Palm Beach Loses Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs

The risks for pedestrians and bicyclists are on the rise in South Florida, and our funds to help to reduce such risks are dwindling. According to the Sun Sentinel, the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) snagged close to $3.5 million from the government to assist safety projects in the area, like constructing more pedestrian bridges, enacting strategies to slow traffic, building new recreation trails and add bike lanes to neighborhoods. This year, we’re getting less than $2 million for these same projects.

“Traditionally in Palm Beach County, that has been the go-to source to build pedestrian and bicycle facilities that haven’t been built as part of a roadway project,” said Bret Baronak with Palm Beach MPO.

Our Palm Beach bicycle accident attorneys understand how important these modes of transportation are in our area. Many residents rely on two wheel and their own two feet to get to and from where they’ve got to be each day. Our beautiful South Florida weather provides the perfect conditions to get out there and to enjoy our paradise. Unfortunately, that paradise and safety is quickly endangered by the irresponsible habits of drivers and the poor designs of our roadways. These vulnerable travelers face some serious risks out there for some catastrophic accidents. That’s why it’s so important that we receive federal funding to help to make our roadways safer by reducing the risks for everyone.

Safety advocates are bringing up the funding issues for a number of reasons — the number one being the increase in traffic deaths. We saw a more than 15 percent increase in the number of traffic accident fatalities in Palm Beach County and a more than 10 percent increase in Broward County.

Back in January, officials with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) kicked off new safety initiatives for bicyclists and pedestrians in both counties. It was an awareness campaign that included bus ads, billboards and television ads to remind people to be cautious around these vulnerable travelers. These campaigns were launched here because these were the areas with some of the highest accident rates in the state.

As a matter of fact, Palm Beach ranks as the fifth most dangerous in the state while Broward ranks as second — only behind Miami-Dade.

From 2008 to 2011, there were close to 25 bicyclists killed in Palm Beach County, There were 40 killed in Broward. During that same time, there were more than 110 pedestrians killed in Palm Beach and close to 200 in Broward.

Every year, we submit proposals to help to protect these travelers. In past years, we had the help of separate funding, like from Safe Routes to School.

We may not have the funding, and we may not have the infrastructure we need, but that doesn’t mean that we give up. It’s still important for everyone to travel in unison and remember that we all have rights to be out there. Keep an eye out for bicyclists and pedestrians and help to keep our roads safe for everyone.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident, contact Richard Ansara at 954 761-3641 or toll-free at 877-277-3780 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Entries:

Spring Break Pedestrian Risks Abound in Fort Lauderdale, Broward Injury Lauder Blog, March 13, 2013

Fort Lauderdale Traffic Safety — Accidents on the Rise, Broward Injury Lauder Blog, March 2, 2013

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