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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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Spring is the height of tourist season in South Florida and an especially apt time to be reminded of the importance of infrastructure improvements when it comes to reducing the risk of bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

Inadequate transportation infrastructure has left many Americans stranded and at risk of serious injury. From youth, to senior citizens, and lower-income families, getting around without a vehicle can be a challenge. This means that individuals seeking to travel by foot or bicycle also face more dangers on America’s roads. A new bill in Congress would mandate better infrastructure planning throughout the United States to keep American’s cyclists and pedestrians safer.

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The Safe Streets Act of 2014 is a bill before Congress that would require each state to implement a policy that requires all federally-funded transportation projects to accommodate the safety and convenience of all users in accordance with specific street principles. In short, this means that city planners cannot exclusively focus on convenience and ease for motorists, but must also incorporate planning strategies that accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as well. Our personal injury attorneys in Broward are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients who have suffered an injury. We are also committed to staying abreast of changes in the laws that impact transportation safety.
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It’s awfully dangerous out there on our South Florida roadways. According to the Miami Herald, there were three people killed in one recent weekend.
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Coral Springs detectives investigated a serious accident between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist on the northbound lanes of the Sawgrass Expressway at State Road 7. Miami officials looked into an accident involved an SUV and a truck and Broward officials looked into two fatal single car accidents.

Our Coral Springs bicycle accident lawyers understand that traffic can be a headache for all of us. Unfortunately, it’s often cyclists who face the brunt of it. Since bicyclists are much more vulnerable in the event of a traffic accident, they’re oftentimes much more seriously injured or killed. With the Spring season approaching, we’re facing some of the busiest times on our roadways for these kinds of accidents. It’s time we focus in on bicycle safety before it’s too late.
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Nationwide, cycling is on the rise. Cities are investing in shared bike programs and creating incentives to promote the use of bikes. Cycling has many public health benefits. Not only does it reduce traffic, but it also reduces pollution and gives riders a healthy alternative to sitting in their vehicles.

This summer, as cycling season peaks, drivers as well as cyclists should remember to share the road. Our Fort Lauderdale bike accident attorneys are experienced with cases involving drivers and cyclists and can help you protect your rights in the event of a collision.

In addition to creating bike-share programs, many cities are also redesigning city streets to accommodate cyclists. This has positively impacted the lives of both city and suburban dwellers. You may have seen an increased enthusiasm for cycling in your neighborhood, including a new bike shop or areas closed to vehicles. Public and private parks are also expanding bike lanes to create appeal to cyclists.

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Despite the benefits of having more cyclists on the road, many motorists have become frustrated, even enraged at the behavior of cyclists. There are even residents of some communities that oppose the “pro-biker” stance and see cyclists as rude and ignorant of local road laws that apply to drivers. Some cyclists are known to blow through stop signs, endanger pedestrians, or cut through traffic. In the past few years there have been significant injuries caused by cyclists to pedestrians. In at least one case, a speeding cyclist caused the death of a pedestrian.

Some cities host rides “en masse” that can cause congestion and even create additional hazards to drivers, riders and pedestrians. Many proponents of bike culture claim that drivers will simply have to deal with the fact that there are more cyclists on the road. A shift from motorist to biking culture has also created tension between cycling advocates and motorists as many of the roadways are being converted to accommodate cyclists.

In some cases, cities have invested millions to create bike racks, adjust roadways, and create public awareness campaigns to ensure the safety of cyclists. Bicyclist deaths nationwide have highlighted the need to create awareness and to promote healthy riding habits.

The tension has given rise to road rage on both sides and requires a discussion between groups to ensure long-term safety and well-being. Given the personal and public benefits of biking, motorists should consider that this may be the wave of the future. Similarly, cyclists should remain wary and respectful of the automobile culture to ensure their own safety and establish a mutual understanding while sharing the road.

Bike accidents and injuries can be severe, including broken bones, head injuries, brain damage, paralysis or other permanent injury. Creating mutual respect and awareness between cyclists and drivers can prevent future accidents from occurring.

