Tulsa pedestrians deserve safe walking paths, including safe crosswalks when they must cross streets in front of cars. Unfortunately, careless drivers don’t always take enough care at intersections and through quiet neighborhoods. They can speed or look at their cellphones, putting the next person on foot they approach in danger.
Pedestrian accidents are a major problem for all residents in Tulsa. We must remember that we all become pedestrians when we head out for a run or park and walk into a supermarket.
Ylla|Goseny Attorneys at Law examined recent pedestrian accident figures in Tulsa to highlight the magnitude of the problem. It’s also hoped that drivers accept this reminder to slow down and let all pedestrians make it home safely.
National and Oklahoma Pedestrian Accident Numbers
Pedestrian safety is a national and statewide problem. The Journal Record reports that cyclist and pedestrian fatalities accounted for 20% of all U.S. traffic deaths in 2022. That was a 19% increase from 2019 numbers. When looking just at pedestrian collisions there were almost a thousand more victims who lost their lives in 2022 than in 2019. It was a shocking increase of around 18%.
Data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) shows a similar increase in pedestrian accidents and deaths in our state in recent years. 2021 saw 771 accidents causing 104 tragic fatalities.
Tulsa Pedestrian Accident Risk Over the Past Decade
Pedestrian safety has been a growing problem for those who walk or run through our city. Crossing a busy intersection like 106th and South Memorial Drive can be a scary adventure. The City of Tulsa reports that there were 991 collisions involving a pedestrian over the six-year span between 2011 and 2016. Those accidents led to at least 91 deaths. The City also released findings that Tulsa pedestrians hit by cars are nine times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than someone in a vehicle.
The OHSO Dashboard reveals that cases continue to rise in Tulsa each year. In 2021 investigators recorded at least 186 accidents that’s at least 25 more cases than any figure over the past several years. We await finalized numbers from 2022 and 2023 to see just how far the upward trend will extend.
These accidents often lead to traumatic injuries and, in the worst cases, the loss of life for defenseless pedestrians.
The Tulsa Police Department confirms that there were at least 19 people killed in citywide pedestrian accidents in 2022. That’s a slight downturn in heartbreaking deaths when compared to 2021’s fatal count. As the figures for 2023 are tabulated, it’s hoped that the numbers will continue a downward trend.
The Hit-And-Run Threat for Tulsa Pedestrians
Local pedestrians must deal with the risk of severe injuries and the chance that at-fault drivers may race away from an accident scene. Far too many pedestrian victims must watch as the reckless drivers who hit them flee the scene. Hit-and run drivers in Tulsa can leave a victim in physical and financial danger.
- Hit-and-run drivers may leave victims in the road and in the path of unaware approaching motorists.
- Hit-and-run drivers who don’t report accidents immediately will leave victims waiting longer for medical care.
- Hit-and-run drivers who are never identified leave victims and their families with massive medical bills.
Hit-and-run pedestrian accident rates have hit an extreme level in the span of five years from 2017-2021. There were 50 incidents involving a hit-and-run driver striking someone on foot in 2021.
If a hit-and-run suspect is never located, pedestrian victims can still seek financial support. They could file a claim with the uninsured motorist coverage on their own car insurance policy. If they don’t have a policy, it’s a good idea to check if they are covered by a family member’s policy. The only positive for pedestrians left to seek their own coverage is that Oklahoma doesn’t allow auto insurers to raise premiums on pedestrians hurt in accidents that weren’t their fault.
Seeking Major Improvement for Tulsa Pedestrians
Highlighting the troubling numbers that are stacked against pedestrians in our city won’t be enough to stop the tragedies that affect local victims, their families, and the Tulsa community.
City leaders will need to establish safer crosswalks and put in new footbridges and footpaths that remove pedestrians from traffic completely. Tulsa Police will need to continue to crack down on reckless drivers to protect everyone who uses local streets.