A report published last year by an advocacy group called Smart Growth America detailed some troubling information about pedestrian injuries and fatalities that many people already knew. It showed that Black pedestrians are more likely to be struck by vehicles than any other demographic group. In fact, they’re 82% more likely to be hit than white pedestrians.
The president of the group, which focuses on urban development, says that the reasons for this huge racial disparity include the way that predominantly Black neighborhoods and areas where people of color live and work are designed. He notes that they have fewer marked crosswalks, sidewalks, traffic signage and other safety features than other areas.
The Smart Growth America president also notes that many highways and other roads with higher speed limits than you’d see in other neighborhoods run through these communities. In part, he blames the lack of funding for infrastructure in these areas.
Pedestrians are more likely to be people of color
A racial disparity is also seen in the people who are most likely to be pedestrians. One engineering professor says, “Black people tend to be overrepresented as walkers in this country….In many cases, Black folks cannot afford motor vehicles. And people that walk in this country tend to experience a much, much higher rate of traffic fatalities. We’re talking eight to 10 times more. It’s a perfect storm of a lot of horrible forces.”
The new funding provided by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by Congress and signed into law last year can help significantly in areas that need modernization and improved safety design.
While this racial disparity in pedestrian collisions is certainly a cause for concern and action, pedestrians of all races are struck and killed every day, even in the most affluent areas, by reckless and careless drivers. If you have been injured or a loved one killed, don’t settle for less than the justice and compensation you deserve.