Many cities across the country are experiencing a surge in alternative forms of transportation. Even though roads are still jam-packed, many people are ditching their cars and walking. There are several reasons to explain why walking has become more popular in recent years.
Cars are expensive and people don’t have the cash to buy and maintain a vehicle. Young people are interested in health and the environment. Commutes take too long thanks to heavy traffic in major cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
Whatever the reason, city streets are getting more foot traffic. While walking can be great for the waistline and wallet, it can also be quite dangerous. Pedestrian accidents are on the rise.
According to the NHTSA, traffic accidents involving pedestrians have become more violent. More pedestrians are getting injured and killed in collisions on American streets.
In 2013, one pedestrian was killed in an accident every two hours. That year, 4,735 pedestrians died in traffic accidents. By 2016, the number of pedestrian fatalities surged by 26 percent to 5,879. One pedestrian was killed in an accident every hour and a half.
Pedestrians aren’t just dying more frequently in traffic accidents. More pedestrians are also getting injured. In 2013, there were 66,000 reported pedestrian injuries following traffic accidents in the United States. In 2016, that number more than doubled. That year, 129,000 pedestrians sustained injuries severe enough that they took a trip to the hospital.
It’s true that many pedestrian accidents happen because drivers aren’t sharing the road safely. It’s doesn’t help that a lot of city roads aren’t designed to accommodate pedestrians. Infrastructure lacks safety features, including dedicated walkways and signals, to keep walkers safe.
However, pedestrians are also contributing to accidents in which they’re injured or killed. The biggest problem appears to involve pedestrians who are distracted while walking. Rather than paying attention to where they’re going or the vehicles beside them, walkers are focused on their cell phones. Some have headphones on and can’t hear the traffic around them. As a result, more pedestrians are:
In Florida, which boasts the second-highest number of pedestrian deaths in the nation, distracted pedestrians are a huge problem. Distracted walkers have contributed to so many pedestrian accidents that lawmakers have considered a statewide ban on the practice. As a driver, you might be able to get compensation from the negligent pedestrian. If so, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you.
Walking and texting bans are popping up across the nation, including many cities in California. California leads the nation in pedestrian fatalities. Many municipalities are searching for any reasonable way to make streets safer. Many experts don’t believe that walking and texting bans will have a significant impact on pedestrian accidents.
In 2016, traffic deaths in Los Angeles peaked. Lawmakers vowed to make city streets safer for everyone. By 2017, Los Angeles had announced its Vision Zero Initiative. The city aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025.
Los Angeles isn’t the only city to announce a Vision Zero plan. Other cities – including Chicago, San Diego, and Boston – have promised to cut down traffic deaths by implementing various safety measures. Some safety measures include:
Vision Zero may never totally eliminate traffic deaths in Los Angeles and other cities. Changes to infrastructure won’t be enough, alone. Pedestrians and drivers will have to change their behaviors. They’ll have to recognize that their actions influence how safe city roads really are.
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