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Pedestrian Accidents

view of bayshore drive in tampa florida at dusk

Traffic Safety Measures on Tampa’s Bayshore Blvd

By | Automotive Safety, Car Accident, Pedestrian Accidents, Traffic Law | No Comments

In May 2018, a mother and toddler were tragically hit and killed by a speeding motorist along Tampa’s scenic Bayshore Boulevard. This senseless and unspeakable loss of life inspired cries for a more pedestrian-friendly roadway. These concerns were recently heard at a city council meeting where Bayshore Boulevard was discussed. The popular roadway, favored by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike, has been under the microscope after the terrible incident on May 23rd. While it seems like changes can’t come soon enough, fortunately, the city has elected to make multiple changes in a 3 phase project, with efforts aimed at making this busy boulevard a safer place for the community.
Bayshoure Boulevard

Speed Is an Issue

Bayshore Boulevard is a scenic stretch of roadway that runs along Hillsborough Bay in Tampa, Florida. It’s a popular choice for commuters and pedestrians because of its proximity to the water and its long – and mostly straight – stretches of road. The speed limit was recently lowered from 40 miles per hour to 35 in an effort to reduce dangerous speeding. In addition to the speed reduction, the city has also replaced the signage with new, more visible markers in addition to painting the new speed limits onto the roadway itself.

This certainly isn’t enough to deter people from racing along the roadway, which was the cause of the accident that took place in May. A mother was pushing her 2-year-old daughter along in a stroller when the incident happened. Three people were arrested after the collision, being charged with street racing, reaching speeds of 102 miles per hour. In an effort to reduce these kinds of reckless driving events, the city is also going to be narrowing the lanes, creating a wider, more buffered bike path. As the roadway narrows and the bike path is widened, traffic should naturally slow. At least that is the intended result. Both lowering the speed limits and narrowing the roadways should improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians that continue to take in the beautiful scenery offered by the boulevards alternative travel methods.

Lighted Crosswalks

Lighted Crosswalks

Expected to be finished in October, the city is also installing several lighted, pedestrian-activated crosswalks, something many community members feel has been sorely missing and long overdue. Adding several more crosswalks is still under consideration as these improvements continue their development.

Other Improvements

Conspicuity plaques, or signs that inform motorists of road rules, are also being placed along the roadway to promote safety awareness. The city is also working to fix the sidewalk gaps that exist on the west side of Bayshore Boulevard, increasing the pedestrian safety along the walkway. As part of the 3 phase implementation of this project, the city is planning to add more bike lanes south to Gandy Boulevard, providing cyclists more commuting options.

More Work Still To Be Done

Bayshore Boulevard is hardly the only dangerous roadway in Tampa, as many citizens pointed out at the recent city council meeting. Bay to Bay Boulevard is yet another dangerous and crowded route. In any case, the city is taking action and considering more alternatives as a way to make the city safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. As Tampa continues to grow, the safety of the people that inhabit the city becomes ever more crucial, especially on the roadways which are increasingly dangerous. What’s clear is that it shouldn’t take a tragic loss of life for the city to take action. Bayshore Boulevard has long been dangerous to those that travel on it. It remains to be seen if these new changes will reduce accidents, but it’s a start for a roadway that has long needed more safety improvements.

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Pedestrian Safety Tips

By | Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

Pedestrian accidents occur each day throughout the United States and pose a significant risk to anyone walking on or near public streets. According to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, an average of 460 people visit hospital emergency rooms for traffic related pedestrian injuries every day.

Below are pedestrian safety tips that can help prevent this type of accident from occurring.

1. Hang up and walk: Abstain from using your smartphone for texting, emails, internet, or music while walking or waiting near traffic. .

2. Use the sidewalk: Sidewalks are the safest place for pedestrians. However, many country roads and larger traffic arteries don’t have sidewalks. If you must walk on a road, walk as far over on the shoulder as possible, even if it’s in the dirt or grass. Always walk facing oncoming traffic. Pedestrians differ from bicyclists and should not walk “with” traffic. You have a better chance of avoiding any danger you see coming toward you.

3. Watch for turning cars: When crossing at an intersection, take extra care to watch for cars turning from and onto the parallel street. Cars turning left or right onto the road you’re crossing are usually checking the road for oncoming traffic and may not see a pedestrian. This also applies when walking on a sidewalk adjacent to an easement or driveway entrance. Look for any cars turning in…most cars making a right-hand turn from the flow of traffic will not stop unless they see you.

4. Use the crosswalk: Always cross busy roads using designated crosswalks. If there is no painted crosswalk, cross when it is safe to do so at an intersection where a crosswalk is likely to have been placed. Always watch for cars turning right.

