The Sunshine State is well known for its many tourist attractions and pleasant temperatures during the winter months. This means that many people flock to Florida in the summer as tourists or in the winter as a way to escape the cold. Whether one is a resident of the state, a tourist or a "snow bird," it is not unusual for people in Florida to take to the streets on foot, despite the fact that Florida has the dubious honor of being one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians.
It may go without saying that when it comes to a collision between a pedestrian in Florida and an automobile, the pedestrian is most likely to come off worse for wear. After all, the human body is simply no match for a vehicle weighing several tons. Auto-pedestrian accidents are tragic, and according to one government report, are on the rise.
Many children in Florida love playing outside. They may play at parks, in their neighborhoods or at schools. Unfortunately, this means that the potential is there for a motorist to strike a child, causing injuries or even fatalities. In fact, one source reports that children ages five through nine are most likely to be struck by an automobile. Therefore, motorists have a heightened duty of care when driving where children are present.
Sometimes, there's nothing better than a good walk. It's good exercise, gets one out in the fresh air and it doesn't leave a carbon footprint. Unfortunately, many cities in Florida were not planned with pedestrians in mind, making it dangerous for people to travel by foot. In fact, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Florida was the number two state when came to fatal pedestrian accidents in the first six months of 2017.
People in St. Augustine certainly appreciate the mild winters in the state. Whether they are "snow birds" or whether they reside in Florida year-round, while people in the northern states are shoveling snow and dealing with frigid temperatures, Floridians are enjoying the weather that allows them to ride their bikes, go swimming or even take a walk.
Pedestrians can be found on more than just sidewalks in Florida. They may have to walk on the side of the road if there is no sidewalk. They may be in a crosswalk at an intersection. They may even be walking in a parking lot going from their car to the building. And, sometimes, pedestrians can be found on the interstate.
In Florida, it is not unusual for people to walk to their destinations. However, while pedestrians might take every precaution, such as walking on sidewalks, using crosswalks and obeying traffic signals, this doesn't mean that they will be immune to accidents.
People in Florida are fortunate that the pleasant weather allows them to bicycle year round. Bicycling is healthy, environmentally-friendly and, for some people, just plain fun. However, while only one percent of all trips in the nation are made by bike, bicyclists are more susceptible to injuries and fatalities if involved in an auto accident than occupants of an automobile.
Some motorists in Florida may be under the impression that they do not need to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians. However, bicyclists and pedestrians have every right to be on the road just as motorists do. Unfortunately, some motorists may not keep an eye out for bicyclists and pedestrians, even when the bicyclist or pedestrian has the right of way or is on a bike path or crosswalk.
New backpacks, paper and pencils have been purchased as children in Florida gear up for the start of the new school year. St. Augustine drivers should also take note of the fact that school is starting throughout the state, and this means that more children will be on Florida roads. It is important for drivers to pay attention to children walking to school or riding the bus, particularly during drop-off and pick-up times.