Many studies and polls have identified South Florida as one of the worst regions in the country for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. According to investigative reports by the Sun Sentinel and other media companies, the area is known as being largely a driving area, with a motorist and two pedestrians struck, on average, daily in the area. A recent poll ranked South Florida as the fourth most dangerous area for pedestrians. The top three regions for pedestrian fatalities were also all in Florida.
The Broward County Metropolitan Planning Office and others are trying to reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Hollywood and other areas. However, the process is slow. The planning office in Broward County has only one staff member dedicated to integrating pedestrian and bicycle safety ideas into major land-use projects in the area. And in order to integrate these ideas, it is important to ensure that the state Department of Transportation, county government, and municipalities all agree on the initiatives – which can be a challenge in and of itself.
Even though the most dangerous intersections are known and authorities as well as city planners know what must be done to prevent the number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Hollywood and other South Florida areas, the executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Office in the area has stated that it may take between five to seven years to implement those ideas with the resources currently available.
Safety experts and the Metropolitan Planning Office understand that to prevent serious motor vehicle collisions in Hollywood and other cities, there are several things that need to be done in order to protect pedestrians and bicyclists:
1) Wider bike lanes and more bicycle lanes. Many bicycle accidents could be prevented if bicycles and cars did not have to share the road as often. Bicycle lanes move bikers safely out of the way of cars and make it easier for motorists to spot bicyclists. More bicycle lanes could help prevent accidents and wider bike lanes could give bicyclists more room to prevent cars from brushing bicycles.
2) Better street markings. Good street design and markings could prevent some motor vehicle collisions in Hollywood and Florida. Clear signs to delineate lanes, bike lanes, and crosswalks could help drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other users of roads.
3) Better signs. Good signage is important in helping everyone get to their destinations safely. Good warning signs for known dangers, signs indicating bike lanes and other road attributes helps drivers and bicyclists make better decisions on the roads.
4) Education campaigns. Everyone needs to be reminded of safety tips once in a while. Education campaigns that help bring awareness to pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and accidents could help curb right of way accidents in Hollywood as well as other types of pedestrian and bike collisions in Florida.
5) Lighted crosswalks. Crosswalks with good lighting ensure that drivers can see pedestrians and other users of the road at intersections.
6) Wider sidewalks and more sidewalks. Narrow sidewalks could push pedestrians out on the road and unfortunately some areas have no sidewalks on the road, forcing pedestrians to share the road to motorists.
7) New medians. Medians keep road traffic separate from pedestrians and help keep traffic traveling in different directions separate, helping prevent head-on crashes.
8) Better law enforcement. Unfortunately, even with good road design and more awareness of the problem some motorists will inevitably violate the rules of the road and put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk. Better law enforcement can pursue these dangerous drivers and potentially get them off the streets.
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