5. Obey traffic signals: Whenever available, utilize the walk/don’t walk signals at marked crosswalks or intersections. Only walk when traffic stops and the signal reads “walk”. If you cross against the signals and you are struck by a vehicle, it is likely that a court (or an insurance adjuster) will find you responsible for your own injuries if you file a claim.

6. Be visible at night: When walking at night or during twilight hours, wear brightly colored clothing or reflective items. Reflective crossing guard vests or reflective belts are highly advisable, especially for those who walk or jog regularly during these times. You can also carry a flashlight, glow stick, or flashing LED light. Sports equipment makers offer strobing LED safety devices for pedestrians, similar to those used on bicycles. When worn correctly, strobing LED devices are clearly visible from over 1,000 feet away.

7. Look both ways first and keep watching for cars: Use extreme caution whenever crossing multi-lane roads. Be prepared to move quickly and keep your eyes up at all times. Check both ways before you start crossing and continue to check around in all directions until you reach the other side safely. When crossing at intersections, remember to watch for cars turning left or right from the street intersecting the one you’re trying to get across.

References:

PED SAFE

Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Accident Prevention

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One Dead in Fatal Pedestrian Accident

By | Orlando, Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

On Thursday, March 20th, an Orlando man who was attempting to cross Colonial Drive near John Young Parkway was struck and killed in a fatal pedestrian accident late that night.

Police investigating the pedestrian fatality said the crash took place just a few minutes after midnight. A gray, four-door Toyota sedan was driving East on Colonial Drive towards downtown Orlando and hit the pedestrian as he attempted to cross. Emergency rescue crews were called to the accident scene and the pedestrian was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he died as a result of severe traumatic injuries.

The driver, who remained at the crash site, does not appear at fault, and it is believed the pedestrian may have crossed through the intersection without the right-of-way, according to information provided in the accident report. A thorough investigation into the crash is still pending.

Walking the streets of the Orlando metropolitan area has become increasingly deadly in recent years. According to records kept by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, 50 pedestrians were killed by cars last year in the Orlando area alone. Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami, frequently rank at the top of the list for most dangerous and deadly cities in the country for pedestrians as well as those who ride bicycles. Florida consistently ranks in the top three most deadly states for pedestrians, matched closely each year by California and Texas.

References:

WESH News Orlando

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Safety Concerns Raised after Middleton H.S. Student Pedestrian Accident

By | Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

On Tuesday, March 19th, two teenage sisters walking together to Middleton High School were struck by a fellow student driving her mom’s car. The sisters were hit as they ran across Hillsborough Avenue outside of the crosswalk.

According to local news reports, Norma Velasquez-Cabrera, age 15, sustained fatal injuries. Her 14-year-old sister, Victoria, was also struck, but her injuries were not as severe. This incident marks the ninth pedestrian accident on this same stretch of road since 2008. Last Tuesday’s latest pedestrian accident has neighbors living on and near this area of Hillsborough Avenue asking just what it might take to improve the road and make it safer.

Within only a few hours of the Middleton student pedestrian accident, fellow students from the high school resumed crossing Hillsborough Avenue at the exact same dangerous spot as school let out for the day. There is no crosswalk and no crossing guard near the Meridian Pointe apartment complex where many of the students live with their parents – something local residents have been requesting for quite some time because students use it as a shortcut.

The accident again raises the question of safety when it comes to crossing some of Tampa’s busiest roadways and traffic arteries. In October 2011, another Middleton student was killed while crossing the same road about one block away.

State records confirmed there had been eight previous incidents along this same stretch of Hillsborough Avenue over the past five years. Neighbors believe the issue is that there is a strip mall right across the street and it’s unreasonable to walk more than three blocks west, or five blocks east, to the nearest crosswalk.

Santos DeLeon, who resides in the same complex, says sometimes she’ll take the extra precaution, but that it’s inconveniently out of the way.

Neighbors also say Middleton students can be seen regularly using a shortcut behind the very same strip mall and walking across the street to an opening in a fence. It leads to a short path linked directly to the school parking lot.

The Florida Department of Transportation has said it will investigate this accident as matter of procedure and, given the deadly history of the intersection, decide if corrective action will be taken in the near future.

References:

WTSP 10 News

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Elderly Alzheimer’s Patient Hospitalized after Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident

By | Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

On Wednesday, March 5th, an elderly Alzheimer’s patient was rushed to an area hospital in critical condition following a hit and run accident involving an unidentified motorist near Miami.

