Walking Is Most Deadly for Florida Pedestrians

A new study finds that the Sunshine State has eight of the 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S. for pedestrians.

Florida is the most dangerous place in the U.S. for pedestrians, according to findings by the Smart Growth America, a national organization that researches and advocates for well-designed communities. The group released a study about the growing epidemic of pedestrians killed by vehicles in the U.S., which accounted for 4,884 fatalities in 2014. The findings showed that nearly half of the top 20 most dangerous cities for pedestrians are in the Sunshine State.

The study analyzed fatality statistics for the 104 largest metro areas (defined by the Census Bureau) in the country, and took into account population size, the number of people who commute on foot, and the number of fatalities to create its Pedestrian Danger Index. The higher the index number, the more dangerous a city is for pedestrians. There were 46,149 pedestrian fatalities involving vehicles in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014, and 5,142 of those occurred in Florida. Poor city planning and street design is a contributing factor to many of the deaths, says Smart Growth America.

The findings also correlated the fatality statistics with age, race, and ethnicity data, and found that older people and minorities—particularly Native Americans and African Americans—were disproportionately represented in pedestrian deaths. The study concluded that low income is likely a contributing factor, because poorer communities are often associated with dangerous pedestrian infrastructure and people with lower incomes are less likely to own a personal vehicle, increasing their likeliness of walking.