Florida’s Rate of Bicycle Accidents and Related Deaths Are Highest in Nation
Many might be surprised to learn that a recent comprehensive report on bicyclist deaths released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Florida has the highest rate of bicycle-related deaths in the country. In fact, the sunshine state comes in at more than double the national rate of bicyclist deaths. While many other states have found ways to decrease the rate of these types of accidents in their jurisdictions, Florida is trailing far behind in making progress, barely making a dent in its dire statistics.
In general, bicyclists die on U.S. roads twice as frequently as people in cars even though they make up a small fraction of overall types of transportation on the road. In a day and age when bicycling is encouraged as an alternative, greener mode of transportation, Florida must find ways to reduce the incidence of injury and death for cyclists.
Much Needed Change
Florida has implemented a safe passing law, which requires drivers to provide cyclists with three feet or more space; however, if the law isn’t enforced, it doesn’t do much good in terms of decreasing bicycle fatalities. The state arguably already has all the information it needs to make the necessary, additional changes required to protect cyclists: In 2013, the Department of Transportation–in conjunction with the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research–released the Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan, a 45-page plan that breaks down changes needed to reduce bicyclist-related deaths; changes that involve addressing engineering, enforcement, and education issues.
Put simply, the state needs to make the bike lanes wider, with a minimum width of four to seven feet in order to ensure that there is enough space between cyclists and drivers. While this is a relatively affordable short-term fix, a more permanent solution also involves ensuring that Florida roadways better match the particular areas that they are located in terms of lower speed limits and narrowness. Long-term solutions also involve educating motorists, as many Florida motorists aren’t mentally or psychologically in a place to share the road with cyclists, according to some experts. While those working on the issue plan to place various programs in place designed to encourage people to become safety “ambassadors” in terms of the issue, enforcement targeted at distracted drivers—as well as litigation—may also be necessary in order to provide the appropriate amount of incentive to many Florida drivers out there.
Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyers
At Friedland & Associates, our bicycle accident lawyers fight for bicyclists’ rights. We understand the physical, emotional and financial toll an accident can take on you. We work with the very best medical and investigative experts to obtain the highest possible value for your accident claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured while riding a bicycle, contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll get started helping you.