Florida traffic engineers and public safety officials have long been aware of the safety deficits that exist for those who commute by bicycle or on foot in this state. For several years now, researchers have named Florida the most dangerous state for both pedestrians and bicyclists. The most recent research by Smart Growth America, in the Dangerous by Design 2014 report, indicates the trend is continuing.
To put into perspective just how bad the problem is in Broward County, reporters with the Sun-Sentinel found: Every single day in this county, there are two pedestrians and one bicyclist struck. Not all die or suffer serious injury, but many do, as cyclists and pedestrians are among the most vulnerable users of our roads. Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers know these travelers are are no match for a two-ton mass of metal barreling toward them at even 35 mph.
Transportation for America recently analyzed bicycle and pedestrian deaths from 2011 through 2013. Researchers noted 2,276 pedestrian accidents in Broward alone, resulting in 114 fatalities. In that same time frame, there were 1,549 bicycle accidents, which resulted in 33 deaths.
Smart Growth America’s more comprehensive report culled through a decade’s-worth of national pedestrian death data. The Florida metro areas reigned as the most deadly. While the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region had the third-highest number of overall pedestrian deaths (1,539 between 2003 and 2012), just behind New York City and Los Angeles, when the percentage of foot commuters was factored in, the area ranked fourth in the country. The top three spots were held by other Florida metro areas – Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
Meanwhile, Seattle, Boston and Pittsburgh were ranked the safest.
The South in general did not fare well. Only one of the top 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians – Phoenix – is not located in the Southeast region.
Part of it most certainly has to do with the fact that more people tend to commute by foot or bicycle here because the weather allows for it year-round. The terrain is also scenic and relatively flat. However, the road systems weren’t built with pedestrians in mind. Roads that are car-friendly – with wide lanes, high speed limits and few intersections – often spell danger for those using other modes of transportation.
The good news is that some officials in Broward are taking note, and have kick-started several initiatives to improve safety. One of those measures involves narrowing lanes on Sunset Strip, Powerline Road, Hillsboro Boulevard, Dixie Highway and Las Olas Boulevard in order to make way for bicycle lanes. Additionally, larger medians are being constructed throughout the county so that pedestrians who get stuck when a light changes have a safe haven in the road. Bikers are also being given an additional three-foot, striped buffer lane between automobile traffic inn North Lauderdale. Along North Andrews Avenue, where drivers have a reputation for speeding, traffic engineers are experimenting with an optical illusion with pavement markings intended to prompt drivers to slow down.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
In Broward, two pedestrians and one cyclist hit on an average day, May 17, 2014, By Michael Turnbell and Dana Williams, Sun Sentinel
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