Compared to 14 pedestrian fatalities in 2020, this represents approximately a 121% increase in fatalities in just one year.
The people behind the statistics
No one should die trying to get somewhere. As an organization working to reclaim Atlanta’s streets as safe, inclusive, and thriving spaces for people to ride, walk, and roll, we strive to eliminate all traffic deaths, whether the person killed was crossing the street or behind the wheel. The deaths of those killed while using active transportation — people walking, biking, using wheelchairs, riding scooters, etc. — hits especially close to home.
This work is dedicated to the families whose loved ones died while trying to get somewhere in 2021.
We reached out to as many families of people who lost their lives in crashes in 2021 as we could find. The memories they shared illustrate the stark human toll of the statistics. Gone too soon, these stories illuminate each individual's impact and future prospects, accompanied by the deep sense of loss their families, friends, and communities have experienced. It is especially tragic that each of these fatal crashes was avoidable. If you have a loved one who was killed or seriously injured in a crash, we'd like to hear from you. Email [email protected] or call (404) 881-1112 extension 4.
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In addition to gathering individual stories, we compiled a report on these crashes:
Jasmine “Jasi Badu” Gaither
Jasmine was creative, artistic, and free-spirited. She loved photography, painting, and researching her family’s history. Her life ended suddenly when she was struck by the driver of a vehicle who failed to stop, then fled the scene. Attendees of her celebration of life were asked to wear purple, blue, or bright colors.
Here's her story, as told by her sister, Brittany Flournoy.
"Jasmine was the coolest person I knew. Although she was known for her way with words, she would be there for you in a heartbeat. Born Queen Status, and Daddy’s Girl at heart, you couldn’t take her crown if you tried. We were always told how much we were “Beautiful Black Nubian Queens” by our Grandma Simone but Jazz wore hers, literally.
As a little sister, I felt I had to pick on her from time to time. Pushing her to her fullest potential. I looked up to my sister. We were always more alike than I wanted to admit but if called or she called, we were linking up. Oldest of six, Jasmine felt she had to conquer the world, to help be there for us.
She had a passion for history, ours, as well as the history of black people. She wanted to start a family tree and began developing OurMelanination. Jazz wanted everyone to know each other and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Her beliefs and what she stood for were different from most but everything she saw was worth others seeing too. Everything Jasi could be seen through a lens. Her camera was one of her most prized possessions. Everywhere she went, she took her camera. Jazz captured every moment, from family to friends.
My kids knew her as the fun TT. She always wanted to be the traveling rich Aunt that brought back gifts and souvenirs. Creating content everywhere she went, she began to go by the name “Jasi Badu.” Jasi Badu was a free spirit, who spoke what was on her mind, and lived her way, no matter what anyone else thought. She was my sister and a loyal friend to many.
One thing I loved about Jazz is how we could argue, and I could call and need her help, she was there, arguing with me while helping. I knew it was always love but it was only right because that was the Jasmine we knew. She loved us all and expresses it by showing up for you. Jasi’s life was short-lived, passing only 19 days before her 32nd birthday. You wouldn’t believe what the Thanksgiving argument was about, her birthday! All she ever wanted was to have her birthday celebration without Christmas getting in the way.
I’d give anything to argue with my sister about what the family plans are for the next holiday. Life has not been the same without her. In honor of Jasmine Gaither, we say 'Stay Jasi,' meaning always staying true to oneself and going after what you deserve.
In loving memory of Jasmine “Jasi Badu” Gaither December 23rd 1989-December 4th 2021."
Brittany's family was hit especially hard by traffic violence in 2021. Their mother was Tomika Ivery, killed while walking in October of the same year, just a few months before Jasmine.
Photos provided by Brittany Flournoy
Neil was an international graduate student at Georgia Tech who had recently arrived from Sydney, Australia. On October 29, 2021, Neil was struck by a vehicle while crossing 14th Street at a signalized crosswalk with a friend.
Here's his story, as told by his mother, Joanne Anderson.
"Neil was a graduate student from Sydney, Australia in the Materials Science engineering program at Georgia Tech. At 9:44 PM on October 29, 2021, Neil and a friend were struck by a driver while crossing a signalized painted pedestrian crosswalk on 14th street after they had waited for the walk signal.
