Atlanta has once again received the dubious distinction of being one of the most dangerous and risky cities for pedestrians in the United States. This recent designation came via the Dangerous by Design report, which spotlights cities that pose the highest risk of injuries and accidents to pedestrians.
The report is compiled by Smart Growth America, which formulated a Pedestrian Danger Index measure for all major cities in the country. When cities and states were compared, Florida was found to be the most dangerous state, while Orlando was found to be the most dangerous city for pedestrians in the country.
The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta region comes in at number eight on the list, with 839 fatalities occurring between 2003 and 2012. The region had a Pedestrian Danger Index of 119.4. Atlanta fared quite well, however, when compared to Orlando’s 244.3 Pedestrian Danger Index. But the rating clearly indicates that there are a lot of changes needed to help keep pedestrians safer in our city.
Georgia government officials have for several years now promoted a pedestrian walking culture to help reduce the notorious traffic congestion problem in Atlanta. Atlanta has some of the worst traffic congestion problems in the country, and an increased number of pedestrians could help reduce much of the congestion. However, those attempts to increase the number of pedestrians have not been accompanied by corresponding changes to pedestrian travel infrastructure.
For example, there has not been a significant increase in the number of designated crosswalks that allow pedestrians to safely cross the road. Additionally, there are few initiatives targeted at helping motorists understand that they must yield the right of way to pedestrians at a crosswalk and must respect pedestrian rights. In the absence of informed motorists, the auto-centric culture that is focused more on the well-being of motorists than pedestrians has only become stronger.
Many of the streets in Atlanta continue to be high-speed magnets, and that places pedestrians at risk. A pedestrian does not have to be hit by a car traveling at 90 mph to suffer serious injuries. Even when a pedestrian is involved in an accident with a car traveling at 40 mph, he can suffer serious injuries. In fact, at that speed, only one out of every 10 pedestrians will survive the accident. Neighborhood streets must have lower speed limits, and studies have found that 9 out of 10 pedestrians, who are involved in an accident involving a vehicle traveling at 20 mph, actually survive the accident.
Motorists must watch out for pedestrians, especially near crosswalks. Look out for pedestrians near intersections, high school and college campuses, bus stops, and other pedestrian hubs.
We recently added a page to our main website about the most dangerous roads in Atlanta.These involve areas where vehicle accidents are common, but many also pose a danger to walkers and need to be addressed quickly.