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Is Florida Safe Enough to Walk or Cycle?

As a practicing personal injury attorney I have seen my fair share of bike accidents, many ties resulting in terrible injuries. Usually a bike versus a car is not good news for the biker, however, I was stunned to read a recent article in the Tampa Bay Times that the Tampa metro area is one of the most dangerous places in the entire country for bikers and pedestrians.

2016 Study conducted by Smart Growth America revealed startling statistics

The top seven most dangerous cities for walking and biking are all in Florida!

  1. Cape Coral/Ft Myers
  2. Melbourne/Titusville
  3. Orlando
  4. Jacksonville
  5. Daytona Beach
  6. Lakeland/Winter Haven
  7. Tampa/St. Pete

Apparently, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, older people and people of color are more inclined to be at risk for being killed in a pedestrian or bike crash. The study concluded that these demographics face unusually high and unsafe conditions while walking or biking.

Is Street Design to Blame?

Most deaths happened on streets with fast traffic and undesirable pedestrian design.

Simply put – something has to change. Change starts with our policy makers. Florida policy makers have done a poor job of designing pedestrian friendly streets. We all must demand our city and county commissioners and state legislators to change our street design focus from fast moving traffic to include walkable design and also incorporate many transportation options.

My Experience

In the last few years I have taken up biking. I purchased a 10 speed hybrid and started riding. It wasn’t long that I had several close calls with cars. Before reading the Times article I had limited my exposure to car traffic by doing the bulk of my riding is on trails limited specifically to jogger and bikers. This feels safer! After reading the article I realized that my gut feeling was right. If you ride on roads with traffic be extra careful. Get involved and voice your opinion with your local government. Lets change these horrific statistics.

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