Is San Francisco safe for pedestrians? Between 2000 and 2009, more than 47,000 Americans died in pedestrian accidents. In 2009 alone, 59,000 Americans lost their life while walking and more than 4,000 people died. A non-profit organization recently released data on pedestrian accidents, which ranks the nation’s largest cities for pedestrian safety.
Transportation for America says San Francisco ranks 41st in the nation for pedestrian deaths, with 685 deaths occurring between 2000 and 2009. The group conducted its research in an effort to bring transportation reform. Aging populations and an increased focus on walking for its health benefits are among the foundation for the group’s inquiry.
Pedestrian fatalities account for roughly 12 percent of traffic related fatalities in the nation. Pedestrians are highly vulnerable in pedestrian versus car or truck accidents. The non-profit group notes in its research that during the survey period, motor vehicle deaths declined 27 percent. During the ten-year period, pedestrian fatalities only decreased 14 percent.
The group says the research indicates that fatalities of pedestrians, bicyclists and people in wheel chairs normally occur on roads that are not conducive to pedestrian safety. The group is advocating for federal funding to improve the infrastructure for pedestrian and bicycle safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reportedly has prioritized a few pedestrian safety programs in their plan, which runs through 2013. Some concepts in the plan include:
- Onboard sensors in vehicles to alert drivers that a pedestrian is nearby
- Adding sound to the quiet operation of electric and hybrid cars so that pedestrians are better able to hear the approaching vehicle.
- Proposing new bumper and hood regulations aimed at reducing the danger involved in a pedestrian accident
While the Bay Area ranks 41st on the pedestrian danger list, one California area made the top ten list. The Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario area came in at number five on the top-ten -list for pedestrian fatalities between 2000 and 2009.
Source: Consumer Reports, “Most dangerous cities for pedestrians in America,” Aug. 17, 2011