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What is behind the continued rise in pedestrian crashes?

Summer is a time to get out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. But for some individuals, these warm-weather months may have turned into a nightmare.

Pedestrians – meaning anyone on foot, not in a vehicle – are being struck and killed at an increasing rate. In 2013, the state of Ohio saw 85 pedestrian traffic deaths. That figure has gone up every year since, and in 2017 hit 142 fatalities. The Cleveland area is particularly worrying.

Pedestrian crashes in Cuyahoga County

Cuyahoga County is the second-most populous county in the state of Ohio. It will come as no surprise then that it recorded the third-highest number of pedestrian crashes from 2016-18, according to News 5 Cleveland.

Things are more dangerous for those living within Cleveland, however. According to state statistics, 82% of all pedestrian crashes over that time occurred within city limits, compared to 18% for rural areas.

What is causing all of these pedestrian crashes?

It is important to note that, among all injury-related crashes, pedestrians were found to be at fault just 35% of the time. That means, more often than not, someone else’s actions caused the crash – and consequently, caused whatever injuries the pedestrian might have suffered.

The increase in pedestrian crashes and fatalities is not unique to this region. It is happening across the country. What’s behind this rise? Recent research generally points to a few likely factors:

  • An increase in distracted driving, with smartphones the most common culprit
  • The prevalence of large SUVs and pickups, which have glaring blind spots and can do more damage when involved in a crash
  • The popularity of outdoor activities (such as biking, running and walking), particularly in cities

Pedestrians have almost no protection. If you are out on foot and struck by a vehicle, even a smaller car, it can result in life-altering injuries and expensive, ongoing medical bills. Brain injuries, back and spinal damage, and fractures are quite common in these types of wrecks.

When someone else was at fault – which is usually the case – you can hold them accountable and try to make things right.