The year 2011 was not easy for pedestrians who live in Florida, with Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami rounding out the top four most deadly cities in America for pedestrians.
In the top 10 order were; Orlando/Kissimmee, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Jacksonville, Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano, Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, California, Las Vegas/Paradise, Nevada, Memphis, Tennessee, Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Arizona, Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, Texas and Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, Texas.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, these cities suffered the greatest absolute numbers of injuries and deaths to pedestrians by automobiles in 2011.
One of the major contributing factors to this according to Transportation of America is the lack of infrastructure, sidewalks and reasonably convenient crosswalks in those metro areas. As an example, in Orlando, State Road 436, also known as Semoran Blvd, if you need to cross the road, you may have to walk up to half a mile in some places before reaching a crosswalk, and much of the road has no sidewalks. This forces many pedestrians and bus riders to make the dangerous crossings in places with no crosswalk.
Adding to the problem, Florida drivers are also ranked the most distracted while driving. Phone calls, texting, watching movies, shaving, and putting on makeup are all primary reasons.
In Florida, roads are built with drivers in mind, not pedestrians says the Transportation of America, and with the cities so far behind in catching up to be pedestrian friendly like many large northern metro areas, there just is not the money to add pedestrian needed infrastructure.
The safety agency warns pedestrians to use sidewalks when available when there is no sidewalk, it says pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic as far left as possible and at night to wear reflective clothing.
Florida has never really embraced mass transit, leading to the need for most to own a car, which in turn meant that roads were built for the drivers, not pedestrians also. But as campaigns for eco-friendly keep coming, more and more are switching to bicycle or walking when possible leading to increased fatalities.
Last year in the United States there were over 50,000 pedestrian-involved accidents, with Florida taking the lion’s share.