In fact, watch your step if you're in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami or Memphis. Those are the top five cities as ranked by the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), a measure developed in the 1990s and used in this instance by the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) in its annual Dangerous by Design study on where its unsafe to walk and why. Compiling data for the decade from 2003 to 2012 on the 47,025 pedestrian fatalities and 676,000 pedestrian injuries, the NCSC pegs the national PDI average at 52.2. Compared to that, Orlando has a PDI of 244.28.

That puts it well ahead of the tri-city Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area in second at 190.13, even though Orlando had fewer total pedestrian deaths and a smaller number of annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. Or take Miami, which had the most pedestrian deaths of any city in the top ten, with a PDI of 145.33, compared to Houston - a city five times larger - coming in at seventh with a PDI of 119.64. The results also put Florida, ranked statewide at 168.6, well ahead of second-placed Alabama at 125.2. At the other end, Boston was ranked 51st and safest with a PDI of 18.65.

The bad news for Florida is that after the 2011 study named the same four Sunshine State cities in the top four, state and regional authorities began gathering data, implementing programs and adopting policies to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The good news for Florida and those cities is that each of them except Jacksonville has seen their PDI drop in the past three years.

Elsewhere among the numbers the study found that more than half of all pedestrian deaths over the covered span occurred on arterial roadways, and nearly 70 percent were on roads designed in accordance with federal guidelines. The bad news for walkers everywhere, however, is that pedestrian deaths rose in the three-year span from 2010 to 2012. So check out the report. And be careful.


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  • 18 Comments
      dfkd
      • 7 Months Ago
      Uh... they're just going to go ahead and ignore the obvious demographic pattern here?
        wafflesnfalafel
        • 7 Months Ago
        @dfkd
        That is amazing - don't walk around in the south apparently. Maybe it's a weather related issue - folks are outside for more of the year? Or maybe a population age thing? (older folks are more likely to pass away due to being hit?)
          dfkd
          • 7 Months Ago
          @wafflesnfalafel
          I was thinking more about Florida being heaven's waiting room...
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 7 Months Ago
      Memo to pedestrians: PUT THE SMARTPHONE DOWN LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING THE STREET
        P.F. Bruns
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        Yes, but memo to drivers: PUT THE SMARTPHONE DOWN PAY ATTENTION TO TRAFFIC LIGHTS We have a bunch of those little roadside memorials where I live just outside Tampa because drivers seem to regard crossing lights as suggestions.
      Joeviocoe
      • 7 Months Ago
      Having lived there for several years (no, never worked for a theme park or related industry)... I know exactly why this is the case... ready for it? International Drive! (A.K.A. "I-Drive") It is more than twice as long as the Vegas Strip... (not as many pedestrians, no)... but without any of the pedestrian traffic controls such as walkway bridges, or extra-wide crossings. Tourists are distracted by lights and large storefront signs. The motorists are used to driving without pedestrians everywhere else in Central Florida, except for this one strip.
      gdt876
      • 7 Months Ago
      I live in florida, most pedestrians don't use crosswalks in my town. Main offenders are high school and college students. Crossing a 4 or 6 lane road where limit is 45 mph is dangerous, especially at dusk, dawn, or early evening. I've seen people do it a lot around here. The article didn't mention WHERE most of the accidents occurred. I'd be surprised if very many happened in a crosswalk.
      Koenigsegg
      • 7 Months Ago
      Wait your telling me that if you are a pedestrian you should be careful near roads because cars are driving on them and thats what roads are meant for? Oh okay, and only in Orlando. Whew glad not anywhere else.
      Driver3
      • 7 Months Ago
      Florida has the worst drivers and Orlando is definitely the worst of the worst. I avoid I-4 at all costs through Orlando.
      Joeviocoe
      • 7 Months Ago
      Back in 2001, I witnessed a car hitting a Pedestrian at 45 mph. I was driving in the left lane of a divided road with a concrete barrier... 6 lane road of 436 near Colonial... headed north. It was a rainy night, and the road was wet. An SUV in front of me suddenly slammed on the brake, and all I saw was some dude flying off to the right, and landing in front of another car in the middle lane. When I say flying, yes, he was airborne. I was following too close for the speed, the road friction and the sudden braking... and I totalled my Kia Sephia :'( Since my insurance company was involved, I got a summary conclusion months later. He survived, was intoxicated, crossing the middle of an EXTREMELY busy and fast moving 6 lane road in poor conditions, and attempted to "frogger" through traffic and over a 3 foot construction barrier.
      ammca66564
      • 7 Months Ago
      The problem is that in Orland motorists don't expect to see pedestrians. There are so few people on foot drivers just aren't looking for them. So when there's one of those "people" things doing that "walking" thing it's a big surprise, and drivers get all flummoxed. Orlando has great big roads with limited access - they're better than a lot of state highways are, and the traffic moves 50 mph and more. But they're so good for cars, that they're lousy for "humans".
      Spec
      • 7 Months Ago
      Orlando . .. old people and tourist drivers. Yeah, probably not the best place to be a pedestrian.
      Robert
      • 7 Months Ago
      These numbers are so true. I live inTexas, but work in Orlando alot. Everytime I'm there, I see the black & red air ambulance chopper landing to take a pedestrian or biker to the hospital.
      Mike
      • 7 Months Ago
      We can't even blame the tourists. Every couple days on the traffic reports its always the same 3 areas. Pedestrian hit along OBT near Texas or Americana. Pedestrian hit on S.R. 436 between Hwy50 and Pershing. Pedestrian hit on S.R. 434 between Colonial and University. Those aren't tourist areas! There are soooo many pedestrians in the area that are too lazy to walk down to the crosswalks and for those that do so, many drivers here blow right through the crosswalks when they make a right turn on red. Other than Miami, Orlando/Kissimmee easily has the worst drivers I've ever seen in the continental U.S.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Mike
        --" that are too lazy to walk down " But to be honest... those crosswalks are usually a quarter mile away... and walking in the heat of the summer, spring (or fall)... and the rank humidity... pedestrians are trying to hurry from air conditioned waypoint to air conditioned way point.
      rsxvue
      • 7 Months Ago
      I've visited all those FL cities and what I noticed is that some of their busiest streets can be anywhere between 2-4 lanes wide each direction and they have some pretty large medians. Those are some big streets for pedestrians to be crossing -- and I've seen that more than 50% of FL drivers speed up during yellow lights. They're definitely not pedestrian or bicycle friendly out there.
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