Evanston police report a modest decline in traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists so far this year in the face of an increase in the total number of accidents.

Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew says pedestrian and cyclist accidents fell from 51 last year at this time to 46 so far this year — a 10 percent decline.

Meanwhile the total number of accidents has increased by nearly 6 percent, from 786 to 830.

So far this year there have been no pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents in Evanston, compared to one at this point last year.

Across the nation last year was the worst in three decades for pedestrian deaths on U.S. roads with a projected 6,227 pedestrians killed based on preliminary data.

In Illlinois for the first six months of last year pedestrian fatalities rose to 80 from 67 in the same period in 2017.

The City of Chicago has reported a big drop in pedestrian fatalities so far this year — down 40 percent to 12 compared to 20 at the same point last year.

Safety experts blame the nationwide increase in pedestrian deaths on more cars on the road, higher speed limits — and more drivers and pedestrians distracted by electronic devices.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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