Seattle Pedestrians, You Have It Made!
The Liberty Mutual Insurance Pedestrian Safety Index has been released and with it, the 15 safest pedestrian cities have been named with Seattle, Washington heading the pack.
With more than 108,000 residents commuting on foot or by public transportation each day, the city has less than 10 pedestrian fatalities each year compared to the more than 4,000 deaths that are reported annually.
“These impressive statistics are likely the result of a number of safety programs the city has put in place in recent years,” the insurer notes, giving credit to initiatives like the “Safest Route to School” Program, which keeps the youngest residents safe with 501 new crosswalks, improved school walking routes and school zone speed cameras, to the “Be Super Safe” campaign aimed at eliminating dangerous driving behaviors.
“We are seeing a dangerously high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities across the country, so it’s promising to see cities like Seattle dedicating the necessary resources to ensure the safety of their citizens,” said David Melton, managing director of global safety and driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance. “The goal of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Pedestrian Safety Index is to recognize the U.S. cities that are taking exceptional measures to keep their streets safe and to help others across the country learn from those best practices.”
The full top 15 were ranked as follows:
- Seattle, Wash.
- Boston, Mass.
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco, Calif.
- New York, N.Y.
- Portland, Ore.
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Minneapolis, Minn.
- Chicago, Ill
- Atlanta, Ga
- Denver, Colo.
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Baltimore, Md.
- Columbus, Ohio
- Los Angeles, Calif.
The insurer also noted that staying safe as a pedestrian is a burden of responsibility that falls on both drivers and pedestrians alike, offering the following safety tips for how to keep fatalities as close to zero as possible.
- Put away the phone! Any cell phone use behind the wheel impairs one’s driving abilities. If you must use your phone while driving, find a safe place to pull off the road to take a call or answer a text.
- Constant awareness. Continually scan the road and sides of the road for bicyclists, pedestrians, construction, traffic congestion or erratic drivers. Road activity can change at any minute.
- Use caution and slow down. When driving in residential areas, school zones and when approaching crosswalks, always drive slowly and be prepared to stop quickly.
- Avoid using your phone while walking. Keep texting, emailing or browsing the Internet to a minimum while walking, and always put down the phone when crossing the street. Avoid the use of headphones and loud music while walking and crossing the street to ensure you can hear motorists approaching.
- Observe all pedestrian traffic safety rules. Never jaywalk; use sidewalks and designated crosswalks, and always wait for the walk sign before crossing at lights.
- Look both ways! It’s the first rule children are taught, yet adults often forget it. Even when there is a walk signal or stop sign, look both ways and be aware when crossing the street.
- Make yourself visible to motorists. Wear light colored clothing and outerwear with reflective patches so drivers can see you on the road. If your children walk to school, make sure their backpacks and shoes have reflective patches. If you must walk on a roadway, walk on the proper side of the street so you’re facing traffic.
One Final Thing For Insurance Customers
Every pedestrian, every driver, is an insurance customer of some sort, and studies like the above conducted by Liberty Mutual are important not only to bring awareness to safety practices and lower fatality rates, but also as a gauge for improving rates. Whether you’re behind the wheel of an automobile or simply purchasing a life insurance policy for your family, companies put a great deal of value on location.
Just as an example, Detroit, Michigan, is considered the most expensive city for drivers in America with an annual premium of more than $10,000. Compare this to No. 2, New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA’s rates are just over $4,300 annually. Safety practices and number of accidents and violations play a major role in setting those rates.
By scoring at the top of the list, Seattle has just added one more safety credential from which we can all benefit insurance-wise.