Baton Rouge ranked 4th most deadly city for pedestrians, study finds
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge is the fourth most deadly city for pedestrians in the nation, according to a new study from USA Today.
Nationwide, pedestrian deaths in car wrecks have increased 46 percent since 2009. The study attributes this jump to the increasing popularity of SUVs, which are heavier and more likely to crush a person in an accident.
In Baton Rouge, a number of other factors have contributed to the rate of almost 30 deaths per 100,000 residents since 2010. Drunk driving, drunk walking, distracted driving, and high volume traffic all contribute to the city's high rate.
Justin Lemoine, a Mid-City resident who walks to work, says he's noticed an improvement in his commute since the city began resurfacing sidewalks on Government Street. "Since they added sidewalks, so many more people are running and jogging," he said. "You can't ride a bicycle or even push a stroller on some of the sidewalks now because they're not level, but once they're done, it will be safer for bikes, strollers, joggers, elderly, anybody."
The problem is primarily urban, meaning it disproportionately affects minorities and poor people. African Americans make up about 20 percent of pedestrian deaths in car wrecks, but only 14 percent of the urban population, the study shows.
Lemoine says he's glad the city is adding sidewalks because he says he doesn't want to drive if he doesn't have to. "It means that I can go to more things safely. We can go to more restaurants further away, more businesses," he said.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) suggests walking on sidewalks or against the flow of traffic to stay safe. They also say pedestrians should carry flashlights and avoid dim intersections at night.
The department also recommends staying sober enough to walk.
Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.