Most people in Chicago spend a lot of time walking to get where they are going. Unfortunately, the city is not always safe for pedestrians. To address that problem, the City of Chicago Department of Transportation has begun to implement more than 250 measures that should improve pedestrian safety in the Windy City over the next several years.
The plan's priorities include making pedestrian areas around schools, parks and public transit safer. The plan also includes adding pedestrian islands to multi-lane roadways, using crosswalk countdown timers for pedestrians and installing improved beacons and signals. The city also will build more speed humps to slow traffic in residential neighborhoods.
CDOT worked with Chicago residents to determine where pedestrian safety improvements were most necessary. The department held meetings in the summer of 2011 to get public input on the safety plan. Over 500 suggestions were received.
The projected, called "Zero in Ten," has hopes of reducing pedestrian traffic fatalities in Chicago to zero in ten years. The move cannot come too soon, considering how dangerous Chicago's streets can be. Between 2005 and 2009, nearly 17,500 Chicago pedestrians were hit by cars; 16 percent of those pedestrian accidents resulted in serious injury or death.
Last year, The Chicago Tribune reported on a study by the city with some attention grabbing statistics:
- 28% of all pedestrian crashes involved cab drivers
- 33% of pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run
- 20% of pedestrian involved accidents occur in downtown's Central Business District
In addition, the study found that the most dangerous areas for pedestrians included Michigan Avenue between Chicago and Oak, and Dearborn Street between Ohio and Huron.
Chicago pedestrians who are injured as a result of being hit by a vehicle have a right to seek damages for the harm that has been done to them. A personal injury lawsuit can help accident victims recover for losses including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Chicago unveils 1st pedestrian safety plan," Bridget Doyle, Sept. 6, 2012.
To learn more about the rights of pedestrians hit by cars in Chicago, please visit our traffic accidents page.