More people are resorting to walking than driving these days due to the increasing cost of gas. They are walking on roadways that were not designed for the increased foot traffic resulting in more injuries and fatalities. Some groups of individuals do not have the income to afford a car and adequate insurance forcing them to either walk or use any available public transportation. This means walking to and from the designated stop locations.
In Panama City and many surrounding areas, many roads are in rural settings. The roads may be only 2 lanes with no room for pedestrians to walk along the side of the roadway. In more populated settings, the road still may not provide adequate space to safely walk alongside a highly traveled roadway.
Many injuries and deaths could be avoided by improving the design of the roads. In fact, 12-percent of the roadway fatalities are the result of pedestrian deaths. Florida State ranks the worst when it comes to pedestrian safety listing 4 major cities on the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) for 2011.
What can you do to help improve the safety of our roads? As a driver, be more alert! Watch for pedestrians exiting from the trolley's or other methods of public transportation. This is one of the most dangerous situations. They don't stop at intersections often resulting in people darting across the road. Be prepared to stop!
As a pedestrian, follow the rules! Florida pedestrian laws are clear and are mainly common sense. Wearing bright colors, crossing at a crosswalk and walking either on a sidewalk or as far off the roadway as practical are among many rules that are meant to keep us safe. Don't take chances and cross while traffic is coming assuming they will stop for you.
As a citizen, write to your congressman or representative and voice your concern for the safety of our roadways. Budgets of every state are under pressure. If enough citizens voice their concern, it may help to identify their priority.