Articles Tagged with pedestrian safety

The New York Times recently examined the growing epidemic of pedestrian accidents, particularly those that occur at night, concluding walking deaths have reached a 41-year high.schoolbusstop-300x225

Recently released federal data shows that 7,500 pedestrians were killed in 2022.

The data published by the Governors Highway Safety Associations showed pedestrian deaths are up 77 percent from the 4,302 deaths reported in 2010, compared to an increase of 25 percent for all types of traffic fatalities. Our pedestrian accident attorneys in Cape Coral and Fort Myers have long warned of the risks to walkers here in Southwest Florida, which has repeatedly been identified as among the most dangerous areas for walkers in the United States.

Increased focus on pedestrian safety is critical to reducing the risks as the school year gets underway, especially with the year-end holidays and the height of tourist season just around the corner. pedestriansafety-225x300

South Florida has long been among the deadliest areas in the nation for pedestrians, thanks in large part to its combination of perfect year-round walking weather and imperfect infrastructure planning, the latter of which has resulted in a lack of streetlights and sidewalks in many local neighborhoods. More than 7,000 pedestrians were killed in 2021, compared to 4,000 in 2009, according to Smart Growth America, which publishes an annual report that has been particularly critical of Florida in recent years. Four of the nation’s 10 deadliest cities, and six of the 20 deadliest, are located in the Sunshine State.

Unfortunately, little progress has been made: Each of these cities has seen an increase in pedestrian fatalities in recent years.

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Pedestrians were already at high risk before the pandemic. Particularly in Southwest Florida, which has consistently ranked among the nation’s deadliest locations for pedestrians. A lack of infrastructure like streetlights and sidewalks, urban sprawl, a significant transient population, and explosive growth have all been factors that have contributed to the risks.

But now there is evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has made walking even more dangerous. pedestriansafety-1-225x300

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports the number of fatal pedestrian accidents increased in 27 states, despite reductions in overall traffic as a result of pandemic restrictions.

Nearly 3,000 pedestrians were killed, an increase of 20 percent, despite a 16.5 percent decrease in traffic.

“Walking should not be a life and death undertaking, yet many factors have combined to put pedestrians at historical levels of risk,” Jonathan Adkins, the group’s executive director, said in a news release. Florida was among 7 states that accounted for more than half of all traffic deaths. The others were Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas.

The number of pedestrian deaths is on the rise nationwide. Walkers now account for 1 in 6 traffic deaths, up from about 1 in 8 in 2010.

Alcohol is often a contributing factor, with more than half of all fatal collisions involving an intoxicated driver or walker.

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With the time change, comes later light. While this is a welcome change for many, including tourist destinations, restaurants and other local businesses trying to recover from COVID-19 restrictions, it also makes for dark mornings, especially over the next month as Southwest Florida days lengthen toward summer.

Numerous studies have been done on many aspects of Dayintersection1-300x225light Savings Time, with mixed results. Until the 1800s, cities set their clocks by the sun. While this could result in minor differences, it worked for everyone until the trains needed to run on time. By the start of the 1900s, time zones had been established but it was not until World War 1 that Daylight Savings Time became standard in the United States.

Moving the clocks ahead an hour in the spring and back in the fall was believed to save energy consumption by providing more evening light. Several studies have found that is not the case, largely because people remain active later into the evening, visiting shops, restaurants and other destination locations.

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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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The end of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday Nov. 3 means many motorists can expect darkness during their morning and afternoon commutes. It will get light a bit earlier, but seasonal darkness will eliminate most of that advantage, meaning morning motorists must remain alert, particularly for pedestrians in residential neighborhoods and along main thoroughfares. Motorists will face early darkness in the afternoon as their commute actually takes place an hour later.night-highway-1450204-300x184

Once used to give farmers extra summer daylight, and used extensively during the World Wars to conserve energy, Daylight Savings Time is either loved or hated, depending upon your perspective.

But what is not up for debate, our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know, is the role visibility often plays in traffic collisions. Rain can make for particularly hazardous driving conditions, especially during the height of rainy season. But with seasonal rains quickly dissipating, it is the early darkness descending upon Southwest Florida that will increase traffic risks through the remainder 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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