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It's dangerous to be a pedestrian in Georgia

Whether you walk because it is a healthy, economical alternative to driving or do so out of necessity, there are certain benefits to being a pedestrian. You probably experience fresh air more frequently, save a bit of money on gas and do not have to worry about how you will get your steps in for your fitness tracker.

Unfortunately, being a pedestrian in Georgia is also dangerous. As a walker, you have no protection against motor vehicles, and the likelihood that you will suffer a serious or even fatal injury in a wreck is high.

Pedestrian deaths are up

In 2009, pedestrian deaths from car accidents reached a historic low. Current death rates for pedestrian accidents are now 46 percent higher than they were less than a decade ago. Suburban and urban areas saw the largest increase.

So are pedestrian accidents becoming more frequent, or just deadlier? According to researchers, the answer is both. Planners seem to infrequently design roads to accommodate pedestrians, leaving them without access to sidewalks or safe crosswalks. Poor lighting and emphasis on a so-called "car culture" also make it difficult for people to safely travel on foot.

Are certain vehicles to blame?

Although poor road design, inadequate lighting and few crosswalks certainly all contribute to the increase in deadly accidents, researchers say there is something else at play. The increased popularity of sport utility vehicles -- SUVs -- is causing a serious problem.

Pedestrians struck by SUVs are more likely to die than those hit by smaller passenger vehicles. This is largely due to the front-end design of these vehicles, which is higher and straighter than the curved front ends of cars. SUVs are more likely to hit pedestrians' chests or heads, causing more severe trauma that can lead to death.

What can I do after an accident?

If you were lucky enough to survive a pedestrian accident here in Georgia, you may be struggling to recover. You probably spent time at the hospital, which kept you away from work, and now you may be dealing with mounting medical bills on top of lost wages.

Personal injury suits are often effective for pursuing compensation related to your injuries. This could mean financial recompense that you can apply towards your medical bills, mental trauma and long-lasting pain and suffering.

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