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.
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.
Liability for Pedestrian Collisions in SWFL
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported the number of fatal pedestrian crashes in the U.S. has increased from about 4,500 in 2008 to more than 6,000 last year. Florida and California are the deadliest places in the nation for walkers.
Our veteran injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers know many of these collisions are caused by careless drivers. As a driver, you are always best served by yielding the right of way to a cyclist, pedestrian or motorcycle rider. The few extra moments can prevent a tragedy. But lack of adequate infrastructure is also a contributing cause to a large number of crashes each year that involve walkers or bicycle riders. Lack of sidewalks and streetlights, and lack of dedicated bicycle lanes and marked crossings, make many areas of Lee and Collier counties inherently dangerous for walkers and riders.
These are always very serious injury cases as walkers and riders are very likely to be critically injured, even in low-speed crashes involving motor vehicles. Hit-and-run collisions are also a growing problem. Determining all of the causes of the collision, and identifying all parties responsible, is critical to obtaining just compensation for injury victims and their families.
In some cases, victims may be blamed by law enforcement for causing or contributing to a crash. It’s important to note that Florida’s laws on contributory negligence and comparative fault do not prevent victims from collecting damages from other at-fault parties in many cases, even if they are found to have contributed to a collision.
As hard as it is to believe, tourism season is nearly upon us. With Governor Ron DeSantis lifting COVID restrictions to pre-pandemic levels, all signs point toward increasing activity along the Southwest Florida coastline. Motorists are always best served by careful and defensive driving.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.