Everyone knows millennials are destroying our very ways of life, right? Young folks aren't just bringing their participation trophy fueled brand of needing to be understood to the workplace. If panicked trendspotters are to be believed, they're also doing a number on a wide range of cultural institutions, like marriage, the diamond trade and even the auto industry. You see, millennials don't need cars when they have Ubers, Lyfts, bikes, skateboards, tricycles and their own two feet. Even our cities and towns are coddling the car-deniers by thinking about new ways to make themselves more accessible to walkers. So it comes as little surprise that a state often associated with blue-haired retirees seems to be doing its best to hold out.
According to a recent study by Smart Growth America, Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians. In fact, the Sunshine State is also home to eight of the top 10 most hazardous metro areas for folks on two feet. The results are based on Smart Growth's Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which measures the share of commuters who walk to work and the number of pedestrian deaths in each locale. In order of danger: Fort Myers tops the list, followed Melbourne, Orlando, Jacksonville, Daytona, Lakeland and Tampa. Those Florida cities comprise the top seven, with Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee, at ranks eight and nine, respectively, while Sarasota, Florida, rounds out the top 10. A number of factors come into play for why Florida is so deadly, including the prevalence of tourists and elderly people both walking and driving, and the presence of roads that tend to be wide, straight and flat and encourage higher speeds.
This is the ninth straight time that Florida has been deemed least pedestrian friendly, and the bad news is it's getting worse. Florida saw the fourth largest jump in PDI from 2014 to 2016. The good news? State officials are trying to do something. The Florida Department of Transportation is taking steps to reduce pedestrian deaths by changing the way that roads and streets are designed. Several cities and towns have also rolled out their own plans to make it easier for people and cars to share the road.
Maybe they should take a page from their friends up north — after all, according to the study, Vermont is the safest state for people who get around using their own two feet.