There's no coincidence that you hear so many people in Southwest Florida complain about the driving skills they see on our local roads. If you agree with the many folks saying how dangerous it is to be on the road around here, you're definitely not alone.
A report that came out in January from an organization called Smart Growth America covers the statistics regarding pedestrians being killed by cars, and the Cape Coral / Fort Myers area ranked as the most dangerous in the entire country.
This tiny little corner of the world that so many of us call paradise ranked #1, over 104 other metropolitan areas in America, for the risk of being killed by a car while you're walking.
The report is called Dangerous by Design, and covers a lot of factual information about how our area's roads are designed, and how it affects the safety of pedestrians. The study uses a Pedestrian Danger Index, (PDI), to rank areas around the country, and Cape Coral/Fort Myers came in at 283.1. The next most dangerous spot in the state is the Melbourne area on the east coast, which came in at 235.2.
Here are just a few highlights found in the report:
- 4,884 pedestrians died from being hit by a car in 2014 in the U.S.
- Between 2005 and 2014, Americans were 7.2 times more likely to die as a pedestrian than from a natural disaster
- The top 7 most dangerous places for pedestrians are in Florida, which ranked #1 in the country
- People of color and older adults make up a much larger percentage of pedestrian deaths
- Uninsured individuals make up a higher percentage of pedestrian deaths
- Street design plays a major role in the high numbers of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S.
“Between 2005 and 2014, there were 165 pedestrian fatalities in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area,” says personal injury attorney Sheba Abraham, of the Goldberg Noone Abraham, law firm in Fort Myers. “Between pedestrians and people on bicycles, our firm deals with a large number of seriously injured clients, and the numbers go up each year.”
Florida has topped this dubious list for 4 consecutive years. The authors of the study point out that while there is a certain amount of ‘user error', or fatalities caused by either a driver or by a pedestrian, the actual design and construction of our roadways contribute directly to the alarming numbers of pedestrian deaths. The group is responsible for instigating a Complete Streets initiative, which is designed to provide a partnership to work with local communities and government entities to plan and build roadways and pedestrian access areas with an eye towards safety.
Sadly, Fort Myers and Cape Coral do not currently have plans to implement any involvement with Smart Growth America or their Complete Streets plan.
“The City of Fort Myers has indicated some plans to construct some roundabouts as intersections”, noted attorney Abraham. “But frankly, there are many conflicting reports and studies, both in the U.S. and around Europe, as to whether building roundabouts actually reduces the number of crash injuries or not”.
Whether you're walking, riding a bicycle or even in a scooter or wheelchair, you should be able to expect a certain amount of safety when you need to go places where cars are present. There's not a day that goes by when we don't see a person, often handicapped or elderly, trying to get across a busy road on a small personal scooter or using a walker. With the high percentage of older residents in Lee County, you're going to have a higher number of crashes involving a car and a pedestrian.
The personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Noone Abraham, represent the legal rights of the remaining family members of those who have lost their lives as the result of a motor vehicle accident. If you have questions, we have answers – and it never costs a penny to call us up and find out if you have a case for financial compensation after being seriously injured in a crash.
We're always here for you. Call our office at 239-461-5508 immediately following a crash to determine if you may need legal help.
(You can download a complete version of the Dangerous By Design report here.)