How to Prevent Pedestrian Fatalities

| 10/2/2014 3:45:00 PM

Pedestrians crossing the street

Ways of reducing pedestrian fatalities include shortening crosswalks and making them more visible.

More than 4,500 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America (see earlier Utne blog). This is not an inevitable fact of modern life. These deaths are preventable, as shown by the dramatic decline of pedestrian fatalities (as well as bicyclists and motorists) in Sweden after they adopted the Vision Zero approach to traffic safety.

The gravest danger to walkers and bicyclists as well as motorists is other motorists who drive dangerously. According to data collected by the New York City Department of Transportation from 2008-2012, “dangerous driver choices” contribute to pedestrian deaths in 70 percent of cases. “Dangerous pedestrian choices” is responsible in 30 percent of cases and joint responsibility in 17 percent of cases.

As the old saying goes, speed kills. Two landmark studies, one from the US and one from the UK, found that pedestrians are killed:

— 5 percent of the time when struck by a car traveling 20 mph

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