Factors Making Crosswalks Dangerous

October 31, 2018

Pedestrian crosswalks can pose a serious problem for those looking to safely make their way across the marked road.  Dangerous crosswalks can expose pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm, and further, the injuries suffered are very often severe — pedestrians hit in a crosswalk will be injured directly, which could lead to catastrophic injuries in some circumstances.  Pedestrians may also be “lured” into using a crosswalk without realizing the danger in its design or maintenance.

In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, pedestrians who have been injured due to a dangerous crosswalk may sue and recover damages not only from the defendant-driver, but also from the entity that designed, maintains, or otherwise controls the crosswalk at-issue.

What factors make a crosswalk dangerous?  Let’s take a look at a few.

Poor Visibility

Crosswalks are often made dangerous for pedestrians by virtue of inadequate visibility around the crosswalk, or even on approach.  Visibility may be influenced by a number of factors, such as poor lighting, sight line blockage (i.e., overgrown trees, buildings covering the approach, etc.), and having the crosswalk built on a road that features a sharp upward or downward angle.

Signal Defects

Not all crosswalks require additional signage or traffic signals, such as a pedestrian light that can be turned on by those using the crosswalk to notify incoming traffic.  When such signals are implemented, however, pedestrians come to rely on them to ensure that the crossing will be reasonably safe.  If the signal is not properly maintained — in other words, if the signal is not inspected frequently for defects and repaired or replaced when a defect is actually discovered — then this could pose a significant danger to those pedestrians using the crosswalk.

Circumstantial Issues

Crosswalk design must take into account the environment and surroundings relevant to the crosswalk.  If, for example, the crosswalk is built on a sloping road, then speed control measures may be necessary to force approaching vehicles to slow down.  There are a number of human and/or environmental concerns that must be considered when designing a crosswalk to be “safe” for the circumstances.

Similar Accidents at Crosswalk

Prior accidents can be indicative of a dangerous crosswalk, particularly if another pedestrian was injured under similar circumstances.  For example, if you were hit by a car due to the fact that visibility upon approach was limited (perhaps an overgrown tree branch was blocking the sight line), and you discover that a previous accident occurred with the same visibility issue contributing to the accident, then that may be supportive evidence in favor of your claim.

Inadequate Traffic Control

Crosswalks must feature adequate traffic control measures.  It is not sufficient to simply paint a crosswalk without considering the circumstances around the crosswalk.  For example, if the City builds a crosswalk on a high-traffic, high-speed roadway, then they should implement traffic control measures — speed bumps, crosswalk lights, additional signage — to minimize the risk of injury.

Contact Our Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyers for Comprehensive Legal Assistance

If you have been injured while traveling through a crosswalk, then Pennsylvania law may entitle you to damages as compensation.  Crosswalks — depending on the particularities of their design and maintenance — can expose pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm.  In such cases, those who sustain injuries may attach liability to the parties responsible for the crosswalk at-issue.

Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our team of attorneys has extensive experience advocating on behalf of injured plaintiffs in a variety of personal injury disputes, including those that involve dangerous crosswalks.  We understand the unique challenges associated with pedestrian claims, and particularly those that occur due to a defective or otherwise dangerous crosswalk.

Actionable claims should be brought in a timely manner.  If you’d like to learn more, or if you’re ready to move forward with an evaluation of your case, then we encourage you to get in touch with a qualified attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC for assistance.  Call 215-348-2088 or submit an online message to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Bethlehem personal injury lawyers today.