Car Crashes Are The Leading Cause of Death Among Kids 5-18. On Halloween It’s Much Worse

Car crashes remain the leading cause of death among children ages 5 to 18. “According to 2018 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data out this week, pedestrian deaths increased for the fifth year in a row, up 3.4 percent from 2017. The numbers are particularly grim for American school-age kids. For children in the U.S. aged 5 to 18, car crashes remain the leading cause of death.”

On Halloween it’s 43 percent more deadly.

There has been a change in Daylight Saving Time to add an hour of daylight to Halloween, but that hasn’t changed the horrible statistics. There is a petition to change Halloween to a Saturday.  But the real problem is cars and dangerous street design. When the data is acknowledged, there’s usually a marketing campaign that blames pedestrians. This time of year, the internet is plastered in Halloween-themed PSAs reminding children to wear bright costumes, carry flashlights, and stop looking at their phones. This is NOT the solution. It’s #toomanycars, #slowthecars, and #bancarsonhalloween.


It’s not the costumes or the candy—it’s the cars.

The scariest part of Halloween is our unsafe streets.
According to 2018 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data out this week, pedestrian deaths increased for the fifth year in a row, up 3.4 percent from 2017. The numbers are particularly grim for American school-age kids. For children in the U.S. aged 5 to 18, car crashes remain the leading cause of death.

On Halloween it’s much worse.

Halloween night is, on average, 43 percent more deadly for pedestrians than other autumn nights. The highest rates of fatal crashes were seen for kids aged 4 to 8 around 6 p.m.

But when the commuting drivers are removed from the equation, deaths seem to go down. A study by used FARS data to compare 24 years of crash data by days of the week. Halloweens that fell on workdays had an 83 percent increase in deadly crashes involving kids compared to weekend days. The worst day? Friday. Since 1994, the three deadliest Halloween nights for kids have all been Friday nights.

Last year, an online petition sponsored by the Halloween & Costume Association got national momentum for trying to move the holiday to the last Saturday in October, in part to reduce car crashes. Now a revised petition wants to keep the date of Halloween the same, but add a separate National Trick or Treat Day that would be celebrated on that final Saturday.

Moving Halloween to Saturday doesn’t actually solve the problem: Our deadly streets.

Read more:

DRIVERS: It’s Your Responsibility

This is one of the few PSAs we’ve seen that’s aimed at the DRIVER. Let’s get this message out loud and clear!

In addition, they’ve addressed the use of the dehumanizing term “pedestrian”:

“What do you think of when you hear that “…a pedestrian was hit?

Your best friend?

A neighbor?

Someone important in your life?

Probably not. We have put the plight of the person out of our minds and replaced it with the sterile pedestrian.

Now what do you think of when you hear that “…a young child was hit?

It should feel extremely uncomfortable, maybe even offensive, to have these distressing emotions broached.

Yet, therein lies the problem: Instead of confronting safety issues head-on, our society has largely relegated this as taboo topic. We literally do not think about these crashes and evade the horror with euphemistic language.”


The University of Miami WalkSafe program is a pediatric injury prevention program working directly with public schools through our free 3-day educational curriculum and safety resources.

WalkSafe also encourages physical activity through walking to school and advocates for facilities and infrastructure improvements to the school environment by collaborating with local governments, traffic planners, school districts and the community.

Words Matter. What Is A Pedestrian?

We’re happy to have discovered the website and program WalkSafe, the University of Miami pediatric injury prevention program. The blog is great, as evidenced in the piece linked below about the effects of words like “pedestrian” in reporting car crashes.

As we have written before, the use of certain words can dehumanize people. Consider the terms, “pedestrian”, “cyclist”,  vs “person walking”, and “person riding a bike”.  In the description of a motor vehicle crash (most often erroneously called an “accident”), the person who has been killed is referred to as a “pedestrian” or “cyclist”, without context, effectively blunting the emotional impact of the fatal incident. In this article: “Pedestrian Killed by Santa Barbara City Bus“, as implied in the title the inference is that the bus acted on it’s own.  As in so many news articles, the writer seems to be protecting the identity of the driver, and since the driver seems to be absent, the death was an accident with no human victim, and car culture continues.

WalkSafe doesn’t aim educational materials and PSAs at children and their behavior, making them responsible for their own safety, but rather “…advocates for facilities and infrastructure improvements to the school environment by collaborating with local governments, traffic planners, school districts and the community.”


