Where the Sidewalk Ends, Your Troubles Could Begin
Now that it is starting to get warmer out, people are spending more time outside. Whether you enjoy jogging, walking, or biking, it’s nice to be out in nature after staying inside all winter. However, sometimes sidewalks and paths can have dangerous defects that can trip you up and leave you injured. Depending on the material—concrete, asphalt, or bricks and pavers—the types of surface defects can vary.
Concrete is the most common material used for sidewalks, curbs, and curb ramps. Concrete can crumble or crack if it has not cured correctly or it has underlying structural deficits. Also, things like tree roots and weather patterns with frequent freezing and thawing can cause concrete to heave, tilt, sag, or gap—all of which can create tripping hazards for people walking on sidewalks.
Asphalt is often used for mixed-use paths designed for pedestrians and bicyclists. Underlying structural problems can lead to dips or sunken down areas in the surface of the asphalt.
Bricks and pavers often used for streets and sidewalks in historic districts or downtowns can pop out of place and create a tripping hazard.
All of these potential defects can be particularly dangerous if people are inattentive or distracted by cell phones or other electronic devices as they’re going along. An increasing number of pedestrian-vehicle injuries occur when people, both pedestrians and drivers, are distracted. Keep a lookout for yourself. Pay attention to your surroundings and get your eyes off your phone.