Transportation for America, a group that advocates for the rebuilding of our nation's road infrastructure, has named four Florida metropolitan areas at the top of the country's 52 most dangerous large metros for pedestrians: Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.
Nearly 50,000 pedestrians died in the United States from 2000 to 2009. This is the equivalent of a full jumbo jet crash every month. Florida suffered 5,100 pedestrian deaths during the period, giving the state the highest Pedestrian Danger index in the nation.
Vehicle Fatality Rates Down
Although Transportation for America's "Dangerous by Design" report states that overall traffic fatality rates have gone down across the nation, it also found that pedestrian fatalities have decreased only half the rate of motorists and passenger fatalities. In fact, in 15 of the largest metro areas, death rates for pedestrians have increased.
Vehicle Transportation Given Priority Over Pedestrians
According to einnews.com, the reason why Florida ranked so badly is the state's rapid growth during the last 50 years. For example, the unprecedented growth in areas of Central Florida has given priority to people traveling long distances between home, school, work and errands, therefore designing easier routes for cars, trucks and buses and not for pedestrians.
According to statistics from the Florida Department of Transportation:
- 22.7% of all traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries involve pedestrians
- and bicyclists
- 48% of pedestrians are killed when crossing the road, but not at an
- 43% of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur at night on illuminated streets
- 40% of all pedestrian fatalities are alcohol related.
South Florida Not Far Behind
South Florida continues to be a place where pedestrians get killed almost on a daily basis. Most recently, a 58-year-old man was killed as he crossed a street in Fort Lauderdale last weekend. According to miamiherald.com, Lawrence Weir of Lauderdale Lakes was crossing Northwest 31st Avenue near 13th Street just before 7 pm Saturday when he was struck by a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500. The driver, Donald Evans, stopped and waited for police to arrive. Unfortunately, Mr. Weir was pronounced dead at the scene.
Additionally, an elderly woman lost control of her SUV and hit another pedestrian, this time in Miami. The accident happened in the parking lot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on North Miami Avenue just as service let out, stunning parishioners. Fortunately this pedestrian survived and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is still recovering from his injuries. The elderly driver was given a citation.