A recent study showed that more American pedestrians and cyclists are getting killed in traffic accidents. In 2013, pedestrians accounted for 14% of all traffic deaths in the United States. This is an increase from 2004, when pedestrians only represented 11% of such deaths. Cyclists represented 2.2% of traffic casualties in 2013, up from 1.7% in 2004.
The reason for this trend can be explained by the fact that cars are becoming safer, while walking and biking is just as dangerous. During this time period, the number of overall traffic deaths declined from around 43,000 in 2004 to about 33,000 in 2013. Meanwhile, the number of deaths for walkers and cyclists has largely remained the same. Hence, these two groups represent a greater proportion of deaths than they did previously.
Additionally, a larger number of Americans are walking and biking to work. In 2005, 3.3 million Americans said that they usually walked to work, and 530,000 said they rode a bicycle. By 2013, these values had increased to 4 million for walkers and 860,000 for bike riders. Furthermore, these values are most likely underrepresented because they don’t include people who technically use multiple methods, such as walking or biking to get to a train station or a bus stop.
There has been a lack of attention on the topics of safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Transportation officials have said that there is not enough available data to make things safer for walkers and bike riders.
It was found that 69% of pedestrian victims and 87% of cyclist victims were men and that most of the accidents occurred between the hours of 3 pm and midnight. About one in every three pedestrians and one in every five cyclists had a blood alcohol content that was above the legal limit for driving at the time of the accident.
Meanwhile, some cities have been taking action to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists, making their travels safer. Some of the cities that have done this include New York City, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Additionally, the United States Department of Transportation oversaw more than $676 million in spending on programs designed to promote the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in 2013. As more Americans demonstrate preferences for living in dense urban settings, these efforts will most likely continue to increase.