Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. Without the protection of car frames, seatbelts, and airbags, they're the most at risk of sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries in a collision. While pedestrians are at risk in most communities, certain cities rank higher for pedestrian accidents. In a study, Indianapolis was recently ranked one of the most dangerous cities for people on foot.
Factors that put pedestrians at risk
Many of the dangers pedestrians face in Indianapolis and other cities include:
- Distracted Drivers: One of the most significant dangers pedestrians face is distracted drivers. With the widespread use of smartphones and other electronic devices, many drivers engage in activities like texting, browsing, or talking on the phone while driving. This distraction diverts their attention away from the road and significantly increases the risk of not noticing pedestrians, especially in busy urban areas where foot traffic is common.
- Speeders and Aggressive Drivers: Excessive speed and aggressive driving behaviors also pose a substantial risk to people on foot. When drivers exceed speed limits or engage in aggressive behaviors like tailgating, weaving between lanes, or failing to yield the right of way, they have reduced reaction times and are more likely to strike pedestrians who may be trying to cross the road.
- Impaired Drivers: Alcohol and drug impairment significantly impairs a driver's coordination, judgment, and reaction time. Impaired drivers are less likely to notice pedestrians, obey traffic signals, or make timely decisions to avoid crashes. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to impaired drivers, especially during late-night hours or on weekends when impaired driving rates tend to rise.
- Poor Lighting Conditions: Inadequate lighting conditions, such as dimly lit streets, unlit crosswalks, or malfunctioning traffic signals, can put pedestrians at risk. Poor visibility makes it challenging for drivers to see pedestrians, especially when drivers aren't following traffic rules.
- Poorly Designed Roadway Infrastructure: Infrastructure plays a crucial role in pedestrian safety. Poorly designed roadways, lack of crosswalks, absence of sidewalks, and inadequate signage can create hazardous conditions for pedestrians.
Why is Indianapolis one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians?
A recent study conducted by Kuru Footwear has ranked Indianapolis as the sixth most dangerous city for pedestrians. The study considered two key factors to determine why Indianapolis is one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians:
- The city's walk score.
- The number of pedestrian deaths across Indiana in 2021.
Each city was assigned a score based on these factors. They were then aggregated to create a final safety score on a scale of 100.
The statistics from the Governor's Highway Safety Association reveal that Indiana had 125 pedestrian fatalities in 2021. Indianapolis accounted for 27 of those incidents.
Reactions from safety advocates
Eric Holt, who leads the Indy Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Crisis Group, expressed his concern. He said in a statement, "Those numbers reflect what we've been seeing over the last 15 months tracking this data. It's not great and, in some instances, continues to get worse."
Holt further pointed out why Indianapolis is one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians. He mentioned a particularly grim weekend where six pedestrians were struck on Saturday, two on Sunday, and five on Monday. That totaled 13 incidents in just three days.
Advocates such as Connie Szabo Schmucker from Bicycle Garage Indy are urging authorities to take the issue more seriously. They suggest implementing critical infrastructure changes, such as:
- Reducing speed limits.
- Adding more crosswalks.
- Introducing raised crosswalks.
- Enhancing the visibility of intersections.
Actions taken by city officials
The Department of Public Works (DPW) acknowledges the surge in reckless driving across the country since the onset of the pandemic. Indianapolis is no exception. However, they have been working tirelessly to improve pedestrian safety.
One of them is the Fall Creek Trail, a multi-modal trail connecting Downtown with Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park. DPW also introduced other initiatives to improve pedestrian safety. That includes the construction of:
- 103 miles of sidewalks
- 8,000 new ADA ramps
- 32 miles of bike lanes
- 35 miles of new trails
- 4,000 crosswalks
Additionally, downtown intersections have been designated as "No Turn on Red" areas to reduce accidents.
If you were hit by a car in Indianapolis, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you demand accountability
You have the right to take legal action against the at-fault party if you were injured in a pedestrian accident. However, insurance companies often employ tactics to minimize their financial liability in pedestrian accident claims. These tactics often include offering lowball settlements, questioning liability, disputing injury severity, and delaying claims processing through extensive documentation requests and investigations.
Don't go through the process alone. Let an experienced pedestrian accident attorney at Glaser & Ebbs handle your claim and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us online and schedule a free consultation to get started on your claim. We have law offices in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.