Walking along streets is not safe

Walking safely is a basic human right since the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights guarantees that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person" (Article 3), and that "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement " (Article 13) (see here).

But walking along streets and roads is often not safe or pleasant due to the presence of motor vehicles, traveling at lethal speeds.

Assessment of pedestrian safety

The safety of pedestrians can be assessed by a number of methods including the following:
  • Assumed from the total (all modes) recorded road casualty numbers i.e. politicians or officials may compare the total (all modes) figure in one area with total figures elsewhere, and assume that any comparison applies to all modes of travel
  • Recorded pedestrian road casualties: numbers, and rates per km (or mile)
  • Subjective impressions of danger / safety
  • Extrapolated from rates of inactivity / walking
  • Extrapolated from health effects of inactivity e.g. obesity

Recorded road casualty rates for different ways of traveling

DfT: Passenger casualty rates per km for different modes of travel
The bar chart plots DfT figures for risks per km taken from table (RAS53) of the DfT annual report - available from https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras53-modal-comparisons - or from here.

fatality risk by mode

So, on average, walking is the second most dangerous mode of travel, second only to travel by motorbike.