The Rise Of Pedestrian Deaths In Certain U.S. Geographies

a man holding the hand of a pedestrian who was in an accident

Road users include people walking, bicyclists, and people driving vehicles. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages road users to share the roads safely, the number of pedestrian deaths United States records continues to rise. Pedestrians that survive accidents may suffer catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries (SCIs).

The NHTSA reported more than 6,500 pedestrian deaths in 2020, and in 2021 the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities rose to 7,485. Compared to the 46,980 traffic fatalities that same year, pedestrian deaths represented 15.9% of all traffic deaths in 2021. Early figures for 2022 suggested the number of pedestrian deaths 2022 records is expected to rise again. 

Although the number of pedestrian fatalities is rising, some locations are experiencing higher rates of pedestrian deaths. Geographical features impact the risk to pedestrians. Let’s examine the risk factors and what’s being done to prevent pedestrian deaths.

The Factors That Are Putting People At A Higher Risk Of Pedestrian Death

The areas with most pedestrian deaths are locations with the following features:

  • Low-income neighborhoods – Many low-income neighborhoods have multi-lane roads, increasing the risk of pedestrian accidents.
  • No sidewalk access – Pedestrians are at greater risk when using roads without sidewalks. People are also at risk when sidewalks aren’t suitable for use.
  • Urban locations – Pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur on roads with heavy traffic volumes and higher speed limits. 
  • Warm climate locations – Pedestrian deaths in California, Florida, and Texas equaled 38% of recorded pedestrian deaths between January 1 and June 30, 2022. People are more likely to walk in these locations due to the warm weather, increasing their risk of being in a pedestrian accident.

The type of vehicle involved in pedestrian accidents also increases the chances of pedestrian fatalities, with sport utility vehicles (SUVs) posing a more significant threat to pedestrians than cars or small trucks.

Colorado Pedestrian Accident Deaths In 2022

Colorado remains one of the safer states for pedestrians, with communities such as Boulder emphasizing their pedestrian-friendly features. In a ranking of all 50 states, Colorado had a death rate of 1.50 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 people in 2020, less than half the 3.20 and 3.75 rates recorded by Florida and New Mexico, respectively. Maine had the lowest score, with 0.67 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people.

What Is Being Done To Prevent Pedestrian Accidents?

The Urban Institute, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the NHTSA all promote solutions to reduce pedestrian fatalities. Some strategies for lowering pedestrian accident rates include the following:

  • Adding speed bumps to roads
  • Encouraging driver awareness
  • Encouraging pedestrian awareness
  • Eliminating features obstructing visibility
  • Improving lighting on roadways
  • Reducing speed limits
  • Building vehicle-free pedestrian areas

What To Do If You Were A Victim Of A Pedestrian Accident

Suppose you were hit by a vehicle while walking. Whether you can make phone calls after the accident could depend on the severity of your injuries. If possible, call the police and call an ambulance. Motorists who hit pedestrians must report the accident to the police. Other steps you should take as soon as possible include the following:

  • Seek medical care – You may need first aid from a witness while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
  • Contact a pedestrian accident attorney – Call the law firm of Bachus & Schanker. Contact our pedestrian accident lawyers today to receive expert legal counsel immediately. Your pedestrian accident lawyer will ensure you take appropriate steps to protect your rights.
  • Gather evidence – Take photos and video and record witnesses’ names and contact information.
  • Get the driver’s information – Record the driver’s name, contact information, insurance information, and other pertinent details, such as their vehicle’s make and model and license plate number. 

What Recoverable Damages Are There In A Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit? 

When you file a pedestrian accident claim, you can seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover compensation for expenses you can calculate, including medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages offer compensation for the accident’s toll on your life. They include compensation for trauma, grief, and pain and suffering.

Pedestrian accident victims can also seek punitive damages if gross negligence or deliberate recklessness caused or contributed to the accident. Suppose you were struck by a driver who was using their cell phone while driving. You may be able to seek punitive damages because they were breaking the law, disregarding their obligation to act with consideration for the safety of others.

Should I Hire A Lawyer For My Pedestrian Accident Case? 

scales of justice statue with a pile of books behind it

Bachus & Schanker’s legal team has the experience to build your pedestrian accident case. Contact us for a free case evaluation to learn about your legal options. 

Recovering from an accident can be stressful and overwhelming. We take legal matters off your shoulders and prepare your case. We’ll negotiate with the at-fault party and their insurance company and fight for all the compensation you deserve. You won’t pay us anything until we resolve your claim.


2020 Ranking of STATE Pedestrian Fatality Rates – State : USA. (2023). 

7,485 Pedestrians Were Killed in Traffic Crashes in 2021. (2023). 

New Projection: U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Rise Yet Again in First Half of 2022. (2023).

Number of road traffic fatalities in the United States from 2012 to 2022. (2023).

Pedestrian Safety. (2023). 

Walk. (2023).

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