The organization Smart Growth America released a report entitled Dangerous by Design 2014, part of which addresses the preventable dangers to pedestrians in cities across the United States. The report ranked Georgia as the fifth most dangerous state for pedestrians out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, Atlanta was ranked the eighth most dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians in the country.
Thousands of pedestrians suffer injuries in vehicle-related collisions every year, and many of these accidents occur because a driver was negligent. If you have suffered injuries in any type of traffic accident, you should always contact the experienced and committed Atlanta personal injury lawyers at the firm of Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC for assistance as soon as possible.
Why is Atlanta so dangerous for pedestrians?
The report suggests that Atlanta’s dangers exist in part to our city’s rapid growth and dependence on large arterial roads and transportation by motor vehicle. Large, fast roadways often do not provide safe features for pedestrians, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, or adequate walk signals. Chances of getting struck by a car are much greater for pedestrians walking on the shoulder or roadside than pedestrians on a separate sidewalk.
Additionally, these large roads also usually mean higher speed limits. The report states that higher speeds mean a much higher risk of death in a motor vehicle-related pedestrian accident. For example, if a vehicle is traveling at 20 miles per hour, there is a six percent chance that a pedestrian will die as a result of a collision. That chance rises substantially to 65 percent if a vehicle is traveling 45 miles per hour.
How can the city prevent pedestrian accidents?
The Dangerous by Design report states that street design with pedestrian safety in mind is the key to keeping pedestrians safe from accidents and injuries. The report refers to designing and constructing “complete streets,” which have safety features for all types of users, including motor vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Atlanta has a notorious traffic congestion problem, and the state and local governments have long encouraged residents to find alternate forms of transportation, such as walking, to limit motor vehicle traffic. However, the governments has not made efforts to make the streets safer for the increased number of pedestrians. If officials truly want more people in Atlanta to walk instead of drive, they should take a close look at how to keep these pedestrians safe.
First, officials should closely examine road design in communities that have a large number of pedestrians. They should consider lowering speed limits, adding crosswalks and sidewalks, and more. Additionally, there should be programs that educate motorists about pedestrian awareness and safety, especially in pedestrian hubs such as school campuses, bus stops, or commercial districts.
Having roads that are not safe for all users is unacceptable. Unfortunately, a lot of work must be done to correct the problem. In the meantime, all pedestrians should take their own safety precautions to avoid accidents, and should contact an experienced lawyer if they have been injured.