March 3, 2014

Broward County To Make Roads Safer for Pedestrians and Bikes

Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows, having represented hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclist who have been seriously injured by careless motorists, that our local roadways aren’t always meant to be shared. For that reason, we are happy to report that the Broward County commission recently implemented its Complete Streets policy, which requires future roads to be designed with increased safety measures to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.

Some of the expected roadway improvements will include wider pedestrian and bike lanes, and open medians. According to the recently enacted rules, roads in Broward County will be constructed "to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation.” This needed trend toward protecting pedestrians follows similarly implemented rules by the Town of Davie and the cities of Sunrise, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood.

In order to facilitate wider bike lanes, car lanes will be narrowed, thereby providing bicyclists with an additional 3 feet of protection. Wider roadway medians will give pedestrians a safe place to wait for traffic to pass, if they are unable to fully cross a street before a light changes color.

Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky certainly believes, that given the active South Florida community, in which many of our fellow residents enjoy walking and bike riding, that these roadway design changes will reduce the number of deadly car versus pedestrian and cyclist accidents.

November 8, 2013

Avoid a Car Accident by Running Against Traffic

Having helped injured Floridians who've been seriously injured by a car or truck while walking, running or bike riding along a Florida roadway, including US-1, Biscayne Boulevard or Federal Highway, Miami personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky is often asked by friends and acquantances, “which side of the road should I be running along?” to avoid being injured as a pedestrian in a car accident.

Our first answer is always the same, use a sidewalk or path when they are available. Staying out of the road is always the best and safest practice to avoid being the victim of an accident. In fact, a police officer can write you a citation for failing to use an available sidewalk, pursuant to Florida Statute section 316.130, which specifically states “where sidewalks are provided, no pedestrian shall, unless required by the circumstances, walk along and upon the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic.”

And when there is no safe walkway, you should always run or walk, facing traffic, and you will be acting safer and within the law. Exercising while facing traffic gives you the best opportunity to see whatever danger may be approaching, and is the only legal way to walk or run along a street. In fact, Florida Statutes codify that walking facing oncoming traffic is the only legal way a pedestrian may walk along a roadway. Florida Statute Section 316.130(4) requires pedestrians and runners to use the shoulder on the left side of the road in relation to the direction they are moving, so they are facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.

In addition to using the proper side of the roadway, we urge pedestrians, runners and cyclists to leave their music at home. When you are in a potentially dangerous situation, which is what you are in when you are in close proximity to vehicle traffic, it is always best to be fully alert and aware of your surroundings. Using your common sense, and moving against traffic can help prevent you from being injured in an accident.

September 17, 2013

Cell Phones Play A Larger Role in Pedestrian Accidents

Most people know about the role distracted driving plays in causing car accidents, but many people don't realize that texting or surfing the internet on your smartphone while walking is equally dangerous. A recent study revealed that accidents and injuries to pedestrians using so-called smart phones has doubled in the last seven years. We, as personal injury lawyers who help accident victims in Fort Lauderdale, a community in which many of our fellow residents enjoy taking long walks, were alarmed by the rapid increase in distracted walking accidents.

The study, which appeared in the most recent edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention, was the result of an analysis of accident data reported from hundreds of hospital emergency rooms across the country. Some of the most frequently noted pedestrian smartphone related accidents involved fall down accidents from elevated sidewalks and pedestrians being distracted enough to walk onto roadways.

Not surprisingly, the most frequently injured class of smart phone using pedestrians is made up of people under thirty year of age. That age groups increasing and constant use of social media services, and their instant, need it now, mentality is certainly a contributing reason for their prevalence of injuries and accidents. To try an arrest these distracted walking accidents, many colleges have begun educating students to the dangers of using smart phones while walking. The basic rule, just like those taught about using a smartphone while driving, is before reaching for your phone-stop walking and move out of the way.

