Pedestrian crosswalk accidents are unfortunately frequent in the state of Florida — statistics show that Florida and its various metros rank among the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians — despite the fact that marked crosswalks are installed and maintained for the sole purpose of preventing such accidents in the first place.
The existence of a marked crosswalk does not, in and of itself, act as a liability shield for defendants who are responsible for the implementation and/or maintenance of the crosswalk. Poorly-implemented and maintained crosswalks can still pose a significant danger to pedestrians, and in some cases, may increase the risk of injury by instilling a false sense of security.
Pedestrians may account for only a small portion of vehicular accidents, but injuries involving pedestrians are often severe, or even fatal. If you are injured due to a pedestrian accident at a crosswalk that was negligently designed or maintained, you may be able to recover substantial damages from the responsible parties. As such, it’s important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible in order to have your claims assessed and litigated to the fullest extent.
So, what are the common dangers pedestrians face when attempting to use a crosswalk?
Lack of Traffic Signal
Marked crosswalks that are not accompanied by supplementary signals to help direct traffic safely through the crosswalk can pose a serious danger to pedestrians using such crosswalks. Traffic signals (i.e., crosswalk countdowns, flashing beacons, etc.) and preliminary signage (i.e., warning signs installed ahead of a crosswalk) ensure that vehicular traffic is more effectively notified as to the existence of the crosswalk and pedestrian traffic through the crosswalk.
Inadequate Lighting and Visibility Issues
Crosswalks in areas lacking nighttime street lighting are incredibly dangerous for pedestrians, as are crosswalks that otherwise present visibility issues for drivers and pedestrians. Visibility issues must be understood in the context of the crosswalk environment itself. For example, a crosswalk installed near a sharp turn might be dangerous due to the fact that pedestrians cannot see incoming traffic turning in, and unfamiliar drivers may not have time to slow down before the crosswalk.
Failure to Properly Inspect for Dangers
Those responsible for installing and maintaining crosswalks must expend reasonable efforts to inspect the crosswalk for new and existing dangers. Inspections are absolutely necessary at crosswalks that see significant pedestrian traffic, particularly in situations involving electronic signal equipment. For example, reasonable inspection might reveal faulty traffic signals in the crosswalk — if a pedestrian relied on the signal working when he crossed, and was subsequently injured due to the failure of the signal, then the pedestrian might have a claim against the party responsible for maintaining the crosswalk.
Lacking Speed Control Measures
Crosswalks on roadways that experience high speed traffic should feature speed control measures to make the crosswalk safer for pedestrians. Speed control measures include, but are not limited, to:
- Raised medians
- Preliminary speed bumps
- Speed control signage
- Traffic signals
- And more.
Contact Randall Spivey to connect with a skilled Fort Myers personal injury attorney at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. Our staff is prepared to work with you and we will provide you with a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights.