A recent article in the Colorado Springs Gazette states that pedestrian deaths rose nationally to an estimated 10 percent last year. The article cites multiple factors that may have contributed. One factor cited as a possible reason for this increase, was the decrease in gas prices, which has put more motorists on the road. Another factor, the growing use of cellphones, which increases not only the number of distracted drivers, but the number of distracted walkers. And what should be a positive factor, the growing awareness of the health benefits of walking more could also be a potential factor.
The article goes on to say that this has been the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian deaths since 1975, the year the federal system for recording traffic deaths went into place.
During the first six months of 2015, 2368 pedestrians were killed, compared to 2,232 in 2014. That’s a 6 percent increase! Colorado also had an increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2015. 65 pedestrians were killed in 2015, with 63 deaths in 2014.
The Gazette goes on to say that Colorado Springs streets were among the most deadly for walkers. There were nine pedestrian deaths on the streets of Colorado Springs. According to reports, only five of those were determined to be the fault of the pedestrians. And as of early March of 2016, Colorado had already recorded nine pedestrian fatalities this year, two of which were in Colorado Springs.
In a previous blog, I provided safety tips for pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost three-fourths of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban area versus rural, and over two-thirds occurred at non-intersections versus intersections. A majority of pedestrian fatalities occurred during nighttime, and a majority occurred during normal weather conditions rather than poor conditions (rain, snow, fog). All of these statistics are things for us to consider.
As a reminder, here are some important safety tips for when you are out walking:
- Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible.
- Keep alert at all times. That means stay off your cellphone.
- Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible.
- Look for cars in all directions.
- Be visible at all times. Wear reflective material at night.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking.
It is really sobering to hear these numbers. The ability to get out and walk in Colorado, to enjoy the scenery and weather here is what makes our state so great. I hate to think statistics like this would hinder people from being able to do this. So, please be safe when out walking and enjoying what Colorado has to offer you.
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