Pedestrian fatalities on the rise in southeastern Michigan

The number of fatal pedestrian accidents in southeastern Michigan has increased by 38 percent in the past five years.

Over the past five years, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the southeastern corner of Michigan has jumped a whopping 38 percent. According to a story on DetroitNews.com, the total number of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities has also increased during this time. Pedestrians represent 25 percent of auto crash fatalities in the area, far higher than the 12.3 percent national average.

The 2014 Dangerous by Design report lists the area around Detroit, Warren and Livonia as the eleventh most dangerous place to walk in America. Between 2003 and 2012, more than 670,000 pedestrians were injured and more than 47,000 killed.

A look at statistics for all of Michigan

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the year 2013 indicates that pedestrian deaths outnumbered motorcyclist deaths. A total of 947 people died in automotive accidents and 148 of those were pedestrians. In Washtenaw County, three out of 33 vehicular fatalities were pedestrians. The prior year saw five pedestrians perish in the Washtenaw County.

Other 2013 data for neighboring counties includes the following:

  • Wayne County lost the most pedestrian lives with a total of 54 such fatalities.
  • In Oakland County, 11 pedestrians were killed.
  • Six pedestrians lost their lives in Monroe County.
  • Ingham County was the location of three pedestrian deaths.
  • Two pedestrians each died in Lenawee and Livingston Counties.

Pedestrian accidents can and do happen in a variety of situations. A Livingston Daily article provided details about the death of an eight-year old girl as she was crossing a street with a green light early one Saturday evening. Another man was run over by a bus just after he had gotten off of it. He was attempting to remove his bike from the rack on the bus when the bus driver chose to begin moving. The driver was being investigated for potential substance abuse.

What can be done?

Around the state, efforts are in force to improve safety for pedestrians. In the Detroit region, an area task force has been created with this goal in mind. TCTimes.com notes that a streetscape project is underway in Fenton in an effort to increase walkability. This is after a string of 16 pedestrian accidents have occurred there between March 2010 and March 2015.

MLive.com provided information about two projects in Ypsilani that will reduce the width and number of forward traffic lanes on two city streets. Bike lanes will also be added on both sides of the streets.

These measures can help to keep more pedestrians safe. It is also important for people on foot to know that they can and should take action if injured in an accident. The same is true for family members of those killed by drivers. People in these situations should always contact an attorney promptly.