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Recent Editorial Sheds Light on Orlando’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Problems

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on November 23, 2011

A recent editorial published in the Orlando Sentinel caught the eye of Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham recently and resonated so strongly in him that he wanted to share it with his readers. The editorial was written by a local bicyclist named David Moran, who was inspired to craft his opinion after a recent well-publicized bicycle accident where a bicyclist was struck and killed by a fire truck. An excerpt from Mr. Moran’s editorial included the following:

Sadly, I have been honked at, run off the road, and even hit by a car on my bike. Drivers don’t realize they are supposed to share the road. Until I started bicycling, I was pretty ignorant to this as well, and used to get very frustrated with people biking on the road when I drove.

I was taking the bus home from the University of Central Florida that night on Link 13, which goes by the emergency room, and we had to go a different route because of the accident. The news really hit home with me.

I travel to work and grad school at UCF via LYNX, biking and walking. Every day I fear for my life because people see nondrivers as an inconvenience who are in the way. I have had many close calls because everyone is in such a rush. I sometimes just want to yell, “Slow the heck down!”

When I was hit by a car on my bike, the woman got out of her car and, before even talking to me, she inspected her car for damage. She did not apologize, and told me that I should have not been in the road. Unfortunately, the stretch of Corrine and Virginia drive that goes through Audubon Park does not have a bike path, so I have to bike in the street with cars. I called the police to report the incident, but they were occupied with other emergencies; after waiting 45 minutes, I gave up and proceeded to an appointment for which the accident had made me late.

The driver didn’t understand that she was supposed to share the road, and when she tried to pass me her passenger-side mirror hit me.

It amazed me how she lost her sense of humanity behind the wheel. She forgot my flesh and bones on a little bike was no match for her mass of metal, glass and rubber. That is the sad part about suburbia — everyone is isolated and disconnected. We hide from the world and each other through our cars denying us a true sense of community. When I ride the bus or walk or bike, I am amongst people. I see suffering. I see people who are different from me and it keeps me in tune with reality. The automobile-centric, social nature of sprawling cities like Orlando encourages apathy and avoidance.

The Bible story of the Good Samaritan comes to mind when I think about the current situation of our country and the disconnect between the haves and have-nots. It seems like everyone is crossing to the other side of the road and passing people by or tragically running right over them in some cases.
This has to change or we will continue to have tragedies such as this accident. Central Floridians need to be more mindful of pedestrian and bicyclist rights.

Local government also needs to stop making it so convenient for cars to rule the roost and get away with it. Going without a car in Orlando should not be the poor person’s plight; it should be a lifestyle that is supported and celebrated. Especially with the coming of SunRail, we need to challenge ourselves as a community to drive less and value other alternative modes of transportation more.

More bus routes, fewer parking lots. More biking trails, fewer strip malls. More crosswalks, fewer lane expansions. More late-night, public transportation alternatives, less drinking and driving. More carpooling, lower gas costs. More commuter rail, less of a carbon footprint. More community, fewer distracted, disconnected drivers.

Instead of allowing cars to define us, and roads to divide us, I hope we can strive for a new sense of connectedness that makes Orlando a safe and humane place to commute for everyone, not just some of us.

James O. Cunningham would like to thank Mr. Moran for making his case so eloquently and reminding drivers about operating their vehicles in a safe and conscientious manner. Sadly, there are too many drivers on Florida roadways who don’t put safety above all other considerations, and this is exemplified by our awful pedestrian and bicycle accident rates. If you have been struck by a vehicle while walking or biking and would like to speak with an Orlando personal injury lawyer, call Mr. Cunningham today at 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000 to schedule a free consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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