Doctors and health experts today extol the virtues of walking. It is good for your heart rate, can help you lose weight, and is good for your overall sense of well-being. In addition to the health benefits, walking to school, work, or to do errands is good for the environment, as well as a good way to enjoy the sights and sounds of your neighborhood. While Florida’s sunny skies and temperate climate make it a great place to walk, increases both in population and the amount of motorists on the roadways can increase the dangers walkers face. Unfortunately, Florida has one of the highest rates in the nation for accidents involving pedestrians. Injuries caused by pedestrian accidents are often severe, and even life-threatening. Ensure you and your loved ones stay safe while out walking by familiarizing yourself with Florida pedestrian laws, as well as following a few easy safety tips.
Florida Pedestrian Laws
Over the last 15 years, Florida has led the nation in terms of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are three contributing causes that lead to pedestrian accidents: population, tourism, and climate. The overall population of Florida has grown dramatically over the last 20 years, and tourism continues to increase. Our temperate climate is conducive to walking, and the increasing number of people on Florida’s roads and highways has resulted in increases in the number of pedestrian accidents. Fortunately, over the last few years our pedestrian accident rate has begun to drop, a development the FLHSMV credits to improvements in roadways and intersection designs, as well as enforcement of pedestrian laws. The majority of pedestrian accidents occur while crossing the street. Section 316.130 of the Florida State Statutes outlines Florida pedestrian and crosswalk laws, which include the following:
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians within designated crosswalks;
- Pedestrians must cross within designated crosswalks in intersections where such crosswalks are available;
- Pedestrians are required to obey all traffic control signals;
- If there is no designated crosswalk, pedestrians must cross in the shortest way possible; and
- When crossing without a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right of way to drivers.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
By following Florida pedestrian laws and using caution, residents and tourists alike can ensure their safety and help prevent themselves or someone they care about from becoming an accident statistic. The Florida Department of Transportation recommends the following pedestrian safety tips:
- Look left, then right, then left again before crossing the street;
- Be aware. Watch for drivers that may not see you, or are speeding or driving erratically;
- Avoid distractions, such as ear buds or texting, when out walking;
- Wear brightly colored, reflective clothing to make yourself visible to drivers; and
- Do not walk if you’ve been drinking or are on medications that may cloud your judgment or leave you otherwise impaired.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love is injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our experienced Florida car accident attorneys right away. At Hogan Frick, we know how serious injuries caused by these types of accidents can be. We will fight for your rights, and help you recover damages for the injuries you’ve suffered. Injuries due to pedestrian accidents can result in permanent disability. Do not take chances with your future. Contact us today.