Despite Cincinnati’s initiative to make its streets more pedestrian-friendly, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents is on the rise. In a single week during October in Cincinnati, three pedestrians died. Statewide, pedestrian fatalities rose more than 25 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol.
In an interesting feature article on Soapbox Cincinnati, columnist Casey Coston sheds light on the city’s “auto first ethos,” the problems that it causes, and which streets and crosswalks are the most unfriendly for pedestrians. Here, we share some of his insights, and add our two cents on the current walkability of Cincinnati.
Is Cincinnati pedestrian friendly?
In 2009, Cincinnati hopped on board with Complete Streets, an initiative that helps transportation planners and engineers design and operate roadway systems with all road users in mind, including pedestrians.
Initially, the city made some good strides toward making our streets more pedestrian friendly, such as reconstructing Liberty Street, reopening of Taft and McMillan to two-way traffic, and making several bike sharrows (shared lane markings).
However, officials’ efforts have waned somewhat, and pedestrians are still getting hurt — in an even higher number than before. “Nowadays,” Coston says, “Complete Streets seems more about re-paving roads, buying new snow plows and filling potholes, as opposed to anything truly transformative.”
On a scale of one to 100, with one representing a city that is totally car-dependent and 100 representing a walker’s paradise, Walk Score has given Cincinnati a score of 50, which means it is “somewhat walkable” and one point away from the poorer “car-dependent” category.
The main problems, Coston speculates, are:
- Excessive speed;
- Distracted drivers;
- Lack of enforcement of current traffic laws; and
- Cincinnati’s “auto-first” ethos, “a dusty remnant of our conservative, suburban-oriented mindset from the latter half of the 20th century. Downtown streets are designed with one thing in mind — funneling east/west commuters to their freeways in the speediest way possible,” – not pedestrian safety.
Our firm has represented numerous pedestrians and cyclists in the Cincinnati area after they were hurt in auto accidents. Injury claims and wrongful death claims are on the rise. Cincinnati just is not where it should be in terms of walkability.
Top Five “Mean Streets” in Cincinnati
In light of the recent pedestrian traffic accidents, Coston, who is also a civic activist and founder of the Urban Basin Bicycle Club and the Cincinnati Stolen Bike Network, made an informal list of the “Top 5 Pedestrian Unfriendly Intersections and Crosswalks in the Basin.” His picks for the meanest streets include the following:
- Reading Road at Liberty
- Roebling Suspension Bridge / The Kentucky approach
- Over-the-Rhine, especially 12th and Main and 14th and Vine
- Second and Walnut streets
- Smale Park in The Banks, with the busy Mehring Way bisection and Vine Street’s lack of crosswalk signals
What do you do if you are involved in a pedestrian accident?
If a car strikes you while you are walking in Cincinnati, there are several things you should do to protect yourself:
- Get medical attention. Taking care of your health and safety is your top priority. Seek a medical evaluation (even if you do not think your injuries are that serious) and tell the doctor how you sustained your injuries.
- Report the accident to police. Ask for a copy of the police report.
- Try to collect evidence while at the scene if possible. Take photos of the accident scene and damage and write down the name, contact number, and insurance information of the driver that hit you. Also, write down contact information for any eyewitnesses.
- Talk to a lawyer about the best way to seek recovery for your damages. We will explain which insurance policies are applicable to your accident and how to file a claim and pursue maximum recovery.
- Save all of your accident-related bills and receipts, and note how much time you have missed work so that you can recover adequate compensation.
What if the driver who hit me left the scene?
If the driver who hit you fled the scene (and officers cannot find him or her), you will need to turn to your own insurance for coverage.
If you have auto insurance and carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), you can file a claim with your own insurer and recover up to your policy limits. (But speak to one of our lawyers beforehand so we can ensure that you have accounted for all of your losses. If you prematurely settle with your insurer, you could miss out on money that you are entitled to.)
If you do not have auto insurance or opted out of UIM coverage, you will need to resort to your own health insurance and disability insurance to pay for your medical bills and loss of wages.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Cincinnati Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love was hurt in a pedestrian accident in Cincinnati, contact Levy Law Offices for a free case evaluation. Let our team of determined accident attorneys help you seek the restitution and justice you deserve.