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How Effective are Curb Bump-outs in Preventing Pedestrian Accidents?

Published: November 18, 2020 0011 10:00 am

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Group of schoolchildren crossing a pedestrian lane | Curb Bump-outsAs a response to a general rise in pedestrian accident fatalities in the United States overall, communities around the country have adopted curb bump-outs as a possible solution to this serious public safety problem.

Curb bump-outs, also known as ‘curb extensions’ or ‘neckdowns’, are a traffic calming measure installed at busy intersections with lots of foot traffic. The design extends the sidewalk curb at intersections with crosswalks, so that it reaches out into the street from both sides, narrowing the overall length of the crosswalk.

This unique design helps protect pedestrian safety in a number of ways. By shortening the actual part of the crosswalk that is in the street where cars travel, it reduces the amount of time a pedestrian has to walk in that part of the crosswalk. Less time in the actual road necessarily means less time being at risk of getting hit by a motor vehicle. 

They also narrow the neck of the road at intersections, so that when a driver is attempting to turn, they’ll have to slow down more dramatically, since the angle of the turn is sharper. Slower vehicles are safer vehicles, because a lower rate of speed increases the amount of time both the driver and the pedestrian have to see each other. 

And that extra time for visibility has a real effect on pedestrian safety. According to a study done by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, extra pedestrian lead time can reduce pedestrian versus motor vehicle accidents by as much as 60%. 

Another way that curb bump-outs help increase visibility, is by making it impossible for vehicles to park near the intersection. This is because the design extends the sidewalk, blocking the space that would otherwise be a possible parking spot. 

Most of us have had the uncomfortable experience of trying to cross at a busy intersection, when our visibility of, and to, drivers on the road has been inhibited by parked vehicles. It’s not a fun experience. Curb bump-outs help to prevent that from happening.  

Not all intersections are appropriate for a curb bump-out though. The road in question has to be wide enough to accommodate the reduction in lane size safely. Also, badly designed curb bump-outs that do not take bicycle traffic into consideration, actually put cyclists at more risk, by forcing them to enter into the lane of traffic at these intersections. 

But, taking into consideration those legitimate concerns, curb bump-outs have been shown to be a relatively cost-effective way for communities to improve pedestrian safety, right where it’s needed the most, at dangerous and busy intersections. 

Contact our Denver Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Gold Law FirmIf you were injured as a pedestrian in an accident with a vehicle, contact our Colorado attorneys for help today. At the Gold Law Firm, we work hard to achieve the maximum compensation for all of our clients. Contact us today for a free, no-pressure consultation by calling (303) 694-4653, or by filling out the contact form on this page.

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