Pedestrian medians offer greater safety

California pedestrians may frequently use pedestrian crossings to get across the street. In some cases, there may also be a median. A median is simply a name for the area between two opposing traffic lanes. It may be raised or it may be designated only by markings on the pavement. The latter is known as an open median.

Raised medians designed specifically to separate pedestrians from traffic are sometimes called pedestrian refuge areas. They might also be called median slow points or pedestrian islands among other names. These islands have been shown to significantly improve pedestrian safety. In addition to giving pedestrians a safe place amid traffic to stop and increasing the visibility of pedestrian crossings, they can reduce crashes that involve pedestrians by 46 percent. They also reduce nearly 40 percent of motor vehicle crashes and cut down on motorist delays.

The most dangerous place for pedestrians to cross is in the middle of a block, and over 70 percent of pedestrian deaths occur here. The higher speed of motorists is a significant factor as over 80 percent of pedestrians die when a vehicle is traveling at a speed at or higher than 40 mph as compared to 10 percent who die when the speed is 20 mph or slower. Raised medians significantly reduce the number of pedestrian accidents.

A pedestrian may sustain serious injuries if hit by a car while in a crosswalk. A number of factors may contribute to the severity of the accident and how responsible the driver is such as the speed at which the vehicle was traveling and whether the driver attempted to stop or realized that it was a pedestrian crossing. Pedestrians might assume that the insurance company of the driver who hit them will compensate them, but the insurance company may offer an unacceptable amount. The injured person might then want to have the assistance of an attorney in seeking a better settlement.

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