Cities across Michigan are making efforts to improve the walk-ability and bike-ability of their downtown areas. But in spite of efforts to make sidewalks safer, a new study shows the risk of pedestrian accidents remains high across the country.
Between 2005 and 2014, over 46,000 pedestrians were killed by cars in the United States. That is 7 times as likely as dying from any natural disaster. In its report, Dangerous by Design 2016, the Smart Growth America organization broke that number down, and found that the risk of pedestrian accidents is still startlingly high in metro areas across the country.
The report ranks the 104 largest metro areas in the country, and every state, according to a “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI). This index is based on the number of local commuters who walk to work and statistics on pedestrian deaths.
While the top of the PDI list was dominated by Florida cities, Metro Detroit came in at 17 with a PDI of 124.2. Larger cities and denser population centers tend to have a higher PDIs.
People of color and older Americans are at particular risk. People of color made up a disproportionate 46.1% of pedestrian deaths. (Non-white people make up 34.9% of the general population). People 65 years or older are 50% more likely than younger people to be killed in a pedestrian accident.
Smart Growth America notes that PDI is also correlated with lower incomes and higher numbers of uninsured families, “meaning that the people who can least afford to be injured often live in the most dangerous places.”
The organization says the persistently high pedestrian accidents are the result of poor street design. Its website says:
“Many of these deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure. People walk along these roads despite the clear safety risks—a sign that streets are not adequately serving everyone in the community.”
It urges policy makers and local elected officials to prioritize pedestrian safety over high speed travel, so that as roads are laid or remodeled, the cities become safer for pedestrians on their streets.
David Christensen is a pedestrian accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents people struck by vehicles against insurance companies and at fault drivers. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.