Are Cars Fatally Injuring More Pedestrians?
Pedestrian and bicycle injuries happen more often in Florida than in other states across the country. Moreover, pedestrian accidents are on the rise at the same time that car accident rates are declining. According to a recent article in The Guardian, pedestrian deaths used to be “much more common in poorer countries,” but over the last decade, both pedestrian and bicyclist deaths have risen significantly in the U.S. To be sure, in 2018, “41 percent more U.S. pedestrians were killed than in 2008,” and bicycle fatalities have increased by 25 percent since 2010. Now, as we approach the third decade of the 21st century, “in almost every country in the world, regardless of national prosperity, it remains on average more dangerous, per mile of travel, to be a pedestrian than to be a car driver or passenger.”
Florida, in particular, is notorious for having a high rate of pedestrian accidents and fatalities, as we mentioned above. What do you need to know about pedestrian accidents in the state and ways to avoid a collision?
Florida Has a Particular Problem with Pedestrian Accidents
At the start of 2019, an article in the Miami Herald reported that Florida had more pedestrian accidents than any other state. According to a recent article in the Daily Commercial, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles identified a total of 702 pedestrian deaths in Florida in 2018. Florida cities are built largely for drivers, and as such, the infrastructure is often dangerous for pedestrians. Indeed, many areas frequented by pedestrians in cities like West Palm Beach, Miami, and Tampa do not have effective crosswalks for pedestrians. In some cases, there are simply not enough crosswalks to encourage pedestrians to cross at a crosswalk. In other situations, there are additional infrastructure problems. For example, the Daily Commercial article discusses the need for “better lighting, more traffic lights, crosswalks, safety education, [and] fewer distractions.”
Sometimes pedestrians are partially at fault for the accident, crossing at an area where there is no crosswalk or walking with traffic (instead of against traffic) on a busy street. When a pedestrian wears dark-colored clothing and walks at night, it can be difficult for cars to see the pedestrian to avoid a collision. The article emphasizes that many pedestrian accidents happen after dark. Given that daylight saving time (DST) has come to an end, the evenings are even darker than they were in recent months. To be sure, the evening rush hour when Floridians are driving home from work is largely dark, making a pedestrian accident more likely.
What Can Pedestrians Do?
Although motor vehicle drivers often are at fault for pedestrian deaths, pedestrians can take steps to avoid an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following:
- Obey all signs and signals, and follow any rules of the road;
- When sidewalks are available, walk on them;
- If no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic and as far from the traffic as you can;
- Do not allow yourself to engage in distracted walking, which means avoiding talking on a phone, texting, or listening to music while you walk;
- Always cross at a crosswalk if one is available;
- When no crosswalk is available, cross at an intersection;
- If there is no crosswalk or intersection, make sure you cross in an area with good lighting;
- Make yourself visible with bright or reflective clothing; and
- Never drink alcohol before walking.
Contact a West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, you should get in touch with a West Palm Beach car accident attorney to learn more about your options. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC to get started on your case.