Florida most dangerous state for pedestrians

While Florida is known for its inviting beaches and tourist attractions, two new studies indicate that it may not be the best place for people to be walking or riding bicycles. The first report, conducted by the National Complete Street Coalition and titled Dangerous by Design, looked at more than 47,000 pedestrian deaths from 2003 to 2012 across the United States. It named the places considered most dangerous to pedestrians. The four metropolitan cities named more dangerous were all located in the sunshine state. Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami — not necessarily in that order — were at the top of the study’s list.

The study also found that a pedestrian death was much more likely to occur on roads where the speed limit was at least 40 mph or more. A total of 73.3 percent of the 47,000 deaths occurred on roads with these speeds. Deaths on roads that had a speed limit less than 30 mph accounted for 3.7 percent, and 1.4 percent of the deaths occurred on roads identified as having speed limits of 20 mph or less. It was not clear if the increased number of deaths rose in faster traffic areas because of the severity of the accidents or if there were more people walking.

Bicyclists are also at risk, according to a study conducted by the League of American Bicyclists that found that Florida accounted for 17 percent — the largest percent attributed to a single state — of bicycle fatalities for the year the study looked at. According to reports, 21.7 cyclists are killed for every 10,000 bike commuters on the road in Florida, more than double the national average of 8.6.

The issue of cyclist and pedestrian death is especially important to consider in a state that gets a large portion of its revenue from tourists. Whether the answer is more sidewalks, safer pedestrian crosswalks or increased penalties for reckless drivers, victims of these types of accidents should know that they may have legal options to pursue compensation from drivers.

Source: Ocala Star-Banner, “Florida is a hazardous place for cyclists, pedestrians” Ron Cunningham, Jun. 13, 2014

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