GObike News

March 29, 2019

Pedestrian Deaths at 30-Year High


"Amos was a good person. He was really kindhearted."

Walking between traffic cones and the curb of a five-lane highway, Harris had been out after dark, searching for his nephew, when he crossed Riverview Road at a blinking light. "He came down and crossed here and was hit."

His body was thrown 100 feet.

—NPR

6,227 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2018, according to NPR, more than any year in the past 30.

In addition to unfriendly infrastructure designed for motor vehicles instead of the people, unsafe driving behaviors, specifically cell phone use, and the increased presence of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are to blame, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association

According to the report: 

"A number of trends offer insight into the many causes behind the rise in pedestrian fatalities:

  • More walking has increased exposure, as one survey estimated that the number of Americans walking to work in the past week increased about four percent between 2007 and 2016;
  • Most pedestrian fatalities take place on local roads, at night, away from intersections, suggesting the need for safer road crossings. Over the past 10 years, nighttime crashes accounted for more than 90 percent of the total increase in pedestrian deaths;
  • Many unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted and drowsy driving, pose risks to pedestrians, and alcohol impairment by the driver and/or pedestrian was reported in about half of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities in 2017; and
  • Finally, the number of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) involved in pedestrian deaths has increased by 50 percent since 2013. By comparison, (non-SUV) passenger cars’ involvement in pedestrian fatalities increased by 30 percent over the same time period. Although passenger cars still account for the majority of pedestrian deaths, SUVs – which generally cause more severe pedestrian injuries – make up an increasingly large percentage of registered vehicles."

Trends such as those cited above are why GObike Buffalo advocates for complete streets, streets designed for ALL users, including those who walk, bike, or use transit. We believe safe and comfortable transportation options for those who cannot afford or are unable to drive a motor vehicle is a basic human right which should not continue to be overlooked in street design.  

 

 

 

Pedestrian Deaths at 30-Year High