According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclists are significantly more likely to be killed while riding in Florida than in any other state. In fact, many of the most dangerous cities in the nation for cyclists are in the Sunshine State.
Florida’s per-capita cyclist death rate was about 60 percent higher than the next-closest state. Its 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people dwarfed the runner-up, Louisiana, which had 3.9 deaths per 100,000.
Florida also had all of the top four worst cities for cyclists in the nation. Tampa-St. Petersburg led the nation for per-capita cycling deaths with 7.0 per 100,000 people, followed by Jacksonville (6.0), Orlando (5.8) and Miami (5.4). Sacramento, California, was fifth on the list.
Cycling deaths in Florida actually dropped to their lowest total since 2010, with 116. However, as of September 23, there were 95 cyclists killed in the state, putting it on pace for 130 deaths for 2018.
Causes of these large numbers
Why is Florida so much deadlier than every other state with regard to cycling deaths? Experts believe it to be a combination of a higher concentration of elderly drivers on roads (Florida is a favorite retirement destination), a high concentration of tourists who may be unfamiliar with the state’s roads and a relatively dense population.
In a Governors Highway Safety Association report, it was also suggested that cycling fatalities in Florida frequently involve alcohol. For example, in 2015, 22 percent of cyclists killed in accidents and 12 percent of drivers involved in those crashes had blood alcohol content levels exceeding the legal limit of .08 percent. Texting while driving is also proving a menace to cyclists and pedestrians.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver while riding your bike in Florida, speak with a skilled Bradenton personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh.