Nationwide there were more than 6,200 pedestrians killed on U.S. roads in 2018 – the highest death toll in nearly thirty years. Ninety pedestrians were killed in Pennsylvania during the first six months of 2018. Those figures are not looking good for Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, pedestrian deaths have crept up over the years — in 2018, there were 201 pedestrians killed. In 2017 there were 150. While these pedestrian accident statistics are staggering, with the COVID-19 outbreak, pedestrian safety is even more important. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, car usage may be down. However, with fewer cars on the roads, drivers are feeling daring on the roads. Across the nation, police departments are reporting drivers who are driving recklessly and carelessly. What the law says about Pennsylvania pedestrians In Pennsylvania, pedestrians must walk on sidewalks, if available, and if they are not available, they must walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. However, never assume a driver sees you. Try to ensure you make eye contact with the driver. The law says motorists must yield to those crossing the street at a marked or unmarked intersection – but – the pedestrian must either be within the crosswalk or clearly indicate an intention to cross the street. Pennsylvania law also states that pedestrians must not suddenly step off a curb or from in between two parked cars and walk or run into the path of an oncoming vehicle that is close enough to be hazardous. Pedestrian safety tips In these uncertain times, it is vital for everyone to stay safe. Here is a list of some safety tips to keep in mind:
- If there is no crosswalk and your view is blocked, go to a location where you can see and hear oncoming traffic
- Look both ways, more than once, before crossing and, if possible, make eye contact with the driver
- Do not use a cellphone while walking because it is a distraction
- Do not wear earbuds as they prevent you from hearing traffic and other sounds
- Avoid walking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Be on the lookout for cars existing or entering driveways or backing up in parking lots
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.