The following is an article from Elsa Roberts from Emerge Miami.

“What are you doing?”
“Thanks.”
“I almost get hit every time I cross the street with my daughter.”
“Get a job!”
“Thank you for doing this.”

These are just a few of the comments we heard in 40 minutes walking the crosswalk for pedestrian safety in Coral Gables on October 20. One older gentleman complained that he doesn’t feel safe crossing the street and said that he couldn’t sprint out of a car’s way anymore – he is 77. Another woman crossing with her children thanked us and proceeded to explain to her daughter why we were demonstrating for safer streets.

Motorist reactions were mixed. There were many instances of driver misbehavior and disrespect. Several drivers illegally blocked the intersection trying to turn left after their green arrow was gone and many making right turns came within inches of our legs; angrily demanding with their vehicles that we yield our space. The strangest comment we received was from a woman in an SUV trying to make a right turn while we were lawfully crossing the street, she rolled down her window, stared into our faces and our signs urging drivers to take care and reminding them that we are all pedestrians, and shouted angrily, “Why don’t you get a job!” Three of us looked at her and simply stated, “We have jobs.” “In fact, we’re here on a Saturday, raising awareness about an issue that kills and injures hundreds of people in Miami every year.”

Unfortunately, too many people care more about getting to a destination a little quicker than they do about looking both ways and yielding to pedestrians, and that is why Miami is the 4th most dangerous city in the U.S. for pedestrians and cyclists; a dishonor shared by three other metropolitan areas, all located in Florida (the Orlando-Kissimmee area is 1st, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 2nd, and Jacksonville is 3rd). Our cities are not designed to facilitate safe travel for pedestrians, an issue that has repeatedly been brought before the FDOT multiple times (see TransitMiami’s archive), but which they are reluctant to acknowledge as a problem.

This is an issue that will only be solved by repeatedly bringing it into the public eye. Each time a pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed, the public must cry out and encourage media coverage. We must continue with walks like this to engage the community in Miami; together we can raise awareness and make our streets safer. We will be planning another Walk for Safety in December. Stay tuned to details!

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9 Responses to Fed Up Miamians March for Pedestrian Safety

  1. Mark says:

    Keep the good work up. Yesterday I saw the aftermath of yet another accident in the Brickell area (Brickell Bay Drive). A young lady lay bleeding on the ground with horrific leg injuries after being hit by a vehicle. Enough is enough.

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  2. Craig Chester says:

    Mark – please email us the details of that crash if you can. I saw the aftermath/cleanup and it looked nasty. cpchester@gmail.com

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  3. mark says:

    Just sent it to you, Craig.

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  4. Leah says:

    That’s horrible to hear about the woman in Brickell. Perhaps the next stop for this campaign should be in Brickell. I have seen some of the worst driver behavior in Brickell.

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  5. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    This march should be replicated in every municipality across the county. Enough is truly enough!

       2 likes

  6. Fernando says:

    I was there in coral gables but not as a pedestrian and I support the initiative and believe there should be one in Brickell BUT it was not well done. It’s one thing to make a point crossing the street with signs. But the pedestrians with signs would walk across taking mini steps and going back and forth until the light changed. Therefore you got chaos on the streets and barely one car being able to make a turn. It’s disappointing that such an important issue and initiative got the wrong point across which was frustrating drivers and causing chaos with traffic. There are much better ways to make a point and more importantly have the message if pedestrian safety make an impact.

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  7. Elsa says:

    @ Fernando.

    We walked the cross walk only when we were legally allowed to do so and walked it the entire time we were legally allowed. Our point was to show that when pedestrians are legally in the cross walk drivers must yield.

    Slowing down motorized traffic my well be a consequence but that is irrelevant to a pedestrian’s right of way.

    Irritating drivers is part of the education process and in some cases part of the point. Too many drivers feel entitled to take up space on the road and refuse to recognize that pedestrians and cyclists have equal right to that space.

    Drivers are not entitled to turn when I or any pedestrian is legally in the cross walk. If a driver is inconvenienced by that, too bad. Their desire to turn sooner does not usurp a pedestrian’s right of way.

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  8. Fernando says:

    I would disagree irrating drivers is part of the education process. You distract them from the main issue. Again, I’m not disagreeing with what are pedestrians rights and absolutely vehicles must yield for all of our safety – it’s just by frustrating them you are taking drivers mind of off this issue and reason you are doing it.

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  9. mark says:

    Elsa – excellent points. Completely misunderstood by most drivers which is why it’s so important to do these sorts of activities, as well as for law enforcement to start getting their fingers out. Clamp down on these sorts of driving offenses and it will have a positive impact on the more serious ones.

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