Is Orlando Really The Most Dangerous City for Pedestrians?
Written by Shawn Diederich on October 19, 2015
Historically, Orlando has been known as the most dangerous city when it comes to pedestrian safety; nowhere else in America were pedestrians at greater risk for being struck and severely injured or killed by a car. As of two years ago, this affected close to 1,000 Floridians each year, many of whom suffered incapacitating injuries, and, of course, death in some circumstances. In response, state highway officials launched plans to change the risk rate for pedestrians—campaigns called “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” and “Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety.” But have they made a difference for pedestrian safety for the last two years?
Why Is Orlando So Dangerous? Pedestrians, Drivers, & Street Design
Has the issue of pedestrian safety (or lack thereof) historically been due to one type of fault or another? Amongst crashes studied between 2007 and 2013, pedestrians were primarily to blame in a majority of cases where they were left severely injured or dead, mostly due to crossing roads outside of crosswalks and often at night. Nighttime not only makes it more difficult to see a pedestrian, but for vehicles to judge distance and car speed, particularly if the pedestrian is wearing dark clothing.
However, drivers were also found to be either partially or entirely to blame in a percentage of the cases as well. Typical violations included careless driving, speeding, running red lights, driving under the influence, failing to yield, etc. There are certain interstate intersections where the “Yield to Pedestrians” signs are simply ignored.
Some pedestrians feel that it is not just due to driver habits, but also the design of the intersections and urban roads themselves; intersections that are often placed in the middle of two directions of traffic at one time and cars traveling at a minimum of 60 miles per hour; urban roads designed long ago to only carry as much traffic as far and as quickly as possible; and sidewalks either absent or installed perilously close to the road. Many roads are also entirely lacking streetlights and pedestrian refuge median strips.
Still Dangerous To Date
Sadly, according to the latest edition of the Pedestrian Danger Index, pedestrian safety in Orlando is relatively non-existent. As one NBC news article puts it, walking in Orlando is “akin to being on a theme park ride, but without the safety equipment or procedures.” Reportedly, the city still suffers from streets designed for speed instead of safety.
Many in Orlando have pointed out that these deaths are easily preventable simply through policy, practice, and design. Some have suggested what are known as “Complete Streets” policies; just as we make plans to protect against natural disasters, we must plan our communities to keep pedestrians safe. This will require not only local efforts, but a federal response to hold the state accountable for making progress to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths each year.
Have You Been Injured in Florida?
If you have been injured as a pedestrian, or suffered the death of a loved one, the attorneys at Diederich Law Firm, P.A. are highly experienced with all areas of personal injury and we are ready to ensure that you receive the compensation that you need. Contact us today at 407-270-3775 to discuss your claims.