April 24, 2015

It’s easy to understand why vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians are so dangerous. That’s because even a minor collision with a car, truck or SUV can leave those victims with serious injuries. With little or no protection, pedestrians are especially prone to injuries caused by distracted, drugged or drunk motorists.

This is especially true when individuals on foot attempt to cross roadways at intersections. In many vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents, the drivers of the vehicles involved simply fail to see pedestrians in the crosswalks. One of the main causes of that is due to a lack of driver visibility. Other vehicles parked alongside the roadway and close to intersections make it harder for motorists to see pedestrians. This is particularly true when those pedestrians are entering crosswalks at the same time that drivers are stopped at the intersection and preparing to make a right turn.

Currently, several cities across the United States have begun implementing new intersection designs, which are geared towards improving motorist visibility at intersections and reducing overall pedestrian accidents. One of the principal types of this strategy is known as a “neck down”. A neck down is really nothing more than a narrowing of a street as it approaches an intersection. This strategy forces drivers to reduce their speed as they come up to the light and stop for the intersection.

Another city planning/engineering strategy to reduce pedestrian accidents are known as “bulbouts”. These can best be described as adding curbs in a semi-circle pattern to each of the four corners of an intersection. This design is particularly effective for forcing motorists who are turning right on a light to slow down and make a wide arcing turn before entering a perpendicular lane. An added benefit to the bulbout design is that the space provided by the extra curbing can also be used to plant ornamental shrubs and flowers. The overall effect is actually more visually appealing than the sharp right angle edges found on most four-way intersections.

Pennsylvania residents need to know that despite these so-called “traffic calming” measures, the reality is that some drivers simply will not observe safe driving practices. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law allows injured pedestrians to sue drivers who have caused them harm in preventable accidents. Your Pennsylvania pedestrian accident attorney can help you file your claims in civil court and pursue compensation for your medical costs and associated expenses.

Source: Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration, “Curb Extensions / Neckdowns,” accessed April. 24, 2015