Many major cities across the United States, including Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., have launched initiatives in recent years aimed at encouraging area residents to consider walking or riding their bikes to get around.
They’ve done this in hopes of reducing pollution and traffic congestion and in making residents more health-conscious. These initiatives have had a significant impact on pedestrian and cycling fatalities.
Recent data published by Inverse, a firm that tracks innovative ideas across the United States, shows that pedestrian fatalities have gone up by nearly 45 percent in the past nine years. Bicyclist deaths have increased by as much as 25 percent.
In cities like Washington, D.C., they experienced an uptick in bicyclist and pedestrian deaths by more than 20 percent in 2018. The number of fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists in both Los Angeles and New York has continued to increase incrementally in recent years.
One researcher with Inverse maintains that he believes that there’s a direct correlation between major cities encouraging their residents to rely on their bikes or their own two feet to get around and the increase in fatality rates. He notes that as long as these individuals are being forced to bike or walk alongside fast-moving cars, they’ll continue to get struck and die.
The study’s author points to previous research that’s been published about the dangers associated with blind spots and speed limits to support his conclusions. He notes that individuals who use alternative methods of transportation are particularly vulnerable in areas where blind spots exist. He also notes that many motorists travel at such a fast rate of speed that they’re unable to avoid colliding into bicyclists and pedestrians once they see them.
Other research that he cites captures how speed kills. A motorist traveling at a speed of 36 to 45 miles per hour (mph) has four times the potential of causing a pedestrian’s death than one traveling at only 26 to 30 mph.
Speed is not the only factor that results in pedestrian or bike crashes in California or other parts of the country though. Distractions, reckless driving and street design also play a role. All of these are examples of carelessness and thus grounds on which an attorney can file a wrongful death claim against a negligent driver.