Nationwide, spring has finally sprung. Individuals of every age group are embracing the season by taking long walks, going for bike rides and generally traveling outdoors sans motor vehicle. Unfortunately, not all pedestrians and cyclists will remain safe this season. In fact, during 2011 alone over 4,400 pedestrians were killed in car accidents and tens of thousands more were injured. Most of these accidents occurred during the warm months of spring and summer.
All pedestrians are affected by poorly designed roads, a lack of motorist education on pedestrian safety and other factors that contribute to a high annual rate of pedestrian crashes. However, the most vulnerable pedestrian populations are generally children, the disabled and elderly persons. These individuals may have a more difficult time crossing the street, remaining visible to motorists and generally accessing sidewalks in safe ways.
Earlier this month, many safety-minded organizations attempted to educate the public about pedestrian safety during Global Road Safety Week. Given that nearly 15 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities are pedestrians, these efforts were both urgently important and desperately necessary. Many of these organizations not only lobbied legislators for comprehensive action but also reached out to caregiver populations who most need to be educated about the risks that children, elderly and disabled pedestrians uniquely face.
Among the solutions being proposed to lawmakers are reforms known as complete streets. These road designs effectively accommodate the needs of these three vulnerable populations as well as other pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Failure to implement these reforms or reforms like them will allow preventable pedestrian accidents to continue to occur every single day.
Source: AARP Blog, “Road Safety for Every Age,” Jana Lynott, May 8, 2013