Boosting Pedestrian Safety in a Florida City for Just $25

One central Florida city has found an inexpensive means to hopefully drastically reduce the incidence of pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles for a cheap solution. Given the state’s pervasive problem with pedestrian injuries and fatalities throughout the length and breadth of Florida, it remains to be seen if this solution could potentially resolve an issue that has seen the state land on just about every list as the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. However, it is an encouraging step that could present an option for other cities in Florida to help the Sunshine State reduce its notorious distinction as the most deadly state in the country for pedestrians.

Lakeland’s Solution to a Uniquely Florida Problem

According to a report from ITS International, a traffic safety magazine, the city of Lakeland in central Florida has found an inexpensive and easy fix that has drastically reduced the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in incidents with motor vehicles in that city.  For only $25 for 30 minutes of work, the city found that it was able to reduce the instances of pedestrian injuries by over 60 percent according to the city’s manager of traffic operations.  The solution was simple: giving pedestrians more time to cross the street before the signal changes.  Lakeland installed a lead pedestrian interval (LPI) system at 25 major intersections in the city’s downtown business district. The signals installed by Lakeland give pedestrians a five-second lead time that warns pedestrians the light is about to change, whereas the standard time recommended by the U.S. Federal Highway Safety Administration is three seconds. These LPI signals give an extra amount of time for pedestrians to cross the street before vehicles are allowed to proceed and the motivation for installing them was driven by the number of older, slower pedestrians that may be crossing the street in Lakeland. Research has shown that the use of such signals can reduce the rate of pedestrian crashes in which pedestrians are injured by 37% and the rate of fatal pedestrian crashes by 20%.

Lakeland itself had been named the fifth most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the country in 2019 by the non-profit Smart Growth America in its Dangerous by Design 2019 study of the most dangerous municipalities for pedestrians across the country. This was up one spot from where Lakeland appeared in the group’s 2016 rankings.  According to a report from a local media outlet on the survey, Lakeland had 162 pedestrian deaths between the years 2008-2017. Based on this survey, the city, just like the state of Florida more generally, has a long way to go in reducing its pedestrian injury and fatality rate.  Nevertheless, the city’s recent action on this issue in installing an LPI system is a positive step in the right direction.

Florida: The Most Deadly State for Pedestrians in the Country

Florida consistently ranks as the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians due to the state’s inability to protect people who are simply trying to cross the street.  The same Smart Growth America Dangerous by Design 2019 survey found that eight of the top ten most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians in 2019 were in Florida.  This has been attributed to a series of factors, including the fact that Florida’s roads were developed with motorists, not pedestrians, in mind with the lack of any sidewalks on many Florida roads and their high speed limits.  This latest move by Lakeland is a positive development that will hopefully be adopted by other Florida cities as well.  Giving the elderly and those with limited mobility additional time to cross major intersections is simply a good idea, particularly if the means for doing so is as inexpensive as the route that Lakeland is following in installing LPI signals.  Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that more cities will actually take this simple, safe and inexpensive step to reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths in Florida given the major strides the state and its cities need to make in making their roads safer for pedestrians.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A

Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and the list of the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians in the country is dominated by cities in the Sunshine State. However, there is hope given that some municipalities like Lakeland are taking steps to hopefully reduce this problem. This would particularly benefit the Sunshine State given how many older pedestrians live in Florida and are present on the state’s roads.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of pedestrian accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured as a result of the actions of a Florida motorist, you have the right under Florida law to receive compensation for your injuries, including the payment for any medical treatment you need to undergo as a result of those injuries, compensation for your pain and suffering as a result of those injuries, and other damages. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured or killed by a motor vehicle while walking on a Florida road, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079  or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.