What Can Be Done About Pedestrian Fatalities in California?

photo of an ambulance in a rush

At one point or another, all of us are pedestrians – whether we are crossing an intersection or walking a farther distance. Although we’d like to think that we are safe while on foot, the unfortunate reality is we may be putting our lives at risk.

On average, 13 pedestrians were struck and killed on our country’s roads every day in 2014. That’s a total of 4,884 people that year, which is the most current data available. How does California and our local area compare? And what can be done to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities?

An advocacy group called Smart Growth America has released a report, called Dangerous by Design 2016, which reports on pedestrian fatalities in the United States. The report examines pedestrian fatalities in all 50 states as well as the 104 largest metro areas in the country.

So how do we measure up? California is ranked the 17th most dangerous state for pedestrians, with 1.74 fatalities per 100,000 people. Compare that to the national average, which is 1.47. The San Diego-Carlsbad area, which is the closest metro area to Vista, is ranked at 56, with 1.76 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. The national average for the 104 metro areas was 1.51.

The SGA concludes that the way we design our roads is a major factor in pedestrian deaths. “Many of these deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure,” SGA states in their report. “People walk along these roads despite the clear safety risks – a sign that streets are not adequately serving everyone in the community.”

To improve pedestrian safety, SGA says that action must be taken local, state and national levels. Dangerous by Design outlines what needs to be done and first steps to making improvements happen.