Doctors agree that we have become too sedentary in our lives so we should get out there and exercise to reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease. Unfortunately, walking and biking, traditionally used as forms of exercise, are proven to be almost as deadly when using streets that are dangerous by design. Or when encountering negligent or careless drivers.
Our pedestrian accident attorneys in Knoxville and Maryville know such accidents frequently cause serious or fatal injuries each year and could be prevented by better design, and drivers who show pedestrians and bicyclists the proper respect on the road.
Transportation for America posted a study on preventable pedestrian deaths due to dangerous roads. Each year, almost 5,000 people die an avoidable death due to injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. In 2007-08, more than 40% of pedestrians who were fatally injured were in an area where no crosswalk was accessible.
The passage of SAFETEA-LU in 2005 brought over 30% increases to federal transportation funding to states. Yet, no state spends more than 5% of federal funds available to enhance crosswalks, sidewalks, multi-use paths, or other features aimed at reducing the risks of pedestrian or bicycle accidents.
Memphis ranked in the top 5 most dangerous metropolitan areas for walking in 2007-08. Tennessee as a whole reported a total of 134 pedestrian fatalities in 2007-08 according to the Transportation for America study.
In 2007-08, the pedestrian danger index (a formula using the average fatality rate and the amount of pedestrians who walk to work) showed a higher risk of walking in most metropolitan areas than the national average at 52.1. Some of the named cities and rankings in the index were: Knoxville (54.5), Nashville (70.2), and Memphis (137.7). Tennessee reported 1.08 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people in 2007-08, while the U.S. average was 1.53.
It is alarming to see how little money was spent in 2005-2008 on pedestrian projects when compared to the federal funding that was available. The study reported that Tennessee spent 2.4% of the $2.45 billion available for pedestrian safety during this time frame. This equates to about $2.37 per person.
Moving forward, the study suggests holding states more accountable for improvements.
-Local governments need to ensure new roadways are designed with safety for pedestrian, bicyclists, and drivers in mind.
-Federal funding should be spent on saving lives as well as getting everyone more active.
-Unsafe roadways should be redesigned so that they are fit to accommodate walkers or bicyclists.
Accidents happen but preventable deaths are inexcusable no matter how you try to justify them.
If you have been injured in a car or pedestrian accident in Knoxville or Blount County, contact the personal injury attorneys at Hartsoe Law Firm. For a free appointment call 1-877-472-5657.