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Report: Chicago ranks as the 44th most dangerous city for pedestrians

| Jul 13, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Chicago is currently seeing more people out and about on its streets, whether it be for working, having fun, or running errands in different areas of the city. However, the rise in walkers has led to an increase in pedestrian accidents in the city. A recent report issued by the National Complete Streets Coalition ranked the city as the 44th most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians and highlighted some of the dangers people face when they walk the city’s streets.

Pedestrian Dangers

The NCSC report indicated that from 2003 to 2012, 1,165 people were killed in the city. Just over half of all of these fatalities took place on arterial roads, or high-capacity urban roads. These specific roadways are designed to maximize speed for motorists and often completely ignore the needs of the pedestrian community.

Thirty-five percent of other pedestrian fatalities in Chicago occurred on roads with speed limits greater than 40 miles per hour. Only six percent of pedestrian fatalities happened on roadways with a speed limit under 30 miles per hour, and 1.9 percent occurred on streets that had posted limits less than 20 miles per hour.

The sharp contrast in speed limits and the number of associated pedestrian deaths indicate that pedestrians face steep increases in their likelihood of being in a fatal accident when they travel on roadways intended primarily for the high-speed us of motor vehicles. Pedestrian awareness can be low on arterial roadways and while motorists travel at greater speeds on other streets because many drivers believe the roadways are too dangerous for pedestrians to safely traverse, so they are not on guard and constantly looking for pedestrians.

Distracted drivers also play a huge role in this situation, especially when driving on higher speed, non-arterial roadways. Simply put, distracted drivers aren’t concentrating on the road and are unable to correctly operate their vehicle, which can lead to severe accidents and serious injury.

A national issue

Nationally, pedestrians fair even worse. While the entire U.S. is experiencing a resurgence in the number of people choosing to walk to their destinations, the country’s roadways are not up to the task of keeping pedestrians on foot safe. The NCSC report found that from 2003 to 2012, over 47,000 people died while walking the nation’s streets. This is 16 times higher than the amount of natural disaster deaths the country experienced in the same time frame, but little is ever said about this growing epidemic. The rates keep steadily rising. In 2011, only 6 percent of traffic deaths involved a pedestrian. In 2012, that number increased to 15 percent.

While Chicago may not be ranked first for pedestrian deaths in the nation, it still has ample room for improvement when it comes to pedestrian safety. Chicago residents who have been involved in a pedestrian accident can contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their matter.