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Boston ranks second in pedestrian safety survey

It comes as a bit of a surprise that Boston was second in a new survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance that ranked major US cities by pedestrian safety. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Boston is famously home to the bean and the cod --- and maybe to bad drivers as well. When it comes to churlishness and bad attitude behind the wheel, Boston is reputedly second to none.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise perhaps that Boston was second in a new survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance that ranked major US cities by pedestrian safety.

The thoughtful observer might conclude that in a city awash with truculent and heedless drivers, pedestrians would be continually at risk. But when it comes to pedestrian safety, only Seattle eclipsed the Hub.

In drawing up its survey, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance said it arrived at its results by examining city statistics and measuring perceptions of residents and commuters.

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One survey finding: The US pedestrian population is on the rise, increasing by 24 million people between 2005 and 2010.

‘‘We are seeing a dangerously high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities across the country, so it’s promising to see cities like Seattle dedicating the necessary resources to ensure the safety of their citizens,’’ David Melton, managing director of global safety and driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance, said in a statement. ‘‘The goal of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Pedestrian Safety Index is to recognize the US cities that are taking exceptional measures to keep their streets safe and to help others across the country learn from those best practices.’’

Also ranking high on the pedestrian safety survey were Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and New York City.

Coming in at 15th place was Los Angeles. No mystery there. In LA, where Corvettes and deuce coupes are celebrated, recreational walking is deemed an act of cultural illiteracy if not outright reckless behavior.


Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.