Spring is the height of tourist season in South Florida and an especially apt time to be reminded of the importance of infrastructure improvements when it comes to reducing the risk of bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
Inadequate transportation infrastructure has left many Americans stranded and at risk of serious injury. From youth, to senior citizens, and lower-income families, getting around without a vehicle can be a challenge. This means that individuals seeking to travel by foot or bicycle also face more dangers on America’s roads. A new bill in Congress would mandate better infrastructure planning throughout the United States to keep American’s cyclists and pedestrians safer.
The Safe Streets Act of 2014 is a bill before Congress that would require each state to implement a policy that requires all federally-funded transportation projects to accommodate the safety and convenience of all users in accordance with specific street principles. In short, this means that city planners cannot exclusively focus on convenience and ease for motorists, but must also incorporate planning strategies that accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as well. Our personal injury attorneys in Broward are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients who have suffered an injury. We are also committed to staying abreast of changes in the laws that impact transportation safety.
The Safe Streets Act uses the term “complete streets principles” to describe new infrastructure that must accommodate all users, including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, public transit users, senior citizens, and children. New infrastructure should also accommodate multiple forms of transportation, including buses and trains. This aim will curb accidents and injuries caused by roadways that do not properly accommodate a variety of users.
Every year, millions of pedestrians and cyclists are struck while crossing busy streets or while on rural roadways that are improperly marked or usable for non-motorists. These are tragic accidents that could be preventable with adequate infrastructure and enforcement. Individuals could suffer a range of injuries from a head injury or broken bone, to severe paralysis, loss of limb, or wrongful death. The Safe Streets Act is a step in the right direction to reduce the number of accidents and injuries caused by inadequate transit and transportation planning.
The bill will allow some exemptions for local projects if the cost would be disproportionate to the need or if population density is so low that users will not include pedestrians, cyclists or public transport. The exemptions must also be properly approved through government channels.
According to a publication by Transportation for America, the nation is plagued by poor transit access. The problem is particularly acute for senior citizens and persons with disability who rely on public transport and alternative means of transportation. Senior citizens who age in communities without adequate transit can be stranded, unable to access needed goods and resources. In an attempt to counteract this trend, the new transportation bill will increase funding for a variety of forms of transportation, including buses, trains, carpools and rideshare programs, and other public services available to seniors and disabled persons in rural areas.
Individuals who are restricted to walking, cycling, and public transportation must be aware of the risks. Motorists should also remember to share the road to prevent the serious injuries involving cyclist and pedestrian collisions. Victims of these accidents may be entitled to significant compensation for their losses.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
Warning: Acetaminophen Intoxication has Life-Threatening Effects, Feb. 4, 2014, Coral Springs Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
Florida: A Deadly Mix for Bicyclists, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 27, 2013