Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 7, 2019 – Florida has the worst bicyclist death rate in the United States.
The state of Florida dominates U.S. rankings in motor vehicle accidents causing the deaths of bicyclists. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida is almost 60 percent higher than the next closest state in the number of people dying in accidents between vehicles and bicycles. According to the NHTSA, from 2007 to 2016, Florida had 6.2 bicycling deaths per 100,000 people. The closest state to that number was Louisiana, with 3.9 deaths per 100,000 people in the same time period. Within Florida, the Tampa and St. Petersburg metropolitan areas led with 7.0 per-capita deaths.
Nationwide, three states (California, Texas and Florida) account for 40 percent of the bicyclist deaths in the country, even though their populations hold only 27 percent of the population of the United States. In 2016, 804 cyclists were killed in the United States in motor vehicle-related crashes. This number represents a 35 percent increase from the number of deaths in 2010. In Florida, 116 cyclists died in auto crashes in 2017, which is the lowest number since 2010. However, experts believe that Florida was on pace to have over 130 cyclist deaths in 2018.
Pam Fischer, who wrote a Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report in the issue, stated that “In Florida, it’s a combination of elderly drivers, tourists unfamiliar with roads, and a relatively densely packed population. You kind of mush it all together, and it helps us explain as best we can what’s going on out there.” She also noted that alcohol was a factor in many of the crashes involving bicycles. In 2015, 22 percent of fatally injured cyclists and 12 percent of drivers in those crashes had blood-alcohol levels of at least 0.08, which is the legal limit for motorists in most states.
Distracted driving is also a factor in these deadly accidents. Vehicle crashes caused by distracted drivers have become an epidemic across the country. A study performed in 2017, which analyzed 3 million accidents between 2013 and 2016, found accidents increased 11 percent, but crashes caused by careless driving increased by almost 40 percent.
Experts have suggested implementing several programs to halt the tide of bicyclist deaths in Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation changed its standard width for bike lanes from 4 to 7 feet in 2014 and now recommends buffered or protected bike lanes. Municipalities have been awarded grants from the state in order to increase lighting in areas where there is a high volume of nighttime vehicle crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles. Also, many police departments have begun “High Visibility Enforcement” programs to promote drivers paying attention to and being able to see cyclists on the road.
Tampa attorney Robert T. Joyce, Esq., states, “Accidents involving bicycles can cause devastating injuries due to the cyclists not having any protection from being struck by a vehicle that can weigh thousands of pounds. The State of Florida needs to do more to protect the cyclists on our roads.”
To learn more about bicycle accidents, visit https://www.joyceandreyespa.com/.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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