FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Cape Coral-Fort Myers area is the most dangerous for pedestrians in the nation, according to a newly released report.
An average of 20 pedestrians are killed and about 200 injured on Lee County roads every year, the study said. North Fort Myers, where a driver hit and killed a man crossing U.S. 41 near Pine Island Road this weekend, appears to be the epicenter of the problems, according to mapping data from the report.
“It’s been an issue that we’ve been trying to address over the last five, six years,” said Don Scott, a Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization official.
Creating better roads is key, Scott said. But so is educating more people on pedestrian safety, like reminding drivers to stay off their phones and advising walkers to wear bright colors at night.
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Jacksonville, and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach were other high-ranking danger spots within the state, the report said.
An increase in the number of pedestrians, aging roadways and faster cars are contributing factors.
The matter is of particular concern to the AARP, one of the organizations that funded the study, given the preponderance of retirees in the state.
“Clearly, Florida has a lot of work to do to help keep older pedestrians safer,” said Laura Cantwell, an AARP spokesperson. “But that work has begun.”
Florida has become less dangerous for pedestrians in recent years as federal, state and local officials have taken measures to address the issues, the report said.
A nonprofit, nonpartisan alliance of public interest organizations, like the AARP, and transportation professionals released the study through The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program that’s a part of the Smart Growth America advocacy organization.
The study is based on data collected between 2005 and 2014 from more than a hundred of the largest metro areas in the U.S.
For more information, visit the National Complete Street Coalition’s website.