… or so says the headline. Arizona road-safety focus switches to pedestrians, by Jim Walsh, The Arizona Republic Oct 11, 2012.
The article looks at the uncomfortable truth in Arizona traffic crash stats — that ped rates appear to have gotten worse even as MV rates have fallen (see ‘Disturbing Trend?’ here). The article neglects to mention that Arizona trends worse than average in overall (overall US; and overall counting motorist, pedestrian and bicyclist) traffic fatalities.
Why is Phoenix Dangerous by Design? As I pointed out when the 2010 Arizona statistics came out: “there were more bicyclists killed within the City of Phoenix (9) than were killed in the entire state of Massachusetts(6)”; it appears that Arizona/Phoenix values building out more ultra-wide (lots of lanes), ultra-fast (speeds 40mph AND UP). These car sewers are not conducive to human life; and that goes for not only pedestrians but for bicyclists and motorists as well. This is also the gist of the paper/article Beyond Safety in Numbers: Why Bike Friendly Cities are Safer.
To complete the factoid: Nearly as many pedestrians were killed in the city of Phoenix (45) than in the entire state of Massachusetts (56) in 2010. (sources: City of Phoenix 2010 Traffic Collision summary; NHTSA State Traffic Safety Information for the year 2010).
We’re doing something horribly wrong here in Arizona.
To Continue The Theme…
A more recent article then appeared a couple of weeks later Pedestrian vs. vehicle fatalities alarm police, By Cecilia Chan, The Arizona Republic, Nov 12, 2012.
There’s a bit of undertone from certain parties that this is largely a pedestrian problem, e.g. Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said. “Lots of accidents are midblock”. There are a couple of problems with this attitude — one is that with long blocks (the norm on Phoenix’s arterial streets), traffic both speeds up, and there is simply more mid-block (that is to say, it becomes increasingly unreasonable for a pedestrian to walk out of their way to a crosswalk).
Setting all that aside, reading on we find that (only)” Thirty percent of the fatal pedestrian collisions in 2010 were the result of the pedestrian not using a crosswalk”, and “In 49 percent of the fatal collisions, the driver was not at fault”. Which is to say: 70 percent of peds in collisions were using a crosswalk, and right around half the time the ped is at fault (even under the laws, that clearly fault peds over motorists, particularly at mid-block), and the other half the time the motorist was at fault.