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Keeping vulnerable roadway users safe the focus of National Pedestrian Safety Month
September 27, 2023
In 2022 in Michigan, 86 percent of pedestrians involved in a crash were injured or killed
To keep all roadway users safe, throughout the year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) works to educate the public and raise awareness about the ongoing issue of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on our roadways. Beginning October 1, we recognize National Pedestrian Safety Month. It’s an important time of year to spread the message of safety as Michigan enters the busy fall season and student activities increase.
Of the 2,026 pedestrians involved in motor vehicle crashes in Michigan in 2022, 173 were killed and 1,566 were injured. These alarming numbers highlight the fact that 86 percent of pedestrians involved in crashes were either injured or killed.
Crash data shows a rise in the number of pedestrian-involved fatalities on Michigan roads over the last three years. From 2020 to 2022, a total of 531 pedestrians were killed in Michigan, an increase of 17 percent over the previous three-year period.
From 2017 to 2019, there were 158, 145 and 149 pedestrian-involved deaths, respectively, across the state, for a total of 452 fatalities. From 2020 to 2022, there were 175, 183 and 173 pedestrian-involved deaths, respectively, for a total 531 fatalities.
Katie Bower, OHSP director, said raising awareness is vital as pedestrians remain Michigan’s most vulnerable roadways users.
“When it comes to vehicle-pedestrian crashes, the pedestrian always loses,” Bower said. “During National Pedestrian Safety Month, the OHSP and our traffic safety partners will be working to educate residents about the importance of pedestrian safety and the traffic laws designed to protect them.”
Over the last five years combined, more pedestrians have been killed in October than any other month. October also has the most pedestrian-involved crashes for the same five-year period.
“Another alarming statistic is that twice as many male pedestrians were killed in 2022 compared to females,” Bower said. “Of the 173 pedestrians killed, 121 were male and 52 were female. These disturbing numbers emphasize the need for education and enforcement to keep everyone safe.”
During the month of October, police in several Michigan communities will be enforcing pedestrian-related laws. The participating agencies are the Detroit Police Department, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Lansing Police Department, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
To help keep everyone safe, drivers and pedestrians are encouraged to follow these safety tips:
• Pedestrians should always cross at crosswalks. Michigan crash data shows that nearly 25 percent of fatalities in 2022 were the result of pedestrians not crossing at intersections.
• Wear reflective clothing, especially from dusk to dawn. In 2022, the 7-8 p.m. time period had the highest number of pedestrian-involved crashes.
• Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, intersections and all traffic-controlled areas. The best practice for drivers is to always yield to pedestrians.
The enforcement campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the OHSP.
For more pedestrian safety tips and information, visit www.michigan.gov/walksafe.