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Ft. Lauderdale’s Pedestrian Fatality Problem

City-Data.com has released statistics pertaining to fatal car crashes and road traffic accidents in Ft. Lauderdale and interesting to note is that of the 25 fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, 15 of them involved pedestrians, the nation’s second highest pedestrian fatality rate. Only 5 involved alcohol.

Pedestrian accidents are clearly the leading cause of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in our town. In 2016, Ft. Lauderdale has adopted the “Vision Zero” pedestrian safety program in an effort to make our roads safer for everyone. As a cornerstone of this initiative, all citizens are asked to participate in making driving, riding, and walking safer.

The first phase of the program is to ask road designers and engineers to be more considerate of whom drivers of motor vehicles are sharing the road with. According to The Sun-Sentinel, as a first step, “Ft. Lauderdale is planning to add 6-foot-wide bike lanes on Powerline Road north of Sunrise Boulevard, with an additional 3-foot-wide buffer from the passing cars.” Cyclists will be encouraged to use the smartphone app “Strava” which will record the cyclists traffic pattern so that city officials can focus their road safety efforts on the most frequently used bicycle routes.

Secondly, pedestrians are made aware that they should avoid jaywalking and crossing against traffic signals. City planners have identified as people who get off of a bus as the most likely to then be walking. Jaywalking is inadvertently encouraged when bus stops are placed in-between intersections and not at the corners as people get off the bus and immediately try to cross the street. The initiative will seek to move bus stops to the corners of the intersections to promote crossing the street in harmony with traffic signals.

The city has also been conducting a series of educational events and local police officers have been handing out educational brochures to pedestrians getting off city buses.  However, the City of Fort Lauderdale does not control many of the busiest roads in Fort Lauderdale including Federal Highway (US1) and A1A.  Florida’s Department of Transportation (FDOT) controls these roads and has seen fit to add “sharrows”, painted directional signals on the street that indicate the road should be shared with a bicyclists, on some of the City’s most dangerous roads.  I have invited FDOT’s planners to come to Fort Lauderdale and ride on Federal Highway at peak time and see if the “sharrow” keeps them from getting killed.  None of FDOT’s planners have responded to the invitation yet.

If you have been injured or have had a loved one killed in a Ft. Lauderdale pedestrian accident, give the Maus Law Firm a call today.

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