Around 6,000 pedestrians die per year while walking along our nation’s streets, after being hit by vehicles. If you doubt the danger for a pedestrian who is hit by a car, consider some statistics from 2017: 5,977 pedestrians killed, 1,377 treated for injuries. Four times as many people died as survived their injuries.

Specific sectors of society are more vulnerable: Those who do not drive themselves, be it for age or economic reasons such as children, the elderly and lower-income families. The elderly make up 20% of all pedestrian deaths, and one in five of all child deaths is due to being hit by a vehicle.

As a pedestrian, you can do a few things to protect yourself: Use the crossings, do not cross the road while using your phone or headphones, walk on the sidewalk, not the road and do not be walking around drunk or drugged.

However, it is important to remember that most accidents are not the fault of the pedestrian. Much of the United States, including Seattle, seems to have forgotten about pedestrians when town planning. Too much has been designed only with cars in mind, and when authorities have taken measures to make towns safer for pedestrians, they have not gone far enough, or the measures taken have not worked.

Driver negligence is what causes most pedestrian accidents in Seattle and elsewhere: not stopping at a crossing, turning left without looking, distracted driving, speeding or driving under the influence. When someone steps into their car, they need to remember just how dangerous the ton or more of metal they are driving can be to people walking along the street.