death race 2011

47,700 Killed and 688,000 Hurt Just Trying To Cross U.S. Streets

Here’s a fun statistic covering the past decade of people simply trying to walk somewhere in this no-crosswalk no-sidewalk nation of drive-thrus and six-lane suburban expressways: 47,700 pedestrians killed and another 688,000 pedestrians wounded when they were struck by cars for the sin of trying to walk somewhere in this country. The four worst metropolitan areas, when it comes to being killed while trying to walk somewhere, are all in Florida.

“Millions of Americans live in communities without safe places to walk,” Streetsblog writes about a new Transportation for America study. “And so they either don’t walk, adding to traffic congestion with every trip, or they do walk, risking joining the ranks of the 47,700 pedestrians killed and 688,000 injured in crashes with automobiles in the last decade.”

You know who is probably to blame for this? Osama bin Laden. Wasn’t he an infrastructure guy? Roads and such? Well, he did this. So that means America is now free to correct this problem and build sidewalks and traffic circles and crosswalks and pedestrian signals and cafes, because it is to Defeat Bin Laden.

“All too often, the consequences of this lack of basic infrastructure are fatal,” the authors note. “Of the 40,037 pedestrian fatalities for which the location of the collision was known, more than 40 percent were killed where no crosswalk was available.”

People with few transportation options are especially vulnerable. Low-income people and people of color are disproportionately victims of traffic fatalities while on foot. Children too young to drive are also at risk: “Pedestrian injury is the third leading cause of death by unintentional injury for children 15 and younger, according to CDC mortality data,” Ernst writes. “Nearly 3,900 children 15 years and younger were killed while walking from 2000 through 2007, representing between 25 and 30 percent of all traffic deaths.” Seniors are nearly twice as likely to be killed while walking as people under 65, the report goes on to say.

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[StreetsBlog DC/Transportation for America]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

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106 comments

  1. axmxz

    "Seniors are nearly twice as likely to be killed while walking as people under 65."

    The government's plan to stave off the Social Security crisis: separating the quick from the dead.

    Still more realistic than Ryan's plan.

    1. Steverino247

      Some of those seniors fought in WW2, so they should know the difference between the two kinds of bayonet fighters (i.e., the quick and dead).

    2. mayor_quimby

      I'm still quick, so I'm good with this. My parents in Florida, not so much. Haha, just kidding, they drive an SUV and live in a nice planned community with sidewalks. Suck on that Bin Laden!

  2. Goonemeritus

    I remember my first trip to Rome it took me about 10 minutes to work up the courage to cross a busy street despite the assurance from locals that traffic would indeed stop for me. The real danger came when I got back to New York.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      One easy way to tell if someone is from NY or SF – the former looks back and forth, dashes across the street anxiously and yells if any car gets too close; the latter sallies forth into traffic, assuming the universe will bend to their will, blissfully unaware of danger.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Obviously you've never driven past housing projects in NYC, where crossing the street is an exercise in macho assholedom.

    2. zhubajie

      Crossing a street in China looks incredibly dangerous, but in fact it's not, because the drivers try to go around the pedestrians.

  3. user-of-owls

    Well that settles it. It's time to criminalize streets. Lock up all those boulevards and byways and throw away the key.

  4. SayItWithWookies

    Oh sure, Ken — just try to insinuate that there's something wrong with America's landscape being engineered by the manufacturers of Hummers and tract mansions instead of by its homeowners and pedestrians. Sidewalks are a hidden tax on roads, you know.

    1. Callyson

      Let's go four for four:
      Boneheader, Can't(or), McConnell, and Ryan.
      In a totally non – violent way of course.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Dream on … they're the ones inside the SUVs. They're as likely to get hit in a crosswalk as Chris Christie.

  5. SpurningBeer

    Florida features median strips and roadsides with high curbs and automatic sprinkler-fed grass and no sidewalks, to be sure. It also boasts untold numbers of elderly SUV and Lincoln drivers in cataract sunglasses poised to pick off the stray Pedestrian Americans they fail to see.

      1. HistoriCat

        I'm not a crawfish fan myself but when you have the craving for something, you just have to have it! Cut the guy some slack.

