FLORIDA’S BIKE DEATH RATE HIGHEST IN NATION
Sept. 30, 2015
A comprehensive new report on bicyclist deaths released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Florida has the highest rate of bicyclist deaths in the country, proving to be dismal for the Sunshine State.
Specifically, the report found that Florida’s rate of bicyclist deaths was .57 per 100,000 people—more than double the national average of .23 per 100,000. And while most states have been able to drastically reduce this statistic over the last 30 years, Florida has barely made any adjustment whatsoever, and still seems to be perplexed about the root of the problem. In fact, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator at the Florida Department of Transportation still is not sure if the problem is due to the roadways or how many people are using the roadways.
According to the experts, it is the combination of the roads and speed limits that is causing the issue, as in Florida, these were not created to accommodate cyclists. And according to these same experts, the answer is simple—bike lanes must be made wider.
Short and Long-Term Solutions
Although the transportation department has called for a new standard for bike lanes on state roads, mandating that they be a minimum of seven feet wide instead of four—and this can be done at minimal cost by repaving the roads and reducing the car lanes in some cases—this still does not appear to address existing bike lanes that are causing the problem. According to the department, a longer-range solution is needed, and that involves ensuring that in busy areas, the motor vehicle lanes are narrower and the speed limit is lower.
Another important factor cited by the department is motorist education, as motorists in Florida are arguably not used to accommodating many bicyclists on the road. The plan to tackle this is by creating a “Walk Wise” program and handing out pamphlets about bike safety, as well as stepping up enforcement.
What Is Florida Doing Right?
In spite of these dismal statistics, there are some things that Florida is doing right for bicyclists. According to The League of American Bicyclists, Florida is to be commended for bike safety emphasis in its highway plan and its law requiring drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of space. In fact, The League recommends that the state could improve safety for cyclists by simply adopting a ban on cell phones for motorists.
Litigation & Representation
Being hit by a car is the leading cause of bicycle accidents and injuries, but a roadway in disrepair is another major cause as well. It is important to have your bicycle accident investigated by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the proper steps to take to hold all responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or worse in a Clearwater bicycle accident, contact Mike Walker in Clearwater to discuss your case and learn about your options.