Las Vegas: 6th-Worst U.S. City for Pedestrians?

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
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By Farhan Naqvi, Personal Injury Lawyer in Nevada
With all of the attractions that Las Vegas has to offer on the Strip, it’s not surprising to see a large number of pedestrians out and about both during daylight and nighttime hours. So it is in the city’s best interests to ensure the safety of its pedestrians as much as it can.
This week, a report entitled “Dangerous by Design” was released by an organization called Transportation for America. It studied 52 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and ranked them by what it called a “Pedestrian Danger Index.” According to this methodology, Las Vegas is the sixth-most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians.
Did that surprise you? Maybe so, or maybe not. But should we really trust the results of his study?
Let’s take a closer look.
The report itself does not offer detailed information about how Transportation for America computes its “Pedestrian Danger Index.” But a clue is provided by some of the data that it focuses on. The study notes that 421 pedestrians were killed in Las Vegas accidents between 2000 and 2009, which calculates a deaths-per-100,000 residents index of 2.5.
There appear to be two major problems with this “Dangerous by Design” report. First, it apparently limits the scope of its study to pedestrian fatalities only. It seems that Transportation for America does not believe that non-fatal injury pedestrian accidents are “dangerous.” [In other words, if you were run over by a bus, sustained major brain damage, and became a mentally-impaired quadriplegic, your pedestrian accident wouldn't have been counted in the group's "Dangerous by Design" study.]
But there’s a more basic flaw in these results. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 metro areas on its “most dangerous” list.
1. Orlando, FL
2. Tampa, FL
3. Jacksonville, FL
4. Miami, FL
5. Riverside, CA
6. Las Vegas, NV
7. Memphis, TN
8. Phoenix, AZ
9. Houston, TX
10. Dallas, TX
What do all of the cities have in common? They are all located in the southern half of the United States, where the weather tends to be milder. It stands to reason that you would find more people walking the streets of cities where the weather is warm than you would where temperatures are frequently lower. And when you have more pedestrians, you have greater odds of pedestrian accidents.
What’s more, six out of the top seven cities on the list rely heavily on tourism. In other words, they attempt to draw in millions of people each year who will quite likely explore tourist attractions on foot. So at any given time, there will be more pedestrians on the streets of a tourism-focused city than in a city of similar size that does not rely heavily on visitors.
Yet since the report’s “Pedestrian Danger Index” appears to compute a city’s pedestrian danger level based on its population, not the actual number of people on the streets (which would be residents plus tourists). And as we said before, more pedestrians equals more chances for pedestrian accidents. [To put it another way: if you were to cut in half the number of tourists who visit Las Vegas each year, as a resident you would certainly notice a sharp decrease in foot traffic on the Strip. But the group's "Pedestrian Danger Index" would not change at all. Does that make sense to you?]
Given this flawed approach, it is no surprise that tourist-heavy cities migrate to the top of the “Dangerous by Design” report. So a case can be made that this report does not provide an accurate view at all of whether a given city is safe or hazardous for pedestrians.
In fact, let’s use the report’s own data to come to a different conclusion: if 421 people died in Las Vegas pedestrian accidents during the study’s ten-year period, that works out to less than one pedestrian fatality per week in Las Vegas. Given the thousands of people on the city’s streets at any one time, couldn’t that be construed as a good thing?
What do you think about this report – or its contention that Las Vegas is a “pedestrian-dangerous” city?
o   About the Editor: Farhan R. Naqvi is a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who has experience representing victims injured in motorcycle accidents, car accidents, drunk driver crashes, auto pedestrian accidents, truck wrecks, slip and falls, taxi cab accidents, and bicycle crashes. He also has experience handling spine injury, product liability, underinsured/uninsured driver, and wrongful death cases. If you’ve been seriously hurt in an accident in Summerlin,North Las Vegas,ClarkCounty,Henderson,BoulderCity,GreenValley, or Pahrump, give Farhan a call at 702-553-1000 for a free, no-hassle consultation.

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