Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities increased across Minnesota in 2020 even though fewer motorists were on the roads. Reckless driving behaviors also increased across the state and nation in 2020, suggesting a link between these dangerous driving behaviors and the rising number of pedestrians and cyclists dying across Minnesota.
Per the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, there were 51 pedestrian deaths in Minnesota between January and mid-November, 2021. There were 40 such deaths during the same span the year prior. There were also 10 cyclist deaths across the state in 2020, rising from nine cyclist fatalities statewide the year prior.
Factors contributing to pedestrian, cyclist deaths
The number of drivers receiving speeding citations also doubled from 2019 to 2020. Speed was a factor in the majority of fatal crashes involving pedestrians that occurred across the state in 2020. Other reckless driving behaviors, such as aggressive driving, also increased between 2019 and 2020. Some attribute this to motorists taking advantage of the fact that there were fewer drivers on the road in 2020 than in years past.
Safety features that help protect pedestrians, cyclists
Some Minnesota safety advocates are calling for legislators to take more action to help protect the state’s cyclists and pedestrians. Some are calling for lower speed limits in areas with high pedestrian activity. Others are calling on legislators and safety officials to add more bike lanes and widen sidewalks in high-traffic areas.
When cars collide with cyclists or pedestrians, those traveling on foot or by bike often suffer the most. Pedestrians and cyclists who suffer injuries in crashes or family members who lose loved ones in wrecks may have a limited window in which to take legal action.