Many of the new vehicles on sale in Nevada and around the country are equipped with advanced safety systems that are designed to protect their occupants in an accident, but figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that these features do little to save the lives of cyclists or pedestrians. According to NHTSA, pedestrian deaths rose by 4% in 2018, and cyclist fatalities surged by a worrying 10%. These are the highest pedestrian and cyclist death tolls in three decades.
It isn't uncommon for passenger vehicles to share roads with those who are walking or riding their bikes. Therefore, both drivers and pedestrians need to account for each other when using roadways in Nevada and throughout the country. Pedestrians can help keep themselves safe by using a sidewalk and by following all applicable traffic laws. If there is no sidewalk, individuals should walk facing traffic to increase their visibility.
Driving is such a common, everyday activity that some people don't think twice about the risk involved in getting behind the wheel. If a vehicle crash is considered at all, it is with the hope it involves a minor fender bender with no serious injuries to the drivers or other car occupants. However, an increase in a specific type of accident may make Nevada residents more aware of safety issues: Vehicle crashes involving pedestrians have increased in significant numbers. This is especially chilling for cities such as Las Vegas that have large numbers of pedestrians in certain downtown areas.
Officials in Nevada have announced that work has started on what will be the 17th pedestrian bridge over the Las Vegas Strip. The new bridge will link the Showcase Mall, which is located directly in front of the MGM Grand, and Park MGM. The bridge is expected to cost $16.9 million to build and will feature elevators and escalators at both ends to make the crossing less physically challenging for pedestrians.
When it comes to statistics in California motor vehicle accident-related deaths, 24 percent of the fatalities in the state are pedestrians. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) recently reported that nationwide pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes soared by 46 percent between 2009 and 2016. The National Transportation Safety Board also weighed in on the subject, reporting that an average of 16 pedestrians are killed daily in this country.
Both cyclists and pedestrians encounter problems while traveling on public roads. Perhaps one of the most pressing safety issues is ensuring that they are visible to oncoming traffic, including both cars and trucks. Cyclists and pedestrians who travel through busy areas or who travel at night typically take additional preventative measures to ensure that they are visible to vehicles at all times.
Nevada motorists may be interested to learn that the increase in pedestrian fatalities is being blamed on distracted driving. The chairperson for Detroit's College for Creative Studies transportation design program believes that social patterns, rather than the design of vehicles themselves, is responsible for the 46 percent uptick in vehicle-related pedestrian fatalities since 2009. During the same period, other forms of vehicle fatalities have only risen by 11 percent.
Many people in Las Vegas like to get around by walking. However, the threat of injuries or fatalities due to pedestrian accidents has made crossing the street more dangerous. Indeed, thousands of people across the country lose their lives each year while walking along the roadways. Both walkers and drivers can be prone to distraction, a situation that can have devastating consequences. In 2017 alone, nearly 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives due to car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there has been a 46 percent increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009. Between 2009 and 2016, there has been an 81 percent rise in pedestrian deaths caused by SUVs according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Those who are at the most risk for being killed in a collision with an SUV are in warmer climates and in cities where individuals have lower incomes.
Las Vegas pedestrian deaths hit a record high in 2017. According to the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, 78 people were struck and killed by motor vehicles last year. In comparison, 57 pedestrians lost their lives in 2016, and 60 died in 2015, which was the previous high.