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Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety Enforcement Begins In Clearwater

In an attempt to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe[1] the Clearwater Police Department announced in March 2016 that the awareness campaign related to bicycle and pedestrian safety has entered the “enforcement phase.” This means that those caught violating the law will face tickets in the coming months costing both bicyclists and pedestrians $62.50 per ticket.

The city’s pedestrian and bicyclist safety campaign began back in December 2015 with a little help from a $30,000 grant provided by the Florida Department of Transportation[2]. Meant to help curb the number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents, the program began first with an awareness phase. During that phase, officers stopped violators to issue warnings and make sure they understood the rules. Starting the week of March 28, 2016, officers intend to transition from writing warnings to issuing citations.

Lt. Walek of the Clearwater Police Department provides:

“We are hopeful this education and enforcement effort will change some attitudes and behaviors when it comes to pedestrian and bicyclist safety within the city of Clearwater…We have to find a safe way for all of these different parties to coexist on our roads and respect each other.”

Efforts have been concentrated so far on roads with a high frequency of pedestrian and bicycle violations.  Those roads include areas near U.S. 19, Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and Missouri Avenue.  During the awareness portion of the campaign, police officers stopped 132 people in December to make them aware of the rules. A total of 207 contacts were made in January with 141 warnings handed out. February saw 284 contacts made and 167 warnings issued.

Florida Pedestrian/Bicycle Accident Statistics

The Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle[3] Strategic Safety Plan prepared by The center for Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida provides:

  • The 2011 Florida pedestrian fatality rates were nearly double the national average and bicycle fatality rates were nearly triple the national average.
  • Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts reports, Florida had the highest pedestrian fatality rate among all states in 2011, 2.60 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 persons.
  • Florida represented six percent of the U.S. population in 2011 but accounted for 11 percent of all U.S. pedestrian fatalities and 17.4 percent of all U.S. bicycle fatalities.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are considered vulnerable road users because of the lack of protection in case of a crash. The number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits related to pedestrian and bicycle crashes shows that the magnitude of the problem extends beyond what police reported crashes show. In 2010, pedestrian traffic crashes in Florida resulted in 499 fatalities, 2,072 nonfatal hospitalizations, and 7,650 nonfatal emergency room visits.

Causes of Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents with Pinellas County Vehicles

There are many different causes of a pedestrian/vehicle or bicycle/vehicle accidents, but a common cause involves negligence on the part of the vehicle driver. Based upon the number of injuries and fatalities of both pedestrians and bicyclists, it is clear that many car drivers struggle to safely operate their vehicles around pedestrians and bicyclists throughout Florida.  Common causes of these accidents include:

  • Intoxicated driving
  • Running red lights and hitting pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk
  • Right turns through crosswalks without looking for pedestrians or bicyclists
  • Distracted driving, such as driving while texting
  • Illegally parked cars making it difficult to see pedestrians and bicycles.

Clearwater Driver Duty of Care

Florida drivers must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Failure to do so is considered negligence. A few of the most common factors contributing to driver negligence are:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists at crosswalks
  • Disobeying traffic signs or signals
  • Failing to signal while turning
  • Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Injuries Caused by Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

The type of injury sustained by a bicyclist or pedestrian in a vehicle accident can range from cuts and bruises to fatality.  Common injuries incurred in a Clearwater bicycle or pedestrian accident include:

  • Neck and back
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Facial and teeth injuries

Contact a Clearwater Pedestrian/Bicycle Accident Attorney

Representing bicycle and pedestrian accident victims requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients. At the Dolman Law Group, our personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.  You will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help investigate the facts of your case and to walk you through the process of determining if the vehicle driver is liable for your injuries and damages. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/bicycle-injury-attorneys/

References:

[1] http://patch.com/florida/clearwater/pedestrian-bicycle-safety-enforcement-begins-0?utm_source=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=police%20%26%20fire&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=article-topstories
[2] http://www.dot.state.fl.us
[3] http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/6-Resources/FloridaPedestrianandBicycleStrategicSafetyPlan.pdf