Debunking the Distracted Pedestrian Myth in Wilmington
Wilmington is one of the most dangerous cities in North Carolina for pedestrians and bicyclists, according to data published by Port City Daily. The state's Department of Motor Vehicle's 2016 crash facts report revealed that Wilmington crashes involving pedestrians resulted in death 8.8 percent of the time.
Of the 85 cities with 10,000 people or more ranked most dangerous for pedestrians statewide, Wilmington came in at No. 4, with factors including an overall number of pedestrian accidents, crash rate per population and severity of incidents.
Pedestrians are more attentive than you think
There are a number of theories that explain this increase, including: infrastructure that isn't walker- or bicycle-friendly, drivers who are speeding, driving drunk or engaging in distracted behavior, and pedestrians who aren't paying attention. That last one is of particular interest because it imposes some degree of fault on the injured pedestrian. However, "distracted walking" isn't quantified by either Wilmington or state traffic safety investigators, and now a new study indicates that the whole idea of distracted walking may be a myth, or at least blown largely out of proportion.
As reported by Curbed, engineering professors at Northern Arizona University examined the crosswalk habits of thousands of pedestrians in two large urban areas. They found that 87 percent of pedestrians didn't exhibit any sort of distracted behavior.
Researchers found that those pedestrians using cellphones were slightly more likely to travel outside the crosswalk; however, they weren't any more likely than other pedestrians to cross when a "Walk" signal was absent.
Study authors didn't examine how many drivers were distracted at these same intersections, but we do know drivers who aren't paying attention pose a major risk to pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users.