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Avoiding Pedestrians Accidents During COVID-19


During the COVID 19 outbreak, we have seen an unprecedented number of pedestrians and runners using our streets. While this is a welcome change, it also creates an unusual problem given the need to social distance on narrow streets and sidewalks.

While using the streets, the practice of social distancing from your neighbor must be kept in mind. Science is still unclear for how long the virus can remain airborne and whether runners who are exhaling at greater rates will pose a greater threat to those in their wake. While we learn more about the science behind the transmission of the virus, good social distancing practices and the use of masks can help keep us all safe.

Given the increased number of road users it is also a good time to re-visit the laws and good practices for pedestrians and motorists who interact on the roadways. Our New York pedestrian collision and crash attorneys provide some common safety tips for motorists and pedestrians below.

What Is the Law for Vehicles Approaching a Crosswalk with Pedestrians Present?

If there is a crosswalk at a location where there are no traffic control signals for drivers or pedestrians, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

What If There Isn’t a Marked Crosswalk?

If there are no marked crosswalks, the safest place for pedestrians to cross the road is at an intersection. Motorists will have the right of way at all locations other than intersections and marked crosswalks.

Are Pedestrians Required to Use a Sidewalk If One Is Provided?

Yes. Where sidewalks are provided and they can be used safely, pedestrians must use the sidewalk instead of walking in the road.

Who Has the Right of Way When a Car Is Pulling Into or Out of Traffic Across a Sidewalk?

Pedestrians do. The driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alleyway, building, private road, or driveway must yield the right of way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk or road shoulder.

If No Sidewalk Is Provided, Should a Pedestrian Walk on a Road Shoulder Facing Oncoming Traffic or with Their Back to Oncoming Traffic?

Pedestrians and runners should walk or run on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic because it makes them more visible to motorists and helps them stay aware of traffic. Stay as far to the left as possible.

What Is a Good Practice If I Walk at Night?

At dawn and dusk, the ability to see pedestrians decreases. A good practice is to wear bright colors, use reflective bans, and carry a light. Even carrying your phone in your hand with your light on makes you more visible as your arm swings while you walk. The more moving visible parts you have, the more visible you are to motorists.

What Can Motorists Do to Keep Pedestrians Safe?

The easiest thing is to slow down. A pedestrian’s survival right rate involving a crash with a vehicle traveling 25 MPH or less greatly decreases the chance of serious injury or death. Keep a proper lookout ahead and expect the unexpected. With children out of school and on the streets, “dart outs” should be expected. Put down your phone and stop texting. All it takes is two seconds of your eyes off the road and you can change someone’s life forever.

As the weather continues to get nicer and we all hopefully return to some normalcy in our daily routines, these tips can all keep us safe in the road. Stay safe!

Have you or a loved one been injured in a pedestrian accident? Our New York pedestrian collision and crash attorneys can help you receive compensation to pay for your medical expenses and more. Contact us today online or by calling (888) 290-5994.

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