The hit and run victim was 75-year-old Paul Louis. Members of his family told police that Louis left to go the store at around 8 p.m. that evening when he was struck and “left for dead” right around the corner from his home. Louis’ wife, Marie Nicole, said, “I just open the door. I see he’s on the floor, he don’t say nothing. My son, he tried to help him.”

Miami-Dade police said a white minivan struck Louis as he attempted to cross NE 14th Avenue at 145th Street in northeast Miami-Dade. The driver did not stop and fled the scene of the accident. Louis was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center and treated for life-threatening injuries. Louis’ niece Tabitha Luc said Paul has Alzheimer’s disease and is also a cancer survivor. They want whoever is responsible to be caught. They noted that his Alzheimer’s was monitored and do not believe it was a contributing factor to the accident.

The white minivan was last seen headed south on NE 14th Avenue. Police are asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

References:

CBS Miami

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Man Hit by Five Vehicles in Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Brandon

By | Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

On Friday, February 28, a man named Ricky Polk was driving through Brandon on his way to work as he observed two women panicking on the side of the road, both of them jumping up and down and crying.

Polk then felt his car strike something and he saw a figure in the rear-view mirror. Polk explained, “And I said to myself, ‘That felt like a body.’”

The driver pulled to the side of the roadway and immediately got out of his car. He frantically attempted to wave the other drivers on E Bloomingdale Avenue away from the injured pedestrian. Just moments later, another driver ran over him before stopping as well. A total of two more drivers ran over the victim, but kept going.

Ronald J. Sandalic was the pedestrian who was killed after being hit by a first car and then run over by four other drivers while lying in the road. Sandalic, a 57-year-old homeless man, was dressed in dark clothing as he tried to walk south across Bloomingdale Avenue around 4:30 a.m. near Maze Lane, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Madison A. Dvorak, age 19, who was eastbound in a 2005 Ford Focus, struck Sandalic, throwing the man nearly 70 feet to a spot in the middle of the roadway. As Dvorak stopped to dial 911, Polk approached in his 2005 Toyota Tacoma pickup and struck Sandalic, deputies noted. Polk then stopped, got out, and tried to wave drivers away from the injured man.

Sandalic was struck a third time by a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, according to investigators. The driver, John Gallagher, age 57, of Valrico stopped and waited for authorities to arrive. Sandalic was then hit by two pickup truck drivers who sped away without stopping, deputies said. The accident prompted deputies to detour traffic in the area for several hours.

Pedestrian accidents involving that many vehicles are quite uncommon, but they do happen on roadways that are busy or have particularly dark spots, according to sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon.

References:

Tampa Bay Times

Holiday Driving Tips and Statistics

By | Car Accident, Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

As we enter the holiday shopping season, drivers must take extra precaution to avoid hazards and common car accident risks. Fortunately, there are a few steps that can help prevent fender-benders, pedestrian accidents and other types of collisions that can occur.

Holiday Driving Safety Tips

Here are a few tips to stay safe on the roads this season:

  1. Do not text or talk on the phone while driving: Although it can be tempting to multi-task while between stores or looking for a place to park, it is important to remain focused on the road at all times. Distracted driving increases the risk of an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
  2. Shop during off-peak hours: This helps to avoid the last-minute rush, when many holiday accidents take place. You may also want to consider shopping online to avoid the stress and save on fuel.
  3. Choose a parking space that’s far away: Park farther away from a store or mall entrance or exit. You’ll be less exposed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, lowering the probability of an accident.
  4. Always park in well-lit areas: Properly illuminated surroundings allow you to clearly see the space around your car.
  5. Never remove seat belts until the vehicle is at rest: Accidents can happen anytime, so it’s best to be prepared. Even collisions at low speeds can cause serious injuries to the driver or passengers.
  6. Obey posted rules and signage: While signs are typically obvious on most roads, traffic laws aren’t as concrete in many parking areas. However, most Florida parking lots have regulations for pedestrian and driver safety concerning speed limits, stop signs, one-way arrows, and marked crosswalks. Avoid cutting across parking lot lines and empty spaces – drive between rows and watch out for other cars at all times.

Holiday Driving and Accident Statistics

  • November is typically the peak period in the US for car accidents each year.
  • Nearly 25% of all “Black Friday” accidents involve minor collisions that occur in parking lots.
  • Drivers “backing out” without looking back or without being able to see in all directions are the top causes of all parking lot fender benders.
  • At least 10% of reported car insurance accident claims involve accidents that occur in parking lots.
  • 54% of New Year’s and 38% of Christmas time traffic fatalities result from drunk driving.

Insufficient Tire Tread Cited as Reason behind Pedestrian Fatality

By | Car Accident, Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

On Wednesday, October 16th, a woman who was walking her dog in Washington D.C. was struck and killed by a passing motorist. Police investigators determined the vehicle’s old tire lacked sufficient tread and was therefore responsible for the accident.

