Pedestrians - Beware Of Detroit's Deadliest Areas!

Detroit is a city full of history and rich culture. Over the years, the Motor City has faced numerous trials and setbacks, but today there is a newfound excitement in Detroit. People are making their way back and investments are being made to revitalize the city. While Detroit is in the midst of a major comeback, some serious problems need to be addressed in order to continue the city’s upward development. One of the issues currently at the forefront is pedestrian safety.

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From 2010-1016, Detroit had the, “highest per-capita pedestrian death rate… in the nation for large cities,” according to the Detroit Free Press. The Michigan Law Firm, PC discussed this alarming statistic earlier this month. Of the 139 square miles that make up Detroit, some areas pose a greater threat to pedestrians than others. Specifically, the Detroit Free Press identified three areas that have historically been more dangerous for pedestrians, including Gratiot, the west side of the city near 7 mile, 6 mile, and Greenfield, and Downtown Detroit.

In the Gratiot area, 8 pedestrians lost their lives within the, “half-mile stretch of Gratiot Avenue between Greiner Street and East 7 Mile Road.” Out of the 8 victims, 3 were women and 5 were men. The youngest to die in a pedestrian car crash on Gratiot was 14 years old and the oldest was 82 years old. The 5 men killed were between 21 and 60 years of age.

On the west side of Detroit, a total of 13 pedestrian fatalities took place approximately around, “West 7 Mile Road, Ferguson Street, Florence Street, and Lauder Street.” Over half of the lives lost in this “hot spot” were women. The male and female pedestrian car crash fatality victims  were between the ages of 25 and 71.

Not surprisingly, Downtown Detroit has been dangerous for bicyclists in addition to pedestrians. In a period of 8 years, 7 pedestrian fatalities occurred within, “1-square-mile...in the heart of the city on Woodward just north of Campus Martius.” Once again there was a wide age range amongst the pedestrians killed, with the the oldest, and also the only female, pedestrian killed being 90 years old, and the youngest pedestrian killed being a 21 year old male.

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In order to understand and prevent future pedestrian car accidents, it’s essential to recognize the similarities that these pedestrian fatalities share. First, alcohol did not a play a role in any of the 28 pedestrian accident fatalities, which means that the very serious problem of drunk driving did not contribute to these Detroit pedestrian deaths. Additionally, 22 out of the 28 pedestrian deaths, or more than 75% of the pedestrian fatalities, took place during nighttime hours when the city was dark. The fact that so many pedestrian car crash deaths happened in the dark leads to the theory that pedestrian fatalities are being caused by low visibility in Detroit streets, and not due to driver negligence by drunk driving or drugged driving. These pedestrian car accidents may have actually been accidents, that the at fault drivers couldn’t prevent. Although Detroit has added 60,000 street lamps over the past few years, it appears that more lighting needs to be installed, particularly at these three deadly Detroit locations, to prevent pedestrian car accidents. Lastly, 18 out of the 28 pedestrian car accident fatalities occurred at a non-intersection location. This means that the existing crosswalks are not helping shield the high pedestrian death rate, and city officials must focus on implementing safer pedestrian infrastructure.

Many Detroiters walk or ride their bikes to get around the city on a daily basis. These pedestrians should be able to get to their destinations safely and conveniently, without having to take risks that could result in a fatal car accident. As Detroit comes back stronger than ever, the city’s residents and tourists need to feel safe. Lowering the pedestrian death rate is one step towards a safer and more prosperous Detroit.


While the pedestrian death rate in Detroit is particularly high, pedestrian accidents can occur anywhere and at anytime. Drivers should remain alert when behind the wheel and actively scan the road for pedestrians, as well as any traffic obstacles. The Michigan Law Firm, PC understands how difficult dealing with pedestrian car accident lawsuits can be without even factoring in the severity of recovering from pedestrian car accidents injuries. Our experienced accident attorneys handle serious injury cases throughout the State of Michigan and can help victims of pedestrian accidents recover any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. For a free legal consultation, call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Detroit's Dangerously High Pedestrian Death Rate

In Detroit, cars are not just a mode of transportation; cars go beyond a hobby, or general interest. Here, they are a way of life. Two of the big three automobile manufacturers have their headquarters in the Motor City, along with many major auto suppliers. Later this summer, thousands of classic and modern cars will be cruising the Woodward Dream Cruise. Simply put, Detroiters love cars!

