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Pedestrian fatalities are increasing

Minnesota pedestrians who are walking in low-income neighborhoods may be more likely to be hit by a car. This was one of the findings in both a white paper released by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center in 2016 and a report by the nonprofit Smart Growth America in 2017. Hispanics have a 50 percent higher fatality rate compared to whites, and the rate is almost twice as high for African-Americans.

In some cases, errors by drivers or pedestrians are to blame. However, both studies as well as other research blame design factors as well. According to one official at the Federal Highway Administration, aging infrastructure that communities lack the funds to repair are a serious issue. Pedestrians are in more danger when there are no pedestrian crossings or sidewalks. The absence of these safety accommodations may also encourage speeding drivers.

Nationwide, pedestrian fatalities are on the rise. In 2016, they went up 11 percent from 2015 to 5,992. Between 2006 and 2015, pedestrian deaths increased 12 percent, and they make up 15 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.

Pedestrians hit by vehicles may suffer head trauma, broken bones and other injuries. A city might bear some responsibility in an accident if the area where the pedestrian was hit is dangerous in some way. For example, the accident may occur in an area where visibility is impaired. The medical bills from such an accident may be overwhelming, and the injured pedestrian might want to discuss options with an attorney if compensation is insufficient. Both the negligent driver and the city might be liable in a civil lawsuit.

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