Monday, September 29, 2014

Trying to rank Delaware for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities

From 2003 to 2012, Delaware came in as the 6th most dangerous state for pedestrians. During that 10 year period:
  • Total traffic fatalities: 1,223
  • Total pedestrian fatalities: 194
  • Annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000: 2.22
According to Smart Growth America, the safest places for walking are those with more active lifestyles, and fewer deaths per capita. This is also demonstrated with a lower PDI. The less dangerous regions tend to be more compactly developed and place more emphasis on pedestrian safety.

According to Forbes Magazine, Delaware also ranks as the #1 laziest State in the country, with a serious obesity problem. So, it appears one cannot blame an over abundance of active people out and about (though certain pockets do exist, i.e. Newark, beach areas). In any case, coming in at 6th over a 10 year sampling period is a terribly worrisome and embarrassing trend. And there appears no end in sight.

We were unable to find bicycling statistics over a full 10 year period, but data from 2005 to 2012 was available from the NHTSA.

The two #1 rankings (2008/09) came mostly as a result of Route 1 in Rehoboth, which DelDOT partly remedied with a shared bike/bus lane.

Pretty much, these are the only numbers we have, and questions do go unanswered. Among them, we do not know if an injured person that ends up dead within days or weeks later is counted as an injury or a fatality.

Finally, it is difficult to gauge how much Delaware spends at the State level for pedestrian and bicycle safety, because many improvements are rolled in with the cost of pavement & rehabilitation projects. Nationally, however, the percent of dedicated funding is grossly disproportionate and a travesty of justice (below).

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