Southwest Florida communities are encouraging the creation of Complete Streets in which roads are designed to accommodate all users including those who walk, bike, drive, or ride the bus. With multiple people using today’s transportation system, it’s a top priority to make it safe. As a result, the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is conducting a study to evaluate pedestrian and bicyclist safety data.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that only about 75% of hospitalized victims of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes with motor vehicles are identified with an official motor vehicle crash report. Since crash reports are the primary source of data, collected locally and at the state level, the Collier MPO and its Pathways Advisory Committee have concerns reported pedestrian and bicyclist crashes might not tell the whole safety story.

The Collier MPO recognizes the importance of these “untold stories” of crashes and near misses for evaluating safety. Therefore, our planning team helped the MPO develop a survey so the walking and bicycling public could share their experiences and identify their safety concerns. The survey was made available in English and Spanish, and was distributed in several ways to reach as many people as possible: online, on-the-ground intercepts, at public facilities, and at community events.

The results of the study affirmed there are more incidents than meet the eye. Those surveyed indicated that in the past five years, 47% had been in a collision or were forced from their path while bicycling or walking; and of these incidents, 86% were not reported to law enforcement. By bringing the locations and circumstances of these incidents to light, the MPO can now more thoroughly evaluate pedestrian and bicyclist safety issues and recommend optimal strategies to help drivers, walkers, bus riders and bicyclists travel safely in Collier County.

For more information, contact Laura DeJohn, ACIP at [email protected].