More Bicycle Fatalities in Florida Than Rest of the Country
Bicycle accidents are unfortunately a regular occurrence throughout the country. It is inevitable that people are careless and someone gets hurt either because a driver is distracted by a text message or intoxicated. Bicyclists everywhere are at risk of being involved in an accident that can cause severe injury.
Florida is the Worst State for Bicyclists
However, there are some parts of the country where bicyclists are more at risk of being involved in a bicycle accident. Florida is officially the most dangerous state in the entire country for bicyclists. Our state is home to the top four cities with the highest bicycle accident fatalities. According to a study done by the Wall Street Journal, The Tampa Bay metro area is the most deadly area in the country for bicyclists. The following three cities include Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami all occupy the second, third, and fourth spots respectively.
Florida Bicycle Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA keeps track of the number of cyclists fatalities both overall and per each state. Their records show that nationwide there were 840 bicycle accident fatalities in 2016 which apparently is a 35% increase from 2010. Of those 850 fatalities. Of all those fatalities, Florida contributed 138 while California had 147 and Texas 65. The rest of the states did not even manage to break 50 in terms of bicycle fatalities.
While Florida’s cyclist death numbers were surpassed that year by California (the previous year Florida had 150 and California 129), Florida has consistently remained the state with the highest rate of bicyclist fatalities per capita. California’s population is roughly double that of Florida’s with 39.5 million people versus Florida’s 21 million. Despite this massive difference in population, Florida still has a grievously high ratio of people dying in bicycle accidents compared to any other state. Florida’s bicycle fatality per capita rate is currently somewhere between 6-7 people per 100,000.
Tampa Bay is the Worst Place for Bicyclists
While the state of Florida’s average bicyclist fatality per capita ratio is around 6 per 100,000 people, the Tampa Bay metro area has a bicycle accident fatality rate of 7 per 100,000 people. Currently, this is the highest ratio in comparison to any city in the United States. The Tampa Bay metro area may not have the most bicycle deaths in the country overall, but it certainly has the most compared to its population.
Why is Florida so Dangerous for Cyclists?
There is no easy answer to the question as to why Florida seems to be so dangerous for bicyclists. Ultimately, it comes down to several issues that have culminated in such a hazardous bicycling environment. Florida has several cultural and infrastructural features unique to its major cities where many of these bicycle fatalities take place. It is these features that are the prime contributory factors to our state’s bicycle accident problem.
Florida Infrastructure is Unfriendly to Bicyclists
The state of Florida’s infrastructure is probably the key contributor when it comes to why bicyclists in our state keep getting hit by motor vehicles. For starters, the geography of Florida has long made it difficult to build basically anything on the account that the ground is in a constant state of sogginess or is submerges at least until some kind of drainage system is built which takes quite some time.
It’s because of this that Florida’s infrastructure inevitably evolved in a much more spaced out fashion with cities and settlements unable to lump building on top of each other on account of the damp and soggy geography. Unable to create as dense of population centers, people naturally went with cars as the preferred mode of transport. It’s difficult to justify riding a bicycle when everything is so spaced out versus more other states where everything is easily within bicycle range.
The infrastructure of Florida is very much oriented with a cars only mindset. The people that engineered the road and building zoning of many of Florida’s cities assumed that everyone would be driving cars and did not take into account how prevalent bicycle and even pedestrian travel would become. Hence the long sidewalkless, and bike laneless roads winding through major population centers several lanes deep and heavily trafficked by cars unexpectant of any bicyclists anywhere near their lane.
Florida Driving Culture and Bicycle Accidents
Florida is home to some of the worst driving in the country. It isn’t necessarily that Floridians are the worst drivers, rather, Florida has a lot of visitors that are unfamiliar with how to drive here and are fairly old. Snowbirds and tourists are the scourge of Floridian roadways and that means bicyclists aren’t safe either. Florida driving culture is largely ignorant of bicyclists and their presence on the road leading to many bicycle accidents that could have been easily avoided.
Despite the presence of bike lanes many drivers barely register the clearly marked partition for cyclists. There is also a sentiment of hostility to bicyclists as well. Floridian driver typically views themselves as the priority in traffic situations over cyclists whom they see as a nuisance to their commute.
The Right Representation for your Bicycle Accident Injury Claim
The personal injury attorneys of the Dolman Law Group have decades of experience in negotiating and litigating bicycle accident claims. They fight hard to protect Clearwater residents from injuries and ensure that they are fairly compensated when injuries do occur. Whether your bicycle injuries were caused by a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or other negligence, our experienced team has the legal expertise to ably handle your claim.
Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our experienced, aggressive attorneys will protect your right to be compensated for your injuries and losses.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765