Posted on November 23rd, 2011 by Zane Cagle
A high school student has been struck in Urbana, Illinois, while crossing the street in a crosswalk, the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette reports. The student was crossing the street on her way to basketball practice, before going out to dinner with friends to celebrate her birthday. As she was crossing the street in the crosswalk, a Mazda Protégé driven by an Urbana school superintendent, struck the child. The driver immediately rendered assistance until paramedics arrived and stayed to talk to police. He was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The student was taken to a hospital, where she was treated at the hospital for a fractured right shoulder and various injuries to the right side of her body. She is expected to make a full recovery.
Pedestrian accidents have been trending down since the mid-90s, but still remain a problem. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center reports that, in 2009, 4,092 people were killed while walking, while roughly 59,000 pedestrians were injured. This is a major decrease from 1999, when over 80,000 people were injured while walking or biking. Because it’s nearly impossible to track pedestrian movement in terms of distance walked, amount of time spent next to the roadway, etc., it is difficult to point to any one factor as responsible for this decrease.
One possible explanation, per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is that engineers and city planners have implemented more safety measures for pedestrians. Some of these include curbing right turns on red, adding refuge lanes in the middle of busy two way streets, and making pedestrians easier to spot in the roadways. Use of countdown signals at intersections has also increased the amount of incidents between pedestrians and vehicles, as pedestrians now know exactly how long they have in the intersection before the light changes.
In Illinois, pedestrians have rights when walking in the roadway. When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk, drivers are required to stop, whether there is signage or not. Failure to do so results in a ticket and a fine of between $50-$500, as the driver in the above story found. This bill,passed in 2010, was passed in response to the pedestrian fatalities in Illinois. In 2008, 135 people were killed while walking or crossing the street. This number seems low, but as the Governor Highway Safety Association warns, this number could begin to rise due to economic factors. As people adjust their lifestyles to make do with less, people may begin to walk more and use public transit as a way to decrease living expenses. As more pedestrians take to the streets and roadways, drivers will need to be more aware of their presence and adjust their driving habits accordingly.
Pedestrians have just as much right to the roadway as drivers. When a motorist strikes a pedestrian, it is traumatic for the motorist and the pedestrian. If you or a loved one has been injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian, you have rights. Zane T. Cagle and the Illinois pedestrian attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm are here to help. Their knowledge and expertise with the laws of Illinois will help you recover every penny you are entitled to. Call today at 1.800. 685.3302 for a free consultation.