    1. mrpuma2u

      Once you get beyond the older suburbs of Chicago, you are in a similar generic, sprawled, pedestrian unfriendly land. Wide roads with 45 mph speed limits, no sidewalks or crosswalks, often no walk/don't walk signs even near malls. You are definitely taking a big risk walking in the 'burbs.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        Thing is, out in the burbs like that, there's nothing within walking distance anyway.

    2. BerkeleyBear

      Yeah, at least in Arizona the oldz keep mainly to themselves (ie the Del Webb/Sun City sprawl) for their lethal reindeer games. Although the combo of seniors driving golf carts and Lincolns has a higher potential for lethality than normal, as well as making awesome video to play the Benny Hill music to.

  6. hagajim

    Wow….we have a much higher hit rate than Al Qaeda. Maybe we ought to have a war on driver.

  7. harry_palmer

    Who the fuck walks, anyway? Foreigners. Nobody ever got hit by a car getting their food delivered. Duh.

    1. assistantatlas

      Not true! I got hit by a car when having food delivered ….well, okay, I sorta ran into a parked car because I fell down because I was drunk and they deliver anything in LA (including weed). But still, we should ban the parking of cars, just to be safe…

    2. zhubajie

      If you remember Shit-Maggot man from Ohio, he died from an OD of delivered food, I believe.

  8. Bonzos_Bed_Time

    And Rep. Weiner ,who is recently in the news for other reasons, had this to say a few months ago: “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.” – http://gothamist.com/2011/03/05/mayor_weiners_fir

    See yeah, send that quote out to your Seattle girlfriend, douchenozzle.

    1. Goonemeritus

      What a Dick, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on the tweety thing but fuck with bike lanes and you’re never getting my vote.

      1. Bonzos_Bed_Time

        Yeah, tweet-pic your junk wherever you want (hey, he's a Dem so at least it was to a female), but don't you dare eff up those bike lanes!

    2. Diabeetis

      Yeah, Weiner's an asshole, but I'd rather focus on things like this and couldn't care less if he tweets his penis or not.

    3. DustinDeWynde

      Sorry, I spent 15 years in Manhattan on a bike, 5 of them as a Professional Bike Courier, and those ridiculous Bloomberg Bike Lanes in Manhattan are not only yet another of Mayor Mikey's misguided attempts at Dunderheaded Civil Social Engineering, (on par with with his Jihad on Tobacco), but totally REDACTED as well.

      Shunting bikes off the side and out of traffic the way those stupid Bloomberg Bike Lanes do is not good for the bikes, or traffic, be it Pedestrian or Automotive.

      Creates more problems than it solves.

      Either bikes are equals on the road, or they're not, and my many years worth of experience on NYC's streets is compelling me to tell you that turning bikes into Second Class Citizens on the streets via these lanes is the very definition of a Bad Idea.

      If Mayor Weiner wants to have Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies to tear down these Public Menaces/Safety Hazards, not only will I be in the Front Row for that, I'll volunteer to hand him the damned scissors.

      1. Bonzos_Bed_Time

        Redacted bike lanes!!?!?

        I defer to your experience riding in New Amsterdam, but respectfully believe bike lines are a positive thing. An intermediary step between nothing (being a bus sandwich) and dedicated/separated lanes.

    4. assistantatlas

      It's fucking New York. Who the fuck is crazy enough to think bike lanes will 1) Work 2) Improve Traffic 3) Not be ignored by all drivers and bikers

      Again, it's New York. Take the fucking subway or catch a cab. Those are your options and be grateful that you don't live in some pissant backwater like LA where you really can't do either.

      1. Bonzos_Bed_Time

        LA is an awesome town to ride bikes in! Metro lines work great for the few areas they serve.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      If there's one thing more un-American than hedonism, it's athleticism.

      Fixed.

  9. Callyson

    Reaction of potential GOP nominees to this news:
    Trumpster: Why don't they just take a jet?
    T – Paw: Now, now, that's just water under a bridge
    Gingrinch: That's why I always have a wife around to drive
    Bat – shit crazy Bachmann: Well, they better learn somehow: they can't expect others to do the walking for them. What do they think this is, a socialist welfare state?
    Mittens: They should get a dog to watch for other cars
    Palin: Pedestrians…wait, wait, don't tell me, I know that one…
    Paul (Sr or Jr): Natural selection at work.
    Santorum: If any of them are preggers, save that fetus!
    Cain: That's what they get for walking to one of my competitors' businesses
    Christie: You taxpayers will *never* get me out of that helicopter now…

    1. AJWjr.

      What does any of this have to do with my god-given right to carry an assault rifle?

