A new study by Transportation For America takes a state-by-state look at pedestrian safety in the U.S. In the wake of public awareness campaigns for motorcycle safety and distracted driving, pedestrian safety has seen less public attention, resources and funding.
The study found that, between 2000 and 2009, over 47,700 pedestrians were killed nationwide and an additional 688,000 pedestrians were injured.
Data from the study ranks Memphis as the fifth deadliest metro area for pedestrians out of a list of 54 cities with populations over 1 million. Memphis had the highest ranking of any city outside of Florida, with Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville taking the first four spots.
The average number of annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents in Memphis was 1.83 between 2007 and 2008, based on the 47 pedestrians killed during that time.
Pedestrian Safety is a Problem Throughout Tennessee
During the last decade, over 800 pedestrians were killed in Tennessee, costing the state $3.47 billion. But, Tennessee spent only 2.4 percent of their total federal funding for projects promoting safety for pedestrians and lowering the number of annual bicycle accidents.
Transportation For America notes that most pedestrian deaths occurred along roadways that are "dangerous by design," meaning they are designed to keep traffic speeds high and offer little or no protection or visibility for pedestrians and bicyclists. "Our federal tax dollars actually go to build these streets that are designed to be perilous to children, older adults and everyone else," the study reported.
Coinciding with the release of Transportation For America's report, Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has lead a group of co-sponsors in introducing the Complete Streets Act of 2011. The Complete Streets Act is a legislative effort to re-design streets so that they are more accessible to all forms of transportation and transit, not just motor vehicles.
If you've been injured in a pedestrian accident in the Memphis area, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights to compensation for your injuries.