Feb 2, 2023 - News

Raleigh's deadliest year for pedestrians

Data: Raleigh Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Raleigh Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals

The death of a 12-year-old girl, killed in a hit-and-run on Hillsborough Street two days after Thanksgiving last year, shook the city of Raleigh and ignited concerns about safety on some of the city's most popular roads.

Driving the news: Her tragic death was one of many caused by car accidents last year. 2022 saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths in at least eight years, city police data shows.

  • Nearly 30 pedestrians were hit and killed by cars as they were trying to cross Raleigh roads last year — nearly double the previous record set in 2019, when 15 pedestrians were killed.

The big picture: The numbers are yet another painful reminder of the growing pains of a booming city, and an indicator that the city has struggled to adapt to the growing number of pedestrians and drivers on the roads.

What they're saying: "As the city continues to grow, it's definitely a concern that we will have more deaths, more injuries if we do not put the infrastructure in place to keep pedestrians safe," director of the state's Safety, Health and Workers' Compensation division Scarlette Gardner told WRAL in November.

Raleigh intersections with the most reported crashes involving pedestrians, 2022
Data: Raleigh police department, Axios research; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

By the numbers: Cars struck pedestrians crossing Raleigh roads more than 280 times in 2022, killing nearly 1 in 10 people hit.

  • November was the deadliest year for crashes. Six people died that month.

Dozens of those deadly crashes happened on some of the cities' busiest roads:

  • Seven people were killed by cars on Capital Boulevard.
  • Three were hit on New Bern Avenue.
  • Two died after being struck on Six Forks Road and another two killed, including 12-year-old Samantha Briggs, were hit on Hillsborough Street.
  • Two more were killed after crashes on S Saunders Street.
  • Fatal crashes also occurred on Peace Street, Western Boulevard and Poole Road.

What we're watching: The City Council recently reduced speed limits in downtown Raleigh in response to safety concerns for pedestrians. It also acknowledged that more can be done to improve pedestrian safety throughout the city, like adding more sidewalks around Dix Park.

  • But it wasn't until last year that the city adopted a Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate roadway deaths.
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