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Risk Factors Affecting Pedestrian Safety

  • A lack of public education regarding pedestrian safety rules and laws. In the U.S., less than $1 is spent per person on bicycle and pedestrian education ( National Highway Institute).
  • An increase in the number of motor vehicles on our roadways and large (wide), high-speed roads.
  • An unfriendly pedestrian environment, including narrow sidewalks, sidewalks next to high-speed roads, no sidewalks, too few crosswalks, etc.
  • Speed. More than 80% of pedestrians hit by motor vehicles traveling 40-45 mph will die of their injuries, and half die when they are struck by vehicles traveling just 30 mph. 3% to 5% of pedestrians struck by cars traveling only 20 mph are killed.
  • Alcohol use by the driver or pedestrian.
  • Poor pedestrian behavior practiced by adults and parents.
    • Children learn pedestrian behavior by watching adults/parents. Adults need to practice proper pedestrian behavior and teach young children to do the same.
  • Inadequate adult supervision of children.
  • Overestimating a child’s ability to cross a street safely.
    • Young children have 1/3 less side-to-side vision than do adults.
    • Children are impulsive and unpredictable.
    • Children have difficulty judging distance and speed of an approaching vehicle.
    • Small children have a hard time seeing over bushes and other objects.
    • Children lack experience, judgment and safety skills.
  • Teen drivers. Of all pedestrians struck by cars, nearly one-fourth are hit by vehicles driven by teenage drivers.
  • Pedestrians taking chances when crossing the street at a mid-block location.
  • Pedestrians who enter the roadway from between parked vehicles.