While there may be some resentment between bikers and drivers, there is no reason why both cannot learn to come together and share the road. If you are a motorist, you should be aware of cyclists on your right. Cyclists should also abide by road laws to ensure safety and to maintain equality between the two camps.
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In 2011, Florida saw more bicyclist fatalities than any other state in the country. We saw close to 150 bicyclist fatalities here in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s no wonder we ranked as 31st on the annual rankings bestowed by the League of American Bicyclists.
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Educating people about the importance of bicycle safety here in the Sunshine State should be a top priority of transportation officials. While we didn’t completely bomb our evaluation from the League of American Bicyclists, there were some definite areas where we could show improvement.

Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys understand that biking is becoming more and more popular among residents and visitors with each passing day. We’ve even got Broward B-Cycle to help promote this form of transportation. If you haven’t heard of this program, you should know that it’s been deemed as “the best way to explore South Florida.” It’s a bike sharing program. It makes it economical and convenient to use bikes for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. As a member, you can use a B-cycle to run an errand, grab lunch, travel from the bus stop to your office, or just get some fresh air. There are as many reasons to use a B-cycle as there are members!

But there’s no use in bicycling if it’s not safe. And officials with the League of American Bicyclists say that there are a number of safety areas in which we can improve. The first problem we have is that there aren’t tough enough road laws, meaning the penalties aren’t tough enough for a motorist who injures or kills someone who is out walking or biking. There also is no law that would allow transportation officials to post 20 mph or lower speed limit signs in specific (and vulnerable) areas.

As you may know, our state is awaiting the finalization of a distracted driving law. As it stands now, drivers are allowed to talk on their cell phones and text message behind the wheel. Unfortunately, these circumstances cause for quite a number of pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities. Drivers just aren’t paying attention.

Another area in which we’re lacking is that we don’t have a website with available resources for those curious about bicycle bike routes, planning documents, touring, commuting and other such information.

Bicycle advocates are also saying that Sunshine State lawmakers should consider spending more federal funds on bicyclists and pedestrians. They’re also hoping that we adopt a federal funding project by rating criteria that incentive bicycle projects and accommodations.

Until our lawmakers can get their act together and put bicyclists first, our two-wheeled friends must rely on us. Remember to always be on the lookout for these vulnerable travelers and remember that they have the same rights to our roadways as we do. It’s time we respect those rights.
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We’ve been talking a lot about bicycle safety in recent weeks, and it’s well warranted. Not only are we the nation’s most dangerous state for these kinds of accidents, but it’s also May, which means it’s National Bike Safety Month.
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Our bicycle accident lawyers understand that there is a large focus on the riding habits of bicyclists and the safety skills of motorists when talking about preventing bicycle accidents. But do you know that there are other precautions that you can take to help to eliminate the risks for an accident? We’re talking about bicycle maintenance.

We’re checking in with Bicycling.com to get some of the best information on how to keep our bicycles as safe as possible. The truth of the matter is that each and every bicycle needs to undergo routine mechanical attention to help ensure safe riding. You need to keep an eye on its condition to help ensure quiet, efficient and safe riding. While there are some who would just rather take their bike to a shop and have a professional look at it, there are many of us handy enough to handle it ourselves.

We’re here with some basic repair and maintenance jobs — and even some upgrades:

1. Give your bike a visual exam. Make sure that the brake pads are smooth. Make sure your chainrings aren’t worn. Make sure there is still tread on your tires. When your tire loses its rounded profile and starts to get a flat spot, or when the base fabric cord begins to show through, it’s time to replace the tire.

2. Make sure you’ve got the proper tools to do the job. Some important items that you’ll need to properly maintain your bike are a spoke wrench, a chainwhip, a chainbreaker, lube, grease, tire levers and hex tools. With the right tools, you can fix just about anything.

