While the Best Foot Forward campaign launched last summer has made some progress, a recent study conducted by MetroPlan Orlando indicates that much work remains in order to make Orlando roadways safer for pedestrians. Area law enforcement officials and pedestrian safety advocates launched the campaign in response to the Orlando metropolitan area’s reputation as being the most dangerous place in the country for pedestrians. High-profile signage and police stings at pedestrian crosswalks has had some impact on getting drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, especially at intersections where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
MetroPlan Orlando monitored 30 intersections throughout our area and found that a third of drivers stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks on roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less, up sharply from 9 percent before the campaign began. However, they found that on roads with higher speed limits, only 5 percent of drivers stopped at crosswalks, compared with a shocking 1 percent before the campaign.
Mighk Wilson, a smart-growth planner at MetroPlan Orlando, said that on roads with higher speeds limits, drivers do not anticipate having to stop for a single pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk. He said this is especially true on larger roads with six or more lanes, such as Universal Boulevard, Orange Blossom Trail and State Road 436.
As a driver, "you’re looking farther down the road and tending to screen out smaller things," said Wilson.
Wilson said that drivers are also reluctant to slow down and stop at crosswalks for fear that they will be rear-ended by another driver.
Audrey Adams is a 56-year-old commercial-printing saleswoman who drives all over Central Florida for her business. She says that she was very concerned about being struck from behind by another driver after she recently stopped at a crosswalk and saw drivers swerve around her car and keep going despite the fact that there was a pedestrian at the crosswalk waiting to get across the road.
"All I could do was look in my rearview mirror and see whether they were going to miss," Adams said.
James O. Cunningham is one of many Orlando pedestrian accident attorneys who are very concerned about pedestrian safety. He is especially troubled by a recent report that said that an average of two pedestrians are struck and injured by vehicles every day in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties. An average of one person every week dies in pedestrian accidents in our area. Mr. Cunningham asks drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to exercise extra care at crosswalks and urges drivers to slow down and emphasize safety over all other concerns. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident and would like to speak with an experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer, call Mr. Cunningham today at 800-425-2004.
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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