Writing recently in the online magazine The Smart Set, Atlantic contributing editor Wayne Curtis discusses how the rise of the automobile made streets no longer the domain of people on foot. Curtis applauds modern efforts to redesign streets to accommodate pedestrians once again.
Curtis describes how pedestrians and cars shared the streets for decades after the auto was introduced. But even then, pedestrian injuries and deaths were common. Crutis points to a 1906 video clip showing how pedestrians often had to leap out of the way of moving cars. Over time, he writes, roads became “traffic sewers” designed solely to make car travel faster and more efficient.
Today, Curtis notes:
- Pedestrians account for approximately 12 percent of all road accident deaths in the U.S.
- Around 64 percent of pedestrian deaths are the result of brain injuries.
- A four-country study (involving the U.S., Japan, Germany and Australia) revealed that about half of pedestrian accidents happened when cars were driving under 15 mph.
- When a vehicle driving at or above 25 mph hits a pedestrian, the odds of fatality rise dramatically.
Even when pedestrian accident victims survive, they are often left with traumatic brain damage, which can change the way a person behaves, thinks, feels and moves. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, brain injuries can also lead to problems with body temperature regulation, bowel and bladder control and blood pressure.
If you or a loved one is struck by a vehicle while walking, go to the emergency room right away, even if you initially feel OK. Sometimes brain injury symptoms reveal themselves hours or even days later.
- Brain Injury Association of America: “Living With Brain Injury”