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Melanoma Cases Soar in Marin County

Watch for Pedestrians: The Shocking Statistics

An op-ed piece by Laurel Druke, MCYD member

It is astonishing how often one hears of a pedestrian being hit and killed in the United States. You can’t watch the local news without hearing about a man, woman, or child being hit and killed in a tragic accident involving a cross walk and a vehicle. Most of us watch the news either to hear about local political acts, or to hear about the sports highlights, or to hear about the weather; but not many of us expect to hear about so much pain and sadness involving cars and pedestrians.

We were all built to walk. We have two feet, two legs, or in some cases two wheels to move. One should never feel worried or scared to walk. One should feel confident and excited to walk a new path. This is not supposed to be an inspirational piece, but one that will make people pay attention to the shocking statistics of pedestrian deaths involving vehicles and how we, as citizens and human beings, are the only ones that can change the direction of walking to be a positive movement, not a death sentence.

Here are a few statistics to wrap your brain around:

“On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.”

Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, August, 2013.


“Pedestrians account for 14% of total traffic fatalities in 2011, up 3% from 2010.”

- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


“Pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience and increase of fatalities in the U.S. in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.”

- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


Those are huge numbers! Over 4,000 deaths should not have occurred because one chose to be a pedestrian that day. Everyone is a pedestrian at one time or another. We as a society need to protect pedestrians and protect drivers alike to keep one another safe while moving to the next location.  It is important to really think about oneself and soak in those numbers. Even though statistics are usually impersonal, think about someone you know, maybe your mother or father, sister or brother, daughter or son, relative, friend, neighbor, or acquaintance. Could you imagine one day hearing that they were killed in an accident that is entirely preventable?

Most pedestrians are killed because either the person walking across the street or the person driving a vehicle down the street are not paying full attention to the road in front of them. If a pedestrian is fully aware of his/her surroundings, looks both ways, and has the “go ahead” from drivers around them, this should create a safe passage across the road. Also, if the driver is fully attentive to the road in front of him/her and is concentrating on checking all mirrors and being patient while pedestrians cross the road, this would equally create a safe passage.

Many times we do not really stop at stop signs. We do the “California Stop,” which doesn’t really include fully stopping. When we are impatient, sometimes our caution is overrun by the need to get somewhere quickly. When this happens, accidents happen. Pedestrian deaths are not purposeful by any means, but they can be avoided. With the number of pedestrians increasing over the next couple of years as a result of the SMART train, we need to pay more attention to the issue of pedestrian and driver safety.

This article’s intention is to encourage patience, consciousness, and caution when driving and walking down our streets. Imagine yourself behind the wheel of your car; when you go to push the accelerator, please take a deep breath, look around you, and make sure that there are no pedestrians wanting to cross your path. It is worth your life and those of others to wait. 

Laurel Druke is a member of the Marin County Young Democrats and one of their goals is to write op-ed and articles for local news organizations like the San Rafael Patch. We meet monthly in Marin County and always encourage new faces! MCYD meetings are the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7pm. Meeting locations vary each month throughout the County. Email MarinCountyYoungDems@gmail.com for the meeting location.


MCYD are students/young professionals between the ages of 18-35 years old who live, work, or go to school in Marin County dedicated to the values of the Democratic Party. Posts don't necessarily reflect the views of the group's entire membership. 

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tina McMillan April 01, 2014 at 11:32 PM
Distracted driving, walking and biking puts everyone at risk. People are talking, texting and listening to music when they need to be paying attention to their surroundings. If we can't learn to pay attention then we risk being injured or even killed. We need to be more present in our lives without the distraction of gadgets. I would encourage the young Democrat that wrote this piece to practice the same patience and attentiveness as a pedestrian or cyclist that she expects from a motorist, it may save lives...
Bubba six pack April 02, 2014 at 12:33 AM
I'm only guessing here, but i think many pedestrian accidents are at the intersection when the light turns green, and a driver turns right, as the pedestrian steps off the curb to walk with the light. Both are correct, but if the driver starts to turn, the pedestrian should know this, and hold back, or get out there first to own the path. I've seen pedestrians walk into cars while yakking on their cell phone, holding it to their ear and blocking their view of the turning driver. It's the rise in cell phones, by pedestrians mostly, that is the cause.
Hopkin April 02, 2014 at 06:22 PM
What I see every day in Novato is people crossing S. Novato Blvd in random spots, to get to the Safeway shopping center. And just last week, guy walking his dog along Grant, gets to the 4th St 3-way stop and does a 90 degree turn into the crosswalk without slowing down or even looking, causing both cars on Grant, who had already started to go, to slam on their brakes.
Michael April 02, 2014 at 06:24 PM
so many lemmings now who walk with their heads down looking at their 'smart phone' (right... really smart!) or while talking on the phone. Combine that with the vehicle drivers also texting and talking on their phones and we have what we have now... mobile organ donors! Mobile phone/texting use is out of control. As a society we have not yet figured out how to protect ourselves from these lemmings. Nothing they are doing on their phones is more important than life except in their minds. But lemmings are lemmings. They get what they set themselves up for. Cars nor any other type of vehicle cause accidents... humans do. I am convinced nothing will change. So maybe this is just nature's way to thin our herd. I am not for more technology aimed at protecting ourselves from ourselves. How lame can people be? DEAD lame.


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