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Mistakes a pedestrian must not make

Errores que no debe cometer un peatón


Responsibility does not only lie on vehicle drivers. Pedestrians must also comply at all times with traffic and road safety rules and respect all road users. To achieve social harmony, it is essential that all the agents involved are responsible, including pedestrians. No fewer than 381 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2019 in Spain. Take note that 94% of these accidents occurred on urban roads. 

The promotion of reducing maximum speeds in cities throughout Europe, specifically seeks to promote social harmony between all road users. It has been proven that the lower the speed, the less likely the chances of being killed in a road accident. For example, being hit by a car at a speed of 30km/h, the risk of death is 10%.  If the speed is 50 km/h, the risk of death rises to 90%, as indicated by the Traffic Agency (DGT). However, reducing speed in cities is not enough. Each and every road user must comply with traffic and road safety rules, including pedestrians. 

The following is a list of mistakes that pedestrians should avoid making in the interest of safety:

-Crossing at the wrong place: pedestrians should always try to cross at pedestrian crossings. If there are no pedestrian crossings, cross where you have the best visibility, i.e. at corners, and try to avoid crossing between parked vehicles.

-Crossing when vehicles have not come to a complete stop, crossing without looking or crossing when the traffic light is red, in short, stepping onto the road incorrectly and putting your life and the lives of other road users at risk. 

-Traffic officers' orders also affect pedestrians. People often think that officers only have authority over vehicles. However, they also have authority regarding pedestrians. 

-Walking on the road instead of on the sidewalk. Pedestrians should always walk in the middle of the sidewalk and not too close to the edge of the road.. There are also areas specially designated for pedestrians where vehicles are not allowed to circulate, which are becoming more and more important in Europe. 

Distractions: like drivers, pedestrians must avoid distractions. These are known as technological pedestrians, i.e. those who use mobile phones, headphones, etc. and do not pay attention to what is going on around them. This is particularly dangerous when crossing. This risk has increased with the growing number of electric vehicles that make hardly any noise. Hearing vehicles is no longer fully effective in detecting an approaching vehicle. When crossing, we must use all our senses. 

-Walking under the influence of alcohol, drugs and/or other substances. In fact, we remind you that pedestrians who have been involved in a traffic accident are also obliged to undergo an alcohol and/or drug test by police officers. According to the Annual Report of the National Institute of Toxicology on the incidence of the consumption of alcohol, drugs and psychotropic drugs in traffic victims in Spain in 2020, there has been an increase in the number of pedestrians killed by being run over in traffic accidents with positive results for alcohol, drugs and/or psychotropic drugs, alone or combined, compared to 2019. Of the 136 pedestrians killed by being run over and submitted to an autopsy, 56 (41.2%) tested positive. Alcohol remains the most commonly used substance (53.6 %), followed by psychotropic substances (48.2 %) and drugs (25 %). In addition, 73.3% of those who tested positive for alcohol had a BAC of 1.20 or more.

-Walking on the bicycle lane: The increased use of bicycles is also leading countries to introduce more bicycle lanes to encourage cycling. However, it is important that pedestrians do not invade this space to avoid being run over. 

-Failure to respect other road users such as cyclists, users of personal mobility vehicles such as electric scooters, and other road users. Pedestrians should be aware of the increased presence of these vehicles on the roads and should therefore increase caution and avoid walking in their designated areas.  We remind you that electric scooters are not allowed on the sidewalk.In this article we look at the terrible injuries a child can suffer when hit by an electric scooter. 

-Not paying attention and being aware of garage doors and vehicles that may appear without looking, parked cars that may open their doors without warning, when getting on and off vehicles, especially buses. A pedestrian should never let his/her guard down. 

-Failure to wear reflective items or bright colored clothing when walking at night in poorly or unlit areas is also a very common careless mistake. We must make ourselves as visible as possible, especially at night when visibility is greatly reduced. 

-Young children without adult supervision and care. The truth is that no one can know for sure when a child is ready to go out or to go to school on their own. Every child is different, despite the estimates indicating that an ideal age for children to start being independent is between 9 and 12 years old, as revealed by a study (the only one in Spain on this topic) entitled "Children, cities, and road safety: A research-based perspective”, published in 2009. Therefore it is important that until a child has acquired the knowledge required to walk alone on the streets, he/she should always be under adult supervision. Regarding younger children, they must always hold an adult's hand, especially when crossing. Here we talk about when children are ready to go to school on their own.

When you are a pedestrian it is important not to take unnecessary risks. We must bear in mind that we are the most vulnerable road users. We do not have a shield to protect us from an impact. Prevention is the best measure. 

In this infographic we offer tips for safe child mobility in cities:

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