Chicago Pedestrian Deaths Spiked In 2012

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 22, 2013 6:40PM

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Part of the 2011 public art installation commemorating pedestrian deaths in 2011. (Image Credit: Chicago Elevated's Margaret Hicks)
Pedestrian fatalities in Chicago climbed in 2012 after three years of steady numbers. The total of 48 fatalities on city streets last year was the highest number in five years.

Reasons cited for the spike in pedestrian deaths were last year's mild winter and (naturally) distracted drivers. Active Transportation Alliance's Director Ron Burkle told the Sun-Times.

“The weather was better. It was relatively mild, especially in the winter,” Active Transportation Alliance Director Ron Burke said. “And driving went back up for the first time in a while. ... It looks like probably more people were out walking because of the mild weather. That alone creates potentially, unfortunately, some additional crashes.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman Jose Ucles said, "All you need to do is look around and see everyone on a cellphone, texting or listening to music and not paying attention to the road." Of those deaths, 23 were the result of hit-and-run accidents.

Cycling deaths were also up slightly last year, to eight versus 2011's seven. The Chicago Department of Transportation released a pedestrian safety plan last year that prioritizes safety for children and seniors around schools and parks. CDOT's ongoing construction of buffered and protected bike lanes is also intended to help make streets safer for the city's growing number of cyclists.