The death rate for bicyclists in Florida is higher than in any other state in the country. In fact, it more than doubles the national average. And while other states have seen a steady decline in the rate of these fatalities, the same cannot be said for Florida. Over 800 bicyclists lost their lives across the nation in the year 2015 alone, 150 of them right here in Florida. The numbers are terrifying, but the individual stories are heart wrenching:
- July 2018: A 49-year-old man was found dead in a ditch along the road in Orange County. Just feet away from the body, investigators found the grill from a Honda CRV. He had been riding his bike to work, when it is thought that a CRV slammed into him, throwing him off of the road to his death.
- April 2018: When a 66-year-old man on a bicycle veered in front of a motor vehicle in order to execute a left turn near Melbourne, he was struck and killed.
- April 2016: A man’s dead body was found in the middle of a Coral Gables intersection. His bicycle and one of his shoes were retrieved four blocks away.
What We Know about Bicycle Accidents
Researchers hope that an understanding of the circumstances surrounding bicycle accidents can instruct us in how to avoid them. Here’s what we know:
- Seven in ten bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas;
- Over 60 percent of these deaths do not occur in intersections;
- Darkness seems to have little or no impact on bicyclist deaths, although the most frequent time of day for these incidents is 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
- Most of these incidents occur in the fall, followed by winter, summer and then spring.
- The average age of bicyclists killed is 45;
- Males make up over 80 percent of the fatalities;
- Over a quarter of cyclists who lost their lives in auto-bicycle collisions had alcohol in their systems at the time of death;
- The number of incidents where either the driver of the vehicle and/or the bicyclist was under the influence of alcohol was nearly 40 percent.
How to Change the Statistics
Fatalities can and should go down in Florida, and some simple things can impact the numbers:
- Everyone who gets on a bike should always wear a helmet that is properly fitted;
- Bicyclists should follow the rules of the road, just like anyone in a motorized vehicle. That means riding in the same direction that traffic is flowing, signaling, and obeying all traffic signs and signals;
- Increasing visibility should be a priority for bicyclists. That could include equipping bikes with reflectors and lights, (even in daylight), wearing brightly colored clothing and helmets, and having reflective clothing or tape for evening riding;
- Motorists need to be keenly aware of bicyclists and provide a three-foot allowance when passing them. Furthermore, special caution should be taken when exiting driveways, opening doors when parked on the roadside, or proceeding through intersections.
If you or a loved one is the victim of an auto-bicycle crash, the experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton has your back. Contact us today for a confidential consultation in Dayton & Ormond Beach.