Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 2, 2012 – Florida remains the most dangerous state in the nation for bicyclists.
There are nearly as many bike-related deaths there in the average year as in California, which has a population roughly twice as large. California is similar to Florida, in that the weather is conducive to bicycling all year long in much of the state. California has well over 37,000,000 people and Florida has about 19 million. Florida had 125 deaths from biking accidents in 2008 and California just 99.
“Bicycle recreation is very appealing in our beautiful state, and unfortunately, we have more than our fair share of bicycling deaths,” said Tampa personal injury attorney Robert Joyce. “Bicyclists should exercise caution at all times.”
It is not clear exactly why Florida has so many more bicycling deaths per capita, but many factors probably contribute. One reason may be the large number of tourists visiting Florida each year. In 2011, an estimated 86 million people visited the Sunshine State; a new record.
Tourists are often unfamiliar with the roads, which can contribute to accidents. Florida also has many roads under construction, which creates unpredictable traffic patterns and detours. A number of visitors to Florida are college students on spring break, who may resort to bicycling under the influence of alcohol, in an effort not to be caught with a DUI charge. “Snow birds” and elderly drivers may also contribute disproportionately to bicycling accidents, both on bikes and behind the wheel.
Additionally, Florida does not have laws against cell phone use while driving, and distracted driving is a significant contributor to all types of traffic accidents. Many roadways in Florida were not built with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind. Even so, simply adding more bike lanes to new and existing roads may not solve the problem. There may be some cultural factors that need to be addressed as well. A Florida Bicycle Association representative said he believes Florida drivers are simply more aggressive than in some other states.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave,
Tampa, FL 33606