Broward County is Dangerous for Pedestrians & Bicyclists

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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recent data shows that Broward County had the second-highest number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities in Florida.

According a Sun-Sentinel article, statewide, there were 606 pedestrian fatalities and 7,737 pedestrian injuries in 2014. In the same period, there were 135 bicyclist fatalities and 6,680 bicyclist injuries.

South Florida, including Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, continues to have the highest pedestrian and bicycle crashes – fatalities and injuries in the state.

Where Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes and Fatalities Often Occur

According to data obtained from the FDOT Crash Analysis Reporting (CAR) System, pedestrian accidents occur in non-intersections and areas without a cross walk. Crashes that do occur at intersections are mainly due to left-turning maneuvers and right-turn-on-red maneuvers. Parking lots also pose a threat to pedestrians and bicycles (backing crashes) and are often under reported.

Common Causes of Florida Pedestrian & Bicyclist Accidents

  • Negligent motorist – distracted driving, speeding, red light running, DUI, swinging car doors
  • Negligent pedestrians – jaywalking, distracted walking, DUI, lack of knowledge of safety rules Negligent bicyclists – distracted biking, DUI, lack of knowledge of bicycle regulations and rules of the road (ex. biking against traffic)
  • Road hazards – lack of bicycle lanes, lack of or defects in sidewalks or parking lots, potholes, railroad tracks, poor property maintenance, construction-related accidents, or harmful debris, gravel or materials on public walkways.
  • Inclement weather conditions – rain and fog
  • Time of day – dusk and night make seeing or spotting pedestrians and bicyclists harder

Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are also a real problem in Florida, and that is especially true where bicyclers and pedestrians are concerned.

Some Things Being Done to Improve Pedestrian and Biker Safety

Various safety organizations – Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Florida’s Drive with CARE program, Florida Sheriff’s Association Teen Driver Challenge, Car Fit Florida, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Emergency Medical Services’ (EMS), American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and AAA to form alliances to:

  • Ensure that pedestrian safety information is fully incorporated in every aspect of driver education, training, and licensing.
  • Incorporate pedestrian and bicycle information into the curriculum of traffic school diversion programs.
  • Increase law enforcement’s knowledge of pedestrian and bicycle safety.
  • Improve the safety of pedestrians and bicycles through design, construction, operation, and maintenance.
  • Promote the application of “Complete Streets” to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and access.
  • Promote the Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow message.
  • Promote Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Share the Road Safely Program.
  • Promote Road Safety Audits (RSA) to include pedestrian and bicycle safety components.

Now through May, Broward County is promoting the Alert Today, Arrive Tomorrow campaign. Local authorities will hand out educational materials and issue warnings or citations to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists who break traffic laws in 14 Broward cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Margate, Lauderhill, Miramar, Sunrise, Wilton Manors, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach and Oakland Park.