“Last October, we brought this point up on Twitter: The word “pedestrian” needs a rethink. Today, we are giving these thoughts a more permanent home on the WalkSafe blog.

Perhaps it may seem odd for a walking advocacy organization to criticize the word pedestrian. Many advocates – including ourselves – use the word to promote walkability every day.

Nevertheless, the word is flawed. One could argue that it unintentionally works against walking advocacy.

“For starters, let us avoid the word “pedestrian.” A “pedestrian” should simply be a “person walking.” You could even argue that a pedestrian is “a person,” as a pedestrian can be standing too. That is not to say this simple change of language will solve the safety crisis on its own. Far from it. It is, however, one of many micro steps necessary to build emotional support in favor of safety.”

Learn more about WalkSafe:

Each year, an alarming number of pedestrians under the age of 14 are severely injured or killed in pedestrian-hit-by-car (PHBC) incidents. These PHBC rates are particularly high in the State of Florida and in its largest county, Miami-Dade.

Learn more…

News: Asbury Park Parking Garage

The plans for the new parking structure are moving forward – it will be located off Main Street in the municipal complex that also houses City Hall, the Police Department and Transportation Center.

The preliminary design concepts will be presented during a 7 pm public input session on Nov 13 in City Council Chamber.



By Michelle Gladden

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with this project,” Mayor John Moor said in a written statement. “Adding parking supply for our residents, visitors and employees of downtown businesses has been a goal. Increasing the parking supply is one piece of the puzzle in addition to providing alternative forms of transportation.”

Read about it:

Keep The City Moving With Less Parking And More Bicycle Infrastructure

The UK and US are similar in the prioritization of motor vehicles over other modes of transportation, including walking, bicycling, and mass transit, leading to a national health crisis in both countries. “Physical inactivity are responsible for one in six deaths, and one in four adults are obese.” The use of fossil fuels and emissions causes an increase in asthma and other respiratory health issues, and pedestrian and bicyclist deaths by automobile are at epic proportions. But in many cities these issues have not led to a sense of urgency to build more/better infrastructure for walking and bicycling, especially if city leaders and business owners promote the fear that the loss of parking and reduced flow of automobiles will negatively impact the local economy. This has been proven wrong again and again.  Asbury Park’s city leaders understand the urgency and are working to create a truly walkable and bike-able city. This article illustrates how “Offering people good, reliable alternatives to the car is the key to keeping the city moving.”

Nottingham’s Workplace Parking Levy Creates Jobs, Cuts Car Use and Slashes Pollution

Carlton Reid 

October 17, 2019

“Legislation passed last week will allow Scottish cities to implement workplace parking levies and spend the proceeds on cycling infrastructure and improved public transit. Glasgow and Edinburgh could lead the charge, and they would be doing so thanks to the example shown by Nottingham in England, which has had a workplace levy since 2012, a scheme which has so far raised £61 million and which the council spends on measures to reduce car use.”

“Council leader David Mellen told the Financial Times that the parking levy was controversial when first proposed: “The chamber of commerce was dead against it. They said businesses would leave Nottingham, and investors would not come.” The opposite happened. Since 2012 the number of businesses in the city has increased by almost a quarter. There has been a net increase of 23,400 jobs.”

Read about it:

Can We Create An 8-80 City?

What Does An “8-80” City Look Like?

Asbury Park is working on making city streets and sidewalks great public places, as well as focusing on sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, scooters, and promoting other alternative mobility options, plus public transit.

Gil Penalosa, is founder of 8-80 Cities, grounded on the concept that we can create “vibrant cities with healthy communities where all people can live happier, regardless of age, gender, ability, or socio-economic or ethnic status.”

“The 8 to 80 litmus test involves imagining a public space, but especially a busy city street or intersection, and asking whether it is suitable for young and old alike.”

(Gil’s brother Enrique Penalosa, also a well-known urbanist, was re-elected mayor of Bogota Colombia in 2015 for the 2016–2019 term. While embroiled in some recent academic controversy, he has also been influential in making major improvements for people and places in that city during his 2 separate terms as mayor up to the present, and in other cities elsewhere in the world between terms.)

The 8 to 80 Problem: Designing Cities for Young and Old

How can cities create neighborhoods that work well for all generations?

