Deadly Bicycle and Pedestrian Crashes Are On The Rise in Sacramento
“Across California, the number of pedestrians and bicycle fatalities and injuries has been going up for about the last three or four years to an alarming rate.”
This startling statement was made recently by the California Office of Transportation Safety, who added that in California cities like Sacramento, there has been a 3 percent increase in fatal crashes over the last several years.
KCRA, a local news team in Sacramento, sent their investigative team to look into the increase of deadly and non-deadly crashes in their area. They reported on what they found:
“The worst intersections for bikers and walkers are: (See map of locations here)
– Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road
– 65th Street and Fruitridge Road
– Broadway and Martin Luther King Boulevard
– Watt Avenue and Arden Way
– 47th Street and Franklin Boulevard
‘A lot of the fatal collisions that we’re seeing in Sacramento, and really statewide, are happening not in our kind of traffic — calm downtown central locations — but really in the peripheries of our community, where there’s been a little bit less investment in these kind of issues,’ [Kirin Kumar of Walk Sacramento] said.
It appears that many of the most dangerous locations for cyclists and pedestrians around Sacramento are in places where drivers aren’t expecting to see them, and where old road infrastructure hasn’t been updated to make the roads more friendly for people who aren’t in cars.
“That same data shows that the worst time of day for pedestrians is during the evening rush hour, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; for bicyclists, it’s from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.”
So what’s to blame for this increase in crashes around California? And what can be done to keep everyone safer?
According to the California OTS, this increase in fatal crashes is a result of both distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians/cyclists.
As we all know, drivers are more distracted than ever. Distracted drivers are deadly drivers; when you aren’t looking for pedestrians, cyclists, and other cars, you just can’t react quickly or safely, and you are more likely to cause a crash where someone gets really hurt.
However, the OTS also noted that pedestrians and cyclists weren’t completely without blame. One recent study found that 40% of pedestrians on Sacramento sidewalks were looking at their phones while walking.
When you add in distracted pedestrians and cyclists who don’t obey the rules of the road — jaywalking, crossing intersections against the lights, weaving in between cars (even stopped cars) — then you’ve got a perfect recipe for more frequent and more dangerous collisions.
We all know that we need to be proactive and aware when we are moving throughout the city, and especially in traffic. Hopefully these alarming crash statistics can be a helpful reminder to drivers, walkers, and cyclists to take their eyes off the phone when they’re on the road and to look ahead at all times.
For their part, Sacramento County’s local government is working to make changes to their infrastructure that will bring traffic deaths as close to zero as possible.
“The number of deadly crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists are high enough that Sacramento County has joined ‘Vision Zero,’ a program touted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as the California Office of Traffic Safety.
The program strives to bring the number of fatal accidents as close to zero as possible by lowering speed limits, adding pedestrian safe islands and better bike lanes throughout the city and county.”