The Dangerous Design of American Streets

I recently read an article about the way streets are designed in the United States.  The article referenced a study put out by Smart Growth America, which pointed out some alarming statistics: “From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people, many of them children, were hit and killed while walking outdoors. An estimated 676,000 were injured. Meanwhile, the number of adults who said they walked for transportation grew 6 percent from 2005 to 2010.”

How Safe Is Milwaukee for Pedestrians

The study offered some insights into how each metropolitan area ranked for pedestrian safety. The Milwaukee metropolitan area was ranked as the 41st most dangerous place to walk. From 2003 to 2012, 17.6% of all traffic-related deaths were pedestrians. Milwaukee ranked 22nd for the ratio of pedestrian deaths to total traffic accident deaths.

The study argues that the way roads have been designed in the United States help to perpetuate this problem. In the post-World-War-Two era, we made roads wider and raised speed limits.  We wanted cars to be able to travel as quickly as possible from one place to another, and access to automobiles was at an all-time high and increasing. Things have changed since then. In general, more Americans want to be able to walk to where there are going.

Making Roads Safer

A number of issues can contribute to the sad reality of pedestrians being struck by motor vehicles, including: driver negligence, driver speeding, and drivers on cell phones to name a few. The design of the roads is another one of these issues that can cause pedestrians to come into harm’s way.

The study proposed certain solutions for increasing the safety of roads, including: reducing speed limits, adding bike lanes, adding sidewalks, reducing the number of travel lanes, and installing median islands. Certain companies and agencies are now looking at the presence of these elements and are rating communities on a walk-score system.

As of now, many roads are still lagging behind the changes in American attitudes towards walking. It seems like this is causing many people to get hurt. If you are one of these injured pedestrians, be sure to get a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer involved in your claim. It is possible that driver error or the design of the road is at fault. Getting a lawyer involved in your case will help ensure every aspect of the accident is investigated.

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