Pedestrian Safety & Resources
As a pedestrian on the busy streets of Las Vegas, you need to become very aware of your surroundings & alert with so many things happening to distract drivers (as well as yourself) to avoid becoming the vicim of a pedestrian & auto accident. You also have the responsibility to avoid jaywalking as it is illegal in Vegas (as mentioned here: http://www.ladahlaw.com/las-vegas-car-accident-lawyer/pedestrian-accidents). Due to the nature of Vegas, it’s very wise to do these aforementioned things as you never know when the driver of the oncoming car is texting, drunk or even high. And now with the recent changes to Nevada marijuana use laws, this is especially true.
Pedestrian Accident Rates & Stats
Las Vegas has some pretty high accident rates when it comes to pedestrians & cyclists. As shown in this infographic from Ladah Law Firm, in 2012, 2013 and 2014, pedestrian death numbers were higher than both vehicle passengers and motorcyclists. Pedestrian deaths also outnumbered car driver deaths in both 2013 and 2014. Cyclists beat all 4 other categories out for these three years consecutively. Every so often, something happens that brings new light to just how dangerous being a Las Vegas pedestrian can be. Such as this time when a woman hit nearly 40 people on the Vegas streets while driving her car: http://fox13now.com/2015/12/20/reports-police-close-las-vegas-boulevard-sources-indicate-numerous-people-hit-by-car/. Situations like this are a stern reminder of how important it is to be alert while walking the streets of Vegas.
According to the CDC, male pedestrians are more likely to die from automobile injuries that females. People 15-29 years of age are at highest risk for being treated at a hospital for pedestrian related injuries and the death rate for pedestrian injuries increases with age: https://www.cdc.gov/features/pedestriansafety/index.html
Las Vegas Pedestrian Safety Measures
Here’s a few somewhat obvious but effective ways to decreasing our chances of getting hit by a car while walking in Vegas:
- Increase your visibility: try not to wear dark cloths at night
- Cross at designated crosswalks. Don’t jay walk & try not to cross back & forth more times than necessary.
- Pay Attention: put your phone away while you cross the street. Just as it’s unsafe for drivers to be looking at their phone while driving, it’s just as unsafe for you to do it when you’re crossing a line of traffic. Who knows, one of the drivers you’re about to step in front of may already be on their phone. If you both are, you as a pedestrian, don’t stand a chance. Besides the risk factor a phone poses to pedestrians, Vegas has it’s own unique hazards, especially for tourists. There’s so many things to see and do and so much going on everywhere you go that it can be particularly easy to get caught up in all the action & be distracted in the street or near heavy & fast moving traffic. After you’ve lived here a while & are somewhat over the “hype” the risk may lessen but never entirely goes away.
- Minimize or eliminate alcohol consumption before you go walking about the strip & downtown. Some sources say as much as about half of pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption.
- Stay on the sidewalk: don’t walk down the curbside or edge of the street.
What can be done to make pedestrians safer?
Education of dangerous intersections is a good place to start: http://www.ladahlaw.com/blog/5-most-dangerous-intersections-las-vegas. There’s a few in particular that seem to top the list for accidents. Those are: West Sahara Avenue and Arville Street, West Sahara Avenue and South Decatur Boulevard, West Tropicana Avenue and South Decatur Boulevard, Paradise Road and East Tropicana Avenue and East Charleston Boulevard and South Lamb Boulevard
Besides that, do we have enough crosswalks? Are they painted clear & visible? Sometimes locals need to take matters into their own hands & make sure these things are kept up to par. You can always start a petition if you notice areas that need crosswalks or need to be more clearly marked.
How about crosswalk flags? Many cities across the U.S. are finding these to be helpful. These may cost as little as a couple hundred dollars to add to an intersection & could be donated by local business owners & non-profits: http://crosswalkflags.ca/flags-at-your-crosswalk.php
The bottom line is, you need to watch out for your own safety because you can’t rely on anyone else to do it for you. That’s not to say that just because you get into an accident it’s all your fault and you’re not entitled to compensation. No matter how many measures you take, you still could end up falling victim to someone’s negligence. Who knows, you could even fall down a shaft while walking around your hotel. If you do find yourself injured, be sure to get medical attention & speak with an injury attorney to help determine the legalities of the situation & who may be at fault.