Most metropolitan areas in Florida have a well-developed network of sidewalks which are designed to allow pedestrians to walk safely away from the traffic lane. Unfortunately, pedestrians may still be injured while using one of these sidewalks. This can happen for a variety of reasons. A distracted driver who allows their vehicle to drift off the roadway or if two vehicles collide, sending one or both of them off the roadway across a nearby sidewalk. These types of collisions frequently result in death or serious harm to the pedestrian depending and how rapidly the vehicles are moving at the time.
Sadly, a vehicle driving or spinning off the road offers little or no warning to allow pedestrians to escape its path. In many cases we’ve seen, one or more pedestrians may be walking in one direction only to have a vehicle drive over the sidewalk or spin out of control across the sidewalk from behind them. This can occur so quickly the pedestrian has no chance to avoid being struck.
Despite Florida’s abundant supply of sidewalks, there are still many city streets and neighborhoods with no sidewalks. This is particularly true in Florida’s rural areas. The absence of sidewalks forces joggers, moms with strollers, kids and people walking their dogs to walk along the edge of the road. This is especially true in urban areas where roads have no shoulder. Even in neighborhoods with reasonable speed limits many drivers simply drive too fast. Often there are cars parked on the road and pedestrians are placed at additional risk attempting to walk around them while watching for oncoming traffic.
The risk to pedestrians is increased as vehicle speed increases. Higher speeds give drivers less time to see and react to anyone in or near the road. Speed also increases the odds of a collision being fatal for a pedestrian.
Many delivery trucks have extended mirrors on both sides of the cab which may protrude 2 feet or more. A pedestrian walking just off the paved surface of the roadway may still be in danger of being struck by a mirror if a truck driver is operating the vehicle extremely close to the edge of the road. In these types of accidents it is common for the mirror to strike the pedestrian in the upper part of the shoulder or in their head. These are commonly fatal accidents.
All of these factors clearly put pedestrians at a significant risk of being struck by a vehicle. Speed, driver distraction, and visual clutter, particularly at night, contribute to make this very dangerous for all pedestrians navigating these roads without sidewalks.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a pedestrian accident you no doubt have many questions for which you are seeking answers. You may not be ready to talk to a lawyer. We’ve taken our years of experience in representing injured pedestrians in Florida and wrote the Florida Pedestrian Accident Handbook. In it you will find answers to most of your questions which you can read in the comfort of your own home before talking to a lawyer.