We should go back to the good old days, when a pedestrian was only in danger of being run down by a chaise and four, instead of a horseless carraige!
Sidewalks existed before cars did. Sure, you used to be able to walk across the street with less danger and concern, but that was because horse drawn carraiges didn't move nearly as quickly as motor vehicles do, and because they weren't nearly as commonplace.
The problem isn't really the vehicles themselves - it's the number of them. In "ye olde days", the primary limiting factor on the number of vehicles on the streets was actually the number of horses available. To operate a carraige required stables and horsegrooms and feed and stopping points along your route where you could get replacement horses, and it was a complicated, expensive business.
Then, when Ford started cranking out his Model T and everyone could have their own carraige without need to be concerned with horses, suddenly transportation was democratized. You no longer had to be wealthy to take a carraige, because horses were no longer a factor of the cost. The vehicle itself was never reall the expensive element in the equation.
But even before the automobile, congestion existed. You can find plenty of historical accounts of cities thronged with carraiges for major events and holidays, the streets choked with vehicles, people unable to cross the street for fear of being crushed underwheel. Even on ordinary days, the major roadways which handled the bulk of carraige traffic were often quite busy in large cities like London or Paris or Rome, and you were much safer keeping to sidestreets.
And there was, of course, always the threat of the horses themselves bolting for one reason or another, or a reckless or inebriated driver crashing their vehicle. You can find quite horrific accounts of overturned carraiges and sideswiped buildings and head on collisions and everything else. Carraiges badly handled, or horses unwittingly spooked, were deathtraps.
Cars aren't going away anytime soon, but we don't need to bemoan their presence. All we have to do is double down and emphasize and prioritize safety. The reason cars kill so many people is because so many people drive, and they do so unsafely. With better training, stricter enforcement, and the cultural emphasis on safety and sanity needed to back it up, we could drastically reduce the human cost of the usage of a technology which is going to be with us for a long time to come whether we like it or not.