The good news is that Denver is becoming a pedestrian/bike friendly city. The bad news is that as a result of more people walking around, there has been a sharp increase in pedestrian vs. auto accidents. I have been representing pedestrians against negligent drivers since 1998 and have few tips that might help you avoid the accident to begin with.

Situational Awareness

Whenever you get ready to walk to the store, work, the park, etc most people look outside to see what the weather is like and dress accordingly. The same kind of awareness of your surroundings is needed while walking along the streets of Denver. For example, as you are walking down a sidewalk make sure you pause before you cross an alley. Most alleys in Denver have buildings that block the view of the alley for both the pedestrians and drivers. You should never assume that a driver is going to stop before he crosses the sidewalk.

Put Down The Device

As you approach any street, alley or intersection you need to stop whatever you are doing on your phone and pay attention. Recently, while driving though a grocery store parking lot a woman walked right into my car. I could see that she wasn’t paying attention to where she was headed because she was looking directly down at her phone. I stopped my car and she walked right into the front grill of my Tahoe.

Make Eye Contact

As you approach an alley, intersection or crossing a street make sure you establish eye contact with the driver. Additionally, just because the street you are crossing has a stop sign, you should never assume that a car approaching the stop sign is actually going to stop. For example, I live in the Capitol Hill area and I see people in cars fly up to a stop sign and perform a “rolling stop” where they don’t stop at all. As a pedestrian you can assume nothing it is just too dangerous.

Additional Tips From The Highway Safety Institute

  • Be predictable. Stay off freeways and restricted zones. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
  • Where no sidewalks are provided, it is usually safer to walk facing road traffic.
  • Make it easy for drivers to see you – dress in light colors and wear retro-reflective material. It might be wise to carry a flashlight in very dark areas.
  • Be wary. Most drivers are nice people, but don’t count on them paying attention. Watch out – make eye contact to be sure they see you!
  • Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a person’s ability to drive.
  • Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets.

Go out and enjoy walking and riding around Denver, but assume you are invisible to people driving their cars and trucks.