Sunday, January 4, 2015

America Slips in Highway Safety as Millennials Switch to Walk/Bike Modes in Unwalkable/Unbikable Urban Areas

Comment submitted today to the international roundabout listserv housed at Kansas State University

...Our roads were once number one in fatality rates in 1970 according to the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD).   And OECD puts us at 15 now among the two dozen or so nations they recently reported data on. The top three or four nations including the U.K. have half our fatality rate per miles of car travel--that translates to 15,000 needless fatalities here in the U.S. alone each year if only we addressed safety deficiencies--roundabouts needed in place of signals probably the most glaring deficiency.   As more and more folks--led by the millennials--give up licensing, reduce their car travel and switch to more walking and bicycling (at least trying to in our unbikable/unwalkable downtowns and urban areas!), walking and bike fatalities are on the increase while the vehicle occupant numbers continue a slow decline.  The need for roundabouts to serve demand for safe walking and bicycling has yet to move the needle of 400-500 roundabouts production yearly in U.S./Canada.  An Ebola death galvanized the country but the growth from 621 walker fatalities to 722 (2010-2012) hardly gets notice.  

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