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Every year thousands die in pedestrian accidents

Walking is great exercise and a good way to pass the time. It is no surprise then that Washington residents are taking advantage of the summer months to walk more, whether by taking a recreational walk or switching out part of their commute in exchange for walking. But, it is not necessarily as safe as Washington residents may believe. Indeed, far too many people are hurt and killed while walking every year.

How many people? According to CDC, in 2013 over 150,000 pedestrians suffered crash-related injuries. And nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed. Put differently, a pedestrian dies about every two hours.

Certain groups are at greater risk. The most at-risk groups are children and older adults. 20 percent of children killed in a traffic crash were pedestrians. Meanwhile, pedestrians 65 and older accounted for nearly one-fifth of all pedestrian deaths.

Many of these injuries and fatalities can be prevented. Pedestrians should stay on paths and sidewalks. If those are not available, then walk on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic. Thinking about crossing the street? Cross at an intersection or at a designated crosswalk. Walking at night? Carry a flashlight, wear reflective clothing or preferably both.

But, while precautions can reduce the risk of something bad happening, pedestrian accidents are sometimes inevitable. Washington residents who are involved in one of these unfortunate events may have options, including filing a lawsuit. Doing so can be essential to not only holding the responsible party accountable, but also to obtain compensation that they need to get through a difficult time.

Source: cdc.gov, "Pedestrian Safety," Accessed July 26, 2016

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