August 29, 2014

Pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania resulted in the deaths of 122 residents 2011. At first glance, that number seems high but it actually represents a steady decline from the previous years. In fact, in 2001 there were 195 fatal pedestrian accidents.

Pennsylvania has identified crosswalks as being a problem area for pedestrian accidents. For this reason, in 2001, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began placing signs in high pedestrian traffic areas that are specifically developed to alert motorists to the presence of pedestrians.

The so-called “5300” signs are bright yellow-green and slightly larger than a traffic cone. They have a heavy base and are intended to be placed in the median of the road. Research has shown that drivers operating in areas where the 5300 signs are in place show a 30 to 40 percent increase in motorist’s compliance with pedestrian laws. PennDOT believes the signs may have contributed to as much as a 10 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities when compared to the average over a five-year period.

Additionally, Pennsylvania has partnered with the national Safe Routes to School program in an effort to promote safety, awareness and participation of children between kindergarten age through the eighth grade to walk or bike to and from school.

The primary goal of SRTS is to get children to be more physically active each day. It is also designed to help communities improve safety and access for all pedestrians — even those who are disabled. SRTS provides funding to reimburse the state for money they spend on everything from installing crosswalks to painting bike lanes to clearing low hanging debris over sidewalks. PennDOT has received nearly $20 million for 34 capital improvement projects since the inception of the program in 2005.

Despite the best efforts of safety officials, pedestrian accidents are still bound to happen. This is especially true of accidents involving impaired or distracted motorists. If you have been injured in one of those types of accidents you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Source: Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Program, “Frequently Asked Questions” Aug. 27, 2014