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Danger Zone: Why lawmakers are considering new speed limits

They don't call Florida the Sunshine State for nothing. On average, Miami alone sees roughly 248 sunny days each year, with a relative high of around 90 in July, explains bestplaces.net. Our state's climate and good weather encourage people to get outside and enjoy nature, doing everything from biking to walking.

Unfortunately, getting out on foot and walking around Florida's cities also means an increased risk of collisions with vehicles. This isn't for shock either. According to data collected by Smart Growth America's National Complete Streets Coalition, nine Florida cities can be found topping the list of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians. Thankfully, this data hasn't gone unnoticed.

Making the list

As a 2017 Curbed article explains, the list was created after comparing the number of people in each city who walk to work to the rate of pedestrian fatalities. Sadly, nine of the top ten most dangerous cities were located in Florida:

  1. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida
  2. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida
  3. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida
  4. Jacksonville, Florida
  5. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida
  6. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida
  7. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  8. Jackson, Mississippi
  9. Memphis, Tenneseee-Mississippi-Arkansas
  10. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

When expanding the list to the top 11 most dangerous cities, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach makes the list.

What are lawmakers doing with this information?

According to a WCTV news article this month, the Smart Growth America's National Complete Streets Coalition list could be one of the reasons why the Department of Transportation is considering lowering speed limits across the nation. As the article explains, "Traffic speeds have been identified as one of the leading factors in pedestrian fatalities."

In addition to reducing speed limits, the DOT is also considering other things that could help keep pedestrians safe such as widening sidewalks and constructing barriers to discourage jaywalking, just to name a few.

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