People cross a busy street with a pedestrian islandTraffic calming measures are road designs that are implemented to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists and are most frequently found in city centers. These road designs encourage slower driving speeds, increase the visibility of people on foot so drivers are more likely to see them and, in other ways, reduce the likelihood of pedestrian injuries and car collisions.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident * that wasn’t your fault, it’s crucial to engage an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. A good accident lawyer will work with the insurance companies directly, allowing you to focus on recovery.

There are several types of traffic calming measures that are particularly aimed at pedestrian and bicyclist safety in urban settings. They include:

  1. Bump outs and pedestrian islands
  2. Raised crossings and intersections
  3. Pedestrian head starts
  4. Center lane hardening

A bump out, also called a neckdown, is a curb extension that widens the sidewalk crossing area while narrowing the roadway. This increases a pedestrian’s ability to view traffic without obstruction from parked cars, decreases the width of the street crossing and tends to reduce traffic speed. Islands, or pedestrian refuges, are typically used when a street is very wide and those on foot need more time than is allotted during a typical traffic light to cross the entire street. They’re also installed where pedestrians need the safety of a mid-street sidewalk area and there are no signal lights.

A raised intersection is an entire intersection or crossing that is raised up and level with sidewalks. They look somewhat like wider versions of speed tables. People on foot are more visible to drivers, and drivers must naturally slow to move through the intersection.

Pedestrian head starts are crossing lights that hold vehicle traffic while foot traffic begins crossing to give people more time to walk across a road without vehicle conflicts. Leading pedestrian intervals are particularly effective at reducing the likelihood that left-turning cars will strike a pedestrian. When used with “No Turn on Red” signs, the chances also are lower that right-turning cars will hit pedestrians.

Center lane hardening is another strategy to prevent left-turning vehicles from hitting pedestrians crossing the street that the vehicle is turning onto. One way of implementing this traffic calming measure is to install bollards (short posts that are often brightly colored and made of sturdy recycled plastic) or rubber curbs on either side of the crosswalk, positioned down the centerline of the street and perpendicular to the crosswalk. The bollards or rubber curbs encourage drivers to slow down and turn at a right angle, making it more likely they will see and have time to react to someone crossing the street.

If you’ve been injured in an accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist, contact us today. Suk Law Firm has focused exclusively on personal injury and wrongful death cases since 1988. We have successfully handled numerous cases involving victims who were hit by cars while walking or biking. We have recovered more than $125 million on behalf of clients, and we are ready to serve you.

Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.

*A note about language:

Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”