Unfortunately, it seems like every other day we have a hit and run accident that costs the life of a pedestrian crossing our roads. Not too long ago I wrote in this blog (post published 05/29/2011) about statistics that place some Florida cities among the most dangerous for pedestrians in the country.
According to those statistics, the Orlando - Kissimmee metro area is the deadliest metro area for pedestrians in the United States with 550 pedestrians killed in the last decade alone. Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater follows as number 2; with Jacksonville as number 3 and Miami - Ft. Lauderdale - Pompano Beach as number 4. Not surprisingly (at least not to me), Florida was the State with more cities on the list. Our benevolent climate, I believe, is one of the reasons for the preceding statistics: it prompts more people to walk or ride than the colder weather of our Northern states.
I do not have statistics of how many hit & run accidents occur per city in our country. However, I cannot help but wonder if my loved ones and I live in the hit & run capital of the World. Maybe...
One More Hit & Run In Miami
Just a couple of days ago, 22-year old Luis Castilla was charged with the deadly hit and run accident that killed 79-year old Delia Temoche while she was crossing 7th Street at the 8200 Block. According to cbslocal.com, Mr. Castilla not only did not stop to aid the victim or wait for police: he drove all the way to Hialeah and called police to report (together with his companions) that they had been the "victims" of a hit & rum accident involving another vehicle...
Police believe that "Castilla & Associates" were trying to establish an alibi for his participation in the events that took the life of Delia Temoche. Thankfully, police had no trouble connecting the extensive damage to the front of Mr. Castilla's vehicle to the accident that killed Ms. Temoche. Mr. Castilla had warrants out for his arrest for reckless driving, DUI with property damage, DUI and driving with an expired license.
Safer Roads for Cyclists and Pedestrians in Miami
On a very related note, the unfortunate death of cyclist Aaron Cohen on the Rickenbacker Causeway a few weeks ago (and the subsequent public outcry for safer roads for cyclists), has prompted Miami-Dade County officials to undertake a few "quick-fixes" to improve riders safety at the causeway, like lowering the speed limits, having more police vigilance and setting "buffer zones" to better separate bicycle and car lanes. Mr. Cohen died at the hands of another driver with a suspended license and a reported drug history.
Yet, the problem is not limited to the Rickenbacker Causeway or to cyclists. According to the Alliance for Biking and Walking, a national advocacy group, Florida is the worst state for bicyclists and pedestrian fatalities and Miami is close to becoming the worst city in the country for bicyclists and pedestrian deaths. Traffic reports by the Florida Department of Transportation tell a deadly tale caused by speeding cars, drivers in too much of a hurry taking unnecessary risks and a ferocious competition for the available road space.
Other Florida cities are creating a safer and healthier environment by lowering (and enforcing) speed limits; improving bicycle ways throughout the county; widening sidewalks and narrowing traffic lanes to slow traffic; creating special signals and other improvements to help pedestrians cross the street and what is perhaps most important; building a more efficient and convenient public transit system that reduces the number of cars on the road, relieving congestion and giving people transportation alternatives that free them from their cars. Let's hope that Miami Dade County follows suit soon and that by doing so we can stop (or at least slow down) the onslaught.
Continue reading "South Florida: Hit & Run Capital of the World?" »