As we settle into summer, many adults find themselves recalling the summers
of their youths and comparing them to summer 2014. Today's children
spend more time indoors, a trend that is partly a sign of plugged-in lives,
partly due to parenting trends, and partly a result of very real changes
in safety. Sidewalk construction is one way to prevent pedestrian deaths
and improve community safety overall, making the outdoors more accessible
for our children.
Our Panama City pedestrian accident law firm advocates for injury victims
and grieving families, but we are first and foremost members of this community.
We will always place prevention first, and we support changes that would
make it safer for our region's children to enjoy a safe outdoor environment.
Pedestrian Killed, Community Eyes Lack of Sidewalk as a Contributing Factor
According to WMBB, the tragic death of a pedestrian has given renewed vigor
to demands for safer streets in Walton County. On Thursday night, just
before dark, a 30-year-old man was walking on Country Road 393 in Santa
Rosa Beach when a car hit him from behind, killing him. Florida Highway
Patrol is investigating and charges against the car's driver are pending.
Notably, while CR393 extends from U.S. 98 to Scenic Highway 30A, the sidewalk
does not. Residents are concerned by the lack of pedestrian space, noting
they see people walking and biking on the side of the road. Thursday's
tragedy was certainly not the first, although some say they are surprised
there haven't been more accidents on the stretch.
Both residents and visitors have called for a sidewalk that would run along
393 from 30A to U.S. 98. One visitor interviewed by WMBB suggested the
move would help attract more families, noting she'd feel safer with
her children if the area had sidewalks. A member of the Walton County
Sherriff's Office said her own neighborhood and the area where she
walks both had sidewalks and says she wouldn't feel safe on a street
without them. Responsibility for sidewalk construction would fall to Walton
County, and officials said the County doesn't plan to build them anytime soon.
Complete Streets Accessible to All
The National Complete Streets Coalition, a group that includes the National
Association of Realtors, AARP, and the National Association of City Transportation
Officials, notes that pedestrian crashes occur twice as often in places
without sidewalks, and roadways that have sidewalks on both sides see
the fewest crashes. Although the number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities
has been on the decline for decades, experts believe this is partly attributable
to an overall decline in the number of pedestrians and bicyclists on the road.
These facts point to a few of the motivations behind the call for "complete
streets" in communities of all sizes. Generally speaking, "complete
streets" are roads designed and operated with the safety of all users
in mind, including transit users, pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.
This is in contrast to streets that only serve the needs of drivers.
Sidewalks are one element of complete streets shown to improve pedestrian
safety. In addition to improving safety, complete streets improve air
quality, benefit public health by encouraging walking and biking, ease
road congestion, and make economic sense by connecting homes, schools,
businesses, parks, and other elements of the community.
Our Commitment to Safe Streets
We support the development of streets that keep the safety of all travelers,
and travelers of all ages, in mind. This in no way changes the fact that
we also believe in holding people accountable for their own actions and
their own negligence. If you or a member of your family was injured in
a pedestrian collision caused by someone else's negligent or wrongful
acts, Attorney Pittman can help. As a Northwest Florida pedestrian injury
lawyer, he can help you recover compensation from those at fault. Remember
that injury suits not only help the victims cope with the costs of their
injury, they also serve as a powerful reminder that our community values
pedestrian safety and will not tolerate behavior that puts pedestrians at risk.