More and more people are taking to the streets of Illinois - to walk. And as more residents begin to enjoy the health benefits of walking, pedestrian safety is increasingly becoming a concern. In order to address these concerns, the state is doing more to prevent Illinois pedestrian accidents and ensure that pedestrians and cars can share the road safely.
Pedestrian Accidents in Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2010:
- 5,174 pedestrians were injured in accidents with cars
- 115 fatal pedestrian accidents occurred, and many of them involved alcohol
- 10.4 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents occurred in rural areas, while the rest, 89.6 percent, occurred in metropolitan areas around the state
17 percent of pedestrians killed in accidents with cars were 65 years of age and above, while seven percent were under 15 years old
Increasing Pedestrian Safety
In order to make pedestrians safe on the streets, the state is beginning to make several improvements on the roads. For example, in Chicago, where there were 32 pedestrians killed and 3,000 more injured in accidents with vehicles, the following improvements are being made:
- All pedestrian traffic signals are being replaced with countdown signals
- Roadways are being redesigned to include aerial corridors and curb extensions
- Law enforcement is dedicating more time to ensuring safety for pedestrians by increased ticketing and implementing crosswalk stings
- Education initiatives are being launched to inform the public on how to keep pedestrians safe
In addition, the state has also enacted legislation that would require motorists to stop at all pedestrian crosswalks, even if they have no traffic signals. Those who are caught in violation of this law will be fined $150 for the first violation and $350 for each violation thereafter.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
In order to stay safe on the streets, pedestrians are advised to:
- Stay on the sidewalk whenever possible and, in areas with no sidewalk, walk facing traffic in order to be seen
- Wear bright clothing and reflective materials
- Avoid walking when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street
If both pedestrians and motorists take steps to increase safety on the roads, hopefully pedestrian safety in Illinois will improve.