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Poor urban design blamed for spike in pedestrian deaths

California is known for having heavy traffic, and pedestrians face an increasingly dangerous environment. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents around the country rose 11 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. This spike in fatalities exacerbates the dangerous trend that produced a 12 percent increase in fatal pedestrian accidents between 2006 and 2015.

A senior researcher at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center believes that part of the problem comes from road designs meant to allow motor vehicles to move as fast as possible without consideration for the safety of people on foot. Low-income, immigrant and minority neighborhoods tend to have the most pedestrian accidents. These areas generally lack infrastructure that accommodates walkers, runners and bicyclists.

A representative from the Federal Highway Administration said that older neighborhoods had roads designed in the 1950s when pedestrians were not taken into consideration at all. According to a report from Smart Growth America, the absence of sidewalks and crosswalks coupled with wide lanes that facilitate speeding vehicles create a dangerous environment for pedestrians. The report also noted that African-American pedestrians are killed at almost twice the rate of white pedestrians.

When a vehicle strikes a person, severe injuries could be inflicted. The resulting medical bills, lost wages and possible disability could cause significant financial hardship, and the victim might wish to explore the legal alternatives with an attorney if it can be demonstrated that the accident was due to the negligence of the person at the wheel of the vehicle. One option could be the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.

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