Is it the cars themselves that are killing machines, or is it the drivers/owners of the cars, and the culture the industry has created – which Americans are devoted to – contributing the most to deaths of so many people? 40,000 motor vehicle deaths last year, and more pedestrians and bicyclists than ever. “Here’s the thing: Statistics clearly don’t seem to persuade anyone of the magnitude of this problem. Not policy makers or automakers, technologists or drivers.”
Question: Among our readers, who, like me learned to drive at a time when we were taught that pedestrians had the right of way? I was taught when I was behind the wheel that I had the awesome right and responsibility to drive a huge metal engine-powered machine, and I had to look out for those more vulnerable on the road. Things seem to have changed. Right now we can see daily reports from cities everywhere of drivers involved in hit and run, and other fatal crashes with people walking and riding bikes, in which drivers are getting away with “failure to yield”, or “reckless driving”. (Police reports say: “She came out of nowhere.” “I didn’t see him.” Or even more ridiculous, “He/she wasn’t wearing a helmet.”)
We’re in the midst of a crisis of an health crisis of vaping. There have been 13 fatalities to date, and may be more to come. It’s a serious problem and it’s in the news every day. But we don’t see a similar response to car crash deaths that occur daily by the hundreds and yearly by tens of thousands! The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that in 2018, 40,000 people died in car crashes (and almost the same number deaths from guns, but that’s another discussion). We have normalized car-related deaths as built-in to our dependence on driving. The US can do so much better, and things are beginning to change -very gradually. It takes time to change a culture. Cities like Asbury Park are making strides to create streets that are safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable – walking, riding bikes, pushing strollers, navigating wheelchairs, and yes, scooters too. (Check out scooter education on Sunday 9/29!) Watch for continued improvements to infrastructure all over Asbury Park with the goal is to increase availability, convenience, and safety of micro mobility, and reduce car dependency, as it becomes less convenient and less desirable to drive.
Cyclist Deaths Are Exploding Because U.S. Cities Are Car-Friendly Death Traps
Bike-related fatalities are up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010.
In 2019, more and more cities across America are encouraging their residents to commute by bicycle. Cycling, of course, is good for the environment in terms of reducing pollution from car-dominant streets, and it’s a healthier way to travel.
But cities gaining new cyclists are quickly, tragically finding that they do not have the proper infrastructure to keep them safe. Cyclist fatalities have gone up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010, and up 10 percent in 2018 itself, while all other traffic fatalities have decreased.
We hear complaints about delivery trucks on Asbury Park’s Main Street all the time. Some people have complained about them double parking, and some complain about new road diet and bike lanes because big delivery semi-trucks are having trouble parking. So. Are we designing a Main Street for delivery trucks or designing it for people?
Then there is also this problem about delivery trucks…
I admit it. I prefer shopping online for everything, from personal products like my eco-friendly bar shampoo and conditioner, to not so eco-friendly household items like paper towels and toilet paper. And there’s clothing of course, and my ever-growing collection of gym shoes. I’ve learned that the vans and trucks that deliver my overnight orders are rented mid-sized trucks, driven by untrained drivers, and they are causing pedestrian deaths.
Every day, one in eight Americans is delivered something they bought on the internet, a number that’s expected to double within five years. …the growing number of U.S. deliveries and the price of that added congestion is rarely addressed in conversations about increasing emissions, traffic, or deaths—all issues that can be curbed by smaller delivery vehicles.
Delivery trucks are hurting cities. Can making them smaller help?
A chilling Amazon investigation shows the importance of “rightsizing” vehicles on our streets
“From waste disposal and utility trucks to delivery vans, large vehicles provide many of the basic services our communities depend on,” says Tom Maguire, sustainability director of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency, in the NACTO report. “While large vehicles are a small fraction of vehicles on our streets, they are disproportionately involved in fatal crashes.”
Allowing large vehicles in cities creates a vicious circle, notes the NACTO report, as accommodating trucks becomes a reason to build wider streets that are more dangerous for all users. Larger vehicles are also more difficult to maneuver, meaning many trucks must double-park on city streets to make deliveries, blocking bike lanes and sidewalks, which has contributed to recent cyclist and pedestrian deaths.”
Read about it:
We have to own cars, so the total of 6000 pedestrian deaths, and a total of 40,000 deaths by car last year is a built-in consequence. REALLY!?!! If this was drug related, or disease, or other epidemic we would be outraged! This rant is brought to you as a response to people complaining about the “dangers” of electric scooters recently introduced in Asbury Park. FOCUS on the REAL PROBLEM. #toomanycars #slowthecars Scooters and bikes in Asbury Park are alternatives to cars, and we need to keep open minds to save lives, and to protect health and the environment. Asbury Park is poised to be a city that truly gets it right.
Why Are U.S. Drivers Killing So Many Pedestrians?
If anything else—a disease, terrorists, gun-wielding crazies—killed as many Americans as cars do, we’d regard it as a national emergency. Especially if the death rate had grown by 50 percent in less than a decade. But as new data from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (via Streetsblog) show, that’s exactly what’s happened with the pedestrian death toll in the U.S. In the nine years from 2009 to 2018, pedestrian deaths increased 51 percent from 4,109 to 6,227.
