Rachel Aldred has divided the casualty data by the average distance people walk and the results are quite startling:
Someone walking in Barking runs more than twice the risk of being seriously injured or killed than if she were walking in Kingston.
Both boroughs have low walking shares, so is the difference linked to income levels?
Dr. Aldred will conduct more research.
Meanwhile, here is a couple of possible explanation:
- Kingston’s affluent residents demand money to be spent on a beautiful public realm; that often means better and safer infrastructure for pedestrians; Kingston was also recipient of Mini Holland money, and safe cycling infrastructure also improves the safety of pedestrians. On the other hand Barking, where Ford used to have a large factory, is still married to “car culture” and its authority is not devoting sufficient attention to pedestrian safety.
- However, there may be another factor that may influence the income/danger correlation: culture. In poor neighbourhoods, a car is still perceived as a status sign; car owners are more likely to act disrespectfully towards non-owners. Additionally, poor neighbourhoods have a larger percentage of immigrants from countries (such as India, Arab and African countries) where this disrespect is endemic. In more affluent neighbourhoods, people don’t need to prove their status by driving aggressively.