As more and more people are walking and biking, and drivers become increasingly distracted, the number of conflicts, near-misses, and accidents has risen. Studies show that in 2019, traffic crashes injured a pedestrian every seven minutes and killed one every 85 minutes. This shows the growing need for improved pedestrian and cyclist safety in every community.
Local councils and communities play a crucial role in making pedestrians and cyclists feel safe on the road. When cyclists feel safe, they are more likely to ride their bikes, which can help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Community members are more likely to become active by making the road safer for cyclists, leading to improved health and well-being. The same goes for pedestrians.
When pedestrians feel safe on the road, they are more likely to walk. This can help improve their fitness and reduce their risk of obesity or heart disease. Walking is also a low-impact exercise, which makes it suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
There are many things local councils and communities can do to make the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike. The following are just a few examples of how to make your community more walker- and cyclist-friendly:
Improve Visibility at Crosswalks and Intersections
Poor visibility is one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. When drivers cannot see pedestrians, they are more likely to hit them. Some things that local councils and communities can do to improve visibility include installing LED/solar lights, painting crosswalks with bright colors, and putting up signs.
It helps to install solar-powered or LED flashing lights at crosswalks and intersections to make pedestrians more visible to drivers, especially at night. Solar-powered lights do not need to run wires or connect the lights to the electrical grid, which can save money and time. LED lights also last longer than traditional light bulbs, requiring less maintenance.
Painting bright colors on crosswalks can also help make them more visible to drivers. This is especially after dark or in bad weather when it is harder for drivers to see.
Putting up signs is another worthy investment. Signs can help to warn drivers of pedestrians in the area and remind them to yield to pedestrians.
Make Sidewalks and Bike Lanes More Inviting
Most roads already have a dedicated space of bi-lanes or sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists. However, these areas are often uninviting due to poor maintenance or a lack of amenities.
One can make sidewalks and bike lanes more inviting by installing benches, shade structures, and other amenities that make the space more comfortable and enjoyable to use. These features can also help to deter crime and vandalism.
When sidewalks are inviting and well-maintained, pedestrians are more likely to use them. They won’t have to worry about tripping on cracked pavement or dealing with overgrown vegetation just to get where they need to go. Also, cyclists won’t have to worry about riding in traffic or dealing with potholes when dedicated bike lanes are safer and more comfortable.
Another way to make sidewalks and bike lanes more inviting are to install public art. This can be anything from sculptures and murals to benches and planters. Public art can help to brighten up an otherwise dull space and make it more enjoyable to use.
Increase Enforcement of Traffic Laws
While traffic laws state that pedestrians have the right of way, many drivers do not obey these laws. This often leads to pedestrians feeling unsafe on the road.
One way to make pedestrians feel safer is to increase the enforcement of traffic laws. This can be done by working with the police to increase patrols in areas where pedestrian accidents are known to occur. Police can also issue tickets to drivers who break the law.
Educate Drivers, Pedestrians, and Cyclists Alike
Many pedestrian and cyclist accidents occur because people do not know the rules of the road. Some think that they are above the law. Educating all road users about road rules will help make the roads safer for everyone. Some ways to make education more effective include distributing educational materials, holding workshops and seminars, and working with local schools to have road safety in the curriculum.
Extending Help to Road Users in Case of Accidents
Road accidents can happen, which can both be costly and cause injuries. Local councils and communities can help reduce the cost of accidents by providing legal assistance, offering counseling services, and setting up a fund to help with medical expenses.
Offering legal assistance can help to reduce the cost of accidents. This is because the right lawyers can help to negotiate settlements and represent accident victims in court. Since not everyone can afford an excellent lawyer to represent them, this can be a big help.
For example, cyclists who incur injuries, especially severe ones like spinal cord injury or head trauma, will surely suffer long-term effects caused by road incidents. With an experienced lawyer specializing in bicycle accidents, they will be able to get the right amount of compensation they need to help with medical bills and lost wages. It helps to find a reputable lawyer with experience handling similar cases related to road accidents to help community members when they need it the most.
Counseling services can also help to reduce the cost of accidents. This is because counseling can help people deal with an accident’s psychological effects. Counseling can also help people to learn how to prevent accidents from happening in the future. Such services are helpful for those who lost loved ones in road accidents to deal with their grief and learn how to move on with their lives.
Lastly, by setting up a fund to help with medical expenses, local councils and communities can help to ease the financial burden on those injured in pedestrian or cyclist accidents. This can help ensure that people get the treatment they need without worrying about how they will pay for it.
These are a few examples of how local communities can start making the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Working together can make a difference and help to reduce the number of accidents that happen yearly.