Florida hit-and-run emphasizes bike/ped unfriendly streets

One of the Florida drivers involved in a hit-and-run collision Monday that killed two children and injured two others has stepped forward. At least two other drivers are still sought.

The accident has put a spotlight on Florida's bicycle- and pedestrian-unfriendly street design. A widely-reprinted New York Times article makes this point:

The deaths underscore a continuing problem of pedestrians being hit by vehicles in Florida, with its evergreen tourism, booming car-friendly suburbs and lack of crosswalks and sidewalks. In 2002, the state reported a pedestrian death rate of 2.91 deaths per 100,000 residents, second in the nation, behind New Mexico, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The problem is particularly acute in Tampa, which reported a death rate of 5.08 per 100,000.

"I think essentially we have created an environment geared to the automobile, and in a way, we have almost created an environment that is hostile to pedestrians and bicyclists," said Christopher Hagelin, a research associate at the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research in Tampa.
In Missouri, there are about 1.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population. 7.8% of all traffic deaths are pedestrians. About 1.1% of all federal transportation dollars are spent on pedestrian and bicycle projects. Close to none of the federal/state traffic safety spending in Missouri is directed towards bicycle or pedestrian safety. (2002 statistics.)