Miami, Florida Pedestrians Face Serious Danger on Roads

November 10, 2009
By Gabriel Mejia, Esq. on November 10, 2009 9:51 AM | | Comments (0)
Miami and the surrounding metropolitan area has been ranked the third most dangerous location for pedestrians in a recent study conducted by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership.  The third most dangerous location for pedestrians includes the areas of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and their suburbs.  The Miami metropolitan area ranked just behind two other Florida locations -- Orlando-Kissimmee and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater -- which ranked first and second, respectively, as the most dangerous areas for pedestrians to walk.  Major Florida cities took four of the top five spots on the list with Jacksonville, Florida, ranking as the fourth most dangerous area for pedestrian traffic.

The study entitled Dangerous by Design looked not only at the number of pedestrian deaths in a given year, but rather focused on the ratio of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people to the percentage of pedestrians walking to work.  The study found that even though relatively few people choose to walk in these Florida cities compared to other cities, the people that do are at a much greater risk of being killed or injured after being hit by a car. 

The report focuses on the design of modern roadways and communities as the cause of the dangerous conditions faced by South Florida walkers.  With sprawling suburban areas and arterial roads built to move the greatest amount of vehicular traffic at the quickest possible pace, often times sidewalks, crosswalks, and crossing signals are designed out either because of space or budget restrictions.  These reductions coupled with the increased speed at which vehicles are allowed to travel create serious dangers for pedestrians on Florida roadways.  As the report points out, the survival rate for pedestrians struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph is 95% but drops drastically to 55% when the vehicle is traveling 30 mph and even lower to 15% when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle traveling 40 mph.  When you combine these considerations with the ever-growing distractions facing drivers, you have a serious recipe for disaster.

Dangerous roads and sprawling communities also have an effect on the desire of South Florida residents to walk.  No one wants to walk in areas that do not provide proper sidewalks and crossing assistance or in areas where they face such a high risk of being injured or killed by a vehicle.  This not only creates more road congestion by forcing more people to drive upon our roadways to locations accessible by foot, but also forces people to walk less and get less exercise which is a serious health concern.

The recent report provides many suggestions, based on both common sense and technical expertise, to help reduce the danger to pedestrians of being struck by a motor vehicle.  These recommendations include placing more of a focus on people rather than on vehicles when designing roadways, creating communities that provide convenient places to walk and have shops, homes, and schools within walking distance, reducing vehicular speed through road design, and installing sidewalks, bike paths, and proper crosswalks when repairing existing roads.

The ultimate goal is to protect South Florida residents and pedestrians on our roadways while providing them convenient access to and from their daily activities.  Hopefully, we can also reduce the number of people killed or injured in Florida after being struck by motor vehicles and shed the dubious ranking placed upon our streets.

Gabriel Mejia, Esq. is a Coral Springs personal injury attorney handling accident and injury cases in Florida for Law Offices Cytryn and Velazquez, P.A.

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