The driver, Mohamed-Kareem Mohamed, 21, was charged with reckless driving and unsafe vehicle operation linked to insufficient tire tread. Mohamed was driving a 1998 BMW Sedan just before 9:40am when he lost control of the car. Authorities say a tire on the BMW had insufficient tread, causing the car to lose traction and spin out of control on the wet pavement.

The pedestrian, 58-year-old Zenaida Ines Jimenez, was transported to a nearby hospital, where she later died from her injuries. Her dog was not injured in the accident.

State Laws and Motor Vehicle Safety

In many states with safety inspections, including Maryland and the District of Columbia, minimal tire tread is required to pass inspection. Some states will also cite drivers for operating on worn or otherwise unsafe tires. The driver bears the responsibility of maintaining his/her vehicle in safe operating condition, depending upon state law.

By comparison, Florida does not have a state inspection and state laws do not hold drivers to such standards, though many safety advocates feel that such laws should be introduced.

Safe Vehicle Operation and Manufacturer Defects

Responsible drivers should replace worn tires when the tread wear bars are showing. Riding on worn tires greatly reduces overall traction, particularly in wet/rainy conditions. A vehicle may enter a skid under normal driving conditions on worn tires. In cases where tires with adequate tread separate (causing a blowout) due to a manufacturer’s defect, the tire maker may be held liable for any injuries that result if an accident occurs.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

  1. Every 24 hours an average of 460 people are admitted to hospital emergency rooms for traffic-related pedestrian injuries
  2. Pedestrian fatalities account for 11% of all motor-vehicle fatalities
  3. Approximately 4,200 pedestrian fatalities have occurred each year since 2010
  4. About 70,000 pedestrians are stuck by cars and injured every year
  5. Nearly half of all fatal pedestrian accidents occur between Friday and Sunday
  6. A pedestrian fatality occurs every 2 hours
  7. A pedestrian injury occurs 8 minutes
  8. Pedestrian-related emergency room admissions consist primarily of teens and young adults ages 15 to 29
  9. Pedestrian accidents are the second leading cause of death in the US for ages 5 to 14
  10. Nearly one in every five children between the ages of 5-9 killed in traffic crashes is a pedestrian
  11. Teens account for nearly 50% of all child pedestrian injuries over the past 5 years
  12. The pedestrian mortality rate increases with age, and in much larger increments for the elderly
  13. Florida ranks #2 on the US pedestrian accident list
  14. Four out of five pedestrian fatalities occur outside of designated crosswalk areas

References:

NBC Washington

Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Accident Prevention

All About Car Accidents

Legal Factors to Consider in a Pedestrian Accident

By | Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

An Orlando Sentinel investigation of 54 criminal driving cases for pedestrian accidents in Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties found that the driver usually received little or no jail time.

“The sentences are horrendous,” pedestrian advocate Jamie McWilliams, 52, of Ocoee, who lost son Justin in a 2002 hit-and-run pedestrian crash told the Orlando Sentinel. She successfully lobbied the Florida Legislature in 2006 for a tougher law, the Justin McWilliams Act, which stiffened penalties for hit-and-run. “It really screams, ‘We don’t care about your loved one.’”

From 2007 through 2012, 5,700 pedestrians have been struck in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties, including 333 who were killed and 889 who suffered what police call “incapacitating injuries.”

In the vast majority involving deaths or incapacitating injuries, pedestrians were found at fault: They walked into traffic, but in one of every five cases, police thought the drivers were at least partially at fault, according to the Orlando Sentinel review.

Florida is a comparative negligence state where the jury has to balance issues of driver and pedestrian liability in deciding a case.

Generally drivers of a motor vehicle have a duty to exercise reasonable care in the operation of the vehicle, and failure to do so is considered negligence. Some common factors of driver negligence are:

  • Distraction
  • Speeding
  • Intoxication
  • Failure to yield at marked cross walks
  • Disregarding weather or traffic conditions

A pedestrian has a duty to exercise reasonable care as well.

Some of the most common factors of pedestrian negligence include:

  • Ignoring a “Do Not Walk” signal at an intersection
  • Jay walking
  • Darting out in front of a vehicle
  • Failing to use a marked cross walk

Though the Orlando Sentinel article showed that criminal charges tend to be weak, victims may pursue the maximum compensatory and punitive damages in a personal injury or wrongful death civil suit to help recover from their injuries. Pedestrian traffic regulations are laid out in Florida Statutes, section316.130. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a negligent driver, an experienced personal injury law firm like Vanguard Attorneys can help protect your rights. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

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