When you're walking down the sidewalk, browsing in an outdoor mall, or crossing the street, you probably don’t give much thought to the cars around you. As long as you obey crossing signals, why should you worry about cars?
Unfortunately, drivers are thinking the same thing. They're focused on getting where they need to go and aren't paying much attention to the pedestrians waiting to cross the street. And nobody is going to come out on top in a pedstrian vs. car accident. So, as unfair as it may seem, it's the walker's responsibility to watch out for cars. Just how bad is this problem in Kansas City?
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Preliminary data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that 2016 may be the deadliest year for pedestrians in the last 20 years. Based on information from the first half of the year, it's likely there were over 6,000 pedestrian fatalities and 70,000 injuries across the country in 2016, the highest in two decades.
In the last 10 years, pedestrian deaths have increased from 11 percent of all traffic fatalities to 15 percent. In 2015, Missouri had over 80 pedestrian deaths, ranking it among the 20 deadliest states for pedestrians with 1.71 deaths per 100,000 residents.
As of early May of 2017, 34 pedestrians had already been struck and killed in the state, according to a Kansas City accident investigator. This puts 2017 on track to be the deadliest year yet in Missouri.
Where Do These Accidents Typically Happen?
According to the GHSA survey, 74 percent of pedestrian deaths occur at night and 23 percent happen during daylight hours. In addition, 72 percent of fatal accidents occur in vehicle travel lanes on highways and between intersections in urban areas, while 19 percent happen at intersections, and the remaining 10 percent happen in non-travel lanes such as driveways and shoulders.
A typical fatal accident is a person being struck while walking along the highway in the dark or a person attempting to cross a road at night where there's not a crosswalk. Kansas City has many busy roads where pedestrian accidents can—and have—happened, including the following:
- I-29, I-70, I-435, I-470, 291, 40 HWY, 152 HWY, 1-29, I-670, and 24 HWY
- Truman Road, Metcalf Ave. Main Street, Grand Blvd., Broadway, and Kansas Ave.
Taking care to watch for cars and make yourself clearly visible are steps you can take when you have to walk in these risky areas.
What Are Dangerous Areas of Kansas City for Pedestrians?
Kansas City has many areas that attract pedestrians at night. Whether for shopping or strolling after dinner, these areas are inviting to pedestrians, but can also be dangerous.
The Power and Light District is a good example of an area that combines crowds of people hopping from one side of the street to the other and non-stop traffic streaming through. Country Club Plaza is a beautiful destination that combines shopping, dining, and entertainment over 15 blocks. It's all too easy for pedestrians to focus on getting from one store to another without thinking about the cars that are driving through looking for an address or parking spot—but not a pedestrian.
Other areas that make for a dangerous combination of cars and people include:
- The Truman Sports Complex
- The Legends
- Old Overland Park
- Town Center in Leawood, KS
And it’s not just people out for a good time who get hit by cars in KC. Areas such as Independence, where many residents walk to work or run to catch a bus, have very high rates of pedestrian accidents. Stressed-out and distracted drivers combined with parents and workers in a hurry often result in tragic wrongful death accidents.
Who Is Liable?
If you were hit by a car and seriously injured, you may have a case against the driver of the car. However, his insurance company will look for any excuse to deny your claim. Were you crossing against the light? Did you have a few drinks at dinner? Were you running to catch a bus? These actions may work against you unless you have an experienced pedestrian accident attorney by your side. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 if you've been injured. We want to hear your story.