While Broward County saw a 34% decrease in pedestrian and bike fatalities from 2021 to 2022, Palm Beach County saw an increase of 13% in the same time frame, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Even more dramatic was a decline in Broward County of 51% from 2018 to 2022, while bicycle and pedestrian fatalities increased by 31% in Palm Beach County. These statistics are troubling to those of us who live and work in Boca Raton, Wellington and elsewhere in Palm Beach County.
Several projects are currently being funded by grants to address safety issues. One such project is construction of separate bike lanes bounded by a physical barrier and not merely a painted line on the roadway. The first such project is currently being built along a 2.8-mile stretch of road on Lyons Road/Sansbury Way that will run from Forest Hill Boulevard to Okeechobee Boulevard. The $6 million project is being partially funded by a $4.2 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Transportation Planning Agency, and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023. This new type of bicycle lane will keep bicyclists off the highway and hopefully provide them with greater protection from careless cars and trucks.
Future plans call for building similar lanes along Cresthaven Boulevard from Jog Road to Military Trail; and along Prosperity Farms Road from Northlake Boulevard to Donald Ross Road and Camino Real in Boca Raton. More than $15 million has been budgeted for those projects. In the meantime, The county has instituted “high-visibility enforcement” patrols that will operated through May of 2023 primarily along Dixie Highway, Okeechobee Boulevard and Lake Worth Road. During the past six months, deputies issued 3,880 warnings to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. The patrolling officers noted several dangerous practices leading to accidents, including:
- Pedestrians jaywalking and walking on the roadway.
- Bicyclists failing to have a light or reflector on their bicycles while riding at night.
- Motorists stopping their cars on crosswalks.
Pedestrians and bicyclists should also refrain from wearing dark clothing at night and should consider wearing glow-in-the-dark safety vests to increase visibility at night. Cyclists should always wear a helmet for safety.
Broward County traffic officials reported eliminating one of the four 12-foot vehicular lanes in each direction along a particularly dangerous area in Wilton Manors and replacing them with seven-foot wide buffered bike lanes. Additional safety measures included adding mid-block pedestrian crossings, raised medians, wider sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, and landscaped curb extensions. The reduction of traffic lanes did not have the expected outcome of increasing traffic congestion, but it did contribute to a dramatic reduction of automobile collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders.
Pedestrian and cyclist injuries are particularly serious because there are no safety features such as seat belts or airbags, except for bicycle helmets which provide incomplete protection as the rest of the body is exposed. We encourage pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to follow safety precautions and be on the alert for others in danger of a collision. However, we recognize that accidents often happen when you are doing everything right and the other person is negligent, careless or plain reckless. When that happens, and serious harm results, The Datny Law Firm in Boca Raton and our Pedestrian Accident Lawyer and Bicyclist Injury Attorney David B. Datny will help you hold the responsible party accountable. Call 561-221-7474 any time for a FREE consultation. We proudly represent hurt pedestrians and injured bicyclists throughout Florida.