Wait a minute, I thought walking was an approved exercise for us? In a state with an obesity problem that is second only to our budget crisis why would we not want to be walking?

It's not so much the activity involved with walking it's more about where you're walking. Our state ranks third the country in yet another dubious distinction. Louisiana ranks number three for pedestrian deaths in the nation.

A report recently published by Smart Growth America says that our state just isn't as safe as it could be for those who travel on foot.  Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition Emiko Atherton says the good news is that Louisiana can do something about this ranking.

Through providing better pedestrian infrastructure, better sidewalks, better crosswalks, better street lighting.

Pedestrians can do their part, especially at night, by wearing bright colored clothes with reflective material. This makes walkers, joggers, and other more visible to motorist, especially on streets where the lighting is not the best.

The two states that are ahead of Louisiana in the Smart Growth America report are also southern states. Florida ranked number one and Alabama was number two. Another contributing factor in so many pedestrian incidents could be the fact that because the temperatures are usually conducive for walking and running there may just be more people on the streets.

However, Atherton says to the Lousiana Radio Network that regardless of the number of pedestrians it's up to communities to make changes to help keep those travellers safe as well. For example,

Making sure that the signal timing, that pedestrians have to cross, is long enough. If they’re crossing a major roadway that they have what’s called the pedestrian refuge or a median, island in the middle of the road.