Highway traffic deaths have declined in recent years, due in part to road and highway engineers as well as drivers practicing safe habits. Despite the decline, there has been a spike in non-vehicular deaths specifically with pedestrians and cyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported an increase in non-vehicular accidents by 13 percent in 2003 to an upward spike of 17 percent in 2012. What causes pedestrian accidents and injuries and what kind of precautions can cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers make to ensure safer roads? We have compiled a list of the top four causes of pedestrian and bicyclist accidents. Every driver, pedestrian, and cyclist should follow to ensure safe roadways.

boy texts walking in front of car

1. Failure to yield at intersections and crosswalks

Nearly half of all bicyclist and pedestrian accidents are a direct response of a failure to yield of a rider and/or driver at an intersection or crosswalk. Cyclists are required to adhere to the same rules of the road as someone driving a vehicle, but bicyclists are hit more often at intersections than anywhere else on the road.

For drivers and cyclists, the rule of thumb at an intersection without a stop sign or signal is that the person who arrives first has the right of way. If two drivers stop simultaneously, the vehicle on the left yields the right-of-way to the driver on the right. Drivers and bicyclists alike should keep their eyes on the road at all times and stay apprised of all traffic laws to ensure a safe commute.

2. Turning lane collisions

Bicycle down on cross walk at car intersectionTurning lane collisions can happen a few ways. The most common bicyclist or pedestrian accidents occur when the driver of a motor vehicle either fails to come to a complete stop for a cyclist who is also turning (and has the right of way), or when a distracted driver unknowingly turns in front of a pedestrian or cyclist who is moving forward through a stop sign.

Paying attention to the road as you drive and driving defensively are two key mechanisms for both drivers and cyclists to avoid turning lane collisions and pedestrian injury.

3. Texting while walking

Crossing the street while texting is a leading cause of pedestrian accidents in the United States. Distractions like handheld devices and the new Apple watch take attention away from the surrounding environment. Be safe, put down the phone, look where you are going, follow the rules of the road, and wait for a safe moment to cross the street.

4. Jaywalking

Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian who wants to cross the street does so unlawfully, ignoring marked crosswalks. This violation is incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and can result in serious injury or death. From a pedestrian’s point of view, it is difficult to gauge the speed of an oncoming vehicle. Pedestrians who jaywalk are also more likely to be hit and seriously injured or killed while jaywalking at night compared to any other time of day. In order to protect yourself against serious injury or death, only cross at designated pedestrian crosswalks when directed by the light.

At Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC, we provide our clients with aggressive legal advice to settle personal injury claims. We specialize in personal injury law and represent our clients throughout Mesa and the Phoenix Valley to the fullest extent. Call our law offices today and schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.