In last month’s Dangerous by Design 2011 report, we documented the 47,000 preventable pedestrian deaths between 2000 and 2009, along with the 688,000 injured. This is equivalent to one American being struck by a car or truck every 7 minutes for the past ten years.
The majority of these deaths occur on roadways that are dangerous by design — engineered for speeding traffic with little to no consideration for people walking, biking or using public transit.
None of us should have to deal with losing a child, friend or loved one simply because they were walking in the wrong place at the wrong time. And none of us should find even a single preventable pedestrian death acceptable.
While some are quick to dismiss pedestrian safety as purely local problem, the majority of these deaths in fact occur on roads built under federal highway programs. In fact, 67 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the last 10 years occurred on federal-aid roads — roads eligible for improvement funds based on national design standards.
It’s also a question of resources. When pedestrians account for 12 percent of all traffic deaths, how can we allow state departments of transportation to allocate only 1.5 percent of available federal funds toward repairing dangerous roads or creating safe alternatives?