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Study Ranks Florida Most Dangerous State For Pedestrians

John Pastor/Flickr

The latest study by non-profit organization Smart Growth America ranks Florida as the most dangerous state to walk in the country.

It also lists the most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians, and eight of the top ten are in the Sunshine State.

Click here to read the study. Here’s a list of the top ten cities:

1.    Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL

2.    Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

3.    Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

4.    Jacksonville, FL

5.    Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL

6.    Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL

7.    Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

8.    Jackson, MS

9.    Memphis-TN-MS-AR

10. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

Smart Growth America spokesperson Alex Dodds says although these cities ranked worst in the nation, some of them also improved their scores from the group’s last study two years ago.

"And that has a lot to do with local leadership passing policies that prioritize pedestrian safety," Dodds said.

Kris Carson with the Florida Department of Transportation cites the Complete Streets policy the state adopted in 2014 as an example.

“So that's looking at everything from pedestrian count-down signals that let the pedestrian know how much time is left to get across the road, improved intersection lighting, even possibly speed reductions in some areas,” Carson said.

The study analyzed data from 2005-2014, before reforms like Complete Streets could make an impact.

The report also examined the demographics of victims. Smart Growth America’s Alex Dodds says older residents and people of color have the highest risk of being killed by a vehicle.

“People of color tend to walk more, they have higher walking rates,” Dodds said. “Any time you have a higher walking rate, that's just increasing your exposure to a collision.”

Kris Carson with FDOT says the state is making education a priority to reduce deaths.  The department is conducting outreach campaigns to ensure residents understand crosswalk signals.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.