Pedestrians were already at high risk before the pandemic. Particularly in Southwest Florida, which has consistently ranked among the nation’s deadliest locations for pedestrians. A lack of infrastructure like streetlights and sidewalks, urban sprawl, a significant transient population, and explosive growth have all been factors that have contributed to the risks.
But now there is evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has made walking even more dangerous.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports the number of fatal pedestrian accidents increased in 27 states, despite reductions in overall traffic as a result of pandemic restrictions.
Nearly 3,000 pedestrians were killed, an increase of 20 percent, despite a 16.5 percent decrease in traffic.
“Walking should not be a life and death undertaking, yet many factors have combined to put pedestrians at historical levels of risk,” Jonathan Adkins, the group’s executive director, said in a news release. Florida was among 7 states that accounted for more than half of all traffic deaths. The others were Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
The number of pedestrian deaths is on the rise nationwide. Walkers now account for 1 in 6 traffic deaths, up from about 1 in 8 in 2010.
Alcohol is often a contributing factor, with more than half of all fatal collisions involving an intoxicated driver or walker.
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