Stark statistics are behind push to reduce pedestrian deaths

  • By Scott North
  • Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:54pm
  • Local News

The numbers are stark.

Pedestrians account for one in every 10 traffic-related deaths in Washington. Getting hit along a road is the third-highest cause of death among children in this state.

Those statistics help explain why the Washington Traffic Safety Commission has made one of its top priorities reducing fatal accidents involving walkers and bicyclists.

On Wednesday afternoon, Snohomish County saw another pedestrian fatality. Mickey Dean Bowen, 71, of Everett, died while trying to cross Highway 99 north of Lynnwood. Traffic was approaching. He tripped and fell. A driver was unable to stop. Bowen reportedly was not in a crosswalk.

Transportation for America, a public policy group, suggests too little is being done about pedestrian safety. Between 2000 and 2009, more than 47,700 pedestrians died nationwide, the group found.

That death toll is “the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing every month,” according to the group’s new report, “Dangerous by Design 2011.”

The report focuses on making the case that more investment is necessary to create safer travel options for people when they are moving about under their own power. Using the group’s “pedestrian danger index,” Washington ranked 34th among the states and the District of Columbia. In other words, there are deadlier places to walk. But part of the group’s research involved mapping the locations of each death involving pedestrians or bicyclists across the country. That online map allows you to drill down for a look at local roads. The black markers for deaths along Highway 99 in Snohomish County jump from the map, particularly south of Everett.

Its not like those tragedies have escaped notice. There have been studies and calls for improvements, particularly after the 2009 death of a man in a wheelchair who was killed trying to roll across the highway.

And similar risk can be found along more bucolic roads, said Rebecca Hover, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Scot Fenter, who investigates traffic collisions for the sheriff’s office, says many pedestrian-involved mishaps occur along county roads with no shoulders. Pedestrians often will walk on the fog line. Add in rain, the Pacific Northwest penchant for dark clothing, and routes with lots of curves and hills, and the situation gets dangerous quickly.

The “Dangerous by Design” report notes that many people walk in hopes of living better:

“Americans get to pick their poison: less exercise and poor health, or walking on roads where more than 47,000 people have died in the last 10 years.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

Alexander Fritz is released from handcuffs after being lead into the courtroom Thursday afternoon at Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington on October 6, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Team USA climbing coach gets 5 years for child rapes

Alexander Fritz, 28, engaged in “inappropriate relationships” with 15-year-old girls, he admitted in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Analisa Paterno of Marysville-Getchell, left, shares a laugh with Nathan Harms Friday morning at Pathfinder Manufacturing in Everett, Washington on September 23, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sky’s the limit: Snohomish County teens help build parts for Boeing

Pathfinder Manufacturing in Everett trains dozens of at-risk high school students to make airplane parts, en route to a career.

Fred Safstrom, CEO of Housing Hope, is retiring. Photographed in Everett, Washington on October 5, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Housing Hope CEO reflects on 25-year career helping unsheltered people

“People used to believe homelessness was caused by bad choices.” Minds and policies are changing, Fred Safstrom said.

Vehicles exiting I-5 southbound begin to turn left into the eastbound lanes of 164th Street Southwest on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Traffic backups on 164th Street near I-5 could see relief soon

The county and state are implementing a new traffic signal system that synchronizes the corridor and adjusts to demand.

Rick Winter (left) and Gary Yang, the founders of the former UniEnergy Technologies, stand with one their latest batteries, the Reflex, August 10, 2022. (Dan DeLong/InvestigateWest)
‘Chaotic mess’: Clean energy promises imploded at Mukilteo battery maker

UniEnergy Technologies absorbed millions in public funds, then suddenly went dark. The company is accused of providing tech to China.

Everett
Federal funds could pay for Everett bathrooms, gun buyback, more

City officials propose $7.95 million of American Rescue Plan Act money on a shelter, mental health support and more.

Community Transit chief financial officer Eunjoo Greenhouse
Community Transit hires King County staffer as CFO

Eunjoo Greenhouse is set to join the agency Oct. 24 after years in King County government.

A fire at a duplex in Lynnwood injured one Thursday evening. (South County Fire)
1 injured, 3 displaced in Lynnwood duplex fire

A man was found hurt inside a duplex in the 4300 block of 176th Place SW. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Lynnwood
Charges: Lynnwood man served as courier for ‘El Pariente’ drug ring

Prosecutors allege Alejandro Urquidez Medina tried to deal fentanyl and cocaine through UPS as part of a major organization.

Most Read