      1. HistoriCat

        Fine you can have your damn assault rifle. Just drive around with it, don't walk. That's what Jesus intended when he wrote the Constitution.

        1. AJWjr.

          Oh, I don't have one. I have been walking around lately, though. After spending most of the past year either in a hospital, a wheelchair, in a walker, on crutches or a cane, I'm finally bi-pedal again, sort of, and maybe if I carried an AK47 or something, drivers would give me a little respect and not run me over.

  10. Naked_Bunny

    Privatizing the roads would make them cheaper, safer, and more efficient. Or, at least, too expensive for anyone but the local warlord's truck army to use.

  11. LowProfileinGA

    "You know who is [probably] certainly to blame for this?"

    Barack Hussein Obama, duh!

  12. weejee

    Even here in ped & bike friendly (sorta) C'Addle relying on the crosswalk to protect you is at best silly. As one who walks a lot in an urban environ, I see Beamers and Volvos as the worst offenders of blowing through occupied crosswalks. It does not appear that they are being aggressive, but because the drivers are often doing something else (texting, email, their nails, whatever) and are often spacially-challenged (have trouble catching a cold much less a ball).

    The oldes, in addition to being slow moving speed bumps, are also often the perp when it comes to children as speed bumps. After 65, every time you renew your license you should have to take a drive to prove ya still got it.

    My 2¢ (and an olde)

    OT

    If yer in C'Addle this weekend come down to the CD for the 2011 Garden Tour. Things have quieted-down here at 23rd & Union & I think it is four or five years since the last time we had someone doing the garden tour get shot.

    1. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      You know, I'm starting to think there are more Wonketters here from Western Washington than there are from DC.

      Sadly, my Saturday is busy dodging bullets in Tacoma, so I won't have time to come up and dodge them in the Central District.

    2. emmelemm

      However, people are still merrily shooting just a few blocks away. At least the weather's supposed to be nice.

      (I went to Garfield High School, many long years ago. I'm not knocking it, I'm just sayin'.)

      1. weejee

        My Aunt & Uncle were 1930s grads of Garfield, but I was raised in Milwaukee and Chicago, & see Seattle/Tacoma as rather tame.

        We live & work just a few blocks away from Garfield & have for over 30 years. In the late 80s & early 90s it was much more 'lively' when crack was big, but that is long gone in terms of street violence. Sometimes when working late I may walk the two blocks home after midnight and have never been hassled (none gunz). Heck, there are shootings in wonderbread Bellevue.

        1. BerkeleyBear

          See, I grew up in the great LA area then lived for 8 years in Berkeley/Oakland/SF, then moved to Indy and was stunned how little street crime there was and how oblivious people were to the potential for danger (teen girls walking through downtown at midnight unaccompanied). After a decade of that sort of experience, I'm moving to Portland, and expect it will take a while to adjust.

    3. SorosBot

      Here in Philly at least, which is pedestrian-friendly and becoming more bike friendly (although with a number of olds kicking and screaming about it, particularly Stu Bykofsky of the Daily News), the biggest offenders are usually turning cars, with idiot drivers who don't get that pedestrians crossing with the light have the right of way over their precious death machines, and just zoom around without looking.

      They're pretty much all suburban commuters or tourists, as this only happens downtown, near tourist attractions and at the stadiums; as soon as you go into a neighborhood where it's all city residents the bad driving ceases.

  13. petehammer

    When I'm a pedestrian I agree, but when I'm out driving downtown and the drugged-up street warriors (the roaming groups of thiefs/addicts up and down the west coast) just wander out into traffic without even looking or, worse, intentionally walk out to make some kind of point… I gotta say, sometimes the driver is probably not at all at fault. I routinely see these kids *almost* hit by cars.

    Thank you meth and/or heroin.

