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Pedestrians are at higher risk than they have been in years

Some people in Illinois are out on the roads almost daily, jogging or running to train for their next marathon. Others walk to run local errands or to get a bit of exercise on their lunch break from work. Every pedestrian traveling paths also utilized by motor vehicles is compelled to embrace some degree of personal risk that they’ll be involved in a collision.

Pedestrian crashes with motor vehicles can have tragic consequences for the person struck by the vehicle. In recent years, pedestrian crashes have become an even more serious reason for concern for people in Illinois and across the United States than they are ordinarily.

There has been a surge in pedestrian deaths

Better data analysis and improved safety systems in vehicles have helped reduce the severity of crashes when they occur and even led to a short-term drop in fatal crash rates after the turn of the millennium. However, vehicles have gotten larger on average in recent years, while speed limits have slowly crept up in many places.

The end result of those slow changes is that pedestrians are simply at more risk on the road now than they were a few years ago. Overall, not only have the number of pedestrian fatalities reported each year risen 54% between 2010 and 2020, but the percentage of traffic deaths made up by pedestrians has also risen noticeably. Illinois saw a 33% increase in the number of pedestrian deaths between 2019 and 2021, when 228 pedestrians died. While that may be a bit lower than the nationwide, that one-third increase in fatalities took place over just three years, which is quite fast.

How can pedestrians protect themselves?

Avoiding risk factors like distraction and alcohol intoxication while on busy roads could potentially save a pedestrian’s life. So could carefully following traffic laws, being proactive about watching for oncoming vehicles and crossing where drivers are most likely to notice them.

If a pedestrian does get hit by a vehicle, they will need to know about and make use of their rights. Filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit is often necessary after a pedestrian crash, as the unprotected human body could suffer major injuries as a result of such collisions.