What Are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Many different things can cause pedestrian accidents. The environment in which people walk can fail to protect pedestrian safety. Sometimes bicyclists, the drivers of motor vehicles, and walkers themselves make mistakes that lead to accidents. Pedestrian accidents often cause devastating injuries to the walker because the person on foot has no physical protection for the body.

Infrastructure Factors

Some towns are pedestrian-friendly and provide safe spaces for people to experience the city on foot. Some other places, however, spend little if any money or planning on pedestrian safety features.


The lack of sidewalks forces people to walk in the street or on the shoulder of the road. This scenario makes it more likely for a person on foot to get struck by a passing motorist.

When there are poorly maintained sidewalks, a walker can stumble on uneven pavement, fall into the street, and get struck by a passing vehicle. Even if a person looks where he is going, it can be challenging to notice when sections of the concrete do not align correctly, or a tree root has caused a crack in the walkway.

Another risky layout is when city planners design sidewalks that get shared with bike paths or place bike paths adjacent to walking trails. This situation puts pedestrians in harm’s way because of the likelihood of a bicyclist hitting a walker.


When the streets and sidewalks are dark, a car has a higher risk of striking a person on foot. Many fatal pedestrian accidents happen late at night or very early in the morning before daylight. When the municipality provides adequate lighting of streets and sidewalks, walkers will be safer.

Lack of Crosswalks and Traffic Signals Where Needed

In some locations, there are no crosswalks. In some other places, crosswalks are so far apart as to be useless. A person will most likely not walk half a mile to get to a crosswalk and then walk back half a mile after crossing the street.

When there are no traffic signals that stop the traffic for pedestrians to cross the street, the person might have to risk his safety to get through the intersection or cross to the other side. No matter how cautious a walker might be, a car could speed up suddenly and overtake the pedestrian before he can clear the street.

Mistakes That People Make

Sometimes the driver of a vehicle, a bicyclist, or the pedestrian will get careless and cause a pedestrian accident. These are some of the more common factors in these situations:

Impairment by Alcohol or Other Drugs

Many pedestrian accidents involve alcohol, either on the part of the driver or the walker. An alcohol-impaired driver might not notice a pedestrian or have the processing ability to stop in time to avoid a collision.

When a pedestrian has had too much to drink or is under the influence of other drugs, he might temporarily lack the judgment to stay out of the path of oncoming cars. He might misjudge the amount of time he has to cross the street safely. Sometimes, an impaired walker falls in the street and gets struck.


We have more distractions than ever. When walking, a person might be talking, texting, taking photographs, using an app, watching a movie, or playing a game on his cell phone. It is much easier to trip on an obstacle or walk into the street when you do not look where you are going.

People driving cars and trucks or riding bicycles are just as guilty of splitting their attention between the road and other things. In addition to cell phones, a driver of a motor vehicle might divert his focus to adjust the heating or air conditioning, change the radio station, or use the navigation system. It only takes a few seconds of inattention to cause an accident.


People who drive too fast for the conditions might be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Many accidents happen near intersections when a driver accelerates to make it through the cross street before the light turns red or to run a red light. A pedestrian might be in the crosswalk and get struck by the speeding car.

Getting Legal Help for a Pedestrian Accident

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you might have to undergo surgeries and a lengthy recuperation time. You should not wait until you are better to contact a lawyer. Virginia limits the amount of time people have to file lawsuits against the at-fault person in pedestrian accidents. If you miss the deadline, you could lose the right to go after compensation for your losses.

At Parrish Law Firm, PLLC we are passionate about helping people who suffer harm because of the carelessness of others. We handle pedestrian accident injury claims on a contingent fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay upfront legal fees. We get paid at the end, if we secure a fair settlement or award on your behalf.

You can call us today at (571) 229-1800 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.

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