Walking, rather than driving, is good for your body, and it also helps lower your carbon footprint. Walking in Delaware is particularly dangerous, though, with the state now ranking second in the nation in terms of the number of pedestrians who die on its roads.
According to Bike Delaware, Delaware falls only behind Florida when it comes to the number of pedestrian deaths it saw per capita between 2008 and 2017. The state saw between about two and three dozen pedestrian deaths per year during this span. This raises questions about why the state ranks so high in this area and what it might do to get things back under control.
Pedestrian death trends
A review of recent pedestrian deaths in Delaware has revealed some trends about where these road fatalities are most likely to occur. Contrary to what you might think, it is not always the most crowded parts of the state or the areas with high student populations that see the most pedestrian deaths. Instead, it is actually suburban New Castle County that ranks highest in the state for pedestrian deaths. The county’s high-speed, multi-lane roadways, in particular, see the most pedestrian fatalities.
Why have pedestrian deaths become so common in Delaware? In some cases, national trends may come into play. Nationally, more motorists are choosing to drive SUVs, rather than smaller passenger cars. These large vehicles tend to do more damage than smaller ones when they strike pedestrians. At the state level, some believe the state created hazardous conditions. The state made the speed limits high on many state highways, but then county governments zoned those same thoroughfares for shopping and dining, creating what some call a “perfect storm.”
To make the state’s roads safer, the state needs to add more bus stops, more barriers and more crosswalks, among other necessary actions.