Pedestrian Safety Islands: What are They, and Can They Make Florida Roads Safer?

Pedestrian safety islands are small strips of sidewalk or asphalt protected by barriers like concrete, fencing, and landscaping that protect pedestrians as they cross roads.

They come in a variety of forms, and chances are that you’ve seen and used them in your travels as a pedestrian through Tampa and the surrounding area. But just how effective are they?

Pedestrian Safety: An Issue Tampa Residents Should Take Seriously

While you might feel safe enough walking alongside the road in our region, very serious accidents involving pedestrians happen all too often in our area, a fact our Tampa pedestrian accident lawyers know all too well.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that at least 100 pedestrians were killed in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco county in 2017 alone. And those numbers are consistant with a pattern of poor pedestrian safety in our area. In fact, the Dangerous by Design study from Smart Growth America recently ranked the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area as the seventh most dangerous region in America.

The truth of the matter is that we could be doing a much better job when it comes to safety infrastructure for pedestrians in Tampa, Clearwater, and the surrounding area. 

Pedestrian Islands and How They Work

Also known as refuge islands or pedestrian refuges, pedestrian islands are typically found on wider streets in our area. Their purpose is to give pedestrians a place to stop safely when crossing the street quickly is difficult.

For example, they are often used in on wider urban streets that are difficult to cross in a single traffic light signal. They also provide safe harbor for pedestrians on busy roads where there is no light and pedestrians need to be able to cross safely regularly.

In many areas in our region, these islands are quite simple, consisting of a strip of street level sidewalk protected by banks of higher concrete and other barriers. In more developed neighborhoods and districts, pedestrian islands are created with aesthetics in mind and buffered by items like landscaped shrubs or street lamps. Some even serve a dual purpose as a small parks.

How Can Pedestrian Safety Islands Improve Road Safety

We’ve all seen pedestrians forced to navigate busy roads and intersections in our area without so much as a crosswalk or sign to protect them. Maybe you have to cross some of these streets sometimes yourself.

The truth is that even the simplest pedestrian refuge provides more safety than nothing at all. But, according to the Federal Highway Safety Commission, there are ways to make these islands even safer. Raised medians in particular have been shown to be a simple design improvement that protects pedestrians further by elevating the entire island up by several inches or more. 

Do You Know Someone Who’s Been Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident?

We know all too well how serious the injuries and losses caused by these types of collisions can be. We’ve Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has been committed to protecting the rights of everyone who shares our streets, including pedestrians, for decades, and our pedestrian accident attorneys are focused and determined to pursue just compensation for victims of negligent driving.

Please call us today if you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian accident in Tampa, Clearwater or the surrounding area. We may be able to help and can provide you with a free evaluation of your case.

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