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Ditching your car to walk? You’re risking your life, especially in Bradenton, study says

Hate being stuck in traffic?

Of course you do.

But would you really rather walk?

A recent study reveals that 49,340 people were struck and killed by vehicles between 2008 and 2017 walking down the street in various cities all over the United States. There were 194 pedestrian deaths in Bradenton-Sarasota-North Port during that time, making it the fourth-deadliest metro area according to an index that considers the number of people hit and killed by vehicles, population and the number of people walk to work.

The folks over at Smart Growth America, a nonprofit that looks at how metropolitan expansion affects quality of life, among other things, were the bearers of this disturbing news.

“That’s more than 13 people per day, or one person every hour and 46 minutes,” reads the report. “It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people crashing — with no survivors — every single month.”

The Washington, D.C., company also released a a map of fatalities, provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. (A total of 495 fatalities from 2008-2017 were excluded due to poor location data.)

So, how did Florida fare?

Not well.

We took the top six slots in the entire country, with 5,433 pedestrian deaths tallied in the study’s time period.

The riskiest major metro area to walk in is Orlando, which includes Kissimmee and Sanford, and where 656 individuals died over nine years after being hit by a car. So if you feel the need to stretch your legs there, best stay inside the confines of Walt Disney World.

Other cities that are apparently a bane to pedestrians are Deltona (including Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach), with 212 fatalities.

Next up: Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (No. 3); Bradenton-Sarasota-North Port (No. 4); Lakeland-Winter Haven (No. 5); and Jacksonville (No. 6).

Rounding out the Top 10: Cape Coral (No. 8) and Tampa (No. 9).

South Florida is a little safer for those opting to use their feet to get around: Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach were grouped together. The No. 14 spot meant our metro area had amassed 1,549 pedestrian deaths over the period analyzed.

Unfortunately, mostly due to urban sprawl, the situation is not improving, the study says. Pedestrian deaths are increasing by the day.

“This is happening because our streets, which we designed for the movement of vehicles, have not changed,” concludes Smart Growth America. “In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people. Furthermore, federal and state policies, standards, and funding mechanisms still produce roads that prioritize high speeds for cars over safety for all people.”

The website leads you to a petition page urging Congress to pass a long-term federal transportation spending bill that would require states to set aside money to support safer, complete streets.

“No more excuses,” says SGA on its website. “No more status quo. It’s time to address the epidemic of pedestrian fatalities. Urge your senators and representative to sponsor this legislation.”

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