Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the road in Colorado. For this reason, drivers should be careful to watch for pedestrians and prevent collisions. Unfortunately, drivers – and pedestrians – often behave negligently, resulting in pedestrian accidents and serious injuries. Despite ongoing campaigns to spread awareness about pedestrian safety, pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents have increased by more than 20 percent in the last few years in Colorado.
What State Has the Most Pedestrian Accidents?
According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, 94 pedestrians lost their lives in Colorado in 2021. This was the highest number on record for over 20 years, surpassing the previous record of 93 deaths in 2020. These numbers are a 21 percent increase from 2018-2019. Altogether, the number of traffic accident deaths in Colorado increased by 13.8 percent in 2021, with the highest number of deaths since 2002 at 692 lives lost. These statistics show a shocking increase in the number of fatal accidents in Colorado.
Sadly, this is not a trend that Colorado is experiencing alone. Around the country, pedestrian accident and fatality rates have increased over the last couple of years. Statistics show that Florida had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the country in 2021, with a Pedestrian Danger Index of 201.4 in 2021. This index measures how dangerous it is for pedestrians to walk based on the number of people hit and killed by drivers each year. The other states with the highest number of pedestrian accidents are Alabama, New Mexico, Mississippi and Delaware.
Where Do Pedestrians Get Hit the Most?
Pedestrians get hit the most in areas of Colorado where there is a large amount of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic mixing. This includes busy city streets, intersections and parking lots. Some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in Colorado are:
- Urban/metropolitan areas
- Open roads
- Parking areas
- Detours and construction zones
- Narrow travel lanes
- Slip lanes (short right-turn lanes at intersections)
- Roadsides and shoulders
- Shared pedestrian paths
- School zones
- Bus stops
- Residential streets
It is a city’s duty to design these high-risk areas with pedestrian safety in mind, as well as a motor vehicle driver’s responsibility to pay careful attention to pedestrian traffic in these dangerous locations.
What Happens if You Hit a Pedestrian in Colorado?
If you hit a pedestrian with your car while driving in Colorado, you have a duty to stop at the scene and render aid. Do not admit fault for the accident, as there may be an element you are unaware of, such as pedestrian negligence or a broken traffic control device. Instead, notify the police and wait for an investigation to determine fault.
The pedestrian might have been in a place where he or she should not have, such as jaywalking, or the road might be dangerous by design. In these scenarios, you may not be found entirely liable for the pedestrian accident. If you are found liable, your car insurance company will pay for the victim’s medical bills and other losses. You may also receive a ticket or even face criminal charges for negligence or reckless driving, depending on the circumstances.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right-of-Way in Colorado?
Confusion regarding pedestrian rights-of-way is a common cause of vehicle-pedestrian collisions in Colorado. Pedestrians do not always or automatically have the right-of-way. Right-of-way depends on the circumstances. For example, at an intersection with a traffic control signal, the pedestrian must wait for the “Walk” signal to be illuminated to cross the road. Pedestrians cannot step off of a curb or place of safety and into a roadway, even with the right-of-way, if there is a vehicle approaching too quickly to stop. Pedestrians do have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections without traffic control devices, however.
If you get involved in a car accident, either as the driver or pedestrian, contact an Aurora personal injury attorney to discuss your case right away.