Getting out for a nice walk has several benefits ranging from health to relaxation. Colorado is a popular state for walking and biking both in urban and rural areas. Cities like Boulder and some areas of Denver are very pedestrian friendly, while other areas like Rocky Mountains National Park offer some of the best scenery this side of the moon.
You may think – how in the world is walking dangerous?
I’m not in a moving vehicle going 50+ mph around literally thousands of other vehicles of various sizes doing the same thing. The fact is though, pedestrian/car accidents do occur. Even though they’re down since 1995, the rate is still too high.
According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were a reported 4,280 pedestrian fatalities in 2010. This is down from 5,585 in 1995. And while injuries have been on a downward trend, they still topped 70,000 in 2009.
If we take it as a percentage, fatalities involving pedestrians have dropped by roughly 23% since 1995.
While these numbers are encouraging, they open up a whole host of questions, including the one posed in our title.
To that question, it’s hard to answer whether walking is in fact safer than other modes of transportation. For one, pedestrians are over-represented in NHTSA data, accounting for more than 13% of fatalities but only 10.9% of actual trips. One gap in the data is the fact that engineers really don’t have a way of knowing how many miles people walk each day, or how many minutes or hours. Are they walking to a job, or is it a leisurely stroll?
One fact is clear – the number of pedestrian fatalities pale in comparison to the 32,885 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
Is walking safer than it was 20 years ago?
Again, it’s hard for the data to answer that question – on the surface, a 23% drop in fatalities would suggest that it is.
But without knowing how many people are walking, where they’re walking, how far they’re walking and for what purpose, it’s hard to know. For example, the reduction in fatalities could be due to fewer people walking. Or maybe it’s a reflection of educational efforts and awareness.
Regardless, we can determine from statistics other trends in pedestrian accidents. Below are a few figures gathered from the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):
- 72-percent of pedestrian fatalities occur in rural areas
- In 2009, 69-percent of pedestrians killed were male
- The top four states for pedestrian fatalities (California, Florida, Texas and New York) accounted for 41% of fatalities nationwide
- 70-percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night
- Nearly half of fatalities occurred on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday
If you’re a pedestrian or bicyclist who was injured in a collision with an automobile, these figures are probably pretty meaningless. You’re more interested in getting the right treatment for your injury and obtaining compensation if the driver was at fault.
Regardless of the cause of your accident, you are entitled to compensation if the other party was at least 51% at-fault for the accident.
Denver pedestrian lawyer R. Mack Babcock and associates at the Babcock Law Firm possess extensive experience in determining fault and pursuing compensation if it’s indeed determined the other party was at-fault.
If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, contact our office today and schedule a free consultation. If someone else is at-fault, you do not have to bear the expense of medical treatment, physical therapy and lost wages.