2019 had been the deadliest year on record for pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in Nashville with 32 people killed. And then, of course, 2020 was worse. In 2020, Nashville had 37 pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. In response, Metro Nashville has adopted some programs to help. Metro’s Traffic Calming Program and Vision Zero program are being used to improve safety, and one big step is reducing speed limits on our roadways.
Experts believe many factors have caused pedestrian and bicyclist accidents to soar in Nashville. Some of these factors have been building for a while and others are pandemic-related:
- As more and more people have moved to the Nashville area, traffic on interstates and major arteries has become clogged. As a result, motorists have begun using neighborhood streets to avoid the traffic jams.
- With more urban living available in Nashville, more people are walking or cycling to work or other places to avoid traffic, the cost and hassle associated with parking a vehicle downtown, etc.
- For environmental or health reasons, more people are choosing to bike or walk.
- The pandemic has caused many people, who would otherwise go to a gym or club, to get their exercise outside on the streets.
- As more people have worked remotely during the pandemic, there are often fewer cars than normal on the roadways which has resulted in some drivers increasing their speed.
In response to all of this and as part of the larger Traffic Calming Program and Vision Zero plan, Metro Council has approved, and the Traffic & Parking Commission has passed, a Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction Initiative for all streets that currently have a speed limit of 30 mph. Those streets will now be zoned for a 25 mph speed limit.
While that may not seem like much, statistics show that a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a car traveling 25 mph has a 25% chance of a serious or fatal injury. When the speed is increased to 33 mph, the risk of a serious or fatal injury increases to 50%. At 41 mph, the risk jumps to 75%.
With this initiative, Nashville joins New York City, Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, Seattle and others in the reduction of speed limits. In Boston, the lower 25 mph speed limit on residential streets saw a 29% reduction in vehicles exceeding 35 mph, an 8% reduction of drivers exceeding 30 mph and a 2.9 % reduction in drivers traveling over the 25 mph speed limit.
At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers have recovered millions for pedestrians and bicyclists who have been injured by careless drivers. In a recent case, we won an $18,000,000 judgment for a pedestrian. We handle all pedestrian and bicyclist cases on a contingency-basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you and your family, and we advance all case expenses so you do not have to pay a single cent out of pocket to protect your legal rights and your future. Give us a call to discuss your case for free.
Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash