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Just How Dangerous Is it for Pedestrians Without Sidewalks?

Pedestrians in Florida aren’t very safe. In fact, our Sunshine State has the highest number of pedestrian fatalities, and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro areas rank as the second dangerous region for pedestrians in our state. According to a study by the Transportation for America, this information indicates that pedestrians in our area of the country are in great danger.

While most pedestrian accidents on Bee Ridge Road, Fruitville Road, or other streets in our region are caused by negligent and distracted drivers, pedestrians have also caused a number of accidents by crossing the street against the light, walking distracted, or jaywalking. However, there is another factor that has contributed to pedestrian injuries and fatalities in our state. The lack of sidewalks and conditions that don’t promote pedestrian safety are serious issues that contribute to pedestrian accidents.

Lack of Sidewalks Don’t Make Florida Pedestrian-Friendly

Streets with sidewalks on both sides of the street have the fewest pedestrian accidents, whereas streets without sidewalks put pedestrians at a higher risk for crashes. In fact, a pedestrian is twice as likely to be in a pedestrian accident when walking on a street without sidewalks. Unfortunately, there are many streets in Florida without sidewalks or that have sidewalks that stop and start and are not continuous.

Many pedestrian paths are beaten into the grass on the shoulder of a road, leaving pedestrians to walk along the roadway. Sadly, pedestrians who are killed in traffic crashes when walking along the road account for eight percent of pedestrian deaths, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Sidewalk Benefits

Because some of these pedestrian deaths are preventable, more sidewalks should be created to provide pedestrians with safer routes. Sidewalks improve pedestrian safety because they separate a pedestrian’s path from the roadway. By providing sidewalks for pedestrians, it can decrease pedestrian accidents and make pedestrians more comfortable walking near traffic.

For example, experts looked at Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Before sidewalks were added to this highway, the six lane road had a five-foot shoulder with transit service stopping along the road. Vehicles travel over 45 miles per hour, and it was a common location for pedestrian crashes. Now, pedestrians have a sidewalk that separates them from traffic, which heightens their safety.

There are many more roads in our area that need sidewalks in order to increase pedestrian safety and reduce pedestrian accidents. If you agree with this article, please help us spread the word and share it with your friends and family by clicking one of the buttons to the left of the screen.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney