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Intersections: How safe are they for pedestrians?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2021 | Auto-Pedestrian Accidents, Bicycle Accidents |

More and more people in Seattle choose to commute by bicycle or even by foot. This will only increase as the weather gets warmer.

While Seattle is often said to be a bike- and pedestrian-friendly city, these road users are still some of the most vulnerable. And the risk they face is especially high at intersections.

Some intersections are more dangerous than others

The Seattle Times reported in 2017 that the city was one of the safest for pedestrians across the country. Even so, pedestrians and bicyclists still faced the risk of suffering serious accidents and injuries on the road. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) indicated that there were a few dangerous intersections in particular that had the highest rate of injuries.

The three most dangerous intersections for pedestrians included:

  1. Fifth Avenue and Spring Street
  2. Fifth Avenue and Pike Street
  3. Third Avenue and Pike Street

While the three most dangerous intersections for bicyclists included:

  1. Eastlake Avenue East and Fuhrman Avenue East
  2. Second and University Street
  3. Troll Avenue and North 34th Street

According to a recent report from SDOT, the intersections listed above generally still carry a high risk for both pedestrians and bicyclists in 2021.

What makes intersections so hazardous?

Most intersections have traffic signals informing road users when to stop or go. So, why are these areas so dangerous? Simply put, they involve such high risks because:

  • Intersections often have the highest volume of traffic
  • Unfortunately, many road users may ignore traffic signals
  • This is where different road users mingle the most, including motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians

The SDOT report specifically states that the intersections listed above are so dangerous because they have such a high volume of pedestrians and cyclists.

It makes sense that the volume of road users directly relates to the likelihood of an accident. It is one of the reasons why a high number of auto accidents occur during rush hour. The more road users concentrated in one area, the higher the risk of an accident.

While the higher risk might make sense, no amount of risk is acceptable. SDOT indicates they will make efforts in the future to make these areas safer and achieve their Vision Zero goals. But all road users can take steps to be defensive on the roads, especially when in these dense areas.