Officials claim that Southwest Florida roadways are getting safer. But how can that be with the recent releases about the increase in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities?
As our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys recently reported, the overall number of traffic accidents across the country may have fallen 2 percent in the last year, but the number of fatalities among our more vulnerable travelers is actually up. The number of pedestrian deaths is up about 3 percent and the number of bicyclist fatalities is up nearly 9 percent.
As you know, we have our fair share of pedestrians and bicyclists here in Southwest Florida. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) there were more than 1,900 traffic accidents reported to them Lee County in 2012. Although that’s down about 20 percent from the year before, we’ve still got pedestrians and bicyclists in increasing numbers. We’re calling on drivers to help bring these numbers back down — as they’re most commonly at fault for these particular kinds of accidents.
In Collier County, there were more than 790 traffic accidents reported last year. Again, that’s a number that’s down about 9 percent from the year before.
In both counties, there were close to 60 fatalities recorded in 2012.
“No fatality is acceptable. We still have a long way to go,” said Jay Anderson with Stay Alive…Just Drive!
In Fort Myers, city police officers responded to close to 3,900 traffic accidents — about the same number as the year before. The number of bicycle, pedestrian and motorcycle accidents within the city limits were up last year in comparison to 2011. To try and get these numbers to drop a little bit, officers went full force in citing drivers for poor behavior behind the wheel. In 2012, city officers wrote out about 25,000 citations — or about 30 percent more than the year before. Still, the increase in citations didn’t do much.
Most Common Cause of Traffic Accidents:
All of these factors can be controlled and all of these accidents can be prevented. Drivers are asked to be more cautious behind the wheel to help to make our roadways safer for everyone.
Safe Driving Tips from the Florida Safety Council:
-Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense against injury and death in the event of an accident.
-Never drink and drive. There’s never a valid excuse to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
-Stay alert. Get plenty of sleep each night and avoid driving when your body would normally be sleeping.
-Keep an eye on the speed limit. Never exceed the posted limit.
-Be on the lookout for our more vulnerable travelers. Take the time to physically look for bicyclists and pedestrians before making a move in traffic — especially when making a turn or reversing.