Vox.com ran an article by Susannah Locke identifying the most dangerous cities for cycling and walking in the U.S. Thankfully, Atlanta did not make it into the worst five for cycling fatalities, but we ranked number three in per capita pedestrian fatalities, behind Detroit and Miami.
Ms. Locke analysed data from the DOT and the Census Bureau. She acknowledged that the ideal measure of fatalities would be deaths per miles walked, but that data was not availble, so the list is a ranking of deaths adjusted for population.
I never realized how wretched the compliance with pedestrian right-of-way is in Atlanta until I traveled in the Maritime provinces of Canada in the 1990s. One afternoon in Truro, Nova Scotia, I stopped at the edge of a crosswalks to chat with someone, and cars from all directions came to a complete stop. I was in my 40s at that time, and in my entire life I had never seen drivers stop for pedestrians at a crosswalks. Not once. Neither the driving culture nor enforcement of the law here in Georgia had instilled people with the reflex of stopping for pedestrians.
Over the past ten years there has been a trend in Atlanta to place the bright yellow signs at crosswalks exhorting drivers to stop for pedestrians. I suspect this does increase compliance where the signs are placed, but that the compliance with the law is no greater than before at intersections and midblock crossing where there are no yellow signs.
The only thing which is going to improve the situation is consistent and well publicized enforcement. Both the west coast of the U.S. (as reported to me by friends) and Canada have managed to teach their drivers what the crosswalks mean. We can do the same thing if we have the political will. People are being killed, and it is embarrassing that Atlanta is anywhere in the top five for this dismal statistic.