Study Shows Reno & Sparks Two of the Most Dangerous Cities for Pedestrians

Pedestrian walking to freeway

Pedestrian walking to freeway

Walking is often a great way to explore a city, as well as a more environmentally friendly, and healthy way to travel. However, automobile travel is much more common, causing motor vehicles to dominate Nevada roads, often leading to increased risks for pedestrians. In 2020 there were 6,516 pedestrian deaths nationally and 55,000 pedestrian injuries. Adults 65 years and older account for 17 percent of the US population, however they account for 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths in 2020. Additionally, one in five children killed under the age of fifteen were pedestrians.

Recently, insurance company Insurify ran a study and used 4.6 million car insurance applications to identify the most dangerous cities for pedestrians. The study considered the number of pedestrian killed motor vehicles, as well as citations for failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Failing to yield occurs 20 times more frequently than actual deaths, but is a common factor when pedestrian accidents occur. Thus, looking at citations can help identify a pattern of behavior and can indicate the driving habits of a region.

National Patterns of Pedestrian Accidents

The Insurify study found that across all US cities, every 4 out of 10,000 drivers have received a prior citation for failing to yield to a pedestrian. Additionally, it found that coastal cities saw more citations and pedestrian deaths than the rest of the United States. Of the coastal cities, northern California and New York were deemed the least safe. This patten also mirrors these area’s population density, with parts of California and the Eastern Seaboard being the most tightly packed areas in the nation. The study found that Louisville, Indianapolis, and Memphis were the safest cities for pedestrian and had only 0.69, 1.25, and 1.29 drivers respectively per 10,000 motorists with citations for failure to yield. [1]

Where Do Major Nevada Cities Rank?

Reno ranked at number 16 for the most dangerous cities, as 20.4 people per 10,000 were cited for failing to yield to pedestrians. This is five times greater than the national average. Sparks Nevada, the next-door neighbor to Reno, was ranked number 10 on the list with 26.8 citations per 10,000. This was 6.6 times greater than the national average. Las Vegas and other Nevada cities were not included on the list.

Pedestrian safety has been an issue in the Reno-Sparks area during the COVID-19 pandemic and the following years, but pedestrian deaths have also been a statewide issue, with an 18.5 percent statewide increase amid the pandemic. Last year, Reno attempted to increase safety measures by installing more signs and pedestrian safety zones in the downtown area and other congested areas. They also raised the penalty for reckless driving and speeding in hopes of deterring behavior that increases the chance of fatal accidents. [2]

Pedestrian Safety in Nevada

The summer is a great time to ditch driving and enjoy the nice weather on foot. These statistics should not deter you from being a pedestrian and taking the proper precautions can mitigate your chances of being involved in a fatal accident. The following are some tips to keep in mind as a pedestrian:

  1. Obey the posted signs and signals.
  2. Walk on the sidewalk or pedestrian bridges. Avoid walking on the road as a car might not see you or have enough time to stop and prevent a collision
  3. If you have no sidewalk and need to walk on the road, walk facing traffic and walk as far away from the traffic as possible
  4. Cross at crosswalks or intersections. It is illegal to jay walk in Nevada.
  5. In parking lots, stay alert and watch for cars entering and backing up in the parking lot.
  6. Avoid walking under the influence. Like when getting behind the wheel, your judgment and abilities are impaired and will likely cloud your judgement
  7. Increase your visibility at night or in foggy weather by wearing bright or reflective clothes and carrying a flashlight
  8. Avoid using earbuds or being on your phone while walking. Staying alert and attentive of the road can really save lives.

As drivers it is important to drive at the speed limit especially in non-residential areas, as most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas or roadways away from intersections where higher speeds occur. Higher speeds increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being stuck by a car and the injury severe. Addition, drivers under the influence contribute to pedestrian deaths as one in ten fatal pedestrian accidents involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08. In addition, one out of three deaths involved a pedestrian with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. [3]

 

[1] https://insurify.com/insights/dangerous-pedestrian-cities-2022/

[2] https://www.rgj.com/story/news/money/business/2022/06/22/pedestrian-safety-reno-sparks-nevada-among-most-dangerous-cities-us-reckless-driving-road-risk/7694904001/

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/pedestrian_safety/index.html

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