Alabama ranks 2nd most dangerous state for pedestrians - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama ranks 2nd most dangerous state for pedestrians

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JEFFERSON COUNTY - AL -
In a metropolitan area more accustomed to driving than walking, Alabama nearly tops the list of danger for pedestrians.  In fact a report detailing our danger level shows - our roads were designed for drivers - not walkers. Statewide, there have been more than 700 pedestrian deaths in the past ten years making Alabama the second most dangerous state to walk in.
A report by "Smart Growth America" shows Alabama is the nation's 2nd most dangerous state for people walking on or near public streets. 723 were killed in a nine year span including 49 children under the age of 16. The highest number in the Birmingham metro.  

"It is dangerous," Bill Aroosian, who would rather walk than drive, said. "People need to slow down. If you're out walking and cars are flying by you, you get nervous because they are going by you so fast."
"A lot of the metro area doesn't have sidewalks," Scott Strand, Manager, The Trak Shak said. "You're sharing the road with cars. It makes it tough. You're depending on the car to see you and follow the rules as well."
Many metro cities and neighborhoods weren't built with sidewalks creating a dependency on city parks like Veterans Park in Hoover and the Lakeshore walking trails.
"We didn't want to spend a lot of gas money so walking around here was important to us," Mae Barton, who lives in Homewood said.
We found some Homewood residents who moved there just to use the Soho sidewalks for getting around.
"I think it's important to have sidewalks that you can access easily and you don't have to drive everywhere," Carolyn Bowler, who lives in Homewood said.
An organization called "Safe Routes to School" encourages Jefferson County students to walk or bike to school. Problem is, there aren't many places to safely walk.  
"Not having sidewalks is a huge barrier in walking to school but there are other barriers as well," Nichalaus Sims, "Safe Routes to School said. "What we're looking at is walking as a form of transportation and making sure drivers are aware of people out walking and biking."
The Trak Shak says if you do have to walk in a place with no sidewalks use strobe lights, running flashlights, or reflective vests.
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