If you enjoy walking or riding your bike in California, you may appreciate your city’s efforts to improve safety for you and others through the Vision Zero program. Vision Zero is a set of initiatives established in Sweden that successfully reduced the number of traffic fatalities by implementing strategies through engineering, law enforcement and public education. The noble goal is to reduce pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle fatalities to zero.
Many cities across the U.S. have adopted Vision Zero ideals and diverted money into implementing them. Unfortunately, the goal of making the streets safer for pedestrians and others has not found footing here like it has overseas. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities have increased in many U.S. cities embracing the Vision Zero campaign.
Not solving the problem
Vision Zero policies strive to slow down the flow of traffic and re-engineer streets and sidewalks so they are friendlier for pedestrians. You may notice more roundabouts instead of intersections, wider sidewalks, narrower street lanes and more clearly marked pedestrian crosswalks. Cities where you travel in California may be pouring millions of dollars into these and other changes, but the number of fatalities, especially among pedestrians, continues to rise.
The answer may be simple. You can change the layout of the street, but you cannot always change the minds of the people behind the wheels of the vehicles. Drivers who prefer their own convenience over the safety of others will still speed, look at their cell phones and ignore signs to be cautious for pedestrians. Additionally, more people are driving heavier vehicles like SUVs, which increases the chance that an accident will end in death.
Losing the vision
You may understand why many cities that began in good faith to reduce traffic fatalities to zero have turned their attention to other needs in the cities. It may be difficult to convince politicians to continue to support a program that is having little impact. This leaves you and others, who either prefer to walk or have no choice, at the mercy of drivers with little regard for your safety and well-being.
If you should suffer injuries when a vehicle strikes you, or if you face the tragedy of losing a loved one in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you do have options for seeking justice. A skilled attorney can evaluate your case and guide you in the most appropriate steps for pursuing the compensation you deserve.