New York City led the way in the effort to eliminate pedestrian deaths with its Vision Zero effort that was launched a few years ago. Since then, many other cities around the nation have followed suit, implementing changes to streets and traffic laws with the goal of increasing safety for people on foot. The awareness of the problem associated with pedestrian accidents makes some new statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration very disturbing.
According to an article published by Consumer Reports, the number of pedestrians who have been killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States has increased for two consecutive years now. In 2018, the 6,283 pedestrian fatalities represent an increase by 3.4% over the number of pedestrian fatalities that occurred in 2017. To make matters worse, this increase came at a time when overall traffic deaths decreased, exposing the problems faced by pedestrian on U.S. streets.
It is not only pedestrians who seem to be experiencing an increased risk on the streets but bicyclists as well. The number of riders who died in vehicular crashes in 2018 was up by 6.3% over the number who died in 2017.
These sobering facts are calling attention to the growing needs associated with making streets safe for everyone. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that actions like reducing speed limits and increasing lighting on streets can go a long way toward protecting bicycle riders, walkers or runners. People who partake in activities like cycling and walking to increase their health should not be taking their lives in their hands to the extent that it seems they are.