Here in the gated community of 'The Eagles' in Odessa (north west Tampa), there are many kids walking and playing around the footpaths and the suburban roads.
|Please beware - whilst driving, you are in control of a deadly weapon|
The posted speed limit in our street is 18 mp/h (around 29 km/h), however through my own observations and those of other neighbors - it's been a popular discussion point on our local community Facebook page - we estimate that speeds often average anywhere between 35 mp/h to 60 mp/h. At this speed, it would be impossible to stop while coming around one of the bends if there was a young child crossing the road (recently in some instances, drivers have failed to negotiate the bends and have damaged letterboxes - at least that's better than colliding with one of our children).
|The signs are posted everywhere in our neighborhood and cannot be missed|
It is also noted that the speeding is not restricted to any particular age group - we see teenagers right
Of course, I understand that as parents we need to educate our children on the dangers of playing in the vicinity of any road or street and teach them appropriate behaviors to cross a street safely. This does not give any driver a reason or excuse to break the law and put our kids' lives at risk!!
The security of The Eagles community and local law enforcement do, from time to time, monitor speeds and intersections in the area and we receive reports on how many tickets and warning notices have been issued (quite an alarming number, actually), but it seems that these activities are restricted mainly to the roads leading in and out of the main bottom entrance (9 Eagles Drive) where the posted limit is 30 mp/h, and stop well short of the roads where we actually live and play.
It is only a matter of time until there is a serious accident and/or serious injury to a pedestrian.
With the boys very unhappy with me because there is no cement to skate, I made them play out the back instead of exposing them to the risk of one of these thoughtless motorists losing control and running up our driveway or footpath.
Now for the very alarming statistics - Tampa is the second most dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians - and not just by a little bit!!
Data from the "Dangerous by Design" study by Smart Growth America tabulates Pedestrian Deaths broken down by states and metro areas. The rankings are measured on a scale known as the 'Pedestrian Danger Index' (PDI). The PDI is measured by comparing the latest five years of data on pedestrian fatalities with the share of local commuters who walk to work. "Unlike the total number of pedestrian deaths, the PDI gives you an idea of how likely you are to get run over while walking in a given area".
"While Florida tops the PDI ranking and stands alone with an index score three times the national average, a map of the top 10 states is particularly revealing: they are almost completely clustered on the East coast (Arizona being the only exception):"
So there you have it folks... for all of your loved ones (especially our kids), slow down and be aware of pedestrians!!
When traveling in areas where it's common for kids to play, take extra care - you are certainly the more experienced and driving in a potentially deadly weapon!
If you visit or live in The Eagles community - it's 18 mp/h on the streets and roads for a reason. Follow the roadside instructions, watch for kids and please, stop at stop signs.
View all of the statistics and analyses here