Environmental activists and health experts are constantly advising Americans to walk more. While you may help maintain your cardiovascular health and reduce your environmental impact when you walk to the park instead of driving, you also create a new source of risk for your safety.
Motor vehicles can and do strike pedestrians, often causing catastrophic or fatal injuries. A pedestrian is at risk anywhere, but there are certain places where they have a higher statistical chance of getting hurt or dying.
Florida is one of the most dangerous places for people to go out for a walk
Currently, Florida is second in the nation for pedestrian deaths. When analysts look at crash rates in different cities and states, they don’t just look at the overall number of deaths. They also compare those fatalities to local populations to get a better idea of people’s overall risk.
Florida had previously taken the top spot as the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians, but it has dipped down to second place recently. Still, anyone walking on public roads in Florida is at more risk than in almost any other part of the country.
A federal analysis of pedestrian deaths paints a grim view of the safety of walkers in Florida. Of the 20 deadliest cities for pedestrians in the country, seven of them are right here in Florida. Daytona Beach took the spot as the deadliest metropolitan area, while the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area took the 14th place on the list. The region had 954 pedestrian deaths between 2016 and 2020.
How can pedestrians protect themselves?
You don’t have to drive every time you intend to travel a block or two, but you do need to make safety your top priority when you go out on the road.
Pedestrians can reduce their risk of getting hurt by making themselves visible with their clothing or even with illuminated gear if they go out during transitional times of day, bad weather or after nightfall. Crossing at marked crosswalks will increase the likelihood of drivers noticing you, and choosing routes where vehicles are subject to lower speed limits may reduce your likelihood of dying if a crash does occur.