Is the World More Dangerous for Cyclists and Pedestrians? | Power Legal Group
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Is the World More Dangerous for Cyclists and Pedestrians?

The number of cars on the road is rising exponentially every year. According to IHS Automotive, as reported in the LA Times, there are about 253 million cars on U.S. roadways, an increase of more than 3.7 million from the previous year. It stands to reason, then, that pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle accidents are also on the rise with such congestion all over the country.

Here are a few more stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • In 2015, U.S. motorcyclist fatalities rose 8% year-over-year to 4,976 people.
  • In 2016, U.S. pedestrian fatalities rose faster than motorist fatalities.
  • Pedestrian deaths rosean estimated 11% year-over-year to almost 6,000 people, the largest annual increase in more than four decades.

Reasoning Behind the Increase

So why such an increase in bike and pedestrian accidents? Researchers feel it’s due to an increase in motor vehicle driver distractions, such as the use of smart phones (texting, searching, getting directions). The same can be said for the pedestrians as well. An increasing number of pedestrians are walking with their heads down while looking at their phones, so much so that they are unaware of their surroundings and potential hazards.

Also adding to the high number of pedestrian accidents is the fact that many people are choosing to walk to work and school rather than drive. This is especially so in congested mega cities like Manhattan and LA, where the motor vehicle traffic is at an all-time high. Many people also feel it’s safer and quicker to walk to their destination than drive.

Good for the Environment/Not So for Pedestrians

Electric and hybrid vehicles are certainly better for the environment than fossil fuel cars; however, it turns out they’re not so safe for pedestrians. NHTSA says these vehicles are about 20% more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash than gas-powered vehicles.

The hybrid car market only makes up about three percent of all cars on the road today, and only about 400,000 electric cars have been sold. According to Automotive News, sales fell six percent over the previous year, despite deep discounts on 30 new plug-in models. That being said, electric vehicles sales are predicted to grow to nearly seven percent — or 6.6 million per year — worldwide by 2020, says Energy.gov.

Pedestrian Safety

Extra-wide streets that are geared toward motor vehicle traffic are also to blame for all those pedestrian accidents. Curbed.com released its list of the most dangerous cities for pedestrian fatalities for 2017. Most of the cities are in Florida, but coming in at #12 was Bakersfield, CA and at #18 was Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California (the Inland Empire). The hope for some of the larger cities in the country is that more accommodations will be implemented to make pedestrian and bike use safer. Progressive cities like Boston and others with largely dense communities and human-scale streets have made commitments to infrastructure as part of a “complete streets principle” to keep walkers safe.

Better street design is one way in which cities are attempting to make their intersections safer. Take the recently-implemented “scramble” crosswalk in Hollywood, which has seen just a single crash since it was installed last November, compared to 13 the previous year.

However, as long as there are more vehicles competing for space on the nation’s roadways, there will be a threat to pedestrians. If you’ve been hit by a car and sustained injuries, call the Power Legal Group right away to discuss your options for obtaining proper compensation.

We can be reached at 800-323-POWER for a free initial consultation.