Nashville has an epidemic of traffic violence. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, there have been 566 traffic deaths in Davidson County between 2018 and 2022–and since 2018, 176 of those fatalities have been pedestrians.
In 2019, Walk Bike Nashville started calling on Nashville’s Mayor to commit to Vision Zero–a goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries. At our 3rd annual Pedestrian Memorial event in 2020, Mayor Cooper announced his administration’s commitment to Vision Zero. A task force worked to develop a strategy and Metro Council approved Nashville’s Vision Zero Action Plan and Implementation Plan in 2022
But change can’t come fast enough. Davidson County’s overall crash rank for 2018 to 2022 is number two in the state. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report, Nashville ranks 24th in the country in traffic deaths per 100,000 residents, and people walking and cycling on our streets are most at risk.
In 2019, the year that we started asking the mayor to commit to Vision Zero, 32 people were killed while walking and biking. 38 pedestrians were killed in 2020 and 36 in 2021. The number of fatalities have continued to increase and in 2022 Nashville lost a record-breaking 49 lives–47 pedestrians and 2 cyclists.
The Vision Zero Plan reports that while only 3 percent of people identify walking as their main form of transportation in Nashville, on average 17 percent of all traffic deaths or serious injuries are pedestrians. In 2022, of the 135 total traffic fatalities in Davidson County, 34 percent were pedestrians. Cyclists are also disproportionately at risk–while they make up less than 0.3 percent of Nashville commuters, they represent 2 percent of all fatal and serious injury collisions.
As the Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure and the Tennessee Department of Transportation work to address the identified infrastructure needs, we are eager to help foster a culture of safety in Nashville, which is an essential ingredient for reaching zero roadway deaths. With more and more people moving into urban areas in Nashville and the surrounding counties, and the popularity of bicycle-riding as a form of transportation increases, it is imperative that action is taken to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety.
What we do:
Continually advocate for infrastructure improvements and policies that make our streets safer. Some recent examples include:
- Release of Dickerson Pike Pedestrian Safety Plan
- Keep Infrastructure Public petition
- Removing Parking Minimums and instituting parking maximums for new developments
- Adding bike lanes to East Bank Blvd. in the Envision East Bank Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans
- Allowing eBikes on greenways and continuity in our bike share system
Raise awareness of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and serious injuries
Host the local chapter of Families for Safe Streets (a peer-to-peer support and advocacy group of families who have been impacted by traffic violence)
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