Have you ever stood at the side of the road, looking at the oncoming cars, hoping for a friendly face before you try to stop? Or have you ever been driving your vehicle, seen someone waiting to cross, and made a split-second decision to slam on the brakes or put your foot down?
When it comes to the likelihood of being hit by a driver, all is not equal for pedestrians. Some recent studies have tried to understand why specific sectors of society are more likely to be hit by a car when walking than others. Here are some factors:
- Location: Some towns are designed with a nod towards pedestrians. Others appear to discourage people from walking, lest they slow down the car drivers. Depending on where you live, walking and public transport may not be an option.
- Age: Think when you walked or rode your bike the most. For many people, it was as a kid, before they were old enough to drive. Maybe as a young adult, you cycled or took public transport to work, then when you became a mother, you spent more time driving, as it was easier to get around with the kids that way. When you are too old to drive, you may return to public transport and take more foot trips.
- Sex: Study results showed drivers were more likely to stop for women than for men. It also showed women drivers were more likely than men to stop to let pedestrians pass.
- Race: Race can affect your income level, the area you live in, and, therefore, the likelihood of you having a car or not. The research showed people were more likely to stop at a crossing to let a white person pass.
- Socio-economic factors: Some people walk and use public transport because they cannot afford a car. There is a belief among some better-off sectors of society that walking and public transportation are beneath them. One of the studies showed that the more expensive your car, the less likely you were to stop.
Whoever is driving the car, they need to stop at a pedestrian crossing, regardless of who you are. Drivers must give way.