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Dangerous Street Designs Cause Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities

The metro Atlanta area has seen an increase in the number of people who choose to walk for recreation.  While this is good news, it also, unfortunately, means that there has been an increase in the number of deaths that occur in accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. With more and more distracted drivers on Atlanta’s roads, this upward tick is only going to continue.     In fact, some pedestrian advocacy groups say that unless authorities take drastic steps, those fatality numbers could reach unthinkable highs by 2020.

According to statistics, the metro Atlanta area, which encompasses 20 counties, has seen an increase in pedestrian accident deaths from 1,700 in 2006 to more than 2,500 in 2015. That is an increase of a whopping 53 percent.  This also mirrors a nationwide increase in pedestrian accident fatalities that has safety advocates very alarmed.

There has been a growing trend across the metro Atlanta area for a more walkable lifestyle, which includes being able to walk or bicycle to work. Oftentimes, however, pedestrians must walk on roads that are not designed for walking or bicycling.  These types of roads can include those without (or too narrow) sidewalks or bike lanes, multi-lane roads and over congested roads.  Some of the more dangerous roads in the metro Atlanta area include Buford Highway, Tara Boulevard, Piedmont Road and Peachtree Road, just to name a few.  Roads such as these can place a pedestrian at an increased risk of being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.   Not surprisingly, when a pedestrian is involved in such an accident, it usually results in serious injuries, or even death, to the pedestrian.  In certain parts of Atlanta, such as the densely populated intown areas, fatalities have increased significantly over the past several years.  In these dense areas, the roads have been designed to move traffic along as speedily as possible. Unfortunately, pedestrians often find that their safety needs are not necessarily considered when improvements are made to road design.

Atlanta authorities have been moved to take some action towards providing safer streets for pedestrians. The Atlanta Regional Council has set an ambitious goal of reaching zero traffic fatalities by the year 2030.  This move was inspired, in part, by a similar initiative in Sweden where officials decided that a combination of efforts, including policies, awareness campaigns and other projects were necessary in order to make the streets truly safe for all, not just motorists. In some areas, these measures could be as simple as increasing lighting to make it easier for motorists to spot pedestrians, and in others, making road adjustments that give pedestrians more space to walk safely. In Atlanta’s case, close to 71 percent of all traffic-related fatalities occur on 6 per cent of its streets. Simple safety initiatives in these accident-prone areas could do a lot to help bring pedestrian fatality numbers down.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you probably have questions about your legal rights to a claim for compensation for your losses. An accident claim could help you recover medical costs, lost income, diminished earning capacity and other damages. Speak to an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss how you can proceed with filing a claim for compensation. Call us to discuss your case. Initial consultations are free.