Tampa Bay Times and Advocacy Group Highlight Dangers to Pedestrians in Florida

This week, the Tampa Bay Times highlighted a troubling statistic: Florida has 7 of the 10 most most “pedestrian-hostile” metropolitan areas in the country. A new report, published by community advocacy group Smart Growth America ranked Tampa #8 on their “Dangerous By Design” list for deadly metro areas to travel on foot.

Dangerous By Design 2021

The study analyzes average annual pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents. It also takes into account people who walk to work. One nationwide statistic was particularly troubling: “The number of people struck and killed each year has grown by 45 percent between 2010 and 2019, and 2018 and 2019 saw the highest numbers of pedestrian deaths since 1990.”  You can read the report in full on the Smart Growth America website

Tampa Is One of Seven Metro Areas in Florida On List

Other Florida metropolitan areas on the list were Orlando/ Kissimmee/Sanford, Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville, Deltona/Daytona Beach / Ormand Beach, North Port/ Sarasota/ Bradenton, Lakeland/ Winter Haven, and Jacksonville. The other three areas not in Florida were Bakersfield, CA, Memphis, TN, and Jackson, MS. 

Nationwide Epidemic For Pedestrian Deaths

Between 2010 and 2019, 53,435 pedestrians were struck and killed in the United States – an average of more than 14 pedestrians a day. African American and elderly pedestrians have higher fatality rates, as well as individuals in lower-income areas. 

Opinion: Florida’s Efforts Don’t Seem To Be Working 

The report does credit Florida for efforts to address the pedestrian fatality problem, but also strongly criticizes it, noting “in 2014, the state adopted a Complete Streets policy … but policies intended to save lives should be measured by their success, and Florida’s effort has failed to live up to its billing.” Smart Growth America’s report goes on “Our current approach to addressing the rising number of people struck and killed while walking has been a total failure. It needs to be reconsidered or dropped altogether.” 

Opportunities To Improve 

Smart Growth America stated many states have failed miserably in the last decade, running education campaigns that haven’t worked, hyper-focusing on enforcement, and even blaming victims for their own deaths. SGA specifically called out Florida, saying “Florida’s effort has failed to live up to its billing.” The report suggested proven design modifications that can naturally improve safety, such as high-visibility crosswalks with signals that can make drivers more aware of pedestrians, and narrower traffic lanes slow traffic on their own without enforcement. 

Holding Negligent Parties Accountable 

When pedestrian injuries or deaths result from the negligence of others, victims of pedestrian accidents and their family members have the opportunity to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against an at-fault party, municipal agency, or anyone who caused or contributed to an accident. 

At the Coleman Law Group, founder Constance Coleman and her team are dedicated to helping personal injury victims obtain healing, recovery, and justice. We will fight to help you recover the full and fair compensation you are entitled to. If you’d like to speak with a Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer about a potential case, contact us at (877) 822-9292.