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While motor vehicles are often the center of attention, it’s become clear that the city also needs to pay attention to pedestrians. According to the Detroit Free Press, in the US in 2016 there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities, 29 of which took place in the City of Detroit. This number may seem insignificant, yet Detroit received the, “highest per-capita pedestrian death rate - 34.5 per 100,000 residents - in the nation for large cities in 2010-2016.”

Pedestrian fatalities in Detroit differed in several ways from pedestrian fatalities that took place in other cities. Between 2009-2016, only 6% of Detroit pedestrians were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their deaths, which is 30% lower than the nationwide percentage. Also in Detroit, within the same time period, 80% of pedestrians were struck “after dark,” versus 72% across the US. Similarities do exist between Detroit and the rest of the country in terms of pedestrian fatalities, such as the gender of the individual who lost their life, and the location of the car crash. Males accounted for 73% of pedestrian deaths between 2009-2016, and male or female, the fatalities occurred 77% of the time at non-intersection locations. Nationwide, as well as in Detroit, pedestrians killed were, on average, 49 years old.

The statistics relating to hit and run pedestrian car crashes also are a cause for concern for Detroit. Nationwide, hit and run car crashes made up 18% of all car crashes between 2009-2016. In Detroit, hit and run car accidents were an alarming 46% of of all car accidents,  32% higher than the national average!

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In light of these shocking pedestrian car crash fatality statistics, action has been taken to help make the city safer for those traveling by foot. Recently, Woodward Avenue at Jefferson Avenue was closed and a pedestrian plaza was added. Lanes were removed from East Jefferson Ave. to Grosse Pointe Park, and in its place, “bike lanes and pedestrian infrastructure” were added. To help prevent the prominent concern of pedestrian deaths taking place at night, 60,000 street lights were installed. Over the course of the next few years, Detroit will also be fixing approximately 125,000 run-down sidewalks.

Detroiters should note that city officials are mindful of all the pedestrian fatalities occurring in the area. Detroit’s Department of Public Works investigates pedestrian car crashes, and from their analysis, looks into what could prevent pedestrian car accidents from occuring. The Department’s staff also improves crosswalks by adding, “crosswalk signs and inspect[ing] pedestrian crossing signals for proper timing and display.”

The issue of pedestrian deaths is highly complex and has no simple answers. The main dilemma is that most Detroit roads were built with cars in mind, putting pedestrians at a disadvantage. Because of the existing infrastructure, individuals traveling by foot or bike are forced to take road navigation risks, and may attempt to cross a street where it is not safe to do so. The biker or walker may believe they can beat traffic, but the odds of beating a car are not in their favor. It’s clear that even more changes need to be implemented in the city, including at the very least, additional crosswalks and stop lights. When out and about in Detroit, pedestrians should be able to conveniently get where they need go, without having to fear for their lives.


When an automobile accident occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is substantially more vulnerable than the driver. After all, there’s no comparison between one individual and a 4,000 pound car. Detroiters who commonly ride their bikes or walk around the city should locate and use designated crosswalks, as well as be on alert whenever they are in the path of any vehicle. The Michigan Law Firm, PC understands how devastating pedestrian car accidents can be. Our experienced attorneys are here to help car accident victims with their legal burdens so they can focus on taking care of themselves. For a free legal consultation, call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Michigan Woman Dies After Being Struck By Vehicle In Parking Lot

A Michigan woman has passed away after being hit by a car in a grocery store parking lot outside of Muskegon, Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, Betty Jean Wolovek, 82, was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot of E&A Grocery on East Apple Avenue in Egelston Township, Michigan. The accident occurred on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017, at around 10:30 AM. She was taken to Mercy Health, where she died from her injuries.

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The car accident is still under investigation. Currently, Muskegon police have not released any details about the driver or if any criminal charges have been filed. According to Wolovek’s son, she was hit by a female driver who remained on scene until the police arrived. He believes the driver was backing up when she hit his mother.  

Parking lot accidents are unfortunately common in the United States. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an average of 50,000 accidents occur each year in parking lots and garages. Parking lot accidents result in about 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries each year. And since traffic deaths on highways and surface roads have been rising in recent years, it’s likely that the number of parking lot accident deaths may rise too.

A survey done by the NSC in 2016 found that 66% of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving in parking lots, and 56% admit to texting. Drivers also admitted to programming their GPS, sending or receiving emails, taking photos or watching videos, using a smartphone, surfing the internet, and video chatting, all while driving in parking lots.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC, said that, "Parking lots are intense driving environments that require both drivers and pedestrians to pay close attention...It is discouraging that so many drivers are willing to add distractions to that mix. When you're in a parking lot, you need to be hyper-vigilant to the risks surrounding you – just because speeds are lower doesn't mean you are safe." To help prevent car crashes, the NSC provides the following tips for drivers while in parking lots.

