February 2017 Newsletter

Danger Every for Pedestrians

A recent study by Smart Growth America concluded that the 7 most dangerous places in the United States for pedestrians all surround Gainesville and Ocala, FL. Wow! That sounds unbelievable but it’s true. Orlando, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Tampa, Melbourne, and Fort Myers are all on the top of the list. And Sarasota and South Florida are not far behind. The good news is that Gainesville and Ocala are among the safest walking cities in the country. I am not sure why our neighbors are so darn dangerous, but it has something to do with roads being built so cars can go faster. In fact, the Florida Department of Transportation adopted a Complete Streets policy which has its goal to reduce pedestrian deaths in Florida. Every day there are 13 pedestrian deaths in the United States, and Florida has much more than it’s fair share. To protect yourself when visiting our neighboring cities remember the basics:

  1. Walk facing traffic
  2. Wear clothing that is easily visible
  3. Avoid distractions

Distractions is a big one. I see everyone on their cell phone walking around oblivious to what is going on. it has become an epidemic. Also be careful when walking or jogging with headphones. you can’t hear the ambient noise that alerts you to danger. So I guess walking no requires us to be just as watchful as when we are driving. We have represented a number of people and their families who have been injured or killed in pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accidents. The injuries are usually more serious because as a pedestrian you are not protected and receive the full force of being hit by the car or trust, and when you slam down on the pavement the outcome is usually bad. So just think about how you can be a safer pedestrian and don’t count on the person in the car or trust to be looking out for you. And by all means take even greater care when you visit more dangerous cities.