RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A new study ranks the Riverside-San Bernardino region as the fifth-most dangerous place in the U.S. for pedestrians to cross the street.
The report from the Transportation for America safety coalition shows that nearly 950 walkers died in the area over the last decade, an number comprised of an estimated 1.8 percent of workers walking to work between 2005 and 2009.
The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region, meanwhile, had a far lower ranking at no. 27 despite tallying over 2,500 pedestrian deaths between 2000 and 2009.
Coalition director James Corless told KNX 1070 that as towns and cities develop and expand, drivers are more likely to ignore the walkers.
“We were trying to accommodate more and more traffic at higher speeds, and really had forgotten the pedestrians,” said Corless. “In fact, in the last couple decades, we have been actually taking crosswalks out of streets.”
Non-Hispanic whites accounted for well over half of all pedestrian deaths, with over 21 percent of fatalities affecting walkers aged 65 and older. Blacks, Hispanics, and the elderly were all over-represented in the number of deaths compared to population totals, according to the report.
Federal funding was also a major factor in determining how cities were ranked.
The report emphasized that while pedestrian safety is often perceived as a strictly local issue, 67 percent of all 47,000+ fatalities from 2000 to 2009 occurred on major roads that were eligible to receive federal funding for construction and design upgrades.
But it’s not all bad news for California: cities in Florida claimed the top four spots on the list, with Orlando taking the top spot.