Stepping out into the crosswalk is generally a tense and terrifying experience in Miami. Most drivers don’t even look to see if you are there, so you must either wait until they have turned or aggressively get in front of a car that might well run you over. People crossing with children, people who are disabled, and elderly people have an even worse time of it, since often our crosswalk signals are too short to enable people moving slowly to finish crossing the road.
If you’ve ever been a pedestrian you know this sensation. You also know the powerless feeling that comes with being one lone person against a large machine that can kill you, even if the driver isn’t trying to. Every single person driving a car has been a pedestrian at some point, but drivers here aren’t trained to respond to pedestrian’s right of way on crosswalks; its possible that that most pedestrians don’t know what rights they have to cross the road. Pedestrians and drivers need to be aware of when pedestrians have the right of way so that everyone is safe. Until everyone that uses the road is educated and respects everyone else’s rights to it, Florida will continue to lead the country in pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities. Miami-Dade County will continue to have the second highest rate of pedestrian and cyclist injury and death, and we will continue to have rides dedicated to fallen cyclists and angry newspaper editorials about another family struck down while on a sidewalk.
Lots of ink has been spilled on this topic, but now is the time for direct action. On October 20th, 2012, at 1:00 pm, pedestrians are invited to gather to Walk for Pedestrian Safety at Miracle Mile and Ponce De Leon, RSVP on Facebook or Meetup. We will legally make use of the crosswalks at this intersection for an hour, holding informational signs and educating drivers and other pedestrians about how to keep our crosswalks safe. We will be meeting at 12:45, by Starbucks on the corner of Ponce and Miracle Mile, to go over the rules of crossing the street legally. After the walk, we invite you to grab a late lunch at one of the local establishments to demonstrate that a safe and healthy pedestrian culture also promotes good business.
Join us as we work to improve the lives of everyone who lives in Miami; after all we are all pedestrians!