Chart of the Day: Pedestrian Crash Survival Rates by Age and Speed of Car

Simply put, pedestrian safety is basic physics. The fundamental relationship here is really not that complicated, and there have been lots of charts showing the correlation between speed and fatality in crashes.

But these charts, via Streetsblog, are the best that I’ve seen yet, and they throw in the added variable of the age of the victim.

Here you go:

crash death speed chart 3 crash death speed chart 2 crash death speed chart 1


The fundamental relationship between speed and crash severity is one reason why I’ve been trying to get more attention to our state’s speed limit restrictions, where cities remain unable to set urban street speeds under 30 miles per hour (with a few exceptions for schools and bike routes, I believe).

field of view speed perception chart

A speed / visual perception chart.


The other important factor relating to speed is that it affects crash incidence, in addition to severity. The slower that drivers are going, the greater their ability to perceive a complex urban environment. And the greater amount of time ad river has to react to unexpected encounters, swerving or hitting the brakes. Speed is the crucial variable.

That’s why I believe the real goal of safety movements like Toward Zero Deaths should be to reduce the “design speed” of our urban roadways under 30 miles per hour.

(It’s a lot like the Strong Towns speed flowchart: Are people speeding? If yes, redesign the road with a lower design speed. Repeat until the problem is solved.)

Given the rash of tragic crashes, the basic problem remains the same.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.