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Pedestrians and bicyclists at risk for injury in Hawaii

Whether you're a full-time resident of Hawaii or among tens of thousands of tourists who visit the islands every year, you likely enjoy being outdoors and taking in the immense beauty of your surroundings. Hawaii is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's understandable that many residents and visitors leave the keys to their motor vehicles behind and instead, travel to their island destinations on foot or by bicycle. Perhaps you ride a bicycle to work if you live in Hawaii year round.

Maybe you take vigorous walks for exercise, several times a week. Being a pedestrian or bicyclist on the islands is not without risk. While many people travel on foot, there is still often lots of motor vehicle traffic that can place you in harm's way if a driver is not focused on his or her task at hand. It is definitely a good idea to be as proactive as you can to avoid injury while walking or ride a bicycle. It's also good to know what to do if a car hits you and causes you to suffer injury. 

Make yourself as visible as possible

Especially if you are traveling on foot or by bicycle at night, it is critical that you make yourself visible to any motorists who happen to be in the vicinity. The following list shows ways you can do that: 

  • If you are walking, carry a flashlight with you. Most cell phones include a flashlight feature; you can also carry a small, battery operated one that is convenient for travel and easy to use.
  • Drivers can't see you if you blend in with the road or surroundings. Wearing brightly colored clothing, as well as reflective materials may help you avoid injury. 
  • If you're preparing to cross a street, always do so out in the open. Never conceal your presence by standing too close to parked cars, shrubbery or other objects.

Practicing these safety habits can help you increase the chances that you will arrive to your destination unscathed. However, it's still possible to suffer injury even if you do these things, especially if a driver nearby is not adhering to traffic regulations and is being reckless or negligent at the wheel. 

Choose your actions carefully

When you are walking, always use sidewalks when available. As a bicyclist, there may or may not be specially marked routes for you to follow. You are less likely to get hit by a car if you do the things mentioned in the following list: 

  • Always cross roads in marked zones when possible. Adhere to traffic or crosswalk signals. 
  • Never step out into a road where there is traffic without first carefully looking in all directions to make sure no vehicle is approaching. 
  • Avoid walking or riding your bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Always watch where you're going and try to make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the road. 
  • Do not use earplugs, headphones, cell phones or any hand-held electronic device while walking or riding a bicycle. 

If a moving vehicle hits you while you're walking or riding a bike, it is highly likely you will suffer severe injuries. Many pedestrian injuries are life threatening and sadly, it is not uncommon for such incidents to result in fatality. The medical care needed to help injured victims recover is quite expensive. You may be completely unprepared to meet such costs, which is why state law allows accident victims to seek monetary relief in court. 

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