Pedestrians walking along busy streets are the slowest and least protected bodies on the road. Speeding may seem like a relatively victimless crime, but faster speeds lead to more serious accidents. In a pedestrian collision, the driver’s speed could mean the difference between life and death.
At 20 mph, pedestrians have a 95 percent chance of surviving the accident, even if they are injured. At 30 mph, the chance of survival drops to 55 percent. At 45 mph or higher, pedestrians have less than a 20 percent chance of surviving the accident at all.
On July 8, a 21-year-old driver was traveling at high speeds near Murray and Bijou when she ran off the road, striking a boulder and spinning out of control. During the mishap, her car struck a seven-year-old boy and his father who were walking on the sidewalk.
The father remains in the hospital in serious condition, but the young boy died at the scene. The driver sustained only minor injuries. She made her first court appearance the following Wednesday, facing charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
This young woman managed to save her own life in the accident, but her decision to speed cost a young boy his life. In addition, the charges she is facing could lead to substantial fees and possible jail time if she is convicted.
Residents in the area say that speeding is a regular occurrence on their street. “At times its usually 10 over the speed limit, but I’ve seen people going 60-70 mph around that corner,” one neighbor recounted.
How Can We Protect Pedestrians?
The Colorado Springs Police Department says they are aware of the complaints in the area, and they have dispensed more officers to patrol for speeders. But is that enough? Police presence can only catch offenders after they have engaged in reckless behavior, which may not be enough to prevent another catastrophe.
It is up to local government municipalities to install more permanent solutions like pedestrian crossings, stoplights or speed bumps. These solutions can help prevent accidents more effectively, but getting the city to install them can be a long and arduous process.
Speeding may be common, but it is still a reckless behavior that endangers bicyclists, pedestrians and other motorists. Police and local government agencies do their best, but they cannot force people to make safe decisions.
[Did You Know: In 2010, one in every five children killed in a car crash was not even in a car. They were pedestrians.]
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