Nov 27, 2023 - News

More people were killed by Atlanta drivers in 2022

Illustration of a stop sign with a memorial wreath.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The number of people hit and killed by drivers in Atlanta in 2022 jumped more than 20% over the previous year — "a shocking rise, one that is even more dramatic than an already tragic national trend," according to a nonprofit advocate for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Driving the news: A new report by Propel ATL found that Atlanta lags behind peer cities on traffic and pedestrian safety and has plenty of room for improvement.

  • More than two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities occurred in predominantly Black neighborhoods.

Catch up quick: Empty roads during the height of the pandemic encouraged fast and reckless driving, putting people who can't afford, don't want, or can't use an automobile at greater risk of injury or death.

  • The end result: Already unsafe streets with nonexistent or subpar sidewalks and built-for-speed roads became even deadlier.

Zoom in: 60% of bicyclist and pedestrian crashes happened on Atlanta's High-Injury Network — local streets where a disproportionate number of pedestrian fatalities occur and City Hall's priority for safety improvements.

  • Street overhauls that give more room to bicyclists, pedestrians and people using wheelchairs are planned for Peachtree, Courtland and other streets with high amounts of crashes and fatalities.

State routes maintained by the Georgia Department of Transportation — think Northside Drive, Moreland Avenue and other thoroughfares that prioritize automobile traffic — saw 38% of bicycle and pedestrian crashes.

Zoom out: Traffic fatalities and pedestrian deaths also increased in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties, the report said.

What they're saying: In the short term, Propel ATL executive director Rebecca Serna told Axios that the city can use special traffic signals to turn on the walk signal at least three seconds before drivers get a green light.

  • In the mid- to long-term, the city should build its planned transportation projects like Moving Atlanta Forward more efficiently, she said.

Of note: No bicyclists were killed in 2022, according to Propel's research. The nonprofit attributes the positive statistic to Atlanta's investment in new protected bike lanes.

Yes, but: Drivers failed to stop in more than 30% of bicyclist crashes.

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