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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Final Detailed Findings Report for Marketing Plan and Outreach Materials

Final Detailed Findings Report for Marketing Plan and Outreach Materials that Promote Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety to Different Hispanic Populations in the United States

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Section 4. The Pedestrian and Bicyclist Highway Safety Problem as It Relates to the Hispanic Population in the United States

4.1 Introduction

This report describes the extent of the involvement of Hispanics in pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

4.2 Summary

FHWA and NHTSA sponsored research related to Hispanic pedestrian and bicycle safety. This report presents crash statistics and summarizes the results of focus groups. A companion report, Hispanic Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, presents the focus group results in detail.

The authors analyzed FARS data from 1999 through 2003. They examined pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities by ethnicity, gender, age and alcohol involvement. For the analysis summarized below, Hispanics were divided into five subgroups: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, European Spanish or other.

The analysis revealed that

  1. There were 2,723 Hispanic pedestrians killed in crashes. This accounted for 16.3% of all pedestrian fatalities.
  2. There were 393 Hispanic bicyclists killed in crashes. This accounted for 15.9% of all bicyclist fatalities.
  3. 1,388 male pedestrians of Mexican origin were killed in crashes. Of these, 23.4% had alcohol involvement. The level of alcohol involvement among all Hispanic pedestrians who were killed in crashes was 22.2%.
  4. 252 male bicyclists of Mexican origin were killed in crashes. Of these, 15.5% had alcohol involvement. This was the highest level of alcohol involvement among the Hispanic subgroups. The level of alcohol involvement among all Hispanic bicyclists who were killed in crashes was 13.2%.

In further analysis, the authors examined the distributions of crash characteristics for three groups: Non-Hispanic Whites, Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics. This additional analysis revealed that

  1. Pedestrian fatalities among Hispanics were more likely to occur in urban areas (79.9%) than pedestrian fatalities among Non-Hispanic Whites (64.4%) or Non-Hispanic Blacks (73.3%).
  2. Bicyclist fatalities among Hispanics were more likely to occur in urban areas (78.6%) than bicyclist fatalities among Non-Hispanic Whites (60.3%) or Non-Hispanic Blacks (68.9%).
  3. Bicyclist fatalities among Hispanics were more likely to occur at or near an intersection (37.4%) than bicyclist fatalities among Non-Hispanic Whites (27.9%) or Non-Hispanic Blacks (32.6%).

4.3 Questions answered

In what pedestrian and bicycle safety-related areas is communication with Hispanic audiences most needed?

The authors point out that about one-fifth of fatal pedestrian crashes are intersection or intersection-related. About 9 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes occur at a signalized intersection. These numbers are applicable to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic pedestrian fatalities. Based on these numbers, they conclude that "Pedestrian safety programs that target crashes at signalized intersections and/or pedestrian crosswalk locations are not focusing on the location of most fatal pedestrian crashes, including those involving Hispanics". (p. 25, emphasis added)

According to the authors, intersections on multi-lane roadways are a potential topic for educational programs that target Hispanic bicyclists.

The authors also recommend that (1) campaigns should focus on the need to obey traffic laws, how to use crosswalks, and pedestrian/bicyclist rights and responsibilities; and (2) local programs should focus on the specific pedestrian/bicyclist problems in each community.

Pedestrian focus group participants suggested these pedestrian safety-related areas: stopping at every light, looking both ways before crossing the street, obeying the laws, respecting the lights, crossing only in pedestrian walkways, education about what to do at yellow lights, and education about how cars can slide in snow and bad weather.

Bicycle focus group participants were interested in information on laws, precautions, risks, and positive and negative things about being a bicyclist. They also thought that educating drivers on bicycle safety was critical.

What types of messages are most likely to have the most impact? What are the best "media" for getting the messages across?

Participants in the pedestrian focus groups suggested that information be distributed via television, radio, public transit stations, commercials, soap operas, soccer games, PSAs, churches, schools and supermarkets. They were not interested in receiving information via the Internet. Materials should include graphics and other visuals, and not rely too heavily on text.

In the bicyclist focus groups, participants suggested that information be distributed via media outlets – radio, newspaper, television, and magazines, doctor's offices, churches, schools, community centers, bus shelters, the Internet, supermarkets, libraries, Hispanic neighborhoods, motor vehicle offices, and bike stores. They also suggested word-of-mouth advertising campaigns with commercials, posters, flyers, bumper stickers, a bicycle race, and manuals and maps for bicyclists.

Should materials be presented just in Spanish, or in English and Portuguese as well?

Participants in both the pedestrian and bicyclist focus groups said that materials should be bilingual in Spanish and English.

Which Hispanic groups should be targeted and why? Are any groups over-represented in pedestrian and bicycle crashes?

Hispanics of Mexican origin for roughly two-thirds of all fatalities among Hispanic pedestrians and bicyclists. Among all Hispanics, about 67 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 89 percent of bicyclist fatalities occurred to males. A higher percentage of fatalities among Hispanic pedestrians and bicyclists occurred to those in the 21-29 age group, compared to non-Hispanic pedestrians and bicyclists.

Which Hispanic groups should be targeted and why? Should different cultural groups be targeted and why? Do their cultural differences have an impact on their involvement in pedestrian and bicycle crashes?

The authors recommend that drinking by pedestrians and bicyclists of Mexican origin be addressed by pedestrian and bicycle safety campaigns.

4.4 Outstanding questions

Should materials be presented just in Spanish, or in English and Portuguese as well?

The focus groups did not include Portuguese.

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Page last modified on January 31, 2013.
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