Look Out For All Types Of Pedestrians
If we asked you to envision a pedestrian, what would you picture? It’s likely that you’re thinking of someone walking, running, or jogging on the sidewalk. You might imagine a child walking to school, an adult carrying groceries across the street, teenagers enjoying a walk in the fresh air, or runners preparing for their next race. These are great examples of everyday pedestrians, but there is one group that you — and many others — might be forgetting: people with mobility impairments.
If someone is mobility impaired, they may require the use of a
- Guide dog or other service animal
- Orthopedic cane
About 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to help with their mobility. 1.7 million of them use wheelchairs or motorized scooters. People rely on assistive devices for a variety of reasons. Some people need assistance simply because of aging or degenerative conditions. Others have medical conditions, like cerebral palsy, that confine them to a wheelchair or other device. After an accident, like a car crash or a serious fall at work, someone may become paralyzed or seriously injured, and turn toward assistive devices to help them regain some mobility.
People with mobility impairments still live productive and fulfilling lives. Like able-bodied people, people with mobility impairments go to work, school, and other events. However, transportation is often lacking for people with mobility impairments, particularly those in wheelchairs. Buses and other forms of public transportation are often not well equipped with ramps or storage. Plus, it is expensive for someone to format their own vehicle to meet their needs. Because of these challenges, many people in wheelchairs travel as pedestrians.
Watch Out For Wheelchairs!
While they may not be physically walking, people in wheelchairs are still considered pedestrians. This is because they use sidewalks and crosswalks, and travel at a much slower speed than vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, wheelchair users are also at a very high risk of pedestrian accidents.
There are many reasons for this:
- Streets are not well-designed for wheelchair users. Sidewalks may be unevenly paved or too narrow, forcing wheelchair users to move into the road.
- Wheelchairs are lower to the ground, hurting their visibility
- Wheelchairs users might not be able to move out of the way if a car does not see them.
To prevent collisions with wheelchairs, drivers should be certain to follow traffic rules. According to Florida Statutes, when a person with a mobility impairment is crossing the street in a designated crosswalk, drivers must bring their vehicle to a full stop before arriving at the intersection. Additionally, drivers should, of course, take all necessary precautions to avoid injuring the pedestrian. To avoid all types of pedestrian accidents, drivers should never drink and drive, text behind the wheel, or do anything else that may prevent them from seeing a pedestrian or coming to a safe stop in time.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.