As fall changes to winter and the daylight hours decrease, people throughout Connecticut need to prepare for the increased risk of pedestrian and bicyclist accidents. However, walkers and bicyclists are not just vulnerable at this time of year. In fact, the entire country seems to be experiencing a steady increase in pedestrian and bicyclist deaths even as other types of traffic fatalities have been consistently declining.
As just one example, consider what has been occurring in nearby New Haven, just a short drive away from North Haven. In early October, a Yale Law School student riding a bicycle was killed after being struck by a truck. Sadly, the incident was not an isolated one. The city has experienced 13 pedestrian or bicyclist deaths this year alone.
Better traffic enforcement and other changes needed
In a recent news article, those interviewed about the grim statistics noted that the city needs much better traffic enforcement at intersections. Drivers are speeding and running red lights with confidence because they believe they won’t be caught or cited. This, of course, creates serious hazards for anyone trying to walk or ride a bike near those intersections.
Statewide and nationwide, however, there are additional hazards contributing to the rise in traffic deaths for bicyclists and pedestrians. These include:
- Distracted driving, which is underenforced and underreported by police
- Infrastructure designed solely around automobile traffic
- A car culture that prioritizes the rights and needs of drivers over all others
- An increase in the number of SUVs on the road, which are more deadly (to walkers and bicyclists) than sedans because of their increased weight and height
- Lack of political will to demand better safety measures for the most vulnerable travelers (those not in motor vehicles)
What you can do if you’ve been injured
The risks that pedestrians and bicyclists face in Connecticut are systemic and difficult to change. Although this isn’t an excuse for failing to act, it is a problem that none of us can solve alone. Nevertheless, if you have been struck and seriously injured by a negligent driver, it is important to remember that you have legal options. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can pursue the compensation you need and deserve by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.