News of a pedestrian accident seems to on the upswing in Tampa Bay this week. What better day to highlight the importance of shared responsibility to walkers and drivers than today’s International Walk to School Day.
Florida is ranked as the deadliest state for pedestrians and cyclists. Tampa Bay ranks as the second deadliest community for pedestrians and cyclists in the state. Just this week, the following pedestrian accidents were reported:
• On Tuesday, 17-year-old Alexis Miranda was struck and killed by a car while attempting to cross Busch Boulevard near Chamberlain High in Tampa.
• Also on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m Florida Highway Patrol says 54-year-old Irene Figueroa was hit by a car at Hillsborough Avenue in Town ‘N’ Country.
• Later that day, around 9 p.m., Tampa police responded to another pedestrian accident where a person was hit by a vehicle at Nebraska Avenue and Busch Boulevard.
• On Monday, around 10 p.m. Nicholas Southerland of Riverview died when a newer white pickup hit him while he was walking east across Orient Road just south of Waycross Avenue.
• A 47-year-old woman was killed early Wednesday in a pedestrian accident while trying to cross a St. Pete Beach street. According to Bay News 9, Michelle Marie Denney of St. Pete Beach was struck by a vehicle on Blind Pass Road and 78th Avenue just after midnight.
International Walk to School Day is part of an effort to make children and adults aware of safety measures they should take during walks near busy roads and intersections. The now global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to schools.
Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation say getting people to use crosswalks and practice safe habits is a big challenge. The best way to improve safety is to teach children good habits while they’re young and International Walk to School Day plays a big part in that. Here are a few tips for both walker and drivers to prevent pedestrian accidents provided by the NHTSA:
What Walkers Can Do To Prevent A Pedestrian Accident
• Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
• Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
• If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
• Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
• Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
• Look for cars in all directions – including those turning left or right.
• If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
• Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
• Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
• Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and judgment too.
What Drivers Can Do To Prevent A Pedestrian Accident
• Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
• Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
• Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
• Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
• Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
• Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
• Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
• Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present.
• Be extra cautious when backing up – pedestrians can move into your path.
Today and every day, all drivers and walkers need to accept the shared responsibility of preventing a pedestrian accident. Walk and drive safely and watch out for those who don’t!
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.