Aug 8, 2022 - News

Pedestrian and cyclist deaths are on the rise

Illustration of a car moving into a crosswalk.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

People driving fast — and on roads designed to move cars as quickly and efficiently as possible — killed an increasing number of pedestrians and bicyclists in Atlanta last year, according to a new analysis profiling the victims.

  • 31 people were struck and killed by people driving cars in Atlanta in 2021 — compared to 14 the year before, says Propel ATL, a bicyclist and pedestrian advocacy organization.

Why it matters: Deaths involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists are often viewed as statistics. But behind every statistic is a person with a story.

By the numbers: 24 of the people who died were Black; 17 victims were men, the report says.

  • 42% of the deaths occurred on Atlanta's "high-injury network" — streets where a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities take place.

Of note: No deaths were reported on streets with speed limits under 35 mph, Propel ATL noted.

Zoom in: In December 2021, Brittany Flournoy and her family gathered at Grady Memorial Hospital after their sister Jasmine "Jasi Badu" Gaither was struck by a driver who fled the scene. Gaither later died from her injuries.

  • Weeks earlier, their mother, Tomika Ivery, was struck and killed by a driver on Campbellton Road. Both of their deaths are recorded in Propel's report.

"People need to pay attention and slow down," Flournoy told Axios. "Everyone's lives matter. Everyone, whether you're walking, running, biking, in your car — everyone's trying to get somewhere."

Zoom out: Metro Atlanta was the 27th most dangerous region for pedestrians from 2016 to 2020, according to Smart Growth America. Georgia and California had the ninth highest fatality rate.

State of play: In May, Atlantans approved more than $300 million in spending on new sidewalks, safer streets and bike lanes.

What they're saying: Propel is urging the city to make safety improvements, including giving pedestrians a head start when crossing the street, creating a safe street design that addresses transportation inequities and making protected bike lanes the norm rather than the exception.

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