Are Poor Pedestrians More Likely to Die?

Of the scores of roadway accidents that occur every year across the nation, over 100,000 of those accidents involve pedestrians, and between 4,000-5,000 of those pedestrians will die as a result of the accident. The very nature of a three-thousand pound plus hunk of metal hitting an unprotected human body means that pedestrians hit by an automobile are likely to suffer death or serious, life-altering injuries. While most research shows that children and the elderly are the biggest victims of pedestrian accidents, new research shows that the poor are at particular risk of being victims of a pedestrian accident.

Of the 104 metro areas with at least half a million residents, all but four recorded higher per capita pedestrian deaths in areas with poverty rates greater than 25%. Colorado is certainly no exception to this phenomenon. In the Denver/Aurora/Lakewood areas alone, more than a quarter of the population live below the national poverty level. Here, the pedestrian death rate is 14.1 per 100,000. In Colorado Springs, the number is lower (yet still considerably higher than the number of middle class or wealthy pedestrians who die in pedestrian accidents) at 5.3 deaths per 100,000 people .

Why Are Poorer Pedestrians More Likely to Be Victims?

According to Governing, of the more than 22,000 pedestrians killed between the years of 2008 and 2012, the poorer areas showed disproportionately higher rates of pedestrian deaths-in some cases nearly twice that of higher income tracts. While it seems like a baffling statistic, one possible reason for the higher rate of death among pedestrians in poorer areas is that those who live in poverty are more likely to walk to and from work, to the grocery store, and to school. Further, more low-income residents are being continuously “priced out” of downtown areas, leaving less pedestrian-friendly suburban communities the only choice for this demographic.

Poorer communities are also less likely to see necessary safety upgrades, such as better traffic signals, walking lanes, and crosswalks. While metropolitan areas across the country have seen improvements in road design, with particular emphasis on pedestrian safety, poorer communities have not.

Scott Bricker, director of America Walks, urges city planners to provide safe transportation options foreveryone-rich, poor or in-between. As Bricker says, “Walking is a basic human right.” Across the nation, in high-income areas, 89% of the streets boasted sidewalks, with only 49% in low-income areas. Marked crosswalks were present in over 13% of high-income areas as compared to 7% in low-income areas. There were similar disparities concerning adequate street lighting. These statistics hold true in the state of Colorado, as well.

Denver Concerned About Pedestrian Deaths

In the city of Denver in 2013, two young brothers, ages 8 and 6, died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on a snowy evening as they walked with their mother to their home following a visit to nearby relatives. Denver officials expressed concern at the growing number of pedestrians killed on Denver streets, yet offered no real answer to the issue, merely stating that addressing pedestrian deaths is “not an area where we've done a good enough job.”

Safety experts cite distracted driving as a major factor in pedestrian deaths; drivers are talking on their cell phones, texting, fiddling with the radio, eating, turning around to scold children in the back seats, or simply daydreaming rather than paying attention to their driving.

Denver Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

Denver families affected by the death of a loved one hit by an automobile while walking should be heard, and should know that legal help is available to assist with the financial burdens associated with their loss. No matter how rich or how poor you are-you have a right to seek justice.

If you are injured or a loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident in Denver, the experienced Denver pedestrian accident lawyers at Denver Trial Lawyers ® will review your case and help you choose the legal path that is best for you and your family.

In a free consultation, an attorney at Denver Trial Lawyers ® can inform you of your rights, educate you about the legal process, and discuss how we may be able to obtain compensation for you.