Alcohol likely had role in pedestrian accidents

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ANCHORAGE - Alcohol was suspected as a factor in half of the 31 fatal collisions over five years between motorists and walkers or bicyclists in Anchorage, according to a new state report.

It was usually the walker who had been drinking, according to the report that looked at 1,098 reported cases in which people drove into walkers or bikers during a five-year period ending in 2002.

One-way streets in downtown and Midtown Anchorage were worst for accidents-per-mile. Sixth Avenue downtown led with 23 and Benson Boulevard had 21.

Crossing at a stoplight or stop sign could be dangerous. More than half of the walker-biker accidents with vehicles happened at intersections.

Ron Martindale, regional transportation safety coordinator for the state Department of Administration, wrote the report.

Anchorage's 220 reported collisions with bicyclists or pedestrians annually, which generally result in injuries, was among the average rates in other states, he said.

"The study shows there's a lot of pedestrian error involved," said Anchorage Police Lt. Nancy Reeder, who heads the APD traffic enforcement unit.

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