Having helped accident victims over the past 20 years, we are often confronted with a defense known as comparative negligence. This means, a defendant and their insurance company can blame an injured client for their conduct in being involved in an accident. Under Florida Law, a jury may apportion fault between everyone involved in an accident. Any fault placed on the injured person will result a commensurate reduction of the damages they are entitled to recover. As such, in order to protect oneself in a lawsuit, and more importantly, to avoid being injured, don't use your smart phone while walking or riding a bicycle.

December 15, 2011

Pedestrian Deaths Rise While Deadly Car Accident Drop

As personal injury attorneys helping the victims of car accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and throughout Florida, we too are concerned by a recently released study from the NHTSA which revealed that while wrongful deaths from car accidents continue to drop, pedestrian deaths from roadway accidents rose over the last year. The increase in pedestrian deaths is the first in over 4 years.

The deadly increase has the government stumped. Speculation of reasons for the increase include greater numbers of walkers, either for exercise or due to the economy, along multi-lane roadways, which were constructed to help alleviate traffic, but did not adequately consider pedestrian traffic. Sadly, the three most deadly cities for pedestrians are all in Florida.

Other possible causes for the increase in fatalities include pedestrians also being distracted, just like drivers, by using their smart phones while walking near traffic. And, incredibly almost half of all pedestrian wrongful deaths involved alcohol use by either the pedestrian or the vehicle driver. We urge everyone who is walking or riding a bicycle to be particularly careful of the two ton vehicles traveling around them.

September 30, 2011

Wrongful Deaths from Car Accidents in Florida Drop

As personal injury attorneys helping injured victims of car accidents throughout Florida, we are happy to report that wrongful deaths from car accidents fell to the record lows last year. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the car accident death rate dropped to 1.25 deaths per 100 million roadway miles traveled.

The statistics indicate that car accident involved wrongful deaths across Florida fell almost 5% over the last year. Unfortunately, last year in Florida almost 2500 people still died in traffic related accidents. And, deaths of pedestrians increased almost 4% during the same time period.

Regardless of the reasons, whether less people are driving due to the economy, or that vehicles are becoming safer, less traffic fatalities are good news.

August 23, 2011

Florida Roadways Responsible for Too Many Pedestrian Wrongful Deaths

Not surprisingly, a recent study by Transportation for America ranked our South Florida region of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach as the fourth most dangerous area for car accidents and wrongful deaths involving pedestrians in the United States. According to the report, more than 1500 pedestrians died in car and truck accidents in the South Florida area between 2000 and 2009. That is a shocking number of deaths, considering many cities have actually installed additional safety improvements, including cross-walks with countdown clocks.

Thankfully, despite possible reductions in Federal funding, Broward County engineers, for the first time, have placed greater emphasis on the interaction between traffic and pedestrians, including bike riders, in their plans for roadway construction for the next 25 years. Such safety actions include the building of additional bike lanes and pedestrian walks.

While it is imperative for the Florida Legislature to continue with their studies to determine solutions for this epidemic, as personal injury attorneys we hope everyone remembers that old saying, "look left, look right, and look left again, before entering a roadway."

May 25, 2011

What an Honor -More Pedestrians Suffer Wrongful Deaths in Florida

As personal injury attorneys handling wrongful death cases throughout the State of Florida, we know too well how dangerous our roads are for pedestrians. Now, a report from Transportation for American and the AARP, confirms that Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians, as over 5000 died between 2000 and 2009.

Florida's deadly accidents were more than 10% of the 47,000 pedestrians deaths confirmed nationwide from car accidents or truck accidents during the past decade. Not surprisingly, the four most deadly cities for pedestrians are Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Incredibly, a means of reducing these needless deaths, including various proposals brought up in the Florida Legislature did not get enacted into law. Such proposals included fines for texting while driving and mandating classes for new drivers on the dangers brought about by texting behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, Florida remains one of the only states without such texting regulations. We can only hope that in the next legislative session, the carnage caused by such reckless behavior is finally addressed.