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Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents in South Florida on the Rise

A series of recent bicycle and pedestrian accidents in the South Florida area has resulted in a number of fatalities that were just added to the Sunshine State’s already high number of non-motorist traffic deaths.

Mike Lasche, the executive director of Florida Walks & Bikes is just downright frustrated.
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As it’s been for years now, Florida has some of the highest pedestrian and bicycle accident fatality rates in the country. This has a lot to do with the warm year around weather, the growing population, the rising costs of gas and a growing awareness about the effects of transportation on the environment.

Our Sunrise personal injury lawyers understand that, unfortunately, many of our roadways are designed with only fast-moving vehicular traffic in mind. Many lack proper crosswalks, sidewalks and/or bike lanes. The risks for these accidents are high without these amenities and have only increased with the end of daylight saving time and earlier nightfall.

Helping out non-motorists:

Nearly all biking and pedestrian advocacy groups say that the best way to help to keep these vulnerable travelers safe is to make changes to our roadway infrastructure. According to recent studies, roadways with dedicated travel areas for these vulnerable travelers can help to reduce the risks of an accident by at least 50 percent.

The same studies indicate that the state of Florida has the materials and the funding to implement a wide-scale education campaign that is aimed at improving the state’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, the program isn’t largely used.

To help keep everyone safe out there, officials with the Florida Department of Highway Safe and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is here to offer bicyclists and pedestrians some safety tips. Stay away from traffic and follow the tips below.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Bicyclists should always travel in the same direction of traffic.

-Pedestrians should cross the road by using sidewalks.

-Before crossing the road, check left, right and left again. Continue checking for traffic as you cross the road.

-If you’re riding a bike, you should be wearing a helmet. This is especially important for our younger riders.

-If there’s no sidewalk around, pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic.

-Wear bright-colored clothing and reflective materials (especially at night) to help motorists to see you.

In the state of Florida, there were close to 100 bicyclists killed in 2010. During that year, we were ranked as the second most dangerous state in the country for these accidents. Also in 2010, we saw another 500 pedestrian fatalities resulting from traffic accidents. We were ranked second in the country for these kinds of accidents.

Travelers of all kinds are asked to be cautious out there and be courteous to one another. Teamwork may be the only way that we can take matters into our own hands to help improve roadways safety, regardless of current infrastructure problems.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or a bicycle accident, contact Freeman & Mallard for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Palm Beach Bicycle Safety: Helmets Saving Lives, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, October 18, 2012

Broward Traffic Safety Watch: Pedestrians at Serious Accident Risks, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, August 15, 2012

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