October is Pedestrian Safety Month and it serves as a reminder to share the road with the most vulnerable users. First some pedestrian safety facts:
- According to the NHTSA, on average a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes in a traffic crash
- Between 2015 and 2019, the overall pedestrian fatality rate increased by 27%
- The highest increase in fatality rates was observed among Black or African American people, 42%
- Older adults, African Americans, Indigenous people, and people walking in low-income communities are disproportionately represented in fatal crashes
- When analyzing the top 30 pedestrian crash hotspots, the majority have multiple lanes, high traffic volumes, speed limit above 30 mph, and 97% have adjacent commercial land uses.
- More than 6 in 10 people walk for transportation purposes, exercise, relaxation, or for other activities
- Missing crosswalks and sidewalks, and speeding motorists who fail to stop, put children at risk. From 2010 to 2019, 23% of all pedestrians killed in school transportation related crashes were children 5 to 10 years old
- About 75% of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes are killed when it’s dark outside
- Risk to pedestrians increases as the speed increases: 13% of pedestrians will die or suffer a severe injury if hit at 20mph, 40% will die or suffer severe injury if hit at 30mph, 73% will die or suffer severe injury if hit at 40mph
- The odds of being involved in a crash or near crash are 23.2 times greater for truck and bus drivers who are texting while driving (is this about being hit by a bus or truck ? If so, the wording seems like the bus and truck have more risk
While sidewalks and proper road design are critical for making our roads safer, we can all do something to make our roads safer. Here are a few things we can be mindful when sharing the road:
- Everyone is a pedestrian!
- Lookout for pedestrians especially in areas such as near schools, parks, shopping areas, and transit stops
- Elderly pedestrians, persons with disabilities, and wheelchair users may need more time to cross streets
- Follow the speed limit, it makes you more aware of your surroundings and gives you more time and distance to stop
- Enter and exit driveways carefully
- Do not drive distracted
- Make sure you are using your headlights at night
- Consider supporting the implementation of a Safe Routes to School Program in your community if you do not have one
- Support Complete Streets in your community if that is not implemented in your community
And remember, share the road and stay safe!