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As roadway users, whether on foot, bicycle, or vehicle, we all are responsible for pedestrian safety!Yes, everyone shares responsibility for helping to reduce the incidence of pedestrian-involved crashes, including drivers and pedestrians. Traffic safety measures, including appropriately marked crosswalks and traffic light crossing signals, help to make roads and pedestrian paths of travel safer. Police help by enforcing the laws designed to promote safety for all roadway users. Drivers and pedestrians must make good choices and be cognizant of their surroundings, which, in conjunction with our infrastructure investments and enforcement activities, helps to reduce pedestrian-involved crashes. Such safe motorist and pedestrian habits also make our community a more pleasant place for walking and biking, especially around busy activity areas, such as the Village Center.Transportation statistics reveal that nearly two pedestrian-involved crashes occur per week in Westchester County, resulting in approximately nine pedestrian fatalities annually, on average. These crashes result in approximately nine pedestrian fatalities per year in Westchester, on average. Nationally, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2015, which averages one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours of the day.Both drivers and pedestrians need to maintain awareness and obey traffic devices and laws intended to promote public safety.
Certain pedestrian populations are at greater risk, with persons over 65 and children at most risk. 2015 statistics indicate that pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 19% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 13% of all pedestrians injured, while 20% of children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
It should also be noted that, on a national basis, only a fraction of pedestrian crashes causing injuries are recorded by police departments, as victims often fail to register a complaint. Therefore, taking into account both under-reported injuries and other near misses that pedestrians routinely experience, there is reason for greater concern than pedestrian-involved crash statistics suggest.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersection locations, including persons attempting to cross streets at non-intersection locations, or outside of established crosswalk boundaries. Furthermore, alcohol impairment, higher vehicle speeds, and low visibility conditions, particularly at night, are leading contributory causes of pedestrian-involved crashes. Statistics also indicate that high-activity areas, such as the Village Center during peak commuting periods, present elevated risk of pedestrian-involved crashes, especially during the evening commute period and again later at night.
Vehicular speed control is an important element to consider in terms of pedestrian safety, particularly in high-activity areas. At impact speeds below 15 mph, over 90% of pedestrians who are struck do not sustain significant injury, and very few die. However, as speeds increase beyond this range, small changes in speed yield relatively large increases in risk.