With summer in full swing and kids out of school for the next few weeks, some sobering news hit the Sunshine State. According to a May 29, 2019 article published by Orlando’s Spectrum News 13, Florida is the Number One US state for bicycle fatalities. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2017 revealed that:
- Of the 783 bicycle riders killed in the US, 125 of the incidents occurred in Florida;
- The majority of fatalities happened because a motorist failed to yield right of way to the bicyclist;
- Other reasons cited for bicycle accidents include visibility issues; and,
- One in five bicyclists rides in the opposite direction of motorized vehicle traffic.
Despite these disturbing statistics, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of deadly and injury-causing bicycle accidents in Florida. A first step is understanding how you could be putting your own safety at risk as a rider.
Wearing a Helmet is the Key: In a survey, 36 percent of Floridian bicyclists reported that they didn’t wear a helmet while riding. This safety gear is critical, since:
- In 1994, a total of 796 bicycle riders were killed in accidents. Of them 776 – 97.4 percent – were not wearing helmets.
- By 2016, fatalities slightly increased, but the number of individuals not wearing helmets was cut in half. That year, 835 riders were fatally struck and 424 of them didn’t use safety head gear.
- When you wear a helmet while biking, you can reduce the likelihood of suffering a head injury by 85 percent and lower the risk of serious brain injuries by 88 percent.
- Children bicyclists not wearing helmets are 14 times more likely to be killed in a bicycle accident than those who are.
Florida Traffic Laws Apply to Bicycle Riders: Another essential factor in reducing bicycle accidents is realizing that, as a rider, you must comply with all traffic rules and regulations. Some special considerations include:
- Of the 20 percent of cyclists that ride opposite of traffic, 74 percent report that they do so to see oncoming vehicles. This maneuver is a violation of Florida’s traffic laws, but it also puts the bicyclist’s life in danger.
- Bicyclist deaths are also common where the rider fails to yield right of way, makes improper turns, or disregards traffic lights and signs.
- Only three percent of all bicycle accident fatalities occur in designated bike lanes, making this the safest place to ride. Cycling in traffic is the most dangerous, with 61 percent of all deadly collisions occurring on roadways – and not at intersections.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Ocala, FL Bicycle Accidents Attorney
Though this information may be useful as a reminder to wear a helmet and obey Florida traffic laws, there’s always a risk of an accident when you hop on your bike. If you or a loved one was injured, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. For more information, please call Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law. You can set up a no-cost case assessment with our Ocala bicycle accident attorneys by calling 352-581-6174 or visiting us online.