    1. assistantatlas

      Thank you, also, too, for this phenomenon, thank you to lack of drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, living wages for the underskilled, mass transit, adequate policing, social workers, educational opportunities, decent working-class jobs and…oh, and also to PCP!

      Your plan to turn the Left Coast into Somalia is working perfectly, Republicans!

  14. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Who says Libertarianism doesn't work? If pedestrians really want to protect themselves, they need to start carrying RPGs like they do in Iraq. It is what Rand Paul would do, and what Aqua Buddha demands!

  15. OC_Surf_Serf

    Damn, that's like another 9/11 every minute whenever Sarah Palin tweets some dumb shit…

  16. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Imagine if the Democrats would show up one days with a plan that called for raising taxes on the rich, and plugging half of that money into the deficit, the rest into infrastructure programs (bridges, rail, roads, strip joints, etc.).

    Sure, all of that would be popular, and the GOP refrain of "Cut Taxes, Cut Spending" would be put to the test, but why would the Democrats want to take a proactive position when they can simply argue over how much should be cut and then roll over for the Republicans?

  17. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    You know, if they would just give us our flying cars, this would not be a problem. That or matter transporters. What the hell is the hold up!?!

    1. mayor_quimby

      The complete lack of commitment to public science and BRAINS!
      Yet, we got Facebook, so just stay inside and eat yer Pizza Pizza.

    2. easybaked

      What if we could make the hover-rounds actually hover, like way above the ground? That would at least help to clear up the crosswalks; those damned things are slow (must be the gold trucknutz slowing them down).

  18. fletc3her

    Fort Lauderdale is the only place that I've actually felt like the cars were speeding up to clip me in the crosswalk. Ironic since some parts of the town and down by the beach are great for walking.

  19. mrpuma2u

    These were old geezers, exercising liberals and/or brownish peoples so no one cares. Walking is un-uhmehrikan. Hope they didn't leave too much crud on anyone's truknutz.

    Snark off, it is indeed a sad state when walking is more of threat than Al Qaida muslins that hate our freedom and want to kill us. Ok snark was sort of off.

    1. easybaked

      I think that I can speak for VP Joe Biden and say that the answer is more trains. In this case I'm talking about light rail. I had an extended layover in Minn. a few years back and decided to visit the Mall-Of-America. The light rail system from the airport was very convenient and reasonably priced. Cable cars are cool, too. I love San Francisco for that reason alone.

  20. chascates

    Welfare Queens with new Cadillacs would be safe from this hazard. If any existed.

  21. Texan_Bulldog

    Well, to be fair a lot of these folks haven't walked in months…except from the couch to the fridge to the bathroom. When they shop, they have dang hoverrounds to use in every store! Apparently walking is not just like riding a bicycle–it apparently doesn't 'just come back to you'.

  22. pinkocommi

    How can so many pedestrians be killed each year? I thought we were all obese couch potatoes…. Is someone driving around and systematically killing all the fit people who are walking? Dick Cheney, is that you?

  23. C_R_Eature

    I blame that movie "Death Race 2000" and that infamous Points System and I'm really really pissed that I can't break 1000 keep missing those dammed….what? Oh sorry. Nevermind.

    1. easybaked

      When my Dad was teaching me to drive, he always used to tell me that pregnant nuns were worth the most points. He did have a bizarre sense of humor, now that I think about it.

  24. DaRooster

    "Always drive 100 feet ahead of you." my Moms would say…
    Any stats about how many of their jobs were shipped to China recently or they got foreclosed on?

  25. easybaked

    Soon we'll all be so poor that no-one will be able to afford cars. The invisible hand of the market solves yet another one of society's problems.

  26. Boojum_Reborn

    So, since this is like 14 9/11's, we will now spend 14 times Afghanistan plus Iraq plus Homeland Security on fixing our transportation infrastructure, right? Right?

  27. gurukalehuru

    That's 47,700 more than were killed by smoking marijuana. Of course, some small percentage may have been cranking on a marley at the very moment of getting whacked by a motor vehicle, but I'd still say the motor vehicle takes the greater part of the blame.

  28. ttommyunger

    You know, if I had to walk to and from my shittly job as a Wal-Mart greeter every fucking day just to be able to buy cat food to stave off starvation; well, I might just want to get hit by a car, too.

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