Florida has a reputation for being one of the worst states for bicycle safety, and there is plenty of research to back that up. For example, a 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Florida has by far the worst rate of bicycling deaths in the country at 0.57 per 100,000 people. That’s more than twice the national rate of 0.23 per 100,000 people.
The CDC also found that while most other states have drastically reduced their bike fatality rates over the last 30 years, Florida has managed to cut its rate by less than 10 percent. The only state that has made less progress in preventing bicyclist deaths is Wyoming.
These figures are especially eye-opening when comparing Florida to bicycle safety progress nationwide. The number of deaths per 100,000 people decreased by 44 percent between 2008 and 2012, with the sharpest decline being in deaths of children under 15 years old. However, riders still die at double the rate of vehicle occupants in the United States, even though bicycle travel only accounts for about 1 percent of all transportation trips nationwide.
What’s being done locally?
The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation worked with the Florida Department of Transportation to create a plan to address bike safety in 2013. According to researchers, solving the problem requires better engineering, enforcement and education.
Many of the roads throughout Florida were not designed with cyclists in mind, and the same goes for the speed limits on those roads. Researchers who compiled the report said widening bike lanes from four to seven feet could drastically improve safety. Roadways could also be engineered to match the location — the busier the area, the narrower the lanes for vehicles and the lower the speed limits. Reduced speeds would make it easier for drivers to make safe decisions, especially in areas that tend to have more bicyclists.
Florida is committed to improving bicycle safety, but it has a long way to go. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, speak with a dedicated Bradenton bike accident injury lawyer at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.