“…in many aging societies, where the proportion of seniors will grow as much as four-fold over the next two decades, public space improvements alone won’t make large urban areas, especially car-dependent suburbs, more suitable to the needs of older residents. Indeed, one of the most difficult questions facing urban areas is how they will go about making themselves more age-friendly.”

Read about it~

Subsidize Bikes. Save The World.

Wouldn’t it be excellent if e-bikes (and bikes in general) were given tax incentives like those for cars like a Prius or Tesla? Subsidies for bikes? They take up less space and use less resources.

We don’t have time for generational change – the Netherlands is way ahead of us. ” Our car culture is a problem. They clog up our cities, they kill people through injury and air pollution, and they make us miserable and stressed. If we want to reduce our emissions and make our cities safe, healthy and fun places to live, then we have to change.”

“Supporting the uptake of e-bikes and cycleways is a way to start addressing this culture. And it’s hard to think of a more fun way to do it.”

Bikes are the new cars

“Four months ago we took what felt like a huge leap of faith and bought an e-cargo bike. The combination of three things tipped us over the edge: feeling the need to do something to reduce our carbon footprint, a fortuitous contract payment, and the excellent incentive of having no functioning car for the foreseeable future after someone drove into the back of it while it was parked.

It changed our lives. We were initially unsure how much we would use it; we use it all the time. In the four months we’ve owned it we’ve ridden it 1000km around town, averaging around 50km a week. Like most people in New Zealand, the majority of our trips are actually pretty short, within a 5-7km radius of our house: things like school runs, weekend shopping (yes, it fits groceries for a family of five), and taking our three kids to the pool, library, sports – you name it. ”

Want to know more:

Bicyclists Taking Space On The Road

Many of those who follow our media are people who drive cars, they also ride bikes or scooters, and they’re advocates for alternative transportation for climate, health and equity reasons.  But can we admit that we don’t really get the “share the road” relationship between drivers of automotive vehicles and other road users – bike riders in particular? As a bike commuter and avid cyclist, and a driver, it’s hard for me to figure out on a daily basis. Cycling Savvy explains it for us.

Did History & Law Really Intend For Cyclists To Ride Far To The Right?

Far too many cyclists, motorists and enforcement officers believe that cyclists need to ride as far to the right as possible, in order to allow a motorist to use the same lane. Neither history nor law support this.

The video (in the link below) illustrates the safety concerns of cyclists using the road, and how the bicyclist’s position on the roadway can dramatically increase or decrease the most common crash types.

The Institute for Police Technology & Management is using the video in its “Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety High Visibility Enforcement” course commissioned by the Florida Department of TransportationAmerican Bicycling Education Association provided this video and other materials for the course.

In addition we welcome other training organizations and instructors to use this video to educate officers and motorists.


Bikes Can Be Better Than Cars For People With Disabilities


Automobile advocates sometimes assert that people with disabilities need to drive as an argument to negate the need for bike lanes and other infrastructure for bicycling.  But for many people with strength or mobility issues, whether elderly, disabled, or dealing with injuries, riding a bike is easier than walking, and can be safer (and healthier) than driving a car, provided that the city has established the infrastructure to keep people safe on bikes.  A bicycle is a “rolling walking stick”.

Laura Laker Jan. 2, 2018

‘A rolling walking stick’: why do so many disabled people cycle in Cambridge?

Riding a bike may be easier than walking for two-thirds of disabled cyclists, but they often remain invisible to society. Many don’t realise that more than a quarter of disabled commutes in this university city are made by bike.

“In the context of an ageing global population, mobility experts are increasingly seeing cycling as a way to help people with disabilities move around cities independently. A bike can act as a “rolling walking stick”; yet looking at its owner you wouldn’t know they had a disability: around 40% of disabled cyclists simply use a regular two-wheeled bike.

For two out of three disabled cyclists, riding a bike is easier than walking, easing joint strain, aiding balance and relieving breathing difficulties. According to recent research by Transport for London, 78% of disabled people are able to cycle, while 15% sometimes use a bike to get around.”

Great read-


Could You Bike Everywhere?

This guy, who is not a “cyclist” noticed some things when he rode a bike for transportation for a few weeks. Granted it was warm weather, and Idaho is a state where there is good infrastructure for riding bikes. But think about it. Could you commute by bike? Note that many people with disabilities, and elderly can ride bikes even if they can’t walk very far.

I biked everywhere for 3 weeks — and it made me realise 10 critical things about my town, time management, and life itself