Considered to be one of the states with the highest statistics for hit and run pedestrian accidents, Florida is at the top of the list for a good reason: people are known to defiantly run directly across highways in front of cars just to get to the other side. Sounds too stupid to be true? Yesterday I was on my way home from Sarasota traveling down Rt 41 when a young guy and a girl did the very same thing described. Instead of yelling at these two who crossed behind my car, I just shook my head, thinking, “Wow, what morons.” Than again, nobody knows what a crosswalk is in Florida, then we have a lot of elderly people driving. While the elderly drivers can be avoided to some degree on the roads, it is the pedestrians who think they are Superman and therefore completely vulnerable to getting hit by a car. This is not as if some parents decide to let their children play in a cul de sac in a nested neighborhood; no, this is about pedestrians and highways. Time magazine mentions Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville as being major problems with these accidents, but Little Italy just south of Sarasota has a rather large number of people who look as if they have been smoking conch shells on the beach. Arizona had their share of people running across busy streets (at least in the southern part of the state, some of them can get away with not knowing what the street signs read and mean in English), but there is nothing quite like what I now experience whenever I am out driving somewhere.
Sidewalks are another story, since people never use them anyways, even though their tax dollars pay for them. What a waste of resources. Joggers have long refused to use sidewalks for whatever reason (maybe the whift from the carbon monoxide that cars spew out all over the road gives them that extra bit of energy to jog another 20 miles), but running across the highway? That’s not only unsafe, not to mention cars zooming down at 70 or 80 mph, but beyond stupid. What can be done to prevent so many pedestrian deaths, if it not the fault of the driver when some joker with a big grin on his face darts across a state road because he has to get back to work at Chuck E. Cheese?
Education and road safety is the answer here, although Americans are not always good at taking the advice of others, especially safety professionals. Drivers can always run the risk of yelling at the genius happily bouncing across a six-lane highway who is late in getting back to work but the reality is this: the genius has a higher chance of getting hit by a bus on the very same road than getting safely across. Forget about getting some real exercise by walking up to that crosswalk. At least it’s not illegal to honk your horn in Little Italy, Florida, the way it is in Tucson, Arizona. That may just wake up the “run across the road” crowd to reality.