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Statistics show Denver pedestrians face higher death risks

Depending on the state, crossing a street on foot can be hazardous. In some states, the chances of being hit and killed by a motor vehicle are relatively high. In others, the risks are much lower. Recent statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2011 and 2012 show Colorado and Denver to be close to the national average for pedestrian accidents and pedestrian deaths.

For the year 2012, NHTSA data show an estimated 76,000 pedestrians were injured and more than 4.700 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving a variety of motor vehicles in the United States. The report defines a pedestrian as a person walking, running, hiking, sitting, jogging and even lying down. The 2012 figures show that pedestrian fatalities increased some six percent over 2011, although the percentage of the total of traffic deaths remained the same, at 14 percent. Nearly three-quarters of all pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas.

In Denver, 36 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2012. Half were pedestrians, giving the city a rate of 2.84 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 people. Other cities in which pedestrians fared as badly as those in Denver were New York City and San Francisco, with pedestrians accounting for nearly half of all traffic deaths.

For the state as a whole, pedestrian deaths were around 16 percent of the state's total of 76 deaths. Overall, Colorado was close to the national average for pedestrian accidents and deaths. States well above the national average in pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 include Delaware, South Carolina and New Mexico. Those with lowest rates included South Dakota, Rhode Island and Utah.

Despite crosswalks and other safety measures, being a pedestrian is not easy in most U.S. cities. No matter where they live, pedestrians are likely to be seriously injured or killed in any accident involving a motor vehicle.

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