Road engineers, highway designers and city planners have a responsibility to plan for the needs of all who travel Arizona roadways, including pedestrians. Safe walkways should not be considered a luxury, but treated as a necessity when constructing people-friendly thoroughfares in Tucson and throughout Arizona.
Unfortunately, it seems that too little care is shown for pedestrians and even bicyclists when roads are constructed. According to Transportation for America, 1,479 pedestrians were killed in Arizona between 2000 and 2009. Across the country, there were 47,700 pedestrian deaths in the US during that same time.
Most of these deaths were attributed to a complete lack of design forethought that accounted for people traveling other than by car. The victims were those who walk, ride bikes, and wheel wheelchairs on roads that give preference to automobiles. And they account for almost 12 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. Despite these tragic numbers, only 1.5 percent of federal funds are used to correct dangerous roads, or retrofitting.
Promoting Pedestrian Safety in Tucson Arizona
Of the pedestrian deaths in Arizona between 2000 and 2009, 212 occurred in the Tucson area. Approximately 15 percent of all fatal Tucson car accidents involved pedestrians. Whether those killed were on their way to school, waiting at a bus stop, walking for exercise or another reason, Tucson pedestrians have the right to use the roadways and should be protected when doing so.
Whether walking to work, to school, for exercise or for pleasure, Tucson should be a pedestrian-friendly community. Through the construction of sidewalks, crosswalks, installing bike lanes and reducing the width of streets commonly traveled by pedestrians, the number of accidents that injure or kill walkers can be reduced.
The City of Tucson suggests that teaching children proper road-crossing behavior is the first step toward preventing pedestrian deaths. Children should be taught to stop before walking into the street; children should never run into the street. Look to the left, to the right and to the left again for oncoming traffic, all the while listening for traffic as well. Wait for the street to be clear before crossing and continue to watch for traffic while you are in the street. If you're walking at night, be sure to wear light-colored or reflective clothing; one of the best defenses is to make sure that drivers are able to see you clearly.
If you are in a pedestrian accident in Tucson or elsewhere in Arizona, stay calm, seek medical attention if needed and consult with a Tucson accident victim lawyer about your rights. Safer streets and safer walkways are everyone's responsibility.