Thousands of runners across Florida are in training for the upcoming half-marathon. Although the streets dedicated for the run will be blocked to traffic, a preventable tragedy at last year’s event still has many runners feeling wary.
Fort Lauderdale police reported a driver, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, paid no mind to the orange cones along the course, nor the repeated instructions by race officials and police when he barreled onto the course, striking and killing an 80-year-old runner. Defendant in that case is now in jail, awaiting trial on a charge of DUI manslaughter. Meanwhile, The Sun Sentinel reports organizers of the race – as well as police – are carefully going over the safety plans for this year. Police say they meet months in advance to plan, driving through the course themselves a good eight times to make sure they haven’t missed any glaring safety concerns. Still, a police captain quoted by the paper said while they work to anticipate possible danger, they can’t always prevent careless drivers from circumventing those restrictions.
In general, Florida is one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians – runners included. The Miami Herald reported pedestrian deaths nationally are at a 10-year high, with Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach having one of the worst rates for car vs. pedestrian fatalities. Continue reading