Michigan has seen a significant rise in serious crash injuries, recently documented in a report by The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). According to the report, vehicle-on-pedestrian and cyclist crashes make up one percent of all accidents; but, in Southeast Michigan, these make up 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.
The alarming serious injury statistics involving crashes between non-motorists and vehicles has spurred SEMCOG to create a safe travel interactive database and map to assist communities in the Southeast Michigan area.
Drivers Being Urged to Be More Careful
SEMCOG’s report detailed that the number of crashes hasn’t risen from the previous year. The statistics are up nine percent from a decade ago, and the crash data did show that non-motorist serious injuries jumped significantly. Weak traffic laws, distracted drivers, and unsafe travel paths were considered strong contributing factors in this increase.
Whether it’s crossing a street or sharing the same path as vehicle traffic, pedestrians and cyclists commonly share space with moving vehicles. Without the physical barrier of protection from a car, these people are more likely to suffer severe and deadly injuries than the occupants of the vehicle involved in a crash.
Eight Road Safety Tips for When Vehicles Interact with Cyclists and Pedestrians
Michigan lawmakers are aware of the crash problem, and they’re always working to improve the safety on all Michigan roadways. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips drivers can use as they interact with non-vehicle traffic:
1. Clearance marker – Use a five to six-foot clearance marker as a general guide to ensure cyclists have enough room on the road.
2. Be courteous – Look twice at intersections and stops. Don’t drive angrily and remember that pedestrians do have the right of way.
3. Take extra precautions – Left turn lanes present an unusually high risk of accident due to blind spots in vehicles and the smaller size of pedestrians and cyclists.
4. Use the horn – Give cyclists and pedestrians a friendly honk of the horn if they’re seen engaging in unsafe practices or not paying attention, such as by operating a phone as they walk or ride. Do the same for those who may not see oncoming traffic, such as from carrying objects or children.
5. Pay attention when reversing – Manually check behind the vehicle, use the mirrors, and be alert for the vehicle’s back-up alarm warnings. Check twice before slowly and cautiously proceeding in reverse. Keeping mind that small children and short adults may not be seen behind the vehicle, especially if the car is high-profile.
6. Avoid speeding – especially through heavy pedestrian areas such as parking lots, school zones, and residential areas. When you’re flying down the road, it reduces your capacity to react. Speeding increases the risk of a car accident for everyone around you.
7. Respect bicycle lanes – While considered part of the roadway, Michigan law prohibits motorists from parking and driving on bicycle lanes.
8. Abide by general traffic laws – Mind school bus stop signals, caution lights, and so forth. Stay alert. Don’t be a distracted driver by eating, texting, and talking on the phone, or any other activity that removes eyes from the roadway.
Pedestrians and cyclists injured in a vehicle crash should consult a Michigan personal injury attorney immediately to protect their rights. Such injuries can result in thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and loss of work. It can also cause significant personal harm and physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering. Frustration and confusion over the legal process only add to the burden. Contacting a personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your right to compensation and gain a clear picture of the legalities involved in seeking personal injury compensation.
Finding a Michigan Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Attorneys with Michigan Legal Center have spent the last 20 years helping individuals collect compensation after a car accident. For a free consultation call 1-800-961-8477 or complete our contact form. Having an attorney there to fight for your rights is essential to receiving the money you need to recover from your injuries.