PennDOT periodically partners with other organizations to hold events aimed at community outreach and safety. Recently, they held an event in partnership with several other organizations in Lycoming County to raise awareness about bicycle safety. This event, which was a bike rodeo, focused on bike safety and helmet use in an effort to address Bicycle Safety Month. Children who attended this event learned about PA's bicycle laws and general safety tips. Some children received a free helmet, and there was a bicycle course set up at the event for participants to ride through. PennDOT data from 2017 reflects a high number of bicycle accidents across the state, including over 1,000 crashes. These crashes resulted in nearly 100 significant medical injuries and over 20 deaths. Hopefully, these outreach programs will reduce these statistics in the coming years.
Pedestrian deaths are on the rise across the country, and PA is no exception. According to nationally compiled data via the Governors Highway Safety Commission, Pennsylvania saw over a 40% increase in pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2018 as compared to the first half of 2017. If this trend continues, 2019 will prove to be a deadly year for pedestrians, too. According to the data, almost 100 pedestrians were killed by drivers in Pennsylvania during the first half of 2018 as compared to 64 during that same stretch of time in 2017.Nationally, these numbers reflect the highest number of pedestrian deaths in 30 years. Many people believe that this increase is due to heightened instances of distracted driving, more SUVs on the road (which data suggests is correlated with an increase in pedestrian accidents), and an increased number of walkers in areas where most people used to drive. By the numbers, most accidents involving pedestrians overwhelmingly occur at night (about 90%) and over half of these accidents occur on local streets and neighboring highways. In PA, pedestrian fatalities account for roughly 10% of all traffic-related deaths.
Across the country, pedestrian accidents are on the rise. Arizona currently has the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the country, but many states are experiencing this issue as well. Pennsylvania is no exception this. According to a news report by an Arizona news source, pedestrian and bike fatalities make up about a quarter of their total traffic fatalities. Given the number and severity of cases that Pennsylvania also sees in these areas, this number may be not far off in our state, too. Some of these accidents occur as a result of driver error or inattention, while others are caused by pedestrians and bicyclists who do not cross streets at designated times and/or places.
There are many differences between the United Kingdom and the United States, but one of the latest differences comes from how pedestrian crosswalks are handled. According to a recent article, a London company recently developed a "smart" pedestrian crossing zone. In this new zone, technology, including LED lights and cameras, are used to keep pedestrians and drivers safe. One of the features includes accounting for walkers looking down at their cell phones, which causes a warning light to come into the pedestrian's field of vision and veers them away from the road. Another feature includes creating a virtual buffer around children who may run into the street. Drivers and bikers on the road would see the danger ahead on the road and know to avoid the child. An additional great aspect is alerting drivers and cyclists when a pedestrian is in their blind spot.
Autumn is fast approaching, which means cooler weather, changing leaves, and football. Unfortunately, it also means that certain kinds of accidents are also on the rise. One of these potentially deadly types of accidents is pedestrian accidents. According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian accidents are the most likely to happen during the fall months. Take a look at some of these statistics highlighted in one of their reports from a few years ago:
Last month, a person was injured in a serious pedestrian accident in Allegheny County. A person was walking across the road when they were struck by a car. At the time of the news report, there was no information about the driver of the vehicle who struck the walker. When the article was released, the victim was originally thought to be dead, but the report was later corrected and reflected that the victim was alive, but suffered injuries.
Accidents and injuries tend to increase during the summer, especially for children. Do you know that many common injuries occur where you may least expect them? According to one hospital's website, ER visits increase significantly during the summer. Many of these injuries occur as a result of children getting into accidents, such as falling out of windows (whether they have screens or they don't). Fire pits are also a common place for injuries, as are lawn mower accidents, swimming accidents, and pedestrian accidents. The time around dusk can be particularly dangerous for children out playing, since it may be more difficult for others to see them walking, biking, and rollerskating on the streets.
In Pittsburgh, news reports note that a taxi hit two pedestrians last month. One of the pedestrians unfortunately passed away as a result. According to reports of the accident, the taxi initially collided with another car before going onto the curb. It then hit the walkers as they were crossing the street. The accident caused a section of the city to close and many emergency responders quickly arrived at the scene. Sadly, this is a situation which likely could have been avoided if drivers had taken more care in the city steets.
Over the weekend, a woman in Pittsburgh was struck and killed by a shuttle bus as she was crossing the street. The accident, which occurred around 7:00AM on Saturday morning, happened while the woman was walking through a crosswalk. The area's Accident Investigators Unit is looking further into the case.
Recently, a young boy was a victim in a pedestrian accident in Westmont, PA. According to local news reports, the thirteen-year-old was trying to cross a street when he stepped out in front of a car and was hit. Accident reconstruction specialists were noted to be working at the scene to determine the specifics of the accident.