Motor vehicle crashes kill or injure thousands of people in the United States every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “more children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury.” (link)
- Motor vehicle–related injuries were the leading cause of death for people aged 1–34 in 2009, and nearly 3 million people went to emergency departments with motor-vehicle-related injuries. (link)
- In 2008, one-fifth of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. (link)
- A recent New York City study found that pedestrians are ten times more likely to be killed than motor-vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. (link)
By making our streets safer for people who walk, we make our streets safer for everyone. A big part of this is just slowing down the car traffic. Pedestrians struck by a car going 20 miles per hour or less are much, much less likely to be killed than if the car was going faster (link). When traffic moves more slowly, it is much easier for everyone to navigate the street, and every one is safer.
Creating more walkable places also helps increase personal safety. The more people who walk in a neighborhood, the more “eyes on the street” there are. This is an important part of safer neighborhoods. Also, people who live in more walkable neighborhoods are more likely to know their neighbors, participate in politics, trust others, and be socially engaged (link). A neighborhood where people walk is a place where people are watching out for each other.
Governments around the world are taking action to make it safer for everyone to get around.
- Vision Zero is an initiative that began in Sweden developed to reduce the number of transportation crash victims to 0.
- The City of Portland has identified “High Crash Corridors” that are targeted for interventions to decrease crashes.
(Photo credit: BikePortland)