“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
If Ralph Waldo Emerson knew of the dangers that exists for walkers and pedestrians in the modern world, he probably would have stayed at home and wrote another book. Today pedestrians face numerous challenges when they go on a walk, from: distracted drivers, cell phones, i-pods, train crossings, busy roads, unmarked crosswalks, and dimly lit sidewalks to no sidewalks. Pedestrians have a lot of distractions and a lot to pay attention to when they stroll down the street.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, last year in Arizona there were approximately 1,507 pedestrian and automobile accidents. Out of those 1,507 crashes, 154 pedestrians were killed and 1,253 pedestrians were injured. In Arizona, there has been a slow rise in pedestrian deaths, which has been attributed to more people walking on a daily basis. Distracted driving may also contribute to the increase of pedestrian and car accidents because distracted drivers are not paying attention to traffic and instead are concentrating on their smart phones—not a smart idea. Safety experts have also attributed the increase in accidents to drivers and pedestrians who are impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The City of Flagstaff has found that 13% of all trips in Flagstaff are made on foot which is higher than the national average of 3%. Pedestrians make up approximately 7.5% of commuters compared to the 2.9% nationally. If you are one of the thousands of pedestrians in Flagstaff you have to be cautious because you do not want to be a statistic. Although the law requires that drivers exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians under A.R.S. § 794 the best way for a pedestrian to protect themselves is to be on the defensive. Tips for pedestrians to avoid accidents:
- Walk as if you are invisible; never assume that the driver sees you even if you have the “right-of-way”.
- Cross streets at designated crosswalks and under A.R.S § 28-792 drivers must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian unless the crosswalk is controlled by a traffic control device. If you have to cross at a non-designated crosswalk the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles in the roadway under A.R.S § 28-793.
- Take extra caution at intersection because drivers can fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning.
- Walk on the sidewalk, but if you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic because it’s the law under A.R.S. § 28-796.
- Flagstaff is an International Dark City so increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective clothing.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian/car accident seek medical attention immediately. Do not talk to insurance agent before you seek the advice of an attorney. Remember the insurance agent does not have your interests in mind; the insurance agent wants to settle the case as quickly as possible to protect the insurance company’s interest.
If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a victim of a pedestrian/car accident contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier at 928-774-5400 and ask to speak with Daniel, Matt or Tony. We have helped protect the rights of hundreds of accident victims in Flagstaff and throughout Arizona. We offer a free thirty minute consultation and have two convenient office in Flagstaff and Cottonwood and if you cannot come to use, we can visit you at your home or office.