Breaking News
More () »

Why is the Valley seeing a rise in pedestrian crashes?

Pedestrian fatalities have risen 132 percent over the most recent decade in the Valley, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments.

PHOENIX — Several crashes involving pedestrians on Valley roads this week are highlighting how dangerous the roads can be for people walking in Arizona. 

People dying in pedestrian crashes have gone up, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). In the Valley, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 132 percent from 2012 to 2021.

“Unfortunately, it’s consistent with what they’re seeing around the United States,” Margaret Herrera, MAG’s Transportation Safety Program Manager said. 

The 'why' is complicated

As for why pedestrian crashes happen as frequently as they do in the greater Phoenix area, Herrera said is complicated. 

“Just as there are many, many things that lead up to a pedestrian crash and pedestrian death, there are also several solutions. But they all need to kind of be addressed together,” Herrera said. 

Data from MAG shows more than three out of every four pedestrian crashes happen at night. 

As just one example, Herrera said one thing her team has noticed while assessing roads is pedestrians think that they’re more visible than they really are to drivers, especially when it’s dark out. 

“It's not that they're being irresponsible, right? They just feel like there's enough lighting. And it's also not that the driver is being irresponsible, you know, they're just not seeing the pedestrian,” Herrera said. 

Other studies have also shown road design and speed limits play factors too on pedestrian crashes. 

RELATED: Arizona ranked 4th most dangerous state for pedestrians in new study

Several solutions

Cities in the Valley, like the City of Phoenix, have taken action through road safety planning.

Phoenix’s Road Safety Action Plan was just approved last month by the council and has plans to install more pedestrian crosswalks mid-block with flashing lights, among other plans for the future. 

MAG has also pinpointed some other potential solutions in its safety plan, like giving pedestrians a head start to cross intersections, raised medians or mid-block crossing signals with flashing lights. 

Herrera said that each roadway or intersection needs a tailored solution. 

Whether walking, biking or driving, Herrera adds everyone on the road needs to be looking out for one another. 

“As individuals, we don't have a whole lot of control over what other people do, right? So we really have to look out for ourselves,” Herrera said.

RELATED: 75-year-old woman dies after being struck by dump truck in Tolleson

RELATED: This three-mile stretch of I-10 is Arizona's most 'dangerous' for crashes

Up to Speed

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.

Before You Leave, Check This Out