Pedestrian Deaths Increase in California

Pedestrian accidents have continued to climb throughout California. In fact, four cities in Calilfornia have been labeled as focus cities by the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration because they have at least 20 pedestrian fatalities every year.

Cities in California with high pedestrian accident rates have faced scrutiny from the federal government and public safety advocates. Cities that are listed as "focus cities" by the FHWA receive funding from the federal government to help improve pedestrian safety and reduce fatal accidents.

The FHWA have listed recommendations for improving pedestrian safety in these cities. Some of the safety recommendations include increasing the number of medians and crossing islands for pedestrians to use. They said that the medians should be painted or raised for more visibility by motorists. The FHWA believe that this safety measure could reduce pedestrian accidents by 46 percent.

The recommendations could help many cities improve safety for pedestrians. However, many city officials say that the recommendations are too expensive to implement, making it difficult for them to address and improve pedestrian safety.

Public safety advocates want local cities and communities to address potential pedestrian safety issues to help reduce the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents that happen every year. Advocates say that cities need to start looking at what areas are the most dangerous and figure out how to improve those roadways instead of relying on federal assistance after pedestrian accidents have increased in their city.

Many pedestrians in California say that improvements are needed in many cities and communities. They do not care who is making or funding the changes, many just want safety to improve so pedestrians don't face as many risks on the road.

Source: The Bakersfield Californian, "Rising pedestrian deaths should concern us," May 3, 2013

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