While walking, running, and hiking are healthy and enjoyable experiences, they can also be dangerous. That is why it is important to always use extra care when walking or jogging on a road or crossing at an intersection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed and over 75,000 injured annually in pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents. This means that, on an average day, one pedestrian is killed nearly every 2 hours and injured about every 9 minutes. Nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur between Friday and Sunday, while pedestrians are out enjoying their weekend. Over 90% of pedestrian crashes in Minnesota occur in urban areas.
Children are especially at-risk for a pedestrian accident. Approximately 1 out of every 5 children killed in a traffic-related accident is a pedestrian. The greatest risk, not surprisingly, is after school lets out, with a third of child pedestrian fatalities under age 16 occurring between 3-7p.m.
While the statute of limitations is usually three years, it may be as short as two years in Minnesota, during which time you must file a claim or have your claims barred. It is critical to take action as soon as possible to preserve evidence, contact witnesses, and ensure that your rights are protected.
Tips for Pedestrians Safety
- Always use available cross-walks.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers before stepping out into traffic. Just because you can see the vehicle and/or driver, does not mean that they see you.
- Use the sidewalk. If a sidewalk is not accessible or available and you have to walk on the road, remember to walk on the left-side of the road, against traffic. (Minn. Stat. § 169.21, Subd. 5.)
- Parents must set pedestrian safety rules for their children. Talk to young children about chasing balls or other toys in the road. If your child is walking alone, find a route with the least number of street crossings. Teach them to look left, right, and left again before crossing.
- Be seen at night. Wear reflective clothing and/or carry a flash light.
- Cross roads at duly designated spots and use crosswalks whenever possible. Jaywalking is interpreted as being at fault and significant fault may be a bar to recovery.
- While a pedestrian who enters into an intersection before a motor vehicle may have the right-of-way, being legally right is cold comfort if one is injured or killed.
- Be very careful when crossing a multi-lane road in front of traffic which has stopped for you. Vehicles following the vehicle(s) which has or have stopped for you may wrongly interpret that the stopped vehicle intends to turn left and may pull around them, believing the intersection is otherwise clear.