Sign at Stop Lights to Cross Walk

Pedestrian sign on UCF main campus

The Sunshine State isn’t shining so bright for pedestrians after all.

According to the latest Smart Growth America report, it is the state whose roads are most dangerous for pedestrians.

Florida is home to eight out of the United States’ 10 most dangerous metro areas. Totaling a 5,142 pedestrian death rate from 2005 to 2014.

In 2016, the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) was 177. This index is a calculation of the portion of commuters who travel to work by foot and pedestrian death data. The annual pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people averaged at 2.66.  

But, when you ask Amanda Day, Walk Bike of Central Florida executive director, she’ll say much of the blame is based on street design. Particularly on roads with fast-moving cars and poor infrastructure for pedestrians.  

“You’re going to see over the next couple years more sidewalks, more landscaping, trying to slow down the roads, speed. That change takes a really long time, but we are seeing change,” Day said.

Despite Florida’s poor reputation, this year the State ranked third on the list for the first time since the study started tracking records in 2009.

Communities in Central Florida have joined forces to make improvements. For instance, law enforcement and Orange County officials are teaching and informing people about the law to keep accident rates under control.

UCFPD Media Relations Officer Stephens stated there were only four pedestrian-automobile crashes in 2016 on all of UCF’s properties.

“Officers are always on the lookout for violators,” Stephens said. “But it’s more about using the crosswalks and paying attention to pedestrian signals as well.”

Transportation planners of Central Florida are working to make roads pedestrian friendly, considering that streets are built to prioritize high speeds at the cost of pedestrian safety.  

“We are starting to design roads with everyone in mind, whether you are walking, biking, driving. We want to bring safety to the community in all aspects in Central Florida,” Day said.

Orange County plans to spend $15 million on pedestrian improvements over the next five years, according to County safety experts.

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