Transportation for America, a group that advocates for safer streets, has just put out a report ranking cities on how dangerous they are for car/pedestrian accidents.
The most striking thing about the data is that the top four most-dangerous cities are all in Florida: Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, in that order.
In fact, the most dangerous metropolitan areas tend to be in the South: Memphis, Raleigh, Louisville, Houston, Birmingham and Atlanta. And if you're thinking that it's because more people walk there, the report says, that's not necessarily the case. Orlando, for example, has "a very low proportion of residents walking to work" -- 1.3 percent -- but a very high pedestrian fatality rate.
In other words, the few people who do walk in Orlando face a relatively high risk of being killed by a vehicle.The real problem, the report says, is often poorly designed roads that force pedestrians to walk along -- or cross -- arterials.
Here in Washington state, the most dangerous metro area is Yakima, although its "pedestrian danger index" of about 81 is relatively low compared to the cities listed above. Next-worst are the Tri-Cities, Bellingham and Vancouver. Spokane and Olympia rank relatively well, and Lewiston has a perfect record: No pedestrian fatalities in 2007 or 2008.