Celebrate July 4th Safely Outdoors

Next week we celebrate the Fourth of July, and with that brings street fairs, parades, and fireworks. As we enjoy all of these outdoor activities, let’s be mindful of how to stay safe as we’re walking, biking and traveling throughout public venues.

Each year, about 20,000 people come out to celebrate the 4th at the Empire State Plaza, many of whom have driven in from surrounding towns. Streets are blocked off to make room for vendors and other activities, which can make traveling around Albany difficult for drivers, pedestrians, and bikers. This is the time to be especially cautious, as drivers are converging on the city, looking for parking spaces and navigating special-event traffic patterns. When the event ends, there is a mass exodus of motorists trying to get out of the city, and some of them may be tired, distracted, or impaired. Drivers need to take extra care to stay alert and proactive behind the wheel. Please think ahead if alcohol is consumed and take a cab or choose a designated driver at the beginning of your July 4th celebration. Better yet, take advantage of Uber which is now available in the Capital Region!

Pedestrians and bicyclists also need to use caution by wearing bright colors, obeying traffic rules, ensuring you and your bike are well lit, and traveling in groups to make sure you are seen by drivers.

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In addition to the main event at the Plaza, there are many other street fairs and parades happening throughout the Capital District, and using common sense and proactive measures can help make your celebration safe. While parade accidents are rare, they do happen. Some extreme examples include an 8-year-old boy who lost his life when a Fourth of July parade float ran him over in Oklahoma; a 7-year-old boy who died after suffering injuries in a similar parade float accident in Maryland; and a fatality in Maine when a fire truck in a parade hit a man driving an antique farm tractor.[1]

It is also important to practice fireworks safety if you’ll be putting on your own pyrotechnics show. The standard sparkler burns at about 2,000℉, which can cause third-degree burns. Make sure you are using only those fireworks that are legal in NYS. To prevent yourself or those around you from becoming injured, follow the sparkler safety tips provided below by the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services:

  • Always follow the directions located on the packaging.
  • Always wear eye protection when using sparklers.
  • Keep sparklers and novelty devices in a secure location when not in use.
  • Never use sparklers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Purchase sparklers and novelty devices from NY state registered retailers.

Have you been hurt at a public event? Have you been the victim of a negligent motorist or injured by fireworks? LaMarche Safranko Law can help. We are experienced personal injury attorneys who advocate for people who have been injured. Contact us today for a free consultation at (518) 982-0770 or online.

[1] http://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-parade-accidents-deaths-pose-safety-concerns-for-local-governments.html

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