More walkers are dying in Florida than anywhere else in the U.S. It pays to be alert and know how to stay safe.
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, your risk of being hit while walking is frighteningly high.
When it comes to pedestrian deaths, this area tops the charts. According to a report from Smart Growth America that analyzed the number of people living in different metro areas who are struck and killed by drivers while walking, more walkers are killed in Florida than anywhere else in America. Eight of the top worst metro areas are located in Florida, and several of those cities are found in Tampa Bay.
North Port/Sarasota and Bradenton were ranked 4th worst, and Lakeland/Winter Haven was close behind, ranking 5th worst. St. Pete/Tampa ranked 9th worst per capita while also coming in at number one for the most deaths: 900 in nine years.
Throughout the U.S., drivers hit and killed 49,340 people crossing streets between 2008-17.
5,433 of those walkers were in Florida. The report also noted that U.S. pedestrian deaths spiked 35% between 2008 and 2017. Across the nation, more than 13 pedestrians are hit by cars every day.
So, what does that mean for you? While Smart Growth America says people aren’t necessarily walking more, they do admit our streets are more dangerous by design, which leads to more pedestrian deaths.
In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people, the study claims. Furthermore, federal and state policies, standards, and funding mechanisms still produce roads that prioritize high speeds for cars over safety for all people.
FDOT projects are currently in the works to help curb pedestrian deaths.
There are plans to make concrete wall medians and barriers higher on some of the area’s most highly-traveled streets, so walkers can’t hop over them and dash across dangerous roads and 6-lane highways.
While FDOT is doing its part to help solve the problem, you can also become part of the solution.
Here are a few pedestrian death-defying tips:
- When crossing streets with young children, always hold their hands.
- Always cross streets at a crosswalk with the light using the timed walk signs. Teach your children to do the same. Walking a little farther to a crosswalk or waiting a few minutes more till it’s safe to cross won’t kill you. Taking a short cut and racing across the middle of the street might.
- Stay far away from parked cars. Hundreds of people are hurt or killed every year from suddenly stepping out in the street between a stopped or parked car. Drivers aren’t looking for pedestrians and unlikely to see you. If a ball rolls out into the middle of the street, let it go. Unlike you, balls can be easily replaced.
- If there’s a turn lane, stop and look before stepping off the curb when the walk light comes on. You may have the right-of-way, but drivers in a hurry to make a turn may coast right through the crosswalk. Make sure you or your children aren’t in if they do.
- When walking on busy streets at dusk or at night, wear white, light, bright, or reflective colors to make you easier to see.
If you or a loved one are ever hit and injured while walking, immediately get medical attention and then ask the advice of proven, trial-tested personal injury attorneys like those at Fernandez & Hernandez Attorneys At Law. You can reach them 24/7 by calling (813) 229-5353. Hablan español. To learn more, visit www.injurylawyersoftampa.com.