Pedestrian and cyclist injuries are rising in Florida as they are for the rest of the country, and experts blame design engineers.
The problem is that American roadways are built for speed and efficiency at the expense of safety. “Motor vehicles are first, highways are first, and everything else is an afterthought,” Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board told the New York Times.
While other developed countries around the world have been designing cities and roadways to accommodate bicycle riders and walkers, America seems stuck in the 1950s when the car was king.
Experts say the problem is especially pronounced in Florida, where four cities made the top ten list of the country’s most dangerous metropolitan centers for pedestrians. “Other countries started to take seriously pedestrian and cyclist injuries in the 2000s — and started making that a priority in both vehicle design and street design — in a way that has never been committed to in the United States,” Yonah Freemark, a researcher at the Urban Institute told the Times.
Pedestrian and Cyclist Injuries Keep Rising
Traffic deaths in America peaked 50 years ago and had been on a steady decline until recently. In 1972 56,000 people died in traffic accidents across the country. By 2011 the number of annual traffic accident fatalities had dropped to about 35,000, despite there being many more vehicles on the road. But since then, traffic accident deaths have steadily risen. In 2021, traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high, with nearly 43,000 highway fatalities.
“This crisis on our roads is urgent and preventable,” says Dr. Steven Cliff Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “We will redouble our safety efforts, and we need everyone – state and local governments, safety advocates, automakers, and drivers – to join us. All of our lives depend on it.”
But experts say the transportation system needs fundamental change. The highway safety gains that America has made over the decades have largely been brought about by improved technology and safety features that have made driving a car less dangerous – for people in cars.
It turns out that pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths have been a driver of increasingly dark statistics. “Other countries started to take seriously pedestrian and cyclist injuries in the 2000s — and started making that a priority in both vehicle design and street design — in a way that has never been committed to in the United States,” Freemark told the Times.
While other countries were lowering speed limits and creating bike lanes and roundabouts, Americans have been making bigger and faster cars with little thought given to who may get in the way. But the ultimate responsibility to prevent pedestrian injuries is with the driver of a car. If you have been injured by someone’s negligence or carelessness, talk to an Orlando car accident attorney with the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. We’ve been helping accident victims for more than 35 years. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida