In a list of the ten most dangerous metro areas across the nation for pedestrians compiled by Transportation for America, cities in Florida took the top four slots. The Orlando area was number one on the list for the most dangerous metro area for pedestrians. Miami was listed at number four. The dangerous metros were determined by comparing the number of pedestrians in the area to the number of pedestrian deaths.
Much of the blame for pedestrian accidents can be placed on urban planning and negligent drivers. Cities have avoided improving their infrastructures to make streets safer for pedestrians to cross. The worst types of streets for pedestrians to cross in Florida are multiple-lane roads with high speed limits, roads that are connected to parking lots and drive-throughs and areas that do not have sidewalks or crosswalks.
Senior citizens are at a higher risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident because they often need more time to cross the street. Seniors over the age of 65 are also more likely to be killed in such accidents.
Pedestrians are especially vulnerable in traffic accidents because they have nothing to protect their bodies when they are hit by a vehicle. Drivers are often at fault in pedestrian accidents because they may neglect to pay attention to their surroundings when making turns or backing up in parking lots.
Transportation for America hopes that the stark statistics regarding pedestrian fatalities will encourage cities to consider making crosswalks and streets safer for pedestrians. However, pedestrians are also encouraged to consider their own safety when crossing the street. “People need to approach crossing a street as if their life depended on it, because it does,” said the vice president and general counsel for the American Insurance Association.
Although pedestrians should be able to trust that motorists will see them and follow traffic laws, there are also many drivers on our roads today who are distracted by cell phones and texting. As a result, a driver may not notice a pedestrian until it is too late.
Some safety tips for pedestrians include:
- Using caution when crossing the street
- Using sidewalks whenever possible
- Avoiding crossing the street at a curve
- Making eye contact with a driver
- Don’t assume a driver will see you
A pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle in Florida does have rights to file a claim against a driver so that he or she can be compensated for injuries and damages. Accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles can result in serious injuries, leaving a victim with thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
Source:MSN Money: “The most dangerous cities for pedestrians,” 8 July 2011