Now you think you’re a professional bike rider, and that’s cool, but we can’t forget about our young ones. Children are at particularly high risk for bicycle-related injuries. In 2001, children 15 years and younger accounted for close to 60 percent of all bicycle-related injuries seen in US emergency departments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is important to remember that a bicycle is not a toy; it’s a vehicle! Be careful – follow some basic safety tips when you ride, offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Make sure your child always wears a helmet. Make sure they’re riding a bicycle that fits them. It’s also important to make sure that you’re always supervising your child when they’re out riding their bike. Don’t just stay in their vicinity, but actually watch them. Lastly, you want to make sure they understand the rules of the road and the workings of traffic. Their understanding can help to save their life.
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We’ve been talking about the safety of bicyclists for some time now, and with good reason. They’re up against some serious dangers out there. But now, they’ve got a lot of support on their side. The entire month of May has been dedicated National Bike Month.
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According to The League of American Bicyclists, Bike to Work Week is May 13-17 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17. Bike to School Day is May 8. Until we can remove Florida from the number one spot as the most dangerous state in the country for these kinds of accidents, we better keep on working on safety.

During National Bike Month, don’t overlook the critical importance of bicycle safety. Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers understand that there are a plethora of places for locals and visitors to bicycle in Broward. Whichever route you decide to take, it’s important that you take it safely.

Here a few bicycling tips from Broward County officials to help you to ensure a safer trip:

-Watch for the Yield. Among the most common types of accidents are those caused by failure on the part of the bicyclist or motorist to yield the right-of-way at driveways and intersections. Before crossing the street or proceeding across a driveway, you always want to make sure that you make eye contact with drivers. You want to ensure that they see you.

-Wrong-Way Riding. You never want to ride against traffic. Always ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic. You want to make sure that you can be seen within a motorist’s natural scanning zone. Not only is it safer to ride on the right side of the road, it’s the law.

-Lookout for Parked Cars. When riding through parking lots or in areas with street-side parking, be on the lookout for opening doors. Although the motorists are required by law to be on the lookout for you, we can’t always rely on their safe habits.

-Keep Communication. You want your riding maneuvers to be as predictable and as well-communicated as possible. Make sure your turns and maneuvers are always signaled. Letting drivers know where you’re headed is one serious step in preventing an accident.

-Keep Scanning. You always want to be aware of your surroundings. Staying one step ahead of the traffic around you will help to reduce the risks of an accident.

If you choose to take the plunge and start riding instead of driving, there are a few things that you are going to want to know. Choose your route carefully. The best route to work by bicycle may not be the same way you drive. Try a few different routes to see how they compare. Take a few shakedown rides to get used to your bike and riding in traffic. Do this at a time when you are not in a hurry so you can stop if you need to, or check alternate routes.
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At least 57 million people, or more that 25 percent of the population over the age of 15, ride bicycles according to a recent study from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Many of these riders are in the state of Florida, too. South Florida Adventures lists the “Top 9 Cycling Stories,” which may interest bicycle enthusiasts.
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We like to bike. What we don’t usually think about are our risks for getting into a serious accident. But the truth of the matter is that these types of accidents are on the rise. According to recently-released statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida was ranked as the most dangerous state in the country for cyclist fatalities. There were close to 150 people killed in bicycling accidents in the state in 2011.

Our Davie bicycle accident lawyers understand that the number of bicyclist fatalities increased nearly 10 percent compared to the prior year’s statistics. Why the increase? Are cyclists getting more careless out there? No. The problem is that we’re all driving more with the recovering economy and we’re forgetting that we’ve all got to share the road. The truth is that cyclists follow the same set of road laws as motor vehicle drivers. Unfortunately, our bicyclists aren’t always treated the same — instead oftentimes overlooked on our roadways.

Whether you’re biking for exercise and health, for recreation, or, more and more commonly these days, to commute, safety is of utmost importance.

In an effort to encourage everyone to practice safe behavior and improve the safety of all road users, the Broward MPO has developed a public education campaign regarding the 3-Foot Law. The campaign educates motorists about Florida Statute 316.083: Overtaking and Passing, the law states a motorist must pass a bicyclist by no less than 3 feet.

