Walking as a form of transportation is often considered one of the healthiest ways to travel, but is it the safest? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians account for 14 percent of traffic fatalities. In 2013, there were 4,735 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents across the country.
Is there a commonality in these fatal pedestrian accidents? According to statistics, males were the most common pedestrian accident victims, accounting for 69 percent. Alcohol played a part in 34 percent of the pedestrian victims having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher and in 15 percent of drivers having a BAC of 0.08 or higher. The average age of pedestrians killed was around 46, and 26 percent occurred in urban areas. Evenings between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. appeared to be the most common times that the pedestrian accidents occurred.
Are pedestrian accidents increasing or decreasing in number? Since 2001, there has been a 3 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities. This could be due to fewer pedestrians on the streets, to enhanced law enforcement, education about pedestrian safety or to improvements in facilities, such as roads, stoplights or crossways. According to the NHTSA, it is hard to actually determine if safety improvements have actually been done across the country.
Another mode of transportation that also accounts for fatalities on our roads is bicycling. In 2013, there were 743 bicyclist fatalities, up from 732 in 2001. Injuries from bicyclists totaled 48,000 in 2013, up from 45,000 in 2001. Bicyclists in total only account for 2 percent of traffic fatalities, as compared to the 14 percent that were pedestrian accidents. Bicycling is becoming a more common form of transportation and recreation, which could possibly account for the increase.
Health benefits from walking or bicycling are numerous, and no one should be deterred from these forms of transportation or recreation. However, injuries and fatalities are always a possibility. Pedestrians and bicyclists should educate themselves on safe practices on the road. If you are injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you more than likely will not have uninsured motorist insurance to cover your injuries, which could be costly. You should seek advice from an attorney to see what your options for compensation are. In specific situations, your homeowner policy or a reckless driver's policy may cover you.
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, "Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics," accessed Jan. 13, 2016