Many American cities, including our very own Atlanta have adopted the Vision Zero goal of reducing traffic accidents to the minimum over the next few decades. However, while the goal is laudable, the reality is that most American cities have struggled in their efforts in meeting this goal.
The Vision Zero goal is a commendable one, and has become very popular with cities around the world. Atlanta has its own version of the Vision Zero goal. According to the Atlanta Department of Transportation, the Vision Zero goal is a systems-driven approach to reducing traffic accident fatalities through measures like speed management and better street design. There is no denying that there can be no progress made in reducing traffic accident facilities to the absolute minimum unless we take into consideration the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.
In most European countries that have adopted Vision Zero, the program has been successful. According to this Blomberg report, Oslo, the capital city of Norway is a prime example of what can happen when transportation agencies and the population come together with a single goal in mind – to minimize fatal accidents that are entirely preventable. Fatal accidents in Oslo are so rare that they result in a full-blown investigation and not just a police report when they occur.
The challenge for American cities, including Atlanta, is that while speed management and safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists look great on paper, these measures are met with great opposition when efforts to implement these are made. In cities across the country, there have been numerous incidents of opposition to bike lanes or lower speeds or any kind of measures that are seen as curtailing the freedoms and movement of motorists.
That is not surprising considering the United States is such an auto-centric society and has been one for decades. Americans love their cars, especially fast ones, and the average American motorist bristles with indignation when faced with the thought of reduced space on the road because of a bike lane. Speed cameras are met with outrage in many American cities in spite of the fact that these systems can be a significant and effective tool in helping reduce the number of accidents caused by excessive speeds. The same goes for red light cameras which can help reduce the number of accidents caused when motorists ignore and run through red lights.
Experts say that there needs to be a fundamental change in the attitude of the average American motorist as well as the local agencies that are responsible for actually implementing safety designs. Attitudes must evolve from the protection of an car-focused way of life to a more balanced way that that protects the rights of all people on the roads.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you have suffered injuries in an auto accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal rights to a claim for damages.