Pedestrian Deaths Skyrocketed Over the Past Decade, But Which Cities Have It Worse?

Late last year, we delivered some upbeat news — U.S. motorist deaths fell 1.8 percent in 2017, after two years of steep increases. This decline in fatalities came in a year where the number of miles travelled by American drivers actually increased 1.2 percent. It’s progress, albeit meager, but it’s still nowhere near the ideal of zero fatalities.

But what about people killed in vehicle collisions who weren’t riding in a car? Thousands of pedestrians and cyclists die each year at the hands of motorists, and some 5,977 met their end this way in 2017. What can we learn from the available data?

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Good News: We Died Less Often on the Road Last Year

After alarming increases in U.S. traffic fatalities in 2015 and 2016, data just released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a decrease in the number of people who died in car crashes in 2017. A decrease, for sure, but still a shocking number: 37,133, or about one-third the population of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The same is true for Billings, Montana, as well as North Charleston, South Carolina and Manchester, New Hampshire.

The 1.8 percent drop in road deaths comes on the heels of a 6.5 percent increase in 2016 and an 8.4 percent spike in 2015. Have we suddenly become safer drivers? It seems so.

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What's Wrong With This Picture?: When Did We Get This Stupid?

I’m not sure why a generation or two ago municipalities replaced the old Walk / Don’t Walk crossing signals with lights using pictograms instead. Perhaps someone thought they were more easily understood, or perhaps it was part of general trend towards using international symbols, like the little fuel pump by your gas gauge instead of the word “Fuel”. Either way, Walk / Don’t Walk was considered obsolete. Now, it seems as though the pictograms just weren’t that easily understood, as we apparently have to explain to people that a red hand means “don’t walk” and that a white pictogram of a person walking means “walk”.

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Ask The Best And Brightest: How Do You Deal With Jaywalkers?

In Cambridge Massachusetts and its affluent outlying suburbs, these days cars are second class citizens. Peds think nothing of jay walking, and motorists almost always give them right of way when they do. Sometimes, peds get aggressive about it, charging across the street en mass just as the light turns green, with looks of entitlement upon their faces. Across from Harvard Yard, peds parade in front of cars turning onto or off of Massachusetts Avenue, oblivious to how many cars they are forcing to wait for minutes on end. Amazingly, I haven’t seen road rage arise from this behavior. The motorists seem to turn the other cheek, or tire, as the case may be.

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  • ChristianWimmer The 240D was frigging FAST……compared to the base 200D and 220D models which we had in Europe. The 200D had 55-horsepower and the 220D had 60-horsepower. Later the 200D got a power boost to 60-horsepower which resulted in Mercedes axing the 220D. It was a 60-horsepower 200D which I once got to drive. The car belonged to a friend and had the manual transmission. 0-100 km/h according to Mercedes was 33 seconds. Ok, it was surprisingly agile - from 0 to 80 km/h (could keep up with modern traffic), BUT 80 to 100 km/h took forever! At 80 km/h and in the proper gear you could be flooring the pedal and the needle barely moved upwards. So I guess for a city vehicle or roads limited to 80 km/h it’ll do fine - and we have many such roads in Germany.
  • Tassos staying within the same family, I'd much prefer the 300. However, a 2006 recently sold also quite unjustifiably pricey, Not when you can get an Awesome Mercedes S550, of a far more recent vintage (2013) for almost the same price!!!!https://carsandbids.com/auctions/9Q1d4Vk9/2006-chrysler-300c-srt8
  • Tassos https://carsandbids.com/auctions/r4e4R4mA/2013-mercedes-benz-s550-4maticWhy don't you try this? It's four times the car the unreliable little red wagon is, it's 1000 times more luxurious, it's far more powerful than you'll ever need, it's a FOREVER car, susprisingly economical to run, AND fit for a KING, not a JANITOR. Oh, and you save over $5000, which can buy you a really Ruling Class Bottle of wine... or several cases thereof.
  • Tassos Holding cellphones in one hand while driving and being distracted by them is the idiot's recipe for disaster.And there are millions and millions of such morons. As Mark Twain said, the average American is not very smart, and half of all Americans are even dumber than that. I believe this is true of most other nations as well.
  • Tassos I am not paying $25,000, even in worthless biden dollars, for a 7-year old, unreliable, non-luxury used small wagon. Are you kidding me?