Louisville Police Officer Strikes Pedestrian During City’s Big Safety Push

Louisville's three-year pedestrian safety campaign is called "Look Alive Louisville." Image: Broken Sidewalk
Louisville’s three-year pedestrian safety campaign is called “Look Alive Louisville.” Image: Broken Sidewalk

Louisville is trying to get a handle on pedestrian safety. An average of 16 pedestrians are killed on the city’s streets annually, and the last few years have been getting worse. The city has received funding from the federal government for a three-year safety campaign dubbed “Look Alive Louisville.”

Branden Klayko at Network blog Broken Sidewalk has been running a series about the initiative. While the objective is admirable, so far the city’s tactics are a mixed bag at best. Law enforcement has been ticketing pedestrians for “jaywalking” and warning them about the dangers of dark clothing. On a more positive note, some of the messaging is aimed at drivers, and Dixie Highway, where 20 percent of collisions involving pedestrians occur, is due for a design “do-over.”

In the midst of the campaign, Klayko reports, an off-duty police office struck a pedestrian — an incident the encapsulates, in some ways, how “Look Alive Louisville” comes up short:

One of five dangerous target intersections being watched by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) as part of the city’s Look Alive Louisville pedestrian safety campaign is at Fourth Street and Broadway. On Monday night one block west, a pedestrian was struck by an off-duty LMPD officer who failed to yield to the unnamed person crossing Broadway in a crosswalk.

The off-duty officer was driving his cruiser north on Fifth Street and was attempting to turn right onto Broadway. LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell was quoted in the Courier-Journal saying the officer “failed to observe a male pedestrian and struck him as he was crossing.” WHAS11 later reported the pedestrian was in the crosswalk.

The collision occurred at about 9:30 p.m. Monday night and the pedestrian was taken to University Hospital with minor injuries. The speed limit on this stretch of Fifth Street is 35 miles per hour. Fifth is a four-lane, one-way street heading north while two-way Broadway contains seven lanes.

According to Metro Louisville’s data analysis of pedestrian crashes, motorist inattention is the number one condition leading to collisions, followed by failure to yield.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Better Cities & Towns explains how the streets of Hartford’s commercial districts were laid low. And Bike Portland reports that the city’s well-known neighborhood greenways program is on its way to being improved and expanded.

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