Pedestrian, Bicyclist Deaths on the Rise in Atlanta, Georgia
ATLANTA, GA. – An article online at atlantamagazine.com discusses the rise of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths due to traffic accidents in the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area and some possible explanations for the increases.*
The Atlanta Regional Commission reports that the number of collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists in the Atlanta metro area (which includes 20 counties in Georgia) has risen dramatically in about 10 years. In 2006, about 1,700 such collisions occurred in the metro, and by 2015, that number rose to more than 2,500. That represents a 53 percent increase.
During the same time period — 2006 to 2015 — the number of pedestrians and bicyclists who were killed or seriously injured in traffic collisions increased by 26 percent. Byron Rushing, bicyclist and pedestrian program manager with the Atlanta Regional Commission, says these figures show the state is “on the verge of a crisis.” If the trend continues, another 1,100 pedestrians across Georgia will die in traffic crashes before 2022.
Before the state can work on reversing the trend, it has to understand the reason for the increases in collisions and deaths. Distracted driving is a big reason. This includes texting and driving, fidgeting with GPS, eating, etc. Population growth and more cars on the road is another factor. But there are also more people walking and biking in Atlanta.
Walking and biking have become far more popular in recent years, which means there are simply more opportunities for people to be hit by cars. The people walking and biking are also doing so on roads not designed for those activities. The roads in Atlanta and surrounding counties are designed for cars.
“We’ve spent the last half-century designing city streets for moving cars as quickly as possible,” said Rebecca Smith, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. “The problem with this approach is that it leads us to treat traffic fatalities as the cost of being on our city streets. So people who walk, bike, and drive sometimes pay with their lives. Our streets are dangerous by design.”
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