The Sunshine State again leads the nation in pedestrian deaths by motor vehicle, with the distinction of being home to eight out of the ten most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians in the nation. Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 12, 2017.
Particularly disturbing is that Florida is also a top tourist destination which would suggest a greater infrastructure investment to protect our visitors, some 115 million projected in 2016. Florida Times-Union, May 16, 2016.
Florida went from a swamp to 21 million residents in barely a century, with most cities coming of age in the automobile era. Despite being able to plan appropriately, many communities lack sidewalks instead designing their streets solely for the most vehicles traveling at the fastest speed to get to outlying suburbs.
Florida Statutes §316 governs the pedestrian- motor vehicle encounters, placing an obligation on pedestrians to cross at crosswalks, and if none, (as it’s often the case), the driver must yield when the pedestrian appears to start entering the roadway. That’s about it and leaves much room for argument.
Florida, unlike some other populous states, lacks a culture of yielding to pedestrians as they attempt to cross lanes of traffic with many vehicles travelling at 45 mph or more. The state does not require sidewalks in new developments or bike lanes. Many “bike lanes” are nothing more than paths with nothing more than a painted line separating bikes and cars.
As the state continues to add residents, our sidewalks overflow with walkers who are pushed into lanes of traffic as can be witnessed on a busy weekend in St. Petersburg Beach, Key West, Mount Dora, International Drive in Orlando and South Beach.
Enter the millennials and retiring “boomers”, who are choosing to live in denser urban spaces without the need of cars and a preference to “live, work and play” within walking distance and the problem only continues to grow. Individual cities are working to try and attract these pioneers, tearing their downtowns apart to widen and illuminate sidewalks, with ample crossings with jutting islands, even taking out traffic lanes and placing “street calming” road bumps with lower speed limits. Witness these improvements in Coral Gables and Cocoa Beach, cheered by business owners and developers hoping to breathe life to our historic downtowns.
Follow some common sense rules to stay safe when walking: wear light colored clothes, carry a light at dusk, walk against traffic, cross in well-lit crossings only, and never expect the vehicle to yield to you, the gamble may be your last.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an accident, please contact our office to ensure you obtain the recovery you deserve. The insurance has a full team of investigators, lawyers, and adjusters on their side, get a good team on your side. You can reach Travis on his cell at 727-793-7619. As with all injury cases, we don’t get paid to lose. There is no fee if no recovery.
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