As we’ve discussed on our blog before, more people than ever are now choosing to forgo their vehicles in favor of going by mass transit, bicycle or even on foot. The motivations for this drastic lifestyle change vary, of course, with some motivated by environmental concerns, others by finances and still others by healthy living.
As we’ve also discussed, however, this decision, while laudable, is not without risk given the dangerous driving practices of motorists from speeding to distracted driving.
Consider the recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which found that preliminary data from state highway safety offices indicated that 2016 was the most deadly year for pedestrians in a decade.
Indeed, the GHSA report found that 5,997 pedestrians lost their lives last year, an 11 percent increase from 2015 and yet another notch on an upward trend that has seen pedestrian deaths rise by 12 percent since 1996.
While much of this deadly phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that there are simply more pedestrians, and more drivers due to lower fuel prices and an improving economy, others have offered another explanation: a lack of safe walking environments.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, many of the boulevards crisscrossing urban areas today were designed 50 to 60 years ago when most everyone got from Point A to Point B using a car, and pedestrians were largely an afterthought.
Making matters worse, researchers have found that this aging infrastructure with its lack of safe and accessible walking environments is especially prevalent in low-income communities, which typically see higher pedestrian fatality rates than affluent neighborhoods.
As discouraging as this reality is, the good news is that state and federal officials are becoming increasingly aware of this unacceptable state of affairs, meaning the chances of already limited transportation funds being allocated to these communities are improving.
Here’s hoping we see the necessary changes become a reality sooner than later …
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident caused by the recklessness of a motorist, understand that you do have rights and you do have options for seeking justice.