After a long winter, Chicagoans know how to appreciate spring. Commuters walking between the L and offices in the Loop, strollers on The 606 and festivalgoers crowding into Millennium Park – they know. It is the perfect season to get out and experience one of the world’s great walking cities.
It is still more dangerous to walk in Chicago than it needs to be, despite city hall’s many studies, experiments and design changes. We have ongoing trouble protecting pedestrian safety, in part because holding drivers accountable is not always easy.
Transportation only getting safer behind the wheel
If there is such a thing as a good year for traffic deaths, we had one in 2019. Chicago suffered 25 fewer fatalities last year than we did in 2018, and that is something to celebrate.
But th decrease came from people on motorcycles and in cars and trucks dying at a rate 30% lower than the year before. Focus just on pedestrians, and deaths in Chicago decreased by only about 2.5%.
For people who travel by their own power, safety statistics appear to be stagnating and sometimes getting worse. Meanwhile, motor-vehicle numbers have markedly improved.
Chicago has a hit-and-run problem
Because the problem of pedestrian deaths and injuries has many causes, there are many chances to things around. Design changes for streets and crosswalks, and safety tips for drivers and pedestrians alike can play their role.
But Chicago appears to have a hit and run problem. Or you could say we have a problem with driver accountability.
Across all of America, about 20% of pedestrian deaths involve a hit-and-run driver who fails to obey the laws by stopping, calling for help, and identifying themselves, etc.
But in Chicago, twice as many (40% of pedestrian fatalities) happen during a hit-and-run crime.
Getting the facts and holding people accountable
There are hundreds of city-owned cameras on streetlights and elsewhere across Chicago. Many keep their footage for only 30 days, so anyone needing evidence from them may need to act fast to secure it.
Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1967 to create a more transparent society. It is supposed to give citizens access to documents, images and video that the government creates with our tax money, unless the government can show there is a compelling reason to keep it secret.
Legal representation can greatly improve your chances but, again, there is often a ticking clock limiting the time available to act.
If you or a loved one were hit be a careless driver, please contact The Fakhouri Firm, LLC at 312-999-9990.