Florida is reported to be the most dangerous state in the country to ride a bicycle. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the State of Florida has the highest cyclist death rate in the country. The total number of cyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 was 840 cyclists. This figure is a 35 percent increase from 2010.
We all know the roads that are so wide – it would be suicide trying to cross them. The problem is when you are driving, it is hard to be vigilant about someone riding a bicycle. Just the other day, I got off the Princeton exit off I-4 and a bicyclist darted across my path. I had to slam on the brakes.
Florida is followed by California and Texas for the number of fatalities reported, and of all states, the top three account for 40 percent of total cyclist deaths. Between the years 2007 and 2016, the cyclist fatality rate reported in Florida was 6.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. That is 59 percent higher than the next highest state of California.
Of all metropolitan regions recorded, the Tampa Bay region including Pinellas County, was the highest in the country for cyclist deaths. Tampa Bay reported seven cyclist deaths per 100,000 residents.
To determine the most common causes of cyclist deaths in Florida, it is important to identify who is most at risk. The NHTSA has provided the following statistics on bicycle accident victims and the circumstances that resulted in their injury or death.
- The average age of victims in fatal bicycle accidents increased from 24 years old in 1988 to 32 years old in 1998 to 44 years old in 2013.
- Of those who were killed, 83 percent were male.
- Most bicycle fatalities (68%) happened in urban areas.
- A significant portion of deadly crashes (22%) occurred in the three-hour span of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- In nearly one-third of all bicycle crashes, either the driver or the cyclist had a blood-alcohol level that was 0.08 g/dL or higher.
There are some key reasons that exist for why the cyclist fatality rate is so high in the State of Florida. Elderly drivers and densely populated areas make it more dangerous for cyclists on the road. Tourists who frequent our state and are unfamiliar with the roads and traffic patterns also account for an increase in cyclist fatalities.
Local officials and law enforcement are launching campaigns to ensure there are more police officers monitoring areas known for bicycle traffic. Motorists safely sharing the road with cyclists and the widening of bike lanes can also help get these numbers down.
Cyclists should always wear a properly fitted helmet to protect them from traumatic brain injuries. In addition, it is recommended that the cyclist ensure that the bicycle is properly fitted, and all equipment is safe and works appropriately. Regardless of what time of day it is, it is important that the cyclist is wearing clothing that makes him or her visible. Using reflective tape or lights are also recommended when traveling at night. While the cyclist is on the road, it is important that he or she be cautious and aware of all hazards and others on the road just as all drivers need to be aware of cyclists sharing the road with them.
When it comes to filing an insurance claim, injured cyclists who have been hit by a motor vehicle have the same rights as motorists and are entitled to collect damages to cover medical bills, hospital expenses, lost wages and other costs. If a cyclist is involved in a hit-and-run, they can file a claim under his or he own uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM) coverage.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN EXPERIENCED BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
The Benenati Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its injury clients and accident victims. If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident, remember to hit the 7s to reach the personal injury offices of the Benenati Law Firm. Cyclists lack the protection automobiles have, which makes them more at risk for serious injuries if involved in an accident with a vehicle. Florida personal injury lawyer Walter F. Benenati has successfully represented cyclists who have been injured due to the inattention or negligence of another. Let him protect you and your rights. Our oath to you is handling your case from start to finish effectively, competently, and aggressively. Allow us the opportunity to give you the personal attention you deserve in your case. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Please do not hesitate to call our office today at 407-777-7777 for a free legal consultation.
Abogado Hispano con experiencia en juicios sirviendo las necesidades legales de la comunidad de la Florida.