KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 19, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

That’s why organizations such as Bike Walk Knoxville work to keep kids safe while walking or biking around their community.

“Even at 25 miles per hour, if you hit a small child, they’re going to have a very serious injury and they might even die. At 30 miles per hour, it’s close to fifty percent fatality rate,” the president of Bike Walk Knoxville, Dr. Caroline Cooley said.

A lot of these accidents involving children happen near schools, experts say.

“Unfortunately around many of the schools, there aren’t adequate sidewalks for children to walk safely to and from school,” Dr. Cooley said.

Every year, an average of over 67,000 child pedestrians are injured. It’s why the city of Knoxville is working to improve the way residents can get around.

“The city looks very strategically at places where there are gaps in the existing sidewalk system, and especially with the view of school areas, especially elementary schools,” said Eric Vreeland, the deputy director of communications.

In the past five months, two links to a sidewalk area near Belle Morris and Pleasant Ridge Elementary Schools have been added. It was a $1.7 million dollar investment, but one the city said was needed.

“People have walked home from school and they haven’t had a sidewalk to do so safely,” Knoxville mayor, Indya Kincannon said. “So this sidewalk represents an investment in safety, and an investment in families.”

As an advocate of safety, Dr. Cooley said continuing to bring sidewalks to the community will only be beneficial.

“Sidewalks make a huge difference when a child has a sidewalk to walk on, it dramatically increases their personal safety,” she said.

More stories from Reporter Veronica Ogbe


The City of Knoxville is working to continue adding and improving sidewalks after completing a study on where they are most needed. When it will be completed is uncertain as funding is a large factor in determining that timeline.