Pedestrian safety is key everywhere, but especially in a city like Ann Arbor. There are many walkers and bicyclists, thanks to accessible walkways and bike lanes. There are far too many pedestrian fatalities in cities across the United States. Between 40 and 50 percent of traffic deaths are pedestrians in large cities.

This is why the City of Ann Arbor released a report on driving behavior and pedestrian safety. Here are the findings of the study.

Pedestrian safety statistics

The study concludes that more vehicles are beginning to stop for walkers in Ann Arbor. Increases from 28.5 to 65.2 percent in police-enforced zones and 34.2 to 53 percent in non-enforced zones are commendable.

Police enforcement

This improvement in driver awareness is partially due to the presence of police officers. The Ann Arbor Police Department issued a total of 844 citations throughout the study. This proves drivers are more conscious of pedestrians when they fear consequences from the police.

Increase in public awareness

However, law enforcement is not the only deterrent. Communications from the city, awareness campaigns and education from traffic engineers are also crucial to keeping pedestrians safe.

Safer crosswalks

Additionally, the city is making crosswalks safer through a variety of improvements. There are more road indicators and pedestrian signs to keep motorists cognizant of pedestrian activity.

More action is necessary

While this study brings some good news that it is possible to alter driving habits, there is a lot more to do to prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Students, commuters and exercisers who walk in our community should feel confident in their ability to travel safely. While pedestrians can take some actions themselves, such as looking both ways and avoiding distractions, it is ultimately up to drivers to become more aware. The city and police department can do more to ensure motorists are willing to stop for pedestrians in Ann Arbor.