such as darting out into the road or engaging in horseplay.

After an accident

The best precautions are not a guarantee against a pedestrian accident. Cleveland residents who were injured or have a loved one who was harmed by a negligent driver may wish to contact an experienced personal injury attorney, who can discuss the best ways to move forward with a case.