Despite the fact traffic fatalities were low in Tennessee this last year, the number of pedestrian and cyclist accidents were unusually high and the subsequent number of people who died as a result is the highest number the state has seen in two decades.
With 120 pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2015, six of which took place in Nashville at Harding Place and other popular city crossings, it is no surprise to see Metro’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) as well as the Tennessee Highway Patrol evaluating possible options to help reduce this number.
Can Vision Zero Help Reduce Pedestrian and Cyclist Fatalities Where Other Attempts Failed?
The city began experimenting with pedestrian safety measures earlier this year. Specifically, Lower Broadway, where the city removed street parking to widen sidewalks. Nashville also tried extending the lead time in crossing signals for intersections at West End Avenue and Harding Place. However, six pedestrian deaths occurred in the immediate two months following the improvements. Needless to say, the experiments were not successful.
Walk Bike Nashville, TN Highway Patrol and the BPAC are instead looking towards Vision Zero, a Swedish initiative that recently moved to the states. The Vision Zero project, which is adopted by other cities such as Washington D.C., New York, Chicago and Boston, works to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries down to zero. Typically, the initiative operates through education campaigns, increased enforcement and restructuring transportation engineering.
Nashville is One of the Most Dangerous Cities for Pedestrians
A report from 2014 shows that Nashville ranked number 15 for the most dangerous areas for pedestrians and cyclists (Memphis ranked 5th) due to lack of sidewalks, crosswalks not visibility to drivers, larger intersections and high speeds. Given the high numbers from both the unsafe ranking and our particularly deadly year for pedestrians and cyclists, maybe the city could use Vision Zero’s help to reduce pedestrian accidents and keep our numbers lower in 2016.
Stanley A. Davis is a compassionate and experienced attorney who has seen success helping many accident victims and their families receive the compensation and justice they deserve.
“This is love, that we should walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, even as you heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” 2 John 1:6