Number of Chicago pedestrians hit and killed skyrockets

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago is turning into a dangerous place to be on foot. The number of pedestrians run over and killed is up 31 percent.

Last year, 46 people lost their lives just trying to walk across the street, and experts say one of the big reasons for all these crashes is cell phones.

“I think the single biggest thing is more aggressive driving were just seeing more and more reports of that,” said DePaul transportation expert Joe Schwieterman.

And people who navigate the streets with their feet know and feel the effects.

“I am a runner, I run outside all the time. They don't care, they don't stop, I've had schoolbuses turn into me, I've had cars almost hit me,” said runner Jon Borkin.

Last May, a 5-year-old girl was hit and killed in Gage Park. The driver took off, but was later arrested.

Downtown, a woman was run down at Lake and Michigan by a CTA bus that failed to make the turn. The cause of those crashes may not have been cell phones, but it's something many people worry about.

“I see lots of people who drive around and are constantly texting and constantly doing other things on their cell phone. I mean it's just waiting for an accident to happen,” said pedestrian Conan Banks.

But it’s not just the drivers who are distracted.

“You see this all the time downtown, pedestrians using crosswalks, electronic devices, staring at him LCD screen often leaving before the walk sign even emerges ,” Borkin said.

The increase may also be due to more pedestrians. Nearly 15 percent more people are walking to work in Chicago than back in 2010, and nearly 55 percent more are biking to work.

More people are also riding the rails, which means they are out and about on foot.