California pedestrians are at serious risk of being involved in an accident, according to a recently released report by the Transportation by America coalition. The nationwide study ranked California 16th in the nation for pedestrian danger.
Interestingly, minorities and those over the age of 65 are disproportionately the victims of pedestrian accidents. According to the study, in California it is 97 percent more likely for Hispanic pedestrians to be killed in an accident than white pedestrians. African-Americans have an 83 percent higher risk of death than non-Hispanic white pedestrians in California.
For people over the age of 65, the statistics are equally alarming. Nationwide, elderly pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed in accidents, while in California that statistic jumps to three times as likely. As a result, California ranks third in the nation for pedestrian fatalities among the elderly.
The question remains unanswered why minority and elderly pedestrians are more likely to die in California pedestrian accidents. Possible answers to this question include poor road conditions and lack of crosswalks, which is more typically the case in older, poorer and ethnic neighborhoods. Also, it takes elderly walkers longer to cross streets. Busy California streets and short crossing signals can be a dangerous hazard for slower walkers.
To confront the obvious problem of pedestrian safety for California residents, the study's authors recommend adopting the following proposals:
- Maintain federal funding for transportation projects
- Refurbish roads
- Hold states accountable for pedestrian hazards
- Renovate particularly hazardous intersections
- Install high visibility crosswalks
Bay Area residents of all ages and races are voicing their concerns about pedestrian safety. With the improvement of crosswalks and roadways, the statistics involving California pedestrians may improve. Otherwise, pedestrians in California will continue to be put in harm's way.
Source: New America Media, "Minority Pedestrians Disproportionately Killed in California Accidents," Jonah Most, 26 May 2011