As of 2016, there were 11.4% Baton Rouge households without at least one motor vehicle. This leaves a significant number of our residents with no other choice but to rely on public transportation, rides with friends or family members, and pedestrian infrastructure.
While walking can be a great way to stay fit, preserve your finances, and limit your impact on the environment, there is no denying the reality that most pedestrians face on a daily basis—walking on roads with motor vehicles is dangerous.
At Bianca | Matkins, we are familiar with the main causes of pedestrian accidents in Baton Rouge and are able to construct strong claims on behalf of our injured clients. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian collision, we invite you to schedule a free case evaluation with our personal injury law firm. Our first meeting is always free, and if needed, we’ll match you with a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident attorney who is fluent in ASL.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Louisiana is not known for being the most pedestrian-friendly place. Out of all 50 states, Louisiana has the third highest child pedestrian fatality rate and the fifth highest total pedestrian fatality rate. In Baton Rouge alone, there were 163 pedestrian accident deaths from 2003 to 2012.
Nationwide, around 7,000 pedestrians were killed in 2020—approximately one fatality every 75 minutes. That same year, non-fatal pedestrian accident injuries sent another 104,000 people to the hospital.
The data is clear—pedestrians in Louisiana are not being afforded the safety and dignity they deserve.
The Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Every driver has a duty of care to operate their motor vehicle in a way that is safe and cautious with respect to the wellbeing of those they share the road with. Despite this, many motorists regularly engage in unsafe driving behaviors that put other drivers and pedestrians alike at risk for serious injury or even death.
Driver error and a violation of the duty of care are the main causes of pedestrian accidents in Louisiana and include behaviors such as:
- Texting and driving
- Talking on the phone (even with a hands-free device)
- Taking videos and pictures
- Using social media
- Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Reckless and aggressive driving
- Speeding (or driving too fast for the conditions)
- Turning without looking for pedestrians
- Failing to yield the right of way
Driving or weather conditions can also contribute to situations that increase the likelihood of a pedestrian accident, including walking at/in:
- Dusk, dawn, or during nighttime hours
- Poor weather
- Road construction
Pedestrians may also increase their likelihood of being injured by a motor vehicle if they wear dark clothing or cross mid-street, rather than at corners or marked crosswalks.
Who Is at the Greatest Risk for a Pedestrian Accident?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults are more likely to die in pedestrian accidents when compared with their younger counterparts. In 2020, adults aged 65 and older only made up 17% of the country’s population but accounted for 20% of all pedestrian fatalities that same year.
Young children also face a higher chance of suffering fatal injuries. In 2020, minors younger than 15 accounted for more than 20% of pedestrian deaths. One study cites pedestrian accidents as the third-leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children between the ages of five and 14.
Drivers cannot as easily spot children while driving due to their height. Children also tend to behave in ways that motorists may not be able to anticipate, such as darting out into the road after a toy or for no perceivable reason.
The Dangers That SUVs and Light Trucks Pose to Pedestrians
A negligent motorist can cause severe, irreversible harm no matter what vehicle they are driving. However, research has determined that SUVs, light trucks (pickups), vans, and minivans pose a greater threat to pedestrian safety than other types of vehicles.
Pedestrian accidents are not only more likely to occur when there are SUVs, pickups, and vans on the road, but the associated injuries also tend to be much more severe. Compared to smaller passenger vehicles, pedestrian accidents caused by lefthand turns are much more likely to cause a fatality when the motorist is driving a:
- SUV – twice as likely
- Van or minivan – three times as likely
- Pickup truck – four times as likely
The size and shape of these vehicles make them deadlier in pedestrian collisions. When a sedan hits a person, they are more likely to be struck in the legs or low on their body, resulting in serious but non-fatal injuries.
SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, and other midsize vehicles tend to strike pedestrians in the mid-section or chest, leading to catastrophic injuries that are much more likely to be fatal.
How To Stay Safe as a Pedestrian in Louisiana
At Bianca | Matkins, we want every pedestrian in Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, and everywhere else in Louisiana to be as safe as possible when traveling by foot. While we know that you cannot control how other people choose to behave behind the wheel, the decisions you make while walking can have a profound impact on your safety.
When traveling as a pedestrian, we recommend wearing bright clothing, especially when traveling at night or during times of poor visibility. If bright clothing is not an option, you can increase your visibility by turning on the flashlight function on your phone and aiming the beam at the ground. Be careful not to shine the light directly at drivers.
You should also always use sidewalks where available. If there are no sidewalks or if you are unable to use them for any reason, walk facing traffic by the curb or far side of the road.
Always cross at marked crosswalks, corners, or intersections. Avoid crossing in the middle of the street or in areas that are not intended for pedestrians.
Pedestrians who are deaf, blind, or use mobility devices face additional hurdles to safely traversing our city outside of the confines of a motor vehicle. A wheelchair user may need to travel in the road even when there are sidewalks, if the pavement has been poorly maintained, or if there are obstacles, such as overgrown foliage or improperly parked vehicles.
Your ability to safely traverse Baton Rouge on foot is not just up to you, though. You could follow every safety rule and precaution and still be injured by a careless or negligent driver who simply was not looking out for pedestrians at the time of the accident.
Bianca | Matkins Provides Powerful Legal Representation
Pedestrians have every right to travel through Baton Rouge safely and with the confidence that they will not be injured by a negligent, reckless, or careless driver. When that right is violated, and someone is injured while crossing the road, the attorneys of Bianca | Matkins are standing by.
We’re ready to meet with you and your family in a free, no-obligation setting to discuss your accident, how your life has been affected, and what compensation you might be entitled to. We are pleased to take many cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Whether you were injured by one of the main causes of pedestrian accidents or in a different situation, Bianca | Matkins is here to help. Contact us today so that we can schedule you for a free case evaluation at your earliest convenience.