Orlando Roadways Remain Dangerous Places for Walkers and Cyclists

This article was first published July 27th, 2011. Some of the laws may have changed since this that date.

A study conducted by Transportation for America paints Orlando roadways as dangerous places for people on foot. Based on ten years of data, the study’s findings reveal that Orlando-area roads are the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians. According to the study, there were 557 pedestrian deaths in the region from 2000-2009.

Orlando was one of four Florida cities in the study’s top 10 most dangerous areas for pedestrian accidents; Jacksonville, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Miami-Fort Lauderdale were also included. Florida officials believe the statistics, including a fatality rate of 3 in every 100,000 people, are skewed due to the high number of tourists that flock to Florida each year but nevertheless, each pedestrian is someone’s family member, whether here in Florida or elsewhere.

These statistics, while certainly alarming for pedestrians, have caused concern for bicyclists, who believe the numbers indicate that automobile drivers run Orlando roads and that there is little consideration for others who share them. Bicycle accidents, like pedestrian accidents, are not uncommon on Orlando roadways.

Brad Kuhn, the Director of Bike/Walk Central Florida — an organization that works to promote bike riding and walking — told the Orlando Sentinel that, while the beauty of area roads make them ideal for cyclists, there is still “a culture that transportation is about moving cars, not about moving people.”

National data also supports these concerns. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, bicyclists in the United States were victims of 51,000 injuries and 630 fatalities in accidents involving automobiles.

Potential Causes of Orlando’s Dangerous Roadways

The Transportation for America study suggests that the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur on arterial roadways that are particularly dangerous because of the way they are designed. The Orange Blossom Trail, Interstate 4 (I-4), State Road 436 and State Road 50 are ‘hot spots’ for deadly pedestrian accidents.

Many Central Florida roadways are just not friendly to pedestrians, lacking crosswalks and sidewalks for safe travel on foot. Even those that do have crosswalks may have them spaced too far apart to be convenient for those not traveling by car. Only recently has Central Florida been looking at investing in pedestrian-friendly amenities; in 2011, Orlando plans to build 18 miles of new sidewalks.

Roads Designed For Cars, Not People

Highways were constructed to promote the fast and safe flow of cars, not people walking or riding a bike. Wider roads that accommodate multiple lanes of traffic are difficult, if not impossible, to safely cross.

As roads are designed for cars traveling at faster speeds, pedestrians and cyclists are at even greater risk if they attempt to use those same roads. A study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association found that pedestrians are 16 times more likely to be fatally injured on roads with posted speed limits above 50 mph than those at 30 mph or below.

If you’ve been injured while walking or riding on an Orlando roadway, a Florida personal injury attorney can assist you with obtaining the compensation you need for your recovery.