Similar trends are evident in Florida and Lee County. Florida continues to be the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians, with eight of the top 10 most dangerous metro areas in the country. While the Cape Coral/Fort Myers metro area (Lee County) was ranked the worst in the country in the 2016 report, this year our area ranks the eighth worst in the country. Although Lee County’s Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) went down somewhat in real terms, our lower ranking compared to the 2016 report was primarily because other metro areas’ PDIs (all in Florida) had significant increases.
Efforts to make streets and roads safer have been underway statewide and in the various Florida metro areas, including Lee County, for almost a decade, but much work remains to be done, as under scored by this report. These results prove that desires and designs alone won’t make our streets safer – it takes the will to implement those designs and to back up those desires with the funds to make them a reality.
The “Dangerous by Design” 2019 report, released by Smart Growth America on Jan. 23, is the fifth edition of the national bi-annual pedestrian safety report which ranks states and the 100 most populous metropolitan areas around the country based on how deadly they are for people walking.* [Link to 2019 Dangerous by Design Report]
*The report uses traffic deaths for the 10-year period of 2008-2017, and looks at how deadly it is for people to walk based on the number of people struck and killed by drivers while walking, controlling for the number of residents and the number of people that walk to work.
* *The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has identified 20 proven safety countermeasures that offer significant and measurable impacts to improving roadway safety, several of which are specifically targeted to safety for pedestrians and cyclists. (Source: FHWA: Making our Roads Safer One Countermeasure at a Time (2018):
Some of the most important FHWA proven safety measures for reducing the number of fatal and serious injury crashes for pedestrians and cyclists are roundabouts, road diets, medians and pedestrian crossing islands, leading pedestrian intervals, and pedestrian hybrid beacons. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) adds automated speed enforcement/red light cameras, and reducing speed limits on local roads (along with speed bumps) to this list. [GHSA report: Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge, Jan. 2019.]
Fort Myers News-Press, Jan. 23, 2019:Nationwide dangerous roads study again places Florida first; Cape Coral, Fort Myers drops, by Michael Braun