What gives? Essentially, it comes down to a design flaw in many of Florida’s urban areas. Cities in this state were designed for urban sprawl. City engineers directed developments with passenger vehicles, trucks and rapid transportation in mind — not walkers. Wider roads, fewer crosswalks, confusing light systems and poorly designed foot trails and bike paths are all a problem.
To be certain, this isn’t an issue that’s unique to the Sunshine State. From 2008 to 2017, pedestrian deaths have increased 35.7%. Roughly 13 people are killed while trying to walk somewhere every day in this nation. (By comparison, traffic has actually gotten 6.1% less deadly for vehicle occupants during the same period.)
The 2019 report “Dangerous By Design” shows that Florida’s Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), at 182, is more than three times the national average of 55.3. The PDI is calculated by looking at the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in a given time. States with a PDI lower than the national average, like Vermont and Ohio, are generally considered safest for pedestrians.
Statistics show that the people most affected by urban areas that are poorly designed for walkers are disproportionately elderly and disabled, both of whom may not be able to react quickly to protect themselves if they see an oncoming vehicle.
There’s no easy solution for Florida. Pedestrian safety is something that needs to be addressed over the long-term. In the meantime, if you suffer a serious injury in a pedestrian accident, learn more about your legal right to compensation for your losses.