Fatality Tracker: Senior woman killed in hit-and-run, driver not yet apprehended

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 22 (10 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 5 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 7

Bessie Manning, 85, was crossing Division Street, southbound on Waller Avenue in the Austin community area, when she was struck by a “dark-colored” car and likely died immediately. Police are looking for the driver of the car. The Chicago Tribune has more details.

As a reminder, the speed of a motor vehicle involved in a crash with an unshielded human (i.e. a pedestrian or bicyclist) is the greatest determining factor of injury or death in that crash (the speed of the vehicle in this crash hasn’t been reported but now is as a good a time as any to publicize it). Simply put:

  • 20 MPH at crash impact: 5% chance of fatality
  • 30 MPH, 37-45%
  • 40 MPH, 83-85%
  • 50 MPH, nearly 100% chance of fatality

View Waller Avenue and Division Street in larger map

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time and includes only people who died in the Chicago city limits. View previous Fatality Tracker posts.

Is anybody actually using Chicago’s new pedestrian safety flags?


Flags at Francisco and Devon – all photos courtesy of CDOT, taken the day the flags were installed

[This piece also runs in Time Out Chicago magazine.]

This fall the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) used a shock-and-awe strategy to raise awareness of pedestrian safety issues. As part of its $495,000 “It’s Up To You” safety campaign, funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, CDOT placed scary ads on trash receptacles and buses, illustrating the devastating effects of reckless driving. The department also installed 32 dead-white mannequins along Wacker Drive representing Chicagoans killed by cars last year.

CDOT’s latest ped safety initiative is also in-your-face, but in a kinder, gentler way. On December 8 the department zip-tied canisters of blaze-orange safety flags to poles at ten uncontrolled (no stoplight or stop sign) intersections near senior centers, schools and hospitals all over town. Since state law requires cars to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, you’re supposed to grab a flag, wave it to signal drivers to stop, cross the street and leave the pennant in the container on the other side.

On the Monday three days after the flags were installed, I visited locations around the city to find out whether people were actually using the flags, or just stealing them.

Continue reading Is anybody actually using Chicago’s new pedestrian safety flags?