Whether walking, riding a bike or driving an automobile, everyone has the right to expect the roads to be safe. However, carelessness can lead to tragic, life-altering accidents.
Recent stories about pedestrian accidents raise a concern about whether such incidents are becoming more frequent in Minnesota.
Statistics about pedestrian travel
In 2021, preliminary data shows that 57 pedestrians died on Minnesota roads, an average of one person every week. This figure is alarming in comparison to the average of 42 pedestrian deaths annually in the previous 13 years. The 2021 numbers were also the highest in five years.
The early statistics show a general trend toward decreased traffic safety. 2021 also saw a spike in fatal traffic accidents, with the most recent year topping it being 2007.
Reminders about safety
Communities are looking into ways to stem the tide of road injuries and fatalities. A recent rash of speeding seems to be the most significant factor. While only 26% of fatal crashes resulted from speeding from 2016 to 2020, the number was 33% in 2021. Motorists are receiving reminders to obey posted limits.
Drivers must also remember that pedestrians typically have the right of way. Studies find that drivers may neglect to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks without traffic lights. Officials hope that adding signs reminding motorists to yield to pedestrians will encourage drivers to proceed more carefully.
However, the findings also discovered that carelessness from pedestrians was a factor. Pedestrians often had accidents after darting into roadways. Alcohol consumption on the part of drivers and pedestrians contributed to over a third of accidents.
The numbers show an alarming trend toward more pedestrian accidents in the state. Awareness of the statistics should encourage travelers to exercise caution at all times and make increased efforts toward safety.