What’s Causing Houston’s Pedestrian Deaths?
Pedestrian fatalities have been an issue in many parts of the country over the past decade. They have risen by 50% across the United States. In Houston, pedestrian deaths have increased by 125%.
We are told that we need to get more exercise, and that we can do so by walking from place to place. However, this is often very dangerous due to all the vehicles involved. Why is being a pedestrian so unsafe? What is the reason for these deaths?
The truth is that many roads and cities are simply not made for pedestrians, and Houston is no exception. The infrastructure of Houston and many other cities tends to ignore pedestrians and focus on vehicles, which leads to serious car accidents.
Houston’s infrastructure is meant to move people fast. But with 60% of serious injuries and deaths occurring on just 6% of its roads, safety is clearly not a priority in Houston.
Anatomy of a Pedestrian Crash
While pedestrian crashes can technically occur anywhere, they tend to happen more often in certain areas. For example, they tend to happen on wide arterial roads with high speed limits, particularly in low-income areas and black and Hispanic communities. In these areas, it is not uncommon to have 4-6 lanes of traffic with no crosswalks or traffic lights. When there are no safety precautions in place, pedestrians have a higher risk of injuries and death.
Pedestrian crashes also tend to happen at night. Men, people of color, and older people are at the highest risk of becoming victims.
Large vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, are most likely to hit pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities are more likely to occur in low-income neighborhoods and Black and Hispanic communities. The most common locations are states in the Sun Belt, such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona.
In 2020, Houston launched a Vision Zero plan, with the goal of reducing all traffic deaths to zero by 2030. More than 40 other cities across the country have taken a similar Vision Zero pledge. To meet this lofty goal, Houston would need to implement a citywide campaign that focuses on street safety. City planners and designers will need to design streets that allow for slower speeds so that pedestrians can safely navigate them. This also entails creating sidewalks and bicycle facilities. Houston will also need to plan more specific elements such as street widths, the width of lanes, the corner radius, and parking locations.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Pedestrians face risks every time they must cross roads with vehicles. Not all roads focus on pedestrian safety, which means serious accidents are common.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, seek legal help from the Houston auto accident attorneys at The West Law Office, PLLC. Our experienced team can assess your case and help you with physical and financial recovery. Schedule a free consultation with our office today. Fill out the online form or call 281-347-3247.