Dangers to Pedestrians in Metropolitan Areas – Orlando and Other Florida Cities

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From 2000 through 2009, federal highway records show that 47,501 pedestrians have died on the nation’s roads. In addition, Orlando, Florida has consistently ranked among the deadliest cities in the nation for pedestrians and bicyclists.
67-year-old Jack Courture was struck by an SUV when he attempted to cross Colonial Drive at Maguire Boulevard by Orlando Fashion Square. He sadly died two days later. Mighk Wilson, a smart-growth planner at MetroPlan (a regional agency that sets transportation policy) said that Couture may not have seen the SUV, or he may have underestimated its speed. Mighk added that it is a very easy mistake to judge the speed of a vehicle.
Wilson compared Couture’s death to the major trends in metropolitan-pedestrian deaths. Wilson’s study of pedestrian-vehicle accidents in 2003-04, 2008-09 and part of 2010 revealed that the majority of accidents occurred on roads with four or more lanes of traffic. The intersection at Colonial and Maguire where Couture’s accident occurred had eight lanes of vehicles. Couture’s death departed from the norm of Wilson’s research in that most pedestrian deaths occurred at night and did not take place at an intersection or cross walk. Also, alcohol and drugs are often involved. Although the investigation into Couture’s death is not complete, he was using a crosswalk in the morning and his friends say he did not abuse alcohol or drugs.
According to studies by Transportation for America, Central Florida has been the nation’s most dangerous area for pedestrians for the last two years. Wilson suggests installing more medians in multilane roads and adding more lights at night and additional crosswalks to improve street safety. For more information on this topic, see wide streets, fast cars, impaired pedestrians a deadly combination in Orlando.

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