College and university life is often filled with walking to classes (or running, if you overslept) via pathways and pedestrian bridges. A great deal of thought goes into preventing pedestrian traffic incidents on college campuses, but there is still a large amount of risk.
Even infrastructure can lead to disasters, with victims wondering what to do next. If you or a loved one has been harmed while walking on a university campus, speak with a skilled Florida pedestrian accident lawyer at our firm today.
Pedestrian traffic incidents are a big problem on Florida campuses
Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse
One of the most horrifying examples of pedestrian injuries on a college campus occurred in March of 2018 when a footbridge collapsed at Florida International University (FIU). The 174-foot-long structure was being built over SW 8th Street in Miami, FL, causing six deaths and ten injuries when it fell.
Motorists in eight different cars were passing under the bridge at the time it came down. The collapse was attributed to faulty design and an accelerated construction schedule. If the bridge had been completed and in use by students, the disaster would have been even worse.
Statistics for pedestrian safety on college campuses
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 7,400 pedestrians were killed and over 60,000 injured in accidents involving vehicles. On college campuses, more pedestrians are navigating the same streets as cars, bikes, and motorcycles, putting everyone at risk of injury or death.
Other crucial factors lead students to engage in more risky pedestrian actions. A recent study showed over 95% of students own a smartphone, and as many as 43.5% were observed holding or using it while crossing a street on campus. Drivers are also unsure of where they are going or fail to notice pedestrians around them.
According to Florida’s comparative negligence laws, you could be found partly to blame for a pedestrian accident. When you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the person who hurt you, they will try to show you contributed to the accident.
Preventing pedestrian accidents on college campuses
Preventing pedestrian accidents on college campuses requires a multi-faceted approach. First, universities and building contractors must put the students’ safety, ahead of budgets and deadlines. For example, the Florida Department of Transportation is overseeing the installation of new traffic lights at the University of Florida in response to the deaths of two students in 2020.
Drivers must also take extra care on campus, watching for distracted walkers. Pedestrians can practice these recommendations:
- Look both ways before crossing a street.
- Avoid looking at your phone or texting while in a crosswalk.
- Remove headphones before crossing the road.
- Obey crossing signals.
- Make yourself visible, especially at night.
- Avoid crossing unsafely just because the rest of your group is moving.
- Watch out for people riding on bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades.
Pedestrians on college campuses tend to engage in more risky behaviors, such as walking late at night or while intoxicated. Motorists and bicyclists need to watch for people to unexpectedly enter the roadway and be prepared to stop quickly. The same rules apply in the early morning hours when students or faculty members may be running or walking for exercise.
Laws for college campuses for pedestrian walking
Currently, the Florida Statutes state that vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are legally crossing a street. Bicyclists must also obey this law. It may surprise you to learn that all the borders of an intersection are considered crosswalks, whether they are marked or not.
Other critical laws that govern pedestrian walking include:
- Pedestrians may not cross intersections except in a marked crosswalk at right angles to traffic.
- If there are no signals, they may not suddenly leave the curb into traffic when a vehicle is too close to stop in time.
- Pedestrians may not cross intersections diagonally except where traffic signals indicate they can.
- Pedestrians must obey stoplights and walk signals, especially when the red light or Don’t Walk signal is against them.
- If a pedestrian crosses midblock without a crosswalk, drivers must still yield the right-of-way to them.
Learn more about your rights in a pedestrian accident case today
If you or a loved one have been hurt while walking on a college campus, contact our pedestrian accident attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. We are prepared to listen to your circumstances during a free initial consultation, where we will explain your legal options and answer your questions.
Our team is ready to help you file an insurance claim or lawsuit against those at fault for your injuries and loss. Do not delay in taking action since the Florida statute of limitations allows only two years from the date you were hurt. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use our convenient online form to schedule your no-cost, no-risk, no-obligation case review today.