The law in Arizona allows people traveling on foot to use the same roads that vehicles do. Generally, pedestrians should use sidewalks when they can, but they can walk on the left side of the road when no sidewalks are available. They should walk facing into traffic, which can help them spot issues before a vehicle overtakes them.
Although pedestrians sometimes have to share the road with motor vehicles, they aren’t as safe as the people inside the vehicles they encounter. The structure of even the smallest car provides crucial protection in the event of a collision. Crashes between pedestrians and vehicles can prove deadly at speeds that would likely only cause property damage if the collision involved two vehicles.
Across the United States, pedestrian crashes have become more common in recent years. According to an analysis of crash reports, Arizona is actually one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians as of 2023.
What does the research show?
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) looks at nationwide crash reports. The organization estimates that roughly 7,500 pedestrians died in traffic in 2022. That is the highest the fatality rate has been in four decades. A combination of infrastructure issues and increasingly large vehicles is largely to blame for the increase in pedestrian deaths.
In some states, the chances of a fatal crash are far higher than in others. According to the GHSA, New Mexico is the single most dangerous state for pedestrians with 4.4 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2022. Arizona took second place on that list with an estimated 4.17 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 state residents. Florida, which took third place, reported 3.7 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents.
Researchers are unsure of why Arizona consistently ranks as one of the least-safe states for pedestrians. Factors that may contribute to the total risk include the amount of rural land in the state and more people walking because of better weather.
Active individuals in Arizona do not need to simply avoid walking on public roads. However, they may want to adjust their habits to optimize their safety. Tracking risk factors can help people decrease their chances of getting hurt while walking on public roads in Arizona.