Pedestrian fatalities have risen alarmingly in recent years, and a report released by Smart Growth America suggests that the problem is getting worse. It reveals that 7,485 pedestrians were killed on America’s roads in 2021, which the road safety advocacy group says is the highest pedestrian death toll in four decades. The report also listed the 10 most dangerous cities in America for those who travel on foot, and four of them are in Florida.
Dangerous cities for pedestrians
Pedestrian deaths are falling in many parts of the world thanks to improved road designs that calm traffic in areas where cyclists and pedestrians are common, but American city planners focus on ways to move motor vehicles as quickly as possible. The result is cities with wide roads that become pedestrian accident hot spots because they are very dangerous to cross on foot. The Daytona-Ormond Beach metropolitan area is the most dangerous region in America for pedestrians according to Smart Growth America, and Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Orlando were the fourth, sixth and eighth most dangerous cities.
More alarming news
The Smart Growth America report was released less than six months after the Governors Highway Safety Association announced that pedestrian deaths in Florida increased by more than 25% in 2021. The nonprofit road safety group says that 899 of the 7,485 pedestrians who died in 2021 were struck and killed while walking in Florida, which means the Sunshine State accounts for more than 12% of the country’s pedestrian deaths. The GHSA says pedestrians will remain in danger until infrastructure is improved and roads are redesigned for safety instead of speed.
Cities have to do more
City planners in Florida and other parts of the United States should encourage walking and cycling and do more to protect vulnerable road users. Cities in other parts of the world have shown what can be done, so there is no reason for America to be lagging so far behind in such an important area. Drivers may loathe reduced speed limits and traffic calming measures, but something has to be done to keep pedestrians safe.