Florida is a beautiful place for bicyclists of all ages. With nearly perfect weather year-round, bicycling enthusiasts in the Sunshine State enjoy over 230 days of sunshine every single year. From the Lake Trail in Palm Beach to the Everglades, Florida cyclists can ride through some of the most beautiful and breathtaking parts of the state. Unfortunately, Florida isn’t just known for its beautiful bicycling trails. It’s also the number one state in the country for fatal cycling accidents.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Florida has 6.2 cycling deaths per 100,000 people. This makes the Florida per-capita cyclist death rate almost 60% higher than the next closest state. In the state, the worst places for bicyclists to ride was the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, followed closely by Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami.
In 2016 alone, nearly 840 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the United States, this is a 35% increase from 2010 fatalities. Even worse, this marked the highest number of bicyclists killed in nearly 3 decades.
Safety experts in Florida point to a combination of factors that contribute to the high number of fatal bicycle accidents, including high numbers of elderly drivers, an increase in tourists on roads, and densely packed populations. When you add in an aging infrastructure that prioritizes motor vehicles over bicyclists and pedestrians, the results are deadly.
Another key factor in the increase in Florida bicycle accidents is alcohol intoxication. In 2015, 22% of fatally injured bicyclists and 12% of motor vehicle drivers had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests over the legal limit. Drunk driving is a serious offense and one that kills someone every 50 minutes in this country.
A rapid increase in texting and driving has also led to an increase in bicycle accidents. Distracted drivers are less likely to recognize a bicyclist on the road and more likely to veer out of their lane and into a cyclist. While texting and driving is illegal in Florida, it is still a secondary offense. This means police officers must have another reason to pull a motorist over. Of the 3 million crashes that occurred in Florida between 2013 and 2016, accidents caused by distracted drivers increased by nearly 40%.
Florida safety and transportation officials know that the state has a major problem when it comes to bicycle safety. As such the Florida Department of Transportation decided to increase the standard width for bike lanes by 3 additional feet in 2014. They also recommended buffered and protected bike lanes wherever possible. In 2016, the Florida DOT also launched a $100 million campaign to provide better lighting to over 2,500 locations across the state where pedestrian and bicycling accidents were highest.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Stuart, or anywhere in the Port St. Lucie or Palm Beach area, we can help. Our experienced bicycle accident attorneys are here to help you collect the compensation you need after a devastating bicycle accident.
At Fetterman & Associates, we believe that everyone should be entitled to justice – not just those that can afford it. That’s why we offer all our services on a contingency basis. You don’t pay us unless we can collect money for you. Our North Palm Beach bicycle accident attorneys are here to help. Call us today at (561) 983-4584 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.
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