With so many pedestrians, including bicycle riders, on the busy streets of Las Vegas is a recipe for tragedy, and so it has proved. According to a recent news story, 12 pedestrians were killed on Boulder Highway in 2015, all of them at night.
Nevada Residents Respond for Pedestrian Safety
On Friday, April 1st, the residents and community leaders of Las Vegas decided to make a very visible statement about pedestrian safety. Hundreds of concerned activists took to the street to participate in a flashy ‘light parade’, decked out in reflective materials, lights and glow strips, and some pretty colorful clothing. The idea was to drive home the message that pedestrian safety can be greatly improved just by wearing clothing and reflective gear to increase visibility.
Said Erin Breen, a member of the Boulder Highway Coalition, a group which promotes traffic safety along the thoroughfare, “That’s the message tonight, that you have to be a fool to not light yourself up in Clark County unless you’re sure a driver can see you in time to react and stop for you.”
Linda Floth, a resident who often rides her bike along the highway, said, “It’s dangerous. I mean, ’cause of so many fatalities and getting hit by cars. It’s scary to ride with the traffic.”
The parade also included many law enforcement officers, and a fabulously attired Las Vegas showgirl.
Accidents Involving Pedestrians Are Common and Deadly
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrians were among the only users of roads to experience an increase in fatalities in recent years, with over 5,376 deaths in 2015 alone. Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 150,000 pedestrians treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. for non-fatal injuries in 2013. According to the CDC’s statistics, a pedestrian’s risk of being killed in an accident involving a vehicle is 1.5 times more than a passenger in that vehicle.
Older Americans and young children were the most likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents, with those over 65 years of age accounting for 19% of fatalities and 10% of injuries in 2013, and of children involved in fatal auto accidents, 1 of 5 were pedestrians under the age of 14.
In response, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched the Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative, a national campaign to help communities educate citizens about pedestrian safety, build safer and better walking and bicycling networks, engage experts, transportation authorities, and government officials in dialogues to come up with new ideas to enhance safety, and to conduct safety assessment and analysis in each state, especially around areas where pedestrians are most likely to congregate, such as bus stops and other alternative transportation hubs, as well as schools, libraries, shopping centers, and community centers.
Being aware of their surroundings, wearing light-colored clothing, and using equipment intended to increase visibility seem to be the most effective ways for pedestrians to increase their safety on the road. Drivers also share in the responsibility to be aware of the pedestrians who often share the road with them.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident as a pedestrian, you may be eligible for significant financial compensation. Contact Eric Stovall today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Image via flickr by David Smith