This California City is the Most Dangerous City for Pedestrians

A new study says that walking in some towns in Northern California is the most dangerous thing to do. Smart Growth America’s study shows that the US isn’t very good at keeping people safe on the roads. But it’s really bad for people who are walking in Stockton.

The city is ranked ninth out of 101 U.S. Metro areas for how dangerous it is for pedestrians for that reason. Between 2016 and 2020, 126 people died. That’s about three deaths per 100,000 people each year.

“Not only do we see a high-ranking area, but we also see an area that has had a huge rise in deaths in the last few years,” said Beth Osborne of Smart Growth America. “Trajectory is very bad for Stockton in particular. In some places, the rise was much smaller. Things were bad for them to begin with. Stockton sped up the danger so much that it caught up with him.

The study says that unsafe driving is getting worse because of bad road design, like high-speed roads that focus on getting a lot of cars through an area quickly. Sacramento, California, came in at number 27 on the list of nine other places from California.

At number 27, 297 people were killed on foot there between 2016 and 2020. These other California cities are also on the list:

  • Bakersfield (7)
  • Fresno (10)
  • Riverside (14)
  • San Diego (31)
  • Los Angeles (32)
  • San Jose (49)
  • San Francisco (56)
  • Oxnard (85)

Of the states where walkers died, California had the ninth most deaths, with more than 4,700 deaths from 2016 to 2020. New Mexico has the most deaths.

An Uneven Death Toll

That’s right, the study found that people who were hit and killed by cars were mostly older and more likely to be walking in low-income areas. “This burden is not shared equally, even though everyone is affected by dangerous street design in some way,” the authors wrote. “Even though there were other changes, the pandemic made things worse for Black and Native American people, who are already dying at higher rates.”

That’s because neighborhoods with lower incomes are less likely to have sidewalks, crosswalks that are clearly marked, streets that are built for slower speeds, parks, and other places where walking is safe for fun.

“Lower-income neighborhoods are also much more likely to have major arterial roads built for high speeds and higher traffic volumes at intersections, making it even more dangerous for people to walk,” the study said.


A study by Smart Growth America reveals that walking in certain Northern California towns is the most dangerous activity, with Stockton ranking ninth out of 101 US Metro areas. Between 2016 and 2020, 126 pedestrians died due to unsafe driving, with poor road design contributing to the issue. The study found that older people and those in low-income areas are more likely to be hit and killed by cars.

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