Articles Posted in Pedestrians/Bicyclists

The inaugural Pedestrian Safety Month launches this week as the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and safety advocates continue to address the rising number of walkers being killed in traffic collisions.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers have written extensively on this blog about the epidemic of serious and fatal collisions victimizing our most vulnerable road users, including walkers, cyclists and motorcycle riders. South Florida in particular has been identified as among the deadliest locations in America for walkers, with Cape Coral being signaled out as frequently the most dangerous location in America. intersection1-300x225

Nationwide, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased significantly in the last decade as urban centers have revitalized. Explosive growth in places like Southwest Florida has also impacted the safety of walkers, particularly as it relates to pedestrians. E-scooters and rental bicycles have added to the risks. And the COVID pandemic has prompted a record number of bicyclists and pedestrians to take to the streets in favor of socially distanced modes of travel and physical activity.

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New statistics and growing anecdotal evidence suggest our most vulnerable road users may not be benefiting from the reprieve we have seen in serious automobile accidents during the three months Southwest Florida has hunkered down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Our experienced injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers highlighted the likely risk as COVID restrictions began in mid-March. Pedestrian Injuries a Spring Risk in Southwest Florida and Pandemic Scare has More People Cycling in Southwest Florida both highlighted the fact that our most vulnerable road users have always faced high risks, but the coronavirus pandemic may actually be increasing the dangers. intersection1-300x225

Certainly, that is holding true when it comes to cyclists. Media outlets nationwide are reporting a huge increase in demand for bicycles, with many locations reporting long wait lists for cycles under $2,000. The News-Press recently reported bicycle sales in Lee and Collier county are up more than 100 percent compared to the same period last year.

Law enforcement safety campaigns and media stories continue to draw attention to the severe risks faced by vulnerable road users this time of year, particularly bicyclists and pedestrians.

Operation Vision Zero was launched in Central Florida, according to Chanel 6 News in Orlando. More than a dozen law enforcement agencies are participating in the enforcement blitz through March 31. The effort aims to stop hundreds of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violate traffic-safety laws.bicycle11-225x300

The effort follows a report by ABC Action News in Tampa, which highlighted the fact that Florida is one of just 5 states that account for half the nation’s pedestrian deaths. Continue reading ›

The tragic death of a woman walking her dog in South Fort Myers is a sobering reminder of the risks faced by pedestrians in Southwest Florida.

Kate Johnson of Fort Myers and her beloved dog, Diva, were walking when they were struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. WINK News reports loved ones have purchased a billboard and taken other steps to locate the at-fault driver. It was a light-colored Nissan that hit Johnson and her dog, and the driver left them to die along McGregor Boulevard at the intersection with Water Lane.schoolbusstop-300x225

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Early darkness and Halloween are a dangerous time of year for pedestrian accidents, particularly those involving younger children in residential neighborhoods. The most dangerous time is right at dusk.halloween-1322330-300x225

But our Fort Myers injury lawyers know Halloween is also a time of year of increased accident and injury risks from other causes. Defective product injuries increase around Halloween and remain elevated through the long holiday gift-giving season. Injuries on private property, drunk driving collisions, and an increasing number of injury incidents at organized events, including the well-publicized tragedy at the 2015 Zombicon in downtown Fort Myers, have made Halloween among the most dangerous times of the year.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects a slight decline in the final tally of traffic fatalities in 2018, even as the number of pedestrian and bicycle deaths continues to rise.

Overall traffic deaths are projected to decline by 1 percent, Forbes reported. However, pedestrian deaths were up 4 percent last year, while bicycle deaths surged 10 percent. Both were already at historic highs. Nationwide, more than 36,000 people were killed on the roads last year. pedestriansafety-225x300

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers note Southwest Florida continues to be one of the deadliest areas in the nation for bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports California, Florida and Texas annually report the highest number of pedestrian deaths. All three states join Arizona and Georgia in reporting more than 100 pedestrian deaths a year and together account for nearly half of the nation’s fatal pedestrian accidents.

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Distracted walking is in the news as the nation grapples with significant increases in the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents.

Unfortunately, Florida is all too familiar with the crisis, as the Sunshine State leads the nation in the number of walkers who are injured or killed each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 5,000 deaths and 76,000 injuries caused by pedestrian accidents each year; that’s one death every two hours. And, as the Miami Herald reported recently, 9 of the 20 deadliest cities for pedestrians are located in Florida.pedestriandistraction-300x208

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the increased risks faced by walkers are attributable to a number of factors, including lack of proper infrastructure such as sidewalks and street lights, distraction on the part of both the walker and drivers, and the growing prevalence of electric or otherwise silent vehicles.

A study published in 2012 by researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University found that those who texted while walking were 60 percent more likely to veer off course. Headphones are another growing problem. F.S. 316.304 prohibits drivers from wearing headphones, although no such law exists for pedestrian or cyclists.

But, while it’s true distracted walking can increase accident risks, the issue of distracted walking is also being pushed by the insurance industry as a way to reduce the liability of insured drivers for collisions that typically result in very serious or fatal injuries.

 

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When it comes to the injury risks in Southwest Florida, it’s hard to overstate the risk of walking.

Nationwide, the risks have reached epidemic levels, and Florida has long been the deadliest state in the nation for pedestrians.

NPR reported this week that pedestrian deaths have reached levels not seen in decades. A new report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association identified 6,227 pedestrians who were killed by motor vehicles last year.

As our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers recently reported, Florida is the deadliest state in the nation for pedestrian accidents. The Fort Myers-Cape Coral area is among 8 metro areas in Florida to be named to the nation’s 10 deadliest areas for walkers, according to Smart Growth America’s report, Dangerous by Design, which largely focuses on inadequate infrastructure, like sidewalks and crosswalks.

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Florida remains by far the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians, according to the results of an updated report that primarily blames the risks on a lack of infrastructure and poor urban planning.

So far 2019 has gotten off to a deadly start with two pedestrians killed in back-to-back North Fort Myers pedestrian accidents.  The Fort Myers News-Press reports 10 people were killed on Lee County roads in January, compared to a total of 84 traffic deaths reported for all of last year. In addition to increasing risks for these vulnerable population groups, our pedestrian injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers continue to see these cases result in serious or fatal injury.pedestrian accident

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Pedestrian accidents occur when a person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down is involved in a traffic crash. That’s per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which reports there were nearly 5,400 fatal pedestrian accidents and 70,000 injuries just in 2015 alone.pedestrian accident lawyer

In civil liability cases involving pedestrian accidents, one question that inevitably arises is comparative fault. That is, to what extent is the person who was struck by the vehicle also to blame? The NHTSA reports alcohol involvement was a factor in nearly half of all pedestrian accidents – which includes consumption by the driver and/ or pedestrian. Our injury lawyers work to present evidence that will discredit allegations of comparative fault, or at least minimize its impact.

In Florida, F.S. 768.81 is the state’s comparative fault law. It’s plaintiff-friendly in the sense that it will allow plaintiffs to collect on damages even if they are 99 percent at-fault and defendant is just 1 percent at-fault. However, the law does proportionately reduce the amount of damages based on that percentage. So for example, if plaintiff is deemed 70 percent at-fault and defendant is 30 percent at-fault, defendant would only be liable for 30 percent of plaintiff’s damages. In many other states, plaintiffs are barred from collecting any damages if they share half or 51 percent of the blame. In a handful of states, plaintiffs are not allowed to collect damages if they are at-fault to any degree. Continue reading ›

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