2015 was a tragic year for bicycles and pedestrians on Tennessee roads. While traffic fatalities are down from the previous year, pedestrian deaths have increased from 93 in 2014 to 120 in 2015, reported WPLN. The number of fatalities is higher than any year since the mid 1990s. For as long as traffic data has been recorded in Tennessee, the highest number of bicycle deaths in any given year was 145 in 1984.
The numbers have prompted the Tennessee Highway Patrol to make pedestrian safety a top priority in 2016. Considering 10 percent of car accidents involve someone outside a motor vehicle, the Highway Patrol is looking at ways to decrease distracted driving and make sure pedestrians are alert when walking near roadways.
In the city of Nashville alone, six pedestrians and bicyclists died in November and December. While the city continues to add more bike lanes and improve safety measures, these problems persists and, according to the data, are getting worse. Areas like Lower Broadway, which is often packed with tourists, are some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians with poor signage that can cause confusion and lead to accidents.
City advocacy group Walk-Bike Nashville and Nashville’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee have began an initiative called “Vision Zero” that aims to bring pedestrian and bicycle deaths and serious injuries in the city down to zero. The initiative pressures the city government to adopt policies to make the streets safer for those on foot and bikes. Vision Zero asks the city to improve infrastructure like adopting a multimodal transportation system that would give more space and power to those not in motor vehicles and encourage a cultural shift in the city, getting more people out of their cars and into the streets.
The initiative focuses on a few key areas. Health and safety would be achieved through education and outreach with motorists, the community and the city government. They aim to tackle the inevitable human error of drivers by encouraging infrastructure to be built to safeguard pedestrians against such occurrences. The people behind the initiative also hope to reduce the speeds on roadways in Nashville, which they believe to be a causal factor in some of these bike and pedestrian deaths.
The mayor’s office has responded to the initiative by investing $82 million in September to repair and build sidewalks all around Nashville. The mayor has expressed many of the same sentiments as the bicycle and pedestrian advocates and wishes to do all she can to make the city more conducive to those who travel the city outside their cars.
Contact a Nashville Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving a motor vehicle in Nashville, consider contacting an experienced attorney. A good lawyer can help you receive more money in damages and seek justice for the careless of drivers on the road. Biking on roads and even walking on the sidewalk can be a dangerous proposition as the data shows, but hiring an attorney can help ensure you are not left paying the medical expenses of your injury.