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Florida: A Deadly Mix for Bicyclists

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.

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.

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

More Blog Entries:

Keeping Your Bicycle Fresh and Keeping Child Riders Safe, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 10, 2013

Biking Over Driving in South Florida, A Good Choice Made Better, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 8, 2013

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