Florida – The Most Dangerous State For Cyclists
With a nearly endless summer and roads like the coastal A1A, I-75 and I-95, and Daytona’s Bike Week. motorcyclists and bicycle riders alike can’t resist going out on clear and sunny days. Florida has some great roads for riding, in town and on long stretches of roads, and motorcycles are very popular here. But in spite of the good riding conditions, Florida is also the most dangerous state for anyone on two wheels.
Why Is Florida So Dangerous?
By far, Florida had the most motorcycle deaths in 2013, with 467 riders killed. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s 2015 report on motorcycles shows that 29% of cyclists killed had a BAC of over the legal limit. That same year, Miami-Dade County saw 67 fatalities, while Orange and Lee counties saw 26 motorcycle fatalities each.
People love to ride, and there are a number of factors that contribute to bike accidents, including:
- Year-round riding weather
- No helmet requirement (repealed in 2000)
- More bikes and motorcycles on the road
- Roadways not built to accommodate riders
- Higher number of elderly drivers
- More drivers distracted and not paying attention
Protect Yourself When You Ride
Take precautions before and during a motorcycle ride. Before you start your engine, you should check:
- For oil & gas leaks
- Hydraulic & coolant fluids, and top off
- Clutch and throttle
- Air in the tires
Perform preventative maintenance regularly to keep your bike running properly.
Protecting yourself takes more than just wearing a helmet. Make sure your helmet has a face shield to protect your entire head. Include goggles, thick shoes and long sleeves for better protection. Take additional precautions to stay safe on the road:
- Ride with a group of people you know practice safety and you can trust
- Stay within the speed limit
- Keep a safe distance around passenger vehicles
- Take extra care around large trucks
- Stop for breaks to avoid becoming too tired
- Discuss motorcycle safety with your family members
Bicycle Riders Are Also At Risk
Florida’s streets weren’t built to accommodate two-wheeled drivers, but the law still considers them to be vehicular traffic. Like motorcycles, Florida bicyclists are in danger of being involved in an accident. Tampa Bay is the most dangerous for riders, with Pinellas County as the worst. In fact, this Wall Street Journal article reports the NHTSA’s top four most dangerous cities for bike riders are in Florida:
- Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater
- Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano
These areas are some of the most densely-populated regions in the state.
Florida’s “three-foot law” requires motor vehicles to be at least three feet away from a cyclist while passing. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t observe the law, and police don’t regularly issue tickets.
Wearing a helmet is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment you can wear on a bicycle. Riding on bike-friendly roads can help you stay out of the way of oncoming cars.
Injured While Riding? Call The Lawman
Bike accidents with cars are much more dangerous than motorcycle collisions and can have far-reaching consequences. In some cases, victims may suffer severe trauma that can affect their way of life for life. If you’ve been hurt in a bike accident in Orlando, be sure to learn about your legal options.
The Umansky Law Firm has a team made up of caring personal injury lawyers who are eager to fight on your behalf and get the compensation you deserve. Our team has over 100 years of combined legal experience, so you can be sure you are receiving the best representation for your bicycle or motorcycle accident. Contact our office today to find out how we can help you after a bike accident. William Umansky has over 25 years as an accident lawyer and has been rated by Florida Trend Legal Elite.