Your best bet is to bike while it’s light. Close to 60 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents in Florida occur during twilight and night hours although less than three percent of bicycle use takes place at that time.

There are a number of factors that increase a bicyclist’s risks for an accident while riding at night:

-Motorists are more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol.

-Motorists cannot see their surroundings as easily because of the darkness.

-Roadways with a speed limit of 40 miles per hour or higher are extremely risky for bicyclists at night.

-Bad reflectors can serve up serious risks.

-Motorists can mistake a reflector for a mailbox.

But whether you’re riding at night or during the day, it’s important to remember to stay one step ahead of the traffic around you. Your safe, cautious and defensive riding habits could save your life.
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Florida is the most dangerous state in the entire country when it comes to bicyclist fatalities. According to newly-released numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 125 bicyclists killed on Florida roadways in 2011.
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Nationwide, there were close to 700 bicyclists who were killed in traffic accidents in 2011. That mean’s nearly 1 in 5 fatal bicycle accidents in the United States occurred in Florida! In addition to those fatalities, there were nearly 50,000 bicyclists injured along the way. And these risks don’t appear to be getting any better. The NHTSA reports that there was a near 10 percent increase in the number of bicyclists killed in 2011 from 2010.

Our Weston bicycle accident lawyers understand that bicyclists should be a little more cautious while pedaling during the evening hours. These accidents were most likely to happen between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. Close to a third of recorded fatalities happened during this time, followed by the hours from 8:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

According to the latest numbers, the average age of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents is on the rise. It’s actually been increasing each year over the last 10 years. In 2011, the average age of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents was 43.

Overall, bicyclists between the ages of 45 and 54 had the highest fatality rate. On the other hand, the highest injury rate were to riders between the ages of 16 and 20.

Officials with the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) are asking bicyclists to help to protect themselves from the risks associated with dangerous drivers. You’re asked to strap on a helmet. As a matter of fact, proper use of a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by close to 90 percent. In the state of Florida, children under the age of 16 who are riding a bike or are a passenger on a bike are required by law to wear a helmet.

Regardless of how old you are, safety should always be your number one priority while pedaling the town on two wheels. To help keep your safe, BSO officers are here with some important tips:

-Make sure that your helmet fits properly.

-Check your bike frequently. Making sure it’s in good-working order will help to keep you out of an accident.

-Make sure that you’re riding on marked paths whenever they’re available.

-If you have to ride on the street, make sure that you’re riding with the flow of traffic. You never want to head straight into oncoming traffic.

-Always wear bright-colored clothing and make sure you can be easily seen by passing motorists.

-Keep an eye on your surroundings. Be on the lookout for not only motor vehicles, but also for other bicyclists and pedestrians.

-Make sure you’re always using the proper hand signals to let traffic around you know where you’re headed.
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In the state of Florida, Traffic Crash Statistics reveal that there were 4,925 bicycle crashes in 2010.

This was a 3.16 percent increase in the number of accidents when compared to the 4,774 crashes that occurred in 2009. The number of bicyclists injured also went up by 3.95 percent from 2009 to 2010, with 4,376 injuries in 2009 and 4,600 injuries the following year. Only the number of deaths went down and the decline was significant, with around 25 percent fewer people dying in 2010. Still 76 bicyclists were killed over the whole year that year as compared with 99 riders the year before. 1396742_cyclist_silhouette_2.jpg

While there were fewer bike rider deaths in Florida in 2011, our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys know that Florida still remains one of the most dangerous states for bicycle riders. Many riders are aware of this and some are even deterred from riding as a result. On the website of the Florida Bicycle Association, for example, the bike coordinator indicated that fear of motorists was one of the most common deterrents to bicycle riders.

It is natural to be afraid of drivers who may be taking dangerous and unnecessary chances on the road that put bicycle riders at risk. However, riders shouldn’t let concerns over driver behavior prevent them from doing an activity they enjoy. Both bike riders and drivers of motor vehicles have an important role to play in making the streets safer for bike riders, in reducing injuries and in reducing fear. If drivers and bicycle riders both made a commitment to making smart choices and respecting each other, this would have a significant impact on road safety and would improve life for everyone.