There are lots of reasons given for the increase: distracted driving due to smart phone use, a decline in gas prices that has prompted even more driving, poor road design, a culture that privileges car travel and denigrates walking, and the increasing prevalence of more lethal sport utility vehicles. Undoubtedly, all of these factors contribute.
For the first time since the Great Recession, the U.S. has experienced three straight years of at least 40,000 roadway deaths, according to preliminary estimatesreleased Feb. 13 by the National Safety Council. In 2018, an estimated 40,000 people lost their lives to car crashes – a 1% decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths) and 2016 (40,327 deaths). About 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes last year – also a 1% decrease over 2017.
Discouragingly, last year’s estimated 40,000 deaths is 14% higher than four years ago. Driver behavior is likely contributing to the numbers staying stubbornly high. The Council’s estimates do not reveal causation; however, 2017 final data show spikes in deaths among pedestrians, while distraction continues to be involved in 8% of crashes, and drowsy driving in an additional 2%.
“Forty-thousand deaths is unacceptable,” said Nicholas Smith, interim president and CEO of NSC. “We cannot afford to tread water any more. We know what works, but we need to demonstrate the commitment to implementing the solutions. Roadway deaths are preventable by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”
In this article you’ll learn all you need to understand the critical importance of the Federal Complete Streets Bill. Saving lives is only one (the best) reason. Click to support a long-awaited federal Complete Streets bill.
“Our roads and sidewalks are far more than a means of transportation, they are a means of economic growth and community development, and we must make them safe and accessible for everyone,” said Sen. Markey said in a statement. “Whether you are traveling by foot, spoke, or pass, everyone deserves ‘complete streets,’ and this legislation will help fund safe transportation options for the 21st century.”
Pedestrian deaths keep rising in the U.S. Can Congress reverse the trend?
A proposed federal bill would require states to set aside highway funds for safer streets
For the past decade, about 13 people per day have been killed while walking in the U.S., a number that remains troublingly high even as other roadway deaths go down. Now a new federal bill intends to address the country’s increasing pedestrian deaths as a national crisis.
The Complete Streets Act, introduced yesterday in both houses of Congress by Sen. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, and Rep. Steve Cohen, of Tennessee, would require states to aside five percent of federal highway funds for complete streets programs. Complete streets are defined as corridors that are redesigned to give all users of the street equal access to the roadway, with a special emphasis on safety for the most vulnerable users.
People are killed every day while walking, even in crosswalks, and with the right-of-way. The narrative we hear too often is that they were “distracted walkers” or officer’s reports stating that the person was “hit by a car* while walking outside the crosswalk …” Do we realize yet that the media is presenting “facts” in such a way as to dehumanize and exonerate drivers*, while blaming victims for their deaths? #slowthecars #toomanycars While lawmakers are still bumbling through legislation to reduce the numbers of cars on city streets all over the US, what can WE do about it in Asbury Park?
The number of pedestrians killed by cars keeps going up
Americans are walking less, but the number of people killed by drivers while walking keeps going up. Unsurprisingly, these deaths happen more in poor neighborhoods of color.
Every year, the amount of time Americans spend walking declines. Driving, on the other hand, has slightly but steadily risen in popularity since 2008. During that period, the number of pedestrians killed by people in cars has skyrocketed.
Between 2008 and 2017 drivers struck and killed 49,340 people who were walking on streets all across the United States. That’s more than 13 people per day, or one person every hour and 46 minutes. The last two years on record (2016 and 2017) were the most deadly years for people killed by drivers while walking since 1990.
A frightening report just came out from NJ.com ranking the deadliest N.J. counties for traffic accidents, ranked from least to most.
It’s time to accept that we are at #peakcar, and people driving vehicles and speeding kills people walking and on bikes. #slowthecars.
Take a look at the report from Smart Growth America , and join the webinar on Thursday, January 24th at 2:30pm EST.
Too many Americans are being struck and killed by the drivers of cars, trucks, and SUVs while walking. Dangerous by Design 2019, released today, chronicles the preventable epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, which have been steadily increasing in recent years, even as traffic fatalities overall have been decreasing.
Dangerous by Design 2019 takes a closer look at this alarming epidemic.
We can and must do more to reduce the number of people who die while walking every day on our roadways. For too long we have disregarded this problem by prioritizing moving cars at high speeds over safety for everyone. It’s past time for that to change. Protecting the safety of all people who use the street—especially the people most vulnerable to being struck and killed—needs to be a higher priority for policymakers, and this priority must be reflected in the decisions we make about how to fund, design, operate, maintain, and measure the success of our roads.
In the past decade, the number of people struck and killed while walking increased by 35 percent. Though fatalities decreased ever so slightly in 2017, the last two years on record (2016 and 2017) were the most deadly years for people killed by drivers while walking since 1990.
Read more about it:
It’s a crash. “The word “accident” exonerates the driver – with the implication that injuries and deaths of people walking or riding bikes are preordained or unavoidable. (This is intentional in our car obsessed culture.) And the blame is placed on the walker or person on the bike, relying on testimony of the driver because the victim cannot tell his side..read this story which got more coverage than most.