ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orlando metro area is the most dangerous place to walk in America, according to a new 2021 Dangerous by Design report.
What You Need To Know
- Black pedestrians are 82% more likely to be hit by drivers, says new report
- FDOT disputes how Smart Growth America’s report calculates its rankings
- Orange County is implementing a safety improvement plan for Pine Hills Road
The study also found people of color are disproportionately killed in pedestrian-related crashes.
Black Americans were 82% more likely to be hit and killed by drivers than white Americans, according to the report from Smart Growth America.
Calvin Gladney, the president and CEO of Smart Growth America, found three reasons for the disparity, with speed being the first.
“Where we've put the highest speed highways or arterials and roads are disproportionately in black and brown communities,” Gladney said.
The higher the speed the more likely a pedestrian-related crash ends up a fatality.
Second, Gladney points to University of Nevada research that put drivers to the test, finding they are less likely to stop for Black pedestrians in the road than white pedestrians.
“There's some racially connected outcome as to who gets hit that has to do with who drivers see when they're driving,” Gladney said.
Third, black and brown communities are neglected when money is spent to improve roads, says Gladney.
“That lack of maintenance, that lack of upkeep, that lack of applying our street and infrastructure best practices in those same neighborhoods also contributes to those folks being hit more often and killed,” he said.
That can be seen along Pine Hills Road.
Spectrum News 13 watched a woman struggle to get cars to stop for her, even though she was in the crosswalk.
Don Owens was hit while riding his bicycle along Pine Hills Road.
“As the car was turning, they didn’t even pay attention,” Owens recalls. “Somebody’s on the phone and not paying attention. And I had the right of way. And they hit the back of my tire and kept on going.”
Owens was thrown from his bike, but he is OK. Others are not that lucky.
Since 2015, there have been 143 crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists on Pine Hills Road. Eleven people were killed.
FDOT disputes the way in which Smart Growth America calculates its rankings.
“The Dangerous by Design report considers select data points, which ultimately results in an inaccurate portrayal of the safety conditions across Florida’s transportation system,” FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault said in a statement.
Orange County is implementing a safety improvement plan along Pine Hills Road. Construction is set to begin this Fall.