The risks pedestrians face in Illinois

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As more people follow the advice of healthcare and fitness experts and choose to walk the streets of Illinois’ cities instead of ride, pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur. Research suggests that this is not merely a numbers issue, however. Cities often present its residents with  problems that can make it difficult for them to safely navigate the streets.

Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition recently issued Dangerous By Design, a report about various cities around the nation and how they ranked for pedestrian safety.  Chicago ranked as the 44th most dangerous metropolitan area in the nation for those who choose to walk to their destinations.

Potentially fatal dangers

Cities spread across a wide area are commonly the most dangerous for pedestrians. These sprawling metropolises are often designed for the convenience of the motorist with little consideration for pedestrians who need to cross active lanes of traffic. The NCSC report found that out of 1,165 pedestrian deaths in Chicago from 2003 to 2012, 54.1 percent of the causal accidents took place on arterial roads. These roads are usually designed to increase the speed of motorists and often either completely omit walking spaces or limit them in unsafe ways that also limit access to areas of the city to which some individuals need or wish to reach.

Other high speed roads are especially dangerous for pedestrians. The study found that 42.7 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred on streets with a speed limit at or greater than 40 miles per hour. The number of associated deaths significantly decreased for streets with posted limits of 30 miles per hour or less. High-speed roads are thus clearly linked to pedestrian injury.

The report further indicates that older individuals may face increased dangers when walking the city’s streets. In Illinois, adults over the age of 65 make up 12.2 percent of the population, yet they represent over 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities. This may be due to their decreased ability to safely make it across many lanes of traffic.

Distracted drivers

One of the greatest dangers to pedestrians is distracted drivers. No matter what roadway a driver uses, if they are distracted, their vehicle has the potential to become a deadly object. In some cases a bad situation is made worse when a driver believes that pedestrians will not be in a certain area, and they then engage in distracted driving. It is a deadly combination that often ends in a car accident and injury.

While all too common, pedestrian accident cases can be difficult for individuals to handle on their own. Those who have been affected by a pedestrian accident or death can contact a personal injury attorney to discuss a plan to get them the compensation they need.