Pedestrian traffic deaths have been on the rise. In the US, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2018. Of course, the United States is a huge country, so you might rightfully wonder how Baltimore has fared. A recent study by Smart Growth America, titled “Dangerous by Design 2019,” provides statistics to support the position that there are far too many deaths and injuries from pedestrian accidents in the Baltimore metro area.
In the ten-year period captured in the study, between 2008 and 2017, there were 496 deaths from pedestrian accidents in the Baltimore metro area. That amounts to a little less than a death a week, to say nothing of the serious injuries pedestrians suffer that don’t result in death.
Between 2008 and 2017, the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in the Baltimore metro area exceeded the national average. While the Baltimore metro area is not at the bottom of the list of the 100 largest US metro areas when measuring the “Pedestrian Danger Index,” the Baltimore metro area is in the bottom half. The Baltimore metro area ranks 55th out of 100 metro areas–making it more dangerous than the Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City metro areas.
Who are the victims of these tragic crashes?
While the study reveals that people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income levels die in pedestrian accidents, certain people and communities carry a larger share of the burden: the study found that “[o]lder adults, people of color, and people walking in low-income communities are disproportionately represented in fatal crashes involving people walking.”
What can be done to prevent pedestrian deaths?
There are things that local and state governments can do to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths, but here I’ll focus on what we pedestrians can do.
As pedestrians, we can:
- Forget about our phones. Being preoccupied with our phones can be very dangerous.
- Keep music at reasonable volumes. Listening to music at such a volume that reduces our awareness of what is going on around us can be dangerous.
- Make sure we’re visible. During the day, this means wearing vibrant colors. When it’s dark outside, this means wearing reflective clothing. However, for many of us, the suggestion to wear reflective clothing will not be practical; we should try to avoid walking when it’s dark.
- Follow the traffic signals. Don’t cross a street unless the walk sign directs us to do so.
- Check for reckless drivers, even when it’s our turn to walk. If we have a walk sign, we should still check to ensure that no driver is recklessly driving.
- Only cross the street at safe areas. Jaywalking can be dangerous–and also very detrimental to a pedestrian’s legal case against the offending driver.
Get Legal Help
If you find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident where another party’s negligence has caused you a serious injury, seek the advice of an attorney. If you have not yet started a lawsuit, call me. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.