Various hazards pose a risk to pedestrians in Missouri. Understanding the reasons behind the high rate of pedestrian deaths can help keep drivers and those on foot safe.

Rather than drive their way across Columbia and other parts of Missouri, some people have no choice but to walk. While traveling to and from work and other destinations, those who regularly walk should make themselves well-aware of personal injury risks and hazards on the road. Such risks and road hazards are the reason pedestrian deaths are at a 30-year high.

Transportation infrastructure design

One of the biggest risks to people traveling on foot is roadways that prioritize automobiles over foot traffic, making it more dangerous to get around by walking. It is not unusual to hear of crosswalks spaced miles apart rather than have them positioned across neighboring streets, as pointed out in a story by NPR. When it is inconvenient to be safe, jaywalkers may cross in the middle of the road, where drivers do not expect to see them, which can lead to an accident.

Low-income individuals who lack vehicles

Some people traveling on foot have no choice but to do so. Low-income individuals who cannot afford a vehicle have to walk to work, which increases the number of people walking Columbia’s streets. According to data compiled by the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were 44 pedestrian deaths in Missouri between January and June of 2018, an increase from the 42 deaths that occurred within the same time period in 2017.

Increase in the number of SUVs on the road

There are more SUVs on the road today, vehicles that have more bulk than regular automobiles. Pedestrians struck by an SUV have a higher chance of dying than a person hit by a smaller, lighter vehicle.

Speeding drivers

Other than driving distracted, motorists engage in other dangerous behaviors, such as speeding. If a speeding vehicle strikes a pedestrian, no matter the overall size of the automobile, the person on foot is likely to sustain more severe injuries than if the vehicle were traveling at a low speed; the chances of the accident being fatal also increase.

Larger population

Population growth also plays a part in pedestrian deaths. Drivers who have lived in Columbia for a while may not expect an increase in the number of people walking, which means they may not know where to look out for walkers. Pedestrians who are new to the area, and those not used to walking around the area, may not know the busiest time of day in a new city or the busiest part of the city in terms of traffic, which can lead to an increase in accidents, injuries and deaths.

Pedestrians in Missouri who suffer personal injuries due to a driver’s negligence should explore their legal rights. Victims should not have to pay for the faults of others.