That’s according to a new study, Dangerous by Design 2016, conducted by SmartGrowth America, in concert with the National Complete Streets Coalition. In fact, eight of the ten most dangerous metro areas to walk in the nation are in Florida. Those regions in the top 10 are:
- Fort Myers
- Palm Bay/ Melbourne
- Daytona Beach
- Lakeland/ Winter Haven
- Tampa/ St. Petersburg
- North Port/ Sarasota
The Miami/ Fort Lauderdale/ West Palm Beach region was listed at No. 11 nationally. This was out of the 104 largest metro areas in the country.
The statistics were also broken down by state, and of course, Florida was No.1.
The report explains that more 46,100 people have died after being struck by a vehicle while walking between 2005 and 2014. In 2014, which is the most recent year for which information is available, there were 4,884 pedestrians who lost their lives in America. That’s 13 people every single day who were struck and killed by a car while walking. To put that into perspective, you are more likely to be killed as a pedestrian than you are to die in a natural disaster.
As our Fort Lauderdale pedestrian injury lawyers know, every single one of these individuals is someone’s child, parent, spouse, friend, neighbor, co-worker or classmate. These tragedies are occurring everywhere – from small towns to bustling metropolises.
Some troubling details uncovered in the report, specifically with regard to who is most at-risk:
- Minorities are vastly over-represented in terms of pedestrians killed. People who are not white make up less than 35 percent of the population, and yet they comprise more than 46 percent of those killed in pedestrian accidents.
- People over the age of 65 are also over-represented. In fact, they are 50 percent more likely than those in younger cohorts to be killed by a motor vehicle while walking.
- The danger to pedestrians is tied to the median household income and the rate of those without health insurance. Essentially, those people who can least afford to suffer a serious personal injury are most likely to live in areas where it’s very dangerous to walk.
Victims of pedestrian accidents do have legal options, and those should be explored with an experienced injury lawyer. One of the first of those is to file a claim against the driver of the car, as most of these situations stem from negligence by the driver. If the crash was a hit-and-run, pedestrians may be able to file a claim with their own auto insurer (even though they were not driving) under the uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage provision. There could also in some instances be possible third-party claims, such as dangerous road design or maintenance filed against the public entity responsible for the road or intersection.
As the report notes, streets in America have historically prioritized motor vehicles that move quickly – and only motor vehicles. The failure to take into better consideration the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists and those utilizing public transportation has meant these communities are much more dangerous for these vulnerable road users.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Walking In America Remains Dangerous — Especially In Florida, Jan. 10, 2016, By Laurel Wamsley, NPR
More Blog Entries:
Delray Beach Intersection Won’t Get New Light, Despite Fatal Crash, Dec. 10, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog