Each year the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) publishes a report going over data regarding pedestrian fatalities.
This year’s report, entitled “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2018 Preliminary Data,” 2018 saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths within the last 30 years.
Colorado, on the other hand, actually saw a decrease in pedestrian deaths from 2017 to 2018.
How could a state with a rapidly rising population manage to decrease the rate of pedestrian accidents and fatalities?
Colorado pedestrian statistics
Although the news nationally wasn’t so good, Colorado was one of the few states that managed to decrease in pedestrian deaths from the first 6 months of 2017 to the first 6 months of 2018.
The report listed Colorado as 1 of 10 states with the highest population growth from 2017 to 2018. Overall, these top 10 states combined saw a 5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities.
But zeroing in on Colorado shows that the state actually had an 8 percent decrease in pedestrian deaths for that period. While there were 37 pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017, that number dropped to 34 in the first half of 2018.
Possible reasons for the decrease
So what’s the reason for the decline in pedestrian deaths for a state with one of the highest rates of population growth in the nation?
One possibility is a plan that the City of Denver recently put in place called Vision Zero.
Denver’s Vision Zero plan, which Boulder has now adopted as well, helps communities work towards their goal of zero injuries and deaths related to traffic by the year 2030 by focusing efforts on 5 key goals:
- Process and Collaboration: Bringing together city processes, partnerships and laws to focus on traffic safety.
- Culture of Safety: Using education, awareness, institutional actions and engagement to encourage a culture of safety.
- Safe Streets: Making sure transportation systems works to protect all street users.
- Data and Transparency: Making available data that is understandable and utilizable for the public as well as the city.
- Safe Speeds: Focusing on speed reduction using methods such as messaging, automated enforcement and slow zones.
Colorado lawmakers are certainly buckling down and working hard to turn the tide of pedestrian accidents and deaths in our great state. And it’s great news to those of us who call Colorado home.
In the words of Richard Retting, director of safety and research at Sam Schwartz Consulting and an author of GHSA’s report: “Crossing the street should not be a death sentence.”
While it’s certainly good news that pedestrian accidents are on the decline, collisions between cars, bicyclists and pedestrians are a constant and real danger — especially in booming cities like Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.