Crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists often result in severe and fatal injuries.
In 2023, Nashville's streets saw 40 cyclist and pedestrian fatalities. Despite a brief decline in pedestrian fatalities in 2021, the numbers alarmingly rose again in 2022, with 47 deaths. City officials are committed to reversing this trend, improving infrastructure and education, and combating distracted driving.
Cyclist and pedestrian accidents in Nashville can be prevented through enhanced infrastructure, education, and driver awareness. To address this issue, Mayor Freddie O'Connell of Nashville has taken steps to improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. Recently, he declared an investment of $12.5 million toward enhancing transportation safety in the city.
Nashville's plan to prevent cyclist and pedestrian fatalities
During a press event, Mayor O'Connell cited the commitment of the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) to reduce and ultimately eliminate fatalities arising from car crashes. He noted the repetitive concerns raised by council members, particularly regarding the safety of elementary school children who walk to school.
"We've heard, as we've had these meetings with council members, a constant theme is particularly elementary schools and communities in walking distance can't safely walk to the schools, so ensuring that safe routes to the schools are a part of this is a big deal," said Mayor O'Connell. "We will also be announcing, we hope in short order, re-constitution of the bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee, all with the goal of driving down pedestrian fatalities."
The issue of road safety in Nashville is nothing new. October 2023 marked one year since former Mayor John Cooper introduced the "Vision Zero" initiative. The Vision Zero Action Plan of 2022 set an ambitious target to eliminate serious injuries and deaths on Nashville roads by 2050. The Nashville Department of Transportation has been working to make this vision a reality.
NDOT is also working on the "Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP)" project, a six-month pilot program aimed at Gallatin Pike. This includes improving emergency response times by allowing emergency vehicles to control traffic lights at six intersections. The EVP project is expected to be implemented this year.
What's causing Nashville's rise in cyclist and pedestrian fatalities?
Guneet Saini from NDOT explained their protocol following fatal crashes. Within 10 days of a crash, NDOT investigates the site to identify and improve any infrastructure issues that may have contributed to the incident. These investigations have revealed a pattern; many crashes occur away from intersections or at unmarked crossings, particularly for pedestrians. This lack of safe crossing points is a significant factor in pedestrian fatalities in Nashville.
Saini also pointed out the absence of medians and the presence of multiple lanes at certain locations. Despite lacking sidewalks and safe crossings, she observed that these areas still experience high pedestrian traffic.
If you were hit by a car in Nashville, get a lawyer who's not afraid to take on tough legal cases
While infrastructure changes can help improve pedestrian and cyclist safety in Nashville, the responsibility to keep vulnerable road users safe largely falls on drivers to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly. This includes obeying traffic laws, staying vigilant for pedestrians and cyclists, and refraining from dangerous behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, or impaired driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident in Middle Tennessee, it's crucial to seek legal help from an experienced attorney at the Law Office Of Eric Beasley in Nashville. By holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions, we can work toward creating safer streets for everyone in our community.
Our law firm offers free consultations and can help you understand your legal rights and options. We also operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don't pay unless we win your case. Protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.