Study aims to reduce Immokalee pedestrian accidents

Immokalee sees more pedestrian and bicycle crashes than any other town in Collier County, and community leaders are pushing for ways to make the streets safer for foot, bicycle and vehicle traffic, the Naples Daily News reports.

South Florida pedestrian accident lawyers know that Florida is second only to California for pedestrian-related traffic fatalities – that in 2008, 490 pedestrians were killed walking alongside Florida roads. From 2007-2010, the Immokalee Fire Control responded to 87 calls involving vehicle-pedestrian accidents. Since last December, the Naples Daily News has covered five traffic accident involving pedestrians in Immokalee, one fatal.

Thanks to a $129,000 Florida Department of Transportation pedestrian traffic safety project, the community just completed a sidewalk and crosswalk addition near Main Street that leaders hope will offset the number of pedestrian-related traffic accidents in that area. Meanwhile, community officials have submitted a grant application seeking funding to install motion-sensitive flashing light-guards at nine crosswalks around town.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are a handful of simple tips and precautions walkers and drivers can follow to make their time on the road safer:

FOR PEDESTRIANS:
~ Make yourself visible: wear bright colors during the day and carry a flashlight and wear reflective gear when walking at dusk and dawn and during the night.
~ Be alert: don’t rely on crosswalks, traffic signals or the attention of drivers to protect you. Make eye contact with drivers before entering any roadway and look before entering a crosswalk. Ditch the cell phone and the ear buds, pay attention to your surroundings.
~ Be a safe walker: if there is a sidewalk, use it; if not, walk facing traffic.
~ Obey traffic laws: in short, don’t jaywalk.

FOR DRIVERS:
~ Look beyond the road and expect the unexpected: make it a habit to scan sidewalks and shoulders. When making a turn, look for foot-traffic as well as fellow drivers.
~ Respect crosswalks: yield to pedestrians when signage and signaling indicate they have the right-of-way. When in parking lots, drive slowly and anticipate that both kids and adults are likely to pop out from behind a vehicle unexpectedly.
~ Drive responsibly: follow the speed limit, traffic laws and don’t drive distracted or impaired. Be especially on alert at or near school-zones and public parks where children are likely to gather.