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Florida Bicycle Safety in Focus this May

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.

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.

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

More Blog Entries:

South Florida Bicycle Accidents a Spring and Summer RIsk, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, April 12, 2013

Bike-Sharing Program Plans in Miami – Beware Accident Risks, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, February 2, 2013

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