A College Student's Guide to Pedestrian Safety in Pittsburgh
While the first day of fall isn't until next month, it's the unofficial end of summer for thousands of college students who will descend on Pittsburgh and Oakland this week with belongings in tow for move-in day.
While some of these young people come from cities far and wide, others may not be as familiar with urban streetscape, and how to navigate it on foot.
As a pedestrian, it's important to remember that you are among the most vulnerable travelers on the road. In 2014, nearly 4,000 pedestrians in Pennsylvania were injured and 166 killed in accidents—up from 151 the previous year.
Nationwide, pedestrians ages 15-29 are more likely to be treated in emergency rooms for crash-related injuries than any other age group.
The car accident attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates understand that education is often the key to safety. So, this safety guide is for you, incoming Pitt, Duquesne, Carnegie Mellon, Point Park, Robert Morris and Carlow students.
You're going to spend a lot of time strolling around the Golden Triangle this semester. Here's what you need to know to do so safely:
Understanding Who Has the Right of Way
It's a common misconception: That if you're a pedestrian, you automatically have the right of way when crossing the street. Not understanding when it's appropriate to walk can be a deadly mistake. Remember that you have the right of way when:
- You approach a cross-walk or intersection that has no traffic signs or signals
- You're walking on a sidewalk that extends across a road or driveway traveled by vehicles
It's just as important to know when you don't have the right of way. Pedestrians must yield to motorists when:
- You're not crossing at a marked crosswalk or intersection
- You're walking along the side of a road
- You're crossing a road where a pedestrian walkway is available
And before you ask: Yes, you can get a ticket if you cross when you don't have the right of way ($33.50 if you get caught jaywalking in Pittsburgh).
Keys to Crossing Safely
With distracted driving—and walking— on the rise, it's important for college students—and all pedestrians—to remember that safely crossing the street involves more than looking both ways.
Keep these tips in mind before you pound the pavement:
- Don't be a distracted walker—no texting, internet surfing or Pokemon Go! playing when crossing the street.
- Don't trust drivers to stop, even if you have the right of way.
- Beware of parking lots. If possible, don't walk through parking lots—even if it does cut down on your commute time. If you do, be aware of back-up lights and opening doors.
- Be extra cautious when crossing a multi-lane road. Just because the driver of a car in the far left lane waves you through an intersection doesn't mean that motorists in the others will. Make sure the coast is clear in every lane before attempting to cross any of them.
Edgar Snyder & Associates wishes you a safe, productive year of learning. We hope that you never need to call us after a pedestrian accident. But rest assured that if you do, our personal injury attorneys will be able to answer all your questions and handle all the paperwork and hassles so you can get healthy and back to class more quickly.
Good luck, and safe travels!