September Safety Month – How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian1Oct
Magazine Law Group recently launched September Safety Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness for traffic safety. Topics covered will include safety for schoolchildren, information about distracted driving, pedestrian safety, and information about driving during inclement weather.
Following is information on the risks pedestrians face in the Tampa Bay area, which intersections pedestrians might want to avoid, and helpful tips for pedestrian safety.
What are the Deadliest U.S. Cities for Pedestrians?
According to Route Fifty, an organization dedicated to improving state and local government efficiency for the purpose of public safety, the top ten most dangerous cities in the U.S. for pedestrians are as follows:
- Daytona Beach, Florida
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Bakersfield, California
- Orlando, Florida
- Stockton, California
- Fresno, California
Unfortunately, Florida made the top ten list four times, ahead of California, a state with almost double the population. Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg is in fourth place, making it one of the country’s most dangerous cities for pedestrians.
So how can Tampa Bay, Pinellas County, and Spring Hill pedestrians stay safe?
How Can I Stay Safe as a Pedestrian?
Just as drivers must practice defensive driving, pedestrians must practice defensive walking. Because the risks for serious medical injury are so great to pedestrians, they must be extra cautious, always assume drivers do not see them and take extra care when crossing through intersections and walking during rush hour.
The following are safety tips that can help pedestrians share the road with cars, motorcycles, trucks, bicyclists, and others:
- Look both ways before crossing.
- Use sidewalks whenever possible.
- Cross streets at the intersection; never cross mid-block.
- Eyes up! Stay off mobile and other electronic devices while walking.
- When sidewalks are unavailable, walk facing traffic, as far to the left as possible.
- Be especially cautious at intersections, as this is where most pedestrian accidents occur.
- Be mindful of parked vehicles, as drivers trying to back out of a spot may have a limited view.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs, as they can impair one’s ability to walk safely and make good decisions.
- Be visible! Wear bright-colored, reflective clothing. Carry and use a flashlight when walking after dark.
- Stay alert. More on this in the next section, but distracted driving is a major contributor to pedestrian deaths.
Practicing defensive and preventive safety measures only gets so far. With that in mind, perhaps the best safety tip is simply not putting oneself in an environment where accidents occur. Those who must walk to get to the places they need to go should consider taking alternate routes to avoid particularly dangerous intersections.
In the next section, we’ll outline the top ten intersections in the Tampa Bay area that pedestrians should consider avoiding.
The Deadliest Intersections to Watch Out for are in the Pinellas County Area
With a surge in bad driver habits related to texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving, pedestrian accidents are on the rise. For example, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that distracted driving led to 346 fatalities in Florida in 2021, the highest death rate reported in at least seven years. Beyond the death toll, distracted driving accidents caused 2,728 serious bodily injuries in Florida in 2021.
The vast majority of accidents that involve a pedestrian and a distracted driver occur at an intersection. According to FLHSMV, eight of the greater Tampa Bay Area’s worst intersections for traffic accidents are on US 19. Because US19 is at its most congested in Pinellas County, Pinellas consistently ranks in the top ten Florida counties for traffic accidents, injuries, and wrongful deaths.
The ten deadliest intersections in the Tampa Bay area include the following. Accident statistics are for the 2015 to 2019 period:
- I-275 at 22nd Ave N, St. Petersburg. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 3
- US 19 at Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 8
- US 19 at Tampa Rd, Palm Harbor. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 2
- US 19 at Curlew Rd, Palm Harbor. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 8
- US 19 at Drew St, Clearwater. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 13
- SR 60 at S Belcher Rd, Clearwater. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 18
- US 19 at East Bay Dr, Largo. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 11
- US 92 at I-275, Tampa. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 3
- SR 589 at SR 580, Town’ N’ Country. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 3
- SR 60 at Brandon Town Center Dr, Brandon. Pedestrian-involved accidents: 8
Alarmingly, even though Tampa has a significantly larger population than Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Spring Hill, St. Petersburg, or Largo, it seems the most dangerous accidents for pedestrians are almost all on the Pinellas Peninsula, not in Tampa.
In The Event of an Accident as a Pedestrian, What Can I Do?
A traffic accident that involves a pedestrian can be devastating. Unlike drivers or passengers in automobiles, pedestrians are not protected by seatbelts, airbags, or a car’s metal frame and insulation. Pedestrians have none of that, which is why even a small bump can land a pedestrian in the emergency room.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a traffic accident while walking or bicycling, please contact Magazine Law Group today at 727-499-9900. Medical bills, lost wages, increased suffering, a drop in quality of life, and long-term recovery are all likely outcomes when one is hit by a car while trying to move through an intersection or walk alongside the road. That’s why it’s essential to have professional legal representation, so one can ensure they receive justice.
 Route Fifty. “The Deadliest US Metro Areas for Pedestrians.” Route Fifty, 2022. route-fifty.com
 FLHSMV. “Put it Down: Focus on Driving.” Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2022. flhsmv.gov
 CLTampa. “Tampa Bay’s 30 worst intersections, according to FDOT crash data.” Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, 2021. cltampa.com
 FLHSMV. “Traffic Crash Facts.” Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2019. flhsmv.gov