The fall weather and upcoming holidays will undoubtedly keep many pedestrians walking along sidewalks and roadways across the country. While the Chicago area of Illinois in particular sees a lot of foot traffic from walkers, it is by no means unique in that aspect from other cities and communities in the United States. One factor that many, if not all, of these locations have in common is pedestrian safety. To that end, a recently published news article reported that government agencies and private organization alike are taking this matter into account in promoting both pedestrian and driver safety.
Despite the number of people occupying sidewalks and making up street traffic this time of year, there is a concern that many of them indicate they are not well versed in traffic safety. The National Highway Safety Administration released information saying that neither walkers nor drivers are particularly knowledgeable in how to stay safe while traveling on the road. In fact, the data shows that the state of Illinois has a relatively high number of pedestrian crashes that result in death. In 2012, for example, 138 pedestrians were killed as the result of being involved in car crashes that year alone.
In light of the data released by the National Highway Safety Administration, one organization is responding in order to change the tragic outcomes reported. Liberty Mutual conducted a new survey in order to identify the most pedestrian friendly cities in the United States. They ranked the top 35 safest cities for pedestrians, and came to their conclusion based on a variety of factors. The cities on the ranked list were evaluated based on factors which included whether they had adequate traffic signs for drivers, if the city boasted wide sidewalks for pedestrians, and whether highly visible countdown signals were located at busy crosswalks and intersections. Chicago ranked among the top 15 safest pedestrian cities based on these factors.
Representatives from Liberty Mutual expanded on the idea of pedestrian safety. One encouraged parents of young children to teach kids good habits early on. This would include looking both ways before crossing a street, showing children the safest way to navigate intersections, and holding hands when crossing.
The survey performed indicated that just as many walkers were distracted as drivers. Both parties may assume the other will yield, which could be an assumption with devastating consequences. As a result, Liberty Mutual Representatives also commented on improved driver practices that could lead to safer roads. Drivers need to reduce their speed, particularly when pedestrians are present. Drivers should also do their best to avoid distractions such as using cell phones or other technologies while driving, and also realize that pedestrians may do something they do not expect.
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