Neil arrived in Atlanta from Sydney Australia in August 2021 to commence studies as a first-year Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering. An Engineering and Science graduate interested in both chemistry and electronics, Neil’s aspiration was to advance the understanding of novel semiconducting materials with functionality relevant to defense and sustainable energy. Neil hoped to bridge the gap between scientific and engineering disciplines.
Neil acclimated quickly and shared an infectious positivity that touched the hearts of many in his research group, the school, and the wider Georgia Tech community. He was a keen outdoorsman and enjoyed camping and off-road driving in the Australian outback.
While his time in Atlanta was short, his thoughtfulness, wisdom, and Australian wit were a gift to all who had the privilege to know him.
Tragically, Neil succumbed to injuries sustained in a pedestrian collision in Atlanta and we lost him on November 7, 2021. At the young age of 26, Neil had a lot of living left to do."
Photos provided by Joanne Anderson
Courtney was an outgoing, funny, and loving mother of three. Tragically, her life was cut short when she was struck by the driver of a vehicle on January 29th, 2021. The driver fled the scene.
Here's her story, as told by her aunt, Malinda Lett Buckles.
"This is the letter about Courtney Jeneice Mitchell. This has been difficult feeling like I’m grieving all over again from Courtney’s death. Courtney was only twenty-nine years old. It’s been one year in February 2022. Gone too soon.
She was hit by a truck in the streets of Adamsville in Atlanta GA. Courtney lost her Mom at age four and I know this was something she struggled with all of her life. She was close to her Mom and loved her a lot. She missed her so much. I tried my best to adopt her at four years old when her mother passed away but her biological grandmother, my aunt, ended up adopting her.
Courtney started being a super social butterfly in high school and got in a lot of trouble she just loved her friends and loved talking to them and hanging out.
Courtney was fun to be around she loved being at all the family gatherings for birthdays and holidays. Occasionally she would visit family at random times and enjoyed her visits. Courtney loved my Mom so much which was her Aunt Ruby. She even looked like my Mom a lot when she was younger. She lived with my mom for a while, and I got to talk with Courtney a lot then.
Courtney loved eating good food, watching good movies, listening to Old School music, and dancing. When Courtney was younger she and her brother would come visit me and my family with my Mom in Portland Oregon.
We shared a special bond. She knew I was always ready to listen and she always wanted to know my thoughts. I thought that was pretty special!
Courtney’s joy and her passion was her three kids, Carlos, Destiny, and Zion. She just lit up when she shared them and talked about them. She always hoped to give them a good life. Courtney was a loving person. Courtney was baptized in 2017 and that was a happy day for her.
At Courtney’s funeral, I met a lot of people that loved and cared so much about Courtney. They told stories I’d never heard of that were great to hear and know about Courtney.
One of the things that Courtney always said to me was: Linda, I’m getting myself together and I’m coming back to Oregon to visit you, I really am. You’ll see. She’d also say I love you! Courtney and I had a special bond that I thank God for I sometimes find myself waiting on that phone call from Courtney even after her passing. I miss her so much. I will continue to pray for her kids and for her soul!"
Photos provided by Malinda Lett Buckles
If you have lost a loved one in a traffic fatality and would like to share their story, please reach out. You can email [email protected] or call (404) 881-1112 extension 4.
Join us in calling on the City of Atlanta to adopt these five proven infrastructure and policy changes to save lives and make streets safer:
- Give people crossing the street a head start by making "Leading Pedestrian Intervals" the standard, and use signal timing to create safer crossings.
- Make 25 mph the default speed limit for more streets throughout Atlanta. People driving often speed in relation to the speed limit, and reducing the speed limit has been proven to reduce the highest speeds.
- Create a Vision Zero plan that prioritizes safe street design and racial equity in order to eliminate traffic fatalities and transportation inequities.
- Make physically protected bike/LIT lanes the standard in order to make these facilities safer. By providing safe spaces for people biking and scooting, the sidewalk becomes safer for people walking and using wheelchairs as well.
- Decriminalize walking and biking: reform laws that allow for over-policing of walking and biking yet don't make us any safer.
Help protect the lives of people using Atlanta's streets - use the form below to contact your elected officials and call for action.