Pedestrian Accidents Can Happen Anywhere On Sarasota's Busy Roads
While most residents of think of Orlando and the surrounding area as the major tourism region of Florida, tourists can and do go just about anywhere in the state, from visiting the Mediterranean revival architecture of Venice to taking in the many arts and performances of Sarasota.
This can mean that locals and tourists are on the streets, sharing the outdoors with motor vehicles. However, unlike cars, which protect their drivers with a range of safety precautions such as seatbelts and airbags, pedestrians have nothing to mitigate damage when they impact a vehicle.
Unfortunately, because so many people drive throughout the state, and some are tourists unfamiliar with Florida streets, Florida has a consistently high fatality rate for pedestrians. In 2021, Florida had the country's second-highest fatality rate for pedestrians, only beaten out by California. Sarasota, in particular, is considered one of the sixth most dangerous areas in the United States for pedestrian accidents.
Night Carries More Risks
One of the biggest factors in pedestrian accidents is the time of day. Most pedestrian accidents in Florida occur at night, and a chief component of this is poor visibility. People are harder to see at night, resulting in less time to react when drivers finally realize an accident is imminent. If this is combined with distracted driving, such as drivers taking a moment to check their phone while on the road, that split-second of inattention can result in a serious, sometimes even lethal, car accident.
It’s important to remember that the law gives pedestrians the right of way when people and cars are on the street. However, having the right of way is only theoretical, legal protection. Not everyone respects a pedestrian’s right of way. This only applies in lawful situations, such as a pedestrian crossing a street at a crosswalk where the signal has instructed them to cross. A driver can’t be expected to respect a pedestrian’s right of way when they suddenly cross the street without warning.
Respect Traffic Laws
One of the areas with the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in Sarasota is the portion of the US 301 between Fruitville and 10th street. This is a long stretch of road without frequent traffic light crossings. As a result, many pedestrian accidents happen here when pedestrians illegally run across the street while traffic continues at normal speeds. One stretch of this road can have as many as 15 jaywalkers in the span of 20 minutes.
In these situations, the drivers have few advantages favoring a safe encounter with pedestrians. They usually drive at the speed limit, are not expecting to slow down, and legally, they don’t have to worry about pedestrians as there aren’t supposed to be any crossings in this area. This means they are much less likely to have the situational awareness to react quickly if a pedestrian exercises poor judgment and jaywalks without realizing a car is nearby.
Know Your Rights
Accidents still happen even when people obey the law and enjoy the full protection of having the right of way. People are involved in serious and fatal car accidents at intersections where drivers run red lights or take left turns too quickly without fully assessing the presence of pedestrians. In these situations, where driver negligence is the cause of an accident, pedestrians have the law on their side.
If you’re a Sarasota pedestrian injured in a car accident where the driver was at fault, get the compensation you deserve. Talk to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney about what’s happened to you. Find out what your next steps should be to hold the driver accountable for their actions and get the compensation owed to you for your medical treatment, pain, suffering, and other factors.