Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities Increased in 2012
The streets are busy year round in Chicago. Cars, buses, taxis, pedestrians, and bicycles all jockey for space in lanes of traffic. This has resulted in 48 pedestrian fatalities
in Chicago in 2012. This is the most deaths since 2008 when 52 pedestrians died as a result of car accidents. The past three years had totals of 35, 30, and 31.
There was also an increase in the number of fatal accidents involving bicycles. Eight bicyclists were killed in 2012 as a result of increased bikes on the streets. In general, accidents involving bikes have increased by 38% from 2001 to 2011, according to the Chicago Police Department. All these increases mirror an increasing trend nationally. From January to September in 2012, the fatality rate increased by 7.1% over the same period of 2011, based on research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
There are a few theories about the increases in fatalities. The weather was very mild in 2012 and may be a reason that more people chose bike-riding and walking, thus increasing the likelihood of accidents. The economy may be a factor in these changes in transportation. Increasing in gas costs and unemployment may cause more people to seek travel alternatives.
A case can also be made for distracted driving as a cause for increased car accidents. Jose Ucles, spokesperson at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said "People are more distracted. All you need to do is look around and see everyone on a cellphone, texting or listening to music and not paying attention to the road."
The City of Chicago has been using this crash data to identify hot spots and create safer streets. Yet, it will not stop people from being hit by distracted drivers. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago to review if you are entitled to damages.