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How you can stay safe when walking or biking near construction

Sometimes, you can't walk more than a few blocks in New York City without encountering a construction site. While it may not seem like it, companies doing construction have to adhere to safety regulations intended to help keep pedestrians, bicyclists and other passers-by safe near a site. Even with those regulations, pedestrians have been injured and killed by falling objects, equipment, tripping or slipping hazards and more.

The best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to steer clear of construction areas. Change your route to your favorite grocery store or coffee shop, if possible, or at least try to walk on the opposite side of the street from the construction. Even if you are walking in the area at times when work isn't actively being done, there can still be plenty of uneven surfaces, debris and other hazards.

Since you likely don't always have the option of avoiding a construction area -- or maybe you encounter one you didn't realize was there -- it's important to take precautions to avoid suffering an injury. Let's look at some of them.

Pay attention to safety barriers and channelizing devices. They're there to keep people out of the most dangerous areas and direct them into pathways where they're safer. These can keep people out of range of falling debris. Even relatively lightweight objects can be lethal when dropped from many stories up.

Observe all warning signs and audio messages. They're there for everyone's safety, so take a moment to look and/or listen.

Watch the ground for uneven surfaces and debris. In addition to being aware of what's above you, watch where you step. A pedestrian or bicycle detour could take you through an area that's unpaved, broken, slippery or covered with debris.

Be sure that anyone operating equipment can see you. If you're near a large piece of equipment that's being used or any kind of construction vehicle, make sure that the person operating it can see you.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury near a construction site that you believe could (and should) have been prevented, you may be able to hold those responsible for the construction and the property liable. This can help you get the compensation you need to handle medical bills and other expenses. Talk with an experienced attorney to determine what options you have.

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