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Pedestrians and cyclists who have died on the road honored in candlelight vigil Sunday

Posted at 6:23 AM, Nov 20, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville is on track to have its deadliest year on record for pedestrians and cyclists.

During World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, Walk Bike Nashville held a candlelight vigil on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in honor of those who have lost their lives.

Two years ago Darlett and Ernie lost their son when he was killed while crossing Antioch Pike.

They shared their story during the vigil, to raise awareness about the dangers that exist for pedestrians. They say drivers need to understand that the road is shared with many other people.

"When you're looking to see if it's safe to proceed, you should ask yourself is there anything I should be aware of, is there anyone I should be aware of," Darlett Sowers said.

Almost 40 people have been killed this year while biking or walking and Walk Bike Nashville said more needs to be done faster to prevent this.

WBN has been working with the mayor, Metro Council, and NDOT, and said it recognizes efforts such as Mayor Cooper's four-year Vision Zero plan.

However, Wesley Smith, Policy and Relations Manager for WBN, said there are shorter-term ways to prevent crashes that the organization is advocating for, like lowering speed limits, extending curbs for cars to make wider turns around and using quick build material to create protected bike lanes. Especially on some of Nashville's deadliest roads like Dickerson, Nolensville, and Murfreesboro Pikes.

"If someone gets hit in a crosswalk or on the street that's walking, they're not the one operating a deadly weapon," said Smith. "I drive a car in this city. Most folks have to or do, and for those of us that do drive we have to understand the responsibility that comes with that and it's really serious."

The non-profit is focusing on three things: urging Mayor Cooper to lower speed limits and fix streets where the majority of crashes happen as well as changing the narrative of placing blame on victims that are hit.

Nashville has broken its record for pedestrian deaths every year since 2017.

In 2020, seven streets accounted for nearly half of pedestrian fatalities. You can find more information on fatality trends HERE.

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Common high crash corridors in Nashville