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Seattle pedestrian safety initiatives having limited impact 

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Pedestrian Accidents |

Washington has been aggressive in its attempts to lower the number of pedestrian deaths amid the hope that they could eliminate them entirely. But, after nearly 25 years of safety initiatives and strategies, the numbers have not improved. In fact, the road fatality numbers in 2023 were among the worst in city history. People who take to the road need to be aware of this and understand why experts believe the streets are so dangerous.

Vision Zero not having the desired effect on road safety

Researchers have tried to discern why the roads are so problematic despite safety initiatives like Vision Zero. One problem that was referenced is that certain roadways are commercial routes with shopping and dining areas making it a popular destination for pedestrians while at the same time having heavy traffic.

Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise since 2017. The entire state has been impacted. There were 146 pedestrian deaths in 2021. In 2022, there were 134 pedestrians killed. The numbers for 2023 are still being assessed, but it is expected to be worse than in 2021. Seattle’s pedestrian deaths have risen along with the state numbers.

So-called arterial roads which serve myriad purposes are known to be challenging for safety. Aurora Avenue North is one such road and, in 2021, the Seattle Department of Transportation moved forward with a safety project in which the corridor was divided to make it easier for pedestrians to navigate without fear of being hit by an automobile.

It also plans to make it more bicycle friendly while adding other safety additions like medians. Since speeding is known as a primary factor in pedestrian injury severity and fatalities, the authorities have tried reducing the speed limit, giving pedestrians a head start with traffic signals and ending the practice of vehicles legally turning on red lights.

Pedestrian accidents often have severe consequences

These may be common-sense ideas, but pedestrians remain at risk. People in a pedestrian accident can suffer catastrophic injuries and worse. They have no protection and might face broken bones, brain trauma, spinal cord damage and more. This can lead to extensive problems if they are fortunate enough to survive.

The injured and their families must be aware of what steps can be taken to make a full recovery. That may include pursuing legal options.