Oct 30, 2023 - News

Louisiana is 2nd deadliest state for pedestrians

Pedestrian traffic fatality rate, 2022
Data: Governors Highway Safety Association; Map: Axios Visuals

Pedestrians are dying at higher rates in Louisiana than elsewhere in the country, according to federal data.

Why it matters: New Orleans officials are embracing a "complete streets" policy to make the city friendlier for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transit users.

By the numbers: In 2021, 184 pedestrians were killed in Louisiana, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • The state's pedestrian fatality rate is 3.98 per every 100,000. The national rate is 2.23.
  • New Mexico had the highest rate: 4.82.

Zoom in: New Orleans had 21 pedestrian deaths in 2021, compared with 49 vehicle fatalities and seven bike fatalities, according to the city dashboard.

New Orleans intersections where cycling fatalities occurred in 2023
Data: New Orleans Police Department; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Meanwhile, New Orleans has the highest rate of fatal bicyclist crashes among major metro areas in the U.S.

  • There were on average 9.9 fatal bike crashes for every million residents here between 2017-2021, per data from the League of American Bicyclists via NHTSA — up 11% from 2012-2016.
  • Nationally, the average was 2.7 fatal bicycle crashes per million residents during the same time frame.
  • So far in 2023, police have reported five fatal bike crashes in New Orleans.

Zoom out: Pedestrian fatalities nationally have skyrocketed 77% since 2010, compared to 25% for all other traffic-related deaths, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

  • At least 7,508 pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in the U.S. in 2022 — the most in 41 years.

The biggest danger zone? Fast-moving roads alongside busy retail and service areas with lots of foot traffic.

  • In urban areas, such arterial roadways make up about 15% of all roads but account for 67% of pedestrian deaths, according to a report from StreetLight Data, which tracks mobility trends using anonymized cellphone data and other sources.

What they're saying: "Every day, 20 people go for a walk and do not return home," GHSA CEO Jonathan Adkins said in a statement.

  • "These are people living their daily lives — commuting to and from school and work, picking up groceries, walking the dog, getting some exercise — who died suddenly and violently."
  • "The saddest part is that these crashes are preventable. We know what works: better-designed infrastructure, lower speeds, addressing risky driving behaviors that pose a danger to people walking."

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