Parking Lot Driving Safety Tips

  1. Stay in lanes and avoid cutting across lots.
  2. Drive slowly and use directional signals.
  3. Anticipate the actions of other drivers.
  4. Obey stop signs and no-parking signs.
  5. When backing out, be mindful of vehicles and pedestrians.
  6. Watch for small children and parents with baby strollers.
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It’s not just drivers who need to remain vigilant and free from distractions while in parking lots, however. From 2001 to 2011, more than 11,000 pedestrians were seriously injured because they were distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that like traffic deaths, pedestrian accident deaths are also on the rise. Pedestrian deaths jumped 9% from 2014 to 2015, and are at the highest number they’ve been since 1996. When walking through a parking lot, pedestrians need to put the phone down, and be aware of vehicles that could start backing up at any moment.

Drivers and pedestrians must work together to car accidents in parking lots. Pedestrians need to stay away from their phones and any other distractions while walking to and from their cars, and be on the lookout for cars with their brake lights on, or any other signal that a car may be about to move. Drivers should program their GPS, send emails, make phone calls, and do whatever else they need to do while their car is in park and not moving - not while driving. When backing out of a parking space, drivers should check and double check for pedestrians, shopping carts, and any other hazards that may be their way. Parking lots may not seem as dangerous as highways, but distracted driving accidents can happen anywhere, and drivers should always know how to be safe avoid car accidents.


Parking lot accidents may not receive as much attention as high-speed car crashes on the freeway, but the truth is that car collisions can happen anywhere. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Honolulu Becomes The First City to Ban Distracted Walking

Every driver has experienced that moment of fear when proceeding through an intersection or sidewalk crosswalk, and seeing a pedestrian walking toward the road looking while down at their phone. You do not know whether the pedestrian understands where they are relative to the road and will stop accordingly, or if they will proceed to walk through because they are too distracted by their phone. “Distracted walking” is dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians, and cellphones are far and beyond the primary cause of it. According to a study published by the University of Maryland, 11,000 injuries phone-related injuries have occurred as the result of distraction, between 2000 and 2011. Honolulu, Hawaii has sought to become the first US city to pass legislation in effort to eradicate this problem.

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According to Reuters, effective October 25, 2017, Honolulu has banned pedestrians from looking at their phone while crossing the street. If a police officer catches a pedestrian walking while distracted, they can be fined anywhere from $15 to $99 depending on how long they were looking down at their phone. Understandably, emergency calls are exempt from the ban.

This distracted pedestrian act has set out to address the fact that distracted driving is not only the problem, but that distracted walking also poses many dangers as well. Kirk Caldwell, Mayor of Honolulu, addressed the reason for the law by telling reporters, “we hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any city in the country.” 

While Honolulu is the first American city to begin addressing this distracted pedestrian issue, they are not alone alone outside the United States. Large cities “across the pond” such as London, England and Augsburg, Germany have begun experimenting on how to curb distracted walking in their own right. London has begun wrapping pads around lampposts to cushion the impact in the event that a distracted pedestrian walks directly into one. As the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously informed readers, Augsburg has installed traffic signals in the ground, so that they are visible to pedestrians whose are looking downward while using their phone.

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While most can agree that Honolulu's attempt to protect pedestrians from being involved in pedestrian car accidents is a good idea, there are adversaries to this distracted walking bill. Honolulu resident Ben Robinson, claims that the bill infringes on personal freedom and encompasses government overreach. Robinson wanted to see the law repealed by telling the city council through written testimony, saying he wants the government to "scrap this intrusive bill, provide more education to citizens about responsible electronics usage, and allow law enforcement to focus on larger issues.”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with a law banning pedestrians from crossing the street while looking at their phones, it is undeniable that distracted walking presents many dangers to pedestrians walking along busy roads. Anyone walking down Woodward, Avenue in Michigan can tell you how often they've almost been hit by a car! Only time will tell however, if other large cities, including Detroit, Michigan, decide to follow Honolulu and pass distracted walking bans of their own.

In the meantime, look up from your phone when crossing the street! Whatever text you are sending or article you are reading can wait. Pedestrian safety is more important.


Pedestrians who cross busy without paying attention to traffic because they are consumed by their phones, are a danger to themselves and motorists. Pedestrians must be careful when crossing the street, and they must understand that whatever may be on their phone is not as important as their safety and can surely wait. Have you been in an accident involving distracted behavior? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.