We are all a part of America’s streets whether as a driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, or just living in our homes and walking our neighborhoods, and having to go out and check our mail. But, are America’s Streets becoming Death Traps? Statistics show that driver error and high speed limits can increase the probability of pedestrian deaths, and now there is a new culprit: Poor Road Design .
In Georgia, the question has been asked: Which streets do you feel are most unsafe in your town, and how do you think your local government can help reduce pedestrian deaths? One solution is that we need more developments like the Atlanta Belt Line in Atlanta, Georgia where pedestrians and bicyclists can safely participate in the outdoors without the dangers of the street.
From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people, many of them children, were hit and killed while walking outdoors, and an estimated 676,000 were injured. These are just some of the scary statistics outlined in a new report called“Dangerous by Design,” conducted by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition, a group that advocates for better neighborhood planning.
We also discuss these disturbing statistics on our website under Pedestrian and Bicycle Injuries and how we can all use better safety practices as drivers and pedestrians to make our roads safer for Everyone.
Alissa Walker, of Gizmodo, writes in a recent article that our streets, “are enabling our vehicles to become death machines.” “The problem in this country is that our streets have historically been designed for speed, to help cars go as fast as possible,” Walker says. Gizmodo further lists the least crossable streets in the United States. Is yours one of them? You may read more information by visiting Gizmodo for the full article “How Bad Street Design Kills Pedestrians.”
As early as the beginning of the 20th century, City Officials in New York required narrow sidewalks and wide road lanes to help move traffic, according to the Federal Highway Administration which is a major part of the problem. The National Association of City Transportation Officials launched its Urban Street Design Guide in 2013 with standards for updating streets with bike lanes, speed humps and crosswalks. “So many things have changed in 50 years, but our streets haven’t, and our design guidance certainly hasn’t,” former NACTO President Janettte Sadie-Khan said in a press release.
Federal agencies have encouraged a “complete streets” policy to make roads safer for all travelers, and some local governments, like those in New Jersey that have actually implemented them. Furthermore, StreetScore a tool developed by MIT’s Media Lab, uses street density, plus the presence of sidewalks and bike lanes, to rate street safety.
As most of us know, reduced speed limits can also save lives as The Patch National desk wrote last month about an international movement to reduce residential area speed limits to 20 mph that’s gaining momentum in the U.S.
The good news is that we are making progress. The bad news is that there continues to be a push for new laws to increase, not decrease, the speed on our roadways. As we can tell from the statistics, this is moving in the opposite direction of safety for Everyone on the road.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we are experts in Pedestrian and Bicycle Injuries so if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Pedestrian or Bicycle Accident, then we are here to assist you, so please feel free to Contact Us by any or all of the following means: By phone at 770-865-8654, (813) 363-6664, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on our Contact Form on our blog, or on our Website.
We want to make our roadways a safer place for Everyone and we are committed to the cause. We look forward to hearing from you soon!