Are Pedestrians Really Safe in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia County experienced 36 pedestrian fatalities in 2013, more than any other county in Pennsylvania.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association records from 2013 indicate that Philadelphia County was the deadliest of all Pennsylvania counties for pedestrians that year. In all, 36 pedestrians lost their lives in Philadelphia County. The county with the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities was Allegheny County were 12 pedestrians died.

In the counties bordering Philadelphia, the risk to foot traffic continues to be seen. Montgomery County experienced nine pedestrian fatalities, Bucks County saw six deaths and Delaware County was the site of another three such losses.

How severe can a pedestrian accident be?

Because of the natural lack of protection that pedestrians have compared to people in vehicles, they are at a grave risk for serious injuries when struck by vehicles. A group tasked with training accident reconstruction teams in Texas created a video that makes very clear what a pedestrian's body may experience upon impact by a motor vehicle.

The Houston Chronicle discussed how in the video, the crash test dummy is hit by a car which results in the knees buckling. From there, the dummy's face hits the windshield and the whole body goes over the top of the vehicle. In the process, a shoe even comes off of one of the dummy's feet.

Local stories are real, not fictional

Local news stories highlight reports of accidents in which actual people, not crash test dummies, were involved. Market Street in Philadelphia was the site of a hit-and-run collision in which a pedestrian lost a leg. noted that no witnesses were around at the time of the accident but that the victim was discovered by another person later on.

Two vehicles crashed on Philadelphia's North Broad Street and the impact sent one of them crashing into a pedestrian who was nearby. notes that the pedestrian sustained critical injuries and was being treated at Einstein Hospital.

Another story reported on an accident in which two pedestrians were hit in Northeast Philadelphia. The accident happened on a Saturday morning. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the accident scene. The second victim was taken to a local hospital by air. No details were given about the condition of that victim.

What can pedestrians do?

It is important for pedestrians to make themselves visible to motorists in daylight or night. Of equal importance is obeying all traffic signs and signals. When these and other reasonable precautions fail to prevent a pedestrian accident, an action is needed.

Victims should always be prepared to contact a lawyer for help receiving compensation after an accident.