JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Six Florida cities are among the 10 most dangerous for pedestrians in America, according to the latest Dangerous by Design study released Wednesday.
Florida is the No. 1 state for pedestrian fatalities, according to the Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition. The Orlando metropolitan area was the most dangerous. Jacksonville came in 10th after Melbourne/Titusville, Daytona Beach, Lakeland/Winter Haven and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
According to the Insurance Insurance for Highway Safety, 713 pedestrians died on Florida’s roads in 2019 -- its most recent data. The Dangerous by Design study said there were 462 pedestrian deaths in Jacksonville in the last decade, which is an average of 3.1 fatalities per 100,000 in population.
While the number of fatalities leveled off last year, the last four years were the most deadly in three decades and the groups’ Pedestrian Danger Index has gone up in 84 of the top 100 metropolitan areas and 49 out of the 50 states.
The Dangerous by Design study is released every year to continue pressure on communities, writing in the introduction:
“While improving safety requires a long-term commitment to retrofitting infrastructure and changing the practices that lead to these dangerous roads, any state can make immediate progress today. There is no excuse not to take action now.”
The groups applauded Florida for recognizing the problem and adopting a “complete streets” policy in 2014 outlining ambitious steps to upgrade design and planning for roadways, then continued:
While Jacksonville remains in the top 10, the study did note its fatality rate has declined in the most recent study.
Other findings include that pedestrians age 75 and above are the most likely to be killed in a crash, while those between 50 and 64 are the next highest group per capita. And the greatest number of fatalities occur to people who earn less than $41,000 per year and Black pedestrians are half-again more likely to be killed than whites.
The researchers clearly hold policymakers responsible for not reducing the number of deaths.
“Despite what they claim about safety, they continue to prioritize moving cars at high speeds. People walking -- especially those most vulnerable to being struck and killed -- continue to pay the price.”