People who live in poor neighborhoods are more likely to be killed in a pedestrian-car accident. That’s according to Governing magazine:
No published national data assess income or poverty status of those killed in traffic accidents. But according to a Governing analysis of accident location coordinates for the more than 22,000 pedestrians killed nationwide between 2008 and 2012, poorer neighborhoods have disproportionately higher rates of pedestrian deaths. In the nation’s metro areas, the bottom third of Census tracts, in terms of per capita income, recorded pedestrian fatality rates twice that of higher income tracts. The same holds true for high-poverty communities.
Why is this happening? Poor people are more likely not to own cars and have to walk places, including walking to the bus stop. Main thoroughfares are more likely to run through poor neighborhoods, as little thought was given to their quality of life when the roads were built. (For example, East Ave. is not a six-lane speedway.) Finally, despite the fact more poor people don’t have cars, cities are lagging in putting pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in their neighborhoods. This isn’t only a city issue. Many low-income people live in the suburbs, which are not known for walkability.
The Rochester metro area shows a pattern similar to the national data. Poor people are more likely to be killed while walking. In the Rochester metro, the death rate between 2008 and 2012 for pedestrians was 5.6 per 100,000 people. In census tracks with poverty rates above 25 percent, the five-year death rate was 9.5 per 100,000. There were 60 pedestrian deaths in this time period.
Perhaps showing that it’s more dangerous to walk in outlying areas, Monroe County’s pedestrian death rate during this period was 4.7 per 100,000. But in high poverty neighborhoods, it was 7.4. In neighborhoods where poverty was less than 15 percent, the five-year death rate was 3.9.
Here’s a map of Rochester area fatalities between 2008 and 2012:
What should we do with this information? It’s important to focus on road design, which includes lowering speed limits and placing crosswalks where they are needed. It’s also not acceptable to blame “jaywalkers.” They shouldn’t have to pay for a mistake with their lives. Nearly 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in Rochester were pedestrian deaths. We’re so focused on the needs of drivers, we’ve forgotten about the needs of pedestrians, many of whom are poor.
Links of the Day:
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– New York farmers, grocery stores and food manufacturers oppose GMO labeling.
– Find out how a parent who’s a plaintiff in lawsuit against teacher tenure defines a “bad teacher.”
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– Pregnant women fight to keep jobs through “reasonable accommodations.” If men bore babies this would not be an issue.
– Seriously? Doctors can’t show pics of babies they’ve delivered because of privacy concerns.
– A fund has been set up for the Rochester mother who was stabbed and her son who is going to college.