Tips for Bicycle Riders and Drivers to Stay Safe
Bicycle riders can take certain steps to make an accident less likely and to protect themselves from the most serious of injuries in the event that an accident does occur. For example, bicycle riders should:

  • Check the bike, including the air and brakes, before each ride to make sure it is in good repair.
  • Wear comfortable cloths that you can ride easily in and that will not get caught in the pedals or spokes of the bike.
  • Wear a helmet every time you ride.
  • Try to avoid heavily trafficked areas especially if those areas are lacking in a sidewalk or a safe place to ride a bicycle. For purely recreational riding, using trails and areas away from cars is a great way to take an extra step to safety. If you use your bike for transportation and need to go places, you should consider your route carefully in advance to try to find the most bike-friendly way to travel.
  • Wear bright colored clothing and use a light at night. This can help drivers to notice you so they don’t hit you.
  • Use appropriate hand signals to alert drivers to your intentions, follow the rules of the road, don’t speed and don’t fail to yield the right-of-way when it is not your turn.

These rules can help bicycle riders to stay safer and can reduce the chances of a crash. However, drivers have some safety steps to take too. For example, drivers of passenger cars should refrain from doing anything that could put a bike rider at risk including speeding; distracted driving; drunk driving; tailgating or failing to yield the right-of-way. By avoiding these risky behaviors, hopefully bicyclists will be a little bit safer this spring and summer as they enjoy their bicycles.
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According to a recent European study, there are bicyclists being killed in traffic accidents because drivers aren’t stopping for red lights or otherwise obeying a riders right-of-way.

This study goes against previous reports that pointed the finger at the bicyclists, saying that they’re own behaviors were the cause of most accidents.
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According to The Guardian, some of the top causes for cyclist accidents were red-light runners and distractions. The information, analyzed by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), showed that about 25 percent of cyclists deaths happen when a vehicle slams into the back of a bicycle. Our Miami bicycle accident lawyers understand that many of these accidents could have been prevented, too. With the popularity of bicycling in the area, we need to take the necessary steps to help keep these vulnerable travelers safe.

With adult bicyclists, drivers were responsible for these accidents about 75 percent of the time.

Researchers say that transportation officials need to focus more on driver’s behavior and less on helmets and bicyclists. The report even went as far as saying that universal helmet use only saves about 10 to 15 lives a year.

“The main cause of crashes seems to be ‘failed to look properly’, whereas very few cyclists are injured or killed acting illegally, such as failing to use lights at night or disobeying traffic signals,” said a study researcher, Chris Peck.

It looks like the risks are going to get a whole lot worse, too. According to The Miami Herald, Miami commissioners are putting down the groundwork for the area’s new bicycle-sharing program. A panel voted 3-0 to give approval to an ordinance that would allow advertising on the side of the planned rental stations. As it stood, advertising is illegal on city-owned property as well as in the public right-of-way.

Officials think that with the advertising, they will be able to better fund the program.

“Our program is intended to be revenue generating for the city and to be self-sustaining,” said Albert Sosa, director of capital improvements.

Now, all commissioners have to do it finalize the program.

Marc Sarnof, Vice Chairman, has asked that the advertisements be discreet. He said he has no plans on approving the ordinance if it allows large panels to be put on the kiosks. He says that the City of Miami needs to practice its regulations and know when to say “Stop!”

These programs can be successful, like they have in Palm Beach and Broward counties as well as on Miami Beach. We just need everyone’s cooperation to make sure they’re safe, too!

With the plan to bring in more bicyclists, we can expect more of the eco-friendly travel. With more of these two-wheeled travelers, we can expect an increase in the risks for these kinds of accidents. It’s important that drivers, bike-sharing program or not, keep a lookout for these vulnerable travelers. Take that extra second before making a move in traffic to look for our two-wheeled friends!
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