Monday, March 3, 2014

How Can We Protect Pedestrians from Drivers?

Jaywalk This Way - For New York City pedestrians, following the law can get you killed.(Nicole Gelinas, City Journal, Jan. 24, 2014)

Also discussed here: The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan(New York City Department of Transportation, Aug. 2010)

Today we review a short article from New York City that looked at the counter -productive approached used there (and in most cities) of going after jaywalkers rather than drivers of private cars. Facts show that inattentive drivers and speeders are the biggest causes of crashes that kill pedestrians and older pedestrians in particular. Such measures as red light cameras, speed bumps and just keeping track of and controlling drivers in these “accidents” have brought traffic fatalities down putting New York City as the safest city in the USA (with 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 pop., compared to Chicago at 6 and Atlanta at 11) and Stockholm, Sweden (with 1.2 fatalities) as the safest in the world- possible only with application of a wide range of efforts. Only by making streets safe for walking (and cycling) will cities shift from ones congested with traffic and air pollution to healthier ones. pedestrians and drivers  

Key Quotes:

“surprisingly, most (57 percent) of deaths at intersections between 2005 and 2009 occurred while the pedestrian was crossing with the signal.”

“senior citizens, while only 12 percent of the population, comprise 38 percent of pedestrian deaths.”

“2010 report blamed “driver inattention” for more than one-third of deadly or seriously injurious crashes”

“79% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve private automobiles as opposed to taxis, trucks and buses”

“Officers should target drivers who, according to the 2010 report, are disproportionately likely to kill or injure. That means drivers who speed or who recklessly turn. A pedestrian is three and a half times more likely to die if someone hits her at 40 miles per hour rather than at 30”

“In 2008, New York City had a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.8 per 100,000, 15% lower than the average of 12 peer cities.”

“Crashes are also a leading source of years of potential life lost (YPPL) and affect New Yorkers on a scale similar to cerebrovascular disease (strokes, hypertension) and influenza/pneumonia.”

“50% of adults over the age of 50 reported that they could not cross the main roads near their homes safely. Half of the older adults who reported these problems stated that they would walk more if these conditions were improved”

“Speed reducers (commonly known as speed humps) are traffic calming devices designed to slow vehicle speeds to either 20 or 15 mph.”
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